the art of cosiness

For a lot of people I know, the bleak winter months seem to fill them with a kind of dread. Months of being cold, having to forgo style and fashion for comfort and warmth. Grey dreary days appear to be never ending and bring with them their fair share of rain, wind, ice and even snow. Not to mention the lack of daylight and gardens which show little sign of life. It would be easy to get dragged into this way of thinking, but it's just not for me. No, for me these cold, grey days are just begging to be filled with cosiness, and I believe myself to be somewhat of an expert in cosy!

Perhaps you fall into the category of people I've mentioned. If so, let me share with you some of my top tips for adding a smidgen of cosy to your dreary winter days.  To start with it is vital to break free of the ties of fashion - cosy and fashion do not often see eye to eye. Take my attire as I type this post. I am wearing a rather pretty shirt dress with some leggings, a pair of cosy knee socks and a pair of fluffy, checked slipper boots (you'll have to take my word for this as I have no photos, but it's  not a word of a lie!) Would I feel confident doing errands around town in such an outfit? Not even slightly, but for my purposes of sloping around the house, playing Lego games and blogging it will do just fine! Give it a try - you'll be amazed at the instant increase in your levels of cosiness!Another piece of advice I would give you is to ignore all the magazine articles that are telling you to rid your home of all things Christmas. By all means take your tree and decorations down, but if you ask me, getting rid of all those lovely candles at this time of the year is a huge mistake. In fact, I see this time of year as the perfect excuse to pick up a few post-Christmas sale bargain candles and accessories! There is really nothing to beat the glow of candlelight on a winter afternoon or evening. The warmth of the light and the flicker of the flame seem so calming. And your cosy attire (as mentioned above) really looks so much more flattering in this light! So get yourself to the garden centre or Ikea quickly to get a hefty stash of candles and tealights to see you through until spring. And if you're feeling brave after lighting your candles, I dare you to string some fairy lights over your fireplace or display them in a vase for added cosy effect!Now to my mind, cosiness is as much a state of mind as it is a physical state. You can wear the slippers and light the candles and still not be in the cosy zone. So how does one achieve this cosy attitude? Well, there are any number of ways to do this but here are a few of my favourites.1. Grab a few magazines of your choosing for leafing through. My personal favourites are Coast and Country Living, but if Heat, Good Housekeeping or People's Friend is your thing, then go for it!2. Be selective in the TV you watch, if any. Now, I am all for an afternoon with the TV off and the sounds of the house providing the soundtrack to my cosiness, but I am also a sucker for a good drama or film should the notion take me. For the purposes of cosiness I find that a delightful period drama that harks back to a simpler time is just the ticket - much more so than, say, the  latest episode of Spooks or 24! My current drama of choice is Lark Rise to Candleford, and I have to confess that I spent a lovely hour (or thereabouts given the interruptions of small people who don't get mummy's need for a cosy viewing!) watching an episode and finishing a bit of knitting. Which leads neatly to my next suggestion.3. Get involved in a bit of crafting. I'm not a knitter by nature, but I wanted to make something small as a gift for a friend and the feel of the soft merino wool was cosiness itself. Creating is a huge part of my life, be it taking photographs, making a scrapbook page or something involving fabric and fibres. It makes me feel cosy in and of itself, and I would greatly encourage anyone to have a go at making something to add to your cosy atmosphere. I fully intend having a go at a few other knitting projects and fancy the idea of making a hot water bottle cover that I can bring to my cosy TV afternoons!4. This next one might be a bit controversial, but for me, chocolate=cosy! Not that I'm not feeling the guilt of the Christmas scoffing. I am, but then there's a part of me that thinks, well if an extra layer of fat doesn't instantly boost my cosiness then what will?!! I suppose what I mean is that a bit of something you love to eat isn't always a bad thing. Or so I'm telling myself, and it's working thus far!The only thing missing from the elements of cosiness that I've mentioned so far is physical warmth. This is partly achieved in your choice of cosy attire, such as my fab slipper boots and knee socks, but the ultimate source of warmth for me has to be a fire. No matter how grey your Saturday afternoon is, a fire will warm the very cockles of your heart! We're really fortunate to have a real fire in our front room (the room of cosy as depicted in this post) and a gas fire in the living room (where the number of Hot Wheels cars and Lego bricks seriously diminishes the feeling of cosy!) Add to the fire a blanket, the magazine, the remote control for the dvd player for my box set of Lark Rise to Candleford and a bar of Dairy Milk and the levels of cosiness will be soaring!Consider all this merely a guide for your winter months to relieve you from the feeling of willing the grey days away. Instead, see them as an opportunity to stay in, play board games, make something and spend some time with the people who make you happy. I guarantee you that spring will arrive all the sooner and your memories of winter will be all the sweeter if you do.