We are half way through November and everyone seems to be keeping a low profile in preparation for December madness. With dark evenings and Jack Frost on his way later this week, all signs point to lots of cosy nights in by the fire. November doesn't have to be dull and boring; embrace your inner squirrel and make the most of this hibernation time with these essential tips for making the most of November nights in.
1. Kit yourself out with hibernation essentials. Blankets, candles, hot water bottles and large mugs of tea are all essential for a proper night in. Fill your home with the aroma of Winter by opting for cinnamon or clove scented candles. If you don't have a real open fire to sit by, opt for a candle with one of those natural wooden wicks that makes the sound of a fire; next best to the real thing. Tea wise, I'm currently crushing on the Pukka Night Time tea which is a dreamy blend of organic oat flower, lavender and limeflower; a good night's sleep is guaranteed.
2. Binge on a box set. Immerse yourself in a good box set and you will soon realise that going out is totally over rated. At the moment, I'm almost finished The Gilmore Girls; no where does Autumn better than Stars Hollow, Connecticut. If the Gilmore Girls is not your think, try The Bridge or go old school with The Wire. Of course, for anyone wanting to forget the current reality of American politics, press play on The West Wing and dream of by gone days.
3. Comfy lounge ware is everything. The rule with only one exception (see number 5 below) is to get changed into your PJs as soon as you get in the door from work. Always chose PJs one size larger than your normal size for ultimate comfort. Chose a wooly oversized cardigan over a dressing gown. Buy fleecy socks, everything is better with fleecy socks.
4. Take a winter walk before settling in for the night. If you've been working indoors all day, take a quick walk just before you settle in for the night. It doesn't have to be a long walk, but there is nothing quite like a nippy walk in the cool air to make you appreciate coming home to a warm house for the evening.
5. Stock up on books. For book worms, having a good supply of reading material to hand and no where to go, is the dream. My book list is so long at the moment, where do I start. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett is this month's book club selection so that makes the top of my list. Other reads that are on my Winter reading list are Swing Time by Zadie Smith and The Girls by Emma Cline.
6. Comfort food is essential. Make sure to stock the cupboards as the last thing you want to do is have to nip out to the shop for something once you're settled in front of the fire for the night. These maple butter roasted nuts are the perfect snack for box sets watching, book reading or just plain old snuggling in front of the fire.
7. Borrow a dog. A dog sleeping on your lap, by your side, at your feet is the ultimate in cosy nights in. If you don't have your very own pooch, borrow a friends, or think about giving a doggy a home; just remember dogs aren't just for cosy nights in and if you get one, number 5 of this list becomes absolutely essential.
8. Board games are back (really)! If box sets and books aren't really your thing, do game nights instead; just leave your inner Monica Gelleher outside in the cold. For board games it's hard to beat Monopoly; for card games, try twenty fives and poker; and for a boozy night in, Cards Against Humanity is hard to beat. If you are doing cosy night's in solo, a good jigsaw will fit the bill perfectly.
9. Shop online. Use this opportunity to do your Christmas shopping online now and save yourself lots of hassle and stress come December. Get everything delivered to the comfort of your own living room, so much better than rushing around town last minute. Get your shopping out of the way and December trips to town can be more about hot chocolate and less about queuing in over heated shops for last minute presents.
10. Invite friends over. There will be plenty of time for going out in December and dressing up in sparkles and sequinns (obligatory December attire). Keep things casual and cosy in November and instead host get togethers in your own home. All you need are infinite amounts of tea, coffee and hot whiskeys and you are set.