Scrumptious Treats For Autumn!

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Aaaah Autumn. Delicious, crisp, scrumptious Autumn, the shabbiest, chicest season of all. At BrocanteHome, September represents all that is wonderful about the way we live: the dramatic seasonal change, the urge to brush away the last grains of sand on our feet, the nesting instinct and the scrumptious opportunity to hibernate in the place we love best: home. 

1. Start squirrelling away some groceries for the times later on in the season when it is just too cosy to leave your house and face the flourescent horror of the supermarket. Add gingham tops to jars full of homemade jams and display on your counter tops. Autumn is all about abundance...

2. Sign up for the BrocanteHome Seasonal Scrub next week and get your house sparkly so you can layer it cosiness afterwards. Change all the bulbs in the house to low wattage, peachy coloured ones and enjoy the soft glow of the early evening light...

3. Spend baking day this week filling your freezer with warming soups. Nothing is more homely than having a big vat of chunky vegetable soup on the go: the smell alone is enough to make you never want to leave the house. Serve with heavy multigrained homemade bread and lunch in the glow of candlelight.

4. Subtly change the signature scent your house wears to something a little less fresh than that you chose in the summer. Add amber, musk, orange, eucalyptus, pine, cinnamon or other spices to your base fragrance (mines lavender and I use amber, musk and cinnamon) to gently mark the change of season. Bake thin slices of fruit for hours at a time to fragrance the house for a special occasion, or burn incense for the sheer smoky scent of it.

5. Harvest the apples on your trees and spend an afternoon making puree, chutneys and pies. Leave a basket in the garden for collecting the fruit. In fact Autumn is the time for going kind of basket crazy: leave them by the front door for wet shoes. Line them with a crisp floral teatowls and fill with the apples you have collected. Tip red fruit into old fashioned pottery mixing bowls and bring a little autumnal colour into your kitchen. Buy colourful seasonal vegetables at the market and create autumnal still lifes and re-invent baking day for Autum, caramalise onions and serve rich mustard mash and roasted peppers with gourmet sausages... 

6. Get out into the garden and sweep away every last trace of Summer: then make a ritual of it every morning, to have your breakfast on the step, and brush away the leaves crowding your deck (just don't get too carried away, leaves are the most gorgeous of natures carpets!). Paint your broom handle moss green, powder blue or baby pink to inspire you and trim bare branches and take into the house to use as sculptural still lifes or to hang across a window and display a little collection of sepia photographs or seasonal foliage..

7. Coffee is deliciously Autumnal isn't it? Get yourself to a fabulous coffee emporium and choose a signature coffee for the season. Vanilla anyone? Then search out an old enamel coffee pot and make a date with yourself to have coffee and homemade shortbread when your morning routine is done and dusted. Add opera music and a letter from a friend for the perfect Brocante morning..

8. Old films just smack of cosy afternoons curled up on the sofa. Go through your collection and choose a little pile you haven't watched for a while, or better yet, sign up to one of the online dvd hire companies and get old films in the mail, as and when they unexpectedly arrive. Failing that choose a deliciously old fashioned radio station and listen to the afternoon play as you potter around the house. I use Sky radio (on the Tv) to select from a variety of BBC radio channels most afternoons...

9. Seek out a length of tweed or boucle wool and drape over the back of your sofa. Go treasure hunting for welsh blankets, crocheted square throws or the rich paisley brushed wool shawls that are going to be huge this Winter. Keep to one colour palette and pile into baskets in the living room and snug. Add lots and lots of blankets to the bottom of your bed and drape the landing bannister with patchwork quilts.

10. Remember Autumn doesn't have to be pumpkin coloured (though it is so evocative isn't it?). Damson, plum, moss green,maroon, honey, and even a certain shade of petrol blue will all  bring the richness of autumn into your home, and even just the teeniest accents will change the atmosphere dramatically. Tie curtains back with long lengths of rich velvet ribbon, or thread it though  crocheted or lace cushions or throws for glimspe of Autumnal hues.

11. Sunflowers are scrumptiously autumnal to me. There is a huge field just around the corner here positively beaming with them. Mix them with red berries, twisted willow and peacock feathers for a lovely seasonal ring. Hang them upside down in the kitchen and dry them amongst bundles of herbs.

12. Start winterising your home: change sheer nets for lined curtains, check insulation, reseal windows, sew yourself the vintage housekeepers equivalent of the sausage dog to prevent door drafts. Order yourself a scrumptious sheepskin liner for your bed. Change your cotton sheets to flannel or cosy brushed cotton. Cover tables with vintage chenille cloths or small quilts (very Provence!),  hang scarves around the bannister or in the hallway and go mad with scatter cushions (you can never have too many!) . Hang cosy gingham in the kitchen and put out lots of colourful teatowels for visual warmth etc, etc...

13. Allocate  a fabulously snuggly jumper or cardigan as your house jumper. Leave it folded in the basket next to your armchair for long cold nights. Mens oversized jumpers work best. Go root through his wardrobe now. In kids rooms dig out winter jumpers and hang on their wardrobes as  a visual reminder of seasonal change. Change lightweight dressing gowns for snuggly flannel, and tartan jarmies and slipper socks.   

14. Get into the habit of making home from school/work time scrumptiously cosy for the kids/partner, or even just yourself.  Choose a hometime candle, bake biscuits and serve hot chocolate. Seek out all the board games you own and add to your rainy day cupboard. On very cold days get them into jimjams and slippers the minute they step through the door. Memories are made of long, cosy evenings on the living room floor playing snakes and ladders.

15. Make a ritual of taking a daytime pine scented bath just before lunch, then wrap up snuggly and drink soup for lunch in front of the fire. Leave the bath water for a while after you get out and close the bathroom door behind you to make the room smell divine. Then open all the windows downstairs and get out into the fresh air to shake off the end of summer blues...

16. Start collecting twigs and berries and branchs and cones and conkers and add them to your seasonal pot pourris, wreaths or displays. Fill baskets with logs and put next to the fire. (Even if it's electric.) Dry huge bundles of dried lavender, basil and sage to use as smudge sticks or to throw on the fire late at night.

17. Wrap your Christmas list books in ribbon, add a  couple of glitzy pens, a box of deliciously spoiling chocolates, a few pairs of snuggly socks, (yey its sock time!!), a favorite novel, and some magazines and put with your house jumper in the basket next to your armchair. Get yourself an oversized vintage velvet cushion, choose a cranberry coloured juice glass and a large decadant mug for long Autumny drinks and hibernate in your very own corner of the house.

18. Change the wreath on your front door to something fabulously Autumnal. Remember it doesn't have to be all leaves and pumpkins. Wrap in tattered lengths of tweed and add a huge velvety corsage, or  cover in berries and add lengths of rich brocade ribbon...

19. Overhaul your doorstep. Give it a coat of tough varnish, then either buy a new mat, or give the old one a thorough brush, shake and vacuum, them flutter a few coins onto the ground and cover with your mat to welcome wealth into your home...

20. This is candle season. When it isn't cold enough for the fire, use a mantlepiece glittering with candles to trick the mind, simmer cinnamon on the stove and drink red wine and really good cheese.  Gather all you've got: every candle, and holder and take a look at your stock. Throw out whats past it's best and then go candle shopping- buy them in all shapes and sizes from tea lights to big fat pillar candles, but remember you don't have to buy expensive scented candles: scent can be layered in so many other ways (Tuck oil soaked cotton wool puffs behind hot radiators for a start). Ikeas range of standard candles are extemely reliable and cheap enough to buy in abundance.

21. Enjoy! Autumn is fun! Go puddle splashing, leaf kicking or play conkers with the kids. Take an Autumn picnic to the park and drink hot chocolate on the bare sands of the seaside..