Nine ways to make the most of autumn

As we get closer to winter (or, as I call it, the Bad Times) I’ve realised that unless I take action now, autumn’s going to be over without me even noticing. Unlike summer, I don’t have long lists of things I absolutely have to do in order to feel like I’ve made the most of the season, but I also want to make sure I take the time to slow down and appreciate these shorter, changeable days, when it often starts off cool, warms up to a golden afternoon then cools down again for a cosy evening.

Because of the absence of that long list, this isn’t so much an autumn bucket list as it is an autumn improvement list…I think that by making sure to do these nine items, I’ll go into winter feeling calmer, more centred and with an appreciation of what we did to make the most of the last of the nicer weather. That’s the idea, anyway! Some of these have been pulled from the 101 in 1001 list, but some are new. The idea is to only include things that I believe will make autumn more enjoyable. And with that, this autumn I will…

1. Choose five family photos to print and frame

Seeing photos of my family delights me in a way that little else can. I’ve long been wanting a small cluster of framed photographs somewhere around the house, to add to our wedding pictures and the pictures of Amelie as a baby that we’ve got on the walls, and this autumn, I’m going to at least choose the photos I want and get them printed, ready for when I find the perfect frame for each.

2. Start a three month ‘buy nothing’ phase in May

The less I shop, the less I want to shop, funnily enough. It’s easy to think that buying things is a solution to stress, but I often find the act of buying stressful within itself. It’s like a form of paralysis, where I either need or really want something but can’t quite jump…I either make my life unnecessarily harder by putting off the buying act indefinitely or buying something that is fine, but not quite right (but only because I’ve put so much pressure on this small purchase that this poor item never stood a chance). I know it sounds weird! I think it’s related to my slight tendencies towards anxiety and perfectionism. Anyway, putting a moratorium on shopping acts as a good reset for those moods. Plus, there’s the obvious advantage of saving money; I’d call myself fairly responsible with money these days but I still am probably too free and easy when I want something! I’ve done these ‘buy nothing’ stints before and there is, obviously, more to it than just not shopping, which is impossible if you’re not 100% self-sustainable (we are definitely not). Look out for a post about how it works when I’m in it!

3. Unsubscribe from marketing emails

This is always a good idea. Nobody needs marketing emails. And reducing the amount of stuff cluttering up your inbox is nearly exactly the same as reducing the amount of stuff cluttering up your mind, in my view. Plus, it’ll obviously help with the ‘buy nothing’ stint!

4. Cook meals from my French cookbook and Plenty

Yay cooking! I’m imagining long afternoons in the kitchen, candles flickering, Amelie colouring up at the kitchen counter, and me presiding over good-smelling foods like caramelising onions and roasting tomatoes…surely at least some of that will happen how I’m envisioning?! Basically, this is about harnessing the joy I find in cooking, that often goes on hiatus when I’m just thinking about what we can eat as a family in between work and school ending and Amelie’s 7pm bedtime.

5. Have a family trip to Auckland

Wellington was so much fun I think we could do with another city break! And Auckland is right there. I want to see our friends and enjoy Auckland, rather than just running from one errand to the next as I usually end up doing when I go by myself!

6. Do the Yoga with Adriene Breath programme

Hopefully every day for 30 days? I’d love that but those sorts of goals are hard for me to commit to (well, surely hard for anyone with a job, family, or life that can throw unexpected curveballs…so, everyone, I guess). There’s no reason I can’t work my way through a whole programme over the course of what remains of autumn, though. Usually I do yoga a few times a week, but I usually pick and choose based on what I feel I need or how much time I have available. Doing a whole programme will be fun, and interesting to see what more I get out of it!

7. Do a family walk on the Tanekaha trails

These trails are local; they run off King Road up to waterfalls. I’ve been meaning to explore them for ages, and I think Amelie is old enough now that we can enjoy a family wander out there one day. We’ve taken her for a few short hikes now and she does a pretty good job – I mean, she complains a bit, as you’d expect of a four year old, but given the right incentives (yes, I mean bribes) she does well. I think the promise of seeing a waterfall, as well as a few sweets, will do the trick nicely!

8. Head west

We live on the east coast but we also live in a pretty narrow part of New Zealand – the west coast isn’t all that far away! At this stage we’re pretty familiar with what the east coast has to offer but the west is still mostly a mystery to us. This autumn, I want to take some steps to rectify that with a day trip somewhere out west. There are lots of little towns scattered around the Kaipara Harbour, or we could go all the way to the other coast and visit some of the beaches over there – there are even some that we can take Hayden’s Jeep onto, and I know he’s keen to do that…watch this space. 😊

9. Make focaccia bread

Again, the kitchen scene. It’s afternoon, candles are going, Amelie is peaceful, music is gently playing and for once it’s not the Frozen soundtrack. From the oven I pull a beautiful, delicious focaccia for us to enjoy with our homemade tomato soup for dinner. Can’t you just see it…?! At this stage I can’t tell whether I’m craving the peace or the carbs more, but I trust time will tell.

And that’s me…do you have a bucket list for this season? Or any season? And is it more personal goals (like I guess these are) or more related to what the season has to offer (as I usually find my summer list!).

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