Frugal Family


Autumn is here. Just. I’m sat in bed with the flu atm, and as I look out of the window from my crisp bed sheets I can see the conker tree turning yellow and fat with spiky delights. The walnut tree is starting to look full and heavy. There is a slight winter mist on the horizon and mums wandering back from the school run are no longer wearing Birkenstocks and maxi dresses, but instead choose converse and comfy jumpers. Enjoying the last few days being coat-free.


This time of year gets me so excited. Everything is starting to look and smell different. I put the garden to bed, and sort out seeds for next year. I have a sudden urge to pick up winter projects abandoned in spring. I even start putting on PJ’s and snuggling on the sofa at night. Yes… winter is coming. But, there are a few things I would like to do as a family before the really cold frosty nights set in. Maybe you could do them too…

  1. Go for a walk in the woods. The kids will love seeing all of the fresh new colours that the trees have turned and you shall love the eerie stillness the Autumn air brings.
  2. Visit farm shops and buy all of that tasty, local produce.
  3. Make proper hot chocolate. Follow a good recipe, and make it all from scratch. It seems to taste so much better when it isn’t a packaged powder.
  4. Collect kindling and wood from woodland ready for burning over winter.
  5. Collect conkers. Children love the whole process of playing with conkers. I like to keep it old school and gather, wash, vinegar them (it makes them tough!), drill and thread them for a good game of conkers! Kids don’t seem to play any more, so bring back the sore knuckle revival!
  6. Go through your wardrobe and pack away summer clothes and dig out those snuggly jumpers instead.
  7. Make a bug hotel. Old bricks, sticks, tree bark, gardening canes and leaves make a great place for bugs to hide. And children love carefully removing bits to see who they find staying in their hotel!
  8. Take leaf rubbings. Filling a bag with crunchy yellow and orange leaves is fun in itself but tipping them all over the kitchen table is even better! Get a sheet of paper and place the leaf under it. Using a wax crayon, rub the sheet of paper and the beautiful pattern of the leaf underneath will be revealed. Easy, near enough free and educational.
  9. Make pumpkin soup. I LOVE pumpkin soup, spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Pumpkins are easy to find at the moment and they are ALWAYS cheaper to buy from farm stores rather than the supermarkets. Pumpkin soup is easy to make and there are so many good recipes to be found online. It also freezes really well, so you can enjoy your tasty work for longer.
  10. Visit a charity shop and buy the biggest, chunkiest jumper in there.
  11. Get knitting (or crochet!). If you don’t know how to knit, why not start? There are so many fabulous YouTube videos and knitting blogs out there to help you learn. Knitting also keeps you warm on cold evenings, and you can even learn some basic knits to give as Christmas presents, such as my favourite dish cloths!
  12. Read a new novel, preferably each week. Try a new author. It’s fun to try something new.
  13. Go blackberry picking. This is my favourite thing to do when Autumn starts to wake. Blackberry crumble, blackberries and ice cream, blackberry gin….
  14. Enjoy those heavy rain storms, and go jumping in muddy puddles.
  15. Muddy puddles need wellies. Treat yourself to a new pair if your old ones are starting to split. Cold wet feet suck.
  16. Have a bonfire.
  17. Toast marshmallows on the bonfire.
  18. Make a hedgehog house. Our spiky friends hybernate over winter and need a safe place to hide until spring. The RSPB have a super DIY Hedgehog house for the kids to make.
  19. Roast chestnuts on an open fire.
  20. Go to a Christmas lights switch on. There’s nothing better to get you in the mood for the Christmas than a festive lights event. Carol singers, home-made stalls, hot food and of course (if you’re lucky) a Z List celeb to kick it all off.
  21. Drink mulled wine.
  22. Make bird feeders. Wild birds get hungry over winter when food is hard to find. A nice supply of seeds, nuts and fat balls in the garden can keep birds healthy over autumn and winter, and you get to watch the amazing wildlife in your garden.
  23. Bake an apple pie. Perfect autumn comfort food.
  24. Find a pub with an open fire, and enjoy a nice local ale sat in front of it.
  25. Start Christmas shopping, if you haven’t all ready. Keep your eyes peeled for sales!
  26. Finish off all of those craft projects you never finished. My knitting stash is looking unruly. I have 3 blankets that need finishing and quite a few baby hats. Perfect when coupled with a glass of wine and the X Factor! Plus you can finish them and give away as Xmas presents.
  27. Paint your nails an autumn colour. I practically live outside, so my nails are always grubby. Over autumn and winter, they don’t take such a battering so I can indulge in the old splash of colour once in a while.
  28. Print off all of your Facebook/Instagram photos. Either do this yourself or use an online printing service. Print off a few extras as gifts for people too. I recently did this and had over 800 photo’s I COULD have lost if my account was taken down for whatever reason.
  29. Celebrate autumn equinox.
  30. Have a Halloween party!
  31. Use pinecones for arts and crafts. Rolled in paint, you can create some amazing prints.
  32. Celebrate harvest festival by donating some food to a local charity.
  33. Buy a seasonal scented candle. Nothing says warming autumn than my Yankee Pain Au Raisin.
  34. Go for a walk along the canal.
  35. Find a baby sitter and take a romantic break away with your partner (or even just yourself!) before the Christmas madness. We aim to find a place in my favourite town York, this autumn.
  36. Have a hot bubble bath.
  37. Knit a woolly hat! If you don’t know how, learn!
  38. Make jam. With all of those blackberries on the bushes at the moment, you will be in plentiful supply.
  39. Turn off the lights at night time. Sit by candlelight or the warm glow from your fireplace. You’ll feel more relaxed instantly.
  40. Learn to bake bread. The smell makes any house feel more homely and I guarantee that it tastes better than shop bought stuff.
  41. Fill a flask with soup and take a long walk across the fields to the next town. Sit on a tree stump, and enjoy your soup while watching the changing season.
  42. Play board games at the weekend. We love to turn off the telly, and enjoy family time with regular board games nights.
  43. Watch a classic Halloween movie. My personal choice; The Nightmare Before Christmas.
  44. Roast pumpkin seeds that you have saved from carving those scary pumpkins. They taste amazing, especially with a little salt or cinnamon to flavour.
  45. Get out your slow cooker. Batch cook stews, hotpots and casseroles. Freeze and you’ll have easy suppers for when you’re too tired from Christmas shopping to cook.
  46. Treat yourself to a new umbrella or hot water bottle.
  47. Check bonfires for hedgehogs before lighting them. You never know who’s napping underneath the wood.
  48. Have a toy purge. Declutter what isn’t used to make room for new toys that Father Christmas may deliver.
  49. Sow spring cabbages, pak choi, swiss chard and radishes for an over winter/spring supply of home grown food.
  50. Make your Christmas pudding!

I think it would be easy to just keep adding to the list. Autumn really is my favourite season, and there is so much to make and do to keep you busy right up until the festive period. What do you like doing in autumn? Do you have any family traditions? Let me know in the comments below.


Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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  1. Wow this is an amazing list. If I manage a fifth of this I will be happy. Though I would add two extra things – make a pumpkin pie (amazing, very American I know, but so yummy!) and going apple picking (we tried it for the first time this year and it was so perfect)! Enjoy your break in York – it is my favourite place too and I don’t visit it enough! #ChasingNature

    1. Thank you! You know, I have never tried pumpkin pie. I did try to make some once and failed massively. I will defo try it again this year 🙂 x

  2. I’m quite pleased that it’s acceptable to start digging out the mulled wine now. I normally wait until Christmas before I start putting Tesco mulled wine in the microwave! Haha!

    I love digging out all the jumpers as well – I’ve actually bought a load of coats and autumn/winter tops on my credit card. Oops ..

    And you know, I’ve never tried pumpkin soup! Maybe I should try it. I don’t think I’ve ever tried pumpkin at all, actually!

    I have started lighting my candles though! I’ve got a gingerbread one on the go at the minute 😛
    I haven’t used my slow cooker in months by the way, but now you’re reminded me of all the stews I used to make last year. Now I’m craving beef stew … Yum! <3


  3. I feel like I am reading a list of all things that I love!!

    Autumn is such a wonderful time of the year. I love the big comfy jumpers and hot chocolates after a cold walk in a leafy woods. Such a brilliant list. I will be taking a few things from this! Thank you so much for sharing with #ChasingNature It fits in so well with our new linky.

  4. […] was ’50 Thing To Do As A Family This Autumn’ by The Newhouse Family, which you can read here. Within this blog post, Hazel of The Newhouse Family told us all of the wonderfully perfect things […]

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