Autumn highlights

by | Dec 4, 2020 | Bulgarian life, Secondhand & fashion | 4 comments

Yes, it’s no longer autumn. In fact, it’s very snowy and festive here in Bulgaria. But because I took a two-month break from blogging while the site was being redesigned (which actually only took the designer a matter of days. The rest was me fannying around), I thought I’d do a quick recap of our autumn highlights. ‘Highlights’ might be stretching it, so don’t get too excited – these days we mostly stay home and refresh Bulgaria’s coronavirus numbers.

In no particular order, here’s what we’ve been up to since September:

How is there always one sodding marrow lurking under a leaf?


We finally harvested the last courgettes of the year in October. Overall, we had a great gardening year, with no major crop disasters (our chilli seeds refused to germinate, but that was about it). Some of my favourite crops included our apricot-flesh potatoes and our green beans – both of which we’d never grown before. And our butternut squash plants produced more than 30 squash. Which is a lot of squash to have lining the shelves (in descending order of size, naturally). I know squash keep for ages, but if you’ve got any recipe recommendations, hit me up below.

Just a few grapes then.


Rob picked our red and white grapes in September and made a start on this year’s wine. The red wine has already been bottled and should be ready for Christmas (it’s a light, young, fizzy red). Not sure about the batch of white wine, though. It may be going bad. Is it just us or is white wine so much harder to make than red? Rob’s success rate with white appears to be about 50/50. Our plan to be self-sufficient in booze (because we’ve got our priorities right) is still a way off…

We went to the giant new Magazin Mania second-hand clothes shop on the outskirts of Sofia, near Jumbo, and it was AMAZING. I bought not one but two vintage check wool blazers, some 70s high-waisted cords, and more. (I’m in danger of looking like a 70s catalogue model, but I don’t care.) We’ve been down to Mania three or four times this autumn already, which, considering it’s 50 miles down the motorway, shows you how good it is (or, more likely, how much we need to find some, you know, real hobbies).

We continue to focus in hard on food, with our current obsession being weekend breakfast goods. Think homemade crumpets and bagels, mekitsi, and lots and lots of French toast. Normally I’m all ‘Go, go, go!’ as soon as I wake up – which, I think we can all agree, makes me a true delight to be around in the morning – but this autumn we’ve been enjoying very lazy weekend mornings. A pot of tea, a couple of podcasts, a leisurely homemade breakfast, a little yoga, finally get dressed about 11am, then move immediately onto prepping lunch and midday martinis. I could get used to it…

I’m afraid that pretty much brings you up to date. I could have sworn we did more than that, but my phone camera roll confirms we’ve done nothing but eat and go to Sofia for months. Note to self: before you sit down to write a ‘here’s what we’ve been up to’ post, check that you’ve actually done something first.

At least I’m taking some time off this month so we’ll have more time to get out and about. We’re looking forward to the odd day trip (providing we can think of somewhere devoid of people) or at least getting out on more walks. I will not just stay home, glued to Bulgaria’s coronavirus graph. I will not just stay home, glued to Bulgaria’s coronavirus graph. I will not just stay home, glued to Bulgaria’s coronavirus graph…

Fingers crossed this December will be jollier than last year’s, which featured both of us catching a weird fever virus, followed immediately by a UTI for me, then two months of us feeling breathless and knackered. Rob’s convinced we were early adopters of coronavirus (we had been on two flights and hugged a lot of people at a wedding in the UK). Thoughts?

I don’t want to speak too soon, but this December is already off to a fine start with a good dumping of snow, followed by those low, low temperatures that make the trees glow white with ice for days. I’ve become a snow bore on Instagram – but at least it makes a change from sharing pictures of food and cats.


  1. Minty

    Hello! It’s Minty (you may remember me from the ‘move to Bulgaria’ blog)
    Anyway!.. We too plan on being self-sufficient in booze and are wanting to plant a small vineyard next year (sadly it will take some years until we harvest the grapes obviously!) I just wondered how many vines you have? how many litres of wine you make? and what grapes you grow?
    We actually bought local grapes this year and have about 100 litres of Merlot aging. Can’t wait to try it!

    • Auntie Bulgaria

      Minty! Good to hear from you, and I’m glad you’re still in Bulgaria (we miss your blog). We’re very jealous of your vineyard plans. Sadly, we don’t have room for even a small vineyard, but we do plan to plant a few more vines in the garden (we’ve got a large stone terrace that’s crying out for the shade of grape vines).

      So, right now we only have four vines – 2 white, 2 red – growing on and around the house. We have no idea what variety they are as they were planted long before we arrived. They’re very mature and the red vines in particular produce a really good crop every year – enough, in a good year, for us to make 50 litres of red wine just from those two vines. (We’re hoping to double this over time by planting a few new vines.) Our white vines are more unpredictable in terms of crop, and it’s a good year if we get 20-25 litres of drinkable white wine.

      It sounds like you’re off to a great start already, and will be experts by the time your own vines are producing!

  2. Katt Thomas

    Good to hear from you again.

    • Auntie Bulgaria

      Thanks, Katt. It was nice to take a little break from writing, but it’s even better to be back.


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