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How to survive the autumn in style.

There is a lot to be said for the lazy days of summer. Long days spent lounging in the grass, all blazing heat and melting ice creams. It is however really the autumn and the winter that capture me. There’s something about the turn of the year and the pivot of the season that feels exciting.

In an ideal world we would have all spent our summers outdoors, living the al fresco dream in our gardens. In reality however, we probably didn’t. We spent it inside, dodging rain clouds and debating exactly how much of a waste of money the new patio set actually was. Let’s pretend we are however in that ideal world and the time has now come for the mass exodus from the outside world. We drift inside, we hanker down and we revel in the glory of comfort. I think that’s what autumn and winter are truly about when it comes down to it. Comfort.

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From the warm things we choose to eat and the soft knits we wrap ourselves up in, the daily quest is for a luxurious sense of comfort. With that in mind I started to think about what the essential things I require on a rainy Sunday afternoon in October; the things I need to bring me comfort amidst the chilly rain.

Firstly, there are pyjamas. I’m often berated for my rather elderly habit of wanting pyjamas. Quite frankly, I don’t care. I like them, they make me feel warm, comfortable and just a little bit dapper. No matter how delightful my pyjamas may be, I’ve never been able to commit to spending a day in them. It feels a little too… slobbish. So instead I shrug the pyjamas and take to an excessively deep bath before digging out a soft jumper. Preferably something oversized and made from cashmere so soft you think you might never actually wear anything else ever again.

Blankets are key to the season. I think if I advocate one purchase this autumn, is a woollen blanket. Not only does it bring you a sense of comfort akin to being a child again, it also helps save on the gas bills. If you’re anything like me you have the heating on too much as it is. Every blanket helps.

My flat – as lovely as it is – sadly no longer accommodates a roaring fire in its hearth. It’s all rather empty and dark, which is why instead I turn to a series of candles that are designed to trick you into think you’ve walked into the snuggest of country pubs. They may not emit the crackling flames or require you to satisfyingly stoke them every now and then, but if you close your eyes and wrap yourself up warm I have the faith you can trick yourself into thinking it’s all real.

Team all of the above with a steaming pot of coffee and a good magazine, truly dreamy autumn days are made.

 

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Christmas, Fashion & Style, Made

A conscious effort.

As summer was coming to a close and the first signs of autumn were beginning to rear their head my mind started to wander towards Christmas. This is certainly not an unusual occurrence; my mind can quite happily spend a great deal of time thinking about Christmas. On this occasion however I was thinking about what it was I would begin to look for to give to those around me and it was there, right then, on that wet Sunday afternoon in September that I decided to try and make as many presents as I could.

For me to gift things that I have made is not all too unusual, in the past it has mostly been a mixture of biscotti, marmalade and chutney, with only the occasional alternative. For Christmas 2016 I wanted to do something different – give something truly different. I quickly had my heart set on making my closest friends their own linen dressing gowns, each completed with their initial to the chest. I won’t lie and say it was an easy task because quite frankly, it wasn’t. After cutting the pattern and producing several rough iterations of the gown, I began work on the final product.

Washed linen in a soft grey hue meant the kimono-like silhouette draped perfectly, its pebbled surface offering an almost dappled effect. Deep cosy pockets and a generous belt, I hope, give it an inviting look overall. Finally an embroidered initial sits to the chest, a series of three tonal grey threads embroidered separately to a raw-edged patch.

This Christmas I made the conscious effort to make things people will hold onto hopefully for a lifetime however they weren’t the only presents I gave, I did purchase many things to sit under the tree. For Christmas 2017 I plan on making absolutely everything that I gift. If the dressing gowns are anything to go by then I have about a month’s rest before I’ll need to dust off my sewing machine.

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