There just something I really love about Autumn. Although turning the clocks back, having to wake up when it's still dark and the shorter days affect most people's moods, including mine, I also get very excited at this time of year. I've always thought that the transitionary seasons - Spring and Autumn - are the best because they hold so much potential, so much expectation. Autumn heralds the cosiness of coming inside out of the cold, excitement of snowy days or the excuse to drink a big cup of hot chocolate and not worry about the calories. Autumn has, for me, this romanticism of all the cold weather things I can now re-introduce into my life: boots, jumpers, scarves, blankets, soups.... The thing is, winter in the UK isn't full of beautiful snowy days and crisp frosty morning. It tends to just cloud over and rain. That's why Winter has to be my least favourite season, because once it arrives, you know it's here to stay until at least March and it's nothing like you imagined it would be!
This photo is the first meal I made this season using my slow cooker. Another exciting thing about Autumn. I love using my slow cooker, it take a little bit of time in the morning (or I suppose in the evening the night before if that's easier) but the reward of a warm meal waiting for you when you get in makes it all completely worth it!
This last fortnight has been quite a whirlwind. In mid-September the school where I had been working for almost a year closed quite suddenly. Cue a frantic search for a new role! In that one instant everything was very unstable; could I stay in the new house I'd found? Just as life tends to do (just ask Alanis), it has a funny way of helping you out when you think everything's gone wrong. I managed to impress enough at my first interview at the American Institute for Foreign Studies, got a second and then thankfully a job offer. Of course, after having about 3 weeks of no word from any of my applications, I was then inundated with interview offers (!)
My new job doesn't start for a few weeks, so I'm temping until then. I'm very lucky that I'm only working in the mornings and therefore have afternoons to myself to head to the library and study, or pretty much anything else that takes my fancy. It's very freeing to truly have control over your own time. Something that I gained from my redundancy, and I suppose the security that a future job gave me, was the desire and ability to make the most of this time off.
When I found out that I had been successful with the job, I treated myself with these beautiful flowers. It seemed that as soon as I lost my job and needed to be properly frugal, I immediately saw loads of things that I wanted to buy (but that were definitely not necessities). Sunflowers were one such thing, and so as a little celebration, I bought these. They are looking a little worse for wear now (a week or so later) but they still brought much joy to our living room!
As I said in my last post, I recently borrowed this book from the library - taking a break from my current read so that it could be finished by the borrow deadline. I really whipped through this story, even forgoing a cycle to Church on Sunday to take the bus and have a chance to continue reading! I ended up reading the whole thing in one weekend. It was such a great (and easy) read. I believe it's being made into a film, which I'm most likely to make plans to see but never actually end up going to the cinema to watch - this is the general way with me and films. I have to say that I never actually warmed to the main character, which has only happened a few times before - Anna Karenina, Madam Bovary and Cathy in Wuthering Heights - but this didn't dampen my enjoyment.
And one quote I took from the book was this:
'There's something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home,'
This another of the things I love about this time of year, as the evenings become longer, I cannot stop peering into other people's homes (or offices) when I'm walking (or riding the bus) past. This line in the book really summed up perhaps the reason why. I just always have this compulsion as I go past buildings with their lights on and no curtains up, catching a snapshot of people's lives. Looking at their home décor or how their furniture is arranged. I know it's nosey, but I always justify this to myself in that those people should put up blinds or curtains, and I always try and remember to do that for myself!
WanderingThere are not many things I enjoy more than a good wander, and a couple of weekends ago, Jasmin suggested that we spend our Saturday on a self-guided walking tour. She found one from the city of London called the 'tree trail'. Although we weren't particularly excited by the name, it ended up being pretty fun. We didn't actually manage to get through the whole thing as everyone had evening plans to head off to, but we wandered around the St Paul's area and tracked down most of the trees on the trail (we think!).
Photos above are of a bergamot tree we identified in St Paul's gardens (we're not sure about this but google seemed to back us up!) and the wall in the Postman's Park where people are commemorated for giving their own lives to save someone else's.
CelebrationsIn another celebration of my new job, my mum and I had a day of shopping, eating and film watching in the city. Scouting out some shoes/boots (because I needed to replace my old ones and I had some money from a returned item), in John Lewis and then heading on to Portobello road for some pretty terrible food and service at Santo. After our disappointing meal, we went to watch Suffragette at the Electric Cinema. As I said, I rarely go and watch films, but this cinema is really worth splurging on. It's pretty pricey for a seat (or an armchair no less!) but the experience is fantastic. With your own chair, foot stool, blanket, side table and lamp you're really doing things right! The film was really good, although I didn't realise Meryl Streep was only making a cameo so that was slightly disappointing.
Heading down a different street on the way to the bus, this doorway caught my eye. Something that's fantastic about London: stumbling across old buildings with their exuberant and ornate windows or doors. A little bit of history is all around you!
:: This weekend I'm heading to a chocolate truffle making class, hosting friends at my house and generally getting back into the swing of a working week and only two days lie-in! What are your plans for Halloween?::