· Chocolate helps. Always helps. Our wholesome breakfasts of toast or cereal with fruit are only complete with a generous chunk of deliciously nutty chocolate. No. 1’s selection of birthday cake may have been an instinctive reach in this direction. We marked our newly teenaged son’s Big Day on a bleakly dark evening with a family meal and an exceptionally chocolatey cake topped with candles (thank you Jacqueline Meldrum and her Tinned Tomatoes blog http://www.tinnedtomatoes.com/2012/09/moist-chocolate-after-eight-cake.html. We followed up with a showing of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Chocolate, sunshine, bank robberies and ultimate demise. We know how to show our kids a good time ;-)
· Google the sunniest, hottest holiday destinations, even if you’ve no intention of going anywhere this year. I’ve been doing it lots. Absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of escapism. Just make sure you don’t have a credit card and a glass of Rioja too close to hand when googling Spain (I know from personal experience).
We attempt to counter all our woes with a jolly family Sunday lunch (with limited and sporadic success - but actually that doesn’t seem to be dependent on the seasons), then we force ourselves outside for a walk, unearth some energy and begin to feel better, despite the unwelcome leaden skies above. We return home to light some candles, listen to music or immerse ourselves in yet another episode of Blackadder. To be inevitably followed by No. 2’s “hilariously” and lengthily re-enacted favourite scenes. Our long January evenings are simply whizzing by (sort of). So I go on Google to escape. Just don’t hand me a glass of Pinot Grigio when my credit card is within reach, or I might solve the Winter Blues with one click and we’ll all be jetting off faster than Baldrick (aka No. 2) can utter “I have a cunning plan.” Ciao Italia! :-)
https://www.facebook.com/FitstepswithEmma?fref=ts - FB page for Emma’s brilliant Fitsteps classes.
http://www.thezedmusiccafe.com - fab new café with lots going on, including Junior Open Mic sessions, music lessons, gigs, or you can just pop in for lunch or coffee. It’s also the venue for Charlie Sweet’s innovative Band Jam course taking place here during the February half-term http://www.thebandjam.co.uk
The Winter Blues (or SAD) can affect people to varying degrees. For much more scientifically based information, check out the NHS website: http://www.nhs.co.uk/winter-blues
Other helpful tips here: http://m.wikihow.com/Fight-Winter-Blues