I think of myself as a Summer girl, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate and love the seasons more. Whilst I may not love the rain, the mud or the grey dankness of Autumn, there is, undeniably, something magical about the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness that had previously had eluded me. Maybe it's the restored sense of calm with the children back at school and normal service resumed or perhaps the rediscovered joy of cosying up on the sofa under a rug whilst the rain splashes down outside, that feels just right at this time of year? Or perhaps it's that excitement of 'back to school', of new 'uniform' and things to learn that never leaves you, however old you are. Whatever it is, I'm fully embracing autumn and its joys this year....
Is there anything more beautiful than the mist rolling over the fields on an early autumn morning? Chill in the air and mist on the horizon, with a dog to walk as the sun comes up, this is something that I particularly love at the moment. Especially when it gives way to…
A crisp autumn day
Bright blue skies, fresh air, sunshine, leaves under foot, conkers on the ground, steaming coffee in hand. Glorious…
The novelty of the nights drawing in
Ask me about short days in January and I will probably howl like a sun-starved prisoner kept captive in a cave. But, ask me now and I’d say that there is something rather delicious about the nights drawing in. You don’t have to feel guilty about sitting like a sloth on your sofa when it’s dark outside. You don’t have to make a choice between going out or staying in when the sky is black, it’s windy and rain is forecast. You can embrace the inside simply because going out is so much hard work. Yes, it's probably temporary - party season is on the horizon after all - but for now, it's rather lovely....
Oooh how the Boxset comes into its own at this time of year (although boxset is probably a rather outdated word since most series just get dumped online in one go). We're currently binge watching Peaky Blinders, being about 150 years late to the party and it's goooood. I was also recently recommended The Capture, a BBC conspiracy thriller, currently on TV and iPlayer at the moment, which everyone - and I mean, everyone, who I've asked - raves about. Then, on Netflix, there's The Politician starring Gwyneth Paltrow, a dark social comedy set in a Californian high school, and of course, in November, the return of The Crown, possibly the most sumptuous series out there with Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham-Carter making their debuts as the Queen and Princess Margaret.
Halloween, Bonfire Night, Christmas….there’s a lot of fun to be had over the next few months. While summer (for me) is all about lazing around, autumn is when everyone is back from holiday and looking to be entertained. The dark nights lend themselves to candlelit dinners, drinks parties, the all-American spookiness of Halloween and the brilliantly bonkers Britishness of Bonfire Night. And then Christmas….without looking too far ahead, I’m already thinking about the parties..
Hot Chocolate (Paul does THE BEST), crumpets, beef stew with hunks of baguette and lashings of red wine (this recipe from Jamie Oliver is amazing), jacket potatoes piled high with cheese, porridge with banana and blueberries, spag bol, Deliciously Ella's amazing black bean chilli, sausages and mash, roast chicken, chilli, roast veg, cottage pie, crumble (try this Hemsley & Hemsley recipe for Vogue)..Also try out Rukmini Iyer's The Roasting Tin for delicious one-tin recipes that even kitchen idiots like me can't muck up...
I used to be more of a 'reader', but having children turned my brain to mush and by 8pm most nights I'm ready for bed. But, I miss it and am now trying to read a chapter a night before bed. I'm currently reading Christine Mangan's Tangerine, a glamorous thriller set in 1950s Tangier. Next on my list is Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman, which was recommended to me by my book fiend friend Natasha (whose Instagram account @Natashaisreading is a must for book lovers). A NY Times Bestseller, it's a edge of your seat thriller set on a dream honeymoon in Bora Bora. And then, after that, I'm going to read Once upon a River by Diane Setterfield. I was seduced by the cover in Waterstones and then persuaded by the lovely girl who worked there, who told me that it was the one book that she and all her colleagues had loved. Mysterious and slightly mystical, it's set in Victorian times and is - supposedly - utterly engaging.
Let's face it, an escape is good at any time of year, but in autumn, with the wind howling outside, the idea of a weekend away seems particularly lovely. As a former Travel Editor, I like to keep my ear to the ground about lovely new hotels and I've heard only good things about Heckfield Place in Hampshire. Beaverbrook in Surrey is equally enticing and I was lucky enough to stay there last year. The interiors are sublime as is the food. The new spa looks incredible. More affordable, but no less lovely, are the Pig group of hotels, which now have hotels in Hampshire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Kent.
Ahh, the clothes. This is where Autumn definitely trumps Summer. I may love the ease of pulling on a pair of sandals and flip flops, but there's something undeniably stylish about autumn fashion - the jumpers, the jeans, the dresses, the boots, the cardigans, the scarves to cosy up in, the wrist warmers that make you smile each time you look down. Here are just a few of the gorgeous things I have in store this season. Do have a browse and see what other autumn-perfect pieces you can find....
And, please let me know - what are your favourite things about Autumn?