Now the clocks have gone back and the Christmas adverts have started to appear on TV, it is extremely tempting to forego the cold weather and enjoy a good night in with a nice meal, good company and all your home comforts to hand. Yet even such an evening of indulgent, relaxed bliss cannot happen without some prior preparation, and not just in terms of getting the shopping in. Here’s how to make the most of some truly indulgent ‘me’ time and why your kitchen is at the heart of the cosiest evenings at home.
The heart of the home
A cosy night in starts and ends in the kitchen. It is the place where the meal is prepared, dishes warmed, drinks poured and second helpings retrieved. Preparation for cosy nights in can start as far back as the stage when your are planning a new designer kitchen. Make sure you have plenty of worktops to chop vegetables and prepare meals, with easily accessible cupboards for all your glasses and crockery. Whether you are opting for a brand new or a used kitchen, look out for indulgent little details, such as in-built wine coolers or coffee machines. Add in soft lighting and inviting colours and textures and you have a great base for planning many an enjoyable evening at home.
The food of love?
Winter meals are all about chunky casseroles, warming soups, creamy puddings and ‘hot toddies’ heated gently in a saucepan before being poured into your favourite glass. When planning a night in, make a list of your favourite comfort foods and get to the shops in good time. Leave yourself time to cook everything so you don’t end up in a rush at the exact time when you are meant to be dishing up. Don’t forget a few little luxurious extras – perhaps some chocolates or your favourite tipple to enjoy in bed.
The whole house
Where will you eat your meal? Curled up on the sofa in front of the TV? Sitting at your dining room table? It is, of course up to you – it’s your cosy evening in, after all. How about laying the designer kitchen table and gathering there – in amidst the delicious smells and familiar sounds of the cooling oven? Eating in the kitchen will create a relaxed atmosphere, right from the start. You are also well placed to clear away the dishes as you go – as hard as it might be to have to wash up before you go and watch TV or retire to bed, the prospect of coming down to the mess in the morning and undoing all the relaxation of the previous night is infinitely worse.