A couple of weeks ago we resigned ourselves to putting the clocks back on a Saturday evening, bracing ourselves for the long, dark nights ahead – plus quite a few mornings of being woken early by young children who are still on British Summertime in their heads and rejoice in bounding into the bedroom like wildebeest gone 5:30am.
But is winter really so bad? For some it is. According to mental health charity MIND, up to 10% of us suffer from the debilitating effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, such as fatigue, anxiety and depression and linked by researchers to lack of light during the winter months.
Luckily we don’t all suffer enough for this to affect our quality of life, but most of us will experience feeling low at some point as summer ends and winter begins.
Last week, I was discussing with a close friend how we both really enjoy winter and feel that we’re in the minority. I began to list out the reasons why I feel I love winter. Ok, so most of them involve having an excuse to wrap myself up warm, switch all the lights on and generally be quite lazy, but they still demonstrate the unique quality of winter in allowing me to rediscover things about myself that I don’t really experience in spring and summer.
1. Being cosy in bed and hearing the wind and rain bashing the windows. Add in a great horror film on the TV and I’m in winter heaven. The feeling of being warm, safe and protected from the elements is so comforting. Maybe one day Mr Expression will allow me to go even further and purchase the much-coveted electric blanket…
2. Leaf collecting. Okay this is an autumn one but it’s been so cold on and off it’s practically winter in autumn anyway. Sort of. My little ones love going to the park and will spend a good half an hour hysterically throwing leaves up into the air and cackling. Leaf craft is also another winner – sticking the leaves onto paper, drawing round them, tracing the veins with pencil.
3. Bonfire night. Last year, I wrote about a great bonfire night we attended nearby. Bonfire night is a fab family event which involves wrapping up, watching a huge, blazing bonfire and the best fireworks display you can find. Add toffee apples, candy floss and BBQ sausages for ultimate family excitement.
4. Christmas. We did so many things last Christmas and New Year that I can’t wait to see what this season brings. I’ve already purchased some new decorations and started my geeky ‘Ultimate Christmas Planning Spreadsheet’ and I’m looking forward to making new decorations with my two girls. Christmas is a family event which develops its own ‘life’ each year with trials and tribulations along the way – I love the whole experience.
5. Generally having an excuse to be lazy and drive everywhere. Speaks for itself really. I mean, no point walking with the pram if it’s windy and rainy is there? This is where my tiny Yaris comes into its own – a Mary Poppins-esque car that at times has been known to contain a double buggy, many, many shopping bags, two small children and myself.
6. Feeling really cold…and then feeling really warm again. The contrast is just amazing. Going for a walk to the shop in the freezing cold weather, feeling your face turning red with the cold and your fingers practically hurting inside your gloves…then coming inside again. It’s like a free Swedish sauna – just no torturous ice bucket.
7. Snow and its endless opportunities for child (and grown up) entertainment. Snow produces such unrestrained glee for everyone. Building a snowman, throwing snow balls, making footprints in the snow, feeling snowflakes on your face – it’s just fun!
8. Sponge puddings. I do love a mean sponge pudding with custard and it just doesn’t feel right to eat them during summertime (although you may occasionally find me scoffing a spotted dick on a night in on my own in front of a good horror film, even at the height of summer). My favourites are: jam roly poly (actually a suet pudding I guess), spotted dick and treacle sponge.
9. An excuse to lie in bed at about 8pm. If it’s cold, what better excuse than to get in bed at 8pm complaining that you can no longer move as your toes don’t work, and instructing your husband/partner/better half to fetch you dinner (and maybe even wine) in bed? It’s an excuse to slow down and do nothing.
10. Making pies and stews. After all, we need to carb up in winter, burning off all that energy by taking the car everywhere and lying in bed…ahem. Today I saw a great recipe for a meat and potato pie which I intend to
use for favours impress husband with. It was actually called a Humongous Meat and Potato Pie. I’ve also already given the slow cooker an airing and made a couple of beef stews.
So winter isn’t so bad, surely? I intend to wrap up, make a few stews, eat pudding and enjoy some family time.