Here at JJ sisters, we love winter: the hot home-cooked meals, the cosy knitwear, the crisp morning air. And though we understand the season is not always well-received, we believe in soldiering on. Better yet, we believe that there are moments to appreciate on even the coldest of days and the darkest of nights. So we prefer not to hibernate, not to hide under layers of blankets and avoid the outside world. Because when the air gets cold, the cold get going (yes, that’s us).
Sure, we enjoy a fire-side chat and a cup of hot chai in the evenings, but we believe that there is more to winter than just staying in. So we gear up, we ready ourselves for those brisk 5 degree mornings, and we humbly take care of ourselves as we do it.
We have gathered our family’s best tips to not only surviving, but enjoying the winter season. And we hope that in some way, we can enrich your winter perspective.
WINTER: NO REASON TO HIBERNATE
When the heat vanishes for its seasonal rest, many of us suffer from the brutal Winter Blues. Our motivation suffers, our bones get stiff, and some of us take a less-than-10-degree day as an invitation to stay indoors and sulk. And then when September arrives, and spring slowly warms the air, we flock to nearby gyms, we turn to crazy diets and we’re bombarded with advertisements that tell us How to shed 10kgs in 10 days! Well, not this time. Because we can keep fit, take care of our minds and bodies, and we can do it all in 3 degrees or 30 – it’s possible, we promise!
1. Four seasons, endless opportunities.
Here in Melbourne, we have been given a priceless gift: four astounding seasons. From rainy August days to fresh summer nights, our heart and home is blessed with every potential weather condition in the space of one year (and sometimes in the same 10 minutes). One wardrobe, four seasons – our fashion opportunities are endless! We can layer up or tank up depending on the day.
Knits, scarves, beanies, thermals, lap blankets for the footy – you name it! We have been given the accessories to endure this weather. Here at JJ sisters, we love winter fashion. And we don’t just love the style or the look, we LOVE the warmth – we are geared towards that fuzzy feeling that comes with being wrapped up in layers of thick quality fabrics. Rugging up in cosy knits and buttery-soft scarves is what we’re all about.
We’re also about giving back where possible and getting behind causes we know makes a difference. So why not keep your family’s heads warm AND support Carrie’s Beanies for Brain Cancer to buy a beanie and simultaneously donate to brain cancer research.
2. Winter Walks | Ruby’s exercise tip
Gear up, slip that beanie on, take a friend or a partner, and keep those limbs moving! We know it’s not easy to dive into crisp evening air, but we promise it’s worth it. Spending time outside is scientifically proven to improve focus and lower stress levels. And it provides a great opportunity for some genuine bonding time.
Amongst kids and busy routines, Ruby (rugged up like no tomorrow) and her husband walk together every evening with their gorgeous pup Maya, taking precious time each day after work to nurture their own health and wellness. In storms and in sunshine, there is always an opportunity to stay active.
The world doesn’t stop in winter, so neither should we!
3. Melbourne: A treasure chest of activities.
In light of its moody forecast, Melbourne is truly a magical city. And no matter what the season, our city is home to a plethora of events and festivals that keep the town buzzing, even when the sun is not.
The Winter Night Market is an in-house favourite. From open fires to hot ciders and food stalls, the iconic Queen Victoria Market lights up every Wednesday night to host art, fashion, homewares and knick-knack merchandise traders, alongside a line-up of musicians and entertainment. So gather some friends, or make it a funky family outing, and make the most of the Melbourne winter experience.
We relish in Melbourne’s ongoing events. We love that even when coldness fills the air, our home still glows with culture and excitement. And when our home glows, our hearts do.
OUR FAVOURITE WINTER REMEDIES
1. Cooking in season
Our family trick: fuel your body with seasonal goods! When you head down to the local market, buy the fruits and veggies that are in abundance. Buy whatever is in season – it will be at its best and freshest. Here are a couple of our favourite winter recipes:
Mashed Sweet Purple Potatoes
A winter favourite in our house, the purple sweet potato is a powerhouse of nutrition. Deliciously rich in vitamins, dietary fibre and iron, this gem will not only satisfy the hunger cravings, but will nurture the body.
|Approx. 1.4 kg of purple sweet potatoes (or a mix of both purple and red – your choice!)
1 can coconut milk
Cinnamon powder to taste
Salt to taste
1. Peel the purple sweet potatoes and chop into 1 inch cubes.
2. Boil potatoes for 30 minutes or until soft (will turn dark purple), then drain.
3. Mash the purple potatoes while adding in coconut milk and cinnamon powder to taste. Add salt to taste if desired.
4. Makes 12 servings.
Feel free to make this recipe your own! Add or remove ingredients as desired, or use different types of potatoes – have fun with it!
Tip: If you’re looking for a healthy winter snack, peel & thinly slice some purple sweet potato. Then cook them in a pan with olive oil and sea salt for some nutritious homemade potato chips.
FOR DESSERT: The JJ Sisters Family Apple Pie
With granny smiths in full bloom, we have shared with you our treasured apple pie recipe, in the hopes that it’ll bring your family together the way it has ours.
|Milk to brush
Raw sugar to dust
2kg Granny Smith apples, 2cm slices
2 cups Caster sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp orange marmalade
500g Self-Raising Flour
Pinch of salt
1. Combine apples, sugar, cinnamon & 100ml water in a large saucepan over medium heat.
2. Cook, stirring occasionally.
3. Cover pan, continue cooking & stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until apples are tender.
4. Drain slightly, leaving a little liquid in the pan.
5. Stir in 90 grams butter and 2 tbsp marmalade.
6. Set aside to cool.
1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a tart dish (with removable base) with melted butter.
2. Place 60ml water & 310g butter in a bowl & mash to combine. Then, mix in sifted flour and pinch of salt to form a soft dough. Shape into a round disc, wrap in plastic wrap & place in fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
3. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out pastry on a slightly floured work surface and roll until 2-3mm thick. Place the cut out pastry into lined tin & ease into sides of tin.
4. Fill pastry with apple mixture.
5. Roll out remaining pastry & cut into 1cm strips. Place pastry strips on top to form a lattice pattern. Press ends of strips to join pastry crust.
6. Brush top of pastry with little milk and sprinkle with sugar.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
8. Serve with custard, crème anglaise or ice cream.
2. When the day’s all over, a glass of red…
While we do believe in staying active, we won’t say no to a glass (or two) of red wine at the end of the night. We skip our Roses and Rieslings, and opt for the full body, antioxidant-packed shiraz. (No-one will ever convince us of the bad properties in red wine.) For us, the glass symbolises family togetherness: sipping a glass with loved ones over a home-cooked meal. Plus, it’s an ideal way to end a busy a day.
3. Warm the insides for a good night’s sleep
This little remedy holds the key to a happy night’s sleep (and works wonders for the sniffles, too).
- Heat up a glass by swirling some lightly boiled water in it for 10 seconds.
- Pour the water out, and replace it with one shot of brandy (or try it Ruby’s way and make it a double).
- Add a heaped teaspoon of Manuka honey (UMF 10 and above)
- Add a squeeze of lemon, or try Roshy’s trick and use cumquat instead.
- Drink slowly for some steady amber bliss.
So there you have it: we love our cosy nights in and hot cups of tea as much as anyone, but it’s not the only thing to look forward to in winter. It doesn’t have to be a season of hibernation; it can be a season of opportunity, if you let it.
So whether you fancy a rugged up evening walk with a friend, a cosy family night of sweet potato and apple pie, or take the adventurous avenue to Queen Vic market – feasting on sumptuous street food and sipping mulled wine – winter is glowing with good times! Enjoy it while you can!