As the summer cools into the early days of autumn, it’s easy to feel a little gloomy about the end of a season and the start of a new one. Lots of people find these next few months hard, though I know lots of people love it too. However you feel about autumn, it can be really helpful to acknowledge the change and create new habits that can bring acceptance and happiness. Here are some things I’m going to be doing as I walk gently into autumn.
Take time to look to nature for the metamorphosis afoot. Blackberry picking is a lovely thing to do with children or on your own. Wandering along the hedgerow looking for perfectly ripe fruits is the perfect way to slow down for a moment, and just observe what nature is doing at this time of year. We freeze blackberries in small quantities to add to apple crumbles over the winter, and every year I look forward to the thought of making blackberry pies with homemade pastry. I’ve still never made one, but the optimistic thought of doing so cheers me! (For the last 10 years I’ve wanted to make a homemade bakewell tart, and this year I did it for the first time. So there’s hope for my blackberry pie in the next decade!).
I’ll be buying packets of hardy annuals to sow straight into the ground while it’s still warm. Sowing larkspur, cornflower, calendula and love-in-a-mist will remind me that whilst above ground it might soon look like nature’s closing down, actually there’s new life happening too, and by sowing now I’ll have an earlier and better display of flowers.
I’ll be cutting down the lavender that thrives in our garden too, but slightly sparingly as the bees are still enjoying some of the remaining flowers. This winter we’re going to be working on a new lavender hot chocolate as our Truly Magnificent Hot Chocolates with Rose and Violet have been so popular. Our area of Surrey and Hampshire has many lavender farms and fields, so we’ll be celebrating this fragrant crop soon.
Cupsmith Truly Magnificent Hot Chocolate with Violet
Back to school (for grown-ups)
It doesn’t matter how old you are, a new pencil case or notebook still excites. To help me feel organised I’m going to buy a notebook from Papier and enjoy sitting at the kitchen table and making my plans for the months ahead. (If you don't know Papier, they do brilliant stationery, cards and gifts in lots of different colours and patterns. They even do mid-year diaries to coordinate with the academic calendar, and undated weekly planners. Genius!).
Notebooks by Papier
For the kitchen table
A couple of hours spent batch cooking gives me many more hours of pleasure when in a few weeks’ time term is fully underway and I can pull home-cooked suppers out of the freezer like a superhero! A friend and I spent probably too many hours during our holiday in Spain this year pondering and swapping the best batch cooking recipes. But there’s still room and need for more and better ones!
If you have a brilliant cook-ahead-and-freeze recipe that isn’t just mince made 25 ways, please do email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll swap you a bag of Cupsmith’s freshly roasted coffee or our delicious range of organic teas for a great recipe! And I’ll share your recipe on our Facebook page too so others can have that kitchen table superhero moment too.
Keep calm and carry on
My energy levels tend to flag over the coming months, yet it’s our busiest time of year as hot chocolate season means we’re making tonnes (yes, actual tonnes) of chocolate over the next few months. So to help counteract this lower energy I’ve signed up to Yoga International and have started a gentle 20 minute yoga routine each morning, and I hope to build this up over the winter. Using Yoga International means I can pick from hundreds of yoga, pilates and relaxation classes – from 10 minutes to a couple of hours – and hopefully fit them in around work and family, all without the need to drive anywhere as the days shorten and darken.
However you’re feeling about September and the busy-ness it often brings, be kind to yourself and I hope you find a few moments of calm each day.
“Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower.” Albert Camus