November charming comforts

At last, everything quiets down and nature wraps itself in a contemplative rest.

Colours are withdrawing, as are the birds who prefer the southern warmth.

We are left behind with the remains of what have been; and yet we can’t see anything new appearing.

We walk on carpets of fallen leaves and are surrounded by dead branches, strong gusts of wind and early dark evenings.

” In November, the trees are standing all sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.”

Cynthia Rylant

Still, this time of year, before the abundant celebrations in December, is beautiful in its own unique and natural way. It holds many charming comforts I would like to share with you in this blogpost.

Let’s take the time to listen to the sound of the wind and feel the freshness of the rain. But above all, let’s make it cosy because that’s one of the ways to deal with the winter blues!

Nature has come to rest and that might be an inspiration for inside decorations; sober, quiet and natural. The easiest thing to do right now is to cooperate with nature’s pace instead of resisting it. At least, that’s what I’m trying these days.

At the end of November I’m making it even more cosy and intimate in our house. For example with scented candles of sustainable plant wax and natural decorations.

During my walks I love to collect nature bits and bobs to create a natural still life and to enjoy nature more from the indoors. It also connects me to this season, even when I’m not outside.

The garden is also preparing itself for winter, with a little help of me, I must admit.

When making a round in my veggie garden I notice that beside lamb’s lettuce, purslane, Swiss chard, cabbages and garlic there’s no real growth anymore. I’ve covered the beds with mulched leaves and grass, like a real blanket, to protect and enrich the precious soil until spring.

The last beans are harvested and stored for winter. I’m quite fond of these dark purple and pink coloured beans. They are almost too beautiful to eat!

If I would guide you through the veggie garden you would discover this red beauty. The red beets and parsnips have been growing well this year, which I cannot say of the carrots.

This time of year these root vegetables are at the peak of their flavour. They absorb nutrients from the ground as they grow, and they retain this goodness during storage and cooking. This makes them perfect to get our daily vitamins and minerals in large and delicious doses.

Have you ever tried to make a chocolate cake with red beets? It’s heavenly, I can assure you! It’s absolutely worth the try!

You can probably imagine what we have on our menu these days… Yes, root vegetables and of course cabbages. Freshly picked from the garden, red beets, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnip, fennel and kale are tasty November veggies to cook with.

One of my favourite autumn meals is roasted root vegetables with feta cheese, chopped walnuts, persil and a dressing with balsamico.

Another heartwarming November comfort is a cup of hot herbal tea. The last years I’ve been making my own herbal tea blends. This month I ran out of my teas, so it was time to create some new ones!

This is one of the last dried bundles of feverfew. Once the flower heads are removed from the stems, I combine them with lavender and lemon balm for a soothing and calming tea.

At the end of a long day I love to relax in our heated wooden lounger with a soft pillow and a blanket. A cup of herbal sleeping tea in one hand a good book in the other. The lights are turned down and only soft light and candlelight are lighting the room. With some classical music in the background I’m quickly lost in a story or moved into another world (of flowers or beautiful and inspiring houses for example!).

It’s calming my head and body and prepares me for hopefully a good night rest!

I really love books and maybe even more on these short and dark days. Beside some novels I’m reading these books at the moment and really enjoying them. Do you also have a pile of books you want to read on these winter days?

The animals are starting to hibernate as we’re moving into the darkest and coldest months right now. Nature is nowadays taking a break before resetting. As humans we also need this, I think.

So why don’t we also go into a little hibernation by choosing dark coloured linnen sheets and different layers. Many layers of blankets will surely add to a real “nest” feeling. It makes one feels cosy and comfortable to sleep in such a warm cocoon!

It’s really comforting to sleep more and go to bed earlier. If that might not be possible, it can be really beneficial to have moments of rest during the day.

I know it doesn’t come easily but it feels like a real soothing treat to have this restful moment for yourself.

Maybe the ritual of making a warm cup of tea, coffee or chai latte and looking outside for some time, might be what you need.

Lavender is an excellent scent for bedding and will add a luxurious sparkle to your nights! I’ve been making herbal linnen sachets, filled with dried herbs from my garden to improve the night rest.

To make this lavender-rose mix, you’ll need:

2 tablespoons dried lavender, 2 tablespoons dried rose petals, 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 drop rose essential oil and 1 drop lavender essential oil.

Grind the dry ingredients well with a nonmetallic mortar and pestle. Use a pressing and rolling motion. Now use a wooden spatula to stir the essential oil thoroughly.

Add this mixture into small, closely woven bags. They can be made of scraps of old sheets or other leftover fabrics you have at home. It’s an easy way to recycle and they are perfect for this purpose.

Squeeze the sachets as you lie down to release their scent. When you notice their scent isn’t that strong anymore, you can always add some drops of the essential oil on the bags.

Sleep well and have sweet dreams!

May your last November days be filled with charming comforts such as time to rest, heartwarming cosiness, nourishing food and inspiring words to read!

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