I love a Canberra winter. There's something quite invigorating about it. Brisk walks in the crisp air, noticing the snow-capped peaks in the far reaches of the Brindabellas, finding excuses to wear a beanie. It's also a time to indulge in a little self care. Whether that means warming the house while you bake a cake in the oven, finding a spot inside near a window to settle in for the afternoon, running the bath just that little bit hotter, find your thing, the thing that works for you.
Here's some things I'm going to treat myself to over the next month or so.
If you're wondering what Liane Moriarty reads in between writing her best-sellers and flitting off to catch up with Nicole and Reese then look no further than B.M. Carroll. The Sydney mother of two, whose real name is Ber Carroll, has published 10 novels - and this is the second under the pseudonym B.M. Carroll. The first, The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthy, was a dark turn from her previous books which channelled Maeve Binchy, rather than Gillian Flynn, as the B.M. Carroll books do. In You Had It Coming (Allen & Unwin, $29.99) Carroll explores revenge, shattered reputations and consent. Paramedic Megan is called to the scene of an attempted murder and she realises she knows the victim, but her first thought is "Why should I save his life when he destroyed mine?". It's a twisty tale of he said/she said that will have you asking questions about how far you would go to get revenge. Settle in on a cold afternoon and read it in one sitting.
There's a line of thinking that believes women's clothing has never had pockets because it meant it would be too hard for us witches to carry our eye of newt and vials of frog blood and other spell-making paraphernalia undetected. Indeed there's a whole discussion about the gender politics of pockets if you Google hard enough. Have a look.
But look, a dress, and it has pockets. And a fabulous story.
Zuri is an ethical fashion brand built in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2017. Now there are factories in Kenya, Ghana, India and Dakar, giving local women many opportunities. The dresses are made from African wax print fabric in prints that will brighten the bleakest of Canberra winters. Hillary Clinton is a loyal customer, she's apparently got a few different patterns in her wardrobe. When they started out, Zuri's philosophy was "one dress" with a cut that suited all body shapes and sizes. They've branched out a little, even shirts are available now. You can wear them as dresses, open like coats, even tie them around your waist and wear them as a skirt. Find out more at au.shopzuri.com
You'll have to wait until June 15 for season five of one of our favourite comedies, Workin' Moms. Straight out of Canada, it follows the lives of four very different women as they juggle love, careers and parenthood. Season one they all met in mother's group, and we know how that goes, women seemingly without a lot in common, just the fact they all had a baby around the same time. We also know that it doesn't take long for all of us to realise we have more in common than we thought, and sometimes that's not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes this show cuts way too close to the bone, highlighting the battle that working mothers are up against, but mainly it's 25 minutes of your day where you can have a good laugh and realise you're not doing too bad a job after all. On Netflix.
Time to put the slow cooker on the kitchen bench and leave it out until the end of winter. While we instantly think about curries and casseroles and soups, the versatility of this useful appliance is endless (which is why it was one of the gadgets Hayden Quinn said it was okay for me to keep - surely you read that story in a recent edition of Food & Wine?) And when you're in need of more comfort, who better to turn to than the team at The Australian Women's Weekly. Its latest slow cooker bible is Simple Slow Cooker (Are Media, $39.99). Check out the chickpea, spinach and paneer rogan josh on the cover and then delve inside for more belly warming (and filling) ideas.