Autumn clean: the new spring clean?

Traditionally, we spring clean in order to get our homes and belongings ready for the summer.  However, it seems to make more sense to me get this done in the autumn as we spend more time in the house during the colder months than we do when it’s warming up.  Therefore, over the next few days, I am having a massive clear out.  I’ve had a charity bag on the go for a few weeks now; every time I discover an item of clothing I haven’t worn for ages or one I wear and then decide I don’t like, its been going in the bag (laundered first, obviously!).  The bag is getting pretty heavy and rather full now but my wardrobe is still quite literally, bursting at the seams!

With all the cold weather we’ve been having over the past few days, I decided that I would reclaim a fluffy leopard print dressing gown from the bag.  It was consigned to the charity when the weather was warmer but as I’m feeling the chill somewhat, I thought it might come in handy.  Having put it to one side, I got Fern and Rosebud out for a run.  They too thought it was ‘useful’ and proceeded to make a nest in it, curl up and go to sleep!  They weren’t particularly impressed by me lifting up the top of the ‘nest’ to take this picture but I couldn’t resist…

Rosebud’s hair seems to be getting longer by the day!

(I keep the girls on fleece and vetbed so they obviously assumed this was just an extension of their bed, albeit one they could burrow into and hide under!  Having seen this reaction, I definitely think I’ll get them some of those fleecy tunnels and guinea pig beds for Christmas.  I’ve seen a few on the internet and was wondering if anyone could recommend any good quality ones to me?)

I’m also trying to downsize a lot of ‘stuff’ as I want to make more space so that I can work on more artistic endeavours.  In response to some queries I’ve had recently, I’ve decided to start taking commissions for pieces, including pet portraits (or should I say pawtraits?!).  Exciting times!

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Being happy

With the clocks going back and the darker nights setting in, I find it increasingly hard to stay motivated.  In the past, I’ve often felt like hibernating in the late autumn/winter; I dig my thickest jumpers out, wrap up and hide with a good book or film.  This year however, I am determined to stay positive and to try and enjoy the changing weather!

I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment and have decided to cut out alcohol for the entire month of November.  Whether this will be easy or not remains to be seen!  I’m also endeavouring to eat as healthily as possible and making fresh smoothies/protein shakes for breakfast.  I already eat a lot of vegetables and fruit so I’ve just got to stop going for those mid-afternoon pick-me-up chocolate bars now…

As strange as it may sound I really do love to exercise – particularly running – so I’m going to make sure I keep going for a run.  I’ll never be Paula Radcliffe but I can plod along at a consistent pace for quite a while.  I enjoy entering races (5k & 10k) and I’d love to do a half marathon next year.  Obviously, I’ll need to train…a lot!  Last year I did a 5 mile race in December dressed as Santa.  It was great fun even though I had a stinking cold and felt dreadful all the way round.  At least I was warm in my red fleece though!

I have an awful lot of reading to get through over the next month so I will still be treating myself to the odd hot chocolate (and marshmallows – rude not to) and I most probably will be wearing some kind of arctic fleece whilst doing so, but hey, a girl’s gotta pamper herself occasionally!

I’ve included this photo of fallen leaves I took last night – isn’t nature glorious?!

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It’s raining? That’s ok…

IMG_1773.JPGUsually, I get down in the dumps when faced with a wet and windy day.  By definition, I call days like today ‘miserable’ and make the assumption that they are a bit or a write-off.  This got me thinking:  if I alter my perceptions of the bad weather, perhaps the nature of the day will improve?  Well, I didn’t manage to stop it raining but I did come up with five good reasons why a rainy day isn’t such a bad thing…

1.  It’s actually quite relaxing to hear the sound of rain pitter-pattering on the roof or the window.  Now obviously, this is best heard whilst tucked up in bed and not just before you’re about to set off to work on foot because the car won’t start (yes that was me last week!).

2.  Anything ‘outdoorsy’ that you do accomplish feels akin to climbing Everest.  Trudging through town this morning, weighed down by bags of veg (for the guineas & the rabbits), wood shavings and straw (for the rabbits), and then subsequently cleaning out the rabbits’ hutch made me feel like an intrepid explorer.  I’m not daunted by a little bit of rain!

3.  I can’t complain that my hair looks flat/thin/wispy.  It doesn’t.  It’s massive.  I look like I’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards – and that some of the hedge is still lodged in there – but hair is definitely anything but flat!

4.  It’s totally acceptable to eat a ‘hearty’ lunch and by that I mean one that contains lots of veg…and gravy…nom.

5.  It’s also totally acceptable to sit in a comfy chair, with the heating on and read.  I do a lot of reading for my MA and today was just the right day to start getting my head round Don Juan.  Byron is actually bloody funny!

I’m not saying I want every day to be a rainy one because believe me, I don’t!  But once in a while, I guess it’s ok.

Autumn is my favourite season!

There is something inherently magical about the Autumn.  The leaves turn the most glorious shades of red, gold and orange and squirrels busy themselves preparing for the prolonged cold of the winter.  If you walk out in the evenings you are bombarded with the scent of Autumn, which is a blend of wood burner smoke, crisp air and fallen leaves.  Walking along and kicking the crispy, fallen leaves is one of life’s ultimate pleasures – whether you’re a child or an adult!

Halloween is just around the corner and already the shops windows in town are festooned in cobwebs, pumpkins and skeletons.  Whilst I love the excitement and fun associated with Halloween, I also like to take some time for reflection on the past year and to think about those who are no longer with us.

Fast on the heels of Halloween, comes Bonfire Night.  A few years ago, I took a couple of Italian friends to a local Bonfire Night event.  They were utterly enthralled and it was actually quite a privilege to introduce them to such a well-loved aspect of British heritage.  Needless to say, they enjoyed the primeval nature of staring into the bonfire, coupled with drinking cider and writing rude words in the air with sparklers!

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Tonight, I had to stop to take this picture of the sky on my phone.  I’d just driven home and as I looked up, I saw the most amazing pink-tinged autumnal sky.