Getting through the depths of a northern hemisphere winter - whether it’s your first one away from home or your tenth - can be tough.
Seeing friends and family enjoy summer and the festive season back in New Zealand can be a reminder of how far away they are and for many, it brings on a bout of homesickness.
But winter in London or elsewhere in the UK can be a magical time with new experiences to be had and the opportunity to create new traditions. We asked a few of our wonderful volunteers how they make the most of the colder seasons, to hopefully inspire you to do the same.
“My tip is get out of London for a few hours for a winter walk and reward yourself with a cozy pub. There are heaps of places you can get to in around an hour by train - Box Hill in Surrey, Epping Forest at the end of the Central Line, Windsor Great Park, the South Downs in East Sussex. Just make sure to book a table if you're planning on a Sunday pub roast!
“Avoid scrolling social media and wallowing in photos of a New Zealand summer, but get involved in anything that brings you back to your Kiwi identity - attend Kiwi Christmas events, develop Kiwi connections, go to Australasian cafes, cook gammon (which is the closest thing to a Kiwi Christmas ham). And embrace new traditions, like cooking mince pies from scratch, or drinking hot mulled wine while enjoying the Christmas lights.”
"Make sure you're getting outside each morning, enjoy every crisp blue day that winter offers and plan lots of day trips, pub trips, and city or ski breaks so that you have something to look forward to!"
“Wrap up warm and go for weekend walks, go to the theater (there are tonnes of cheap deals in winter), and go skiing with a friend, there are often some great last minute deals.”
“My top tip is to go out to the countryside somewhere and cut your own Christmas tree. We did that today!”
“Winter is a great time to indulge in comfort foods, visit another city in the UK known for Christmas markets (where you can enjoy mulled wine and other festivities) or visit another city in Europe. Stock up on multivitamins and prioritise self-care - the wintry weather makes it a good time to stay in and hibernate or regenerate some energy.”