Small Indulgences

by Margaret Powling-

This post is entitled Small Indulgences but it could so easily be called a Red Letter Day, as all the items are in shades of pink or red.

But more of those items later. First, we were up fairly early for us and our grandson arrived about ten minutes to nine, with his little back pack and a bag filled with books, games and toys.  I asked him if he’d had breakfast and although he said he had, when I asked him if he’d like a bacon sandwich like Granddad was going to have, he said yes, please, he would like that!   So I made breakfast for us all and made him a little bacon ‘butty’.

While I cleared up the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher Granddad read to him and played games, and then, as his daddy had put his little apron in his back pack, I asked him if he’d like to make jam tarts?  Well, what four year old could refuse an invitation like that?

And so I got out the baking tin, the mixing bowl, rolling pin, weigh scales, etc, and showed him how to weigh out the flour and fat, how to rub it in so that it resembled breadcrumbs, how to add water and turn it into dough, then how to roll it out.  No ready-roll stuff here!  Nothing wrong with ready-made pastry, but it’s good for children to know how to make things from scratch. 

But first of all I taught him to wash his hands carefully before handling any food, this is a good lesson to learn early, I thought.  Also that the oven is Very Hot and he must not touch it. 

He listened carefully, and when we each had a portion of the dough I taught him how to roll it out and cut out the shapes for the tarts.  He then chose the various jams to spoon into the tarts and I put them in the oven to bake so that he could take them home for his mummy and daddy.  We had a great time!

There was flour everywhere, but who cares?  It was easily cleaned up and nothing beats the enjoyment of teaching a four year old how to bake.  The earlier children start to learn basic cookery skills, the better.  My mother had taught me to make a Victoria sponge by the time I was seven or eight and I could manage a roast dinner by the time I was ten or eleven.

After his mummy and daddy returned to collect him, having been to see the school our grandson will attend from September, and then having gone to vote in the General Election, we then went out to vote and then to do the food shopping. 

I love sweet Williams and I could not resist buying two more bunches even though we still have last week’s looking good –  one of the bunches is in the photo above and another is below.

I have not read the novels of Kathryn Hughes but I have bought both of then, the one above arrived this morning and the one below arrived yesterday …

and with this book above, by the same post came …

(As you can see the predominant colour for this post is red!)  This is a lovely book, showing how you can make small improvements to rooms without too much cost or effort, using flowers, objects, books and textiles, but most of all having a clean and well-organized home.   A lovely book to add to my already quite large collection of interiors books.

I should add here that all three books are 2nd hand and were inexpensive.


As well as the books, I sent for some eau de toilette, and that also arrived.  I received a present last Christmas of dusting powder and three lovely Bronnley soups in the fragrance of Hibiscus.  I liked the soaps (all now used) and dusting powder so much that this week I sent for the eau de toilette. It was very inexpensive and although it is similar to the dusting powder, I think it is going to prove too ‘heavy’ for me.  We shall see, but as it was so inexpensive I don’t feel I’ve rocked the fiscal boat.

Indeed, it has been a couple of days of small indulgences – books, flowers, perfume, sweets and chocolate.  We rarely buy sweets but I bought some humbugs and toffees and a bar of marzipan-filled chocolate, one which I’ve had before and which is delicious. 

Just a few indulgences – well, we all need those now and again, don’t we? 

This evening we will stay up as long as our eyes will stay open in order to watch the results of the General Election.  It’s going to be a long night! 

Until next time.

Margaret Powling


  1. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    My mother wasn’t a cook, I taught myself when I left home at the age of 21, I have made many a mistake along the way, but I would class myself as a good cook now, well the proof is in the eating as they say and the plates are always clean. Sound like your grandson had a fantastic time, who cares about the mess it can be cleaned up, some people don’t let the children in the kitchen which is a real shame, I baked with Jack when he was very young and he still bakes now and he is very good. We do need some indulgences now and then, life would be boring else.

    08 . Jun . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      I was so glad that my Mum taught me the basics of very ordinary cooking, Marlene. After all, when I was a small child food was still on ration after WW2, and even afterwards, the things available in the shops were rather plain. Cheese was Cheddar or Cheshire, and if you went to the posh grocer in the nearby town where men in white coats presided over marble counters and you had to ask for what you wanted – this was pre-supermarket time – you might manage to find some Gorgonzola or Danish Blue! I remember I first saw a pepper (capsicum) in about 1967 when we went to stay with friends who had a flat in London and a house near Eastbourne for their weekends out of town. She was a good cook and she said she’d added peppers to the casserole so I decided to look for them in our shops and found some green ones. I remember how surprised I was when I found that apart from seeds, they were hollow inside!
      Mum taught me just basic things, like roasting, making gravy, how to make pastry, how to make a Victoria sponge, nothing fancy, and then even at my grammar school we could choose either needlework or domestic science (they tried to elevate cookery to a ‘science’, it simply sounded better on the curriculum! But having said that, we did learn about vitamins and minerals and proteins, fats, carbs and so forth, and what we learned has stayed with me and stood me in good stead.)

      08 . Jun . 2017
  2. Rosemary

    It is lovely that you made jam tarts with your little grandson – moments like these are to treasure, and I bet that he will remember making tarts with his grandmother forever.

    08 . Jun . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Well, I like to think that when he’s older he will remember doing these things. Our son texted me this evening to say how much he loves coming to us, which is lovely.

      08 . Jun . 2017
  3. Eloise at thisissixty.blog

    Well Margaret, I don’t need to tell you (again) that I wasn’t taught to cook as a child! The story is similar to Marlene’s (see what a lucky girl you were)! I have enjoyed doing it with my children and grandchildren though.
    I’m not sure I know what hibiscus smells like but traditional florals are usually very nice. I remember my mother having Yardley toiletries, especially Lily of the valley which I think was called Muget.

    Little pleasures, small indulgences…these are the things that make life good. There are so big, wonderful things but these can’t happen all the time so anyone who can’t find enjoyment in the little things is destined for a not too happy life. That’s my take on it, anyway!

    08 . Jun . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      I must’ve bene a very fortunate child then because even though my mother worked so hard (my parents were newsagent’s and also to make a bit of money she did B&B at our shop, and then her father and brother came to live with us and, of course, in those days, the women did all the work and the cooking! She really worked very hard indeed, serving in the shop, cooking all the meals, shopping, cleaning, caring for her elderly father as well as husband and much older brother, and yet she made time and had the patience to teach me to cook and clean and iron.
      I would say that the Bronnley scent is on the cheapie end of the fiscal spectrum and, actually, it does smell a little bit ‘strong’ to be brutally honest. While the soap and dusting powder are delightful, it’s a bit harsh, I think. A lot of Yardley scents had much the same overpowering aroma. Yes, lily of the valley is muguet de bois.
      Yes, small pleasures like the books and flowers and a small bar of delicious chocolate are lovely.

      08 . Jun . 2017
  4. Lara

    Treats are what make life worth living, aren’t they ?

    I’m glad you had fun with your grandson. Making jam tarts from scratch sounds wonderful. I have the rolling pin that belonged to my great grandmother and although I have only used it a few times, I like to think of things like that being passed down. I tend to bake cakes and muffins, rather than biscuits. A couple of years ago I made gluten free ginger biscuits and it was a total disaster !! My one and only attempt at GF biscuits.

    We have along weekend coming up in Australia (well, New South Wales, anyway) for the Queen’s Birthday. It started raining this afternoon (Friday) and is forecast to last a couple of days. I’m looking forward to using the rain as an excuse to bury myself in the library books I borrowed this morning …. and cups of tea …. with cat on my lap … bliss !

    09 . Jun . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      I do hope the weather brightens up for your long weekend for the Queen’s official birthday. We’ve had awful weather and it has ruined the roses.
      Oh, you don’t need an excuse to bury yourself in books, nor cats-on-laps nor cups of tea. I think those things should be compulsory!
      I will make a fruit cake today, I think. The one I make, and I feel sure I’ve posted about this a long time ago, is an all-in-one method: you simply weight the ingredients, put them all together in a mixing bowl, stir, and pop the mixture into a prepared tin and bake. Simples!

      09 . Jun . 2017
  5. Sue

    Well who can resist a bacon butty, not me and that’s a fact.

    11 . Jun . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      I love a bacon butty, too, Sue!

      11 . Jun . 2017
  6. Rosemary Haines (of Rosie's Ramblings)

    The 3 books that you mention on this post were far too tempting to me – I am now waiting for delivery of “The Comforts of Home” while “The Letter” and “The Secret” are already loaded on to my Kindle, ready to read. I NEED the actual book, not the Kindle edition of “The Comforts of Home”, of course. Incidentally, I almost fainted with shock when I first Googled that book and found this link – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Comforts-Home-Decorating-Clifton-Mogg-2010-03-01/dp/B01FGLAFBQ Look at that price, surely a mistake? Thank goodness, I looked again and found it at a much more reasonable cost. Phew!

    12 . Jun . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      My goodness, what a price for that book, Rosemary! Maybe they are just trying it on to see if anyone, dare I say it, is daft enough to pay that kind of money for this book which isn’t exactly a rare book. I am currently reading the non-fiction book, How England made the English and am thoroughly enjoying it. Harry Mount writes in a very accessible way. I have only – thus far – dipped into A Lust for Window Sills (a lover’s guide to British buildings from portcullis to pebble-dash) and that is equally accessible.
      If you like The Comforts of Home, then you might also like a book I mentioned a few weeks ago, The English Country Cottage – Interiors, Details and Gardens, by Sally Griffiths, which again is inexpensive (or at least, my copy was) and is most enjoyable, with lovely photos of interiors. It is almost 20 years old, published in 1998, but being cottage interiors, not in the vanguard of fashion, are still lovely to see.

      12 . Jun . 2017

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