The nights are drawing in, arctic winds are heading our way and more sensible creatures are preparing to hibernate or fly to sunnier climes for the winter. While the colder months seem to bring out the nation’s grumpiest tendencies – ‘It’s too cold!’, ‘It’s so wet!’, ‘I can’t believe the Christmas stuff is in the shops already!’- I think there’s a lot to be said for this time of year.
Unlike the so-called summer, autumn doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. I like the certainty of it: the temperature will drop, the leaves will fall, it will feel dark. It spares us the heartache of abandoned barbecues and soggy sports days. It also gives us an excuse to wrap up warm and head out for long walks rewarded by hot chocolate or a cheeky glass of something stronger. What better excuse for hunting for the perfect warm winter coat or pair of boots? As my Dad likes to say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.
If we’re not feeling up to going out, we can stay inside and hibernate human-style: a crackling fire, glass of mulled wine and a tin full of twinkling chocolates is my idea of heaven. Finger-burning roast chestnuts, tangy mince pies and juicy satsumas are all short-lived treats I’ll be savouring at home. Here are my other hibernation essentials this autumn.
Some good reads
Life with a newborn and toddler hasn’t left much time for reading, but I hope I can get to the end of these three before springtime. I’m especially keen to read the new Ian McEwan because I got to meet him briefly last year and developed a surprising and slightly inappropriate crush on him.
Cooking up some winter treats
I enjoy flicking through my winter cookbooks, and spend far more time browsing them than cooking from them. That said, there are a few Nigella recipes that have become a permanent part of my Christmas repertoire. The gym membership starts in the new year.
Slankets be damned: there’s nothing nicer than snuggling up on the sofa with a proper wool blanket or two. Keeps the heating bills down too – hooray.
A lovely cup of tea
It can be hard to get out of bed when it’s cold and dark, but the promise of a decent cup of tea can just about lure me downstairs. My own personal favourite is Yorkshire Gold from a nice white mug. Milk, no sugar.
There’s something soothing about the company of the radio when it’s cold and dark outside, especially if I’m at home with the enfants terribles. Not sure what I’m meant to listen to at my age but I tend to veer from Radios 1 to 5 with the dial stuck for the most part at Radio 4.
It’s not for everyone, but I learnt how to knit last year and quite enjoy it. I’m not very skilled but have put together a few simple scarves, booties and bibs. It can be done in front of the TV too, with the exception of subtitled Scandi-dramas and Homeland which I need to concentrate on so as not to annoy H with incessant requests for plot updates. Perfect for the less, ahem, demanding programmes. Downton Abbey, I’m looking at you.
Cuddles on the sofa with the little ones
There’s nothing nicer than a cuddle on the sofa with the little ones when the weather’s bad, even if it means enduring more CBeebies than I’d like. Photo above posed by willing models. Obviously.