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20 ways to have a hygge winter in Stroud this year

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Twenty ways to have a what? Hygge; from the Oxford Dictionary; ‘a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture’.

OK, so we don’t have snow and reindeers, but here are a few of my favourite Stroudie winter warmers. Try some of them and let me know what you think;

  1. Visit The Festival of Wonder at St Laurence Church Stroud Saturday 19 November 1pm to Sunday 20 November 6pm – a wonderous array of spectacular performances and activities designed to engage, enrich and inspire wonder. Free hot food, warmth and community. A refuge from the challenges of the world. Most activities are free of charge. www.festivalofwonder.org
  1. Try your hand at lantern making – lantern making workshops are running over 2 weekends in November from 10 til 4 at Stroud Baptist Hall, opposite the farmers market. Come and learn how to make a willow and tissue paper lantern, volunteer to help or be inspired by the resident artists. This year’s theme is ‘air’. Check out Stroud Goodwill Evening fb page for more information about workshops and about being a volunteer steward at the Goodwill procession through town or email markets@fresh-n-local.co.uk
  1. Stir-up Sunday – the traditional day for making Christmas pud, mincemeat and Christmas cake and a fun family thing, Sunday 20 November
  1. Visit Stroud Goodwill Evening for the famous lantern procession, stalls, music, choirs, late night opening, and a wonderful start to the festive season. Friday 2 December in and around Stroud town centre. Join in the shop window treasure hunt, admire the window displays.
  1. Visit The Long Table – my favourite Stroud thing ever,  The Long Table is an incredible place to be. Pop in for a meal, meet new people, pay what you can, pay it forward or take a meal token from the jar on the counter.  The ultimate community dining experience with a heated play area, Kids Stuff shop, Stroud Furniture Recycling, Crop Share and so much more. www.thelongtableonline.com If you haven’t been yet, this is a must visit!
  1. Check out Warm Spaces in Stroud – many community hubs are opening their doors this winter for you to visit, play board games, enjoy company and hot drinks as well as get access to food hubs and advice and support. www.stroudtown.gov.uk for more information on the location of the participating community hubs
  1. Visit The Salvation Army in Acre Street for completely free soup and a roll, board games, hot drinks and company. Open Tuesday and Thursday 5pm to 7pm and Sunday 4pm to 5pm, everyone welcome. Donations welcome of warm clean winter coats in good condition, new packaged hot water bottles, new packaged electric blankets, (Home Bargains currently have these on sale really cheap) clean good blankets (but not quilts) dried and tinned foods, UHT milk.
  1. Attend a making workshop at Stroud Brewery – with more workshops than ever before, there is also a board games evening on Thursdays from 6pm, new Lego club for families on Wednesdays at 4.30pm on 16 November as well as willow decoration and wreath making workshops and singles suppers. www.stroudbrewery.co.uk
  1. Stroud Samba Drumming Class meet every Tuesday from 7pm to 9pm at Openhouse, all welcome, with Tom Stickland.
  1. Join a gym – or find a fun class to attend. Because exercise increases levels of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins – the happy hormones. To make it easier for yourself, start off with one class or session a week, schedule it into your diary and think of it as “just what I do”. Don’t wait for motivation, motivation shows up as a result of moving, not vice versa. If gym membership is out of reach for you, you may be able to talk to your GP surgery about The Exercise Referral Scheme. Some of my favourites are FORMA stretch and core, Dazzle Dance and Belly Fit, but there are so many to chose from. Or come to my Friday morning Yoga class at 7am at Stroud Yoga Space, underfloor heating and the class is suitable for absolute beginners.
  1. Start a supper club with your friends – pot luck nights where everyone brings a dish are great fun and not too taxing. Don’t wait until you have the perfect kitchen, the perfect table settings and perfect interiors. Invite your friends, enjoy yourself as you are, share food and get connected. Perfectionism is over rated – get the diary out!
  1. Visit Winter Sauce, Gifford’s pop up restaurant at circus HQ until Friday 23 December. Booking on the website www.giffordscircus.com  for a guaranteed magical and delicious experience
  1. Volunteer at The Sub Rooms – meet new friends, attend great events and find out more about the local community www.thesubrooms.co.uk
  1. Visit Stroud Christmas Tree Festival at St Laurence Church Running from 2 December to 11 December, this years theme is ‘sustainability’ A twinkling-free event for the whole family.  www.stroudparishcurches.org.uk
  1. Freezers of Love – fully paid for ready meals cooked using quality ingredients by The Long Table chefs– find your closest Freezer of Love and help yourself to some meals, or become a Friend of The Long Table and set up a regular donation to their amazing work with food inclusion www.thelongtableonline.com
  1. Fly a kite on the common or just go for a blustery walk – stop by The Prince Albert for a fireside drink on your way back down the hill www.theprincealbertstroud.co.uk
  1. Volunteer, raise funds or collect for Stroud Food Bank or pop some extra shopping in your nearest donation point  www.strouddistrict.foodbank.org.uk
  1. Get outside more – gather your friends and walk in the woods – the landscape is so stunning here and it’s so great to get away from screens!! Pack a flask of hot choc and some snacks and have an adventure! Stroud Hikers on Facebook are a friendly group of locals who get together to go for walks around the area and post photos of their routes
  1. Bake and decorate a gingerbread house – so many recipes and great ideas online, from patterns and ingredients to melting boiled sweets to make stained glass windows – a fave in my home last year
  1. Visit the Museum in the Park for free family fun indoors on a rainy or chilly day www.museuminthepark.org.uk

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