A Note On Autumn
With the autumnal equinox just around the corner (it's on the 23rd of September) and days drawing to an earlier finish, it's time to get excited for the season of change - think trees in vibrant hues of red and orange and cosy evenings at home reading a good book.
Now, I know we are all sad to see summer depart, especially since it never really arrived in some European countries (England, I'm looking at you!), but let's embrace the new season with open arms and make the most of its crisp air and beautiful light. Below, I've compiled a list (yes, a list!) of daytime and evening activities to do that surpass the usual "read a good book snuggled up on the sofa".
5 Autumn Day Activities
Rather than going for your usual walk in the nearby park, how about catching a train/bus to a different part of the city you're living in this weekend! Autumn is a great time to explore unknown parks in your area, with all the trees changing colour and the last flowers shedding their wilting petals.
No matter where you're based, there are bound to be interesting museums, galleries or old manor houses/public gardens around you can take a look at. Investigate and soak in some history and culture! In the UK, I would highly recommend seeking out your local National Trust locations.
Having recently developed an insatiable thirst for literature, visits to a local bookstore have become a weekly occurrence. And some of the best books can be found in secondhand stores and charity shops (I recently acquired two Margaret Atwood books, as well as works by Daphne Du Maurier and a book on David Hockney for bargain prices). This season, make it your goal to find literary classics at lower prices.
Now this may not be an obvious activity for city dwellers, but autumn's main perk is the possibilities to go out and forage wild mushrooms, apples and berries. Depending on your area, you can also find sweet grapes ready for the picking. In fact, my favourite time in autumn is when the 'young wine' – fermented, freshly pressed grape juice, typical for the area I grew up in – is readily available at every vineyard. For further literature on foraging, check out The Forager Handbook.
So what to do with all those foraged fruit? How about making your own jam, chutneys, compotes or cakes! While standard recipes are delicious, trying out something a little more 'wild' and experimenting with flavour combinations can be incredibly fun and rewarding. For inspiration, check out Lillie O'Brian's fig and earl grey jam.
5 Autumn Evening Activities
With the evenings getting longer and darker, it's time to finally cook those dinners for friends you've been talking about for ages but never really got round to organise. So light some candles, chill some prosecco and get the food on the go. If you're unsure what to cook, check out Anna Jones for vegetarian feasts that appeal even to the carnivores amongst us.
What about learning a new language this season? I've been busy bettering my non-existent Spanish thanks to the free mobile phone app Duolingo. It's a great excuse to start planning your next holiday whilst getting acquainted with the local language.
But it's not all about languages! I've been meaning to revive my pottery skills for quite some time – and what better way to learn a new skill, as well as make your christmas presents by hand this year! Local schools and universities often offer pottery and textile courses at more affordable prices.
The internet is around us wherever we are, and sitting down and concentrating on a book is becoming more and more difficult – but how about putting Netflix on hold for an evening and joining a book club. Whether you actually go to meetings or discuss your book picks via email or Twitter, it's a great way to exchange your opinion with like-minded people.
Last but not least, light a scented candle, apply a facemask and flick through a good magazine. Because nothing is better than spending your evening drinking a good cup of tea and allowing yourself a well-deserved break. Good autumnal magazines include the latest copy of The Gourmand and newfound addiction Beauty Papers (props to That Grace Girl for this one).