As the month goes on, the days are slowly creeping shorter. At the end of the month the clocks go back and suddenly we are plunged into darkness once more. This is when I really start craving comfort: the heating – usually resisted until October – finally switched on and savoured all the more for it; blankets become a feature in every room; jumpers are pulled out from the bottom drawer ready for layering. Time in the kitchen soothes the soul. A bubbling pot of jam. Squash roasting in the oven. Tea warming on the stove. Heartier foods call to us – a pan of soup, warming stew, hotpot, risottos, pasta bakes, pies and pastries, the list of comfort foods is endless. Seasonal spice tantalises tastebuds and of course, the ubiquitous pumpkin features in bakes and cakes. The wind whistles down the chimney. A harvest feast beckons.
Decorating for Samhain
Give thanks for Autumn’s bounty by hosting a Celebration at home to see in Samhain – the official end of the harvest season and start of Winter in the Celtic Wheel of the Year. It’s the perfect excuse to set the table, light the candles, get out your best linens and gather together. Keep it simple and let seasonal produce sing: roast teeny munchkin pumpkins, tear some burrata and drizzle with dressing made from lemon juice and zest with olive oil. Hunks of freshly baked bread to mop up the juices make for a light but hearty Autumn meal, followed up with a pumpkin-themed bake. Snuggle up with a scary movie afterwards (old school is best if you ask me).
The end of the month marks the start of daylight saving. This means more light in the morning – for a while at least – and we are treated to an extra hour in bed on the last Sunday of the month, hooray! I like to mark this moment by creating an Autumnal brunch to enjoy in bed – subtly spiced shakshuka with sourdough toast is just the ticket with a steaming pot of tea. Or, on the flipside, why not get out and about before the world has woken? This time of day is my favourite, especially on a Sunday when our surroundings seems all the sleepier. Enjoy an early morning walk: just you and nature.
As soon as the clocks go back and the days are darker it feels like time to hibernate. At this time of year I have an almost instinctive drive to start nesting, preparing the house for Winter. Air knitwear and blankets ready for the season ahead and make sure your candle stash is fully supplied. It might even be time to up the togs on your duvet and I’ve certainly indulged in the first hot water bottle long before the month is out. Enjoy the process of preparing for the colder months, a slow Autumn ritual that makes you cherish the seasonal shift all the more.
Visit an Orchard
Do your research to see if you’ve a local community orchard – you might just be surprised at what’s nearby – or find a pick-your-own farm and make an afternoon of apple picking. Bring a basket and find the reddest, ripest, most delicious fruit you can. My favourite variety is cox’s orange pippin for its sharp flavour and crisp texture. It’s well worth finding out which varieties are local to you and grown specially for your area. Orchards are such biodiverse spaces so why not take a sketchbook and sit a while, sketching the trees and the wildlife you see?
Embrace Autumn Crafts
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 at this time of year. Inktober takes place over on Instagram if you’re looking for prompts and accountability – a great way to embrace small moments of creation. On the sewing pile, tartans and tweeds are calling: a simple pleated circle skirt is perfect for embracing vintage Autumn vibes. Autumn garlands from dried flowers and seed heads keep hands busy and the mind focussed – such small, mindful nature moments can make all the difference to your perspective. Here’s a link to my latest video on IGTV for more inspiration: an Autumn wreath make along. Hooray!