Canberra is in the midst of its warmest autumn in years, but though it may be delayed, winter is definitely coming. The mercury is dropping, our Facebook feeds are full of advertising for Uggs and getting out of bed is significantly more difficult.
It’s the season for watching Netflix snuggled under a blanket, or curling up on the floor 30cm from the heater with a good book. But we don’t want to!
Let’s face it, Canberra has great winters. It may be cold, but the sun is out and the sky at night… Who doesn’t want to eat under those stars? Just because we need a dozen layers of clothing does not mean we want to be stuck indoors. So we’ve come up with several ways to keep warm and entertain outside.
There is something here for everyone – the DIY fanatic or the online shopper; those with apartment balconies, wooden decks or large backyards.
A good lap blanket is not only warm, it makes you feel totally cozy. This idea originally came from Bridal Musings post on winter weddings, but we are so going to steal it for our deck. We might add a basket of cute mittens, scarves and beanies for guests to help themselves to if they’re feeling a bit nippy. Photo by Sarah Kathleen Photography.
Lambswool seat covers
Blankets above, lambswool below, good view, good book…We would never leave this deck we found on the cote maison website. We just need to get to the Alps. The pelts could sit over wooden furniture, or on top of cushioned upholstery (if the pelt has been dyed, check to make sure the colour won’t transfer to your cushions).
Photo: Jean Marc Palisse
A hot chocolate bar
Or a coffee bar, or tea bar… Hot drinks are how you’re going to get through a winter outside; cupping warm mugs in your palms, letting the heat seep through your gloves, resting your lips against the side as the steam warms your cheeks. Have everything you need to make the perfect drink outside with you. You could invest in an urn, or buy a teapot warmer online. The burning candle keeps your tea hot for hours.
For those over 18 years old, The Home and Garden Channel can show you everything you need to create a Hot Toddy Bar (left) yum! And you can go past this link to toasted marshmallow shot glasses—just add Baileys.
Installing a heater on your balcony extends the time your can spend out there by months. You could have these hardwired into your home electricity, or you can purchase a free-standing gas heater. They come in a ton of different shapes and sizes. Heads up—you’re better off with a shorter heater that has the flames at hip level than a really high one that will only heat the top of your head.
Who doesn’t have childhood memories of stitting around a fire toasting sticky, oozing marshmallows? Of the low roar of the flames punctuated with a sharp crackle? Of the thrill as burning logs fall, sending up a shower sparks? There is something magical about a fire, and sitting around one with good food, good drinks and good friends makes for the perfect winter evening. We’ve given you a super-easy DIY fire pit below, but for those of you without the time to build you own, there are tons at Bunnings. The $60 Glow Rust Vivo one to the left is our favourite.
DIY Stone Paver Firepit by The Garden Glove
Admittedly, there is an awful 30 seconds between ditching the clothes and getting in to a hot tub, but once you’re in…bliss. Choose the kind that can fit 4-6 people and winter get togethers are always going to be at your place.
Get warm from within. Soups, sausage casseroles, Indian curries, baked potato, Mum’s mac & cheese; all these comfort foods are super easy and perfect for a winter dinner party—they are guaranteed to make your guests feel warm and cozy. Throw back to the 1980s and serve up a hot cheese fondue or a desert version with chocolate to keep everyone toasty.
Significantly less exciting that what we’ve already mentioned, clear patio blinds are excellent for keeping the heat in, lowering your overall heating costs while still allowing you to enjoy your garden. These patio blinds from Bunnings start at $139.
The final step to cozy winter entertaining is your styling. Think candles, think soft cushions and blankets, think rich colours and patterns. Save minimalism for summer, in winter you want to be surrounded by beautiful things. Check out these style blogs for inspiration
3. AE Outdoor