October is my favourite month of the year. Days are cooler and shorter, making me want to use up every last bit of sun and light, but not so short or cold to make the outside inhospitable. Leaves are changing colour and harvest festivals abound. Many conversations centre around how Christmas has come early again and everyone can recall a time when Christmas happens in the latter of December and only then.

To me it feels as if the idea of Christmas and all the excitement around it is just starting to grow and I know November is going to fly by and then it will be time for that mad scurry to decorate trees, wrap presents, draw up meal plans (fingers crossed for an insulin pump by Christmas) and book Christmas grocery delivery slots – Riverford’s mince pies are the best and they usually have a lovely selection of festive alcohol in limited stock we enjoy.

In the spirit of October, we have stopped in at Mottisfont Abbey with its beautiful garden and grounds to test MPOW’s smart phone clip-on lenses (and reviewed them favourably here). We have spent an afternoon in the park with a picnic blanket, carb-free snack and an electric scooter that’s held up astoundingly well through all four seasons over the last 12 months. (Links are to our product reviews – we really do use and re-use the products we test and our personal favourites are often the ones we reach for again most often after reviews are up).

October, despite always dipping our toes already in the cold-and-flu-season, is a wonderful month of cooking parsnips, swede, cauliflower, leek, cabbage and carrot recipes, snacking on apples, pears and oranges and waiting for the leaves to change on long late-afternoon walks on days where we aren’t curled up on the couch under warm,fluffy blankets.

If you’re going to get sick, at least there are the pleasures of hearty soups, healthy apple crumbles, hot water bottles and no bright sunlight to spoil the view on screens overused for reading and binging on the West Wing (or Bubble Guppies if you happen to be 5 ¾).