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General lifestyle and more personal posts that cover a broader range of topics.

for the love of autumn

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leaf with patchy orange and yellow

might seem a bit random in a post about autumn, but i must disclaim i talk about suicide briefly in this post, so consider this a trigger warning if you wish to skip this post. also there’s a spider.

since i was a child, autumn has always been my favourite time of year. obviously my birthday being at the end of october gives me a bit of a bias, but mostly it’s because of all of the colour around, and memories associated with it. i didn’t have the happiest of childhoods and so autumn became something i really cherished. most of my childhood was spent in surrey and hampshire, and i loved walking around the hilly parts of guildford and kicking up leaves, and don’t even get me started on newlands corner. ah, memories!

yellow and red autumn leaves

pink fading hydrangea

another reason that autumn is important/resonant to me is that it pretty much (in a slightly roundabout but poignant way) saved my life. in 2005 i was incredibly depressed. i was before then and i have been since, but that year and those later months in particular were a very, very low point for me.

wow this is really hard to actually type in a public space.

okay.

i tried to commit suicide. truth be told, i have considered it and thought about it since then a few times, but this was the only time i really came close to actually doing something. i was right there on the edge. i was seconds away.

and then i looked up. fog was rolling over. leaves were falling and the trees were painted in their autumn hues. the sky was grey but tinted a faint lilac. it felt special and in that moment my life changed. i stepped back and took in my surroundings.

this is a large part of the reason that the small things and colour are so important to me. they save me and they are part of my soul and my spirit.

spider on web

black and white leaves

so, when i recently went on an autumnal walk it kind of filled me with a strange mix of happiness and melancholy. mostly happiness to be honest. all the beautiful colour! this time of year is often described as transitional, and for me it is because it marks one of a few particular moments that my life kind of has a specific before and after, and i have to tread that delicate balance between being happy that i’m alive and knowing that i will probably always suffer from depression.

sometimes a little self help can help with depressive episodes, but sometimes you need a little more help, or to talk to someone that can help. sites and organisations like mind and papyrus can be a good starting point.

feet standing on yellow leaves

red berries on the ground

pink and purple hydrangea

black and white photo of tree underside

yellow leaves on pavement

although autumn is kind of tinged with a particular kind of sadness for me, it’s also a reminder to be extra mindful and grateful, a time to remember to take care of myself and to indulge in little happinesses. despite everything, happy or sad, autumn will always have a place in my heart.

what does autumn mean to you?

harvest tour of westons cider mill

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caple rd cider van

westons cider mill house

firstly, a big thank you to westons for inviting us along for a tour! a couple of fridays ago i, and a small group of bloggers were invited along to westons cider mill for a tour of the inner workings and the orchards, as well as some cider tasting. it being harvest time of year, there was of course plenty of colour outside and it was especially nice walking through the organic apple orchards taking photos.

it was fascinating to see and be told about the process of cider and perry making. as you’re shown around the grounds you get to see pretty much every part of it.

westons cider mill is family run and has been going since 1880 and it felt like a real privilege to be shown ‘behind the scenes’, from collecting and washing the apples to bottling and the rest of the production line. even if you dont particularly like cider, it’s just so interesting to see what goes on to make these delicious beverages.

it was quite staggering to stand in the vat shed, with huge (and i mean *huge*) oak vats looming above us. they still use the original and some of the early vats from when the mill first opened, too!

millstone at westons cider mill

h weston and sons sign

tour of westons cider mill

apples being washed

ancient oak vat

close up of an oak vat at westons cider mill

oak vat in vat shed

after the tour we were treated to lunch (which was delicious) which was of course the perfect opportunity to sample a couple of the ciders! after this we went up to a lab area and got to try a couple more. we tried some ‘bases’ as well as a selection of finished ciders.

my favourite, and seemingly the most popular was the handbrake damson cider. now, i love plums and plum flavoured things so i knew i’d enjoy it! weirdly, i found it too sweet for my nose, but as soon as i tasted it i knew that little sample wouldn’t last long!

another favourite of mine was one of the newer offerings, caple rd – it almost had a slight toffee-ish whiskey taste to it. as a side note and as a visual design orientated person i just have to point out i love the packaging on this one. the black on yellow really stands out and i love the fonts used.

such a fantastic day out and i highly recommend a tour of the westons cider mill to anyone, especially this time of year.

lots more photos after the jump!

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the small things | 5

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baby fig leaves

as simple as these posts are, they are some of my favourite posts to put together. i set up a draft, and throughout the month i update it with the small things that have made me happy. every single time it brings a smile to my face, or at least to my mind. taking note (whether literally or mentally, even if it’s a fleeting thought) of the small things that make me happy or little things i notice is incredibly important to me. it’s a one of my most necessary coping mechanisms and has saved my life and sanity on more than one occasion. if you’ve noticed a lot of my photos focus on little details and close ups of things ..this is totally part of that.

i will never judge a person that chooses not to notice the small things that most people miss or don’t think about, but it can absolutely make your life that bit better. not just because you’re being grateful for your surroundings and circumstance, but also because (and this is hard for me to say and may come of as hypocritical as i am a huge pessimist) there is good in (almost) everything and every situation. it may be a tiny, microscopic glimmer of hope, but it is there.

i think rewatching fringe recently has had quite an impact on my thoughts on perception, ha! in one episode walter says: “Perception is largely an emotional response. How we feel affects the way we see the world.” now i know obviously that is not an original thought, but it seemed an apt thing to quote.

anyway, on to my list!

– the smell of the air after a rainstorm
– having unexpectedly productive days
– looking through my collage bits (whilst sorting them out)
– sitting in silence in the autumn sun
– satisfyingly thick jiffy envelopes
– new books
– genuine compliments (both giving and receiving them)
– wrapping up warm
– drinking lots of green tea
– the smell of fresh apples
– birthday chocolate
– the soft smoothness of a new pair of tights
– giving in to being sleepy and drifting off to sleep
– similarly, hearing ava purr loudly and then softly and she falls asleep under a tent of blankets

what’s made you happy recently?