September starts tomorrow!
Hello pumpkin pie spice lattes and cinnamon-scented candles, the music of the wind outside and the tinge of yellow in the lonely leaves against the moody grey skies. It’s time to get the scarves out and wrap around the necks for a leisurly stroll in town on a Saturday afternoon as we pick up those lattes and maybe a little treat to go with it.
I know I wrote a post about hygge not so long ago, but the start of autumn reminds me again that I want to do my best to enjoy this season to the fullest.
In Ireland the seasons are not so well-defined as in many other places in the world. The Irish summer can be just as cold and rainy as autumn, and autumn can be as rainy and cold as winter, and winter as mild as autumn. The only season that does stand out a bit is spring because it starts to bloom. The weather is more or less mild here throughout the year, compared to Siberia where I was born and raised, or to Denmark – the home country of Hygge, or even Sweden or Canada, which have little to do with hygge, but enjoy all four seasons. Winters can be harsh in some regions, and yet people of those countries lead a very outdoorsy lifestyle even in the coldest of the winter. The Irish, on the contrary, like to stay indoors and complain about the weather instead of enjoying the seasons, no matter how similar they are.
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I love Ireland and consider it my home, something that Russia had never been for me. The only thing I miss about far-away Siberia is the seasons, especially autumn and winter. So in September 2015, when we had a surprisingly colourful autumn, I decided to make the most of it. My 3-year old and I took a lot of walks and pictures, we fallen collected leaves, chestnuts and pinecones, made leaf art and composed a bouquet of red and yellow leaves. It was also the time when we moved from apartments to a house with a front and back garden and a fire stove. That was the first year when I got to really experience hygge, even though I hadn’t known the word even existed.
I started a Fall Bucket List that included collecting fallen leaves, raking leaves, taking roadtrips and having picnics, sitting by a fire, wrapped in a blanket and reading poetry. I wrote more about this experience in my post about the benefits of bucket lists.
A year later, when my second girl was born and we started regularly hanging out in the coffee houses for a feed when out and about, I got to try the pumpkin spice latte for the first time and it quickly became my all-time favourite. The pumpkin pie spice latte inspired me to make yet another bucket list of things and activities to do to make sure that we spent that fall season to the fullest.
The next year, 2017, we moved to yet another house which had an apple tree in its front garden, and we learned what it was like to pick apples. Since it was a month after I have read The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, I decided to make another bucket list to get the hyggelig activities in, and I haven’t stopped making them since. I have a bucket list for each season and I make sure that I experience the seasons the best I can.
Hygge Activities to Enjoy This Autumn
Before we dive into Hygge activities, there’s one most important tip:
Spend Time Outside
The more time you spend outside, the better. It is healthy for you. And it helps your body to attune better to the season. Just like your body can’t differentiate the day from night if you spend 24 hours a day in the room without a window and a lamp as your only source of light, your body cannot tell the difference between the seasons if you spend all the time inside. Let your brain soak it all in, you can’t enjoy the season if you’re not participating in outdoor activities specific to the season. And if the weather is so bad, there indoor activities that can help you enjoy it, too. Let’s begin!
Decorate Your House
This is a good place to start getting in the mood. Take out a couple of fluffy throws and pillows, put fairy lights up, get scented candles – something spiced like pumkin spice, apple cinnamon, mulled wine. Put some yellow or orange flowers in a vase, a couple of frames with autumn quotes and a wreath. You don’t need to wait for Hallowe’en or Thanksgiving (if you celebrate one).
Get Cosy Clothes Out
Don’t just substitute your autumn wardrobe for the summer one, grunting that it’s that time of the year again. Instead, place your summer things in a storage box with a smile and with an even bigger smile unpack the box of cardigans and pulloevers, coats, scarves, gloves, hats and boots. They are going to keep you warm and cosy for the next few months. Welcome them back to your life.
Candlelit Baths and Self-Care
It is time to prioritise your self-care because it’s going to get progressively colder in the coming weeks and both your soul and body need that extra care. Decorate your bathroom where you have a tub with some candles and other nice things like battery-powered fairy lights, a bowl of scented potpourri or rock salt tealight holders. Make time at least once a week to enjoy your candlelit bubble bath – you’re going to love this down-time. You can read a book meawhile, listen to your favourite music or just relax and wind down. Continue this self-care routine with a good moisturiser that is not too light for cold months. My favourite body moisturiser is the Body Butter from The Body Shop. I currently have the Olive Oil Butter, but I am not sure if they still stock it. If not, I’d choose Shea Butter or Wild Argan Oil.
They are so much nicer to have than regular dinners, don’t you agree? If you give it a try and place a few candles and other autumn decorations as a centrepiece on the dining table, everybody in your family will love it. It’ll make the atmosphere cosier and will put everyone at ease, making the experience more pleasurable. This is a good way to wind down after a long day at work or school. Make even more difference by serving a small glass of red wine to those over 18.
Light the Fire
My kids (2 and almost 7) enjoy this one a lot. Our oldest has been asking us to light the fire for a few good weeks now, but we are saving it for colder weather. There are plenty of things you can do by the fireplace like reading, enjoying your tea or just watching the fire, maybe wrapped in a blanket.
Hot and Spiced Drinks
Autumn is a season of spiced lattes and teas, hot chocolate and apple ciders, although the latter is neither hot nor spiced. Make sure you try out those drinks. My favourite, of course, is the pumpkin spice latte from Insomnia Coffee but you can also make your own. Masala Chai, latte or not, is also very warming. I like Spiced Hot Chocolate as well for the occasion. Lemon and Ginger tea is always a good idea, too.
Pumkins are just Hygge. From making pumkin breads and pies to simmering pumpkin soups to carving pumpkins for Halloween – pumkins are probably the flagship of autumn. In Ireland, October is the only month when you can buy pumpkins, the rest of the year they are just a myth. So make sure to implement pumkins for extra hygge this autumn.
Go Apple Picking
This is another hyggelig activity for early autumn, if you’re lucky enough to have an apple tree in your garden. If you don’t have one but your friend does, volunteer to help for the sake of experience. For those wh can’t have access to their own or someone else’s apple trees, I highly recommend to plant one so you can start picking your own apples as soon as possible. And cooking with them, too.
Not necessarily Sundays, though it’d be nice to make a batch of soup for the week and freeze it to be used whenever you fancy one. Once again, pumkin soups are the hit of the season, but you can also use squashes, sweet potatoes and carrots for a warming bowl of hygge.
Go for a drive somewhere nice to see how landscapes change throughout the country. Enjoy that scenery. Stop in a small town or village, go for a lunch, choosing dishes made local, seasonal produce. You can make a drive to a local organic farm for an even better experience and pick some veggies in season for your soup.
Hiking is amazing, especially if you hike in the mountains or hills. The West of Ireland is a perfect place for hiking, or co. Wicklow if you’re from the East. Glendalough in co. Wicklow is particularly beautiful this time of the year. All those vales and valleys look magnificent in the autumn colours, and the crisp air adds something special to it. As an added bonus, you won’t be freezing or roasting this time of the year.
Stay in a Cabin in the Woods
If you are looking for a perfect, low-key get-away this got to be a cabin in the woods. My dream is to go to Ballyhoura cabins, we’ll see if we can make it there this year. Disconnect your devices and spend a weekend in the company of the closest, dearest people. Go for hikes, cook together, enjoy dinners, conversations and board games by the fire or candlelight, with a glass of wine. This is the most ultimate hygge if you ask me.
Knit or Crochet
If you don’t know how, it’s time to start. Scarves are the easiest to begin with, so don’t you fret. If you are a seasoned knitter, then it’s time to knit yourself a new hat or a cardigan, or maybe even an afghan blanket. Thinking of the quiet clinking of the needles and warmth and softness of the knitting yarn, I can’t wait to start!
Rake or Collect Leaves
Your kids will love this one. And if don’t have kids then you will have this one. It is an autumn’s signature experience that will make you feel that you had autumn. Make art with leaves or use them to decorate the house. Our leaf bouquet made in 2015 lasted us over 2 years!
Autumn is a time of creativity. It is moody and perfectly hyggelig. I love autumn portraits most of all, for both the wild and muted colors, for the heavy skies and bleak sunshine. Just try it! And if you need a photographer to do a photo shoot for, you do know where to go, right?
Check out my Lana Rainbow Photography website.
As a Thank You for reading this post, I’m giving away this Autumn Bucket list that you can print out and check it as you go.
Autumn Bucket List 2018
To print, click the picture to open in full size, then right-click and choose Save Picture As