Jelly For My Boo

Black me up baby

An Autumnal delight of a sweet translucent scarlet jelly has seen me, this last month, constantly dashing to the bakers to buy bread so that I may hoover it up without actually having to resort to sticking a spoon in the jar and sucking on that, which, believe me, I have been pushed to do on several occasions.

I am in competition with my youngest Boo who has a great passion for my Autumnal Wild Bramble Jelly, which, this year I have added wild damsons and elderberries too as well…it is an absolute corker vintage let me tell you and without the usual bumper crop of windfalls this year, due, I believe to the overly wet and windy Winter…

So my Boo and I in the name of Bread, Butter & Jelly heaven have been hunting out the very last vestiges of the blackberries, the recent rain has all but rotted the lot, but we managed to bag enough to do several batches of this most alluring and tasty jelly. The apples, also at the end of the season, needing rescuing from their lofty perch and so Felix climbed up and recovered the last blushing few.
A jelly is slightly more time consuming that a jam, but I prefer it, finding it easier to make, and the extra time allows you to sort out jars and the subsequent sterilising process that goes in hand.
Joyously the process begins with nothing more than cutting up the apples – mishapen, home-grown, skin-on, organic beauties, who’s sweet crunch leaves you thirsting for more – simply remove the stalks, leave the core and peel, just evenly cut them all up and bunging them in the pan with your glistening dark berries. Add a good litre or so of water making sure the fruit isn’t covered but is nicely nestling in a good bath of eau.
Bring to the boil and gently simmer until it turns a deep crimson and the fruit is all soft and squishy – an hour should do the trick – don’t forget about it though.
Gently place your pulp and juice into the jelly bag and leave overnight for the juices to slowly drip down. Your patience will be well rewarded as you return on the morrow and find a jug full of dark fruit juice.
When you are ready to make your jelly pour the juice into a jam pan and slowly bring it to the boil, when it is boiling add 450g of sugar for every 650ml. When the sugar has melted boil your crimson brew as hot as you can for about ten minutes. Test the jelly for setting point using a saucer (store it in the freezer) if it wrinkles when you push it then it is ready, remove it from the hob and immediatly fill up your jars.
I find the best way to sterilise my jars is to wash them and the lids in a bowl of hot soapy water then allow them to completely dry out in a warm oven. Add the jelly to the warmed jars and screw on the lid straight away – eh voila – your perfect apple and blackberry jelly.
Divine, and if you have been lucky enough to have recieved one of these from me this autumn – you are absolutely immensely adored!

They All Had A Lovely Time…

Original 1960’s ANT and BEE Book by Angela Banner

“It’s Butcher – er, something or other…” This is what my pal and moi inform a be-spectacled, book-ish, geeky, yet groovy, young man, who’s sporting a mohair jumper and skinny jeans, capturing perfectly, that di regueur, I work in a book-shop and love books, look in Waterstones.

We’ve entered said shop, sadistically hungover and barely stringing sentences together, our brains yogurt-numbingly blank, after a mephitic evening sucking down lashings of grape juice and fags and celebrating, yet another 40th…in search of this elusive book….something to do with a butcher…

He glares at us, not impressed with the information provided. But, of course, his job is to humour us, and so he glibly types in butcher and comes up with a myriad of titles…none, match anything whatsoever, in our weak, empty and barely functioning, unreasonable minds.

However, the good news we find we all had a lovely time.

NO. The good news is: ANT AND BEE ARE BACK!

The newly re-issued Ant and Bee series…

I was brought up on Angela Banner’s two tiny hero’s and they have finally re-issued the titles.

The perfect size for a fat toddlers hand, Ant and Bee are two loveable characters who are also an Ant yes and a Bee – YES! The re-published books are very colourful but inside, thankfully, nothing has changed Kind Dog is still super, lovely and kind and sporting his pork pie hat and Angela Banner’s brilliant, yet simple, illustrations live on in 21st century techni-colour glory.

I have been buying them for all my friends who have children – Ant and Bee are the perfect present for younger children, although I can inform you right here and now, that my nine year old twins continue to enjoy a quick squizz at Ant and Bee as well – they are, without doubt, timeless classics.

Buy them, BUY THEM – and no I am not related, sadly to Angela Banner, nor am I sponsored by Egmont – honest guv.

Pea.S. My lovely pal REMEMBERED the butcher book and sent it to me much later and boy oh boy is that book BLOODY MARVELLOUS…I shall reveal the title tomorrow. Honest Guv.




Creative Genius In Bath

Very proud to have written the cover feature for Bath Magazine this month…read more here.


Do you eat Biscuits? Make sure you check out Evil Corp’s Biscuit Wars…the very thing to go with your afternoon tea and biscuit fix…

Are you creative? Do you live in the vicinity of Bath and beyond? I would love to interview and see what makes you tick, get in touch…


The Curse of The Wheelie Suitcase

Don’t get me started, but seeing as you’ve just given me carte blanche, Daily Post, I’ll dive right  in…

That drivelling, droning, whining vibration that emanates from the dragging of numerous wheelie suitcases, along pavements, in train stations, airports and streets up and down the country, across the continent and most probably throughout the planet.

As we drift thoughtlessly towards becoming a lazier species any minor tool that makes life simpler is embraced with abandon by the populace: take-away curry, american nail bars, instant soup and…wheelie suitcases.

Why can you not just pick up your goods and, carry, them?

As a staunch rucksack kinda chick/women/mother/old bat I refuse, point blank refuse, to take up any more space with my travelling bag and enjoy the pain and indignity of carrying my own possessions on my back, like a snail, having my hands free to slurp coffee and wave at handsome taxi drivers.

Call me a rucksack snob, in fact, call me anything you like – but this is my own, well groomed and adored personal pet snobbery.

If you there is anyone else out there in the world who feels the same – lets connect and create the Working Guild of RuckSack Rousers or Rucksacks on the Rise? Hmm or maybe, instead, Trail of the Snail? I’m not sure what do you think?


Never Stop Reading Aloud

The last two weeks in Bath have been so exciting and inspiring with the Bath Kid’s Literature Festival in full swing, we have enjoyed Andy Stanton, Lauren Child, Michael Rosen, Jon Scieszka, Emer Stamp to name just a few…

We have been reading like crazy ever since, pouring over our new, signed editions, and sharing the jokes and stories. I have been reading aloud to all three of my children, nine-year old twins and their six year old sister Boo, it has been beautiful, you are never to old to be read to, or for that matter, to read aloud.


We just finished The Oddfellows Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin and it is simply perfect, a curious and gentle read, I cannot recommend it enough, for boys, girls and adults alike.

Get Body Beautiful – inside and out…

Everyone has a secret spot, that little, inconspicuous door you slip through every few months or so; to have the moustache stripped, the wrinkles renovated, the talons tamed and the barnet refurbished so you can continue to show your well groomed self to the world, whether it be on the school run, or in the coffee shops and boutiques of Bath.

We have whispered with the insiders of Bath’s beauty scene and found the best salons in town, which we’re going to share with you right here, alongside some hot tips to get you back in shape from top to toe after a long summer of sun scorching the skin, swigging chilled rosé and ravaging your hair in harsh sunlight, chlorinated pools and salty seas. Your body’s largest organ, your poor, tired skin is in dire need of some proper TLC.

Lift the body and the spirits

Take yourself out of the city and up to Colerne, where Sam Teifel, spa therapy manager at Lucknam Park country house hotel, will provide you with a much needed Total Body Renewal, from the Spa’s Ila Collection.  This therapy can heal and renew using the ionising properties of Himalayan salt crystals to nourish both bodily and emotional wellbeing. Packed with stimulating argan oil, juniper and rose, battling cellulite, stress and exhaustion, strengthening the bio-energy fields and will, apparently leave your mind, body and spirits uplifted. Sam says to continue to care for your skin by drinking lots of water and use hydrating cream all over the body.

Back to your roots

The latest and edgiest new hairdresser to choose Bath, is Material run by Paul Harewood in Walcot Street. After your summer tresses have been tangled Paul advises Living Proof, a restorative shampoo and mask treatment, (Material is the only Salon in the UK to stock Living Proof from the US) followed by a soothing head, neck and shoulder massage. Paul recommends that for colour you add some darker tones to you hair in preparation for autumn, snip off those fragile, over-light ends and have a good haircut ready to get back to work. Material is currently a finalist in the Independent Salon – Business Newcomer category of the British Business Hairdressing Awards 2014.

Tame those brows

Have you found Bath’s hottest ticket yet? The Brow Place on Abbeygate Street is the place to get your peepers looking perfect – for £10 a pop you can stroll in off the street and have those eyebrows tamed by the best in the brow business – make sure you shape your brows and keep up with the likes of Cara Delevingne and Natalie Portman.

Treat your skin

Betsi Hughes at stylish urban spa, Green Street House says a re-surfacing facial is the key to repairing your skin after the summer. Betsi says this treatment will leave your face feeling incredibly smooth and radiant, she added that using the Elemis Advanced Brightening Even Tone Serum twice daily afterwards would be perfect to restore sun-damaged pigmentation. Finally, Betsi says we should all exfoliate regularly: “Body brush” she says: “literally buff your skin towards your heart, de-tox after all that indulgence and start taking vitamins, eating leafy veggies to prepare your body for winter.”

All made up

Re-vamp your look and your make-up bag, for the most contemporary ticket in town make an appointment with Kat at LittleLAB. Bath local, Kat Spreadbury, is a professional make-up artist, who has worked with celebrities and on top fashion campaigns. She has her finger on the pulse of the hottest make-up skills around. At LittleLAB, 76 Walcot Street, you will learn quick and slick techniques from the mistress of make-up, use the latest ultra-modern technology and craft designed for your individual skin tone and keep your look natural and simple. Kat offers one-to-one sessions, mother and daughter and/or group workshops at

Hands and feet

Make sure those hands and feet are kept in tip top youthful shape by heading to The Orangery Laser and Beauty Clinic at 2 Kingsmead Street and enjoy a Jan Marini Hand Peel. This hand treatment is designed to treat sun damaged and ageing hands and provides immediate results. The Orangery maintain an after-care service with the continued application of Age Intervention Hand Cream. Meanwhile, your tootsies are probably in need of a ‘foot facial’, which includes, among other things, a holistic pedicure, exfoliation and a foot and leg massage.

Beauty on the inside

Finally, ensure you revitalise your body from the inside out and order a personalised detox juicing programme from master juicers Mark and Ayshea Hawthorn at Beyond The Kale in Green Park Station. This month the pair are launching a new juice cleanse delivery service, with added super-foods and supplements tailored to individual goals. All the cleanses are fresh and contain organic ingredients. Caring for your post summer skin, they recommend topping up your diet with whole grains like buckwheat to fight skin damage, almonds which include the antioxidant Vitamin E and fight free radicals, for younger looking skin try Brazil nuts. Both swear by spinach and kale, which are packed with nutrients for detoxification and vitamins A, K and C. We should all eat plenty of citrus fruits which, contain vitamin C and help to produce skin collagen to stop the post summer skin sag.

Is Bath a truly democratic city? Not yet….


Bath has the potential to lead the way internationally through it’s democratic process and in turn become a truly communal city, by embracing an opportunity to allow young people to have a say in policies, laws, programs and budgets.

Bath can achieve this by becoming a ‘Child Friendly City’ – this is a global initiative designed by UNCIEF where children’s rights are reflected through the embodiment of the convention of the Rights of the Child, at a real and local level.

Cities across the world are hoping to achieve Child Friendly status from UNICEF, which includes basic requirements, such as access to health care and education, protection from violence, exploitation and abuse, to walking safely in the streets on their own, meeting friends and playing, having green spaces for plants and animals and influencing decisions about their city, amongst other elements.

In the city a number of passionate organisation’s and people would like to see Bath get ‘Child Friendly Status’. This influential steering group believe that through this unique distinction, our city would have a persuasive calling card and will be able to provide world-leading approaches to participation and democracy.

Today, 1st October everyone in the city is invited, alongside Bath-based cultural, civic and community organisations, to the egg Theatre, to participate and listen to an inter-generational conversation about the Child Friendly City initiative to galvanise interest and to urge BANES to support this exciting and important enterprise.

Mayor of Bath and Councillor Cherry Beath, Bath Festivals, Kate Cross, Director, at the egg theatre and Penny Hay, Director of Research, 5x5x5=creativity and Senior Lecturer in Arts Education at Bath Spa University are behind the scheme amongst others from the Bath Cultural Forum, Creative Bath, schools and Mentoring Plus.

Penny Hay: “We can re-create Bath as a child-friendly community through democracy and participation. Designing a truly democratic society with the children’s voice at its heart”.

Penny, who is a Champion of Children’s Right, founder of Bath’s Forest of Imagination, School Without Walls and arts education charity, 5x5x5=Creativity, adds: “We want to have genuine engagement with children and young people, (and parents) rather that patronise them with what adults think is right for them.”

Cherry Beath adds: “We want to make 2015 the year of Bath as a Child Friendly City.”

To find out more about this initiative and to help put Bath on the global map through Child Friendly Status join the Cultural Forum at the egg on Wednesday 1st October from 6pm-8pm or find out more here: