…Be Prepared for Seasonal Scrumptiousness!


As much as I love some of the magazines of today, (I rush out for the new Country Living each month!) nothing thrills me more than those days when the postman arrives in the morning and I hear one of the most delicious sounds- a vintage magazine slipping through my door! Vintage women’s magazines (‘Woman’s Own’, ‘Home Companion’, ‘Woman’ and so on) are always the first thing I look at on eBay- and however much I know I don’t really need another one…well I just cant help it! I reason that I will not get another chance to buy this particular magazine; that even with postage, it will be cheaper than a new glossy! But the main reason I merrily click away bidding on them, is that as I turn the soft, delicate pages, and read adverts for Ovaltine and Pears Soap, I become a housewife from that era, just for a while.

It really is the most scrumptious kind of lucky dip. I can sit in my sitting room with a cup of rose tea in August 2005, and suddenly be in Christmas 1956 or Easter 1932! Whereas in the newsagents there are only August/September editions of magazines on the rack at this time, what falls through my letter-box could be for any time of year. So it was this very morning, that I eagerly tore open the fat brown envelope, and found within a February 1953 Home Companion. Oh, it smelt wonderful, and the paper was so soft! I am saving it as a treat for when my day at work is done- although I did have a tiny taster, I must admit! The article I devoured this morning was about how jumpers are our new best friend during these cold months; how to choose the most flattering shape; and how best to care for it in your laundry. Then, when I left my house for work this morning, there was the teeniest, tiny nip in the air! Not a big pinch, not a suck-your-breath-in with shock one, but it was there! I suddenly realised…autumn is coming! Soon, jumpers will be my new best friend again!

Now I know summer is not over and admittedly it is a few months to autumn yet, but it did get me to thinking that summer is on the wane. I was in the farm shop on Saturday, and a lady asked where all the strawberries were. She was told that they are out of season now. (Yes, I know Tesco is still selling them, but that really does not make them in season! Try one and see!) These things have turned my mind to all the things I meant to do this summer…and haven’t quite gotten around to yet- and in some cases, my chance has gone, until next year!

So, a plan is needed. My favourite kind of plan- it involves a delicious new notebook! If you want to join in my plan, and if you have the inclination for a new notebook, (and can find a pretty one-it only needs to be little) do. If not, a piece of paper will do- but I am afraid I just cannot turn down the opportunity for a new notebook! I have already been out, in my tea-break from work (no waiting till lunch time for me when I am on a stationery-mission!) and have labelled one page for each month and then one page for each season, using my new beautiful violet-inked pen. My plan is, to write down for either the month or the season, all the things I had planned to do, and still really want to do, but somehow, time has run away from me before I could do them. That way, next year I will be prepared for all the scrumptious seasonal delights, before it is too late!

Things like, I wanted to go strawberry picking after work one evening (at our local farm shop, they grow them on tables, so no bending down!), and last Halloween I wanted to make pumpkin seed brittle to take into work. I was turning out a cupboard the other day, and found the as yet unused Easter egg mould my Mother gave me last year. I wanted to go to Bruges for the Christmas markets, but by the time I thought about booking it, it was too late! I also never found a date to make Christmas cookies with my sister-in-law-to-be. Maybe this year!

Writing this, it does sound like have done nothing at all this past year, but I promise I have! I have made apricot jam, and the most wonderful Seville Orange Ice Cream (fabulous Nigella recipe- easy but dreamy!). I made all my own Christmas cards last year, and had a pumpkin carving party too. So as well as jotting down in my newest little notebook all the things I forgot to do, I shall also be writing a note of these things that I have done and loved and want to do again. I find that modern life is just too busy, and that because of this I cannot rely on holding things in my mind. If I ever do remember things, it is normally that bit too late. (Oh, that gorgeous card would be wonderful for that birthday- oh dear, it was last week!) So seize the opportunity for a new notebook, and get scribbling! Find inspiration in the ‘Joyful Simplicities’ for each month in the most wonderful book, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Find inspiration in seasonal recipes torn from magazines- pumpkin gnocchi anyone?! But most of all, the most important thing, is that they are not things you have to do. They must be things you want to do. And if you don’t do them all next year, no matter! This is not a commanding list, a list that you will be punished for failing to complete! No, this is a scrumptious list of pleasures just waiting to happen.

So this autumn, when the leaves are falling thick and fast, I will look in my book and see that I have been meaning to press some and frame them for the last few years- and I will pull on my boots for a scrunchy scuff through the leaves before they have all withered and lost their scrunch!

This year, I will be prepared….

Lots of love from Mimi!