It’s 9pm, three days into official Autumn, and it’s pitch black outside.
Despite the promise of beautiful crunchy leaves, flavoured lattes and pink cheeks for the next three months, the end of light nights does make you want to a) hibernate b) survive only on a diet of hot chocolate and pasta, and c) do nothing else.
It takes a lot to roll the duvet cover back and get outside at this time of year, so start slowly with some garden/balcony time. We’ve managed it over the last few weekends and feel a lot better for it:
- Don’t give up on the outdoors. Do what you need to make your garden cosy, and keep seeing it as a room you can use all year round. Chimineas give off loads of heat in the evening (and will definitely toast marshmallows), inexpensive throws and cushions will soften up hard garden furniture, and boozy warm drinks will make a perfect evening outside. Try hot chocolate with amaretto or, if you’re hanging onto the summer vibe, a Mexican Agua Fresca. We had it with a barbeque a few weeks ago and it is delicious with a splash of vodka and soda water instead of water.
- Clean the windows. Tidy windows, tidy mind. It takes no time at all (so you can get back to the sofa in mere minutes) and you can blitz the WEIRD spider egg balls that hide in the corners and inevitably wander into the house at some point..
- Add some fairy lights or lamps to your garden. Drape them over a tree, along a fence or dot individual lamps along the edge of a flower bed. We have little solar powered stars twisted around our rose arch and they really take the edge off six months of black.
- Rake up the leaves. This will offer no psychological benefit whatsoever, as they’ll be back in two days. But put your back into it for half an hour and you can burn 100 calories, and get an outdoors glow that no highlighter can match.
- Plant daffodils. I can’t resist daffodils – who can feel glum with a bunch of them waving at you in the wind? Scrabbling around planting bulbs in Autumn might feel like a chore when you won’t see any action ’til March, but you’ll be thankful of it in Spring.
- Plant herbs. We planted tiny bunches of mint, parsley, chives and rosemary a few months ago, and we could sell it by the bunch now. They don’t need much looking after, you can grow them on your windowsill and you’ll find ways to sprinkle them into everything. You are the Queen of Herbs.
- Invest in a garden survival kit. Whatever it takes to make things exciting, whether it’s pulling on a pair of fun wellies or knowing your freshly painted nails won’t meet any rough surfaces…
Stats taken from Saga
Lovely items from:
Birds and the bees boxes, notonthehighstreet.com; Heart fairy lights, B&Q; Ceramic herb pots, Debenhams; Gardening gloves, B&Q; Tealight holder, Orla Kiely; Striped wellies, Sainsburys.