Ah, snow days.
The dawn of wintry weather inevitably brings on a conflict. On the one hand, we’re itching to get out there and throw some (amateur) Olympian moves. On the other, we’re obsessively checking train Twitter feeds and moaning about the cold.
We’re marooned in an uneasy no-man’s land, halfway between “ooh isn’t this wonderful!” and “I’m so cold, my lips are blue and my boiler’s frozen up, too.”
In times such as these, there’s only one thing to do: embrace your inner Buddha.
Here’s five ways to seize the present moment, and make the most of a snowy downfall….
Get seriously Hygge
Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is the eponymous and wildly popular Danish concept of cosiness – as anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past two years will know.
“It means creating a warm atmosphere,” explains the Danish tourism board. “It is enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm amber glow of candlelight is hygge. Stomping through woods, wrapped up warm on a fresh Autumn day before returning to a fireside for hot cocoa is definitely hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too.”
Hygge is the life force that Danes swear by during their long, dark and universally freezing winters. So, it’ll easily see you through a moderate blizzard, too.
Crack out your most colourful cushions, get the candles on, light up a few Motown tunes and invite your mates round for homemade brownies. Sorted.
Daytime sledging is for novices. To really amp up your game, head out at dusk – and take along a flask of whiskey, or a thermos of mulled wine.
Armed with torches, make for the nearest slope near you and throw yourself down with glorious abandon.
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A traditional wooden sled is probably best for maximum velocity, but if not try a plastic bum sled – or even the ol’ tea-tray trick. Bin bags will only really work if you’re somewhere super-icy.
There’s something truly magical about zipping across the snow by night. The air is crisp and clean, the stars are out, and time – like reality – seems suspended. Keep yourself warm with a few heartening sups from your beverage of choice.
Whip up a Mexican hot chocolate
Mexican hot chocolates are a lifeblood on long, snowy nights. The soothing slug of liquor blends with the punch of the cayenne, for a delicious and warming glow.
You can make ’em without alcohol, but a nip of Kahlua adds that certain je ne sais quoi. And the whipped cream and cinnamon sticks are just pure theatrics; who wouldn’t be cheered by such flourish?
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Use this recipe to conjure up your very own Mexican hot chocolate. A boozy cocktail of pure indulgence, it’s best enjoyed with a good book or three – in the company of a roaring fire, or possibly in the bath.
Make snow angels
Snow is all about nostalgia. It takes you straight back to the time when you were 10 years old and looked out of the window one morning to see the world coated in a furry blanket of white.
Nothing beats that magic.
And while most of us grow out of writing our names in the snow with pee (we hope), snow angels never get old.
Choose a nice few inches of snow and strut your stuff. Throw a few shapes. Dance like nobody’s watching. Well, anyway wiggle your arms up and down, and put a bit of oomph into it.
This is about letting loose and embracing your inner child. And, given the age that we live in, you might just have to capture the whole thing on Boomerang, too.
Take an early morning walk
Solitude is a hard thing to come by these days. We’re under constant siege by things to do and places to be. Our diaries and minds are filled to the max.
But a walk by yourself is a genius way to recapture a little alone time. When it’s snowing, everything feels different. And you can really make the most of this other-worldly atmosphere in the early morning, when everyone else is still in bed.
Wrap up warm and feel like you’re the only person on earth, as you set out alone into the untouched wintry wilderness (yes, Clapham Common counts – if you get there first thing).
All around you, the dawn falls cold and silent, with the sun just cutting through on the horizon. And there’s nothing to hear but the comforting crump and whoosh of your own footsteps in the snow.
It’s like Narnia all over again…