THERE is nothing I love more than a night in front of the television curled up on the couch, watching whatever glorious rubbish Netlflix has to offer me.
That said, I’ve found myself getting bored with the television lately, I think after six months of predominantly quiet nights in, I am getting little tired of the monotony. I don’t think I need to spell it out, but we may have plenty more nights in at home before this pandemic eases its grip on us.
Our initial enthusiasm has waned, Zoom quizzes have thinned out and sitting out enjoying the last of the evening sun is no longer an option. However, as we head to cosy nights in, it might be the perfect time to gather a list of creative ways to spend nights in together, as a family or a couple, that will break up the evenings and give us something to get excited about.
We frequently have game nights in our house and, honestly, I do not think there is a nicer way to spend time together, gathered around a cosy fire, hot chocolates in hand. We all adore playing games together as a family and my husband and I love a quietly competitive game of chess together from time to time.
Some of our favourite board games that include most of the girls are Monopoly, Quirkle, Dobble, chess, draughts or card games.
I miss getting dressed up to go out, I love wearing heels, despite towering over the vast majority of the population in them (I’m 5ft 11 without them!) and, certainly something that we as both a couple and a family miss doing, is going out to dinner. Dinner time in our house is like groundhog day sometimes; I make it, we all eat it, someone won’t sit still and they all run off as the words ‘put your plate in the dishwasher’ reverberate off the walls. However, from time to time we go all out — we make menus, we dress up, we have more than one course, we all get involved and it’s both fabulous and over the top and we love it.
I am a huge fan of a pamper night in, either by myself or with all my little ladies. I love a long hot shower or a bath, preferably with minimal interruptions from the ladies, I slather myself top to toe in oils and serums, I put on a face mask, I put effort into blow drying my hair and I do my nails. I find the whole process so relaxing. For the last few months I feel like I have spent my time in baggy, comfortable clothes so sometimes I need to give myself a boost and look after myself.
Even though barely a person will see me, it is important to do things just for yourself too!
We don’t generally have dessert in this house but there is nothing better than a two course meal, I love sitting down with the girls huddled around a cookbook and picking something nice to try. We all get involved in the baking, some crack eggs, others line tins, everyone mixes and I clean up. If there was ever a way to get children to finish their dinner in record time, the lure of their own bakes is a surefire way to ensure clean dinner plates.
Get the whole family involved in creating and putting on a talent show. We have done this a few times and it creates such excitement in the house, it’s amazing how a round of enthusiastic applause from family members can create the biggest smiles. I have to say, my ladies are great at going all out for shows — they make posters and tickets, we have an interval with treats and everyone gets involved. It is a great way to encourage even the shyest child to get up in front of a small audience too.
It wasn’t just lockdown that put an end to my nights of frequenting cocktail bars and clubs, those days are a distant memory anyway given the plethora of children I have. But I do love cocktails, I am partial to an Espresso Martini at the best of times. Over the last few months I have been stocking up my drinks cabinet with an array of random cocktail ingredients, which can be a challenge when you live in rural North Cork! It is fun though, I love a glass of wine or a gin and tonic but like with anything, most especially these days, it is important to mix it up, both literally and figuratively.
If you’re not interested in alcohol there are lots of lovely mocktails to experiment with, or if you’re not into cocktails try having a wine tasting night, try a different bottle from time to time, rate them and find some favourites.
There are so many ways of turning an evening into something different or magical, and it’s good for us to do it too, it gives us something to plan and something to enjoy even within our own four walls!