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It’s that time of year again- when it starts getting dark at 4 pm, woolly scarves and hats start to creep their way back into my wardrobe and embarrassingly, Mariah Carey is played at least once a day. For me, like many others, this also means spending more cosy, relaxing nights at home. Though recently, I have found myself repeating the same nightly ritual over and over again- an amalgamation of uni assignments, a rather average, student-standard dinner and half a Netflix film.

So, for those who are looking to revamp their evening plans, to find ways to spend more quality time with your flatmates and family or even those who want to learn how to enjoy time alone, I’ve compiled a few ideas to get you started on creating your perfect night at home.

1) A Self-care evening

A classic, I know- yet truly one of the best ways to spend a night by yourself. The core of self-care is doing what is best for your mind and body, so make sure you use it as an evening to fully unwind, escape and relax; it’s perfect if you are stressed out from uni or work.

Here are some self-care ideas:

  • Create a pleasant environment: this can be done by tidying your room before hand, lighting your favourite scented candle, or playing some calming music.
  • Switch off: whether it be your phone, laptop or TV, a vital step reaching restfulness is to take a break from screens and the virtual world. Read a book, a magazine or even just close your eyes for a bit.
  • Focus on your mind and body: do a face mask, take time to do your skincare routine, have a bath (if you are lucky enough to have one!), meditate, and most importantly, finish with a good night’s sleep.

2) Cook a nice meal

If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, this is the one for you. Take time to think about and plan a delicious meal for supper- a comfort recipe from home, something new you’ve never tried before or a classic that never fails to satisfy. You could do this alone, get your favourite tunes/ podcast on and spend as much time as you like cooking away in the kitchen. Alternatively, you could get your flat or housemates involved and concoct an entire feast! Maybe you could each be allocated a course for the night or make it a recurring event, by taking it in turns to prepare a meal for everyone else, each week.

3) A Movie marathon

A personal favourite of mine. As mentioned before, the nightly routine of watching half of a mediocre Netflix movie gets rather tedious after a while, so making a mini-event out of watching movies transforms those nights at home into something much more exciting. If you have a good few hours to spare and genuinely enjoy sitting down for a long time, this should be right up your street. Again, this can be done alone, with flatmates, family, or friends.

Here are some classic movie marathon suggestions:

  • By series: Harry Potter (requires a LOT of spare time), Twilight, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, anything MCU, James Bond, Toy Story and so on.
  • By director: Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Once upon a time in Hollywood, Kill Bill), Scorsese (Goodfellas, the Wolf of Wall Street, the Departed) etc.
  • By era: e.g the 80s (the Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller, Dirty Dancing)
  • By genre: Action, rom-com, fantasy etc.
  • By actor: e.g Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet and so on- just choose your favourite.

The options are endless!

4) A Games Night

If you’re craving something slightly more sociable than a 5-hour long movie marathon, hosting a games night is the ideal option for a relaxing but enjoyable evening. You could have a cards night, with everyone bringing their best-loved card game to the table, a board game night, drinking games, poker (if anyone actually knows how to play) or party games (like charades and Pictionary). What is obligatory though, is the accompaniment of drinks, nibbles, good music and even better company.

5) A Cocktail-making night

Similar to cooking a nice meal- why not make a delicious cocktail instead? I would say this is best done with friends and family, so make an evening of it by each producing a specially made cocktail whilst enjoying each other’s company! It may be fun to put a spin on things by choosing a theme (such as Christmas cocktails, or cocktails from around the world) and adding a ‘Come dine with me’ element to the evening, by rating each other’s creations and awarding the winner a prize.

6) A Quiz night

Another more sociable way to spend a night at home is to host a quiz night with your housemates, family or friends (minus flashbacks to lockdown and the awkward zoom calls). Like any other fun night at home, ensure you are supplied with plenty of beverages and nibbles, as well as a good group of people. A successful quiz night can work in two ways: either nominate a quizmaster to collate a range of questions and rounds, or each team should come prepared with a set of 10 questions say, of which you take turns in asking and answering. Again, it would be great to host themed quiz nights, especially in the run-up to Christmas, with niche questions, fun movie/music rounds and little themed prizes for the winners.

So, there we have it. Say farewell to those uninspiring nights sat in your room doing nothing and take these ideas as inspiration to transform your evenings into ones of excitement, restfulness and enjoyment!

Words by: Tilly Milsome

Edited by: Tamikka Reid

Hi! I'm a first year Journalism student at the University of Leeds with a love for movies, books, fashion and food!
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