“October! Baptise me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!” Rainbow Rowell.
Happy October! My favourite month of the year (well – close second after my birthday month, September of course!) as it feels like Autumn proper. And the season was certainly making itself felt last night, with howling winds scattering Autumn leaves in abundance. I’m trying to embrace the wee joys of the season, like Autumn walks to watch the leaves turning, picking up conkers on my walk home from work and savouring the first hot chocolate of the year (a hot chocolate float at Mary’s Milkbar has to be seasonal heaven). I’m reviving my Autumn hashtag on Instagram, #myodetoautumn – I’d love it if you joined in. I will be featuring some of my favourite images here and am also planning on running my A-Z of Autumn next month too. Here are some ideas for things to make and do this most beautiful of months:
Plan an Autumn celebration:
There’s lots to celebrate in October: this Thursday is Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox, making Sunday Harvest Festival. The feast dates back to Pagan times, a seasonal thanksgiving for Autumn’s bounty including such traditions as corn dollies (usually made from the last sheath of corn from the harvest, symbolising good luck for the next season), harvest songs and feasting. Nowadays it’s also a festival that reminds us to share the season’s bounty with those less fortunate than ourselves – so make sure to seek out your local food bank.
Embrace Pumpkin Season:
#Squashwatch is well and truly underway on Instagram and my local Farmer’s Market is a feast for the eyes. I’m planning a trip to our local pick your own pumpkin farm again at half-term and have been hoarding squash-based recipes in eager anticipation. My latest go-to is a roast squash and coconut soup by Elly Curshen, from her fabulous new book Let’s Eat. With Halloween beckoning at the end of the month, it’s the perfect excuse to bake with your pumpkin post-carving, concoct homemade sweet rewards for trick or treaters and snuggle up with a scary movie (old school is best if you ask me).
Forage and Find:
I always lament the end of the blackberry season – after ‘Devil Spits Day’ on 10th or 11th October (depending on who you ask) they’re a no-go – but even if you’re not superstitious they’re past their best. However, there’s so much more seasonal goodness to come. Sloes, hips and haws reach their prime, tasting even better as time goes on and lasting well into November. This weekend I made rosehip syrup and elderberry flu remedy, both rich in vitamin C ready to combat cold season, as well as classic bramble jelly to see us into Winter. I’ve got a haul of damsons in the freezer too so comment with your favourite recipes! I’m thinking soaked in gin or simply puréed and folded through fool.
Prepare your home for Autumn:
As the clocks go back on the last Sunday of the month, suddenly it feels like time to hibernate. As well as enjoying the extra hour in bed, I always feel an almost instinctive drive to begin nesting and preparing the house for Winter: decluttering, freshening up the blankets, airing knitwear ready for the season ahead and stockpiling candles. I would say try to avoid putting the heating on for as long as possible but I’ve already cracked once or twice in the need of a ‘wee heat’ and I’ve been making a hot water bottle for at least a month…
I love nothing more than an Autumnal crafternoon: there’s something about the cosiness of home at this time of year, paired with a productively crafty activity and a pot of tea that’s unbeatable in my book. I’ve recently started doing more sketching and plan to join in with #inktober over on Instagram – I find it helps me relax and be more mindful. I’m also planning on getting my wool stash out again to work through Hilary Grant’s gorgeous Knitting from the North and I have some tartan in my to-sew pile. Plus, I hate to mention Christmas so soon, but when half-term arrives I’ll be turning my thoughts towards Wintery bakes and makes in a bid to get organised this year.
All images via my Everything Looks Rosie Instagram, October and September.