Shorter days and longer nights: things to look forward to this wintertime

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By Megan Shinner | Advice Editor

The clocks have just gone back and you’ve all enjoyed that extra little hour in bed, all snuggled up in your duvet. It’s that time of year to swap the shorts for scarves and the sliders for slippers. As we enter November the days are shorter, nights are longer, weather is colder, and the layers are doubling! You may be missing the late sunsets and all-day picnics in Bute Park, but I can guarantee you there is so much to look forward to in the wintertime. With Bonfire Night looming and the Christmas period just around the corner, I’m going to share with you my favourite things about the season and how you can avoid the winter blues. 

Adapting to the wintertime

Every week the air gets a little colder and the night falls a few minutes earlier. More leaves are scattered across the pavements as we walk to lectures, and you can see your cold breath in the air. The world around us is entering Autumn and it’s time for us to join in! I love any excuse to wear my scarf and winter coat again. Wrapping up warm and being cosy all the time is one of my favourite feelings. Woollen boots, bobble hats, and thick winter jumpers are also bound to make a reappearance in the wardrobe. The change in season is also a great excuse to surf the sales of all the summer clothes but also to check out the new autumnal range being stocked. I’d be lying to you if I said I hadn’t already added a few items to my ever-growing scarf collection! 

Naturally, we’ll start to spend a lot more time inside to stay cosy and warm. If you’re not usually a fan of the winter because of the constant darkness, now is a great time to start making a list of all the things you’d love to do around the house. This can be anything from jotting down a few books and films you want to watch or read to rearranging your bedroom. Maybe you have a new recipe book of autumnal-flavoured cookies or soups that you’ve been desperate to try but it has always been too hot? After rushing around to get all your shopping in and errands done during the daylight hours you could settle into the evening with a cup of tea and that new book you’ve just dived into. I like to think of the winter as a time where we can relax, really appreciate the little things, and become much more comfortable with our own company. Although, for those of you who love to catch the sunset or sunrise during the summertime, the extended winter darkness works in your favour! Yes, it may be a little colder, but you never have to wake up as early or stay up as late. You can catch the sunrise and sunset all on the same day, without being seriously sleep-deprived! You can still get those important hours of sleep whilst re-living the little things that remind you of the longer summer days. 

Quite controversially, I love the early evenings in wintertime. The night-time always makes me feel more productive. Getting the work in whilst there isn’t much going on always allows me to enjoy the day times more. The evenings being much darker and colder is also a very good excuse to just cwtch up and watch a movie with some snacks and a dozen blankets. There’s a certain security when I’m all wrapped up in my favourite pyjamas with a hot chocolate or tea and some snacks, blessed with the company of my favourite fictional characters. There’s nothing else I’d rather do after a long day of seminars and essay writing. 

Christmas and wintertime in Cardiff

I know, I know! I can hear you saying “Christmas already?! It’s 1st November!”. The festive period is my favourite part of the winter season, and it arrives in Cardiff so much sooner than you may think. The lights in the city centre will be shining in a few weeks, so we’d better start preparing! 

Cardiff during the festive season is just magical. The lights through the St David’s Shopping Centre, the Christmas market that runs down St Johns Street and the reindeer that guard Cardiff Castle; we are surrounded by the festivities in our everyday activities. Walking amongst the lights and decorations makes me feel like I’m in my very own Christmas movie. There are so many ways to appreciate the festive period across the city and even more so this winter! Arguably, the lockdown situation is looking miles better this year as this time last November, the whole UK had been hit with the “fire-breaker”, or the second lockdown. With restrictions remaining rather relaxed, some of our favourite sociable events are making a long-awaited comeback. Winter Wonderland is returning so making a fool out of myself on the ice-skating rink is back on the cards! Something else to look forward to is the Christmas light show in Bute Park that will be running from late November to New Year’s Eve. 

As you can see, there are loads of ways to feel the Christmas spirit whilst walking around the city centre, but how about in your own home? I can imagine most of you will live in a new flat, house, or building each year of your university course; this means fresh opportunity. You have the chance to decorate an entirely new place with all sorts of festive decorations. Christmas is usually everywhere as soon as the summer holidays have come to a close, so I wouldn’t mind betting you’ve seen your fair share of Christmas gift and decoration displays in every shop you’ve come across. Picking up a small tree for the living room coffee table and some tinsel to wrap around the staircase could be just what you need to brighten up the house and get in the mood for the holidays. 

One thing I am most excited about this wintertime is the theatres being open again, and more specifically the Christmas shows being able to return. It’s been a long 18 months without a trip to the theatre, but now it’s all looking up! National tours have already arrived in Cardiff Bay, the Christmas panto will soon be starting in the New Theatre and the Christmas show in the Sherman Theatre is just around the corner. They all look and sound fantastic, and some are very festive! I’ll give you one guess as to where my student loan is going! I can’t wait for the feeling of finding my seat and reading the programme whilst waiting for the overture music to commence. The “oh-no-he-didn’ts” and “oh-yes-he-dids” are echoes I have so dearly missed. The atmosphere of the theatre is incomparable and I’m sure I share much excitement with all you theatregoers out there. 

Whether you’re binging a new Netflix series or trying to make a chef of yourself, I hope you are embracing the chance to relax and enjoy the many long and peaceful nights ahead this wintertime

Megan Shinner Advice 

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