Here in Cambridge, the wheel of the seasons has turned and autumn has arrived in a flurry of umber leaves. Although I am at my happiness when the skies are blue and the air balmy, I treasure the fact that in England, we experience each season in turn (a novelty to a girl who grew up in Australia).
As the leaves begin to fall and the evenings grow longer, I love watching the countryside change and then racing indoors after bracing walks to spend cosy nights indoors. These are a few of my favourite ways to spend the autumn (I’ll be aiming to check them all of again this season):
1. Leisurely weekend walks in all the most beautiful areas of my city as the leaves change colour – not missing a single opportunity to jump in a big pile of crunchy leaves underfoot, of course. I’ll be strolling along the Backs in Cambridge (the beautiful paths that line the River Cam, with magnificent views of all the grandest colleges), my family’s neighbourhood of Chiswick in West London, and the beautiful London parks.
2. Homemade pumpkin pies. The sweet, nutmeggy taste of my mother’s pumpkin pies is one of my earliest memories, and there is nothing quite as delicious as the smell that fills the house as it bakes in the oven.
3. Making the home decadently cosy; an inviting haven on cold, dark evenings. I’ll be stocking my place with gorgeous scented candles (to make coming home each evening that little bit more wonderful), good books and board games for rainy weekends, beautiful lamps to cast a warm glow, some jazz tunes and a few bottles of champagne for romantic evenings, fluffy pillows and snuggly blankets for cosying up.
4. Visiting new galleries and museums on grey days. When the skies outside are steely, I love venturing indoors for a hearty dose of cultural enlightenment in the form of a new exhibits or previously unexplored museums. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never visited more than a few rooms of the British Museum, so that is at the top of my list, along with the marvellous galleries around the Upper East Side when I head to New York later this month.
5. Spend a whole afternoon lazily browsing the shelves of a favourite bookshop, or sitting in a coffee shop with a stack of good reads. I love getting lost in the wonderful second hand bookshops of Cambridge, or spending hours lazily reading the papers over coffee and cake at Fitzbillies.
6. Visiting the farmer’s markets for new season produce. And then turning it into delicious soups and tartelets.
7. Apple-picking in the local orchard. Every year, the Clever Boyfriend and I ride our bikes (or amble through riverbank meadows for a wonderful hour) to the Granchester Orchards (a Cambridge treasure, where generations of students idle away sunny weekends; Lord Byron even immortalised it in a poetic ode). There, we sit beneath the apple trees for for tea and scones from the little outdoor cafe, say hello to the happy cows and geese in the meadows, and then cycle home with out baskets creaking beneath the weight of the freshly-picked apples and pears.
8. Packing a picnic (or better yet, an overnight bag) and venturing further afield, where the air is clean and the scenery beautiful. I love autumnal weekends away, even if they’re in my own city (see: last year’s ‘staycation’). This year, I’m planning a romantic weekend trip to Oxford (where I took the above picture) or the beautiful Cotswolds.
9. Changing my beauty routine to match my mood. Plummy nail polish, bright berry lips, winged eyeliner and glitter eyelids for when sugary pastels no longer feel appropriate.
10. Refreshing my wardrobe with beautiful new-season essentials. There’s something so satisfying about taking everything out of my wardrobe, having a good old clearout, storing away my summery dresses for the season and replacing them with snuggly new buys in the form of a gorgeous coat, cashmere jumpers and crisp new basics.
What are you favourite things to do at this time of year?
Love, Miss B xx