Winter’s here. It’s time to stay home and keep warm. Unless you have kids…
As a parent, gone are the days that when Winter rolls around you can just stay at home, light a fire and binge watch a Netflix series (unless that Netflix series is the Hotel Transylvania franchise). No, when you have little kids you quickly learn they need to get outside and burn off energy. Otherwise you’ll pay for it at about 4.30pm, just as it goes dark and they start pinging off the walls.
So whatever the weather, I’m in a playground, stamping the ground so my toes don’t get frostbite and mentally calculating how big the laundry pile will be after this merry jaunt. And I’m obsessed with the weather. Cold I can handle, but rain and wind are my duel nemesis.
Weather watchers reporting for duty
And my friends are the same. My ‘Mum Friends’ WhatsApp groups could give Michael Fish a run for his money: “At 3pm it looks like there will be a window of 45 minutes of sunshine in Matfield” someone will report. Then we meet up in the playground and our chatter is peppered with “God, it’s freezing but at least it’s not raining”. The Matfield reporter feels a warm sense of pride.
I know it’s not just me and my friends. Britain is a nation obsessed with the weather (my Geography teacher would like me to insert here it’s because we have an unpredictable island climate – it’s not our fault, it’s our crazy weather patterns).
Outdoor clothing retailer Regatta recently surveyed us Brits to find out just how we talk about the chillier weather. A huge 84.13 per cent said they use my personal favourite, “It’s freezing” when it’s cold outside. But in Scotland and Northern Ireland they are likely to say “it’s Baltic”, while apparently people in London say “it’s taters”. News to me. You say brass monkeys, I say nippy – Regatta have coined it #AFrostyDebate.
Tea break: always plan your trips wisely
So what are we to do when it’s freezing cold but we need to get the kids out? I always plump for a playground with a good café (shout out to The Inside at Calverly Grounds!) where I can get a nice warm drink.
I’d always go for a cup of coffee from a café. You cannot beat the luxury of a properly made coffee while you watch your child jump in the deepest puddle and soak all bystanders (sorry guys!). It seems I am not alone. Regatta found that more people in the UK prefer coffee to tea. This is very off brand for us Brits, but you can’t argue with the facts.
Tips for how to keep warm
If like me, you’re in the playground this Winter wearing out the kids, here are some of my favourite things to keep warm:
- Fleece-lined pockets. Hello middle age, I have been waiting for you. My husband bought me a coat with fleece-lined pockets and it really affirmed to me he’s a keeper.
- Heated jackets. This is just showing off, but apparently they make jackets that actually warm you up now. What a time to be alive.
- Flask of hot drink. OK, none of these ideas are going to be cool or sexy, but when my friend produced a keep-warm cup filled with tea at a playground recently I was impressed (and jealous).
- Stay active. I sound like my PE teacher during hockey practice, but running around does really help. Luckily (or not!) most kids won’t let their parents stay still for long anyway…
But do you know the best thing about going to the playground in the Winter? Getting home afterwards, lighting the fire and putting on Hotel Transylvania for the millionth time. Just me…?