What's so great about winter? Only the food, clothes, fires, entertainment....

My son just asked me to "open an orange" for him. By which he means use my nail to start peeling a juicy clementine for him. He can peel them - he just can't start them.

I recently decided to keep a bowl of fruit in the living room as well as the kitchen. I've found the children are far more likely to ask for fruit when they can see it in the living room and I think it looks nice - especially clementines which always seem like a festive fruit to me.

I say clementines - they could be satsumas. Or tangerines. I'm not entirely sure of the difference. I love their bright shiny colours but hate the smell on my hands. I had to laugh at myself though as I caught myself washing the smell of orange off my hands using chocolate orange scented hand wash.

Clementines or satsumas?

The whole citrus thing got me to thinking about the season - buying the cheap and cheerful fruit in net bags is just one of the bonuses of winter, along with the appearance of sprouts in the supermarket.

Yes - I hold my hands up - I love sprouts. And not tarted up with ginger, chestnuts, balsamic vinegar or bacon either. Just sprouts,  steamed balls of green and stinky loveliness.

While we are talking about winter food I have to say "hurrah" for the excuse to eat stodgy starchy carb-heavy meals. Roast dinners especially make a cold evening cosy I think. Homemade leek and potato soup with fresh homemade foccacia, proper puds like crumble and treacle tart. Yum!

Add to my list pretty much all of the products which appear in the aisles from August ready for Christmas like mince pies in all their forms, panettone and chocolate log. You can keep stollen though- not a fan.

Panettone from I like Italy

It's not just food either. I don't mind swapping summer fruit-based alcohol for the winter version and I adore the smell of mulled wine (although I prefer the non alcoholic type). Then there's that creamy coffee liqueur which I like neat or as my Mum serves it as a large splash in coffee.

Obviously you can't indulge in this type of food without either lots of exercise to counterbalance the calories, or layers of fat-hiding winter clothes. I'll give you one guess which option I go for....

Snuggly fur-lined boots, warm jumpers, awesome hats and the best thing of all - winter pyjamas. No danger of exposing stretch marks, bingo wings or belly flab. You can even undo your jeans after a big foodie blow out and cover it all up with layers of clothes as you let your food baby sag out.

Although I love sitting out in the summer and watching the sun set I also love closing the curtains in winter (at 4.30pm!) and lighting the fire. We have a supply of fleecy throws behind our sofas and on really cold days they come out for family film nights. Even the cats light to snuggle up with us!

cat in a blanket

TV tends to be better in the winter too. My teens love the programme set in the jungle and although I can take it or leave it, it's nice to sit with them chatting about what's happening on the screen.

When I was young (and dinosaurs roamed the earth) it was big news when the three channels announced their Christmas films. My grandparents always bought the TV Times and even had a leatherette cover to keep it in. Grandad used to love marking up what they might watch - I'm not sure how much say Granny had in the schedule

Of course nowadays all sorts of entertainment is available on a multitude of devices 24 hours a day but it's still fun to plan what we might watch together over the Christmas period.

Not that we get much time - with 7 children you can imagine the running around I do - ballet, tap, musical theatre, choir, church, school- lots of rehearsals to remember and events to attend. But it's all worth it when you see your children perform, even if they are third mouse from the left, it's still a proud moment.

I'm particularly excited this year as once again I'm heading to Germany soon to see my best friend, my German "sister" Claudia. This visit will involve Christmas markets and almost certainly industrial quantities of cake and cackling. Hopefully a few flakes of snow too (although forecast looking more like rain at the moment.)

madmumof7 & Claudia

Regular readers will be either disappointed or relieved to hear a naked spa visit is unlikely to be on the cards since my youngest daughter and my mum are travelling with me this time.

So what else is great about winter? Well it seems Christmas usually brings out the best in people. We could do with a bit of goodwill towards men (and women) right now so pull on your woolly sweater, load up your supermarket trolley with winter food and drink and make the most of the season.

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