Hello Autumn 2019

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I’m not a huge fan of autumn. To be honest, it’s probably my least favourite season. It’s all about things dying, whether that’s flowers, the leaves on trees or the warm summer days coming to an end. I can’t get excited about dark nights, unless there are Christmas lights involved or autumn leaves even if they turning are my favourite colours. This year is different though. Because summer was a time of hard work, uncertainty and exhaustion, autumn 2019 feels like rebirth rather than death.

autumn berries blackberries

I’ve decided to embrace the season this year and make it a time of mindfulness. I’m beginning September by returning to being a full-time writer and since I earned a distinction on my creative writing module, with renewed confidence in my abilities. One of the first things I intend to do is translate a few short stories I’ve written into the Scots language, which is my mother tongue. Despite being a native speaker, it’s challenging. However, I’m taking lots of breaks and listening carefully to how those around me speak, even if it’s just catching snippets of conversation while I’m out on my daily walk.

Speaking of daily walks, I might increase them and take two a day, weather permitting. There are so many reds and oranges in the world right now, my favourite colours, and it’s a great chance to turn my Instagram grid into something a little less #hashtag. You know what I mean?

bee on a thistle

Autumn this year will be all about writing and doubling, tripling, quadrupling my efforts to make a success of my writing career. I recently ordered a brand new car, thinking I had a steady job, but since I’m back on the right road and not on that detour any more, I now don’t have the money for the car. Step forward several anonymous pseudonyms who will breathe new life into Shaz, as a writer. There’s C, who writes erotica, W who writes cat detective stories (it’s a good niche, why not write some more?) and P who writes “how to” books. I should really make an effort to get my other websites up and running too, but the e-books make money proportionate to the effort I invest.

autumn berries

There will be once-in-a-lifetime experiences, conquering of fears, travels to Spain and England again and I am determined to still get that brand new car. I see no reason why I can’t get it if I work hard enough. Autumn is going to be magical this year and hopefully, by the time Christmas rolls around, I will be too busy and happy to notice the dark nights and short days. When the clock turns midnight on Hogmanay and the 20s begin, at least I’ll be satisfied that I did everything I could to make this year the best it could be, even if I failed.

If you have plans for this autumn, I’d love to hear about them. Share them with me in the comments box or link me to your Instagram page if you have some really nice photos of autumnal scenes.

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Cool Ways To Celebrate The Spring Equinox

Over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly interested in nature and in particular, in the seasons. Perhaps it’s because I now have a different pace of life as a writer and don’t constantly look at a calendar the way I did when I was working in administrative jobs. When you’re in admin you type the date every time you type a letter so are constantly aware of what time of year it is. Now, I look for signs like snowdrops appearing and the changes in daylight to signal when seasons are changing. Let’s face it, you can’t rely on the temperature, can you? Especially not in Scotland. So, today’s vernal equinox is, to me, a sign that spring is well and truly here and I will be celebrating.

There are many ways to do this, although the majority of people choose not to mark the occasion at all. I think that’s quite sad. Just because you have a religion that focuses more on modern festivals doesn’t mean you can’t get down with the Pagans and mark the festivals set by Mother Nature herself! So, I have compiled a list of little things you can do to celebrate spring’s arrival. But firstly, some little nuggets of information about the Equinox.

ways to celebrate the spring equinox

  • Equinox, like many words in the English language, is derived from Latin and it means “equal.” The split in daylight today is roughly equal, meaning we have twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of darkness. Where I live in the world, our sunset is around 18:30 and sunrise is around 06:30 right now.
  • Everyone already knows that in the northern hemisphere it is spring and in the southern hemisphere it is autumn. Some people might not know that the name of the equinox changes, depending on where in the world you are. For us, it’s the Vernal Equinox and for the southern hemisphere, it’s called the autumnal equinox.
  • Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring Equinox. That’s why it’s so late this year. The full moon was the day before the equinox, so we have to wait a full lunar cycle. I don’t think this applies to the Greek Orthodox church though because I’ve seen them have Easter in May before. Perhaps someone can link me up to an explanation for that?
  • The date and time of the equinox falls at roughly the same time each year but not exactly. This year it’s on the 20th March at 21:58. This slight change also applies to the solstices.

Here are some ways you can mark the occasion.

Make a Resolution

Most people make one on 1st January. I know I always do, but it’s also a good idea to revisit that resolution or to make a new one on the date of the spring equinox. Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. The natural cycle of plants begins again and this could apply to your life too. This year, I’m resolving to get fit. Standard resolution and not very original but it makes me happy to know that I have a new goal and be working towards it. #SixPackForSummer

ways to celebrate the spring equinox

Freshen Up Your Home

This could be as simple as giving the place a deep clean or it could be more intense like decorating. Yesterday I decided on a deep clean. I’ve been inspired by Mrs Hinch on Instagram so I had my own Home Bargains haul and bought up £26 worth of cleaning materials. And some cut-price hot chocolate. I thought I’ll need that to help me relax once I’m done.

So, armed with soda crystals, white vinegar and Zoflora, I decided to tackle my plugholes, like Mrs Hinch did in an Instagram story last week. I poured the soda crystals and vinegar down, just like she did and then a kettle full of boiling water and some neat Zoflora. Then my sink started smoking. And it kept smoking. And then I began to worry because it wouldn’t stop smoking and my eyes were watering with the overwhelming stench of lavender. The dog started crying at the door to get out. Me being me, I started to panic and had visions of Rum and I dying from fumes because I had done something wrong somewhere so I called my Dad for advice. Another adulting fail – I can’t believe I still have them at the age of 38. He told me just to run cold water gently down the drain for ten minutes. There’s a lot to be said for sticking to hot soapy water and a Brillo pad. I might by-pass the chemicals in future because I don’t fancy making another volcano in my u-bend.

My enthusiasm for cleaning has gone so I’m now spending the weekend decorating my cloakroom in a completely new style. This totally counts as freshening up my home.

ways to celebrate the spring equinox

Watch A Spring Movie

This is a new tradition that my family have but it’s one that will stay with us, I’m sure. At least, it will until Luke grows up and gets to the teenage stage where he’s too cool for watching family movies. My personal favourites are Hop and the Curious George Swing Into Spring movie. But if you only watch one, I’d recommend Hop. It reminds me of the Easter that we spent in Cyprus when Luke had the measles, so we couldn’t leave our apartment and all we did was watch Hop on a loop. (Yes, that was an affiliate link. A girl’s gotta make a living)

Before anyone asks, yes he was immunised. No, it made no difference. He still caught it.

Decorate Your Home For Spring

Is this a fairly new thing? Recently I’ve noticed a lot of Easter decorations in supermarkets and discount stores. For example, we have an Easter Bunny Stop Here sign, a wicker wreath with coloured wooden eggs on it to hang on our door and a string of tiny light-up eggs to hang up, just like Christmas lights but for spring. Yesterday, I emptied my pot pourri bowl and filled it with coloured eggs instead to mark the season.

celebrate the spring equinox

Have a Spring Themed Meal

There are lots of different ways you mark spring’s arrival with a spring themed meal. Eggs would be one way, although we are an egg-free house thanks to egg allergies. Tonight I am making Pasta Primavera which is full of spring vegetables. I’ll share the recipe soon. You could also try a lamb dish and it doesn’t have to be a bog-standard roast. It could be lamb bhuna or shepherd’s pie.

Basically, anything with lamb or leeks or other spring vegetables would count.

ways to celebrate the spring equinox

Visit Stonehenge

Oh, I so wish I could do this today. The Megalithic monument, Stonehenge, which is in Wiltshire in England, is open for the summer and winter solstices and spring and autumn equinox. It isn’t always open to the public but on those days, it is. Before I turn 40 next year, I would like to visit for one of those occasions – preferably not the winter solstice though because I’m not a fan of the cold.

I’m lucky that I live in an area with lots of megaliths around and there’s one just outside my village. I’ll be paying it a visit later today while I’m out on my daily walk.

ways to celebrate the spring equinox

Rebalance

This is quite a general one and the specifics will be different for each individual, depending on their belief systems. For example, I’ll probably get out into nature and meditate to re-balance. I might even burn some sage to clear out the negative energy from my home, if I can find any lying around. For others it could mean praying or visiting their place of worship. It might also mean something as simple as spending time with family and friends or going for a relaxing bath. Or even Pokemon Go (Niantic launched a new event today to celebrate the equinox) or blogging! What would re-balance mean for you?

ways to celebrate the spring equinox

However you choose to celebrate the change of the season, have a beautiful day and a happy first day of spring or autumn!

You can find out the dates of the future equinox or solstice here.

Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link.