Are we there yet? Is it autumn? Or (despite the last few days’ deluge of rain) are we heading for another Indian summer? It is of course, September, which to me signals the very start of autumn (which officially begins on the 22nd of the month) even on days when the temperature is nestled in the early 20s and the sun is shining (I wish)…In the past, this may have flung me into a fit of despair, but not so much these days. I love summer and I especially love early summer, but as I’ve grown older I’ve come to appreciate and love the seasons more. As Natasha so eloquently put it on Friday, we’re all about looking forward, not yearning back at the moment, so we’re both fully embracing autumn, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, and this is why….
Good bye shorts and flip-flops. Hello jeans, chunky knitwear, ankle boots, jackets, boho cardigans, scarves and long-sleeved dresses. As much as I love being able to throw on a pair of shorts and a top, and feel warmed to the bone just from the sunshine, it’s a different joy to that of layering item on item and snuggling into a much loved jumper or cardi. The beauty of a new coat! The excitement of a new pair of boots! The thrill of pulling on your favourite pair of jeans after what feels an age without them! Small pleasures, but ones that at this time of year you can luxuriate in….
Navy and oatmeal jersey dress, £150, Chinti & Parker; Cashmere and silk scarf, £197, Crumpet; Sateen cotton-blend chinos, £114, Maison Scotch
‘Funny’ jumper, £120, Des Petits Hauts; Metallic dropped sleeve coat, £450, Jaeger; Jagger Embellished Gaucho boot, £395, Russell & Bromley;
Is there anything more beautiful than the mist rolling over the fields on an early autumn morning? Even in town where fields are somewhat sparse, a misty morning excites the senses. 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
This one may be a little hard to sell. Ask me about long nights and short days in January and I may howl like a sun-starved prisoner kept captive in a cave. But, ask me now and I’d say that there is something quite enjoyable 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 there’s no other choice (especially with young children in tow). Yes, you’ll tire of it soon – probably after Christmas if you’re anything like me – but now, just enjoy it. After all, it gives you the perfect excuse to enjoy…
The return of Event TV
Admittedly, this one is for those whose Saturday nights aren’t what they used to be. I never ‘got’ Strictly Come Dancing until I became a mother. I don’t know why. I think, before, I found the idea of it a bit naff (without ever having watched it). But oh, the fool I was! How I’ve seen the light. These days the glitter is sprinkled all over my saturday nights as I’ve learned to love Strictly (which is all thanks to Claudia Winkleman. I became a fan of It Takes Two because of her and subsequently got drawn into the main event. Still gutted she’s ditched the weekly nights). Then of course, there’s the Sunday Night juggernaut that is Downton Abbey – enlivened I hope, by the demise of Matthew – come on, who didn’t feel the tiny bit nauseated by his line in ‘bed talk’ (back at the end of September) and the quite brilliant Homeland, which is back for a third series in October. If that’s not enough there’s X-Factor, which despite the warbling/sob stories/over-botoxed judges’ faces still has something, if only in the auditions stage….
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..
Summertime is all about leisurely strolls and basking in the sunshine, while autumn lends itself to long bracing walks, rosy cheeks and a well-deserved drink in a pub at the end of it. Walks bring talks, the kind of talks you only have with someone when you’re wrapped up warm in the middle of nowhere. The kind of talks that can often deepen a relationship, inspire something inside, make you think differently.
Log Fires and Bonfires
I think I’m a latent arsonist – I just love building a bonfire. Admittedly, this pleasure isn’t for everyone. However, it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love curling up in front of a crackling log fire with a book and/or a drink. Even better when the weather is foul outside…
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, sausages and mash, roast chicken, chilli, roast veg, cottage pie, crumble (try this Hemsley & Hemsley recipe for Vogue)..All the good/bad things that those autumn/winter clothes will hide….
I’m not going to try and convince you that autumn holidays are better than summer ones as let’s face it, a holiday is good at any time of year. In fact, if you pushed me I’d always choose January or February to go away, but there is something delicious about escaping during autumn when everyone else is staying at home. Whether it’s a weekend in the UK, a night in Paris or a in-search-of-sunshine trip to Miami, an autumn escape just feels more of a treat when you’re (almost) the only one doing it…
This of course, is fantasy autumn. The autumn of clear skies and perfect weather, when the novelty of these things are there to be embraced. Enjoy it now and don’t worry about January….
Images: Eve Poetry Photography; Martha Stewart; Nick Hopper