Tag Archives: autumn

The Magic of a Fairytale Forest – Brechfa Forest

The beauty of Brechfa forest captivates me offering magic and enchantment and a place to give respite to my weary soul. Gnarled trees clothed in moss and lichen. Tall, spindly spruce, pine, and larch decorated with cones and needles, interspersed with oak and beech, and hedgerows of bracken and fern. Jewel greens all year round finished with autumn copper then silver winter frost.

The Magic of Fairytale Forests – Brechfa Forest - The Last Krystallos

January brings snowfall, frost, and fog with wispy cloud dropping into the tall pines creating an ethereal landscape. Walking through the glare of light from the low sun makes it bright and crisp and magical as it shimmers across the frost and moss. You might even see the copper winter coat of a fox as it dashes across the forest floor.

Images of January Brechfa Forest trees

© Lisa Shambrook

February is another month of mist and magic, sparkling through branches clothed with the soft froth of reindeer moss. Reindeer moss swathes the trees like jewels on a chandelier in a soft seafoam green. Bright peridot greens contrast beautifully with the sharp burnt-orange and browns of dead bracken, ferns, mulch and leaves.

Images of February Brechfa Forest trees

© Lisa Shambrook

In March, and its preceding months, stormy gales whistle and rustle through the spires. Rain and wind are common in Wales and wet, windy winters add to the streams and puddles and saturated land. Pine and spruce are known to have shallow root systems and sometimes you’ll come across fallen trees. Brechfa is looked after by the Forestry Commission and fallen trees across the roads are cleared quickly, but sometimes you’ll need to hop over or circumnavigate fallen logs on the tracks.

Images of March Brechfa Forest trees and moss

© Lisa Shambrook

April brings lighter showers and the moss swathing the forest floor act like sponges, holding many times their own weight in water aiding the forest as sponging, cooling and humidifying systems. New growth becomes evident as bright green sprouts from branches and spring flowers like bluebells and toadflax intermingle with moss over the forest banks.

Images of April Brechfa Forest trees

© Lisa Shambrook

May spring growth spread across the branches, and the past seasons’ dead leaves are covered with grass, lichen, and golden-green moss. Green tinged cones are pushing upright on spruce trees like decorative candelabras.

Images of May Brechfa Forest trees and a dog

© Lisa Shambrook

June is predominantly green, autumn colours are gone, and peridot-green is back in charge. Moss swathes the forest floor, trees, and rocks and is sumptuously soft and yielding. There are over one thousand species of moss in Britain, with more yet to be discovered, though many people will only ever notice two or three varieties. Get right down on the woodland floor and you’ll see the intricate ecosystem living right there amongst the moss and lichen.

Images of June Brechfa Forest tees and moss

© Lisa Shambrook

July sees the forest thickening up with moss, leaves, and foliage, and the additional colour of pink threads through Brechfa. Thistles become homes to the bees, and it’s a real treat to wander through the forest on a warm summer evening and come across purple thistles bending under the weight of sleeping bees! Foxgloves grow tall and said bees also adore their pink bells nodding in the breeze.

Images of July Brechfa Forest trees and Foxglove

© Lisa Shambrook

August and springy moss carpets the forest floor and drapes like swags of feathery curtains from the fir trees. The woods are thick with green and if you look carefully you could swear the fae are hiding in the undergrowth. Magic emanates from every branch.

Images of August Brechfa Forest trees and moss

© Lisa Shambrook

September’s autumn sunshine glistens on the gossamer webs that suddenly fill the boughs and you could be lost in Mirkwood. Find the wider tracks to walk if you’re keen to avoid the spiders! Toadstools and mushrooms emerge amongst the moss and mulch, and enjoy the colours as the leaves begin to turn on the oaks and beech trees, and the sunset touches bracken and fern with gold.

Images of September Brechfa Forest webs and mushroom

© Lisa Shambrook

October and autumn is here. Leaves have been painted with brass and copper, mosses are tinged with gold as they sport thready stems ready to spore, and larch needles turn golden-yellow before they drop. Cones adorn the firs, and acorns, beechnuts, and hazelnut shells are strewn underfoot, crunching beneath your feet. There’s magic in the air as the cool breeze wafts through the forest.

Images of October Brechfa Forest trees

© Lisa Shambrook

November brings frost and the pines are dark and foreboding, but the rest of the forest glistens with winter sun and crisp coppers and burnt-orange as the bracken dies and autumn leaves fall. The colours dance in the late sunshine and the birds twitter with warnings of weather and cold.

Images of November Brechfa Forest autumn trees

© Lisa Shambrook

December and the forest opens up again, with winter light glaring across bare boughs and weaving through the mist. It’s quiet and expectant and maybe snow will fall, coating the trees and drifting over the roads like icing sugar.

Images of December Brechfa Forest trees

© Lisa Shambrook

And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul
– John Muir             

Enchanting October…

October – my favourite month – darker nights, cosy blankets, thick socks, long boots, black cats, any cat, pumpkins, soup, apples, autumn colours, falling leaves, cooler weather, jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, hot chocolate, acorns, conkers, candles, frost, squirrels, bats, toadstools, mushrooms, magic, Halloween, and more… 

Enchanting October - Autumn - the last krystallos

What do you love about October?

An Ode to November in Silver and Gold

Loosely using the word ode, but I want to celebrate November.
It’s a month that often gets lost between the beginning of autumn
September, October, and the festivities of December.
So, let’s love November…

An Ode to November in Silver and Gold - The Last Krystallos

I set my latest manuscript in the first week of November, and while writing during August, September, and October I worried I’d got it wrong. But November and the dates I was describing came around and it was perfect!

Silver Lining November - The Last Krystallos

Silver Lining November © Lisa Shambrook

My favourite month is October, which is full of moss and lichen, leaves turning, late warmth, and Halloween. Then comes November, and we usually hurry through it complaining about the cold and rushing about organising Christmas!

Leaves and Hot Chocolate November - The Last Krystallos

Leaves and Hot Chocolate November © Lisa Shambrook

November is beautiful. I think I might be Elsa, as the cold doesn’t bother me anyway, but this month it’s been warm and the chill of winter has only just begun to bite. I love the clocks going back, I love the drawn in nights, the cosy darkness cuddling into the sofa with a hot chocolate and furry blanket.

Silver and Gold November - The Last Krystallos

Silver and Gold November © Lisa Shambrook

I don’t mind turning the heating on. I am Scrooge with it, but the heating helps me check my privilege. I have it, some don’t, and sometimes we all need to be reminded of what we have versus what we don’t.

Misty November - The Last Krystallos

Misty November © Lisa Shambrook

I love the mist and fog, the ethereal beauty of the end of autumn. The silver mist and the gold leaf of forests full of copper, bronze, and gold. My manuscript contains forests of beech and oak and November is the month they gild our countryside.

Gold Leaf November - The Last Krystallos

Gold Leaf November © Lisa Shambrook

We’re about to enter the glitz and bling of Winter – but I think autumn
with its earthy colours and metallic sheen is my most favourite.

What about you?

 

Magical Colours of Autumn

You all know Autumn is my favourite season.
Here’s why…

Magical Colours of Autumn - The Last Krystallos
Let’s start with the coloursOrange and Black.  Now, strangely, I’m not a fan of orange, but I adore russet, bronze, copper, and flame. It’s all in the tone and the name! And black is a classic – the colour of night, the dark, and magic.
Orange is the sky before dusk, dragon flames, squirrels on mugs of hot chocolate, pumpkins, and homemade soup. Black is the colour of the sky behind a full moon, Raven cat, and dark gemstones.

Orange and Black - Magical Colours of Autumn - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Then it’s leaves – every shade of russet and bronze, red, brown, yellow, olive, crimson, scarlet, and copper. As the tree turns passion burns…
I become a squirrel hunting for conkers, acorns, chestnuts, and acorn cups.

Leaves - Magical Colours of Autumn - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

My jewellery box opens with autumn gems and jewelsAmber glows like fire, Trollbead bracelets glimmer with stones and glass, and smoky quartz smoulders. Rose gold, copper, and bronze brighten the crisp mornings, and berries glisten like jewels in the garden. Gems of fire like citrine, amber, quartz, and petrified wood glow with autumn passion, and squirrels and foxes accompany me out.

Gems and Jewels - Magical Colours of Autumn - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

And then we’re out and about – with woollies and jumpers on dog walks. I’ll be back in my long, black Docs stopping off for hot chocolate and woodland picnics. Home in time for a good book, cuddled up on the sofa, and ready for midnight jaunts to stare up at the stars…

Out and About - Magical Colours of Autumn - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

How do you spend autumn?

🦇🎃 Happy Halloween! 🍁🖤

Be Part Of Autumn – Let Your Senses Sing

Do you feel part of nature? Does it resonate in your very soul?
If you know me, you’ll know it does.
Nature – ocean, animals, trees, mountains, lakes, forests, ice,
flowers, and Mother Earth are all an intrinsic part of my life –
ingrained in me, my writing, my pictures, and in my soul.

Be Part of Autumn - Let Your Senses Sing - The Last Krystallos

It’s October, my favourite month and season, and this month offers some of my favourite things. The turning leaves on oak trees, acorns and acorn cups scattered across the forest floor, horse chestnuts and conkers, and kicking through rustling autumn leaves. Squirrels scamper up the trees, and gaze down at me with beady black eyes as I collect rogue acorns.

Let’s appreciate the beauty of the season and the little gifts it gives.

Squirrels - Be Part of Autumn - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

“I held a blue flower in my hand, probably a wild aster,
wondering what its name was,
and then thought that human names for natural things are superfluous.
Nature herself does not name them.
The important thing is to know this flower, look at its color
until the blends becomes as real as a keynote of music.
Look at the exquisite yellow flowerettes at the center,
become very small with them.
Be the flower, be the trees, the blowing grasses.
Fly with the birds, jump with a squirrel!”
– Sally Carrighar

Acorns and Oak Leaves - Be Part of Autumn - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

So, be part of autumn. Scamper with squirrels, follow the fox, kick fallen leaves, stamp in seasonal puddles, wander through forests as leaves turn red, orange, brown, bronze, and gold, and don your gloves to climb mountains and inhale clean air. 

Look down to investigate toadstools, gaze at tiny autumn flowers, and look up to the sky above and watch buzzards soar. Feel the breeze caress your neck, shiver and wrap a warm scarf about your neck, and let the sun kiss your cheeks. Touch silky petals, crumble used up leaves between your fingers, and stroke rough bark and soft moss. Let the fragrance of autumn fill your senses, the musty earthy scent of forests, and the crisp freshness of ocean air. Listen to the crunch as you stomp through the woods, and hear the whispering wind, and listen for the scamper of tiny woodland feet.

Horse Chestnuts - Conkers - Be Part of Autumn - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Let autumn embrace you with all it has to offer.

“Nature is our friend – trees, squirrels, grass, fields, meadows, oceans – without people.
Hike. Walk. Stroll. Bike. Swim. Be in a still place and feel eternity.
Have a great time. Just feel it.”
– Frederick Lenz

Autumn Leaves - Be Part of Autumn - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

How do your senses love autumn?

Loving Autumn…

Autumn is the season that inspires me a season of falling autumn leaves, woollies, hats and gloves, boots, hot chocolate and autumn tone jewellery, cosy cats, apples, acorns, conkers, Halloween and pumpkins, candles, toadstools, and autumn colours of bronze, brown, red, amber, yellow, silver, and gold. 

Loving Autumn - The Last Krystallos

What do you love about Autumn?

Loving Autumn - Yellow Leaves Acorns - The Last Krystallos

Yellow Leaves – Oak and Acorn and Acer © Lisa Shambrook

The leaves fall patiently, Nothing remembers or grieves,
the river takes to the sea, the yellow drift of leaves.
– Sara Teasdale

Loving Autumn - Winter Woollies Boots - The Last Krystallos

Woollies and Sweaters and Boots © Lisa Shambrook

Fallen leaves are autumn’s equivalent to snow – they bring out the child in you. 
– Anon

Loving Autumn - Hot Chocolate Jewellery - The Last Krystallos

Hot Chocolate and Autumn Jewels © Lisa Shambrook

The morns are meeker than they were, the nuts are getting brown;
the berry’s cheek is plumper, the rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf, the field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned, I’ll put a trinket on.
– Emily Dickinson (Nature 27 – Autumn)

Loving Autumn - Cosy Cats - The Last Krystallos

Cosy Cats © Lisa Shambrook

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
– George Eliot

Loving Autumn - Fruits Acorns Conkers Apples - The Last Krystallos

Apples – Acorns – Conkers © Lisa Shambrook

A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made.  The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air.
– Eric Sloan

Loving Autumn - Halloween Candles Colours - The Last Krystallos

Halloween – Candles – Autumn Colours © Lisa Shambrook

Colors burst in wild explosions, fiery, flaming shades of fall.
All in accord with my pounding heart, behold the autumn-weaver,
in bronze and yellow dying. Colors unfold into dreams,
in hordes of a thousand and one.
The bleeding, unwearing their masks to the last notes of summer.
Their flutes and horns in nightly swarming. Colors burst within.
Spare me those unending fires, bestowed upon the flaming shades of fall…
– Dark Tranquility (With the Flaming Shades of Fall)

Loving - Autumn Toadstools - The Last Krystallos

Toadstools © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
– Albert Camus

What are you loving this autumn?

Art by Instagram – Sharing your Artistic Streak with the World: Colours and Seasons

I love images – photographs, paintings, evocative writing,
and art that create the essence of something real, whether abstract or realistic.
I’m an artist of words, pictures, photographs, and sculpture,
and Instagram has been one of the ways I share my creativity with the world.

art-of-instagram-sharing-your-artistic-streak-with-the-world-seasons-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

I enjoy capturing moments and photography is the easiest way to do that, even easier since the advent of digital cameras, apps, and editing software.  Beautiful images soothe the soul, and I love being able to share them so readily.

Recently, as I scrolled my Instagram feed, I noticed how the seasons rule the colours in my photographs. It’s easy to recognise the season by the colours rippling through the collections of pictures. It’s subtle, but it’s there…

instagram-spring-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

Spring © Lisa Shambrook

Spring erupts across the pictures in deep bluebell lilacs, pale pinks and white of daisies, and blossom and spring flowers, daffodil yellow and clean greens with new growth and hope.

instagram-summer-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

Summer © Lisa Shambrook

Summer hails with beaches, blue sky and crashing ocean waves, deep rose pinks, lilacs and summer flowers, and magical rays of sunshine.

instagram-autumn-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

Autumn © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn brings deep berry red, gold, russet, crimson, and brown of crunchy, fallen leaves, warm colours and cosy pets, scarlet apples and night lights, and shimmering silver frost.

instagram-winter-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

Winter © Lisa Shambrook

Winter arrives with night-sky indigos and blues, glittery frost and gleaming snow, jewel tones and hot chocolates, bare trees and the colours of cold and chill and warm blankets.

The seasons have their own colours and tones and I love being able to scroll through them…

You can find me on Instagram @lisashambrook and I share more pictures on Flickr.

Which season owns your favourite colours?  

The Best Bits of Autumn

Autumn shows us the beauty of letting go and cosying up together…

the-best-bits-of-autumn-the-last-krystallos

Warm Blankets and Snug Sweaters…
Don’t you just love cosying up?

warm-blankets-and-snug-sweaters-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Revitalising Hot Chocolate…
Nothing better than a delicious hot chocolate to warm up an autumn day!

revitalising-hot-chocolate-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Back to Boots…
I love my boots, Dr Martens and anything I can kick leaves in!

back-to-boots-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Pumpkins, Halloween, Fire and Fireworks…
Dressing up is definitely our thing, light up the dark nights!

pumpkins-halloween-fire-and-fireworks-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Homecooked Soup and Comfort Food…
Coming home on a frosty day to a beautiful hot meal!

homecooked-soup-and-comfort-food-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Falling Leaves…
I’m a child at heart, kicking through crunchy leaves and loving the colours!

falling-leaves-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Woodland Walks and Strolls…
Early sunsets, turning leaves and that freshness keep me on my toes!

woodland-walks-and-strolls-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Scarves, Hats and Gloves…
Stay warm, snuggle up in your favourite coat and accessories!

scarves-hats-and-gloves-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Acorns and Conkers…
Yep, I am a squirrel… 

acorns-and-conkers-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Jack Frost’s Chill…
The thrill of the chill and the delight of breathing dragon smoke is mine! 

jack-frosts-chill-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

How is your Autumn and what’s your favourite bit so far?

more-autumn-days-are-here-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Autumn Days Are Here…

Autumn is the time of year when we realise that change is good.
When the cool breeze refreshes and revitalises our senses.
When mortality is evident in the air as leaves fall,
and living becomes full of urgency and passion…

autumn-days-are-here-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

After a very difficult summer and slipping into the grip of depression, autumn is very welcome in my life. It’s the month that recharges my worn batteries and lifts me from doldrums and anxiety.

I dig out my soft, cosy jumpers and relish a hot chocolate on a cold day. Scented candles offer autumn fragrance and leaves fall in red, gold, orange and brown ready for me to kick through! I pull out my favourite hat and scarf, both stolen from my daughter, and delight in the bliss of my beloved leather jacket. Apples, fresh from the tree, and rich purple plums, and pumpkins ready to be carved fill my Halloween, and nothing beats homemade soups and bread to fill the autumn belly.

Tell me – what are you looking forward to most this autumn?

Ten Illustrations of Autumn Flora

We’ve had a beautiful warm autumn, full of sunshine and blue skies, and a little rain…
So I’m sharing my favourite ten plants of the late season,
not all flowers, but still nature and its beauty!
ten-illustrations-of autumns-flora-the-last-krystallos-title
 

sunflower, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Sunflowers: helianthus are a favourite in the family garden, and though they flower in August, you can still find them blooming well into autumn. I loved watching the children plant sunflower seeds and then plant them out in the garden and watch as they grow tall and bow their huge faces as they open. The colour of late September sunshine!

japanese anemone, pamina, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Japanese Anemone: another late flowering beauty. I love the delicate petals and lime green centre, and doubles like Japonica Pamina look stunning waving about on top of wiry stems in the autumn breeze. Pure magic…

meadow flowers, poppies and cornflowers, poppies, fields of flowers, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Poppies and Cornflowers: wild poppies are autumn’s way of remembering. ‘In Flanders Fields the poppies blow…’ a symbol to help us recall and honour the sacrifice of war – lest we forget. A scarlet field of poppies is still a breathtaking sight.
Meadows abounding in flowers, crimson poppies, sky-blue cornflowers and many more, just add to the delight of wandering in the warmth of late sun.

acer, acer palmatum, ornamental maple, red leaves, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Acer Palmatum: the ornamental Japanese maple turns into a tree of red flame in the autumn and its lime green leaves turn red and burn with beauty. I have a small tree in the garden which delights me with its leaves every year. One of my favourite things in autumn is the turning of leaves from green to yellow, gold, bronze, brown, red and crimson. The flames of autumn brighten the darker days and match the blush that brushes our cheeks on a cold day.

acorns and oak tree, acorns, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Acorns and Oak Trees: what can I say about oaks and acorns? A huge old oak provides the backbone of one of my books Beneath the Old Oak, inspired by a poem written by my mother-in-law. Oaks inspire me, I’ve written blog posts about the mysterious oak in Green Castle Woods and will write more about others. The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest is just stunning in size and age, and my town Carmarthen has its own legendary oak.
A tree of strength and beauty and acorns…I appear to be a squirrel, as I collect acorns, acorn cups, and conkers…yep, just can’t resist them!

mushrooms and toadstools, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Mushrooms: wild mushrooms growing in woodlands…fantastic photo opportunities…these are in Gelli Aur near Llandeilo.

mushrooms and toadstools, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Toadstools: these are growing in Brechfa Forest, just outside Carmarthen. I was astounded at how many varieties we found…though I couldn’t tell you what any of them are! Fungi just has a magical mysterious quality…and are probably the gateways to fairy groves…

pulsatilla, pasque flower, easter flower, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Pulsatilla: the Pasque flower blooms around Easter, hence the name pasque meaning ‘like paschal’ of Easter…but the bearded seedheads that appear in autumn are another thing altogether. Gorgeous glossy beards similar to clematis seedheads. Just imagine them blowing in the wind… Another legend has it that these flowers spring from the blood of Viking Warriors and grows upon their graves. Just think – Viking beards!

teasel, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Teasel: wildflowers and seedheads…more magical purple thistle-like flowers with seedheads that show great architecture in the autumn! Tall, and thorny, and great for bees.

red berries, wild shrubs, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Berries: berries begin to appear everywhere in the autumn, in prelude to winter. Blood red berries on wild shrubs, Cotoneaster, fiery Pyracanther, purple berries adorning the Callicarpa and I have a pretty Pernettya shrub with white, red or pink berries.
The berries feed the birds, look pretty, and tell us that winter is on its way…

What autumn flowers do you love?