Five things to do on a winter’s evening
The clocks have gone back, and like many a Brit, I’m a bit discombobulated by the hour’s shift back to GMT. “The nights are pulling in” I mumble to myself way too frequently, drawing the curtains at an uncomfortably early hour.
I’m not a big telly person, although the winter comfort shows are rolling out (Strictly, Bake Off, etc). They’re not really my bag, although give me a documentary about volcanoes or space or a weird plant and I’m happy! My guilty pleasure is Kirsty’s Handmade Christmas. It must be almost time for that to come on again!
I find this time of year is also a perfect time for a bit of reflection, planning ahead for the future, which is also an excuse to find a lovely notebook to do so, and probably a cup of tea, and of course a posh pen, and some biscuits…
Anyway, I digress. Any excuse for a notebook! Yearly review aside, I sometime find the darker evenings a bit cloying. I’m a summer person and although I’m trying hard to enjoy the darker nights as much as the long hot days (can you tell I’m not finding much success?!) I need a bit of a push to find things to do that aren’t zoning out in front of the tv or scrolling on my phone. So, here are five things to do on a winter’s evening, now the darker months are here.
1: Play a board game
Our favourite game at the moment is Lost Cities. It’s a perfect 2 player game, involving some strategy, some luck, and a lot of crossing your fingers! We’ve become quite competitive – and although I invariably lose I really enjoy this game and the artwork on the cards – each ‘colour’ is an adventure, and you complete the adventure by laying down cards in order. The problem being, your competitor may also be trying to go on the same adventure! Great fun, pretty quick to play a round, and seriously addictive.
2: Make an autumn collage
I’ve loved making collages from leaves recently, for no other reason than to just play around with the colours and textures. You can glue them down, or just arrange things in pretty patterns for a mindful way to pass the time. I’ve collected feathers, leaves, twigs, stones, grasses – anything will do! I can spend a good hour or so just arranging things in colour order, or trying to make a picture. I even made a short stop-motion animation with a free app on my phone, called Stop Motion Studio (I think there’s a paid version too, but I just used the free one and it was great!).
Another thing I really enjoy is making collage paper. I use a large sheet of paper, then cover it in bright colours, glitter, paint, crayons, anything. Once it’s dry, I cut it into shapes, and use those for collage. It’s really satisfying to just make a big crazy mess on the paper, then use it later! You could do different themes – make a blue one and a orange or yellow one, then make a beach scene (not strictly an autumn collage, I know) once they’re all dried and cut up. Or green and brown for a forest!
3: Get lost in a book
I’ve been trying to intersperse my university reading with some escapist fiction and have been enjoying V.E Schwab’s The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue as a book that has really transported me to another time and place! I’ve never read V.E Schwab before but am now determined to work my way through all of their books. I challenged myself to try and pick up books in different genres than I am used to reading (love a historical fiction) so am trying out some more sci-fi and fantasy as it’s a genre I’ve never really considered. My brother is big into sci-fi and has recommended some great reads – I particularly enjoyed Neal Stephenson’s ‘Seveneves’, and Adrian Tchaikovsky’s ‘Children of Time’ trilogy. Fully recommend trying a book genre you don’t think you’re into as a way to pass the dark evenings!
4: Try a craft kit
I quite like the idea of trying new things, but without the commitment of having to buy a lot of new materials, or do that thing where I expect to be amazing at something right away and am invariably disappointed when I am not. Trying a craft kit overcomes both of these problems by only giving you what you need for the project, and including instructions to lessen the chances of veering wildly off-piste. Craft kits are a great way to pass some time and end up with something that you’ve made at the end of it – I’ve done a few needlefelt things (the repeated stabbing is rather therapeutic!) and it’s always nice to have that “I made that” feeling.
5: Make a playlist
I LOVE making playlists. If you follow my Spotify, I have a few public ones (I also like making pictures for them) and following the rabbit hole in search of the perfect song is guaranteed to while away the hours. I always end up finding a ‘perfect seam’ of songs (like song mining!) and turning the volume up to dance around like a fool. I think the lure of streaming services is that you can share your playlist pretty much immediately with whoever you want, although the tactile touch of a mixtape or cd is hard to beat (ahhh nostalgia). I spend hours curating playlists, and now you can collaborate on them, that’s a whole new dimension. Just losing yourself in music for a bit, transporting yourself to a memory, a sunny holiday, a night out, your old favourite band, a place in time… the perfect way to spend a cold evening. If you make a playlist I’d love to hear it!
Now the evenings are longer and darker, how you spend them? I’m not a huge fan of autumn or winter – I find the endless UK grey quite challenging, and often end up mindlessly scrolling to just pass the time. Having a set ‘go-to’ list of things to do can help distract me before I fall into the trap of Instagram.
Have you picked up any crafts over the winter months? Do you have a favourite board game? I’d love to hear any recommendations below! 🙂