Battening Down The Hatches [How I'm Getting Ready For Winter & The Festive Season]

I hate Winter. There. I said it.

Maybe it's my Antipodean roots, or maybe it's just me, but I dread the winter here in the UK. Darkness falling at 4pm, endless grey skies and cold temperatures do nothing for me, and I generally spend the majority of winter longing for the first glimmers of Spring.

If I could chase the sun year 'round, I absolutely would. I don't need HOT, I just need WARM. Warm temperatures and blue skies. Year round t-shirt weather would be just fine thanks, but as that's not an option, I've decided that in order to make it more bearable, and to not be wishing away several months of each year, that I need to make some changes and, well, get better prepared, so that it doesn't seem quite as much of a drag. And I want to really enjoy the festive season too!

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches [How I'm Getting Ready For Winter & The Festive Season]

I've been thinking about this for a while, and making a mental list of practical, aaaaand not so practical things that will get me through the winter with a happy mind, body and soul. I figured I’d pop it here (offloading again - blogs are great for that!) and then I’ll work my way through it and document the things I manage to check off as a little Battening Down The Hatches mini-series, in more detail as I go. I'm sure I'm not the only one that finds the winter hard-going, right?

So what’s on my list? Loads! Here's my breakdown...


Sorting out any heating issues, which we've made huge strides towards over the last several months with the new Amtico parquet floor throughout the ground level of our house (no more gappy floorboards and icy drafts wrapping around our ankles in the living room and dining rooms!), and replacing the old rusty radiators with new ones from in the living and dining rooms and hallway. The boiler does need a service though, so I'll be booking that in pronto, and I need to get the plumber back to sort out what we think might be a blockage preventing some of the radiators from properly heating up. Now is definitely the time to do this!

Perhaps I might be in the market for another cosy throw or two, and maybe a sheepskin to add another layer of physical and visual warmth the the living room too. Nothing like upping the layers of texture to transform a room into an inviting space.

Let's not talk about the single-glazed, drafty and worse for wear sash windows though okay? That's on the list for next year.

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches [How I'm Getting Ready For Winter & The Festive Season]

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches [How I'm Getting Ready For Winter & The Festive Season]


I've got a pretty good collection of lamps going on I must admit, and this secondary lighting is super important in the colder months to create a cosy atmosphere, so that's something to consider if you're lacking in the lamp department. There's a dizzying amount of choice at all price points so I'll be putting together a list of current favourites. See also candles - scented and otherwise. And fairy lights. Obvs. Last year we wrapped the tree in our garden in outdoor fairy lights, only for a fox to break them within days. Maybe we'll try take two again this year!

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches [How I'm Getting Ready For Winter & The Festive Season]


When we moved into this house over ten years ago, we intended to install a wired music system that would allow us to listen to music in every room. We didn't. We were frozen by too much choice and indecision, and then we were frozen by lack of funds. And for ten years, it's just sat on the to do list and I'm ashamed to admit that generally music has been listened to either on the digital radio, or through a computer or the TV. Technology has come a LONG way in this time, and it's so much simpler, easier and more affordable now. It's time to finally sort it out! 


I don't know if I technically have Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I do know the lack of sun and blue skies affects my mood adversely, and I've been taking measures to help with this in the form of light therapy, which I'll be talking about in a post next week. Oh, and Vitamin D (in an easy to administer spray) is a regular thing in our house too.

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches [How I'm Getting Ready For Winter & The Festive Season]


What's good for your soul when it comes to home? For me, it's trying (and admittedly, regularly failing - especially in my line of work) to keep the clutter at bay. So another thing on my list is to fight my way back to a less cluttered existence. And not just on the surface, although that's a good start, and I may not get much further than that this side of the new year, but I definitely need to go through the cupboards, the kids rooms and my own wardrobe too. It's time to let go of the 80% plus of my wardrobe that hasn't fitted me for years. Would I even wear it if it did fit? Probably not. Why am I holding onto it? I have no idea. Just me?


Ah, one of my favourite topics! Any excuse to buy another scented candle. Feeling down? A scented candle will fix it! Feeling happy? A scented candle is in order! Celebrating? A scented candle is deserved! Cooking smells? A scented candle will mask it! Feeling bored? Frustrated? You get the picture...In my book, a new scented candle will fix pretty much anything. At least temporarily. So yes, I'll be sharing my all time favourites with you too - some are old faithfuls, some are new to me, and some are relatively new to market, and have shot right to the favourites list. And believe me, I'm very hard to please in this department. I need to have a scented candle or three on the go at all times, and a few on standby for when they're finished. There's always one on my Christmas list too!

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches [How I'm Getting Ready For Winter & The Festive Season]

Finishing What I Started

I start DIY jobs and I don't 100% finish them. I'm not proud. My excuse is that I'm always in a rush - my working hours are the school hours - we don't have any childcare, so I work when I can. This means things are often finished 'enough' which also often means they're not finished properly. I have a list of things in every room that I really want to start working thorough. The ceilings in the living and dining rooms still need finishing, the bedroom windows and door still need another coat of paint, the mystery leak in the upstairs bathroom still needs to be fixed - and the list goes on. If I can get just a few of these niggly jobs crossed off I'll be happy, and hopefully inspired to keep working my way though the list.


I kind of tie all of the above in with Christmas, which be it a good or bad thing becomes a bit of a looming deadline for me, albeit a self-inflicted and wholly unnecessary one! Along with a few other things like clearing out the spare room (that'll be the decluttering again) and making sure we have lovely bed linen, pillows and duvets for guests. My mother will be coming all the way from New Zealand, so it's the least I can do! Besides if, the majority of these things are addressed before then, it will mean a lovely relaxing Christmas. Well, fingers crossed anyway.

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches [How I'm Getting Ready For Winter & The Festive Season]

The Finishing Touches

Flowers, and fresh foliage, make such a difference to a room - whether it's supermarket bargains, a trip to the flower market or a florist blow-out, it's particularly good for the soul (well, it is for mine) to have fresh flowers in the house during the winter, and especially at Christmas. I'll be visiting our local flower market on the Sunday before Christmas to make sure this one is ticked off the list.


I feel better putting this into actual written words instead of having them tumbling around in my head. Oh, I forgot about all the painting that I intend to get done! Maybe I'll cut myself a little bit of slack and not vow to get the entire hallway done before Christmas, but I'd definitely like to make a good start!

How about you? Are you a winter lover, or do you find it laborious like me?

Check back for the first Battening Down The Hatches - Mind instalment next week, where I'll be talking about Light Therapy to help keep my mind in a happy place.

And this Friday, I'll have the first in the French For Cocktail series ready for you too!