22/11/13 - My Autumn/Winter Essentials

As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, I have to admit that I perk up a little.  Whilst I've started to come around to summer and seem to be developing into something of a sun-worshipper, I will always be a cold weather girl at heart.  I love bundling up and going for walks on dark cold evenings, watching lights twinkling in shop windows and people's homes, not feeling quite so guilty about indulging in the occasional stodgy comfort meal.  And although I am determined that this will not being a Christmas post - I am a firm believer that Christmas celebrations should happen in the month of December and not before - there is of course that little glimmer of excitement, just a few weeks away.

As summer slips away and autumn is firmly upon us, there are some things that you simply cannot be without.  So without further ado, this is a list of my absolute essentials for the colder months.

Coffee.  While coffee is obviously a staple all year round, but it just seems so much more satisfying from October onwards.  When I'm feeling lazy or need a pick-me-up before work, I hate to say that I reach for the jar of instant.  However Sunday mornings, particularly frosty ones, were just made for proper coffee.  Wrapped up in my warmest dressing gown, I crack out the cafetiere and treat myself to something a bit special with a browse of a newspaper or a chapter of my book.  I am currently enjoying Finca San Antonio that I got from 'Pact', a little company in London which will roast and grind some of the world's finest coffee and send it straight to your door in a handy 250g pouch.  I heard about it from The Londoner and Rosie was kind enough to give her reader's a cheeky little voucher code which gets you your first delivery for one English pound.  Not too shabby, I think you'll agree.

Snuggly pyjamas.  Not just pyjamas, snuggly sleepwear of all varieties.  Now is the time for dressing gowns, slippers, hot water bottles, the whole shebang.  My usual nightwear consists of a pair of pyjama trousers and one of my plethora of over-sized T-shirts from various events.  But as soon as the nights get longer and chillier, I favour sets of matching flannel.  It's not exactly the most sultry of get-ups but comfort is key here.

Baileys.  Some consider this a Christmas tipple.  I prefer to think of it as an autumnal drink - not quite in the league of mince pies (which I refuse to eat outside the month of December) but not something I'd habitually order in July.  Not only does it make me feel nice and festive (and slightly like a Grandma when I order it in the pub while all my friends are on the vodka lemonades), it's such a versatile liqueur.  Irish whiskey combined with fresh Irish dairy cream with a hint of cocoa and vanilla doesn't exactly taste like alcohol, which makes it perfect for slipping into almost anything.  Whether you drink it straight, mix it into a cocktail or prefer to spike your chocolate cake with it, Baileys will never let you down.  For this reason and after some encouragement on Twitter, I'm going to be doing a little blog series of recipes using Baileys.  For you guys, obviously.  I have no ulterior motive whatsoever.

Vampy lips and nails.  Over the festive period, holly-berry red and glitter get an outing.  In the summer, I favour a tinted lip balm with SPF and bright colourful nail polish.  But between September and November, the order of the day is something a bit darker.  Especially around Hallowe'en, you can't beat a gothic lip paired with neutral eyeshadow and lashings of black mascara.  For me at least, dark nails are the height of glamour especially with a sparkly accent nail.

Topshop polish in 'Thorn'
Nails Inc polish in 'Motcomb Street'
Topshop lipstick in 'Wicked'
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to combine two of my essentials by treating myself to a Baileys coffee (which I highly recommend - just replace your usual glug of milk with a tot of Baileys and enjoy) and curl up in front of the fire in my slippers.

What are your essentials for autumn?  Let me know in the comments!