Writing is what happens only after a lot of research and preparation.
The heart of ‘Things Your Mother Would Have Told You’ lies in knowledge that has been passed down through generations. And just as things in families often have stories attached to them, many of the skills in the book are accompanied by anecdotes about where they came from or how they are used.
It is definitely not just stories of my own family experiences – although they are there and being added to all the time as I pump my mother for every drop of practical insight she has to offer. ‘Things Your Mother Would Have Told You’ also relies on stories from people I have met of the things that they learnt in the home when growing up. I’ll ask anyone and everyone for their thoughts and experiences and people always seem to have something remarkable to contribute.
Special mention is due to all the Grandees who I have met at events to talk about or do some of these things together.
Backing up these ‘real people’ anecdotes is my research from domestic history source materials from the 17th-20th centuries – at which point a big thank you to the Geffrye Museum for giving me access to their wonderful collection of old books. I’ve drawn from ‘Victorian Family Save All’ by Robert Kelp Philp, ‘The Woman’s Book of Household Management’ by Florence Jack, and various Fannie Craddock tomes to name just a handful of the references I use. (Mrs Beeton has joined me on this journey too, although I should admit now that I have little time for her really.)
Then there is this website or blog. On here you can read some of the book, learn how to do or make things, and also follow all my travels and travails as it moves towards publication. If anything you read here stimulates a memory or maybe a helpful tip, I hope you’ll share it and write about it here on the site.