It poured with rain in my neck of the woods on Saturday. That meant I had very little to do, so I grabbed my notebook and pen, and set to collecting a list of actions and activities that I want to do during October and November: things I can do to enjoy Autumn in all her beauty and majesty.
When you discount travelling too far and seeing friends or relatives in large groups, life can (sometimes) seem a little…. small. It’s not, of course, and it’s in those small details that the marrow of life’s experiences is lived. Noticing them, appreciating them, recording them all make them important to you. They may never get you to the front page of the local newspaper, but they will get you to the top of your mental health. At times of stress when the world is going to explode (it seems, according to reports from journalists) turning inwards, and keeping your own cup exceedingly steady is the best action to take.
Here, then, is my Autumn Might Do list. As in, I might do them if I want to do them, but no pressure.
- Decorate the front entrance for Autumn. I’ve already got my autumn wreath up there, and the lanterns with fairy lights inside. This year I’m thinking of adding a few small pumpkins and squashes, and a carefully chosen basket of acorns, chestnuts, nuts and other autumn fruits. That should see me through Halloween and into November.
- Collect all the leaves in the garden together and store them in hessian sacks to put at the back of the garden and leave to rot until next year, when I can spread them as mulch. The hessian sacks decompose, too, and allow air inside the leaf pile to avoid the worst of a slimey mess like you get with plastic bags. Don’t forget to collect the leaves twice: the first time, you really need to jump through them, in them, on them and thrown them around. Do this whether there are children there or not. Laugh well, and repeat as necessary.
- Walk through the woods, often, at different times of day. Choose one tree and take a photograph of it regularly, at least once a week. We have woods nearby, only a 200 meter walk away really, and it’s quite possible to be there in 5 minutes.
- Keep a one sentence diary focusing on the weather. Keep any weather or temperature diary. I’ve seen cross stitchers do a weather chart for a month, or the one that fascinates me is a crochet blanket where every row is a different colour according to that day’s temperature or every square records the temperature. I’ve finished my big projects for the year, so I’m on for finding a new one.
- Explore comfort food and add a few new recipes to my collection. This week we’ve been eating from The Hairy Bikers British Classics cookbook, and already found two brilliant recipes that I’m going to make regulars during winter, but I’m also watching and enjoying Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts on BBC2, and I have that book as well.
- Seasonify my skin care regime. Cold winds and central heating play havoc with my skin, and I discovered this summer that age (*cough* menopause) has made my skin feel dry for the first time in my life. I’m trying Garnier Organic Lavandin Anti Aging Day Cream, which has a very pleasant lavender scent. So far, it’s felt very light in texture and sinks in well.
- Play with Autumn colours in my clothes and my sketchbook. The colours of autumn were very fashionable last year, so I’m enjoying playing with colour combinations. Royal blue goes well with ochre, while a rust brown top and orange scarf make a statement about the season. The orange scarf also goes well with a forest green top I picked up a couple of years ago. And my sketchbook is getting well used this year, too. I found 15 Autumn Art Journal Prompts on the Birch and Button website useful. Messing with paper and paint can be so relaxing.
- Feeding the birds. I invested wisely in a proper garden feeder at the start of Lockdown this year, and it has been a godsend. If there’s nothing on TV there’s still life to watch as long as the sun’s in the sky.
- Finally, I’ve spiced up my drinking habits. I love chai anyway, but finding a new variety and enjoying a solitary pot on a Sunday is a great way to appreciate the gifts of Autumn. Especially when, as happened last week, the rain lashes against the window and the sky glowers overhead. My favourite teas come from Bird and Blend, who have the most divinely seasonal flavours. For October and November I love Spiced Pumpkin Pie, while when December hits me I will shift to the spicy and tasty Gingerbread Chai Rooibos. I don’t get commission off them if you buy any, but tell them I sent you and they might send me a tin of their new Christmas teas: who knows?
Simple seasonal pleasures: nothing expensive or difficult, nothing too physical either, or requiring me to travel far. This year has been about discovering the magic of home as much as possible, hasn’t it? About blessing our homes and lives by taking care with the little details. My life is built on those little things, and they give me such joy. Now I’m off… to work a little in the office and then to write as much as possible. I’m behind with my Contagious Christmas book: somehow I spent a few weeks in September hugging my daughter, not stuck behind a computer. Those little things keeping me going again….
If you’d like to support me….
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on Hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? E-books give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy even just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
My latest book, Cosy Happy Hygge is available as an ebook or a paperback on Amazon now. It’s about using rhythm and ritual to make your life a gentler, kinder place. Writing it has been an important part of my mental health recovery.
My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA. Although it was inspired by the blog, it’s completely original work and not collected blogposts.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in e-book version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
If you already have my books, or just want to support me as an independent writer, you can always just send me the price of a cup of coffee as a friend, to paypal.me/HyggeJem . I tend to use a lot (all) of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.
If you buy any of the books or some of the items through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, as an Amazon Affiliate, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.
Truthfully, I’ll probably never make a living as a writer, but I do make a little extra income that gets ploughed back into books and magazines. One obsession feeds the other.