Guys, I couldn’t be happier that October is finally here. It’s my favourite month – I love the unpredictable weather, I love the darker evenings, I love the bright crisp mornings. I’m not big on my own birthday (though I love other people’s!), but my birthday is 31st October – finding out I’m a spooky Halloween baby makes a lot of sense for a lot of people. I understand that a lot of people aren’t keen on losing the extra hours of sunlight and packing away their summer wardrobes, but I’m in my element right now. Whether you’re a diehard autumn fan like me or you’re more of an autumn-sceptic, I’ve put together 31 ideas to help you make the most of Hello Hygge’s favourite month!
- Collect conkers
I’ve already done my conker collection this year, but if you haven’t, you’d better get a move on, as there haven’t been many left on my recent wanders! There’s an old wives’ tale that conkers help keep spiders away – I’ve no idea if there’s any truth in it, but it can’t hurt to try, right? My colleagues have been leaving conkers on my desk like mad little squirrels because they know I like them, and it’s making me very happy. I’ve already made a bit of an autumnal shrine…
- Get baking
I spotted this amazing hazelnut cake recipe the other day, and I can’t wait to give it a try. This caramel, pear and pecan lattice pie also keeps catching my eye on Pinterest, and if nothing else, it’s so pretty that I know I need it in my oven pronto.
- Update your homeware
One of my favourite things about autumn is digging out all the chunky throws and cosy cushions. Right now, I can see a pile of five throws and blankets balanced on a wooden chest, and that’s excluding the two throws I’m sandwiched between and a third throw on a chair behind me. If you need inspiration, check out these 5 autumn decorating trends from Abode Living, or how to decorate for autumn on a budget with JYSK.
- Have a lie-in
I am notoriously bad at this – I keep waking up at 6am for no reason and not being able to get back to sleep. So this morning, I forced myself to lie in bed until 9am. I was only drifting in and out of sleep, but it’s made the world of difference. The fact the mornings aren’t so bright so early now will hopefully make it easier. I’m still loving my This Works Pillow Spray (I still have loads left after a year), and Lush Sleepy lotion has reached cult status for its ability to help even the worst sleepers drop off at night.
- Opt for comfort food
I love a salad, but when the weather gets colder, I just want warm, comforting nourishment. I love a tofu curry, or a mushroom risotto, or anything with butternut squash. It’s so easy to make healthy comfort food – just load up on vegetables, beans and squashes for hearty, autumn-ready dishes.
- Hold a film night
I don’t know about you, but I am TERRIBLE at choosing a film when I’m in the mood for watching one. It can easily take me 45 mins scrolling through Netflix to find something that catches my eye. This list of autumn films is keeping me inspired, or as it creeps closer to Halloween, why not go for something spooky? All you need is lots of blankets, some popcorn and a warming drink (is it too early for mulled cider?), and you’re good to go.
- Walk through the autumn leaves
Even if you don’t live in the countryside, it’s totally possible to go on an autumnal walk. Autumn in the city can be just as pretty as in nature – just look up and down. Up at the wispy white clouds and the fluttering leaves, and down at the carpet of bronze and burnt orange. It’s beautiful.
- Make something
What’s your craft? Mine is writing, but I also love art. Maybe yours is crochet, or pot throwing, or even snitte. Autumn is an incredibly inspiring season, so why not use nature as your muse? It’s not too difficult to evoke feelings of autumnal hygge in your art, so why not give it a go?
- Start a new book
I’m currently on Dostoyevsky’s Notes From The Underground (I’ve only just started, but I have the strong impression it’s not even remotely hyggeligt!), but autumn is the perfect time to start a new Nordic noir. If you know of any good ones, let me know in the comments – there’s always space for more Scandinavia on my bookshelves!
- Languish in the bath
I know I’m always banging on about bathtime hygge, but after a hot sticky summer where baths seem less than appealing, autumn is the right time to sink into a mound of bubbles and relax. Turn off the lights, light a few candles (if you’re in the UK, TK Maxx has a great selection right now) and throw in some bath oil for extra nourishment.
- Hygge at home
I’m giving you permission to cancel your plans and have a night in. My dream evening in involves lots of food (Indian takeaway please – don’t hold back on the brinjal bhaji or saag paneer), some homemade cocktails and Netflix – company entirely optional.
- Go out for dinner
I finally went to the Brighton branch of Polpo on Friday evening with a friend, and it absolutely did not disappoint. I’ve wanted to go for ages as I love the London branches, and we went full-on autumnal with our choices (scallops with squash, squash gnocchi, pumpkin and candied pecan panna cotta… AMAZING). Then last night, I went out to Café Rouge to try their new autumn set menu, which was just as delicious. Go on, you deserve it.
- Go to a pick-your-own farm
Nope, they’re not just for summer! Sadly I don’t live in the US, so I don’t live near one of those amazing pumpkin patches you see in films, but there are still some great opportunities to go produce picking in the UK. Autumnal crops include pumpkins, squashes, blackberries, corn, root vegetables and some types of plum, so go stock up for the rest of the season. And that leads me to…
- Make jam
If life gives you a glut of fruit, make jam! There have been SO MANY BLACKBERRIES in the hedgerows in Sussex this year, so if you went out picking and don’t want your haul to go to waste, you’d better get preserving! I made jam a couple of years ago and it went surprisingly well – you can read all about it here. If you’re feeling brave, you could also do some pickling. Homemade preserves make great Christmas gifts, so now’s your chance to get creative without spending a fortune.
- Visit a garden centre
Is it tragic for a 25-year-old girl to love garden centres? I think of them as free botanical gardens, and they make me so happy. My local centre is especially lovely at this time of year – there are lots of beautiful blazing reds and burnished browns around, and if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort, you can pick up some bargain fruit tree saplings to nurture into big strong plants.
- Go to the cinema
I’ve been to the cinema THRICE recently, which is unheard of for me! I saw Dispossession, A Ghost Story and Mother!, and loved all three. I always enjoy an autumnal cinema visit when the evenings get dark earlier, and I’m really looking forward to picking out a film later this month and making a night of it.
- Visit a National Trust property
I’m really keen to visit Sheffield Park in East Sussex (look how beautiful!), because I know it’s supposed to be stunning at this time of year. As much as I love chilling indoors in autumn, it’s so much better to get outside and enjoy the colours and the cool breeze out in nature. And who knows, maybe I’ll finally take the Bluebell Railway steam train to get there…
- Take an impromptu daytrip
Is there somewhere in your local area you’ve always wanted to visit? For me, it’s the little town of Rye. Autumn tends to be a much better time to explore new places as they’re less busy (no school summer holidays to contend with!), meaning you’ll get a seat in that cute little café and won’t be standing on a hot, crowded train. Result!
- Drink a chai latte
This is such a tiny thing, but for me, a chai latte is THE flavour of autumn. It’s not as rich and heavy as a hot chocolate (firmly in winter territory for me), but it’s comforting enough to be the perfect drink to clutch as you wander around the park. (try as I might, I can’t bring myself to actively enjoy pumpkin spice lattes… coffee just isn’t my thing!)
- Dig out the slow cooker
EVERYONE needs a slow cooker. EVERYONE. After a day at work, it can be so hard to motivate yourself to cook a proper meal (and sometimes cheese on toast does the trick perfectly). But there’s little nicer than coming home to a delicious meal ready and waiting in the slow cooker. And in winter, you can even use it for mulled wine…
- Light some new candles
I’m a bit of a puritan when it comes to candles, and I like to match the scent to the season or the vibe. I’ve cleared away all of my light floral and beachy scents, and I’m now delving back into my candle cupboard and reaching for anything spicy and earthy. Pumpkin pie? Bring it on. Cinnamon-spiced vanilla? Yep, we’ll have that. Warm apple pie? GET IN MY LANTERN.
- Have a health MOT
Yes, I know it’s not the most exciting thing, but it’s important for us to look after ourselves as it gets colder. Have you had all your health checkups recently? Any aches and pains you’ve been ignoring? Get it checked out. With Christmas coming, it’s best to get this stuff out of the way – otherwise it’s easy to get busy with other things and forget about this important life admin.
- Mooch around an art gallery
When it’s raining, it’s not always easy to take yourself out to do things. But for me, art galleries are some of the best places to spend a gloomy afternoon. I enjoy looking at art I don’t like just as much as art I do like, so I can’t really lose.
- Try a new tea
I’m very excited to be meeting fellow Brightonian Tina Gloggengieser, the founder of Hoogly Tea, in a couple of weeks, so I’ll be asking for her recommendations for autumnal brews. Until then though, I can totally vouch for her divine chocolate brownie blend – or if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try mixing and matching teapods for tea for every mood?
- Look after your skin
Unusually, my skin behaves itself much better in colder weather, but I still make sure I look after it to ensure it doesn’t feel tight or uncomfortable. I use a nourishing face mask a couple of times a week (The Body Shop’s Ethiopian Honey face mask is exceptional) and slather on moisturiser every night (I like this one by Clinique) to keep my skin soft and smooth despite the chill in the air.
- Go fika
If you find yourself at a bit of a loose end on a Saturday afternoon, take the opportunity to invite a friend to fika at a nearby café with a hot drink, a slice of cake and a catch up. A lot of my social life revolves around alcohol, so it’s always a nice treat to ditch the wine and switch to tea and a slice of kladdkaka.
- Revisit your autumn wardrobe
Boots! Jumpers! Real coats! I didn’t really need a lot of new autumnal clothing this year – I’ve bought some new black suede chelsea boots, but otherwise I think I’m all set. I don’t really buy according to trends, so most of my clothes can last me a good 10 years!
- Throw a hygge party
So, what the hell is a hygge party, I hear you ask? Fortunately, this post explains all. It’s worth reiterating that you can’t (and shouldn’t try to) force hygge – it happens organically. But these tips will give you all the right ingredients to set you up for an evening of comfort and joy.
- Go for a pub roast
Over the summer, there is no way in hell you’d find me eating a roast. Not in that heat! But now we’re back in cooler temperatures, I can’t wait to get back into Brighton’s Sunday roast scene. I love spiced red cabbage (really, all cabbage), cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes… bring it all on.
- Crack out the travel brochures
I find autumn a great time to start thinking about next year’s holidays. I desperately want to make next year the year I finally visit New England in autumn (sorry… fall), which has been my dream for as long as I can remember. But then I’d also like to go back to Reykjavik, and visit Budapest, and head to the west coast of Canada… what’s on your travel agenda for next year?
- Carve a pumpkin!
Even if you’re not participating in trick or treating, pumpkin carving is GREAT. Stick a cinnamon-scented candle inside, and you’re all set for a totally seasonal decoration which is perfect for an evening of hygge.
What do you have planned for the spookiest month of them all? I can’t wait to hear all about your plans!