Summer is for being outside and enjoying the sunshine, frolicking in the fields and picnicking in the park. Winter is for staying indoors, curling up beside a fire, heater or open oven door (depending on the costs of heating your house) and finding ways to entertain yourself without losing energy. While it can often be easy to think of places to go, thinking of ways to keep yourself occupied in the confines of a warm room can be quite challenging. Here are several things you can try.
Take up a hobby like knitting. Not only will learning a skill like the craft of wool weaving be beneficial to your grandchildren someday, you can also wear your creations and if they're good enough, offer them to others as heartfelt gifts. Anyone can create a scarf with the simplest of stitches and some nice yarn.
If you brave the cold and head down to your local Spotlight or craft store you can pick up supplies and start your newfound pastime for as little as $10. I find for beginners it's easiest to start with some 8ply acrylic yarn rather than wool (why spend lots when you're potentially going to make lots of mistakes?) and a set of 4mm knitting needles. You can also find plenty of knitting pattern books that explain how to start knitting that scarf, or those mittens etc.
Whilst you might feel like a grandma at first, and be the subject of ridicule amongst your social circles, knitting actually makes for a great hobby. Once your friends are adorned in the cutest of beanies, mittens and other items of winter warming apparel that you have hand made for them, you won't hear another word out of them! In fact, the trend may even spread!
TV on DVD
The Office USA DVD - Season 2 - Wikipedia
TV on DVD
When outside is grey and dreary, and many days are spent indoors and often alone, inviting a new set of friends into your home can often be a great blues buster. Getting stuck into a television series on DVD can be a great winter activity. The characters become your friends and their lives become the focus of your concerns and the source of your enjoyment. Before you know it, you will be referring to them as your friends.
I strongly recommend choosing a long television series. Not only will it last you all winter, as opposed to a shorter series, but it will also mean more episodes to watch until the end. I personally prefer to indulge in sitcoms as I love the light hearted humour.
If you're not sure where to start, here are a few recommendations:
Scrubs – Follow the life of a young doctor, making his way up in the hospital ranks. The adventures of JD, along with his best friend and surgeon Turk, serve to amuse with their light hearted humour and quirky thought processes. A total of eight seasons worth watching (there was a ninth, but I warn you, do not ruin a good eight seasons by watching the ninth), this show should have you going from the beginning of winter to the end.
The Office (USA) – It's a topic that divides people; Which version of The Office is better? While the UK version gets points for being the original, it ends after two seasons and a Christmas special. The USA version is still going strong at eight seasons and if you're in Australia, you can get up to season six on DVD. The best thing about The Office is that it's not over yet, so once you finish all six seasons you're not left heartbroken and crying on the floor of your lounge room. Instead, you're left eagerly anticipating the release of the next DVD so you can get your fix of the dysfunctional workplace that is Dunder Mifflin Scranton.
Firefly – While I've been recommending long seasons, I believe everyone should experience Firefly. Known as a "space western" this series was cancelled way too soon. The characters are intricately designed, and the potential for future plots is huge. This one will have you cursing at whoever decided it should no longer continue.
24 – I've yet to watch this action drama, but have had rave reviews from a good friend of mine. An articulate watcher, my friend picks up on the little details and plot flaws of any television show but raves about the skill and the dedication that has gone into 24. If you're a fan of shows that follow the lives of detectives, secret agents then you'll enjoy following the life of Jack Bower, Counter Terrorist Unit agent.
Another great winter activity is to spoil yourself with numerous treats, fresh and hot from the oven. This one is great for spending time with friends on a cold winter night in, or you can even simply enjoy your own company in the kitchen.
The first hurdle will be to choose a recipe you want to make, whether that's cupcakes or a tart or even a lemon meringue pie. You can find hundreds of recipes available at www.taste.com.au. Write out a shopping list of ingredients, rug up in a scarf and mittens and head to your local supermarket.
Once you've purchased all the necessary ingredients, get ready to bake the chilly winter weather away. Play your favourite album loudly, bring out a glass of bubbly, and begin mixing, kneading, spreading, blending and whatever else your recipe calls for. At the end of the night, settle down in front of the television with a big piece of whatever you've baked, ready to watch some more of that television series on DVD you've been indulging in.
There's nothing quite like reading a good book. Whether your idea of a good read is "Harry Potter", "Pride & Prejudice" or "Where's Wally?", there's nothing quite like snuggling under the covers and escaping the reality of the world around you.
To begin your winter reading list, simply update your social media status asking for recommendations. This is the quickest way for your friends to share with you all the stories they think are worth investing your time into. One status can leave you with endless reading possibilities!
Libraries are great for hours of entertainment all provided for free. It's very quick and painless to sign up for a library card. Just ensure that you're diligent in returning library books and you'll be fine. iBooks also have many classics on offer for free if you can handle reading on a tablet. Friends are often more than happy to share with you a book that has brought them great joy. If you'd prefer to own the book yourself check out www.booko.com.au. Booko searches every online bookstore in the world, converts the price plus postage into Australian dollars and then displays a list of books from cheapest to most expensive.
To make this a more socially engaging activity, invite a few friends around for cups of tea and baked goodies and start your own book club.
Since e-mail came about, the only mail I find in my letterbox are paper bills or catalogues. Take a trip down memory lane and pull out your pencil case and best paper. It's time to write a long letter to a good friend.
The paper is very important, so be sure to select some nice letter writing stationary. If you don't own any fancy stationary, feel free to decorate and make your own. You can easily design and print borders onto paper on Word, or you can use an array of stickers and colouring pencils or textas to give the paper that homemade touch.
If you're stuck and not sure where to begin, here are few good places to start:
- Share what you've been doing lately
- Tell them of a great book you've been reading
- Or tell them of a great television series you've been watching
- Brainstorm and plan for future adventures
- Reminisce on past experiences
- Write out a recipe for them to try
Once you begin, the words will continue to flow and you'll be writing for hours! Be sure to seal it, post it and wait eagerly beside your letterbox for a reply.
Take Up Tea
A Mad Tea Party - Disney - Wikipedia
Take Up Drinking Tea
I'm not a tea drinker. I don't understand the appeal and I don't particularly enjoy the taste. However, there are many out there who occasionally dabble in a bit of English Breakfast, or occasionally an Earl Grey or two. For those of you, I recommend being brave and breaking out into the world of tea.
With specialty stores, such as T2, appearing in all sorts of areas it's become very easy to move from a beginner tea drinker to a more experienced and cultured person. I've watched friends leave behind the days of black tea to try more exotic varieties.
There are several ways you can broaden your tea horizons.
You can visit your local supermarket and simply purchase a box of tea that you've never tried before. I'm not suggesting you switch from Tetly to Bushells however. I'm suggesting you switch from English Breakfast to Irish Breakfast and see what the difference is, or to an Earl Grey or a Ceylon Decaf if you've never tried this before, to some more exotic and fruity flavours.
Paying a visit to a tea specialty store or a café with a large stock can be helpful. Share with them your tastes and preferences and ask for recommendations. The staff are usually overjoyed to help a timid tea drinker.
Once again, you can also update your social media status. With the many tea drinkers that now exist in this "indie" culture, there are many people who would be delighted to share their preferences and recommend a few good flavours to try.
Sometimes there's nothing quite like curling up with a cuppa on a cold evening.