Hey, it's been awhile since I posted so I decided to do something a bit fun, unrelated to fitness or mental health. It's almost December, the sun sets in Edinburgh at 3:45 PM (I'm not kidding), and it's effin' freezing outside. Here's how I handle the cold weather in Scotland and in Connecticut (and for some reason, there's a slight JK Rowling theme here.)
cozy robe (dressing gown)
I wear this every night. Sadly, I don't think FatFace is selling this exact one but they have something similar. FatFace has killer cozy clothes. I love going into that store to touch all the soft fabrics.
*To my US readers, FatFace is making its way to New England. There are some stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and one in Maine. I'd best describe their store as a mix of Madewell, J. Crew, and GAP.
I'm not allowed to light candles in my flat . . . but no one said anything about unlit candles, did they? Anthropologie has so many candles. One might say too many candles, but they all smell delicious.
In the morning, the first thing I do is grind some coffee beans and use my Aeropress. This thing got a lot of attention when I used it in the kitchen in our PhD space at Edinburgh University, so I've brought it back home where I can make coffee in peace. The beans I'm using currently are from Metropolis in Chicago and Machina in Edinburgh.
At nighttime when I want something sweet but guilt-free, I enjoy chocolate-flavored tea. It doesn't really taste like chocolate, but it's good enough to keep my cravings at bay, as they say, or you'll pay, listen to what I say. Why don't I just go eat some hay, make things out of clay, lay by the bay? I just may! ... Sorry, I got wrapped into that Happy Gilmore quote.
For a liquor blanket or a drunk jacket, according to Urban Dictionary, I've discovered the beauty that is the Gin & Tonic. I was recently introduced to the Scottish craft-liquor brand Arbikie Highland Estate (pronounced Ar-bee-kee) and their Kirsty's Gin with a light tonic water is such a treat to drink at night when I'm watching 30 Rock.
I wanted to personalize this for my Edinburgh and Connecticut-based readers, so here are my favorite cozy places as well.
the chocolate tree, bruntsfield
If you want the best hot chocolate of your life, go here. They have milk hot chocolate, rose and vanilla hot chocolate, winter spice hot chocolate, and dark hot chocolate ranging from 64% to 85% cocoa. My sister will vouch for their Tanzanian hot chocolate with soy milk—seeing that she dragged me into the shop every day of her visit last year.
*Tip, if it's not busy, there's a tiny room in the back of The Chocolate Tree with pillows and a round table for you and your loved one to enjoy a quiet moment with chocolate. :)
Dominion Cinema, morningside
If you want to semi-splurge, don't just go to the movies, go to the Dominion and book a First Class ticket. You'll get a couch for two with ottomans to rest your feet and food and drinks service, plus Pringles and candy. Absolutely worth the £26.
W cafe at waterstones, west end princes street
I'm not going to lie, I pop into Waterstones just to defrost. It's a great place to walk around, browse some books, and warm up. On the top floor is the W Cafe which provides a gorgeous view of the castle. Here's a picture of JK Rowling there back in the day looking happy as a clam.
in fairfield county, connecticut
I couldn't imagine spending Christmas anywhere else but home. When I'm home, I always go to these places.
barnes & noble, westport
Back in the days when we were under-21 and had fresh Driver's Licenses in our wallets, Barnes & Noble was the place to go. I don't know why, but it was. Hanging out in someone's SUV in the parking lot, flipping through magazines by the front window, fingering through the CDs in the Music Section that would inevitably disappear, running and giggling through the aisles to get to the bathroom in the far right corner of the store, and tilting my head sideways to read every spine in the Children's Section and, when I got older, the Young Adult section... Those were the days.
Barnes & Noble still gives me that comfort. There's also a Starbucks inside, so it's great to grab a book and a coffee and hang there for hours. My dad does it every week!
*In 1999, JK Rowling came to this Barnes & Noble for a book signing because it was one of the top-selling stores in the country for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
A magical wonderland of overpriced things you don't need but desperately want. God, I love this place. It's a garden center/home store/cafe/restaurant that ALLOWS dogs! I bring my laptop to write here while drinking coffee, and if I'm meeting friends, we'll walk around and admire all the beautiful kitchenware. Terrain is owned by Anthropologie, so you can see what I mean by it being magical and overpriced.
geronimo tequila bar & grill, fairfield
Or as we call it, Geronimo's or Gmo's. This is where I first learned to love margaritas and my friend and I would come here all the time to hang out by the fire and chat with the bartenders. Go here, get a margarita, order come guacamole, and you're set for the night.
Shout-out to all of my UK and US friends. These things and places are cozy, but they don't compare to having you there. (Wow, how cheesy was that?)