Monday, November 14, 2016

Embracing the Season

Right now many of us are craving coziness and comfort. We want to make our homes warm and welcoming and spend time with our loved ones. November goes by so fast, culminating in everyone's favorite holiday -- Thanksgiving. In the spirit of creating some "comfort and joy," here are twelve things I am most looking forward to in November. It's all about slowing down and savoring the season.

1. The Days Getting Shorter

Believe it or not, I look forward to the days getting shorter. Being from the East coast originally, where the weather was cold and nothing felt better than getting home and warming up in front of the fireplace, I always loved the shorter days of winter. We may not have that cold weather right now, especially where I live, but as the nights arrive earlier it feels cozy to light the candles, set the table with flowers, and have friends over for a weeknight dinner. 

2. Some Really Good Television --

There is so much good television right now. I have been watching "The Crown" which is airing on Netflix. This beautiful new series, created by Peter Morgan, is about the life of Elizabeth II and begins with her accession to the throne at age 25 in 1952. Peter Morgan wrote the film "The Queen" and the play "The Audience;" "The Crown" feels like the natural next step in his work. I have watched the first five episodes and am riveted. I loved the actress Claire Foy as Anne Bolyn in "Wolf Hall" and she is excellent as Queen Elizabeth. And what a sumptuous production. It is filled with so much history, for example the Great Smog of 1952 in London. I didn't know about this. Have you started watching this series? The episode on the coronation is brilliant. Notice what a big role the Duke of Windsor has in this story. Which makes a lot of sense, since Elizabeth wouldn't have become Queen if he hadn't abdicated the throne. He changed history forever. I would love to know what you think!

3. Reading a Classic Novel --

It's the time of year to hunker down with some good classic novels and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is the one I am reading right now. "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers..." And so begins Virginia Woolf's modernist masterpiece which consists of one day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway. As she goes about her day getting ready for her party, we are in her head as she moves back and forth in time -- recalling her youth, interacting with the people around her and evaluating her life. Her loves, regrets, fears, joys, and general observations of life are all woven throughout this stream-of-consciousness novel. Her character is revealed layer by layer. At the same time we are in the head of another character, a young man named Septimus Smith who is suffering from shell shock after World War I. Through this character Virginia Woolf explored the topic of mental illness, a subject with which she was very familiar. Other characters are vividly portrayed: Peter Walsh, Sally Seton, and Richard Dalloway -- all have played an important role in Clarissa's life. And from their perspective, we learn of the impact she has had on them. Woolf was doing something new with Mrs. Dalloway -- writing a novel that reflects the way people really think. She also wrote some of the most beautiful prose you will ever read.   

4. Travel --

Fall is such a great time to travel, especially to the East Coast to see the glorious fall foliage. We were in New York in October where we saw the amazing exhibition Charlotte Bronte: An Independent Will at the Morgan Library and Museum. If you get to NY before the New Year, be sure to visit the Morgan. The Bronte exhibition will be up until January. This is the kind of exhibition savor. In fact, I will probably go again when I am in NYC in December. If you go, be sure to check out the original manuscript of The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens which is always on display at The Morgan at this time of the year. The Morgan is a treasure trove and a place to celebrate the written word. It is one of my favorite places to visit and I go every time I am in New York.

5. Pumpkins and Mums

This is the classic combination for fall

6. The color orange

It really makes things pop! Here is our Thanksgiving table, 2015

And the garden, 2010

7. Plaid

Plaid feels tailored and crisp, just like fall.
These candles from Anta in Scotland would be perfect for the holiday season!

8. Cooking 

This weekend I had my family over for dinner and made Ina Garten's "Roasted Italian Meatballs" and "Kale Salad with Pancetta and Pecorino" from her new cookbook Cooking for Jeffrey. They were delicious!

9. Hot Mulled Cider

Tis' the season for hot mulled cider. Go here for my favorite recipe.
Photo via here

10.  A Delivery from Heywood Hill

I can't wait to see what Heywood Hill sends me for November. Go here to read more.

11. Listening to podcasts 

Listening to podcasts is another way to slow down and savor the season. Miranda Mills from Miranda's Notebook has just launched her podcast series Tea and Tattle and the first one is about Hygge, the Scandinavian philosophy of togetherness and coziness. Just what we need right now. Go here to listen.

12. Thinking about Christmas

This is the month to order tickets for "The Nutcracker." Going to this ballet in December is a magical holiday tradition.

By the way, I hope you had a fun Halloween. We went trick-or-treating with our little granddaughter who was dressed up as Madeline, the character from the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans.  She was adorable!


  1. What a wonderful post. I enjoyed it immensely and I sat up a bit when you showed books. I have a terrible time finding fiction I enjoy so I will have to look these up. I'm just finishing ON THE MOVE by Oliver Sacks and I just love it and him. Love The Crown but I fear I've missed some as I don't remember having watched five.

    1. Hi Donna, I can recommend "The Secrets of Wishtide." It's so cozy and a wonderful escapist read!

  2. I never met anyone besides me who likes the shorter days ~ love them! I've also been sort of cozying up the house, sorting and rearranging books, and of course loads of pumpkins on our porch. I do wish it would cool down for Thanksgiving though. Finished up The Crown last night and I loved it. She's so wonderful as Elizabeth.

    1. I agree with you about the weather. I'm hoping it cools down here very soon. I'm almost at the end of The crown also, isn't it wonderful!

  3. I LOVE THE CROWN...............and I have been to TREETOPS where she spent sometime on the HONEYMOON!That made me cry!!!!!Not as far as you are yet.........but savoring and enjoying VERY MUCH!

    1. I'm so glad you're enjoying it. Most everyone I know is watching it right now. How exciting that you were at her honeymoon spot!

  4. What a great list! Thanks for reminding us all of the good, comforting things in life. I, too, am watching The Crown and love it so much. It is addicting.

  5. Thank you so much, Anbolyn! Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving! xx

  6. Thanks for recommending The Crown. I am watching it on my phone as I cook and am loving it.

  7. What a lovely list, Sunday - perfect ways to enjoy the season, and I'm so excited to see Tea & Tattle podcast on there!! Thank you so much for sharing :) I'm absolutely loving Ina's new cookbook as well at the moment! Miranda xxx

  8. P.S. I just started watching The Crown and love it too!! xxx