sights & sounds

I LOVE Autumn. The colours, the textures, the noises, the smells… It awakens the senses and shocks us in new ways. Summer ends and Autumn creeps it’s way – sneakily – into our lives. We get the odd cold day in August and think the season of sun has ended.. But Autumn keeps us on our toes. Brings a whole week of sunshine at a temperature we didn’t expect to see for another year. And then it disappears. Just like that.

Waking up at 7am starts to seem so much earlier than it was in the months prior to September – or October if you want to be really crazy (yes 2011… I’m talking to you).

We dither over whether to turn the central heating on.. Is it time to yet? And before you know it, it’s Christmas!

No? Have I jumped the gun slightly?

I have just finished a short 2 week placement working for BBC Homes & Antiques magazine… on December and January’s Christmas Bumper Issues no less. Yes, it has confused me ever so slightly. I am thinking about Christmas presents, watching Christmas films and choosing the crackers I want for the dinner table and the decorations I want to make for the house. After talking to my dad after work one night this week, I realised how premature my festive excitement was. Which is why I have decided to focus my enthusiasm on Autumn and everything this season brings. The sounds of crunching leaves and the wind and rain hitting the windows as you’re snuggled up in bed. The sights of fallen leaves and conkers in every shade of gold and brown. The scents of cooked food wafting around in the Autumn breeze…

Fairs appear in parks, fields and on roads, the smell of candyfloss and roasted chestnuts fill the air, winter carnival fills the local towns each weekend and it all ends in an explosion of excitement on 5th November. Now, I know the story behind Guy Fawkes’ Night isn’t great, but I don’t have a single bad memory of this night in my lifetime. Everyone wraps up warm, ventures outside to face the elements, and comes together with sparklers, a big bonfire, a huge display of fireworks and tonnes of yummy scrummy food. Toffee apples, toasted marshmallows, a twist on the summertime BBQ, homemade soup, hot chocolate, butterscotch, mulled apple juice or cider, baked potatoes and anything you can wrap up in foil and throw on a bonfire is consumed during this time.

It is a time to be creative – in the kitchen, outside, in the rest of the house..

I am going to be experimenting with recipes, making apple cider floats, using lots of nutmeg and cinnamon, making toffee apples, apple chutney… whilst also making autumnal wreaths for the front door and doing something with candles (I am undecided as to what that will be yet..). And we can’t forget about being inventive with our wardrobes. It’s the time of year where we dig things out we haven’t seen or worn in a while, and we layer them with newer items, mixing the textures and creating new colour palettes.. and adding scarves, gloves and hats.

It’s a season to mix things up. What are you going to be creative with?

PS. I would totally recommend you try this recipe: http://thatssomichelle.blogspot.com/2011/09/apple-cider-floats.html

Apple Cider float

…and also, purchase BBC Homes & Antiques magazine in December and January. There are loads of creative Christmas ideas for handmade decorations and shopping gift lists including the best wreaths, crackers and stockings. It’s nearly time to get excited!