Fun winter activities that aren’t ice skating

Look, I’m going to kick this off by admitting that I JUST CAN’T ICE SKATE. I’m like Bambi times a million. I can barely walk on carpet, so sticking me on blades on ice is never going to end well. I’ve made my peace with it.

But what the hell do you do in the winter if you can’t ice skate? That’s the only thing films and the internet say you can do in the gross time between Christmas and spring, right? Well, NO, that is incorrect. I’ve done some nice things recently that haven’t taken me anywhere near terrifying frozen water.

Knole deer reserve in Sevenoaks, KentMeet some cute animals

Speaking of Bambi, I went to see some deer in the Twixmas period (henceforth: Deercember). This was at Knole Park, Kent’s last medieval deer park (to be honest I’m amazed there was ever more than one, but there you go). The deer roam around as they please, and generally they seem pretty docile (doe-cile), but one woman did get an antler in the eye or something. Just be nice and probably don’t touch them. I had to try extremely hard not to scream with hysterical joy the entire time I was there. Also at Knole Park is a big old country house. We had a poke around the grounds, but if we’d decided to go in it only would’ve been £7.60 for an adult – a bargain considering how ruddy expensive the world is these days.

Go for afternoon teaAfternoon tea at the Waldorf, Covent Garden

My friend Rachel and I are the queens of luxe. We’re just good at being princesses and we can’t help it and don’t want to. So last Friday, we both went to the Waldorf at Covent Garden for an exceptionally delicious (exceptionally filling) afternoon tea. We got to choose our teas from a box, and I went for the elderflower and blossom (a predictable choice for me) and Rachel went for the chocolate nutty tea (‘the most interesting choice’ according to the waiter). We also had a bottle of prosecco – all Fridays should involve a bottle of prosecco if you ask me – which washed down the endless stream of food nicely. The tiny baby sandwiches were a highlight, as were the warm, fluffy scones (scone as in gone, not scone as in cone). I love clotted cream like you wouldn’t believe, and theirs really was very good. There was a harpist playing throughout the tea, and some amazing MASSIVE chandeliers to add to the ambience. I’d highly, highly recommend the Waldorf, or another favourite of mine is Blackbird Tea Rooms in Brighton (retro music and lovely mismatched china) and Kettner’s in Soho. I’m always on the lookout for new afternoon tea spots, so let me know your favourite in the comments!

Do some sorting out

I know this sounds boring as hell, but when the weather is bleak it’s a prime opportunity to get your life in order. I saw lots of people talking about the KonMari method of tidying on Twitter last year, and while I haven’t read the book yet (so please tell me if I’ve got it horrendously wrong) I like the idea in principle. As far as I can work out, the basic premise is that you should haul out all of one type of object (clothes, books, makeup, whatever) and sort it all in one go. You’re meant to get rid of anything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ – probably a horrifying amount of the things I own that I swear I’ll wear/read/use one day fall into this category. This seems like a daunting task, and probably one that’ll take a whole weekend, but I’d love to give it a go sometime when I have no plans. For now, I’m going to do my monthly wardrobe raid and get rid of a few token panic purchases from 2007. I just love the idea of only being surrounded with things (and people) that spark joy. It also fits in very well with hygge, which is all about the moments that spark joy, in a way. Maybe this is the tangible version?

Pink clouds and a winter sky behind trees at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve in winterLook at some nice scenery

I love the light at this time of year. The weak winter sun, the pinkish clouds, the
watercolour skies. It’s all pretty and delicate. I know going for a wander in the countryside might not be everyone’s idea of fun when it’s freezing cold, but everything looks so nice it’s hard to care that your skin is turning grey in the biting wind. It snowed a bit this weekend (a tiny little flurry that only settled on the rooftops), so maybe that’s why everything was extra nice. These pictures were taken at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, which is home to lots of birds. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVESevenoaks Wildlife Reserve in winter mallards, but the best thing about this place is just how gorgeous it is. There are hides around the reserve so you can watch the birds without disturbing them, but I was happy enough to watch the glassy water (because I’m a very sad individual) and the lilac sky.

So there we have it! I’m having a cracking winter so far. How about you? What are you doing to make these chilly days pass a little bit faster?




14 Comments Add yours

  1. lizziemoto says:

    Afternoon Tea, such a British institution isn’t it? My absolute favourite place for this is Barker Tea House in one of the many Arcades in Cardiff, South Wales. They do a fantastic range of teas to accompany their wonderful cakes….best one is the Chocolate and Violet cake. Sadly I don’t live in Wales now and I really miss it!
    Making home made soups is my favourite winter pastime, the actual chopping and preparation of ingredients is very satisfying and a pot of soup provides 2 or 3 days of lunches….easy!

    1. Absolutely! Chocolate and violet cake sounds divine, I love floral flavours!

      I also find chopping incredibly therapeutic. Plus there’s nothing quite like a warm bowl of soup on a cold winter’s day to make you feel cosy!

      1. Nigel says:

        Oh, it’s great to have a good chop!

      2. You’re absolutely right Nigel! Do you like making soup too?

  2. Your line, “the gross time between Christmas and spring,” made me laugh out loud. SO TRUE. My favorite outdoor activity when I lived in the Midwestern U.S. was walking on snow when it has that nice crunching crust on top — or watching it snow. Or standing outside at night and getting snowed upon. However, I now live in the San Francisco Bay Area — snowless. My favorite January activities so far have been (1) sitting in my reading chair by the big window, with a fire going, reading — and our 3-foot artificial Christmas tree is still up in my beloved reading area, AND (2) last night my friend came over and we watched two episodes of “Grace and Frankie.” It’s fun to watch a great series with a friend. Oh, and I bought new supplies of Bengal Spice and Roastarama tea!

    1. Haha! Aww, I wish we got that much snow here. Though I must say, I’d LOVE to go to San Francisco one day! I also love sitting and reading when it’s not the best weather outside. Do you leave your Christmas tree up all year or are you just prolonging the festivities for a little longer? 🙂

      1. Nigel says:

        San Francisco is far too hot for me my dear, wouldn’t be in the hygge spirit to put oneself out of ones comfort zone now would it?!

      2. Kayleigh, last season I left my tree up until my birthday in April, then took it down at my husband’s request. He was afraid it would get passe (for him). I respected that reason. I have a little bookshelf in my home office that holds Christmas for me all year round, so I don’t go into withdrawal! And when you come to San Francisco, you should do it between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so you can visit the Great Dickens Christmas Fair! I went for the first time last Christmas. Oh my God, it’s an all-day affair and full-immersion Dickens!

  3. Heather says:

    Love this! Wish there were deer parks near me (I’m in NEW England, not regular England 🙂 ). Been reading a lot about hygge and koselig lately and have been going through your blog–awesome! Loved your LUSH post from the summer. I just went to my local LUSH last week and basically asked them for the most hyggeligt stuff they had. Got some awesome Dream Cream and several bath bombs (including Frozen!). I just really stinking love that place. Thanks again for a fabulous blog!

    1. nanette says:

      Heather, for the hyggiest stuff ever, check out Beekman 1802. I recommend the Vanilla Absolute GIANT bar of soap for the best winter soak ever. Skol!

      1. Heather says:

        Nannette, their Web site looks AMAZING! So many things to explore and SO hyggeligt (love that they have a specific hygge collection)! I see that some of the skin care products specify cruelty-free, but others don’t. Do you know anything about it? Animal testing is a deal-breaker for me. I’m going to scout around their Web site and maybe send them a message to find out. Thank you so much for the recommendation!

    2. It’s my DREAM to go to New England! Autumn is my favourite season, and going to see the autumn trees is at the top of my bucket list. Lush is so great isn’t it? I can’t wait to see what they bring out for Easter! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment 🙂

      1. Heather says:

        Autumn in New England is everything. My birthday is at the end of October (two days before Halloween–close to yours!), and I basically spend all of September through November in complete and utter bliss. I adore the changing leaves, the crisp air, the hygge EVERYWHERE, and the spooky season. 🙂 And yes, Lush is the best. Every single holiday my main goal is to get a shot at their new stuff before it gets sold out.

      2. Nigel says:

        New England in Autumn is top of my bucket list! Well, truth be told it’s second, behind the seeing the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

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