Tag Archives: autumn

Off to the Lakes: Joe’s fell-walker’s kit list

23 Oct


The transition between seasons never seems quite so stark as it does between summer and autumn. As we creep past mid-October it seems that in just a matter of days the leaves have turned and it’s time to light the fire in the evenings. It won’t be long before we’re waking up in the dark. For me though, nothing is more symbolic of autumn than the annual family excursion to the Lake District.

In recent years, Bethan and I have reignited a family holiday from the days where we had to be coaxed up Scafell Pike with the promise of a Mars bar (now it’s a pint in the pub)! In preparation, I’ve put together my hiking kit list (ok, wish list) to set the mood for our Lakeland adventure.

numbered Fell walker's kit list Decorator's Notebook

1) A good rucksack is an essential for your day-long fell walk but, let’s face it, Gore-tex doesn’t score well in the style stakes. This Cherchbi tweed pack is made from the wool of the often seen (and always smiling) Herdwick sheep, making it a far more appropriate choice.

2) A Thermos flask is vital to warm the cockles on those cold autumn mountain tops, but if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try investing in a Kelly Kettle. This ingenious device consists of an outer metallic water jacket which acts as a chimney for a small fire which is lit at the base. Because the water is spread so thinly around the fire it can boil enough for several mugs of tea in a few minutes using nothing more than a handful of dry twigs.

numbered Hiker's kit list Decorator's Notebook

3) All packed up, but where to go? You can’t beat a great walk as mapped out by the legend that is Alfred Wainwright who wrote a definitive 7 volume guide to the 214 fells of the Lake District. Such a Lakeland hero is he that he even has pubs named after him and a (less impressive!) MBE.

4) Walking will keep you warm but you’ll need some fuel to keep you going. Before setting out on one of our walks, I’ll always grab a bar of Kendal Mint Cake. Nothing tastes of the Lakes quite like a minty bar of solid sugar… apart from maybe some delicious Grasmere Gingerbread. The recipe’s secret but Jamie reckons he’s sussed it.

5) A whole week of walking is enough of a treat for Lottie, the faithful family hound, but if she’s really lucky maybe she’ll get something tasty from our friends at Houndsworthy too.

numbered collage walking essentials Decorator's Notebook

6) Serious walking types say to pack light, but I can always find room for my trusty DSLR camera. I’m not usually one for scenic photos but when I’m at the top of the mountain even I can’t resist a panorama! Windows Live Photo Gallery makes it easy to stitch photos together.

7) We’ve encountered everything from glorious sunshine to sleet, fog and snow in the Lakes in October. Be prepared: bring a hat.

8) If we’re lucky enough to get a bit of sun, there’s nothing like a hilltop picnic halfway through our walk to get us through to the end. And if we’re not so lucky, we could always use this rug as a blanket to huddle under!

9) Ahhhhhhhhh, home sweet home. Our honoury local for the week is the cosy Britannia Inn in Elterwater. Roaring fires, Herdwick lamb pie and a pint of Bluebird will most certainly be on the cards.

Want to come too? Follow DecoratorsNotes on Instagram to keep up with us while we’re away.

15-minute make: autumn wreath DIY

21 Oct

Autumn is the most beautiful and intriguing time to live in the countryside. It’s when I get my strongest cavegirl tendencies and I love gathering nuts, berries and mushrooms to cook and preserve. Inspired by the return of Nature in the Home this week I decided to get crafty with my autumn gatherings (instead of eating them!) and make something pretty to bring indoors.

autumn wreath DIY

1) Start off by making a base for your wreath. I took advantage of the heap of prunings in the garden and grabbed a handful of spiraea but there’s no science to this and any slim, flexible stems will do. Take a small bunch in your hands and bend them round into a ring, twisting the stems together as you do. At the top of your circle, cross the tops over and wind the loose ends back around the ring to create a basic wreath. Tuck in any escaped twigs. I left on some of the fresh leaves but snip them off if you want a longer-lasting decoration.

how to make a wreath at home

2) Get out and about and gather up some interesting autumn bits to decorate your wreath. Even if you live in the city you should be able to collect plenty of colourful leaves, pinecones and feathers in your local park.

autumn collection of natural objects

3) It’s completely freestyle from now on! The basic wreath can be adapted using whatever natural ingredients you can find. I set out to try and make this wreath with only natural elements (no wire or glue) as I always find it inhibitive to have to assemble materials before I get started. Instead, use the twisted stems of you wreath to weave in the decorations – there should be spots all around where you can tuck them in tightly.

fall wreath DIY

{Project and photos all Decorator’s Notebook blog}

That’s it! The best thing about this project is that each and every wreath is going to be different and the basic idea will work just as well in other seasons. Make your own Christmas wreath for the holidays by adding fircones, evergreen foliage and red berries or an easter wreath with lots of feathers and blossom. Mine hasn’t completely dried out yet, but I can’t see any reason why the twiggy wreath base wouldn’t last and be reusable again and again.

Nature Table: red

26 Sep

Everywhere I look now, vibrant autumnal reds are catching my eye…

We've been photographing lots of our products for the new shop on a slate backdrop. It's a bit different to the usual white background you see in most online interiors shops... and it does something lovely to colour.

Red apple Decorator's Notebook blog

red leaves Decorator's Notebook blog

rosehips Decorator's Notebook blog

rowan berries Decorator's Notebook blog

{all Decorator’s Notebook Blog}

We’ve been photographing a lot of our products for the Decorator’s Notebook Shop against this slate background… it does something wonderful to colours and gives quite a different mood to the bright white backdrops you often see in online interiors shops.

What autumn shades have been catching your eye?

Shake your tail feather

28 Jan

I find myself adding more and more natural touches to my rooms at the moment… a delicate seedhead here, a crispy-dried hydrangea head there. Next time I head back to Somerset I’m on the hunt for dramatic pheasant tail feathers to add to my hoard.

silver birch wallpaper taxidermy bird egs and feathers{via Home Beautiful}

autumn place setting with feathers fall{via Britta Nickel}

feathers tucked into picture frame{via Serin & Sorrel}

Sometimes mother nature comes up with the best prints and patterns!

Out of Office

26 Oct

Next week I’ll be here.

{The Developing Photographer}{Wolfy}

There is no mobile phone signal. There is no wi-fi. For the first week ever, there will be no posts.

Don’t take offense, but I’ll be trying not to miss you…

Love, DN x

Weekday baking

24 Oct

I always take a wholesome loaf cake up to the Lake District with me so we can enjoy a slice with a cup of tea after a long day of walking on the fells. This year, I’ll try this Spiced Ginger Cake recipe via the ever mouthwatering Roost.


Time and transport (four hours courtesy of National Rail) don’t allow for beautiful packaging like this unfortunately but I love the idea of putting together a little gift pack to spread some autumn cheer. The accompanying recipe for Rosemary Apple Butter sounds scrummy too. What do you like to have with your tea at this time of year?

If you go down to the woods today

15 Oct

A former editor of mine once informed me that only stylists have picnics.

Of course I disagree… but an autumn picnic on a hanging table with real glasses and silver candlesticks in the middle of a woodland glade?

Yeah ok. I’ll give her that one.

Whimsical yes, but tell me you wouldn’t want one of these in your garden?!

{Chia Chong via Salted & Styled}

If you’re into food blogs I highly recommend you check out Salted & Styled*. It’s new to me and they’ve done something that feels really innovative by using one star ingredient as the springboard for a week’s worth of recipes, profiles, styling ideas, lifestyle photography, illustration and video.

* A warning to the vegetarians / squeamish amongst you… this link contains some cute bunnies shown in a way you might not enjoy so much!

October is the finest month

1 Oct

{by Danielle Kroll}

Woodsmoke drifting on frosted air

Fingers red with blackberry juice

The first crumble of the year

Homemade sloe gin – waiting, waiting, waiting

Hot chocolate with cinnamon and chilli

Copper beech leaves shiny with overnight rain

Knitted socks over knitted tights

Casseroles and dumplings scented with thyme

My annual escape to the Lake District


What do you love about October?

First attempt at food photography

29 Aug

Ahh, the bliss of a bank holiday weekend! I decided to use the bonus day to try something that’s been on my list since I bought my DSLR camera and 35mm lens a few weeks ago. In fact, this was only the second time I’ve used my new camera at all so I’m still trying to get to grips with its most basic functions. I have to admit, I didn’t think it would be quite so complicated!

Undeterred, I grabbed the three most promising props I had to hand – my trusty Falcon pie dishes, a £1 tea towel from the weird curtain shop down the road and a bag of plums – and set about copying a food photography tutorial I’d seen on Pinterest.

{all Decorator’s Notebook}

These are the best of over 400 snaps – all completely hit and miss technically if I’m honest. I had the camera set on aperture priority and played around with the exposure compensation a bit. At times I held a bit of white foam board to the left-hand side because I’d read that was a good idea although I’m not sure what difference it made!

So, do I have any photography enthusiasts reading? What do you think? Should I edit them somehow? All ideas and comments most welcome!

Oh, in case you’re interested, here’s my funny little “studio”…

{Decorator’s Notebook}

Deepest, darkest grey

2 Nov

I am obsessed by this deepest, darkest grey at the moment and debating where in Le Flat I can paint it. It’s one of those brilliant colours that’s nothing on its own. But mix it with a bright pink, soft heather, bold yellow or burnt orange and it suddenly blazes into life…

{Tara Donne via 79 Ideas}

The gorgeous combination of fresh mint, lavender and flame coloured dahlias has my vote too. Simply beautiful.

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