Next time: The great real vs. artificial tree debate
For me, nothing comforts and relaxes quite like fragrance. Autumn is a season rich in scents - woodsmoke, moss, fallen leaves, frosty mornings and cold metal. Once I’ve finished toiling in my garden, I like to bring the season indoors with home fragrance.
My favourite year-round scent is Kartushya by Jonathan Ward which really comes into its own in autumn. Jonathan’s a talented designer and perfumier from Newcastle, and with this fragrance he set out to evoke old Russia with a distinctive blend of birch leaf, cognac, rosemary and amber. Absolute magic - and a masculine enough scent to give as a gift to my chums.
Another favourite of mine is Ernesto by Cire Trudon, which has top notes of rum and grapefruit combined with a base of tobacco, moss and leather. Its sumptuous moss green jar with gold crest makes it a real decorative focal point.
I insist on having a real tree in the house at Christmas, but still like to boost the pine fragrance with a really good scented candle or reed diffuser. The John Lewis Frosted Pine candle jar is a great basic, and the gel version is decorated by hand with pine cones and star anise. An alternative, especially if I’m in need of a boost, is Neom's Harmonise candle - it has a wonderful, head-clearing balsamic scent which instantly restores my energy levels. Every Christmas I like to try something a little different, so this year it will be another Cire Trudon fragrance - Spiritus Sancti, which is the very essence of old churches, combining incense, lily of the valley and resin.
So, candle-lit and with gin and tonic in hand, I shall sit back in the evening and enjoy the last moments of calm before the Christmas rush really kicks in.