How to make the most of long nights and short days
Leaves glisten underneath a blanket of frost, mist glides across mossy moors and a golden autumnal morning sun rises behind silhouettes of ponies in their winter coats, grazing across copper coloured landscapes. Hedgehogs gather essentials such as dry leaves, grass and bracken to begin creating their winter nests and little mice forage for food and shelter before burrowing into the ground to rest. Inside cottages freshly baked rolls are in the oven, filling the home with warming delicious aromas and cashmere jumpers are pulled on for ultimate softness and comfort, whilst a fresh pot of coffee is slowly simmering away for a cosy start to the day, relaxing by a crackling log fire. The cosy season is officially here.
There are so many ways to enjoy the “ber” months and the arrival of the dark seasons never have to be dull. Here are some of our favourite ways on how to make the most of long nights and short days, during the longest nights of the year.
Changing your decor in autumn
Like they do in nature, start by embracing the change in season with the inside of your home. You’ll be spending a lot more time indoors, so you’ll want the perfect home to hibernate in. This could be as simple as adding warm, rich colours like burnt orange cushion covers to the sofa, some burgundy eucalyptus leaves to the coffee table and an autumnal scented candle such as sandalwood, spiced vanilla and citrus. As a little nod to nature, add in sprigs of foraged twigs to ceramic vases, which can later be complete with twinkly fairy lights for a gentle glow. Complete with your fluffiest blankets and your home is now set for the season.
Breakfast by candlelight
Start your day by having a slow morning. It’s unnatural to force ourselves up in darkness, especially beneath harsh artificial light, so begin by lighting some stylish on-trend candles in tall black candle holders and enjoy eating a warming breakfast by candlelight. This could be a simple and healthy serving of porridge topped with cinnamon and apple, or an instagrammable smashed avocado on toast with an egg. This is also a great way for children to start the day. By starting the day with breakfast by candlelight the children will enter a relaxing environment, turning the first meal of the day into a calming ritual. As the sun rises slowly in the morning, so should we.
Foraging in Autumn and Winter
Once outside is daylit, it’s important to spend as much time outside as possible to get as much natural Vitamin D from the sunlight. Of course, if like us, you are based in the UK and the chance of seeing the sun is unlikely, some simple fresh air and getting your joints moving is as equally as important. Amid all the kaleidoscopic colours of Autumn, one of the greatest things to do is to go foraging. Nature is so abundant in fruit at this time of year, with hedgerows laden in damsons, sloe berries, rosehips and apple trees completely full of ripe crab apples to make into something delicious. It’s a chance to re-connect and see the beauty of nature and even beneath dull grey skies, you can still embrace the wonder of nature’s displays up close.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes” is the age-old adage in Scandinavian countries, where no matter what the weather looks like outside, fresh air is imperative, so wrap up warm, grab a foraging basket and find your nearest wild crab apple tree and forage an abundance of fresh apples to make into some delicious homemade goodies.
These apples are very tart, so they are perfect to be made into jams, jellies, chutneys or our favourite: a Dorset crab apple cake. The perfect recipe to enjoy by the fire: its sweet and warming combination of sugar and cinnamon is perfect with a little dollop of ice cream or cream. It’s so easy to make and no doubt you’ll already have most of the ingredients for this cake in your cupboard! See our recipe here.
Autumn and Winter De-Cluttering
For a healthy clear mind, you will want to make your space as clear from clutter as possible and during the cold, dark months keeping your home spick and span with organisation is the perfect time to do this. Does that linen cupboard need re-organising? Or perhaps your wardrobe is in need of a sort out. Samantha of @mrs_roobottom_home loves to organise her home during this time of year and has completely transformed her linen space into an organised haven with a selection of our Antique Wash Wicker Storage Baskets and an Antique Wash Wicker Storage Trunk to store fluffy towels, bed linen and other homely essentials.
Go mushroom spotting in the New Forest
We are lucky enough to be nestled on the edge of the fabulous New Forest National Park where nature around us is abundant in fungi, with over 2,700 species of mushroom to spot. During Autumn and Winter fungi thrive in deciduous forest floors and on fallen trees, they truly are a sight to behold! This is such a calming montessori-style activity to do with children, or by yourself of course. Create a game of who can spot the first fly agaric mushroom of the year and allow the family dog to enjoy a long sniffy walk to their hearts content. Remember that some mushrooms can be deadly poisonous and they are extremely important for the health of our forests and the eco-system. So, by all means admire from afar but please don’t touch. If you are lucky enough you might spot some pannage pigs on your adventures!
Why it’s important to rest in the dark
This time of year is natures nap time and naturally we are going to feel a lot more tired at this time of year as the night’s draw in at 5pm, when we return home. Lighting candles and dimming the lights for a “hygge” atmosphere will help your circadian rhythm and will creative a positive response to the darkness. Try an hour of gentle yoga or meditation when you arrive home from work and when it comes to dinner time, this time of year will naturally make us hungrier as we are cold and need extra warmth so delicious stews with fresh homemade bread rolls are a great staple for each evening meal around the dinner table. After a hearty evening meal this cosy, romantic atmosphere allows you to relax under soft blankets and retreat in front of your favourite tv shows. There is a lot of guilt surrounding sitting indoors and not taking up a new hobby, but sometimes our minds and bodies crave rest, so stick another log on the fire from a stylish wicker log basket and pop on your favourite series (even if it’s one you’ve watched time and time again). Celebrate the arrival of darkness with some indulgent dark chocolate. It’s the perfect way to welcome in the long evenings spent indoors, knowing that this is a time of retreating and looking inwards. Dark chocolate offers a little bit of guilt free indulgence, as a slightly healthier alternative for a sweet tooth craving.
If you have a family, long cosy nights in are the perfect opportunity to connect with each other and catch up over some good old fashioned board games by the fire such as trivia games, Uno or the ever-popular game of “Klask” for hours of fun.
What is your favourite way to spend this time of year? Is there a tradition you love to welcome in and celebrate the darkness?
For our full collection of wicker storage baskets, click here.