Autumn winter in the great outdoors? Go on then!

Any season that isn’t summer is not my bag. Summer is the absolute dogs danglies. Autumn is, in my opinion, the worst season. Spring means summer is coming, and winter at least has Christmas. Autumn? To me it just signifies the end of the good stuff (summer) and the beginning of the cold of winter. I don’t understand how people get excited about autumn.

I’ve already posted about my dislike of September (the beginning of Autumn, if so many are to be believed!) a few years ago.

I read about pumpkin spice lattes (I don’t drink long coffee drinks), jumper season (I prefer t-shirts), wrapping up in hats and scarves and boots, sitting in front of the fire and going for autumn winter walks.

And I Just. Don’t. Get. It.

You don’t really see autumn colours when you live in the suburbs of a city. Sure, my garden is covered in leaves and they’re a range of colours, but that doesn’t bring an appreciation of the beauty of autumn. It just brings a mulchy mess that ruins the grass!

And as for winter, it’s barren and cold, with no greenery, dull dark days and the only brightness in months of darkness is the excitement of Christmas.

Confession: I may have changed my mind a little bit, all thanks to Bodhi Bongo!

Overnighters in our campervan are very much for longer days and warmer weather. But as a day van, Bodhi has opened up new possibilities for us outside of summer. Our van has a twin gas hob, we have a kettle and a griddle pan and lots of space, which brings a whole new dimension to going out for the day.

Our first trip out was to Sudeley Castle which I posted about here.

November

In November I experienced a whole new take on Autumn. The husband suggested driving down to the Forest of Dean for a scenic drive and a wander. I was enthusiastic but wary. Autumn isn’t really all that, right?

The drive alone was beautiful. Being in the campervan you’re much higher than a normal car, so you can see a lot more. More colours, more streams, more bridges and tree lined roads.

Bongo drive to the Forest of Dean
Bongo drive to the Forest of Dean
Bongo drive to the Forest of Dean

We parked up in Speech House Woods, which is maintained by Forestry England, changed our shoes, and off we went!

Autumn Winter Bongo in the Forest of Dean

It wasn’t long until I stopped in my tracks, looked all around me, and declared “this feels like an autumn fairytale!”

I’ve never seen such beautiful shades of orange, rust and gold, interspersed by blue skies and evergreen leaves. The air was crisp, there was a blanket of leaves underfoot and trees of all shapes and sizes.

Autumn Winter Forest of Dean
Autumn Winter Forest of Dean
Autumn Winter Forest of Dean
Autumn Winter Forest of Dean
Autumn Winter Forest of Dean
Autumn Winter Forest of Dean
Autumn Winter Forest of Dean
Autumn Winter Forest of Dean
Autumn Winter Forest of Dean

It definitely turned me into a fan of Autumn walks! So much so, that, a couple of weeks later, we headed up to the Clent Hills, which is just a short drive from Birmingham. At their highest point, Clent Hills rise to 1037ft, with 360 degree views over multiple counties.

Autumn Winter Clent Hills
Autumn Winter Clent Hills
Autumn Winter Clent Hills
Autumn Winter Clent Hills
Autumn Winter Clent Hills
Autumn Winter Clent Hills
Autumn Winter Clent Hills
Autumn Winter Clent Hills
Autumn Winter Clent Hills

December

And so to Winter, where surely the drop in temperatures and bare branches would hold no interest for me? Well, such is my new zest for outdoor life (!!) that the suggestion of a post Christmas drive to the Wyre Forest was jumped upon by me. I adorned myself with coat, scarf, hat and gloves (all the things I sneer at!), packed our campervan bag with all the essential (teabags, sweeteners, kettle, bread and sausage) and off we went.

Autumn Winter Wyre Forest

Turns out that even winter in the forest is a joy! There’s a surprising amount of green thanks to coniferous trees, and the low winter sun creates beautiful shadows and casts a glow through the trees.

Autumn Winter Wyre Forest
Autumn Winter Wyre Forest
Autumn Winter Wyre Forest
Autumn Winter Wyre Forest
Autumn Winter Wyre Forest
Autumn Winter Wyre Forest
Autumn Winter Wyre Forest
Autumn Winter Wyre Forest

How does our campervan make autumn and winter walks more enjoyable?

When you’ve been for a walk in bracing temperatures, you (I) need a little downtime before bundling back in the car to go home. Having Bodhi Bongo means we have plenty of space to take off all our layers, change our muddy boots and stretch out (and stop sweating!) before we head back. We can have a cup of tea and some food sitting at a proper table. So far we’ve cooked bacon sandwiches, cheese and ham toasties and sausage sandwiches, all fresh and hot. It’s a real novelty and makes it so much fun. Who thought I’d look forward to watching a kettle boil on a gas stove?

Buying our campervan at the “worst” time of year means that we still have the very best to come! But,, rest assured, when autumn rolls around in 2020, I’ll be chomping at the bit for days out. This is a year round hobby for us, and I’m excited to see where we end up in the future!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

5 blogger craves I just don’t get

Scrolling through various social media platforms there are certain things that come up time and time again – and each time I think to myself I just don’t “get” it. The only way I can explain it is I feel like an undeserved hype has developed around these things that is, in my opinion, over-rated.┬áSo I thought I’d share them with you and see if anyone agrees (or am I just a square blog peg in a round blog hole!)

Lush

lushHow anyone can spend any length of time in a Lush store without choking is beyond me – it’s just so smelly! Overwhelmingly overpowering, with so many different scents cloying against each other; it gives me an instant headache. Not only that, it seems bloomin’ expensive for what it is (then again, I’m not really the pampering type, so that has an impact on my feelings). You could count the amount of times I’ve been in a Lush store on one hand. Most recently I popped in a couple of weeks ago, to look for a lip scrub (I’ve read good things about them) but the flavours were just too icky sickly sweet and I couldn’t find one that agreed with me. I think some people buy into the prettiness and the ownership and sharing thereof rather than the actual products (I will admit that a Lush soap bar is imminently more instagrammable than a bottle of Nivea showergel).

Autumn

autumnFrom 1st September my Twitter and Instagram feeds were filled with people getting excited about leaves changing colour and wrapping up in boots and jumpers. No! Autumn, for me, is a time of mourning – lamenting the end of summer and feeling sad about less daylight and saying goodbye to sandals. Not only that, autumn is ridiculously unpredictable and difficult to dress for, meaning an outfit that’s appropriate at 8am may leave you sweltering by midday. It would be better to go from summer straight to winter, literally overnight. Then at least you know what you’re dealing with.

Starbucks

starbucksThis is partially down to the fact that I’m not a coffee drinker (I have one double espresso at home, every morning, and that’s it – I don’t actually like long coffees) and I really don’t understand the terminology and all the choice! I mean, what is a mocha Frappuccino caramel latte anyway? But it’s also down to the cost (so expensive!) and the calories (so much sugar!) I don’t understand paying for posh coffee. I don’t understand the modern obsession with coffee shops. I’d much rather to go to the pub and have a glass of wine. Even if it is breakfast time.

MAC

mac

This is, I think, another cult brand that some people buy into because of the kudos of ownership, rather than because it truly is a better product. Blog posts sharing a MAC lipstick stash are common, but I don’t see anyone doing the same with their Rimmel lippies. I can’t genuinely comment on the quality or value because I’ve never used any MAC products. I couldn’t justify spending so much money on a lipstick because I have a habit of losing them. My bad.

Yankee candles

yankee-candles

I like candles. I like nice smells. I don’t like paying a whole heap of cash for something that I’m just going to set on fire! Seriously, candle burn times are generally pretty short, so on a cost per use basis I don’t understand why you would bother. I have a habit of falling asleep in front of the TV which means that some of the burn time and fragrance would be a complete waste of time. I’ll stick to my Ikea tealights, thanks.

So, what do you think? Am I nuts? Miserable? Tight? Hit me up with your thoughts (or let me know which craves you don’t buy into).

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

September Sadness

Try as I might, I can’t but help let my mood be affected by the time of year. And even though it’s just another date in the calendar, I always find myself feeling pretty sad at the beginning of September. It signals the beginning of the end of summer, darker mornings and nights, cooler weather, leaves falling off the trees, summer flowers dying, and the onset of winter.

September

I’m such a summer person. I’m truly at my best in summer. I love being outdoors, not wearing a coat, wearing sandals, days out.

I’ve seen a few blog posts over the past few days with people getting excited about the fact it’s September, because it means autumn and a change of season and Halloween and Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Halloween and Christmas. I think it’s just the transitional period when summer is on it’s way out and you’re still craving warm days and outdoor nights. I just can’t get excited about descending into coldness and darkness.

Its difficult to say goodbye to summer, especially when it hasn’t been so good this year.

Even worse, September so far seems to have struck with a vengeance this year – it’s not even a gentle decline into autumn so much as going to bed in August and walking up in November! Rain, clouds, temperature drops. I mean, come on!

On the plus side, I still have lots of nice summery stuff planned before I totally give in to autumn and it’s cold, damp, miserable clutches. Including a local festival this weekend, a long weekend in Cornwall, a road trip to a gig in Leeds, a wedding and a week in Italy.

On the negative side, when all that’s over AND it’s autumn proper I’ll probably be really miserable.

What’s your favourite time of year?