After being in some form of lockdown for well over a year, the thought of hibernating during the colder months feels almost inconceivable. Even this self-proclaimed autumn queen feels a little apprehensive at the idea of staying inside again!
However, with the virus still lingering in the air it seems sensible to retreat indoors as the temperatures begin to fall once more. Of course I plan to venture back out for our rustic wedding in November and anything to do with our upcoming house purchase, but aside from these more extravagant events you’ll most likely find me inside our apartment surrounded by pumpkin-spiced candles for the foreseeable future.
Thankfully the new season lends itself perfectly to indoor occupations. In preparation for my upcoming hibernation, I’ve come up with a handful of wholesome, low-cost activities that are perfect for cosy autumn days spent inside.
Of course, long walks through leaf-strewn forests are also mandatory if you need a little fresh air!
I’ve been dreaming of knitting myself a cosy jumper for the longest time. Knitting is such a wholesome and meditative activity, and I love the idea of wearing something that I made with my own two hands.
I’m proud to share that I’ve recently learned how to knit (thanks to the kindness and patience of Kathy, Elliott’s mum!) and have been working my way through a huge blanket scarf made with the most autumnal brown wool. I wanted to tackle something relatively simple before I move on to a more complicated jumper pattern, and I’m happy to report that my scarf is coming together nicely.
Of course it’s a little wonky and wobbly with a few mistakes here and there, but I couldn’t be more excited to finish it off before the colder weather draws in. I plan to share the pattern here on my blog once I’ve perfected it!
Can you think of anything more cosy than curling up on the sofa with a warm mug of spiced tea and a freshly-baked cinnamon bun, knitting away while a true crime documentary plays in the background? It’s my idea of heaven.
Crafting a meal with wholesome, seasonal ingredients is one of the cosiest activities I could ever imagine. There’s nothing better than venturing out to my local farm on a blustery autumn day, gathering armfuls of pumpkins and kabocha squash and then scurrying back home to turn it all into something delicious.
Over the past year I’ve been challenging myself to recreate the traditional Japanese meals that I enjoyed so much during my travels. It’s the perfect opportunity to take a peek into a fascinating culture and has taken me out of my comfort zone more times than I can count! Japanese recipes can be a little fiddly, but now I can whip up a bowl of noodle soup and garnish my curry with sweet potato korokke without blinking an eye. I’ve even learned how to make my own vegetable gyoza from scratch and have mastered the ultimate spicy sesame ramen – all nourishing and satisfying meals that are perfect for this time of year.
Along with Japanese dishes I also love creating wholesome, hearty British meals made with seasonal ingredients. I particularly enjoy making vegetable pies with flaky puff pastry, toad-in-the-hole (vegetarian sausages, of course!) and the traditional roast dinner. And of course, you can’t go wrong with hearty stews, soups and casseroles to warm you up during autumn and all the way through winter.
Much like a squirrel, I make it a priority to forage and gather my favourite seasonal ingredients as soon as I notice the colder weather beginning to draw in. My kitchen worktop is home to the most beautiful produce-inspired bowls and plates which are perfect for displaying the fruits (and vegetables!) of my labour, and you’ll likely find me organising and admiring my latest harvest during the autumn months.
I’ve mentioned it countless times here on my website, but I absolutely love visiting Hewitt’s Farm at this time of year. They have the most beautiful apple orchards, fields of bright orange pumpkins and crates filled to the brim with the quirky and delicious kabocha squash. I inevitably leave with a huge haul of produce including local eggs, honey and homegrown vegetables that form the base of many of our favourite seasonal meals.
The cusp between late summer and early autumn is also the perfect time to forage for wild blackberries and pick tangy Bramley apples straight from the tree in our back garden. Our harvest is so abundant each year that I’ve had to get creative with both sweet and savoury recipes – check out 8 Recipes To Celebrate Blackberry Season along with 9 Ways To Use Up Your Autumn Apple Harvest for the most delicious September meals straight from my doorstep.
As evidenced by the countless fall-inspired recipes floating around the internet, baking is a comforting and restful way to spend an autumn day. There’s something soothing about measuring out cupfuls of flour and teaspoons of this or that, and your home will smell amazing while your treat cooks in the oven. Best of all, you’ll get to eat something tasty at the end of it all!
There’s nothing better than waking up early on a Sunday morning and mixing up a batch of fresh dough, leaving it to rise for a few hours before turning it into something delicious. Recently we’ve been reaping the benefits of my homemade coffee and walnut cake, lemon loaf, cinnamon buns and sweet potato brownies, and I may share a few of my favourite recipes here on my website very soon.
I love to document my favourite things, so it stands to reason that my website comes alive during the autumn months. There’s just so much to write about – the seasonal vegetables, the cold-weather traditions (pumpkin picking, anyone?) and of course the gorgeous foliage and scenery that are abundant at this time of year.
Cooler temperature and falling leaves bring with them a burst of creativity, and I end up with so many ideas that I simply couldn’t give them all the time and attention that they deserve. I often spend hours writing during autumn, with the wind rattling my windows and my trusty lamp shining a cheerful light next to me. Just thinking about it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside!
Of course, you don’t have to write a blog. There’s something special about lighting a candle and settling down to pour your heart out into a humble notebook, and I do my best to journal at least once a week. Even if you don’t think you’re the best writer, I challenge you to write a page or so each week this autumn and see where your creativity takes you.
Often overlooked in favour of more traditional autumn activities, stargazing is one of the cosiest and most fascinating pastimes out there. I love to climb our spiral staircase to the roof and gaze up at the stars, wrapped in a warm blanket. We also have a telescope that provides a more detailed look at the planets, particularly the moon with all its craters and shadows.
Last year we watched the Space X satellites soar across the night sky, and recently we were lucky enough to see the International Space Station pass overhead – two nights in a row!
If you’re a beginner stargazer then I highly recommend the Sky Guide app – it shows exactly which stars, planets and constellations are visible and provides valuable nuggets of information about each one. If I ever look up at the night sky and wonder which star is shining so brightly, a quick glance at my phone tells me everything I need to know.
I also love to spend a cosy and productive evening watching documentaries and educational TV shows about space and the universe. It’s such a fascinating topic, and my mind often boggles when I attempt to make sense of it all. Brian Cox is a firm favourite, and Elliott and I have booked tickets to his Horizons tour next year. I’m sure it will be worth the wait!
While shopping centres and busy restaurants have their own charm, nothing quite beats getting cosy at home and diving into one of these wholesome and relaxing activities. Will you be staying inside this autumn?