October. It’s a lot of things, isn’t it?

Spooky season. The kick-off of cosy season, usually. It has been and remains strangely mild here in Wiltshire so not so much of that. It’s the month of changing clocks, changing landscapes and grumbling about the Christmas aisle being up already in Tesco.

As well as all of that, my October involved…


Everywhere at this time of year. Pumpkin patches, pumpkin spiced everything and pumpkins of every size and variety imaginable. Never one to let a bandwagon pass me by, I bought some.

Standard orange round ones for the kids, a beautiful white ghost pumpkin for me and even a little baby pumpkin/squash thing for The Wolf. Can’t leave him out, he’s one of us.

I don’t carve my pumpkins. Too messy, too smelly and the result usually far from what I’d envisioned. I might paint one, or doodle something folksy with sharpies. This year I just went minimalist- a ghost pumpkin and a nice candle. A spot of tranquil, seasonal loveliness.

Walking, Time Outdoors & Florence Nightingale

It’s been a good month for getting out and about. A happy side effect of the unseasonable weather. I’ve been out on the Wiltshire countryside, ventured into Surrey and spent a sunny afternoon wandering Romsey. Whilst there, I popped into Romsey Abbey to see the Florence Nightingale window. It’s a beauty, but hard to photograph on a sunny day. Get a better look here. It’s a beauty.

Netflixing & A Farewell.

I watched a lot of Netflix this month. Partly because Mr THL has been away much of the month soldiering, and partly because I knew I was saying goodbye to Netflix. Had to pack a few things in.

Started the month with Dahmer. I’d heard of the Jeffery Dahmer story before I watched it. I knew he was a serial killer, but not much more than that. So much about the whole story left me gob smacked.

Evan Peters is disturbingly convincing as Dahmer, while Molly Ringwald portrays Shari Dahmer, Jeffrey Dahmer’s stepmother, beautifully. Not comfortable viewing, but worth a watch.

Next up, a long-awaited watch: Barbarians S2.

Picking up a year after the Battle of Teutoburg during which the Germanic tribes united to defeat the Romans, S2 reunites childhood friends Arminius, Thusnelda and Folkwin. Don’t expect a straightforward, happy reunion. Barbarians S2 is a six-episode roller coaster ride of secrets, betrayals, battles and divided loyalties.

A brilliant watch with the bold and beautiful Thusnelda played to perfection once again by Jeanne Goursaud. I fell in love with both her performance and the story of the real Thusnelda after watching S1. Read about that here.

I’d love to be able to say I lightened the tone after two seasons of mayhem and murder. I didn’t. Last but not least, based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I, All Quiet on the Western Front. It’s gripping and unrelenting. Thought provoking too, especially given current events.

The storyline introduces Paul Baumer as a fresh-faced schoolboy, willing to forge his his father’s signature to enlist with his friends. The journey from buoyant recruit to a foot soldier traumatized by the brutality of the battlefield is captured perfectly by Felix Kammerer as Baumer.

The cinematography and soundtrack are captivating. There are moments of horror and moments of warmth. Not a movie that is completely loyal to the original but a fantastic watch, nonetheless.

And Finally…

I’ve been thinking about and researching WW1 quite a bit this month, and this time it’s for a more personal reason. These lovely things have recently found their way to me.

The medal was granted to my husband’s grandfather for his service with the Durham Light Infantry. The brooch attached to it would have been kept by his wife and known as a ‘sweetheart brooch’. I’ve seen such things made with regimental crests before, but not so much with portraits.

With me,they’ve found a place where they’ll be treasured. I’d like them somehow mouted or nicely boxed, but the brooch has been linked to the medal to keep them as a pair and I don’t really want to undo them. Connections are important, aren’t they?

And this one, too lovely not to share.

Helen x

17 thoughts

  1. October is perhaps the most beautiful month of every year as from the beginning of the famous ‘sweater weather to the change of colours in leaves creates so much peace just by being itself.

  2. I adores the autumn foliage but after spending a good few hours today sweeping leaves in our garden, I have a love /hate with this ‘messy’ season. Note to self, never buy another house with 100 year old trees – far too much work! Loved your white pumpkin and candle arrangement and the WW1 medal and photo combination is so beautiful Helen.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thanks Marion, the old trees sound lovely but I can imagine the leaf shedding is immense!

  3. October is an amazing, transitional month as the summer (eventually) gives way to cooler, fall temperatures with the knowledge winter is “on-deck.” Glad The Wolf got an October keepsake as well. Have heard some very good things about “All Quiet” and may check that one out. Connections are absolutely important, and perhaps there is a way for the medal and brooch to stay in close proximity to one another, while still being available for an easy view anytime.

  4. I just saw the sweetheart brooch on Instagram and wondered if you’d share it here, Helen. Such a lovely keepsake. You mention Durham Light Infantry. Is your husband from the north east?

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Yes, we’re both from Newcastle originally.Both with military connections and both said we’d never hitch our wagons to army life and yet here we are haha.

      The brooch came to us after we sadly lost my husband’s grandmother this year. I’m over the moon to be custodian of it.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Having read/viewed both, I have to say the book packed the bigger punch for me. It stayed with me. The film is very well done though.

  5. That medal and brooch are so moving. I just finished reading the Wade Davis book about the men who first attempted to summit Mount Everest in the 1920’s. All were veterans of WWI so I found that photo quite poignant. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      I’ll have to look that book up. I know a lot of modern day veterans take part in challenges as a form of healing but can’t imagine the grit it took to come out of WW1 and the face Everest!

  6. Some lovely images and moments throughout October Helen. As I get older, I am coming round to the idea that this is one of my favourite months. I have never had Netflix, but Sladja and I have been diving a bit into BBC iPlayer where we’re currently in the middle of Russia: 1985-199 TraumaZone. Fascinating stuff. Romsey looks gorgeous, I’ve popped it on “the list”.

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Romsey is a gem, definitely worth a visit if you’re in this part of the country. I’ll have to look up some new viewing options, I’m a bit lost now I’ve ditched Netflix! Must look up ‘Russia’, sounds very interesting.

  7. Geoff Le Pard says:

    Ah autumn. Yes delightful. And WW1 and my family’s history always fascinates esp near 11/11. Love that brioche. So evocative

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      It’s a good time of year to slow down and think about things for sure. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  8. Pumpkins, walks, Netflix and family treasure, your October edition was a fun read, Helen. Halloween pumpkins haven’t really taken off in India but spooky movies are going from strength to strength. These days bingeing on those.
    Then there is Netflix that reminded me Barbarian 2 is out. Honestly, I immediately thought of you. Happy to know from your review, it doesn’t disappoint. Can’t wait to get started on it. Have an exciting November!

    1. ThingsHelenLoves says:

      Thank you- I’m confident in recommending S2, it doesn’t let us down!

Leave a Reply