Sugar and Spice

I am very much a Summer person. I love warmth, long days and the sun on my face. Sunglasses and flipflops are my uniform. Sea air, warm sandy toes and BBQs are my 'thing'. Seriously, what could be better?

By total contrast, September is my nemesis, my Kryptonite... Every year after those delicious long Summer hols it catches me off guard and I find myself fighting against the fading suntan, the back to school, the return to routine and the threat of the dark evenings. I do try not to be completely crazy, but she's a sneaky minx that September and just as I think I'm coming to terms with the changing of the seasons she throws me with a sudden glorious sunny day and then with a snap of her wily fingers, she rolls in the cold wind and rain.

Throw in some wedding fairs, broken bones and the endless back to school germs with the usual September related angst and the struggle is real people!

I'm nothing though if not contrary and, probably predictably, I do have a soft spot for October. Perhaps its the changing colours in the trees and the promise of hearty soups and hot toddies but, come mid-October, something definitely stirs a peculiar craving for jumpers, socks and the smell of bonfires. It could also be the fact that my house smells of Christmas from the second week in October, but either way, from the depths of September despair I am suddenly an 'almost-Winter person'. Is Seasonal-Split-Personality a known phenomenon?

October is my Christmas planning, designing and preparing time. I know for most people it feels hideously early but survival of the Christmas period hinges on the work I do now... planning and trying out flavours for cookies, fudges and biscuits, working on Christmas cookie designs, sketching out Christmas cakes, booking in orders and, best of all, baking fruit cakes until the whole house smells like Christmas morning! Who can resist those glorious Christmassy spices.

It all starts so early in our house that it's a miracle our children don't explode with Christmas anticipation!

With all the planning and designing comes baking and with baking comes eating. Once the photos are taken, these babies are up for grabs and by this point in the month we are at least 30% gingerbread... mid-morning coffee, lunchtime treat, after school snack... you name it, we've got it covered... at this stage we're completely at peace with the confused stares from teachers and parents as the children head out of school tucking into a fully iced Christmas tree or Snowman.

Everywhere you look there's a giant gingerbread man or my personal fav (aside from the enormous jammy dodgers); the hand painted cookie... any excuse to dust off the paint brushes and exercise the frustrated artist in me!

It really has been a busy one and we are all soooo ready for half term around here. In less than 24 hours we'll be tucking into Friday night fish and chips and a very large glass of wine with lovely friends.

But tonight has been my favourite kind of baking of all. Baking with the little ones. For fun. Just because. Halloween biccies with silly faces and sprinkles galore... the only thing scary about these is the E numbers in those sprinkles and the frankly terrifying amount of icing these kids have sucked out the icing bag! Who needs sleep tonight? Right??

Happy Autumn folks!

E xx