One of the things becoming a parent has done for me is that it’s forced me to look at things a bit differently, and to think a little more about what I’d like our lives with Max to look like.
Take autumn, for instance. Now, under normal circumstances, I’d be following that statement up with something like, “No, seriously: take it! Take it far away, and never bring it back, because that’s how much I hate it!”
Er, yeah; suffice it to say that – unlike most of my blogging brethren, autumn is NOT my favourite season. Because it’s not like it is in the movies – or even in these photos, tbh – is it? No, we caught Scotland in a rare good mood the day these were taken, and, as I said to Terry on the way home, if Yankee Candle named their scents after REAL things, their autumn collection would be less ‘Autumn Glow’ and more ‘Rotting Leaves’ and ‘Downward Spiral of Despair’.
(Should I pitch this to them, I wonder? Yankee Candle people: call me!)
The thing is, though, just because I hate Autumn with the passion of a thousand hot suns (Which, ironically, would make me like it more…) , it doesn’t mean Max has to, and – modest ambition, here – the fact is, I’d quite like him to one day look back on his childhood and think it was a bit… well, magical, for want of a better word. I’d like his autumns to be like the ones other people seem to experience, filled with golden light and toasted marshmallows – or whatever the hell it is people like about this time of year. (I mean, I know pumpkin spiced lattes are A Thing, but I’m thinking maybe not for a baby? Can you buy pumpkin spiced milk? Will I just end this train of thought right here? Yes. Yes I will. ) I’d like his winters to be like the front of an old-fashioned Christmas card, his summers to be filled with adventure, and his springs to be… spring-like. Or something.
Oh, hi, I’m Amber, and I’m new to this, “Appreciating the Seasons” thing! Can you tell?
Anyway, with all of this in mind, I had the idea of putting together a set of seasonal ‘Bucket Lists’ consisting of some of the new traditions I’d like to start with Max. I’m obviously a bit late with this Autumn one – and he’s really too young to appreciate things like, “golden light” and “crisp weather” anyway, to be fair – but we have to start somewhere, so here’s my Autumn Bucket List – for next year…
Wearing: ASOS polka dot skirt; Mango sweater, River Island jacket, Dorothy Perkins skirt (All ancient, other than the skirt)
Visit a pumpkin patch
Pumpkin patches have only just started to be a thing in the UK (Otherwise you better believe I’d have been all over them, in search of the perfect Instagram shot…), but I noticed one being advertised near Edinburgh recently, which was a pleasant surprise, because Scotland’s normally pretty slow on the uptake with this kind of thing. Like, I couldn’t find any lavender fields this summer AT ALL, which meant I was forced to sit on the sidelines while everyone else on Instagram posted gorgeous photos of themselves in lavender fields. It reminded me of gym class in high school, actually, where everyone else would be selected by the captains of whatever hideous team game we were being forced to play, and then the teacher would be all, “OK, Amber, looks like you’re with me again.” But I digress.
I have no idea how good this pumpkin patch will be (Read: how good it will look on Instagram), but if nothing else, at least it will have pumpkins, so it’s on the list.
Decorate the house for Autumn
This is another thing that’s pretty new to the UK. Until recently, people didn’t really decorate for anything other than Christmas and Halloween: and, in the case of the latter, it would be a “one-day only” affair, where you’d throw up some creepy tat if you were having a party or something. Lately, though, the American tradition of decorating for fall has started to infiltrate the UK, and we’re starting to see pumpkins on doorsteps and various other autumn-themed decor dotted around houses.
I’m not planning to go overboard with this one, because I’m the kind of terrible person who sees the Christmas tree as unnecessary clutter, and always wants to take it down on Boxing Day (Another thing I suspect I’ll have to re-think with a toddler around…), but by next autumn we should have our stair renovation complete, so I’m thinking maybe a few gold/silver painted pumpkins dotted around, maybe, I dunno, garlands of leaves? Starbucks cups that once contained the famed PSL? (Note to self: when embarking on these Autumn-based activities, Amber, please try to remember that you actually hate Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. Let’s not go through that whole thing where you buy one anyway, just to be like the cool kids, and then don’t drink it, because you really, really hate anything that could be described as “spiced”. See also: cider, cinnamon, and pretty much every other food associated with fall.)
Oh, and I’m also very prepared to buy some autumn-scented candles. Not “Rotting Leaves” and “Mouldy Socks”, obviously: REAL ones. Like, woodsmoke or pumpkins or something. Just not cinnamon, because I freaking hate cinnamon…
Visit The Enchanted Forest
The Enchanted Forest is in Perthshire, so it’s a bit of hike from here, but I’ve seen some of my friends’ photos of it on Facebook, and it really looks amazing, so I think it would be worth the trip. It describes itself as a “sound and light event” in which you walk through a forest which is decorated with beautiful lights etc. It looks like something out of a fairytale, so I’m very much looking forward to this one.
I mean, literally the only place I can think of to do this is Max’s Uncle Niko’s place in Kent, but, then again, I haven’t exactly been tuned into the Autumn activities around here, so I’m assuming there’s somewhere closer: and if not, I guess it’s a good excuse to visit the southern branch of the family?
I draw the line at actually building a bonfire (although I will be on the lookout for official ones we can visit), but we DO have a firepit, so I’m thinking we get bundled up, and do the whole s’mores and hot chocolate thing? This is actually something I’ve only ever done in summer before, because I intensely dislike The Outside when it’s cold, but it seems like something people who love autumn would do, so I’m all in. Or I will be, once I invest in some thermals.
Take some long walks
People always talk about “kicking up the leaves” at this time of year, but honestly, any time I’ve tried it, in the spirit of, “Hey, look at me, enjoying autumn like a REAL blogger!” the leaves in question have always been so wet and mulchy that it’s a bit like putting your foot inside a dead body. Or so I IMAGINE, anyway. Ahem. So, kicking up leaves might not be on the agenda, but even I can’t deny the beauty of the autumn colours, so I’m aiming to get us all out of the house and into the world as often as possible.
This is another Autumn tradition I generally just completely ignore (Well, insofar as you CAN ignore loud explosions going off every few seconds, obviously: I’m actually really worried about how we’re going to get Max to sleep through it this year…), because, again, it involves being outdoors in the freezing cold, and I’m just not about that life. I suspect Max probably WILL be when he’s old enough to know what’s going on, though, so I guess we need to find out what’s happening locally, and whether or not there’s wine…
So, when I started this list, I’d envisaged it being a nice, long, meaty one, filled with fun autumn activities. I’ve literally just had to stop and Google the phrase, “What do normal people do in Autumn?” though, so, yeah, I think I’m just going to stop here. Because, honestly, a lot of the suggestions seemed quite America-specific (Like, ball games and corn mazes and tailgating. And, I mean, I’m prepared to try to overcome my dislike of autumn in the name of parenthood, but you will NOT make me watch sport. Nope, nope, NOPE. And also: NOPE.), and one was – and I swear I’m not making this up – to take a hot air balloon ride. Which, OK, Google, SURE. I know I said I wanted Max’s autumns to be like a movie, but I didn’t mean The Wizard of Freaking OZ, you know?
(Seriously, though, is that a thing? Like, do normal, everyday people take hot air balloon rides every autumn? Because that doesn’t seem like a thing to me? Also, I’m scared of flying?)
Help a sister out here, folks: you all like autumn, right? So, tell me: