Things to do at the weekends in November
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Things To Do At The Weekends in November

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Ah November, the gentle transition from autumn to winter (or not quite so gentle here in Scotland). As the days grow shorter and you can feel a chill in the air, it’s time to hunker down and dial up the cosy comforts of the season.

Ideas for November Weekends

If you’re feeling a bit flat about the change in seasons, don’t worry. The warm weather might be over but there’s plenty to enjoy this month. Buckle up as we navigate the colder, darker terrain of November, dishing out hearty, hygge activities that’ll have you embracing the weekend spirit like a seasoned (or seasonal) pro.

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1. Make The Most of Shorter Days

With the days getting much shorter this month, it’s time to head indoors during the dark evenings (and rainy weekend afternoons!) Take advantage of the extra indoor time by exploring some old or new interests. November is the perfect time to start a new creative project or hobby that can carry you through the winter months. Try your hand at crafting, painting, sewing, knitting, or even writing. Sign up for a local or online cooking or baking class.

If you’ve ever wanted to play a musical instrument, November is a great time to start. You could be belting out a few tunes by springtime. Whether it’s a guitar, piano, or ukulele, learning to play can be incredibly rewarding. Same goes for learning a new language – if you’re planning a trip to a new country next year then start learning the basics of the language now so you can get in some practice over the winter.

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2. Boost Your Mood With Light Therapy

If you’re struggling with all the extra darkness, I really recommend trying a light therapy box. Also known as a “sad lamp”, a light therapy lamp is brilliant (pun fully intended) if you think you might be prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or just don’t feel your happiest during the winter months.

You simply sit close to the lamp for a while each day and let it do its magic. They’re perfect if you work from home as you can pop it on your desk close to your face. 

My husband has one and it definitely makes a difference to his wintertime mood. It’s worth a try if you’re not a lover of the shorter days. (As with all things health-related, if you have concerns please see your doctor!)

Check out light therapy lamps on amazon.

Boost your mood in autumn and winter with good lighting

Light therapy isn’t just for the daytimes. Your evenings deserve to be cosied up as well. When darkness falls, create a cosy ambiance with candlelight. Dim the lights, light scented candles, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere you’ve created.

My current favourite candles are these amazing scented candles from St Eval. The Bay & Rosemary one in particular is woody, wintery, warm and fragrantly festive all at once. So good!

3. Embrace the Outdoors Too

November might be increasingly cooler, but that definitely doesn’t mean you should stay indoors all the time. Get outside to top up your vitamin D before winter sets in properly. Head out for an autumn walk, bike ride or trip to the park. Climb a hill, visit a forest or head to the coast. Just don’t stay inside or you’ll miss the last remnants of fall foliage and the crisp fresh air.

If you’re feeling crafty, collect fallen leaves, pinecones, and branches during your outdoor walks, then use them to create seasonal crafts like wreaths or nature-inspired decorations. Or if you have small children, encourage them to create a seasonal display of the things they find.

Get outdoors during the November weekends

4. Do a Bit of Star Gazing

November is known for meteor showers. If you’re in the UK, check out the Royal Observatory’s handy calendar for the upcoming dates. Gaze upwards, and marvel at how small we really are!

Even if there are no meteors visible, take advantage of the longer nights to do some star gazing. Download a stargazing app to identify constellations and planets visible during November. This can be tricky if you live somewhere with lots of cloud cover (I do) but when you wait for a clear night you’ll be rewarded with lots to see. And if you can, always head out of urban areas for the best view.

5. Curl Up with a Book: November Reading Recommendations

There’s nothing quite like settling down with a page-turner on a chilly evening. Grab a blanket and a hot drink and you’re ready to go. Here are a few recent and all-time favourites that are perfect to get lost in this month:

“Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus: I couldn’t put this down! A really witty story about a brilliant woman in the 1960s who battles gender bias and societal norms to pursue her passion. It’s just been adapted for tv too and is showing on Apple TV+ right now.

“The Secret History” by Donna Tartt: A dark and atmospheric novel set in a New England college, blending murder mystery with intellectual exploration.

“Educated” by Tara Westover: a remarkable journey of a young woman’s escape from a strict and isolated rural upbringing to pursue higher education. This one will stay with you long after you finish it.

“The Lamplighters” by Emma Stonex: a truly gripping mystery about the disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from a remote tower. Perfect winter’s night reading.

“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr: a vivid and beautifully written novel set during World War II, focusing on the lives of a blind French girl and a German boy. This one is also about to hit screens, so get in and read the book first!

“Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer: the true story of Christopher McCandless, a young man who left society behind to embark on a journey of self-discovery in the Alaskan wilderness. A tragic story, but wonderfully written.

Free Download – 75 Family Activities to Enjoy This Weekend

Spend some quality family time this weekend with 75 activities you can all enjoy together, whether you’re staying in or heading out.

  • Enjoying the Weekend at Home
  • Getting Out & About 
  • Weekends Away
  • Project Weekends
  • Giving Back Weekends
  • Learning Something New

6. Get Ahead and Plan for the Festive Season

Advent and Christmas are just around the corner, so take advantage of any quiet November weekends to start planning your festive celebrations. Whatever you need to do, whether it’s organising holiday travel, buying new decorations, making a gift list or planning a budget, getting a head start can really alleviate the stress when December comes.

Easy things to do this month are to start making any homemade gifts, and any food gifts that need some time to mature, such as Christmas chutneys or festive sloe gin.

If you make family calendars of your photos from throughout the year, get started now. You’ll be thankful when you’ve sorted through the eleventy-billion photos on your phone. A calendar of what your kids got up to throughout the year makes a great grandparent gift. 

7. Batch Cook for the Freezer

If there’s one other easy way to get ahead for the festive season, it’s to get some food prepped in advance. This could be food for the holidays themselves, or just meals you can grab on busy weeknights during the madness of December. 

Time to clear out all the old ice lollies that summer forgot from the freezer, and fill it with seasonal goodies.

The easiest way to do this is to cook double of whatever you’re having and then freeze half. It’s no more effort and you get an extra meal out of it. Or consider batch cooking some of your favourite meals during a quiet weekend afternoon and stashing them in the freezer. 

However you go about it, It’s a smart way to save time and enjoy homemade dishes during the busy weeks ahead. Soups, stews, and casseroles, plus favourites such as lasagne, chilli etc all freeze well.

In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year.

Cynthia Rylant

8. Eat Well and Enjoy Seasonal Treats

 November is a month filled with culinary delights, and it’s also a month when being in the kitchen no longer feels like you’re sweating over the proverbial hot stove. When there’s wind and rain lashing the window and you’re snug in a steamy kitchen with some music or a podcast playing, it’s the cosiest spot in the house.

Enjoy the season’s bounty by making dishes like butternut squash soup, some roasted root vegetables, or a classic apple and blackberry crumble. The warmth and aroma of a home-cooked meal can make any weekend special.

This is also a great month to visit your local farmers’ markets to enjoy the fresh produce, and hopefully get some great street food and hot drinks to warm you up while you’re there.

Christmas treats are on their way, to take the opportunity to indulge in the flavours of autumn while you can, with some seasonal goodies. Apple cake, pumpkin cake (like an autumn carrot cake!) or some cinnamon porridge might all make it onto my kitchen table this month.

9. Give Wildlife a Helping Hand

Local wildlife could do with your support as we head into the colder months. Set up bird feeders and provide fresh water in your outdoor space. You can also get window bird feeders so you can observe them at close range. These are great for kids.

If you have squirrels living nearby you can also get squirrel feeders for the garden. We got one last year and honestly it has provided hours of entertainment as the neighbourhood squirrel arrives to open the lid of the box and retrieve the nuts.

Hedgehog in Autumn

10. Prepare the Garden for Winter

As the gardening season winds down, take some time to prepare your garden for winter. Tidying up and doing some simple jobs now will mean a healthier garden come springtime.

  • Clean up fallen leaves to stop them smothering the grass
  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs like tulips,, daffodils, and crocuses as they need time to establish before winter
  • Prune back dead or overgrown branches on trees and shrubs to promote healthy growth in the spring.

For a full list of jobs, see:

Things to do in the garden in Autumn

11. Observe Seasonal Events

November is a month filled with cultural celebrations. Enjoy the vibrant colours, nostalgic sounds and woodsmoke smells of Bonfire Night on 5th November, or immerse yourself in the beauty and traditions of Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

Don’t forget to take a moment on Remembrance Sunday to remember all of those who have fought in conflicts all over the world, and to be grateful for their sacrifice.

November comes and November goes, with the last red berries and the first white snows.

Clyde Watson

12. Practice Gratitude

November is synonymous with Thanksgiving in many parts of the world. Take some time each weekend to reflect on the things you’re grateful for. Consider starting a gratitude journal to capture the moments, people, and experiences that bring joy to your life. It’s a practice that can really shift your perspective over time.

You could also dedicate some time to mindfulness meditation, focusing on the present moment and practising gratitude. It’s a calming way to reduce stress and enhance your well-being. (If you’re like me and can’t sit still long enough on your own, find a guided session on YouTube and start there!)

13. Enjoy Stir Up Sunday

On the last Sunday before Advent (that’s 26th November in 2023), it’s a tradition in some households to celebrate Stir Up Sunday by gathering together to make Christmas pudding

Each member of the family takes a turn stirring the mixture while making a wish. Apparently the pudding should be stirred from east to west, in honour of the 3 Wise Men who came from the east to visit the baby Jesus. 

It’s also a good excuse to kick off the season with a cup of festive mulled wine!

November may signal the approach of winter, but it also offers lots of opportunities for cosy, memorable weekends. Embrace the season, create lasting memories, and savour the simple pleasures that November brings.

Free Download – 75 Family Activities to Enjoy This Weekend

Spend some quality family time this weekend with 75 activities you can all enjoy together, whether you’re staying in or heading out.

  • Enjoying the Weekend at Home
  • Getting Out & About 
  • Weekends Away
  • Project Weekends
  • Giving Back Weekends
  • Learning Something New
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