With the sight of conkers and browning leaves on the ground it's a sure sign that autumn is around the corner and the nights will soon be drawing in. I love the change of seasons and whilst I can't choose my favourite I have to confess that autumn with the promise of cosy open fires, warm jumpers and hearty soups and stews does thrill me. Granted that waking up in the dark and the afternoons getting dusk during school run isn't my thing the fact that we're entering the phase of "all is safely gathered in" and Harvest Festival does make me feel it's time to hunker down and hibernate. By now all mine will have gone back to school. Shiny shoes, jumpers that are too big, bulging school bags and a new planner are now being worn, used and at some point will be mislaid. A new diary or planner is the start of something new, fresh and exciting, for me it's got to be a DodoPad. The summer holidays will become a memory and thoughts will be turning to half term and ultimately Christmas. Oh Christmas. I went to an event in London called "Christmas in July" so I've already been gently introduced to the notion that it's not long now and thoughts will turn to gift lists, stockings and family time. If you didn't know it was on its way then the adverts are starting and the cries of "ooh I like that" can be heard in many houses. Gifts and giving are a curious thing. I know there are some who like to give a gift for a child to open on the day but it's equally satisfying to send money and the recipient chooses what they really want. It might not be your thing but if someone is prepared to give a gift then it's not as if they haven't thought what the person wants. They have. One thing I always enjoy receiving is books and it's not long until the star studded Henley Literary Festival. There's so much to choose from, I can guarantee that Katie Fforde and Rowan Coleman will be a heartwarming slot and Emma Mitchell's Making Winter will warm the cockles of your heart and put you in the mood for winter.