by Rebecca Lovatt – My English Country Cottage
The perfect blend of late summer flowers from Bloom and Wild
Interior Styling tips for beginning the autumnal embrace
We don’t need to say goodbye to this years loosely termed “summer” just yet but there are a variety of ways that we can begin to welcome early autumn into our homes.
Living in the countryside means that we are all intimately linked to the changing of the seasons. We watch the combines cutting swathes through fields of burnished yellow and we spot the blackberries ripening in the hedgerows. The air is fresher and cooler in the mornings and there is a sense of the party drawing to a close.
Dahlias and candles are a wonderful way to begin the gentle shift from summer to autumn.
I am a summer baby and it has taken me a good few years to begin the embracing of Autumn so I like to do it in gentle, cosseting stages. Just the lightest touch of Autumn entering my home echoing the garden and the surrounding fields. Golden honey tones, richer reds, darker greens and the creeping of russet touches (not too much, don’t over shock your senses and collapse in a “Where has the summer gone” weeping heap).
Hops garlands are another gentle introduction to Autumn into the home. These are two years old but look out for my blogpost next month for fresh Hops Garlands. These are available now from Hukins Hops
Hops Garlands are a fabulous bridge between Summer and Autumn. They smell incredible and are the perfect mix of late summer days and crisp Autumn mornings. They introduce a lovely sense of muted colour after summer’s riot and provide wonderful texture in the room (one of many ways to make a room look beautiful but homely). A more subtle approach is dried flowers, I like to dry mine over La Aga (although this does create the occasional yelp from my set upon by summers drying roses husband as he attempts to brew his morning coffee!), not only do they look beautiful against the dark beam but they can be dried quickly whilst maintaining their colour).
Last years jam making underway
Dried flowers help to ease us into the Autumnal season – and cake, cake really helps.
Wicker baskets move from picnic hampers to foraging and harvesting baskets, perfect for blackberries, pears and windfall apples. The ideal way to bring a sense of rusticity and texture into the home. Summer is lace and fine linen, pretty floral cushions and straw bags, mix these with heavier wicker and handled baskets for a sniff of Autumn foraging. My wicker shopping trolleys – Mave and Elsie – accompany me throughout the year on my vaguely secretive foragings in the hedgerows and byways (I have discovered that the sight of a slightly wild haired lady pulling a shopping trolley through bridleways and lanes can easily scare people so I tend to skulk whilst foraging – although this has also proved terrifying to random hikers and intrepid cyclists). Heavier baskets are incredibly useful at this time of year as well as providing texture and visual warmth to a room.
Elsie and Mave in a rare shot together, with summer roses and croquet mallets but bringing a tiny whiff of autumn, just the merest hint of foraging outings ahead.
In the kitchen, pick weather beaten hydrangeas that will bloom in the vase but can also be kept long after until they dry out gently as the water evaporates.
Use home made jams and fresh fruit to brighten late summer days and provide a sense of cosiness and seasons changing. Mix with fresh colourful garden flowers to keep a little hold on the summer!
Early windfall pears make a wonderful table decoration as well as providing the perfect fruit for pickling.
Add a candle, some cosy cushions, a heavy straw bag and mix with fresh green hydrangeas for a happy halfway seasonal style.
The sitting room is another perfect place to begin the seasonal shift. Bring in richly coloured Dahlias and place in earthernware pots and jugs in dark green, rich chestnut and sandy hues. Old books are also a really simple way of making a room seem cosier. There is something eminently reassuring about a battered old book, the smell alone makes ones shoulders drop but the texture of the pages and the worn out colour of the binding help to bring a quiet faded beauty which perfectly echoes the time of year.
Late summer blooms, chunky earthenware, old books and the obligatory candle all create a haven of late summer days and cosy Autumn curl ups.
Employ more cushions for cosiness (yes – there is always a reason for more cushions), thicker, textured blankets, hints of copper and brass in candle holders, vases or bowls. Just gently invite autumn in through splashes of colour and texture.
Bring in richer colours to replace the fading warmth of summer, dark reds and greens with bursts of yellow will keep it this side of Autumn!
The genius and deliciously scented Aromatherapy Associates Atomiser
My latest amazing discovery is the Aromatherapy Associates atomiser. It is like being in a spa, the essential oil blends smell incredible and actually work! I have been indulging in “Deep Relax” – I did – with Vertivert, Camomile and Sandalwood, “Breathe” which cleared my late summer hayfevery nose with Eucalyptus, Tea tree and Pine and my favourite so far: “Forest Therapy” – this essential oil blend is to “Ground and Restore” and it really actually did in real life! A bleary Autumnal feeling (grey skies, overwhelming garden and possibly too much It is still summer Pimms the night before) Sunday morning was averted by this amazing blend. I perked up within ten minutes and spent the day preparing the garden and myself for the beginnings of the Autumnal Season. Pop your blend of choice into the atomiser, switch it on and allow these brilliantly blended oils to work their clearly must be magic brilliance.
Aromatherapy Associates explain that it isn’t magic, that aromatherapy works by gently tapping into our limbic system: “This part of the brain deals with emotions, memories and stimulation. Essential oils are able to bypass the blood-brain barrier through the olfactory system. Once inhaled, essential oils can alter our brain chemistry, stimulating memories, moods, and feelings.
Aromatherapy expert Amy Bonfield says: “Diffusing the Forest Therapy blend in the Atomiser as we move from summer into Autumn allows us to bring the benefits and aroma of the outdoors into our home. This evergreen blend has been created with 22 essential oils using a hand blended collection of nature’s most caring ingredients. In this blend you will find essential oils of Cypress, one of the oldest species of trees which is known for its calming properties and supports our respiratory health, Ho Wood which helps to restore the mind and body and uplifting Pink Pepper.
As we move into the evenings we can change the scent of our homes to a more relaxing environment by diffusing our award winning Deep Relax blend. This blend was created by one of our founders, Geraldine Howard whilst she was suffering with insomnia so this blend provides the ultimate in relaxation and aids a great night’s sleep, which can be something many struggle with as the seasons change and our circadian rhythm feels out of balance. The Deep Relax blend contains Vetivert, which is known for its sedating properties. In aromatherapy this essential oil is classed as the most relaxing essential oil. You will also find calming Camomile in here and grounding Sandalwood among others.
The real power of aromatherapy is the fact that it has a holistic effect on our wellbeing, setting our mind, body and spirit back in balance and allowing us to ease gently into the Autumn season”.
I have loved using the atomiser in our bedroom, setting it to a thirty minute programme which fills our room with the most deliciously relaxing scent, coupled with our gorgeously soft linen bedding and I am almost ready to embrace Autumn!!! I am an absolute convert to linen bedding, having always sworn that I was a 50 million percent Egyptian Cotton diehard, I tried linen and all thoughts of cotton were banished from my brain. It keeps you cool on warmer nights but cosy when there is a chill in the air. It feels slightly weightier so lends a wonderfully relaxed look. Again, elements of brass and gilt have been employed to usher in the first hints of autumn, along with dried lavender and my thick rattan trug. The mix of dried flowers and fresh late roses and hydrangeas blends the two seasons beautifully.
More rustic elements are employed in the form of wooden barn stars (they seemed appropriate in our Stable conversion!) and tapestry cushions and embroidery frame. The grainsack pillows add another layer of texture but are balanced by the colourful jug of garden fresh Dahlias whilst the paisley print eiderdown brings a summery print with an autumnal cosy feel.
I enjoy changing cushions and blankets, swapping summery accessories for a slightly cosier feel to each room but with just the use of foraged and dried flowers, a heavy rattan basket, a candle and vintage books one can begin to introduce the next season without breaking the bank or shocking our still desperate for an actual summer senses! Fill your home with the scent of essential oils, surround yourself with sumptuous cushions. and ease yourself into Autumn.
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way condoning the actions of this very naughty summer, nor am I giving into Autumn just yet, I would be very grateful for just a few days of continuous sunshine and warmth please. Thank you.
For more styling advice and cottage interiors galore, head to Rebecca’s instagram page @myenglishcountrycottage
or her website https://www.myenglishcountrycottage.co.uk/
Dress and hat by Stoned and Waisted