Faith Hogan shares her favourite things about winter.
I know, you’ll say, it’s a bit early, isn’t it?
And true enough, October is slightly earlier than usual for me to be talking about Christmas – but this year is different! You see, this year I’ve managed to write a Christmas book and I’m so excited (perhaps it’s because I’ve been talking snow in the middle of July!)
So, now it’s actually Autumn, one more month to November… well I thought it would be nice to round up the best things about winter!
First it has to be the weather, yes, I can hear you say The Weather? But you live in Ireland? Well yes, but over here you have two options, you can either go for a walk in the rain or you have a very valid excuse to stay inside and read your book! There’s nothing more bracing (in a good way) than winter fresh air. I’m a bit of a martyr, of course, because I’ll still opt for the walk if I get a chance, but then I arrive back home, hop in the shower, snuggle into fluffy pjs and bliss. It’s win-win, you get to feel just a little superior and you know you’ve earned that big fat mug of cocoa!
There is absolutely not a reason in the world to feel guilty about snuggling down under the quilt early with that lovely big book. So much the better if the wind is howling outside the window and you’re nice and snugly with a cosy scarf wrapped around you. Hot chocolate and a digestive anyone?
Yes, it’s officially the season of lovely spicy, heavy candles – everywhere. In winter time, there’s always a candle on the table, one in the hall and of course, one in the sitting room. We’re lucky in the west of Ireland, we have open fires and stoves to relax beside, but you still can’t beat a big fat candle wafting and flickering as the darkness draws in outside.
No, not just for the hoards of books and book ideas – actually, it’s the best time of year for country markets! This year, team Hogan actually got around to making plum jam, but every other year, I love picking up various homemade jams prepared from fresh fruit picked in the fields and hedgerows nearby. There’s nothing nicer than a lazy Saturday morning browsing the local market and then arriving home with a jam I’d never get around to or think of making! Fig and pear anyone?
You have to admit, there is no better time to binge watch old movies. I mean, in sunny weather you have to feel a bit guilty about pulling the curtains and sitting there for hours on end of smaltzy films. But in winter, well, it’s almost obligatory. Is there really anything nicer than snuggling deep into the sofa and occasionally looking out at the rain pouring down while you lose yourself in a brilliant movie. For me it’s the season of the big film – so it’ll be the classics, everything from Casablanca to laugh out loud Bridget Jones – bring it on!
Don’t get me started on be the clothes! Yep, I’m far from a fashionista, but give me a big jumper, a scarp and a woolly hat and I’ll go anywhere. Winter is the time when I’m at my fashion best (some might say worst!) layers of clothes, coats, jackets, gloves, cosy socks and…. boots! I love boots, everything about them is perfect for my fair Irish skin.
I simply couldn’t put this in a big heading, but you know we all love it in winter time… The hot water bottle! Yep, it’s the last stand in terms of winter loveliness. No matter how warm your house is, no matter how warm your bed is… snuggling up with a hot water bottle and a big Christmas read…. heaven!
Happy cosy winter reading all!
Carrie Nolan is devastated when she is dumped by Kevin Mulvey after more than a decade without even a backwards glance! On reflection, she has sacrificed her own long-term happiness establishing their critically acclaimed Dublin restaurant and pandering to his excessive ego.
Meanwhile Kevin can’t believe his luck. Valentina, their new waitress is a stunner, the kind of girl that turns heads when she walks in a room and surprise, surprise she has chosen him! He is living the dream!
Carrie seeks solace from a circle of mismatched friends who need her as much as she needs them. Jane, who struggles to run the pub on the opposite side of the street, Luke, who has stopped drifting while his father settles in a nearby nursing home and Teddy, a dog who asks for nothing more than the chance to stay by Carrie’s side.
With Christmas just around the corner, all is not quite as it seems and a catastrophic sequence of events leads to the unthinkable…
How far do you need to fall before you learn the true value of family and friends? And is it ever too late to start again…
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland and currently lives there with her husband, four children and two fussy cats. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate from University College, Galway. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers. When she’s not writing, she’s an enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger.