Aaaah Autumn. Delicious, crisp, scrumptious Autumn, the shabbiest, chicest season of all. At
1. Start squirrelling away some groceries for the times later on in the season when it is just too cosy to leave your house and face the flourescent horror of the supermarket. Add
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3. Spend baking day this week filling your freezer with warming soups. Nothing is more homely than having a big vat of chunky vegetable soup on the go: the smell alone is enough to make you never want to leave the house. Serve with heavy multigrained homemade bread and lunch in the glow of candlelight.
4. Subtly change the signature scent your house wears to something a little less fresh than that you chose in the summer. Add amber, musk, orange,
5. Harvest the apples on your trees and spend an afternoon making puree, chutneys and pies. Leave a basket in the garden for collecting the fruit. In fact Autumn is the time for going kind of basket crazy: leave them by the front door for wet shoes. Line them with a crisp floral teatowls and fill with the apples you have collected. Tip red fruit into old fashioned pottery mixing bowls and bring a little autumnal colour into your kitchen. Buy colourful seasonal vegetables at the market and create autumnal still lifes and re-invent baking day for Autum, caramalise onions and serve rich mustard mash and roasted peppers with gourmet sausages…
6. Get out into the garden and sweep away every last trace of Summer: then make a ritual of it every morning, to have your breakfast on the step, and brush away the leaves crowding your deck (just don’t get too carried away, leaves are the most gorgeous of natures carpets!). Paint your broom handle moss green, powder blue or baby pink to inspire you and trim bare branches and take into the house to use as sculptural still lifes or to hang across a window and display a little collection of sepia photographs or seasonal foliage..
7. Coffee is deliciously Autumnal isn’t it? Get yourself to a fabulous coffee emporium and choose a signature coffee for the season. Vanilla anyone? Then search out an old enamel coffee pot and make a date with yourself to have coffee and homemade shortbread when your morning routine is done and dusted. Add opera music and a letter from a friend for the perfect Brocante morning..
8. Old films just smack of cosy afternoons curled up on the sofa. Go through your collection and choose a little pile you haven’t watched for a while, or better yet, sign up to one of the online dvd hire companies and get old films in the mail, as and when they unexpectedly arrive. Failing that choose a deliciously old fashioned radio station and listen to the afternoon play as you potter around the house. I use Sky radio (on the Tv) to select from a variety of BBC radio channels most afternoons…
9. Seek out a length of tweed or boucle wool and drape over the back of your sofa. Go treasure hunting for welsh blankets, crocheted square throws or the rich paisley brushed wool shawls that are going to be huge this Winter. Keep to one colour palette and pile into baskets in the living room and snug. Add lots and lots of blankets to the bottom of your bed and drape the landing bannister with patchwork quilts.
10. Remember Autumn doesn’t have to be pumpkin coloured (though it is so evocative isn’t it?). Damson, plum, moss green,maroon, honey, and even a certain shade of petrol blue will all bring the richness of autumn into your home, and even just the teeniest accents will change the atmosphere dramatically. Tie curtains back with long lengths of rich velvet ribbon, or thread it though crocheted or lace cushions or throws for glimspe of Autumnal hues.
11. Sunflowers are scrumptiously autumnal to me. There is a huge field just around the corner here positively beaming with them. Mix them with red berries, twisted willow and peacock feathers for a lovely seasonal ring. Hang them upside down in the kitchen and dry them amongst bundles of herbs.
12. Start winterising your home: change sheer nets for lined curtains, check insulation, reseal windows, sew yourself the vintage housekeepers equivalent of the sausage dog to prevent door drafts. Order yourself a scrumptious sheepskin liner for your bed. Change your cotton sheets to flannel or cosy brushed cotton. Cover tables with vintage chenille cloths or small quilts (very Provence!), hang scarves around the bannister or in the hallway and go mad with scatter cushions (you can never have too many!) . Hang cosy
13. Allocate a fabulously snuggly jumper or cardigan as your house jumper. Leave it folded in the basket next to your armchair for long cold nights. Mens oversized jumpers work best. Go root through his wardrobe now. In kids rooms dig out winter jumpers and hang on their wardrobes as a visual reminder of seasonal change. Change lightweight dressing gowns for snuggly flannel, and tartan jarmies and slipper socks.
14. Get into the habit of making home from school/work time scrumptiously cosy for the kids/partner, or even just yourself. Choose a hometime
15. Make a ritual of taking a daytime pine scented bath just before lunch, then wrap up snuggly and drink soup for lunch in front of the fire. Leave the bath water for a while after you get out and close the bathroom door behind you to make the room smell divine. Then open all the windows downstairs and get out into the fresh air to shake off the end of summer blues…
16. Start collecting twigs and berries and branchs and cones and conkers and add them to your seasonal pot pourris, wreaths or displays. Fill baskets with logs and put next to the fire. (Even if it’s electric.) Dry huge bundles of dried lavender, basil and sage to use as smudge sticks or to throw on the fire late at night.
17. Wrap your Christmas list books in ribbon, add a couple of glitzy pens, a box of deliciously spoiling chocolates, a few pairs of snuggly socks, (yey its sock time!!), a favorite novel, and some magazines and put with your house jumper in the basket next to your armchair. Get yourself an oversized vintage velvet cushion, choose a cranberry coloured juice glass and a large decadant mug for long Autumny drinks and hibernate in your very own corner of the house.
18. Change the wreath on your front door to something fabulously Autumnal. Remember it doesn’t have to be all leaves and pumpkins. Wrap in tattered lengths of tweed and add a huge velvety corsage, or cover in berries and add lengths of rich brocade ribbon…
19. Overhaul your doorstep. Give it a coat of tough varnish, then either buy a new mat, or give the old one a thorough brush, shake and vacuum, them flutter a few coins onto the ground and cover with your mat to welcome wealth into your home…
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21. Enjoy! Autumn is fun! Go puddle splashing, leaf kicking or play conkers with the kids. Take an Autumn picnic to the park and drink hot chocolate on the bare sands of the seaside..