Living the good life: November

The month of toffee apples, treason and plot – despite the weather officially becoming cold, dark and wet – November is a month of comfort and cosiness – with plenty of fireworks and crackling flames to drive out the forces of darkness. Here are the ways I’ll be attempting to live the good life this month.

MAKING MINCE-MEAT

Yep folks, December (i.e. CHRISTMAS) is one month away. Where the bloody hell did that go? Anyway, instead of purchasing my mince pies this year, I will be making, yes MAKING them from scratch, pastry and all. According to my good friend google, the filling needs time to infuse and get all boozy and oozy and delicious. Never done it before but how hard can it be?

FORAGING FOR SWEET CHESTNUTS

Sweet chestnuts – the ultimate festive snack – are in abundance at this time of year – scattered beneath trees in London’s parks just waiting for walkers to pick them up. Whether roasted on an open fire, whizzed up into a puree or added to sprouts, they bring a sumptuous seasonal twist to any dish. Go quick – before I grab them all.

MAKING ECO-FRIENDLY CLEANER

While undeniably excellent at erasing smears, Mr Muscle is not so good for our lungs and/or the environment. So, I’m going to attempt to make my own eco version. Vinegar and baking soda are, according to the internet, the dream team when it comes to cleaning – mix either (or both) with a little water and scrub scrub scrub.

GIVING UP GLITTER

Sob. After 10 years of proudly donning glitter to every single festival/Christmas do/Saturday night I have come to the conclusion I can no longer. Dazzling as it may look, glitter is made from thousands of tiny bits of plastic and is an environmental disaster. Thankfully there’s an environmentally friendly, biodegradable alternative – www.ecoglitterfun.com HALLELUJAH.

RIDING MY BIKE

It’s been an expensive month – punctures, new brake cables – but it’s all completely worth it when I speed past the number 12 bus with the wind in my hair en route home from work. I’ll be riding my bike, basket and all, to and from work instead of taking the tube – in a bid to save money and cut my carbon footprint.

BAKING SOURDOUGH

Does anything make you more smug than having baked your own sourdough? I wouldn’t know, I’ve never done it. But now it’s cold outside, warm bread and butter beckons. I’ve looked up several recipes – all take bloody ages – but that’s the point of sourdough: encouraging the baker to take it easy and stop for lots of cups of tea. I can definitely do that part at least. 

Sarah Barratt