Monday, 4 January 2016

The Autumn Appreciation Fan Club

Yes, it's a real thing...I'm the founding member, and currently the only member I know of but I'm sure many of you out there would be willing to join me in appreciating just how awesome autumn truly is! I'm a little late to the game on this on...and honestly I think I only really fell in love with autumn after we'd moved to Vancouver because I defy anyone to spend an autumn in that city and not fall in love with their outrageously red and orange leaves and pops of colour so vivid you never knew existed! So the autumn after we returned to the UK and were living in Wales I hunted desperately for a show of colour as good or even half as good as what we'd experienced in Canada...and I came up empty handed! The following year we moved to Lanarkshire and the same hunt began, googling endlessly where to find the best autumn leaves and again I came up empty I didn't really have high hopes for our autumn here in the borders but oh man, the Borders do autumn SO well! and it was better than I could ever have anticipated!

It helped that it was a super mild autumn and probably the least rainy one we have ever experienced (but don't worry December more than made up for any lack of rain!!) and exploring new places always make everything more fun anyway! and of course it was Ella's first halloween of really understanding what was going on but I couldn't let these fun months go by without documenting them! 

This was a beautiful taster of autumn that my forester brought home for me one day when I wasn't finding enough red trees near us!!! 

We headed to the Apple Festival at Harestanes.  Ella loves a good walk in the woods to pick leaves!

She may or may not have mixed up the different apple varieties on display, whoops!

and no post about autumn is complete without the hay shot! 

I love a good field filled with those rolls of hay!

Ella was delighted every time we went on an autumn walk and came across blackberries! They are one of her fave fruits...

and she loves the purple tongue they give her too!

There was still enough rain for some puddle splashing fun at Bowmont!

and in town...

where Ella also discovered conkers for the first time! She found a good conker tree at church too that had dropped loads and she loved picking them up and rolling them down the hill! 

See what I mean about our mild autumn? No coats needed for Floors Castle fun with friends!

and I had to pull over to snap these red leaves on the way out!

We discovered a new place near Berwick called Paxton House that was filled with autumn magic, like all these golden leaves on the ground! 

and with the sun shining it made for some beautiful shots!

This was Ella 'hooray-ing' on our walk through the woods!

and she's still always a fan of stones and open water!

We ended with a barefoot picnic - when else could you do that in October?!

I'd cut her a few small pieces of pear in her lunch and brought the whole pear for me but she promptly handed me the pot of small pieces and said 'mummy' and then grabbed my pear and said 'bubby' - well that was me told! 

I had heard that Peebles is spectacular in autumn, and it definitely lived up to the hype! 

We went to the Forest Festival, and Ella had a great time making a little wooden necklace and a wooden Beaver too!

The hammering was her fave part (supervised by Daddy!)

They sat on these cute little wooden toadstools waiting for the puppet show to begin! 

 We checked out some impressive chainsaw carving like these toadstools...

and this wooden pumpkin!

Swinging with a view at the playpark!   

I was loving all the beautiful scenery! 

and even a peek of some sunshine! I have always said I don't even need to go to Peebles itself, just the drive there is worth every second! 

The icing on the cake was finding this amazing display of Larch trees en route.  I follow tons of Canadians on instagram who spend all their weekends at the mountains and I had been getting Larch envy from looking at all their pictures.  I kept asking Byron where we could find good Larch stands over here but it's just not as frequently planted as it is in it was a very happy day when I finally got to see some Larch in it's neon yellow glory! 

We headed to Northumberland because no halloween is complete without some pumpkin patching fun! After a little tractor ride, we were led to a little show involving the good witch.

Ella was loving having a little boogie to the music! 

and then the bad witch appeared! 

and she wasn't at all sure about her! so she kept one eye on her the whole performance! 

Then it was time to pick our pumpkins! She took the whole thing very seriously! and was very thorough in her searching! (yeah this was a 'fake' patch where they had just thrown down some hay and hidden the pumpkins underneath!!)

She was very pleased with her first discovery!

and we found another one for mommy too.

She was so happy with her pumpkins, she insisted on snuggling them on the tractor ride home!

We stopped off at Born in the Borders for a spot of cake on the way home, and were loving all their autumn decor! 

There is always time for puddle jumping, especially at golden hour!

We caught a pretty sunset too!

and Ella got busy with the stones and the river again! 

Loved these reflecting trees in the water! 

Ella dressed up as a witch for her little halloween party at Toddlers, and she was very pleased to have her own broomstick! 

and enjoyed practicing flying around the room on it! 

This was the little photo area I had set up at the party! She spent most of the party in tears after being scared of a rather large spider decoration we had put up! so this 5 minutes at the start was probably the happiest she was the whole party!!

A few days later we headed to Ford and Etal for a little witch trail. 

These two little villages were so pretty

and had really gone all out with the halloween spirit! We were loving it! 

Photo props and all! 

Lots of houses had taken part in decorating their gardens to create scary scenes! and you had to run around and tick off all the ones you'd seen on the trail.

The sun was shining through these ruins just right!

and I loved the light catching the top of Ella's head through these trees! 

The river was decked by all kinds of colourful trees!

That evening was Halloween itself and so Ella put on her witch outfit again and got ready for her first bit of trick and treating! 

She didn't really have any idea what lay ahead! 

We knocked on the first door and after walking away she signed to me 'all done'!! I told her no we weren't done yet, we went to a few more houses and as she realised that every house was giving her chocolate she got the hang of it very quickly and didn't want to go home in the end! Most people let her take 2 things because they said she was the smallest cutest witch they'd seen! 

Our neighbourhood went all out and we were really impressed with everyones effort!

For a week afterwards every time we walked around our neighbourhood to go the park or we went past the doors that we had trick and treated at she would try and walk up the path and want to knock on their doors!! It's a hard concept for a toddler to understand that she has to wait a whole year for it to come around again! 

On the way to church one Sunday we drove through this little village, and Byron caught a glimpse of this tree lined path and knew it was right up my street! 

We ventured there a few days later for a walk with Milo, and it was all kinds of beautiful! 

Especially with the sunlight peeking through too! 

One of the best leafiest finds so far! 

Bonfire night brought sparkler fun! 

and Ella first saying the word 'ire' - fire! She is a bit obsessed with fire so she really liked seeing the huge bonfire at Yetholm. 

She was mesmerised by the fireworks! and especially enjoyed the squealing ones at the end that she thought sounded like squeaky mice! anytime you ask her about fireworks now she makes mice noises! 

We had s'mores with friends because everyone knows you can't have a good fire without some s'mores fun! 

It even co incided nicely with my s'mores week I'd been baking for, so we had homemade s'mores marshmallows and everything! 

Ella wasted no time in getting stuck in! 

We had to make do with digestives, but the mint aero combo with the s'mores marshmallow seemed to be the fave of the night! 

The other best leafy find this autumn was at our fave forest - Bowmont.  We went there one semi rainy Saturday afternoon and I was blown away by the autumn magic! 

I just loved the green mossy trees meeting the brown and yellow leaves! 

and the sun streaming through the trees! 

and yes there was more Larch spotting to be done! 

and shoulder rides with Daddy are always a hit! 

We ended out the last of our autumn days with one last puddle splashing session at Born in the Borders! This time Granny and Auntie Mara tagged along! 

Autumn - you were amazing, and put on quite a show! We can't wait for you to roll round again next year! 

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