Rainy Days and Mondays: on embracing the winter season

It’s a very rainy September monday; wet, grey, and pretty miserable. I don’t like autumn very much. And days like today remind me why…

The thing is I am just such a ‘summer person’. I love the sociability that the warmer weather brings… the BBQs, the beer gardens, the hanging out at the park, the trips to the local beach, the way the kids on our street all hang out playing whilst the parents stand by and chat, the picnics with friends, and the gathering around the firepit in our garden by night.

But British summers are just so short, and always feel gone too soon. Suddenly the nights are longer, the days darker, the sky greyer, the weather wetter, and the temperature colder. Gone are those long warm summer nights, replaced seemingly overnight, for dark mornings driving into work and dark evenings driving home.

I don’t really like autumn or winter. But I can’t afford to spend half the year feeling negative or wishing I was somewhere else, like somewhere with sunshine and a beach.

So this autumn I have decided to embrace the winter months ahead and all that’s good in them instead of complaining; because isn’t this the best way to get through any season in life that we don’t want to go through?

Instead of resisting it, feeling resentful of it or wasting time wishing for something else, I am choosing to be hopeful about it, excited about it, and am putting my mind to enjoying it.

So here’s my list of 20 of the things I don’t actually dislike about autumn/winter  …

Autumn walks in the local park – I love watching my little boy playing amongst the falling leaves, picking up conkers or ferns, and I am lucky enough to live in Liverpool which is home to some of the most beautiful public parks in the north of England.

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Winter grub – As it gets colder, I love to get the slow cooker out and to start making some good, old-fashioned, warming meals like slow cooked stews and winter soup

Bonfire night and fireworks parties – Each year neighbours on our estate get together to hold a firework display on the local heath, everyone makes a donation and some talented individuals organise an incredible display for all the families; its community spirit at its best.

Some decent TV is finally back – The GBBO, X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and many other great British institutions (that we love to hate?) are back for the annual countdown to Christmas, and I love the excuse to host a party for the GBBO finals.

Go for a Sunday roast – There’s nothing better to do on a miserable winter afternoon than go for a good pub roast in front of a roaring fire

Halloween – Who doesn’t love dressing up their toddlers in cute fancy dress, visiting a local pumpkin patch, carving pumpkin lanterns and making pumpkin soup?

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Thanksgiving – Okay, so I’m not American but I have American family, so I think I can steal a few of the traditions and bring them over here … cornbread, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, sweet potato … yum!

Christmas markets and festivals – There’s an abundance of these popping up across the country and one of the biggest and best is just up the road in Manchester, with chocolate crepes, warm waffles, german sausages, roasted chestnuts, hot cider, mulled wine and tons of other yummy treats on offer.

Christmas grottos – I think they can be really magical when you have young children, and this year is the first year that my son really understands who Santa is, so we will definitely be going to see him at the legendary Santa’s grotto at Dobbie’s garden centre this year

Pop-up ice skating rinks and ice bars – Another thing that Liverpool is great at doing is hosting pop up winter bars, ice bars and ice rinks, which are just perfect for a rare, romantic date night, child-free.

Winter walks in Delamere Forest – I love to wrap in big coats and thick jumpers and take a walk on a crisp winter day. One of our favourite spots is Delamere forest and now they have introduced a Gruffalo Trail too, which will absolutely delight my son as ‘the uffo’ is his very favourite bedtime story.

Winter sports – As a keen snowboarder one of the things that I have always loved about winter is snow sport, and although it’s more complicated and expensive now we have a toddler, there’s lots of indoor slopes around us which offer all kinds of family fun too!

Seasonal coffees – I’m a keen coffee drinker, and I love it when all the novelty winter variations come out like pumpkin latte, spiced nutmeg, orange chocolate, eggnog or gingerbread. Literally Christmas in a cup.

Christmas lights – Some people say they are tacky and cheap but I love all the pretty, sparkly, glowing Christmas lights and window displays, they make me feel christmassy and they brighten up the city centre during a gloomy time of year.

The Christmas shopping – It’s the season of giving, and although lots of people hate the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping because it’s become very commercialised, I still enjoy browsing round the displays finding gifts for others, picking out things I know they’ll love but would never buy themselves.

Carols by candlelight – I’m not a massive fan of old carols themselves, but l do love to embrace a bit of festive tradition and at our local church they do carols by candle night, with hot drinks and mince pies. They also have a Christmas parade which features all the local kids dressed up in nativity related outfits such as reindeers, shepherds, angels, or Spider-man (my son!). The cute factor is off the scale.

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Cosy nights in – Sometimes the best thing about winter is just shutting the door on the horrible weather and snuggling up on the sofa by the fire watching old Christmas movies with your family – what’s not to love about that?

The Christmas parties – Okay, so it’s a bit obvious to mention, but of course the run up to Christmas is fun too and I love to host a good pre-Christmas gathering, and each year we try to arrange a mulled wine and cheese party for a few of our closest friends.

The holidays! … my husband and I are lucky enough to be in jobs where we tend to get the whole of the Christmas period off work, which means we have time to relax, enjoy Christmas and to visit all our family and friends. I love this about Christmas, it’s the one time of the year that we stop completely and so do friends.

Snow … And finally, who knows, hopefully we’ll even get some decent snow this year! If we do, I can’t wait to do some sledging at Liverpool’s legendary Camp Hill in Woolton which provides the perfect slope to have a go.

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