If there is a season I really enjoy and look forward to every year, it is this one. I eagerly look at the weeks passing by during the Summer until we reach 21st September (which I still consider the first day of Autumn) and I can exclaim: hurray for the cosy season of warm jumpers, delicious pumpkin soups, blackberry picking, walks on crunchy leaves, apple desserts and all of the vibrant yellow, orange and red colours everywhere!
This is the season where I feel I can slow down a bit and enjoy everyday's little things until the rush of Christmas hits us (I have nothing against Christmas by the way; I quite enjoy it but it just goes a bit too fast for me). This does not mean I take a three-months holiday obviously but the idea is to make things nice and cosy enough to appreciate at the end of work days and weekends.
So how do I go about planning the next three months and getting ready for this beautiful season? Here are a few of my tips (and you do not have to go along with it, this is just a starting point to then make your own Autumn plans):
Who says Autumn also says colder weather on the way. This means the next few months will be spent indoors a lot more than usual. And because of that, it is a nice feeling to know home will be as cosy and clean as possible.
First, I start with a thorough clean (I will not tell you how to clean every room in your house here, this is not what this blog post is really about). Obviously, I will not avoid cleaning altogether over the next few months but instead of spending hours at a time with the process every week, I will divide little tasks over 10 to 15 minutes on week days (I have been testing this in our apartment lately and it works pretty well - it also means weekends free of cleaning and tidying!).
Then, I make sure a few other things are ready for those colder days and nights: blankets are washed and folded in a large basket at a handy reach for those evenings curling up on the couch; I also make sure my warmer jumpers are clean after a few months sitting on a shelf in the wardrobe.
Finally, one of my biggest Autumn cleaning steps is a good bit of decluttering. I have talked about how we decluttered most of our home a few months ago. We took advantage of a warm and sunny weekend two weeks ago to take out three large boxes of things that were stored in our coal shed outside. We now have three empty boxes in that shed (everything given to charity - another example of things we accumulate for no reason whatsoever) and it is a great feeling knowing we will not have to go and look for things we think are in there in the middle of cold days (plus, I am pretty sure that huge spider has created a large family in there over the Summer...).
Once this is done (let's be honest, this is boring but necessary), it is time to focus on nice things to plan for the season.
I like to look up local parks for long Autumn walks. It's all great to curl up on the couch in a cosy blanket but it also feels good getting some fresh air. Plus, you will enjoy returning to a warm cosy home even more after this.
If on my own, I put on my headphones and play a podcast or a music playlist that I set up especially for the season (this is still in the works so I will share a link as soon as it is ready). I usually carry a camera with me so I like to snap a few landscape images or close ups of nature and its gorgeous fall colours.
I look up museums and see if there are any interesting exhibitions happening. Even if I have been many times in my favourite Dublin museums, I like going back once in a while, especially if I am in town on a rainy day. I really enjoy walking into this type of calm environment to get away from the buzz of the city. As it happens, Culture Night in Dublin is on the very first day of Autumn this year so it's a perfect excuse to see places and museums I have not visited before.
Organising dinner parties at home at the weekend is a great way to make most of the colder season and spend time with good friends. I either look up interesting recipes to try, build up a cheese and charcuterie board, bake homemade pizzas or take out the raclette machine from its box for the occasion (look up raclette, I can guarantee you this is a perfect meal to share at a dinner party). If people are in the mood for it, we even grab a few games to play while having tea and sweets after dinner (and by sweets, it usually means just some delicious chocolate). A few of our favourites are Catan, Dominion, Dixit, Trivial Pursuit and Cards Against Humanity (the latter can cause many tears of laughter, something I have witnessed every time we have played this game).
Before the season starts, I also like to plan either a cosy weekend away somewhere in the country or a small holiday abroad. This is something to look forward to in order to break down the Autumn routine a bit. A few airlines have sales in September so you might find an interesting deal for organising your holidays.
As well as a weekend away in Ireland, we planned a lovely time away this season that includes not just one but two cities (in two different countries) to visit abroad: one we go to often and one I have never been to. We are going towards the end of Autumn and it will be a nice break before the build up to Christmas, which will be a very busy month for us.
The colder months are also the occasion to do more indoor activities. This could include arts, craft and DIY for example. Why not take up a new hobby? Or finally learn something that is on your goals list? For me, that could include knitting (see that grey blanket on the photos? I made it myself three years ago!), drawing and painting (I really want to learn painting with watercolours) and also DIYing our Christmas cards for example.
For the weekends, I like to try new things and this is the occasion to test seasonal recipes from the many cookbooks on our shelves or those accumulated on my Pinterest board.
I cannot describe every single recipe I have in mind but one thing for sure about what I will be cooking is that it will be very much on the side of comfort food ranging from soups, stews and Sunday roasts to apple tarts, rice puddings and crumbles.
As for drinks, my beverage of choice being green tea, I will swap my Summer iced teas for the hot brew kind. And with the season, I also look for a different flavour. I have been drinking a lot of three mints green tea lately but will soon swap for lemon green tea or lemon, ginger and honey which I find energising especially as the weather gets colder.
Weekends will be the occasion to bring back my beloved hazelnut and cognac hot chocolate and maybe try my hand at hot apple cider.
On that last note, what are your favourite Autumn drinks? Alcoholic or non alcoholic? Please leave your recommendations in the comments below if you have any.
So, what should you read you may ask? Well, we all have different tastes in what we like reading so it is not an easy question to answer. Some of us like fiction, others non fiction; then there are so many genres as well.
I build up my list on Goodreads every time I hear about an interesting book or I remember a classic I would really like to add to it. Some books are much longer than others to read and I tend to keep those for Autumn and Winter as I know I will be spending more time indoors curled up on the couch by the fire (ahem... the radiator in my case).
If you are interested in cosy lifestyle, especially when it comes to Autumn, The Little Book of Hygge (affiliate link)* by Meik Wiking is a great read. Plus, you can find some lovely ideas you could use this season.
You could make a list based on an autumnal theme too. For example, Halloween is a very common theme and if this is the style of literature you enjoy, the choices in terms of crime, mystery, thrillers and horror books are quite vast.
While I might have the occasional crime novels popping up in my list over the next three months (I have two novels by Fred Vargas waiting in my pile of books), my current read is a French autobiographical account by Marguerite Duras and I plan to follow this with recommendations such as Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (affiliate link)* by Gail Honeyman and The Glass Castle (affiliate link)* by Jeannette Walls among others.
I do not have a very specific theme but I do enjoy watching classics during the colder Autumn months: 'When Harry Met Sally', 'Dead Poets Society', the 'Back to the Future' series, Alfred Hitchcock's movies (especially 'Vertigo'), 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' etc. More recently, I have been enjoying John Hughes' movies and it might be time to rewatch 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' (even though we do not celebrate Thanksgiving this side of the world, it still is quite seasonal).
I might add a few Halloween themed movies around those specific days but it will never go as far as horror films (those are a major nope for me).
In terms of tv series, my watching list this Autumn includes the new season of Chef's Table and new episodes of The Good Place.
Tv series I am in the mood to watch this time of year are: Ozark, Stranger Things, The Bridge, The Killing and Mindhunter. Yes, that is quite a dark theme but I will also add Gilmore Girls to this for a more cheerful side of things, especially the autumnal/thanksgiving episodes (that New England Autumn foliage = swoon!).
What do you like watching in Autumn? I do love a good movie or tv series recommendation (except horror themed, you can skip that). Share your favourites in the comments below!
I hope this post gives you a few ideas to try this season.
But do tell me: what are your favourite things to do and enjoy in Autumn?