It seems to officially be winter in London as of Friday. Temperatures plummeted below zero over the weekend (okay, yes, I say that and feel a little silly as a Canadian. They 'dipped' to -2!) for the first time this season, some parts of London and the UK had a bit of snow (the trains kept working, to everyone's utter amazement) and it's been bright, sunny and cold -- my favourite kind of winter days.
I love all the amazing opportunities fall and winter give us for getting cozy, eating stodgy comfort food and drinking mulled wine. I refined most of these skills yesterday, in fact, at Taste of London: the Festive Edition. The hard part of winter is getting out and active in the cold when I could be snuggled under my duvet. With that in mind I've already been prepping for this for a little while--stocking up on some properly warm gear when I was back in Canada--but I was thinking about what I really can't live without of my winter gear. A lot of it I've had for a few years now and the pieces below have proven invaluable in helping me run through the winter.
1. Hat or ear warmer
I'm not a big fan of hats in winter when I'm working out. With the ponytail and head heat, even in really cold temperatures I'd rather have the top of my head uncovered but having cold ears can be really painful and put me off a workout so I've come to rely on ear warmer bands. I used to have a fleecy one from Sweaty Betty but after years of abuse it finally went into retirement so I've picked up this new lululemon double-layered version.
If you're looking for a hat for yourself or as something a bit more unisex, this one is pretty cool. It's also two layers which can be worn individually if it's just a bit nippy out or together if you're somewhere genuinely cold ;)
These are so great and also really versatile for different seasons and sports. Is it a hat? Is it a bandana? Is it a scarf? It's all of them! I've got a lightweight summer one which is good for keeping the sun off my neck in hot weather, keeping my hair back or for keeping the wind from whipping down my collar in cooler weather. I've also got a fleecy winter one which is awesome for skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, winter walks... Anything REALLY cold you can think of. It even has a drawstring to keep it tighter around your neck and prevent wind, snow and rain from getting in there.
3. Reflective vest
While I love the cozy nights for the excuse to watch marathons of Modern Family and Game of Thrones, they're not that fun for running or cycling and actually being seen. The year I was training for the marathon I invested in one from Saucony which is really lightweight, so great for layering over lighter or heavier base layers depending on the temperature, and has all sorts of fun techy bits like reflective strips and--my favourite bit--a USB-charged blinking light that slots into a custom clip but the front hem and makes you even harder to miss. I can't find the exact one but it's similar to this -- super light-weight and very visible without being ugly.
Lots of brands and shops sell these or something similar so they're easy to find but I do love this particular model.
Aside from needing something warm to cover your hands on a chilly run, cycle or outdoor HIIT session, it's rare that I know anyone these days who doesn't use some kind of tech while they're active--so basic gloves of the Pound Store variety won't cut it. Hence the rise of smart- or tech-finger gloves and mitts. I've had some lululemon one's like these for a couple of years but they're starting to fray so I've also got a newer pair of Smartwool ones. They're not reflective but they're definitely warmer, with the same tech finger.
5. Layering pants (aka trousers)
When I'm not up for an outdoor winter workout or doing something like a yoga or spin class I often just head straight home and shower there rather than cart my entire bathroom around London with me. These are the days when a layering bottom are priceless. You don't want to be doing a spin class in your fleece-lined running tights but you also don't want to freeze your butt off on the way home.
I've got a few pairs that I swap depending on what's clean but I really love these cozy-looking ones from Wellicious. They're stuff is gorgeous and soft and these look like the perfect solution to take you from bed to class without too much pain ;)
So welcome winter -- I'm ready for you! Bring it on!