Europe in the cold months

I’ve been asked a wonderful question:-

“Heading to Rome, Barcelona, UK and then Canada in Nov..and Dec.
Thanks for all the good advice, any tips for type of clothing at that time of the year in UK?”

First of all – brilliant trip! I’ve never been to Canada so please do tell me all about it when you’re back. I do have several close friends who live in Canada, though, and all I can say is – bring a level of warm clothing you never thought possible. I mean – imagine packing your bags for a trip to Antarctica; well done – you’ve just packed for Canada.

But that wasn’t the question, was it? Dressing for the UK, eh?

Well, first of all- it depends where you are in the UK.

London is infinitely warmer than everywhere else. Few people sing the praises of pollution- but this is its upside. As one might expect, however, the further north you go, the colder it gets. For example: you may be able to get away with no hat in London vs your ears will snap off your head if you don’t wear a hat in Edinburgh.

Regardless, if you’re coming to the UK (anywhere in the UK) after Rome and Barcelona it’s just going to feel colder. Rome and Barcelona have November/December days where you could rock a leather jacket and a scarf and be fine, but the UK is all about overcoats.

Here are your must-haves:

Boots or inclosed shoes. Trust me on this one, you don’t want flesh showing. *flash back to that time I wore ballet flats and got caught in the snow waiting for a bus and my feet went all purple and hurt like hades*.

Trousers. The UK is windy and even cashmere stockings (yes, I own those) do nothing against the biting wind. You really want to be wearing trousers.

A hat. Almost doesn’t matter what kind, as long as it’s not a loose-knit beanie. You may look super cute, but your brain will feel like a bowl of ice-cream.

Gloves. Not. Leather. (Unless they’re shearing-lined or something.) Leather is just skin and skin gets cold. Wool or cashmere is the smarter choice.

A scarf. I recommend a reversible pashmina. Two looks in one scarf- what is this magic?!

An overcoat. You only need to bring one, you’ll wear it every day- and you don’t need to worry about packing it ’cause you can wear it on to the plane, then store it in the overhead locker. Just make sure it’s something that covers your bum and has a big collar. Short coats let the wind up your back and I don’t know what it is about your neck and your lower back getting cold- but they’re what will make you uncomfortable!

Layers. Acutely aware of the fact you’re travelling and you may only want to bring one or two jumpers- the best thing you can do is bring light, warm layers. The INDISPUTABLE best of these are Uniqlo’s Heat Tech.

I lived in HeatTech during winter in Europe and I suggest you do too. It’s super thin and light so fits under trousers and tops and it’s crazy warm! You’re supposed to put it on and move about a bit to get your body temperature up and then the clothes radiate the heat back at you… or something like that… *does Bones impression* Good God, man, I’m a doctor not a scientist!

And that’s it! The rest is whatever you fancy wearing.319216_536307470569_559289186_n

Here’s a photo of me on my second night in London for some inspiration. It was November 2010 (the big freeze!)- I was 24, a redhead and wrapped up!!!

I’d also just got smacked in the face by a snow flake.

*Note: natural fibres are way warmer than synthetic. If you’re going out to buy a new scarf or whatnot- think wool, cashmere- that sort of thing.

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