Lately I keep receiving e-mails telling me that now the Summer has drawn to a close I need to be doing everything from buying woolly boots, to  shopping for Christmas wreaths and eating comfort food. I seem to have blinked and the summer months just flashed by.

I was a little saddened by the stream of sales e-mails all announcing the end of summer, partly because I have been so busy with work that I haven’t had chance to enjoy any summer activities this year, with days out and leisure time having been very scarce of late. The other thing that saddened me is how shops and retailers fail to recognise seasons, it seems that as soon as the end of August looms they are promoting Christmas. Indeed Card Factory hit the headlines when in mid-August  they began their festive preparations  by stacking their shelves with Christmas cards and even stocked calanders for 2020. Whilst some money-saving forums advise that  consumers need to starting planning for Christmas in August in order to avoid debt, I think it would be nice to slow down the pace of this crazy world and start enjoying each season, and of course there is always the option buying less to stay out of debt.

Anyway, I shall start my Christmas preparations with making my Christmas cake at the end of September and then carefully feeding it brandy each week, in the meantime I am still celebrating summer.

There are two different dates that mark the end of summer and the beginning of autumn and it all depends on whether you are referring to astronomical or meteorological autumn. For meteorologists, summer comes to an end on August 31 and autumn begins on September 1, running until Thursday, November 30, but for astronomers summer ends on September 22 in the northern hemisphere and autumn begins on Monday, September 23. So this year I am following the advice of the astronomers and I shall continue to celebrate summer for another few weeks and when my summer ends I have the lovely autumnal leaves to look forward to and plenty of baking.

I currently have baking deprivation. I love baking sponges and cakes, pastries and tarts of various descriptions, but with work being so busy I just haven’t had the time to pick up my wooden spoon. I have some very pressing deadlines this weekend, but I already have my baking plans set for next week and I’m hoping to get my first batch of Christmas puddings made very soon, so that they get time to mature. My Great Taste Awards haven’t really been pushed yet, which is a shame, but it simply comes down to getting the time. However, getting an award for my Seville Marmalade and another for my Christmas Puddings this year was a great accolade and I really must find the time to start promoting my products or else find someone to do it for me.

Whilst I have not been baking, this does not mean I haven’t been near the stove. Indeed, I was filming with TwoFour Productions a few weeks ago and I had great fun making Crepe Suzette and talking about the history of the London Ritz. I had a lovely day making a recipe I haven’t made for quite some time, and actually I had forgotten how delicious Crepe Suzette is. I spend many hours filming and by the time its cut it will probably be just ten minutes, but the team were lovely and it was great to be filming again. The filming will air next year as part of a series that looks at the history of the worlds most luxurious hotels. I knew one day my collection of vintage Ritz Hotel menus would come in handy!

I was due to do some more filming for a different production group talking about the history of the classic pud, Spotted Dick, but at the last minute the commissioner pulled the plug on the production for fear of complaints over the rude connotations of the pud. Well, it seems that the commissioner has no idea about the origins of the name of this pudding and has his feet well and truly in the school playground. How silly!

It was straight from Crepe Suzette to tomato ketchup as I gave an interview for Country Life on my Heinz packaging collection and of course gave my opinion on why Heinz are still popular today. I will be interested to see the journalists finished article and I noticed after the interview that Heinz’s ‘Seriously Good Mayonnaise’ is giving Hellman’s Mayonnaise a run for its money. I’m not a great mayonnaise fan, it seems to have lost a lot of flavour over the years, though I secretly like salad cream on chips, although I’ve not indulged in that for quite some years. Giving the interview certainly made me reflect over how many Heinz lines have gone, and I don’t just mean Mock Turtle Soup. The tins of potato salad and mixed vegetable salad have long since gone and I don’t think they make the Italian Beans anymore. I think shopping and cooking has changed and perhaps a lot of people no longer keep a larder with tinned stand-bys in.


Baby bump

Baby bump is doing well and is due in the first week of March, when I went for my last scan the  midwife commented on how active the baby was and for me this was no surprise. With baby bump due in March I have already started to look at my diary for next year and baby number five will mean that we need to make some practical changes in things such as transport and travel will become just that little bit more difficult. I must admit that I am worrying a little about fitting in another baby, but some how I’m sure it will all be fine. I must start that column on travel with children or rather the British aversion to any writer that wants to travel with them.

Well, I suppose I must get on with some more work on my manuscripts and stop dreaming of baking cakes, so until next time I bid you a fond farewell from a busy household in Wales.