As temperatures drop and the days become shorter, it might be easy to stay inside and hibernate for the season, but there’s so much to love about this time of year. Here are some activities to keep you and your loved ones entertained during those chilly days and nights.
Nothing will warm you up quicker than turning on the oven, donning your apron and doing some cooking on a cold winter’s night. Jump into the kitchen and dust off those cookbooks – bake some chocolate chip cookies, decorate cupcakes, make a warm apple and rhubarb pie, or whip up some soft, fudgy brownies to pair with vanilla ice cream. For something savoury, nothing hits the spot more than a soul-warming winter pie – think chicken, leek and mushroom, rich lamb and rosemary, or beef with red wine. For a bit of extra fun and competition, why not hold a cooking contest? Compete against each other to make the best dish, which will mean even more treats to enjoy when you’re done. If you want to try something different when it comes to food, then why not sign up to a local cooking class or take a private cooking lesson? Bring a friend or loved one with you, make some delicious food and learn something new.
Photography by Jeshoots Com
If the weather isn’t inspiring you to head outside, then there’s nothing nicer than snuggling up on the couch with a hot chocolate, a bowl of popcorn and some great entertainment. Winter is an opportune time to revisit old movie classics, binge watch your favourite TV series, or catch up on this year’s Oscar-winning films. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket, turn down the lights and allow yourself to escape and be entertained. If you’re willing to brave the cold, then opt for the classic date night – dinner and a movie. Book yourself a table at your favourite restaurant, then go and see one of the latest films at your local cinema. You can be sure it will be nice and snug there, plus you can enjoy all that the candy bar has to offer for dessert. What’s not to love?
Sometimes we need a good reason to get dressed up to break the monotony of winter, so what better way to have fun and warm up from the inside than to go wine tasting. Rug up in your coat and scarf and head to your local winery to enjoy a taste of their finest drop alongside a delicious cheese board. If wine isn’t your thing, then visit your local brewery or favourite bar for a spirit or cocktail of choice. While you might have to get outside in the cold to get there, let’s face it, you won’t stay cold for long after a soul warming drink or two.
GET YOUR SKATES ON
It may be tempting to avoid the hassle of leaving the house, but a trip to your local ice skating rink is definitely worth the effort. Ice skating is the ultimate winter activity, and once you’re carving out some shapes on the ice, you’ll warm up in no time. No matter your age or level of experience, ice skating is a sure-fire way to make you smile and laugh as you show off your skills to your friends and loved ones – and try not to fall down in the process!
Photography by Maddi Buzzocco
HOMEMADE HOT CHOCOLATE
Winter is a great excuse to stay in your pyjamas all day, and there’s nothing quite like a delicious homemade hot chocolate to top off a lazy day indoors. Whether or not you’re a whiz in the kitchen, you’d be surprised at how easy hot chocolate is to make from scratch. Firstly, you’ll need milk, cocoa powder and sugar. Add the ingredients into a saucepan and whisk until everything is combined and warm, then add some chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted. To make it extra rich and indulgent, you could add a splash of vanilla extract, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a dollop of maple syrup or a dash of your favourite liqueur. For extra decadence, garnish your hot chocolate with whipped cream, chopped chocolate and don’t forget the marshmallows!
Spending a lot of time at home in the colder months can be challenging as you try to keep everyone entertained, especially children. Beat cabin fever and pull out old board games, card games and puzzles and get the whole family involved, or turn on your favourite game show and play along with the contestants. If you’re a gamer, then grab the console and get everyone playing along, or if you like something slower paced, then set up the chess board and make a night of it. The internet also offers an endless array of games and entertainment, so you’ll never be without something fun to play.
BE AN ARMCHAIR TRAVELLER
It may be cold and grey and not the ideal conditions to get outside and travel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dream about or plan your next holiday. Use quiet winter nights to make a bucket list of must-see destinations and start planning your next local adventure or overseas trip. Jump online and research where to go, make a list of sights and attractions, and plan your ultimate itinerary. Seek inspiration on Instagram, online blogs or open up Google Earth and get a birds-eye view of the world.
Photography by Nik Korba
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Is there something you have always wanted to learn but never had the time? Whether it’s discovering the art of knitting, playing a musical instrument or speaking a different language, now’s your chance to learn a new skill. There are thousands of free tutorials available online plus lots of great apps to download. Head to YouTube, Lynda and Duolingo and see what’s on offer.
ESCAPE IN A GOOD BOOK
When was the last time you read a good book? There’s nothing quite like escaping in the pages of a great story, but with technology becoming a big part of our lives, for some picking up a book is a thing of the past. So next time you’re looking for something to do, head to your local library or even your bookshelf at home – is there something you’ve never read before or an old classic you could read again? If you don’t have any books or just love your tech too much, download an eBook or listen to an audiobook.