Winter Staples


Since the man of the house, wait, that's the dog... I meant the literal 'man' of the house, is working long hours this winter, I've taken to snuggling by the fire and treating myself to some very feminine indulgences. The mood board above is a collage some of the things that have been keeping me company through the somewhat cold and rainy season.

1. In Fiore Veloutée Balm for Lips and Eyes ($58) (also available here)
I discovered 'In Fiore' skincare products a few years ago and have been hooked on their Veloutée balm ever since. I tend to get eczema on my eyelids during the winter, so this balm doubles as a lip and eye moisturizer. In Fiore skincare is ethically made in San Francisco with natural and organic ingredients. I am also quite taken in by how beautiful their packagings are - the Veloutée balm comes in an elegant, antique gold compact (complete with a mirror). Whipping it out while sipping on a glass of French 75 reminds me too much of Gloria Swanson (I was going to write Mary Pickford, but I decided I'm more of sinister grouch than a sweetheart).

2. Swans Island Merino Wool Throw ($295)
I bought this Made in Maine throw last year for my drafty study and it's kept me toasty all through winter and even the early days of summer since it's technically a summer-weight throw. The dog loves the smell of the wool and he steals it from me ever so often. During specials, J.Crew offers a nice discount on these throws, so wait till then and pick one up (ETA - 12/6/12: Use GIFTNOW for 30% off). I like them better than the Brahms Mount linen blankets because they're softer and much warmer.

3. 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens' ($7)
Along with watching 'Home Alone' and 'It's a Wonderful Life', reading 'A Christmas Carol' whilst snuggled with spiked apple cider by the fire is one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas week.

4. La Maison Du Chocolat Truffles ($77)
If you have no self-control, I would strongly recommend against purchasing these. Saks puts these delicious French-made chocolates on discount every two weeks or so. 42 pieces should (can it really?) last about three weeks - although I usually end up consuming them in front of 'Boardwalk Empire' episodes in a week and then moan about how my clothes no longer fit.

5. Timothy Han Candle in Tobacco and Jasmine ($65 - sold out)
I've read so much about London-based Timothy Han's range of apothecary goods and have wanted to try out a few of his products for some time. I've long given up on Diptyque candles (no-no to paraffin wax),  the Le Labo Santal was starting to get boring and I wanted something a little more luxurious than my beeswax candles. When Barneys recently marked down Timothy Han's scented candles, I picked up one in Tobacco and Jasmine. It's an excellently grown-up scent that seems to juxtapose fresh and old, it reminds me of fresh flowers and mulled wine in an old Victorian study, filled with history and books and the brief waft of snow outside and a man smoking a pipe. It's strange how smells can stir the imagination.

6 & 7. Merino Wool Scarf by With & Wessel ($120) & Steven Alan Cashmere Beanie ($98)
Perfect for dog walking in the blistering cold and when you're just standing there hoping he'll do his business ultra quick so you can go back in and enjoy a cup of tea. The merino scarf is super soft, not too expensive and in my opinion, works better than cashmere for running errands or hiking in the cold. I would suggest waiting for Steven Alan's January/February sample sales to pick up the beanie.

8. Noda Horo Potoru Teapot ($125)
I love this little pot/kettle that can go from the stove to the table. I drink lots of tea and this enameled pot is particularly useful for 'genmaicha' or roasted barley tea ('mugicha') since I just make huge pots of it all through the day and every time the tea gets cold, I can reheat it gently over low heat on the stove.

9. Johnstons of Elgin Cashmere House Socks ($33)
My feet are constantly cold and clammy so I wear these for lounging around the house and to sleep . It also works great for air travel. These socks are not robust enough to handle being worn with shoes or strenuous activity but they keep my toes from falling off in the winter, are breathable and work tremendously well at putting me to sleep with all sorts of warm and fuzzy dreams.

I know that these items are a little expensive, but a lot of them have lasted me for a few years e.g. the Swans Island blanket, cashmere socks etc., and they have given me so much comforting joy that I feel splurging on them every once in a while is good for my mental health. What are your winter staples and do you have any recommendations for me to try out?