Monday, 27 January 2014

Acts of kindness (random or otherwise) - and the magical properties of marmalade

This year started full of optimism and plans. I'm still feeling optimistic but maybe not quite so much... there are a few things going on that are the source of worry and stress but which I'm not going to go into here on the blog.

But although you can't control everything that happens in life, you can decide how to react to things. And I'm trying to keep a sense of perspective and pragmatism.

Plus, there are always little things which help. Last week, a lovely reader called Cathy got in touch after reading this post. She then proceeded to send me some vintage Ladybird books for Joe. Such a nice gesture. Thank you, Cathy.

Last week was a tough one. Sometimes you just feel as though things are conspiring against you. Jay came home one evening with some roses to cheer me up. They did. Because it's not just receiving gifts that's nice, it's the knowledge that someone's been thinking about you.

Oh, and here's my marmalade. We have an awful lot of it. But it tastes wonderful. I've given some away, including a jar for the man who owns the greengrocer's shop where I bought my Seville oranges. I took it to him on Friday - it was his last day in the shop as it's been taken over by someone else.

So a jar of marmalade was just a small thank you for all his fruit and veg-related advice, and for the fact that he always had a chat with Joe when we went in.

He was quite taken aback with his gift and I got a hug.

I think that little jar made his day, and his reaction made mine.

As I made my way to the hairdresser to collect a screaming toddler (in there with his grandad to get a much-needed haircut), an old man stopped his car so I could cross the road. Little kindnesses make a lot of difference, don't they?

Baking always makes me feel relaxed and yesterday I baked a marmalade cake. It's disappearing very quickly. The photo was taken before I iced it (while there was a tiny bit of sunshine left in the kitchen).

I put the marmalade photo on Twitter. It resulted in my having a little chat with none other than Nigel Slater himself. I was beside myself with excitement - I do love Nigel, his writing and his recipes.

All these goings-on because of some orange preserve. 

The magic of marmalade, eh?


  1. Oh wow, chatting with Nige eh? I've heard he is very good about responding on Twitter. I made that cake with some of my lime marmalade and it took way longer to cook through than the recipe stated. Maybe I should go on Twitter and tell him.

    Sorry to hear you having a rough time but glad to hear of people's kindnesses especially the greengrocer chap.

    1. Ooh yes, tell him! My marmalade cake took longer than the recipe stated too... worth the wait though. It lasted a day. Between two of us. We don't do moderation around here where cake's concerned...

      Thanks for your comment. I like to share certain things on the blog but there is definitely such a thing as over-sharing; I'm still staying positive about 2014 despite a few current worries.

  2. That was very nice of you to do for the man in the store. I'm sorry you're having a hard time lately. It's hard to be down. I hope things begin to look up for you soon. The roses are beautiful and I agree it's wonderful to know someone is thinking of you.

    1. I'm sure things will get better. I've learned that life's full of ups and downs - at some point things will get better and in the meantime I'm trying to enjoy all those little things which act as pick-me-ups :)

  3. Gorgeous post, there is nothing like random acts of kindness. I love the story about your marmalade that you gave to the green grocers, it's these little things that make the world go round x hope you are feeling a little more brighter and lighter x take gentle care Sarah x

    1. Hi Penny - thanks for your comment. I agree that it is about the little things - those which you overlook and fail to notice unless you open your eyes.
      Small kindnesses do make the biggest difference, as do little details. I've been spotting lots of new green shoots poking up above the earth when out walking: surely one of the most uplifting sights when things are rough.
      Hope all's well with you x

  4. Small random acts of kindness are simply the best ... I love how your greengrocer reacted to your kindness ... you're spreading good karma ... sorry to hear things are a bit tough for you recently ... hopefully that karma makes its way back to you soon ... take care ... Bee xx

    1. Thanks, Bee! I might even watch 'Amelie' again - that's full of that kind of thing, isn't it?
      Hopefully things will sort themselves out soon. I'm waiting for that good karma to pay a visit... luckily my little ball of energy in the form of Joe is keeping me busy at the moment x

  5. I'm glad the books cheered you up a bit, and I'm glad they've found a good home. Your photography of them is lovely. I made Nigel's marmalade cake and took it round to a friend who'd be ill. I left it in the kitchen and when the time came to cut it a big piece of missing - someone else had popped in and pinched a bit as they couldn't resist it! Credit due to Nige's cake rather than my baking...I must crack on and make my marmalade, particularly as I got a bargain box of sevilles from Waitrose

    hope good times are coming for you


  6. Oh, me too! You can't write a whole new year off just because January's thrown a few bad things at you, I suppose. I still have faith in 2014...

    The cake lasted one day in our house. And Joe didn't have any. That's a lot of cake in a short time between two people! I hope your marmalade making goes well. I might attempt lemon curd next...


  7. Oh get you conversing with Nige on Twitter! Marmalade really is magic stuff - how lovely of you to go and give some to the greengrocer. There's a subtle kindness in giving a jar of something homemade I think. I gave a jar to a friend who's having a rubbish time at the mo - a cheery salve for January's woes.
    I'm sorry to hear you're having a worrying time of it at the moment. I hope they're not weighing too heavily and you can shake them off/sort them out soon xxx

    1. Hello! I'm keeping my fingers crossed... and keeping busy chasing Joe around (he's started climbing, which is tiring for both of us!)
      The response from Nigel definitely made my weekend, even though my phone went nuts because loads of people now want to follow me on Twitter (in the mistaken assumption I'm some super-foodie)... I don't even tweet once a day and when I do it's usually something inane about feeling tired!
      S xx


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