All of a sudden we’re moving into a new season, with darker evenings and more likelihood of needing a woolly hat. So how can you make the most of this month (without travelling anywhere, or seeing too many other people)?
Read on for 10 feel-good ideas to enjoy this October including proper hot chocolate, visiting a bookshop, and having a good old-fashioned movie night.
1. Go for a walk in the forest
Autumn’s a-coming so there’s no better time to take a walk in the woods to admire the leaves changing from green to golden to orange. Maybe I should mention areas in Ireland since I’ve been here for 12 years, but nowhere beats the New Forest in Autumn as there’s such a variety of trees and wildlife so you get the best mix of colours.
2. Light a candle
As the evenings get darker there’s nothing like lighting a candle for a bit of extra comfort. Plus you could freshen up the smell of your home with a nice scented little number. But for something with a bit of extra meaning, light a candle on October 15th at 7pm as part of the #waveoflight to mark the end of baby loss awareness week – you might like to put it in a window (if it’s safe to do so with curtains etc.) in case someone walking by needs to see a wave of light too.
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3. Have a bath with Epsom salts
There’s something about baths that feel like a real treat – perhaps because the one in our house takes about 20 minutes to fill and you have to turn on the immersion a while beforehand so there’s quite a lot of planning involved. Plus it’s mint green – the only bit of the bathroom we kept when we renovated the house.
Adding Epsom salts to your bath apparently helps to relax muscles and ease stiff joints, as well as reducing stress and promoting restful sleep. Not bad, eh?
4. Read A Honey Bee Heart Has Five Openings by Helen Jukes
Not specifically seasonal, but one of my favourite books I read this year. It helps that I find bees fascinating – maybe I’ll have a hive when I ‘grow up’.
5. Make a proper hot chocolate
That’s right, we’re talking real chocolate and milk. I prefer dark or milk chocolate (or a mix of both), and if you’re feeling bold, a dash of cream. It’s best to heat the milk very gently in a pan, and you can either add grated or melted chocolate a little at a time, whisking until combined. If you’re feeling really wild, you could also add a dash of vanilla extract, or serve with marshmallows on top. Blimey.
6. Have an old-fashioned movie night
The trouble with movie channels and Netflix is that we can watch a film any time we like – what happened to the good old days of going to the video shop and spending a while choosing what you want to rent? Ok, it’s a lot easier now, but that also means we miss out on some of the ceremony.
So choose a film (preferably in advance so you don’t spend half the night scrolling through options), get your favourite drinks and snacks, and pull up a blanket!
7. Take a nap
I mean, why not?
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8. Write a proper letter
It’s very easy to just text or email, but you know deep down that getting a proper letter or card is exciting, so why not share that feeling with others? (Yes, I am guilty of not doing this enough too.) Most of us probably have people we can’t see right now due to distance and/or COVID restrictions, so it’s a great way to show that you’re thinking of them enough to buy a stamp!
9. Get dressed up
Well, it is nearly Halloween after all! When I worked in the Wax Museum in Dublin, it was Halloween throughout the entirety of October: The spooky costumes were fun, but I never want to hear the Halloween playlist ever again! You could even do it for a good cause and raise money with Trick or Treat For Temple Street. If you’re not a costume person, put on your fanciest clothes and feel fabulous instead!
10. Visit a bookshop
Preferably a great independent bookshop – my favourite is The Gutter Bookshop in Temple Bar, and I find at least one book I want every time I go in. The ‘Staff Pick’s wall is infuriatingly tempting! Or Chapters on Parnell Street for their second-hand section. Even just wandering around a bookshop without buying anything brightens my day.
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So lovely! One of the things I miss the most at the moment is browsing around bookshops. Even just inhaling the new book smell is delicious! Best day ever – going into Blackwells in Oxford on a Saturday afternoon back in the 70s and buying 3 books and putting them on my account! Yum! Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Love Story, and a biography of Robert Kennedy. And the Kaleidoscope album of Paul Simon. Now I’m knitting amazing hipster shawls for all my female family for Christmas. Keeping me sane and happy during pandemic times.