We know that colder temperatures can put the mozz on motivation. At Norte, we’re kind of obsessed with the chilly months – it’s a big part of why we started making outerwear for the elements. There’s a kind of magic and wonder about winter, but it should come with a warning label, “don’t let it lead to hibernation; Netflix and chill in moderation!!”
To help get your adventurous minds inspired for some winter fun, below are our 8 tips you need to overcome winter hibernation.
1. Destination Roulette
Right, what we're about to suggest is a bit radical (for the planners amongst us) but go with us on this. Pull out your phone, open maps, zoom out to within 100-300km of your home, pick a green patch, pin it, zoom in, get coordinates, pack up the car and hit the road.
Why? Ah! This is quite genuinely one of the methods we use to see parts of our state that we wouldn’t otherwise stumble upon, particularly those tiny beaut towns – so full of character, off the main grid. In fact, it’s quite often how we select the locations for Norte photoshoots in the outdoors.
Trust us when we say that it never disappoints. Without the pressure or expectation of a particular destination, you can be more present, and simply enjoy the day, turn left because you feel like it, or get distracted chasing mountains, a rad sunset or road signs that pique your interest.
2. Roadie Entertainment
Whilst we’re on the road, let’s stay on theme with some podcast recommendations. There are so dang many good ones, we can become overwhelmed with choice and revert to the same old content but they’re as essential for a good roadie as an emergency country bakery stop (hello pie from the gods above).
Warning Label: So, a friend of ours fell into the trap of listening to back-to-back-to-back true crime episodes. As this can be a slippery slope, we had to tell ourselves...ooops! we mean, tell our friend, that the answer lies in VARIETY.
Getting the best bang-for-ya-buck listening time relies on mixing it up, trying something new, dabbling in a broad selection of topics, challenging your thinking, and yes, also allowing time for some favourites (hello Casefile and oddly soothing voices which take us err, our pal, to the scary place).
Here’s a handful to add to your playlist:
- ABC Conversations – interviews and stories from highly interesting folks from all walks of life
- Humans of Purpose – newer on our list but enjoying the feel-good-ness so far
- How I Built This – business building stories to make you sit up straight
- Forgotten Australia – for ya history fix; things from before-we-were-a-twinkle-in-the-eye
- Fierce girls – inspiring stories told by inspiring girls
3. Bake some honey beer bread
You read correctly: HONEY. BEER. BREAD. All good roadies need some high quality snackage and this one comes with the added bonus of filling your home with aromas from the honey beer gods above.
Warning Label: When you bake this bad-boy, it’ll be gone quicker than you can say yeast-erday, so you're going to need some discipline (do let us know if you find it).
The day we discovered and baked honey beer bread was a game changer. You know those late-night ads on tv that promise life will be better, if only you just got yourself some….
B E E R B R E A D.
Make it, munch it, dream about it. But, save some for the road. Recipe for bread AND improved quality of life found here, thank you GimmeSomeOven.
4. Sing loud people, sing really loud – it’s good for you
Alright, who’s got tik-tok lovin’ teens and tweens? If so then you’ll be familiar with those random jerking, twerking outbursts, yes? *Groan with me* Casey, co-founder of Norte, was inducted into that tik-tok lovin’ goodness on a recent road trip when one of the kiddos insisted that they listen to a song she’d just heard on tik-tok… *more parental groans and objections*….. but alas, she relented.
In a COOL twist of fate that reminds us that the little humans in the back seat have some strong musical creds to offer, the kiddo suddenly cranks out Grouplove’s 2011 belter “Tongue Tied”, which makes this Aunty super proud.
A killer track and very fitting as we once drove from Melbourne to Sydney just to hear them play this after missing the home state show. We could all use a bit of in-car-singin'-dancin-goodness right about now.
If you’re ready to go up a gear in that regard, close your eyes and picture that scene from Wayne’s World, that one that reminded us all back in 92’ how ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ simply must be sung loud and passionately in large groups and by car loads of families. Queen gave us so many roadie singalongs - parents can belt out the big ballads (think, ‘Love of My life’) while the kiddos stomp-out ‘We will Rock You’ and ‘We are the Champions!’
In a throwback session the other day, Casey got over-excited when introducing the kids to a bit of Paul Kelly. ‘To Her Door’...what a ripper song!
Warning Label: just remember in advance to listen out for the “shove it Jack, I’m walking out your f@#$ing door” line. This is the time for a strategically placed cough or sneeze!
5. I feel the need for shutter-speed: long exposure photography
Time to ramp things up a notch, lets get creative. For this one, you’re gonna need to rug up tight (we can help with that) and stay out a little later, but yee shall reap the rewards.
If you’re like us and appreciate the beauty of the world, long after most folks start their horizontal life pause, then this is where the magic happens.
If you have a camera, it’s easy to fall into the habit of leaving it behind because of the convenience and quality of today’s mobile phone cameras.
When was the last time you grabbed your old camera, charged up the battery, grabbed a tripod or stable rock, and headed out after dark to capture the night in all its glory?
If you haven’t tried long exposure photography before, it’s a whole bunch of fun – especially after dark. It’s as relaxing as it is creative. You get to enjoy the stillness of quiet surrounds as well as the creative opportunities that come with night time photography and some light trickery.
Whilst you’ll need to learn a few key skills and settings on your camera, our number 1 tip isn’t a technical one - we’ll leave that to the pros and the numerous sites with tips and tricks. It’s simply to give it a go – have some fun learning a new skill and don’t take it too seriously.
By reading up on some simple steps and basic settings or watching some YouTube clips, you can learn enough to dabble in some trial and error.
If you find you’re keen to take a class, check out the PhotoRanger from Philip Island for some amazing astrophotography long exposure workshops. We took a session with these guys at Cadillac Canyon one night amidst some stars and thumping waves and we highly recommend them. Otherwise, you can turn to a good book for a quick intro! We recommend “Read This if you Want to Take Great Photographs” by Henry Carol.
6. Refurb and revive: the “second life” challenge
Back indoors and in the midst of lockdown, like many of you, we felt the creative itch, bad, real bad. Without the usual routine projects that have soothed our creative souls, we got to some long overdue photography projects. When it came time to frame up some prints, we thought it’d be fun (and better for the environment) to reclaim the frame from yesteryear than to purchase new ones.
A quick potter under the staircase (hello Harry) for some old frames phresh from the ’90s, a visit to the old box of art supplies (hello dust mites), followed by some Picasso-like brilliance in the garage (with cameo appearances from podcasts and beer bread).
The result? You be the judge, but we’re loving the pop of colour, especially as it’s one that’s not “off the shelf” and comes with bonus “we did that” nod each time we look at it.
7. Picking Fruit, it’s a gosh darn HOOT!
A lot of the regions we drive through out of the city are packed with incredible fruit farms or orchards. So, when we see one, we love stopping in. It’s a fab way to spend a couple of hours and there are multiple benefits:
- supporting small and family businesses
- getting quality produce that you’ve had the joy of picking yourself
- sourcing your fruit from the exact location in which its been grown can give you a sense of being grounded and an appreciation for the beauty of the fruity
- fresh air and picturesque landscape
- creative cooking and baking that simply must follow!! *Warning Label: you will most likely pick 3x the amount of fruit that you need for the week, so y’all better get cookin’, sharing and freezing those fruity goods*
A quick search will give you the options nearest or farthest from you. Don’t forget your bags, hand sanny, and reusable drink bottle for a nice arvo of pickin.
8. Put another log on the fire
We’ve combined a few classics into this last epic winter warmer. They all revolve around the same habitual centre point: the outdoor fire. The order of proceedings in our family usually goes a little something like this… And of course, we recommend you dabbling in these steps too.
An afternoon beverage (of any description), with substantial snacking.
Soon after, the fire is lit, because this = outdoors for longer.
An acoustic guitar magically appears as soon as the fire is cracklin’, often accompanied by a full family choir including backup singers – seriously, where do they even come from? The music and singing reminds us we should never give up our day jobs. *Start auditioning your crew now folks*
All that hard yakka on the vocal cords calls for some grub so it’s time to cook up paella on the open fire. For this you will require an assembly line of ingredient-cutters and a gigantic pan that has no other use.
A trusty recipe book covered in rice and saffron takes pride of place next to the fire, and informs the Paella Director (yours truly) of the next steps. We suggest you appoint a director too, ya know, for quality control reasons. They must be able to provide direction from a comfortable seated position with glass in hand!!
Pro tip: Paella is best done when it has formed a nice even crust on the bottom, and at this point, everyone is starving because 30 minutes is actually 3 hours, so your quality control director should think of distractions and excuses in advance.
Post paella chow down, is when you'll need time to change into to stretchy pants, refill cups and bring out the marshmallows, and when selecting, be sure to pick ones with the mallow nice and marshed.
Get the kiddos on the search for marshmallow-worthy sticks for the cook up. Back on the Norte ranch, this is when Granddad decides it’s a special occasion (again) and brings out the custom-made-mallow-roaster-5000 stick and we all say “Whoooaaaa” – kidding. But not.
The pinnacle of the evening has been reached, we’re happy, we all say “that was great, we should do that again soon!” and we do. Always.
Remember that no matter the season, outdoor fires should always be safely extinguished before bed #safetyfirst!
Folks, that wraps up our 8 tips you need to overcome winter hibernation. We seriously love the outdoors that much that we couldn’t possibly wait for the warmer months to get out and enjoy them. We hope we’ve inspired some ideas for your winter-weekends.