A cosy fire, colourful farmers' markets, a crisp ocean swim – what makes your ideal winter weekend?
Curling up with a book or braving the conditions with an exhilarating run, chilly winter weekends are spent in a variety of ways. We asked a handful of be. magazine contributors to tell us how they spend theirs…
Chinese medicine practitioner
My ideal winter weekend involves rest, nourishing meals, a run along the beach or, because I never regret an ocean swim, kitting up in the wetsuit to brave the wind and surf. I tend to feel the cold a lot more if I’m not exercising regularly.
Winter is also the time of year to rest and cultivate energy for the more active, warmer months. As the days get shorter I try to go to sleep earlier and wake up later on the weekends.
I like to visit the market and stock up on seasonal fresh produce, especially dark green leafy veggies, kale, sweet potatoes, turnip, beetroot, and I eat a little more meat (organic, roaming, grass fed where possible) in winter as it is particularly nourishing. We slow cook using warming digestive herbs and spices like chilli, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and garlic. There is always a pot of soup on the stove on a Sunday and the teapot is endlessly refilled.
My favourite herbal teas in winter are lemongrass and ginger, licorice and fennel, home-made chai, and rosehip. Ideal winter evenings are spent rugged up in front of the fire with a good book, a glass of red wine and some dark chocolate (for their antioxidant and mood-enhancing properties!). I also love warm baths with eucalyptus or lemon oil to keep the circulation moving, and ‘yin’ style exercises including stretching, yoga and meditation. Winter is the most yin of the four seasons and it feels good to hang out in this yin energy as much as possible during the colder months.
The last 20 winters were spent training for the upcoming cycling season, often in the cold rain and sometimes in the snow. Now I still stay active, but I do more hiking with my son on my shoulders, or running and trail running if the weather is unfavourable.
Co-founder, Where the Wild Things Grow
My winter weekends usually revolve around food! It starts Friday night with my husband and I cooking a nice meal at home and enjoying it over a glass of red. It’s a great time for us to catch up as our weekdays are usually pretty busy and sometimes we don’t get to see each other much.
Saturday mornings start off relatively slowly. We take our puppy and now our child out for a walk and grab some breakfast at one of the many amazing cafes in Bondi. Then we usually pop into the Kings Cross farmers’ markets, where we have a smoothie stall, to stock up on weekly groceries, including smoothies! We usually try to catch up with friends that evening.
On Sundays we try not to make any plans and so we can just bunker in, relax and potter around the house getting ready for the week ahead. I try to prepare a range of healthy meals so we have it on hand throughout the week – it helps us to avoid eating takeout or processed food. It’s nice to be able to just go where the day takes you without worrying about having to be anywhere at any time as we spend so much of the week rushing around from place to place.
Professor of Nutrition, University of Auckland
If there is one thing I love it is the ability to greet a crisp, fine sunrise riding my road bike. Like so many middle aged males, I’m a MAMIL (that’s Middle Aged Man in Lycra) with a passion for cycling, Lycra, too-expensive carbon fibre and coffee.
The latter is an essential part of the riding experience. The coffee shop early in the morning is the new tool shed for most urban men. As a scientist, I spend my week talking shop and it’s absolutely terrific to converse about anything other than work to a similarly aged and garbed male group.
But sadly, my winter weekends are not all about me and my obsession with early morning Lycra. I am also taxi service shuttling either one of my kids to a weekend sporting event. My kids both sail small dinghies, so while they race I walk, run, read or relax – depending upon the weather. Above everything else it’s about embracing the weather, the family and the fun will follow.
I work most weekends at my café, Beachwood. I usually start at about 5 am by talking to the local fisherman to see what they have for me for the day. Then I spend the morning baking – at the moment my favourite is rose petal meringues. Then I set up the café and have a coffee before staff come in. When the café closes I usually head home for a nice glass of wine and relax for the evening.