Winter is Coming: A short guide to surviving the colder months in Scotland

As a Kentish girl, born and raised, I spent my summers at the beach at Herne Bay or in little coffee shops to dip out of the sun while doing a spot of shopping in Canterbury. The summers were long awaited but the winters weren’t all that harsh. The leaves changed and welcomed the cool air. The winters were chilly, with November storms and pouring rain. But all you needed was a warm coat, a jumper and a brolly to get you through the colder months. So coming to Scotland was quite a shock to the system (at least Dundee’s sunnier all year round though!).

After many an inside-out umbrella, being drenched in the five minute downpours, and sat in the studio in a full coat while the local students wore shorts; I feel as though I’ve adjusted to the temperature difference after my first year, and am ready to take on my second winter here with a little more grace. I made the foolish mistakes in my first semester, but come January I had it sussed out, so now here are my top tips for surviving the cold of winter in Dundee.

The first thing I noticed was the wind; it can be sunny and warm, but you’ll be knocked over by a gust in a second! This it obviously a nightmare for your hair and your brolly.

My simple advice is to master an updo in the colder months like a messy bun or a chignon, this should help tame your locks, but if thats not enough don’t cheap out on the hair spray.

Rain and wind is a dire combination, and I’ve seen too many broken brollies filling bins. I’d suggest not buying a collapsible umbrella that you can slip in your bag, instead carry a more structured umbrella, ideally the dome shaped ones. No, you can’t fit it in your bag, and yes its a little more expensive, but my collapsible umbrella didn’t last the walk from West Park to DJCAD (I hope you have better luck!) so I opted for the structured one, and a year on it still hasn’t failed me.

Wind can also crack your lips, which can be incredibly painful. So invest in a good lip balm, I have a tinted one so I still have some colour on my lips, you can also get a clear one and apply it under your lipstick so the lipstick still holds without drying out your pout.

It does rain a lot here, and very suddenly, hence the need for an umbrella. This also means canvas shoes can end up very soggy, very quickly. So I’d suggest popping them back in the cupboard till spring/summer and instead go for a nice thick boot because if it does snow, you’ll want the extra grip. If you’re not sure about the weather however, consider brogues or some other type of leather/faux leather shoes, there’s not as much grip, but sometimes you just don’t want to wear something as heavy as boots.

In Kent, I rarely wore a scarf, now I love my scarf, gloves and my hat! Invest in these accessories, it will certainly be worth it. Consider chunky wooly jumpers too and thick coat. Its best to layer up. It may also be an idea to grab some wooly socks or tights to keep your feet warm for if the snow comes (here’s hoping it does!).

For when you’re at home, with probably little heating in a student flat, invest in some blankets and a hot water bottle. It will get cold, even indoors, but these cheap little investments will make a big difference! Also grab some cough syrup, honey, vitamins, and cold and flu hot drink sachets. You’ll thank yourself later if you’re feeling ill for having these in the house, as no one wants to brave the cold when they’re already feeling under the weather.

I’m a great lover of winter, and I love to feel cosy, adjusting to the weather here was a learning curve, but autumn and winter are actually my favourite seasons, and Scotland is beautiful in the cold. Hopefully these tips will make your winter a little easier.

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