Freshly Cut Grass

Nothing smells sweeter or heightens the euphoric sense of a proper English summer than the soft, grassy scent of freshly cut, green grass.

It’s light delicate flora rides on the edge of the warm air – filling you with anticipation and satisfaction that, finally, summer has given herself completely over to us.

The droning sound of a lawnmower, the backdrop to a balmy June Sunday, the shouts of delight and joy from children heard in the distance as they frolic with the freedom of new born lambs in lush, flower-filled gardens.

Daisy chains, busy bees, sticky drops of melted ice cream, fat, juicy, red and wild strawberries, straw hats on ladies and the charged thrill and long-held disappointment of sports day.

Long gone are the short, cold, damp and dark days – banished from our minds and assumed, surely, never to return – as we bask in the gentle warmth of hat-off, skirt hitched, sunshine smiling down on us, laying back on our neatly cut lawns and to enjoy the sublime moment – we have arrived… The Daily Post: Seasonal Scents

The Jelly Bitch

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I have spent the last few weeks hustling, trying to make a little bit of extra mullah on the side through the sales of my most infamous jellies. Jelly is beautiful – it is like a little piece of art – each jar of jelly a wonder to behold, the colours jewel-like, the texture sort of wobbly with a sweet and delicate firmness that can handle hot muffins and toast like nothing else. Jam is so passé, even if I do say so myself – and I have too, I’m hustling jelly here. P1030634 My Organic Apple & Chilli Jelly absolutely rules the cheese board – and with good reason it has a sweet, Somerset apple top-note that is immediately followed by the deep warmth and kick of chilli. I gave my people tasters: the Chill Jelly with a side of Cornish Yarg, the Apple & Blackberry with some fresh crusty baguette, plenty of home-made vanilla fudge and hand-made salted milk chocolates with crushed pistachios  to boot.

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What I began to notice was that lots of folk would come and have a good free feast and then bugger off with not so much as a penny spent – you know exactly when someone has tasted your wares and then decided not to buy, they will avoid your eye and then silently slope off – this goes with the territory however, with every sloper there is another purchaser…

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To do a stall is a lot of hard work but so worthwhile to hang out with the general – and often utterly strange and hilarious – public in a joyful sharing of all things scrumdiddly and beautiful. On top of that I made enough to buy a fire pit for the garden!

Pea. S. The Bath W.I. Ladies do not like fudge…

British Happiness

In search of that elusive elixir: joie de vivre, I stumbled upon this BBC article which unviels the five happiest places in the UK, according to research from the government.

Tellingly all five are in remote regions – far from large, sprawling, commercial hubs; environments offering a simpler way to live, a sense of community, less industry, concrete and wide, open, green spaces.

But, we knew this already didn’t we? Or do we? Happiness seems to be far harder to achieve here in the West, despite the fact that we literally have everything we could ever possibly need, and some; and, in fact, some more – frothy milk anyone?

We strive to look right on the outside, yet can feel utterly desolate and confused on the inside. Living in a materialistic society makes it difficult to understand our role within it. Our choices are constantly motivated by consumerism – products the marketers create to help us establish our, apparent, uniqueness.

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As child education expert and author Sue Barker says in her fabulous book, 21st Century Girls; “Visual media demonstrated how products can define identity; they teemed with images of successful new men and women, attractively dressed, carefully coiffed, driving smart cars, eating exotic food, and living in swish designer homes. So we concentrate on earning enough money to pay for the perfect lifestyle, clinging to the belief that this would make everything come right in the end.”

She goes on to describe how family life has turned into family lifestyle…yikes.

However, this is not our faults; this is the product of us all coping in what is an increasingly global, capitalist world.

But we can make choices based on creating a simple family life rather than a family lifestyle. We find it easier to read the marketers message – a message that our children cannot decipher between.

It is easy to fill our children’s lives with gadgets, toys and screens, it is hard to say no. Yet we need to to help our children have lives and not lifestyles, not just now but when they become adults in this progressively faster technology-based world we inhabit.