Before we set off on holiday two weeks ago, it was starting to feel like Autumn but the leaves hadn’t really fallen yet. Raking up and gathering the walnuts from our tree was our main occupation, outside of work and packing, in the days leading up to our departure for Holland. We wanted to get the nuts stashed away, squirrel like, so they wouldn’t rot on the lawn and be ruined. Thanks goodness we did it, because while we were away and since we’ve been home there has been a constant rainfall of leaves onto the garden. There’s no doubt now that Autumn is here.
Up in Holland we were near the beach. For much of the week, because of the lack of trees and the abundance of shells, it didn’t feel like Autumn at all. It could have been late summer in Ireland with all that wind, those big cloud streaked skies and the sea air. On our second last day we went for a very long and windy walk on the beach, finishing up at Brouw, a beach cafe we’d spotted earlier in the week but hadn’t been in to yet. It was there that the real Autumn feeling kicked in. The roaring log fire in the stove that us warmed up in no time and the hot chocolate with flake in it really cheered up Number Three who’d not been too impressed with the length of the walk we’d taken him on.
On one of the long tables in the cafe I noticed a centre piece and went over for a closer look. It was Autumnal, without using leaves or chestnuts or the usual things we associate with Autumn. A collection of shells, candles, fairy lights and various other bits and pieces was set in a long narrow tray down the centre of the table and created a pretty visual. Back home, two days later, I was inspired to set up a cosy-looking centrepiece on my coffee table.
The shells, while perfectly pretty in the beach cafe, would not have looked autumnal at all in our sitting room but taking inspiration form the idea of using what is lying around close to home I decided to set a dish of walnuts on the table. I chose a vintage metal snail serving tray for this and set it on a slate cheeseboard. To that I added a salted caramel scented candle I bought in TK Maxx a few weeks ago. In a black jar with a gold label and lid, it ties in well with the dark metal of the tray and with the slate base. To soften up the overall look I added in a fabric pumpkin I sewed last year , choosing one with a cream and black pattern. As a finishing touch and to add some contrast and colour I placed a bright orange pattypan squash in the centre.
The boys added in a few chestnuts because what’s Autumn without conkers? The nut cracker, obviously, has made become part of the display and the walnut stash needs topping up now and again.
My new favourite mug, another recent TK Maxx purchase (a just because treat from The Bavarian) has been a pretty frequent part of the coffee table setting lately too, ideal as it is for a cappucino while I read, rub in my hand cream or simply sit and chat with the boys.