Living the Good Life in the City: A Journey to Self-Sufficiency

| 10th April 2023
When we pressed go on the printing press at the beginning of January, we didn’t realise that the first copy of the book would be in my hands for Easter.

Such a lovely surprise, we are so excited!

The idea of a book has been a dream for a while and it was only when Clare Grist Taylor approached me to chat through some opportunities that it started to become a reality. Jo Christian and Gail Lynch, from Pimpernel Press, came to visit in July ’21 and we signed the book deal a few months later. Anna steered me as I got writing, Becky designed each page beautifully, Jo came to take the cover photo and it was ready to go to print in January. I literally have just this one copy, but many more are on their way, they will be in all good bookshops by July, and can be pre-ordered now.


It was great to work with the team at Pimpernel Press and I love the structure that they brought to our story as we journey towards self sufficiency, step by step, bringing a natural progression towards living the ‘Good Life in the City’.

If we want to live more sustainably, a good place to start is with the one thing that we consume everyday – our food. If we want to get more involved with our food, then making it from scratch is a great place to start.

MAKE: includes Bread, Cheese, Marmalade, Sausages and Pasta

If we are regularly making our own food, then maybe we’d like to grow some fresh ingredients to incorporate into our meals?

GROW: starts with no outdoor space and moves through a back garden to an allotment and on to foraging

Anyone who grows their own will tell you that as harvests come thick and fast, a number of preserving skills will help manage those gluts, be that cabbage or courgettes, and there are so many ways to help us enjoy our home grown food throughout the year.

PRESERVE: looks at Drying, Freezing, Jam, Pickling, Fermenting, Chutney and more

So, you’re now growing your own fruit and veg, you’ve filled your larder with all kinds of condiments and preserves, your freezer is packed with apple and rhubarb fully prepped for pies and crumbles and you know that there’s more out there to explore… Maybe it’s time to look into keeping animals for food?

KEEP: Chickens, Bees and Larger Livestock

Finally, with that sense of adventure, achievement and thankfulness, we take time throughout the year to Celebrate!

CELEBRATE: Valentine’s Day, Easter, Harvest and Christmas

We show, with our traditions, tips and favourite food, how we look back with thankfulness and forward with hope as we continue our journey to all that’s ahead.

Coming up at Hen Corner:
Wednesday 12th April Full Day Bee Keeping
Saturday 22nd April Family Feathers & Fun
Don’t forget – if you’ve been on a course before you can have 20% discount!
Other news:
Jobs for the week:
  • Support our first Eco Garden Workshop at our local church
  • Get down the allotment – I’m hoping to grow all the ingredients for this year’s award winning Garden Piccalilli
  • Plan to expand our honey bees and hope for a good harvest this year

Let’s hope that spring leads nicely onto summer and our young seedlings have opportunity to thrive and grow strong, what are you growing this year?


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iamthesunking 11th April 2023 at 8:08 am

Congratulations on the book! Can’t wait to read it! I had hoped to grow a pumpkin which my mum propagated from seed, but I put it outside in a pot for one (1) day to get some sun and rain and the darned snails decimated it!

Sara Ward 11th April 2023 at 9:07 am

Thanks! I can’t wait to show you the book…
Fortunately, it’s not too late to sow some more pumpkin seeds x

iamthesunking 11th April 2023 at 11:00 am

Would it be possible to buy an author-signed copy, please? I might cheat and go for some ready-made pumpkin plants. Cat Daddy won’t let me have more than one, though, because they sprawl all over the garden.

Sara Ward 11th April 2023 at 11:23 am

Of course, author signed copies are available to pre-order on our website

iamthesunking 11th April 2023 at 11:35 am

I think your husband should also sign, apologising for thinking the things were a bad idea.

Sara Ward 11th April 2023 at 12:08 pm
claregt 11th April 2023 at 8:49 am

Congratulations! Can’t wait for my copies to arrive.

Sara Ward 11th April 2023 at 9:08 am

Hopefully not too long now

Madeleine 7th July 2023 at 4:17 pm

I’m enjoying my signed copy purchased for me at Hampton Court flower show on Wednesday, so pleased to see marmalade making included in the Make for I have been doing so ever since I first had my own home, albeit by a different method whereby slice the oranges first a process found to be very calming and mindful. We purchase organic Seville oranges from Paul Cooper, the greengrocers in Twickenham, he imports them direct from Seville, the last two years I haven’t made the whole batch in one go, freezing the fruit made no difference to taste or texture. This year DH netted our one gooseberry bush, from it was made two and a half jars of jam and servings of stewed gooseberries.

Sara Ward 7th July 2023 at 6:57 pm

How wonderful Madeleine!
Keep living The Good Life…

Lesley Kay 22nd July 2023 at 12:49 pm

I bought the book at the RHS show earlier this week and have read much of it already. I absolutely love it – thanks Lesley 🙂

Sara Ward 22nd July 2023 at 1:59 pm

Thanks so much Lesley, let me know if you try anything new from it!


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