Autumn is hands down my favourite season.
I wilt in the heat. Even in the Scottish Highlands, it can get too hot for me. I am that unpopular person that actually dislikes summer (you can read more about why here).
The 1st of September is one of my favourite days of the year. Despite the fact summer seems to be dragging on this year, I'm already planning how I am going to embrace this season as the leaves begin to turn.
I have listed my favourite autumn activities below. I've avoided some of the less environmentally friendly traditions (ahem plastic Halloween costumes that are thrown out after one wear..) and instead included wholesome activities that are kinder to our planet. Enjoy these alone, with a friend/partner or as a family unit. Lets get started...
1. Visit a pumpkin patch or local farmers market
Autumn is all about colourful root vegetables. And king of the crop is of course pumpkins! I am so excited to have booked to visit a pumpkin patch for the first time this year. A popular event in the Highland region, it meant a lot of frantic website refreshing to secure tickets!
If you don't have a pumpkin patch near you, visit a local farmers market instead. A wonderful way of nabbing fresh produce and supporting local farmers.
Instead of just carving pumpkins, why don't you try cooking with them instead? A huge number of pumpkins are wasted around Halloween every year, which is such a shame as they are super yummy! If you need inspiration, try this 'Pumpkin 7 ways' video by one of my favourite vegan YouTubers, Madeline Oliva.
2. Make your own seasonal décor
I always flinch at the amount of plastic that shops overflow with as Halloween comes around.
For a more environmentally friendly option, why don't you try decorating your home with natural materials. You could support small businesses, or even have a go at making some décor yourself.
I'm keen to try making my own autumn wreath this year, that I can hopefully hang in our tiny home (if we get a wriggle on with our build!). If you need some inspiration, check out this 5 minute tutorial. A wonderful way to spend an autumn evening.
3. Embrace your favourite warm drink
As the days start to cool and the nights draw in, there is nothing as comforting as snuggling up with your favourite warm drink. The smell of cinnamon wafts through busy coffee shops once again.
I'm not much of a coffee fan, so this season is all about hot chocolate for me. I have fond childhood memories of sitting outside cafes with my best friend, keeping warm with a hot chocolates overflowing with cream and marshmallows. The ultimate treat.
To up the eco points, why don't you try a vegan range this year? My personal current favourite is Clippers Super Cosy Drinking Chocolate, which is not only vegan but Fairtrade and full of natural ingredients. And super yummy!
4. Forage for mushrooms
Autumn is mushroom's time to shine. They pop up in all shapes and sizes and are a wonderful way of adding colour to our forest floors.
I am a mushroom fanatic, but have only dipped my toe into foraging. You clearly need to know what you are doing here, but there are some mushrooms that are very easy to identify and cook with. Chanterelle mushrooms are a good one for beginner foragers.
If you don't feel quite brave enough for foraging yet, its still good fun to spot mushrooms on your walks and they make lovely photos! Just remember to forage responsibly and only take what you need.
5. Go blackberry picking
On the subject of foraging, a much simpler option is to go blackberry picking. A much loved tradition in my family. We spent many happy afternoons plucking the best blackberries to go in my father's famous crumble. Returning from our endeavours with purple fingers and bursting with pride at our lot.
If you have a glutton of blackberries, a great option is to freeze them. That way, none go to waste and you can have blackberries even in the months when they are out of season. Save on some of those food miles and plastic packaging.
6. Make your own soy candles
The moment the evenings start to draw in, I'm eagerly rummaging out the matches so that I can start fully appreciating my candles again.
Now, I am not pretending to be an expert candle maker. That title goes to my mother, who has been making candles for years. All using soy wax, instead of bees wax which is not vegan friendly. Why don't you have a go at making your own this year? You can follow this simple step by step guide to get you started.
If you are not enamoured by this idea, then buying soy candles can be a wonderful way to support small businesses and there are some lovely options on Etsy. Save on some electricity and max out on candles instead!
7. Go wildlife spotting
Autumn is a wonderful time to spot nature.
Birdwatching is a dream, as all the birds flock together as the migrants arrive. Visit your local wetland to enjoy the spectacle of hundreds of waders, ducks, geese and swans filling the skies. A wonderful way to get your ID skills up if your a beginner birder, especially if there is a bird hide. My favourite local spot is RSPB Udale Bay, where I have taken my morning tea on many occasion, to start my day with the most wonderful company.
If birds aren't really your thing, then there is nothing more enriching than a woodland walk in its full autumn glory. The trees will never look more spectacular, so make sure to take some time to really immerse yourself in this season.
8. Go book hunting in charity shops
So you are almost all set. You have your comforting hot drink, your scented candle, perhaps even a spot of blackberry crumble or pumpkin pie, so the only missing piece is a good book to while away the autumn evenings.
I get most of my books second hand. There is nothing I like more than rummaging around a charity shop, discovering new worlds to enjoy. My friends and I are always swapping books, which is a budget and eco-friendly way of obtaining exciting new reads.
Remember to read my top tips on how to fit more reading into your life.
How are you going to be spending autumn this year? Any activities that you recommend? Comment below, I'd love to hear them!