Crisp autumn leaves, cosy jumpers, roaring fires, pumpkin spice lattes, warming stews, flickering scented candles, parkin, cinnamon, bonfires; yes, at least two of these are likely to be seen in every Zoella Instagram image over the next few months, but that’s not quite what we’re getting at here. They’re all sure-fire signs that autumn is on its way and we could not be more excited.
Summer is great, and we were much more lucky than usual with the weather this year, but there’s just something incredibly magical about the cosiness of autumn and the gorgeous colours associated with the season. And, of course, the arrival of autumn means it’s very nearly the most wonderful time of year of all…no, not Christmas, GBBO final day!
From the flavours to the meals and from the special occasions to simply not having to leave the house and not being judged for it, here are just a few reasons to start getting excited about autumn:
Bake Off's back!
Nights in curled up on the sofa judging showstopper bakes with Prue and Paul, cheering over Hollywood Handshakes, worshipping at the Gingham Altar, rejoicing with Star Bakers and shedding a few tears too with Sandi and Noel are what autumn is all about.
Home bakes are compulsory while watching (there’s a clause in the TV licence about it), so make sure you’ve thought up your signature cake, bread, pastry and dessert ready for the appropriate weeks.
Once we hear that theme tune and have our first glimpse of that white tent, we know that autumn has officially arrived.
Pumpkins and spice and all things nice
PSLs – that’s pumpkin spice lattes, for those who don’t know – are pretty much a religion in their own right. They’re an Instagram movement in themselves, and they’ve become synonymous with autumn.
And those flavours are no longer just confined to high street coffee shop chains, with a whole host of recipes inspired by this autumnal beverage’s flavours cropping up.
Take these pumpkin spice latte cupcakes from Table for Two Blog, for example; the sponge is flavoured with pumpkin puree and a little ground coffee, while the lightly spiced buttercream frosting is finished with a dreamy caramel drizzle. Or for an autumnal alternative to banana bread, try out this pumpkin spiced loaf from Once Upon a Chef.
Remember that pumpkins and even some squashes can make incredibly cute decorations for your home too – they don’t need scary carved faces, they can look elegant just as they are.
Halloween and Bonfire Night
Trick or treating, pumpkin-carving, apple-bobbing, writing your name with a sparkler, getting wrapped up in what feels like a million warm layers, toffee apples, warming your hands by the bonfire and- mesmerising fireworks; between them, Halloween and Bonfire Night offer some of the year’s most magical moments.
One main highlight has to be the food, but rather than just dipping apples in toffee and baking a batch of your usual parkin, get creative and use those classic flavours to inspire new creations.
These toffee apple-inspired blondies from Crazy for Crust will definitely please a crowd of ravenous trick or treaters or bonfire-watchers, and these fabulous firework-inspired brownies with dark chocolate, fiery, autumnal ginger and fizzing popping candy from Little Button Diaries will be perfect for Bonfire Night. But who says you have to wait? Get excited early and make them now.
Staying in becomes the new going out
One of the most beautiful things about autumn is that it becomes much more socially acceptable to stay indoors rather than go out and socialise. Summer can feel like an endless round of barbecues, music festivals, country fairs and weddings, but autumn is all about curling up inside, watching Netflix and staying warm.
Dig out your cosiest socks, start a new box set and make sure you’ve got a supply of tea bags large enough to see you through until spring. This is social hibernation at its best.
Soups and stews galore
After a summer of salads, skewers and burgers from the barbie, the arrival of autumn signals the return of hearty, warming soups and stews. Perfect to pop in your Tefal Cook4Me, and ideal for leftovers to ladle into a flask for lunch the next day.
This sausage and pumpkin casserole from Hungry Healthy Happy is packed with autumnal flavours, while this roasted butternut squash soup from Madeleine Olivia is absolutely perfect for the season – add extra chilli for a beautifully warming kick.
Cram in as many veggies as you can, use lean meat where possible and be mindful of your sides to keep your stews healthy – but who can resist a pile of creamy mash? Mmm.