I'm the first to admit that I really don't love autumn; I'm way more of a spring and summer person, and really struggle to get even a teeny bit excited about the colder months. Dark mornings, dark evenings, the inevitable lurgy and endless rain just ain't my thing (I saw this article from Huffpost this morning on autumn anxiety as well, definitely worth a read if this time of year gives you the hump), so every year around this time I try to find a few bits and pieces to help me get through the seasonal change.
1. A good supply of books
I find the dark, cold evenings much easier to deal with if I've got a good supply of books to work my way through; rather than staring wistfully at the flowerless garden and dreaming of balmy nights, I'm busy settling down on the sofa with something good to read. I usually like to have a mix of cookbooks, novels and interior books, and my reading list this year includes:
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
- The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl
- Anything by Shirley Jackson (my latest obsession!)
- The Accidental by Ali Smith
- Simply Scandinavian by Sara Norman
- The Jewel Garden by Monty Don
2. A cosy, oversize cardiganThrow it over a midi-dress or plain t-shirt and skinny jeans in the morning, or pop it over your pyjamas for an evening on the sofa - a supersize, super warm cardigan is one of the best things you can buy in autumn. I've got loads, but cardigan are my weakness, so there's always room for one more!
Cardigan, £79, & Other Stories
3. A few scented candles
Although I love having scented candles around, I don't usually light them during the warmer months, so this is one thing I do really look forward to come autumn. Before the weather gets really cold, I like to light something fresh and floral that reminds me of summer, and then during the winter I like richer, spiced smells - anything with cloves and cinnamon always gets my vote. I've heard about candles that smell like woodsmoke though, and I'm quite looking forward to trying those this year - I'd love to have an open fire, but I think this is about as close as we're ever going to get!
Nota Bene Cedar Embers Scented Candle, £28, The Future Kept
4. A colourful Fair Isle jumper
I've been searching for a really good Fair Isle jumper for years, and have never managed to find one that I really love; I always think of it as THE pattern of the season when it gets colder - it's always great to find a nice colourful piece of knitwear to brighten up the dark, rainy days.
Fair Isle Jumper, £99, Boden (Vintage shops like Rokit and Beyond Retro also usually have good versions)
5. A good bobble hat
One thing I do love about autumn and winter is that the weather is the perfect excuse to pull out the hats - mine has to be a beanie, and it has to have a bobble, but apart from that, there are no rules. I like bright, coloured or striped ones for the days I'm wearing a dark coat, or a simple grey or black version for when I want something a bit more understated. I love hats in the winter because it gives you the perfect excuse not to worry too much about what your hair is doing!
Pompom Beanie, £19, & Other Stories
6. A long-strap bag
I'm a complete tote-addict when it comes to bags; I tend to carry A LOT of stuff around, so the bigger the better, I say. The only thing is that when you're struggling with a toddler, a six-year-old, a lunchbox, a bookbag, an umbrella, horizontal rain and force ten gales, a great big soaking wet tote bag falling off your shoulder every five minutes isn't going to help - not to mention the fact that everything inside is going to be soggy. A long-strap bag with a zip top is easy to carry and will keep everything dry, leaving you hands free and with no more wet magazines or soaked smartphones.
Shoulder Bag, £19.99, H&M
7. A super-comfy tunic dress
I hate getting up at the best of times, but when it's dark and rainy it just seems so much more difficult; every precious second snuggled beneath the duvet counts, so I want easy clothes that take absolutely no brain power. A good tunic dress, some nice thick tights or leggings, a chunky cardi and some boots or sneakers and I'm done - which means I can snooze the alarm for that bit longer.
Cocoon Dress in Green, £45, & Other Stories
8. A collection of blankets
The key ingredient to a good night on the sofa is a good pile of blankets; from traditional checks to modern geometrics and hand woven beauties, I stack ours up in a basket at the end of the sofa and then
British Made 100% Wool Cabin Blanket, £49, The Future Kept
9. Some good jeans
Apart from an adult-sized puddle suit (definitely on the list for those winter wood adventures this year!), nothing is going to keep that annoying autumn drizzle off like a good pair of jeans. I've been looking forever for the perfect pair; I've tried everything from ultra-skinny jegging types to looser-fitting 'Mom' style jeans, and nothing has been quite right. I've got high hopes for the pair above from COS - they're not too high waisted, they're not skin tight and they're not covered in rips (I want to keep water out, not let it in!).
Slim-Fit Cropped Jeans, £59, COS
10. The essential scarf
I couldn't have had a list of autumn essentials without mentioning the humble scarf; they keep the rain off, keep you warm and often double as a blanket or shawl. Oh, and if you get one big enough, you can use it as a throw for the end of the bed or back of the sofa!
Tube Scarf in Dusty Pink, £6.99, H&M