Winter, love it or not, is upon us here in the UK, bringing with it dark evenings, cold temperatures and all the layers. However this also means cosy nights in, sparkling frosts and the softest sweaters - it's just a matter of reframing how we think about it!
Don't let the cold weather steal your joy; write a bucket list of things you want to do this winter, a list of little pleasures that you can enjoy and look forward to. Here are some ideas to get you started - I'd love to know what you would add...
1. Create a cosy 'hygge' corner for you to rest, read, journal in. A comfy chair, warm blanket, pillows or cushions, soft lighting or candlelight - create your own cosy comforting space to retreat to when it gets cold outside.
2. Perfect your Hot Chocolate recipe (which obviously means lots of consumer testing!) There are a lot of ideas out there, give a few of them a try for warm tummies and big smiles all round. Salted Caramel Rum hot chocolate anyone? Click here for hot chocolate recipe ideas.
3. Take advantage of the longer evenings to take up or improve on something mindful or creative. Drawing, calligraphy, yoga; even spending just 15 minutes a day, you will begin to notice your progress and in turn will hopefully become a new habit.
4. Work you way through your favourite cookbook, one recipe at a time (it's so good to get out of the usual menu routine and it will make your home smell wonderful too!). If possible, use seasonal produce for maximum flavour. Give each recipe a mark out of ten so you know which ones to return to.
5. Buy and plant early Spring bulbs in terracotta pots or rustic containers and keep them on a windowsill or sunny shelf - as they begin to break through the soil it's a reminder that warmer days are coming and it feels good to nurture them into a pretty display. (Don't forget to keep the bulbs after they've bloomed ready to plant again next year.)
6. If we have snow, don't leave all the fun to the kids - wrap up and get out there. Snowball fights, sledging, snowman building - red cheeks, cold noses and breath you can see - guaranteed to make you laugh, it's good for the soul!
7. Commit to setting an alarm and getting out early to watch the sun rise - Winter is a great time to experience this as the sun comes up much later than in the warmer months, which makes it a lot easier if you're not naturally an early riser. Check the forecast for a clear morning, pack up the car the night before with plenty of warm blankets and don't forget to take a flask of tea or coffee and a camera - doesn't matter if it's the beach, countryside or a local park, it will be beautiful, peaceful and new memories made.
8. Research a pub you haven't been to before, preferably one with a roaring fire and a great view, and book a table for a leisurely Sunday lunch. A cosy pub roast with friends or family on a cold winters day - bliss. Work up an appetite beforehand if the weather's on your side, with a frosty walk or bike ride, and enjoy that roast guilt free!
*all images via Pinterest.