"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the Earth seeking the successive autumns."
Are you a die-hard summer fan, like me? My earliest memory is being three years old and my cousin Helen swinging me by my spindly arms on Exmouth beach. I can still hear my own squeals and visualise the stretches of golden sand as far as my baby-eyes could see.
This love of the heat and that sense of freedom was just one of the reasons I adored living in Puerto Rico a few years ago. Those lazy, hazy days on the beach that ended with a few new freckles are the happy days in my mind that I return to when its too noisy in real life.
But even for me, there is nothing quite like autumn. Some of the best memories of the year are made in the autumn - that cold Guinness at the end of the country walk, and the way the wooly jumpers cuddle you like an old friend. It's the season for hot chocolates around the fire and diving into tomes that you were too distracted to read in the summer.
Here are five more ways that we can adjust to, and embrace, that nip in the autumn air.
Layer up your home
Don't worry about packing your summer prints and light fabrics away for the cooler months; just layer up and chuck on some extra blankets and throws to create a feeling of cosiness. The welsh have a wonderful word to describe this feeling: cwtch. like so many welsh words, it doesn't have a direct translation into english, but evokes the feelings of cosiness, safely storing something away, a cuddle or a hug. For me, that includes using beautiful slubby scarves from my travels and adding dhurrie textures to my lighter linens. Use natural textures around the home - dried hydrangeas from the summer garden often turn a gorgeous golden tone which is perfect for the Autumn home.
Fling the windows open
Even when I've lived on busy main roads in the middle of the city, I have a habit of opening my windows. If you don't normally do this in the cooler months, give it a try. Lean out of the window if you can and breathe in the air. Drink your morning coffee by the window and try to look at the colours changing around you. Be mindfully aware of the seasonal shifts. When we lived in New York and could only really see roof tops, I tried to pay attention to the leaves landing on the tiles and the changing colours in the sky. This connection with the outdoors is ever more important when the inclement weather means we can be stuck inside for months on end.
I am extremely fickle when it comes to my favourite candle blends but I always reach for candles with a good throw and made by hand with essential oils. They are so much better for us that synthetic candles and can have really positive effects on our moods. I start my day by lighting a candle (we stock Join candles, handmade in small batches; my current favourite is the Hedgerow blend but honestly by next week it might have changed) and only leave it to burn for ten minutes or so. I light it over and over during the day when I need to soothe my mind and look at something other than a computer screen!
* Special offer: If you would like to order a candle after reading this, I would like to send it to you with free postage! Go to the Candles section of the shop to order your chosen candles (and feel free to browse the rest of the shop!) and when you get to the checkout you will be asked for any 'special instructions'. Write in that box that you read this blog post and I will deduct the postage costs after you have ordered! There is no way for me to deduct the postage before your payment is taken, but don't worry, it will be refunded.
Although I like to declutter on a weekly basis (okay, maybe not every week), Autumn is the time to chuck out the summer debris that can easily hang around to clear your mind as much as your space. Without being wasteful, is it time to trash the almost-empty sunscreen bottles? Will you ever get around to fixing the broken strap on your bikini? Be ruthless. Donate where you can. To get started on decluttering your clothes I would suggest you find Jessica Rose Williams, who makes it all seem very do-able. If you are toying with the Marie Kondo folding method, now is the time to do it - those thick sweaters and scarves take up so much space!
You know how much I love my string bags for storing my seasonal vegetables, which in the Autumn include all the good stuff - squashes, pumpkins, pears, the last of the plums and fantastic cooking apples. This is the season for crumbles and soups and really nourishing your body. Fight off colds with turmeric and locally made honey and slow the pace in the kitchen to really enjoy what is growing right now - if you can get it from a local farmer, even better (let me know your favourite farmers markets, I would love to discover some new locations!). I love following the Nature & Nourish podcast by Becky Coyle who pulls her listeners gently into appreciating what they see around them and being sensitive to the environment through the buying choices we make.
These are my five top suggestions friends. What do you love to do to embrace the shifting seasons?
Love Jo x
PIN FOR LATER...