I really enjoy so many things about Autumn. In no particular order; conkers, turning leaf colours, crisp cold mornings with bright sunlight, hot chocolate, all things cinnamon, woolly hats, thick socks, evening candle light and chunky jumpers. I even like the clocks changing; apart from the fact you have an extra hour in the day, it’s also the season that my beloved step-dad died and somehow, going back to this time feels like I’m back on ‘his’ time. Grief can be tricky like that. Sometimes the things I expect to hit hard, like anniversaries, can pass by without knocking me, but then the smallest things like clocks going forward or missing his name at the bottom of cards can catch me out.
I actually started writing the weekly seasonal recipe blog as a way to help me with my grief and having a regular routine really helped to keep me grounded and present. I stopped writing them last year partly as I had realised I was choosing bakes that I thought people would want to bake, rather than it being about how I was feeling and what would soothe me. This shift made me realise that it wasn’t comforting me like it used to and was becoming less meaningful.
I still bake from these recipes to help me stay connected to the season. All the recipes are still available in the index at the side of the blog and I will be including the links to some brilliant autumn bakes here in this blog, to help you capture the flavour of this season too.
We are coming up to bonfire night this weekend and I will be going with friends and family to Battle bonfire parade. For those that don’t know this tradition, we in UK have parades and fireworks on the 5th of November in memory of Guy Fawkes, who attempted to blow up the houses of parliament in 1605. It is always an amazing site and in Sussex we have parades of dressed up people marching down the high street of ancient towns with burning torches, barrels of lit logs and fireworks.
A traditional thing to eat is a toffee apple, and I shared a recipe for my take on them here, using apples, chocolate, salted caramel and nuts. A perfect bonfire treat, if ever there was!
Did you do anything for Halloween? I grew up in the 80’s and I don’t remember Halloween celebrations being a ‘thing’…or maybe this was just my house! In my adult years I have fully embraced it and love pumpkin carving and decorating the house. In fact I think one of my most ‘pinned’ Pinterest boards is for Halloween! Pinterest is amazing for this if you haven’t explored it yet, then I highly recommend it. I have to set a timer to only allow myself so much time as hours could easily slip away. I managed to find an epic sized pumpkin this year along with a hoard of others. There is a fantastic pumpkin place in Slindon (A small village about an hour west of Brighton) which is held every year with every variety of pumpkin you could ever wish for. Even more fun if you pack a flask of hot chocolate and apple crumble muffins.
This year was the first time I experienced trick or treaters! We have just moved to a basement flat and previously were 4 floors up in the last place, trust me, no one was doing those stairs. We had some very cute vampires and skeletons turn up for trick or treating who I am sure are probably still hopped up on sugar as I type.
After Halloween, everything suddenly starts to get very festive. Now, I love the festivities, in fact I also have a large Pinterest board for this too, but I am not ready yet to move into more wintery territory. So part of the challenge for me, is to hold fast and keep the autumn energy flowing, having walks in the countryside to see the leaves changing on the trees, baking delicious biscuits like these ginger, orange and oat biscuits or cinnamon swirl biscuits are up there on my list. What are some of your best autumn activities?
Along with all these seasonal markers, I am also trying to step up my self care which goes for my mind and my body. Carving pumpkins and baking will forever help me feel peaceful, but I have been trying to work on my physical health too.
A couple of years ago I did the couch to 5K plan, an NHS app that helps you go from someone who is not a runner, to being someone who could run for 30 minutes/5K. I completed the programme and then had an ankle injury so lost momentum and then started again, and then for one reason or another I stopped. I mentioned my wonderful step dad at the start of this blog and it was to him that I promised I would keep up with the running before he died, as he was so proud and impressed that I was doing it. So when I feel completely unmotivated to get out and run, I remember my promise, and usually that gets my bum in gear. So I am back in the momentum of running and aiming to keep my physical health maintained. This will not be easy as we move deeper into the darker days. I will keep you posted on how this goes.
Until next time, start lighting all the candles and snuggle in,