It’s no secret among my friends that I really struggle at this time of year.
Some people love the cusp between autumn and winter, and I get it, I do. Fireworks, falling leaves, hot chocolate? Not to mention all the scented candles. There are plenty of lovely things to enjoy.
But what I see is dark Northern skies where the sun barely seems to rise before it’s setting again. Early mornings, trudging to school and the office. Coming home in the dark. It feels like SO long until there’s something fun to look forward to.
Of course, this is why I booked a sunny holiday over half-term. Our week in Florida was amazing, but landing home and then having the clocks change almost right away?
It’s tempting to sink into a pile of blankets and a six month Netflix binge. But I’ve spent the second half of half-term trying to cheer us up with some fun excursions.
On Wednesday we went to our first concert of the winter.
When I was a teenager, I didn’t go to concerts. I was far too self-conscious to sing or dance in front of other people. Even the thought of it made me feel uneasy. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s and attending festivals that I realised just how exhilarating live, LOUD music can be.
This week, we saw LittleMix live and it was surprisingly brilliant. As a Mum, it’s my duty to sing and dance like a fool. First, I have a teenager and it mortifies her. Second, I hope I’m also showing Flea that life’s more fun if you let loose, and most people won’t give you a second glance.
Next weekend, we’re off to another concert, this time to see Thomas Rhett. I’m about 99% certain most of my friends won’t have heard of him, but he’s one of my favourite singers and I’m REALLY looking forward to it.
On Saturday, we completely lucked out with an invitation to go to a screening of the new movie Wonder, in London.
I’m not allowed to write anything about it quite yet (I’ll be sharing a full review in a couple of weeks) but Flea was absolutely blown away by the chance to go to an actual screening, AND it’s one of her favourite books to boot.
Movies are one of our absolute favourite things to do during the winter months. The more feel-good and schmaltzy the better.
While we were in London, we were also invited to check out the latest bunch of video games available on PlayStation, for a morning. When we arrived, Flea ditched me fairly quickly to go and play FIFA and Gran Turismo with some young hipster dudes, while I decorated cupcakes with other Mums.
After a while, though, Flea gave me the chance to join in. My favourite games by a mile were the PlayLink games. PlayLink is a set of games designed to be played by groups of people using console controls, but also mobile phones and tablets. They’re simple to pick up, fun to play and SO cleverly animated with bags of humour.
My top recommendations are the PlayLink games Knowledge is Power and Frantics. These are really cute games that are suitable for the most novice gamers and will make the perfect game for a family Christmas get-together.
Knowledge is Power is a quiz where you can choose to help or sabotage your fellow players. No prizes for guessing what Flea chose to do. Frantics is even more fun – a series of mini arcade-style challenges with hilarious animation. Check out the PlayStation website for more information.
We rounded off the weekend with a visit to possibly the weirdest place EVER. Flea explained it to me like this:
“There’s this restaurant in London and if you ask the owner to show you his basement, he will, and he has lots of awesome K-Pop merch there.”
Honestly, it sounded like less a fun shopping expedition, and more like the opening of a horror movie.
But as it turns out, yes, there is a tiny, three-tabled Korean restaurant in London. If you ask the owner he’ll take you down some stairs that are COVERED in graffiti from teenage girls from all over the world. And there’s a tiny basement room packed with K-Pop posters, stickers, books and CDs.
Utterly weird, but Flea was in her element and didn’t take a breath until all her allowance was spent.
It’s been a hectic few days, but I think we’ve squeezed plenty of fun into them.
Anyone got any suggestions for next weekend?