Comfort and joy

Lashings of sleet and snow, late this year, herald winter in Canada. I have to push myself to leave the house, but when I do, the wind braces and the snow is sparkling, if as they say, you're dressed for it.

What are your favourite cold weather comforts? If they don't involve triple-digit clicks on designer sample sites,
I will try them.

This winter's short list:

y Little Step

I rented this terrific doc on the casting of the revival of A Chorus Line, one of my all-time favourite shows. Warning: "I Hope I Get It" and the uh, bouncy "Dance Ten, Looks Three" will program your brain to auto-repeat. And five, six seven, eight!

Fleur de Sel
Chocolate bar
with nuggets of fleur de sel. Powerless. Whatever they want to charge for it, I don't care.

Hanro Wool and Silk Warmwear

The gentlest luxurious layer; Hanro's wool and sillk blend cami vanishes under clothes and caresses me in an all-important
extra layer. To see more styles, visit Underwear Options. Warmwear is also made in pure silk; the wool/silk blend lends extra snuggliness.

Thai silk shawl

Silk is both warm and ligfht; a Thai silk shawl tucks into a pocket or handbag and a snag or pen mark is not a heart-stopper. And the colours are luscious. Buy the shawl (not scarf) size to get enough insulation and drape.

About $10-$15 plus shipping for the 29" x 65" shawl size from various sellers such as arawanna77 on eBay, or in import stores

The dependable comforts of cashmere

The life support system for those in chilly climes. I will patiently wait for Eric Bompard's winter sale, usually the start of the second week of January, to order this ultra-fine maxi mariniere sweater, €225 right now.

I just want them, that's all: 70% cashmere, 30% silk fingerless gloves, also from EB, €58. If these are sold out, next year I'll order them in September.

A good read

I deeply enjoyed A Short History of Women, by Kate Walbert, which the New York Times named one of the best books of 2009: "wickedly smart and wrenching". It's not a straightforward story, more like dipping into a remarkable family's unsentimental scrapbook, maintained for four generations.

Snuggled down

Is there anything more divine for sleep than a lofty down duvet? Permabaffle box goosedown comforter from LL Bean, from $189; international shipping.

Hair rescue

L'Oreal's Everpure line contains no colour-stripping sulfates, and the moisture conditioner delivers fast, minty penetrating conditioning and shine. About $7 at drugstores.

An accessory pick-up

Some days it's so unremittingly gray, you have to fight back. A cheeky accessory like this Bottega Veneta sterling and fuscia lizard skin ring would make me smile every time I look down. $450 from Net-a-porter.

Getting tights

Here, you cannot wear hose, regular ones, and survive unless you are carried on a palanquin, heated. J. Crew's nylon-wool blend tights are machine washable and come in good colours for only $26.50 which is peanuts when you can't feel your toes in regular stockings.

35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum)

Claire Denis' subtle, elliptical meditation about what composes a family, the salvation of work and the intricacies of intimacy, set in a banlieue of Paris.

A terrific cast, including the mesmerizing neighbours and tentative lovers, Mati Diop and Grégoire Colin. Slow to give up its stories, absolutely sure in its emotions, I found this film impossible to shake off. (French with English subtitles, released on DVD.)

The thermometer slides into negatives (in Celsius) as the holidays approach. My vintage fur will hold up for another year and so, I hope, will our car. We got the H1N1 shots, new snow tires, and everyone's well. Wishing the same for you.


Patricia said…
This will be our third winter outside of Canada on this tour, so we are enjoying the respite - although I miss the clear blue skies. One thing I did use religiously was Dr. Hauschka's Rose Day Cream - the original version is heavy but protects the skin on your face so well. I believe they have a lighter version out too, but the original is good for Canadian temps. No SPF though.
Anonymous said…
I never thought Toronto area got that cold or snowy. I'm from western Canada so southern Ontario seemed almost temperate in comparison.
Susan B said…
Thanks so much for the book and movie suggestions! The books especially will be great gifts for a couple of people on my list.

That silk scarf is lovely! I'm learning to pick my larger pieces carefully...cashmere and silk for less bulk, more warmth (yes, we do have some chilly mornings and nights here).
Duchesse said…
Patricia: Dr Hauschka products are lovely, I was given some as a gift.

Anonymous: Lows -10 or -15C sometimes. Snow, but also freezing rain and slush.

Pseu: These have little bulk though not as durable as silk twill. Wash in a lingerie bag!
Darla said…
Always looking for a good book. I just reserved A Short History of Women online at our library. It must be popular - I'm 14th on the waiting list.

LPC said…
Ooh. I will watch that movie. Even though cold here means you have to put pants on.
materfamilias said…
I'll be sure to pick up that Fr. film -- thanks for the tip.
We're currently at 8 degrees Celsius and it's pouring. Night before last it was 4 below and we had two or three inches of snow overnight, all gone now after a very slushy day. Damp cold is no fun to dress for either, but I have an array of boots suited for various circumstances. I also rely on my hand-knit wool socks to keep me warm at home in the evening so I don't push the thermostat too expensively high. And when the thermometer drops, silk longjohns!
NancyDaQ said…
Thanks for the tips; it doesn't get that cold here, but Santa Fe and Taos are relatively nearby and much colder. I opt for tights as often as I can in the winter, so I'm always looking for a good source.
Frugal Scholar said…
Even though LA is the Deep South, it gets very chilly here: cold and humid. So a cozy bed is the way to go: I have a feather bed, a memory foam pad (for Mr. FS's bad back), nice percale sheets, and a wonderful down comforter.

Wearing old cashmere sweaters around the house is blissful. Sheepskin lined boots and slippers, indoors and out.

Just read AS Byatt's new book, The Children's Book. Not as wonderful as the earlier Possession, but still good.
mette said…
This post is so accurate just now. We have had temperatures down to -18°C all week ( naturally nights are colder ), so I have had a cause to wear my mid calf long mink coat, Wolford tights ( they come in so many thickness combinations, also in wool ), silk undies, a cashmere wooly cap+cashmere socks and boots and a long, soft scarf bought from Nice, nearly 15 years ago. Inside, I have to wear wool socks and a soft virgin wool+silk pashmina to keep me warm. Oh, I don´t like this cold climate at all. The Bottega ring is beautiful!
Duchesse said…
See you: Not surprised. Hope the other 13 blast through it quickly.

LPC: Hah! One of my SoCal friends says he sees his breath once a year and it scares him.

ma: Wonder if Pater will like this, it is not 'action'- will look fwd to hearing what you think. Am wearing silk longjohns as I write.

nanflan: We can all use comforts no matter what the climate.

Frugal: As I age, I run ever colder. Even when in FL need to have a sweater handy (most seasons). Thanks for Byatt recc, liked Possession very much.

metsvcan: Wolford tights are exquisite but why am I always wearing them when I put my thumb through, instead of the J Crew? You are in a colder climate than I am by a bit!
NancyDaQ said…
Duchesse, I freeze in Florida even when the temperatures aren't that cold. I think it has a lot to do with the dampness.

And then, there's the A/C...
Anonymous said…
Fleur. De. Sel. On chocolate and caramels, nothing is more blissful.

I MUST acquire that mariniere sweater! Adore, adore, adore.

Have you made your Pernod moules this winter? Mmmmmmmm. I think you should repost the recipe now so we can all make some.
Duchesse said…
karen: To find recipe, see index at bottom of blog, "Recipes" and you will find post, titled Moules au Pernod.
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