October. Crikey, how did that happen again already? The older I get the quicker the passing seasons seem to turn. That said, I love the passage into Autumn, with its falling leaves and abundance of cosiness and colour. The darker evenings have already seen us cracking open the family board games and playing cards while enjoying the smell of gently roasting meals. I do love the way that activities shift to align with the corresponding seasons. (P.S. if you’re looking for inspiration for Autumn activities for the whole family, there are lots of ideas on offer here).
It hasn’t been all season-love and curling up with spiced pumpkin lattes lately though. As much as I love this time of year I do suffer with the effects of the sharp decline in morning light. I’ve already busted out my trusty SAD lamp, and tend to perch it next to me each morning as I write my morning pages. That (and a steady stream of vitamin D spray) does seem to make a difference, and definitely helps keep my mood boosted throughout the darker winter months.
Something that has done nothing to boost my current mood though, is an annoying foot/ankle injury I’ve acquired through running. Not long after extolling the benefits of my Parkrun addiction on social media recently, my left ankle blew up in indignation – I’m not sure what exactly I’ve done to it, but it seems like some sort of stress related injury at a guess. For the past week, it’s been painful to walk on and has left me feeling quite sorry for myself. In fact, it’s made me realise just how much I rely on my usual quota of fresh air and exercise for my general mental health. Thankfully, a chat with a physio has confirmed it’s okay to keep walking on – albeit with the help of a lot of painkillers. Between that, and switching my exercise routine to bike rides and walks along the beach in the shallow waters, I’m hoping things will start to improve quite (read: very!) soon.
Onto brighter topics than my foot woes, though, and September was a lovely month for reading. I plan to do my usual reading update next week, so for now I won’t say too much about that here. Other than to note that reading in bed with a cup of tea on weekend mornings is one of life’s best pleasures, as is reading aloud to eager young ears at bedtime. I’ve been doing quite a bit of both lately, along with making a few visits to my beloved local library to to stock up my TBR pile for the October break. I’m so looking forward to delving into both of these novels during our upcoming holiday. I absolutely LOVE Elizabeth Gilbert, and You….well more about that in just a sec!
A combination of darker evenings and foot woes have meant that I’ve been spending a bit more time in front of the television than normal. I do generally find Autumn to be a great time for TV and film nights, and there seems to have been plenty on offer to keep us entertained. My husband and I have been loving The Capture on BBC iPlayer – which you’ll probably enjoy if you like things like Bodyguard. In a fit of 80’s nostalgia, we also watched The Lost Boys a few weeks ago – which is still utterly brilliant in 2019. Sticking with the 80’s theme, the kids and I watched Back to the Future, which again, stands the test of time so easily. And I watched You on Netflix – an edgy thriller about a stalker who manages to wheedle his way into an unsuspecting writer’s life. It’s thought-provoking stuff (which might make you think twice about ever again posting on social media). As soon as it finished, I was keen to rush off to the library and order the book the show is based on. If the series is anything to go by, I think it’s going to be a hard one to put down!
Apart from the addition of a new ankle support, my fashion antics have been as boring as they are most months. Having said that, I have had some nice comments about a Topshop sale coat I’ve brought out for Autumn, and these suede boots I’ve been wearing quite a lot. Life in the far north of Scotland means wardrobe choices are dictated less by the seasons and more by a sort of ‘might be needed on any given day or at any given moment’ mentality. We’ve had all sorts of weather so far already this Autumn, with even the odd glimpse of hailstones. By this time next month I fully expect to be decked out in hats, gloves, scarves and fluffy socks.
My go-to podcast at the end of every month is always the Worried Writer. I absolutely love listening to Sarah Painter’s soothing voice and common sense writing advice, and the author interviews each month are always fab. I love listening as I cook dinner, or take the dog for a walk, and always feel better about my own writing after each episode. It’s probably my favourite podcast, to be truthful. And it was nice to hear my blogging friend Susan mentioned in the introduction to this month’s show!
This week, I also really enjoyed listening to Dr Chatterjee’s interview on parenting with psychotherapist Philippa Perry on his Feel Better, Live More podcast. There are so many good ideas on here for parents, no matter what age of kids you have. It actually helped me with some stuff I’ve been working through with one of my own children, and gave me some fantastic insights on how to respond to certain requests and situations. Also, if you’ve ever used the ‘you’re tired!’ line on your children, this is definitely one worth listening to. Did that line actually work out well for any parent ever? In my own experience, no!
I’ve been making good progress on the edits for my novel over the last month – a necessary but onerous job, really. I’ve also enjoyed getting back into the new season of my writing group – there’s something really comforting about spending time with people who are as interested in writing as I am. I love hearing excerpts of their work and (hopefully) giving constructive feedback. It can be nerve racking showing other people your writing but I think it’s also really necessary for growth.
Other than that, it’s been the same old same old of making nightly dinners – and pulling out the slow cooker again. I’m not sure why I tend to use it more in Autumn/Winter, but something about slow cooked meals on the darker nights appeals. This is my eldest son’s favourite meal – a chicken curry from the Hemsley sisters Art of Eating Well cookbook. It takes about an hour and half to make, but it’s delicious, and fab for weekends and holidays. I usually make enough for two nights. Add some cauliflower rice and it’s good to go!
It’s only another week until the schools break up again here so we’re looking forward to a couple of weeks off, and a family holiday. I always feel a bit torn about going away in October as there is so much lovely Autumn-ness to enjoy at home. As a taster, I’ll leave you with a photo of one of the stunning sunsets we enjoyed here a couple of weeks ago (complete with person on flying-thing which added a bit of extra wow factor).
So much to be grateful for.
Wishing you a month filled with a million Little Loves.