ABCs of Winter

It’s that time of year! You can see my past ABCs of winter here: 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013. Last winter we had our honeymoon in Thailand to look forward to, so I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wasn’t the least bit bummed out that there’s no tropical escape looming ahead this year!

ABCs of Winter

Advent calendar races. Every year, Sam and I both get an advent calendar and each morning we “race” to see who gets the chocolate out first. We keep a tally on the fridge and whoever has had the most individual wins is the overall winner. I’ve been victorious the past three years now, so I’m feeling pretty confident. 

Birthdays. Sam is a Christmas baby. (Literally born on Christmas day.) So there’s a lot of pressure to make Christmas a good one!

Cooking a vegan Christmas. One of the friends we are spinning Christmas with is a no dairy vegetarian so it’ll be my first time cooking such a massive plant-based meal. If you have any tips on making vegan Yorkshire puddings, I’m all ears. 

Decorating. Last year we didn’t get a tree as we were still trying to make our house habitable. (Though we moved to York in November the landlord was still doing lots of bits to it well into December.) This year we won’t be getting a tree as I’m convinced Harold will pull it down (plus we won’t be here for Christmas) but I’ll decorate in other ways. 

Exploring the Cotswolds (where we’ll be for Christmas). I’ve seen bits and pieces (like Burton-on-the-Water) so I’m looking forward to seeing more.

Friendmas. We are bucking tradition somewhat this year and we’ve split the cosiest little Airbnb cottage with friends this year for Christmas. 

Gingerbread baking. For as much as I love baking, I’ve never been satisfied with my gingerbread men. This year, I will conquer them. 

Hot Chocolate (and hot beverages in general) Oatly is a killer milk substitute in hot chocolate. 

Ice skating. One of the biggest rinks up North is outside of York. We didn’t go last year, so hopefully this year we might get the chance. To be honest, I find skating 25% fun, 75% terrifying, but in a good way.

Joke more.

Kindness. Generosity in others and humankind seems to come out more during the holidays and it can be inspiring to see.

Lights. The soft sparkle of twinkly fairy lights is so wonderful. Sam and I actually left ours up inside for several months last year and I’m excited to hang them again.

Markets. I’ve already been to the Christmas market in York this year, but I’d like to try to get along to Leeds and Manchester. Or even London! 

Nights in. Life gets so busy so for me, one of the best things about winter is the increased acceptability of getting to be housebound.

Open fires and the cosy woody smell coupled with gentle waves or warmth. It’s a recipe for a delightful nap.

Prepare for the Life in the UK test

Quiet mornings and frosty country walks

Ringing in the New Year

Snow. Could a white Christmas be in store for us this year? I’d absolutely love it. As long as it’s not occurring during our drive for friendmas! 

Traditions, like decorating our annual Christmas eggs or our advent calander races. 

Urge each other on in the hunt for a house. Sam and I have both (and usually at separate times) become really disillusioned with ever finding a house we can afford to buy, but hopefully 2018 will bring us luck.

Valentine’s Day. It’s ages away, but it’s one of the few things to look forward to after New Years eve. I find January-February to be so unbearably bleak that I need something to look forward to and cheer me up. Even if it’s something as cheesy and commercial as Valentine’s Day.

Watching Christmas films. From Harry Potter film marathons, to Christmas classics, it’s a great time of year to curl up and watch something.

Xylophone band winter concert. The Christmas tunes are especially good. 

Yuletide cheer. It’s a bit of a cliche, but when everything is sparkley and festive the world seems a big more magical.

Zzzzz…winter is the best time to catch up on some snooze underneath a cozy duvet.

What’s on your list?

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  • I love this Winter list! I’m really hoping for some snow this year, we never get to have a white Christmas. I’d really love to be able to get out and take some photos in the snow! x

    Kayleigh |

  • Aw lovely! I am feeling SO festive this year, I love embracing it. It definitely makes this cold/dark time of year so much better. The advent race sounds hilarious, I think I might give it a go with my husband!

    • It’s definitely one of our favourite traditions! (And Sam’s such a good sport about it, even though he’s never won yet!) x

  • Cate in the Kitchen

    Am now officially in the Christmas spirit.

  • We just watched The Holiday last night. It is definitely a cheesy Christmas rom-com, but I love that English cottage. I almost don’t care as much about the stories as I do about the scenery.

    We’ve been meaning to put up our tree already, since we’ll be gone for the week before Christmas, but I think we’ll be putting it up tonight.

    • Her cottage is so perfect! The snowy fields around it always get me too!

      Good luck putting your tree up tonight! x

    • The Holiday is THE reason I started planning Christmas in the Cotswolds in my mind… one day 🙂 Thanks, Kate Winslet.

  • This is the cutest thing ever! I always love christmas

    Ellie xx

  • Your Friendmas in the Cotswolds sounds absolutely perfect to me! We’re taking the stress out of the whole affair and having dinner at our local with my father-in-law before popping into see my sister and her 3-year-old twins for a bit and then probably ending up back at ours for red wine, cheese and several rounds of Youtube jukebox x

  • I do love these posts of yours! One of these days I’m going to make the trip up especially for your xylophone concerts! 😉 Alice xxx

  • Advent calendar races – I love that idea!! I don’t know exactly what the Life in the UK test is, but I feel like you would pretty much have that one in the bag, right? And Valentine’s Day is totally the sheen on an otherwise boring Jan/Feb – totally with you on that one! Great list, as always 🙂

    • I have to renew my visa yet another time (hopefully for the last time before citizenship) so it’s this ridiculous history/culture test the government make you take. It’s actually really tricky and some of the questions are ridiculously obscure (how many members are there in the Irish parliament type question) but *not to jinx it* I’ve managed somewhat okay on practice tests so far. Sam, however, took a practice one for a joke with and failed so I’ll will lord it over his head if and win I actually pass! x

  • Another bloody great post but winter and Christmas do not go hand in hand, summer and Christmas go together nicely.

  • Fun! I feel you on finding a house. Although I think the real estate markets might be a little bit different!

    • There are no affordable houses left in England so I definitely wouldn’t wish a similar situation on anyone else! Sorry to hear that you had a rough time too! x

  • Oooh I look forward to reading about a vegan Christmas!

  • I shall be using this as a December tick list!

  • can’t wait to open my Advent calendar too:)

  • Ah sounds like so many lovely things! Christmas baby makes it even more exciting! x

  • Ooh friendmas, what made you decide to do something different this year? It sounds so so fun though, I would love to just rent an Airbnb with a bunch of friends in the wintery weather 🙂

    • It was kind of a spontaneous decision – we had some friends who were at loose ends this year too so we all just decided to spend it together. I think it will be good! x

  • oh my gosh best of luck for the life in the uk test! Also, love your little advent calendar race haha this year we decided to go a bit special and i got a body shop one and the Brit got a cheese one, we’re both always excited 🙂