But I may just have found the only silver lining to this whole scenario in that these winter months lend themselves perfectly to cosy days and nights spent inside, snuggled under a blanket and reading a good book or getting lost in a new box set. We have recently just finished watching the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy on blu-ray (unfortunately not on a Ultra HD 4K TV Panasonic but still pretty good quality) and there was something perfect about an epic fantasy which really fit this time of year.
That said, there are a few things which make up a perfect night in, in my opinion. I love to create an atmosphere which is inviting and warm, and makes you want to dive right in so lamps and low lights are a must. I might light a couple of candles or use my LED ampersand to give the room a bit of ambience.
Next up we want a heap of soft and snuggly blankets; luckily I have been slowly adding to our blanket collection (I'm not sure whether James has noticed or not yet...) and it's great to get one or two out and throw them on the sofa ready for burrowing under.
If you know there is no possibility of someone randomly knocking on your door at 7pm then I'd also change into my pyjamas or lounge gear and pop on some soft slipper socks as well, especially if the weather is a little on the chillier side and grab a warm drink; hot chocolate is obviously a favourite or, if I'm being good, a decaf or herbal tea.
And then finally it's the entertainment. Anyone who has been here before will know that I really don't think you can beat a good book to dive into but I have been equally known to pick a familiar movie which I can relax to or find a new boxset and end up watching five or six episodes after saying I'll only watch the first one...
I know as parents it isn't always that easy to hide away and pretend that the rest of the world doesn't exist for a prolonged period of time but I find that trying to plan one night a week when I switch off from everything else and just get cosy can do wonders for my mood at this time of year.
And really, is there anything better than burrowing down into a soft blanket whilst listening to the rain beating on the window outside? That might actually be one of my favourite pastimes!
*This is a collaborative post