Outdoor living, autumn decorations & belly warming food made simple
October never used to be my favourite time of year in the UK.
These days, mid autumn is growing on me, I blame being brought up in Africa. Winter in the UK may have been happening, but in my world we were BBQing and swimming in the sunshine on Christmas day.
It messed with my seasons, but over time, I’ve gently eased myself into the world of blankets, thick jumpers - dare I say fleece - and golden hues.
Autumn 2023 is well underway, we’ve watched the leaves fall and the tree tops change from bright green to shades of red, orange and gold.
It dawned on me this year, that autumn really is a short snapshot in the year, I’m putting it down to filming reels on a weekly basis at The Welsh Farm Glamping. It has made me so much more aware of the changing seasons and the beauty that surrounds the cabin and yurts.
You honestly have a different holiday, and different experience depending on the season and time of year you stay.
This month we are talking all things beautiful soiree’s and crisp mid autumn nights.
When living the outdoor life, dining outside is not hampered by the cold.
In fact I would go as far as to say it enhances it.
Here is what we suggest you do to while away time on a glorious fiery evening in sunset season.
Set the tone for your Autumn soiree evening under the stars
Start early, it’s always surprising how quickly the nights draw in. An autumnal evening starts much earlier than you anticipate, if you want to get set up before darkness falls.
Each of our escapes at the Welsh Farm has an outdoor table, by a fire pit with a pizza oven and BBQ. In the yurts we have tripods where you can cook a traditional style stew, right over the flames of your outdoor fire.
Pile the chairs high with cushions and blankets, fill the hot water bottles and lay them ready on your chairs. Set the table with mugs rather than glasses and help yourself to a selection of plentiful autumnal foliage and leaves around the grounds to create seasonal centerpieces.
Last but not least, get the picnic mat from the blanket box and lay it by the fire, with the dog bed neatly ontop. The picnic blanket will stop any damp rising, keep the bed mud free and your pups warm.
For extra atmosphere, switch on the outdoor pendant lights at the Country Yurt, hanging from the tree’s branches above you.
And light the fire. Here is our top outdoor tip, light the fire an hour or so before you are planning to sit down to eat. This will stop your eyes smarting as you get smoked out while eating. Start the fire early and you will have heat radiating from the flames by the time you come to sit down.
If you are cooking over the fire, lighting it even earlier is essential - to slow cook a delicious stew…
Planning for autumn evenings - autumn food and drink
The key to a romantic autumnal evening is cosiness, not just with blankets and hot water bottles, but also with delectable food and drinks.
This is also the part where your planning comes in. Pre-decide on what you want to eat and how you want to cook.
I would always opt for a stew in winter, with a chunk of fresh bread, but maybe you are tickled by a juicy steak (could be a beetroot steak) on the BBQ or an Italian cheese feast in the pizza oven.
Whatever you decide, make sure you roast some winter vegetable sides (either in a pan or in the pizza oven). Forage in the vegetable garden at the Country Yurt, you may find some late tomatoes, courgette and leafy winter greens to add flourish to your evening.
And if your paw-family are joining in, there is nothing more delicious than stew and roast root vegetables.
Drinks in autumn need to be warm, it feels too early for anything mulled. So opt for a spiced apple or hot toddy. Somehow I find both these drinks scream autumn rather than winter.
As the sun goes down, flick on the outdoor lights for atmosphere and move over, blankets and all, closer to the fire as the temperature drops.
Pudding is best taken here, cwtched by the dancing flames. Warmed brownies, sticky toffee puddings and dense, moist vegetable based cakes are the perfect end to the evening.
Sing, dance, laugh and play. Then after a pause, hot chocolates and marshmallows come out.
Before retiring to the hot tub…