Archive for the ‘F&W Media International’ Category

To all cider makers on Apple Day, this book should go on your Christmas lists.  Andrew Lea of the Whittenham Hill Cider Portal has said of it:

“Will be valuable to anyone in the cider-making world. It’s aimed at the hobbyist, but even those working on a larger scale should find plenty of value here… Physically, the book is beautifully presented and a delight to read. Inspirational!”

The New Cider Maker's Handbook by Claude Jolicoeur

To make the very best cider—whether for yourself, your family, and friends or for market—you first need a deep understanding of the processes involved, and the art and science behind them.  The New Cider Maker’s Handbook is here to help. Author Claude Jolicoeur is an internationally known, award-winning cider maker with an inquiring, scientific mind. His book combines the best of traditional knowledge and techniques with up-to-date, scientifically based practices to provide today’s cider makers with all the tools they need to produce high-quality ciders.

The New Cider Maker's Handbook

The New Cider Maker’s Handbook is available through Green Shopping at £28 with free p&p in the UK. (RRP £32.99).



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Dave Hamilton, author of Grow Your Food for Free (well, almost)

Dave Hamilton photo: JP Hedge Photography

I had the pleasure of meeting Dave Hamilton yesterday in Totnes, at the launch of his new book Grow Your Food for Free (well, almost).  Dave co-founded the website selfsufficientish.com and he grows and forages for most of his own food.

Here’s his advice on container growing:

Container growing has become more popular in recent years and seed companies have cottoned on to this by selling ‘patio’ varieties of our favourite vegetables. Some of these, such as the patio salads, can be a bit of a false economy, as most plants only grow to the size they are allowed to. I’ve found that conventional varieties of salads actually do better in containers than specific container seed, usually for half the price.

Tomatoes spilling from a hanging basket

A hanging basket doesn't just have to be for flowers

There are exceptions to this rule, and growing compact dwarf beans as opposed to climbing French beans makes perfect sense if space is limited. Consider each seed on its own merits and go for specialist ‘container’ varieties only if they really do look like they are worth the money.


Large ‘tonne’ or ‘dumpy’ bags (builder’s bags) make perfect planters for potatoes and are near-identical to bags on sale doing exactly the same job! Alternatively, a large plant pot will work just as well. Plant three to four seed potatoes in each dumpy bag or pot and cover with soil. As the plant grows, cover the foliage with soil, leaving some of the leaves to poke out from the surface. Keep repeating this step as the potatoes grow until the bag is full. To harvest, roll the bag down.

What type of container?

The choice of container is really limited only by what you can find. They need to be big enough to accommodate the plant and its roots, so a 5-litre (1-gallon) tub is never going to be big enough for a courgette plant but a chilli plant will be perfectly at home in one.

Suitable containers and where to get them

Suitable containers and where to get them

Tired advice

For some time tyres have been recommended by some to grow potatoes in, but this is no longer advised, as there are issues with toxic compounds leaching from the tyres into your potatoes.

A sack can make an attractive container for plants

Make the most of limited space by growing in a sack

Plants in a sack

The rooftops of urban Kenya show signs of the innovation of the gardenless occupants. In order to have a supply of fresh vegetables, many of the women of Nairobi have taken to growing much of their daily vegetables in hessian sacks. The sacks are filled with earth and seedlings are slotted in through holes cut into the sack. If you wish to try this method on your patio or on a flat rooftop, a mix of leaf mould, compost and topsoil is an ideal growing medium, with additional nutrition supplied from liquid feeds. Cabbages naturally grow on cliff tops and cliff faces and are perfectly adapted to growing this way; other suitable plants could include salad greens, strawberries and tomatoes.

Eden Project

The Eden Project

Tony Kendle, Foundation Director, Eden Project gives his advice on soils for pots and containers

Plants in pots have to get all of their water and nutrient needs from soil that is tens or even hundreds of times smaller in volume than their roots would reach if planted out. The containers have to be watered on such a regular basis that it puts the structure of the soil under great pressure and this structure can start to break down. A normal soil maintains a healthy structure thanks to natural activity such as worms burrowing, which isn’t as effective in containers. All of this means that for best results you have to be careful what soils to use – any old stuff won’t do.

To get the best yields you need container soils with the right pH, the right fertility and the right structure. But pH and nutrition can be fixed if you need to, while structure is something you need to get right at the beginning.

Clay-rich soils can be very fertile in the garden but they rely on worm channels and the formation of clods and airways to stay healthy. In containers this structure collapses and they can become airless and toxic.

Sandy soils have a totally different structure; they are more uniform and not dependent on clods and pores. These work best in containers.

You can make heavy soils more sandy but you need lots of sand to do it – maybe twice the volume of the clay. If you scrounge sand to do this you have to rinse it thoroughly before using it, in case it’s coated in lime or salt or something else the roots won’t like.

Organic matter is great to add to pots because it helps hold water and nutrients. But not all compost is the same. Compost made from soft material such as leaves will break down quickly and before you know it the pot will be half empty – this is a useful material for containers for annuals or short-lived crops. For perennials you need a proportion of tougher material such as composted bark and twigs. This can last for years but won’t release many nutrients, so will need more feeding.

Containers don’t need drainage layers such as broken pots at the bottom. You will never find these in the millions of plants grown in pots in commercial nurseries. But it is crucial that they drain well or the root zone will become stagnant and the roots will die. Roughly speaking, soils hold water in micropores and air in the larger pores that drain freely. Think of a bathroom sponge – when you lift it out of the water the big holes drain quickly, but the whole thing remains damp. But do the sponge test for real and look more carefully. You will see a saturated layer at the bottom that doesn’t drain. This is where water is held even in large pores, by capillary action.

What you will find is that, whatever way up you hold the sponge, this layer is the same depth. This is how it works in containers too. The soils will have a layer of a few centimetres at the bottom that doesn’t drain well and will risk being stagnant. This means that the shape of pots really matters – wide shallow pots hold more water and drain less well than tall narrow pots of the same volume. Matching the right pots, the right soils and the right plants gets the best results, but it matters most for plants that will be in the pot for a long time and where good rooting is needed.

Grow Your Food for Free (well, almost) by Dave Hamilton

Grow Your Food for Free (well, almost)

Watch Dave Hamilton describe the perfect book launch audience here

Dave Hamilton’s Grow Your Food for Free (well, almost) is available from Green Books at £14.95.

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“For many would-be novelists, finding ideas isn’t the problem – the hard part is turning them into a full-length novel of publishable quality.” – Caroline Taggart

All the tools you need for writing and publishing a successful novel

The Novel-Writer's Toolkit, edited by Caroline Taggart

The Novel-Writer’s Toolkit is unique among guides for creative writers, as it combines clear practical advice and insider information on fiction-writing skills from successful authors and publishing professionals, with comprehensive listings of who to contact at publishers, professional organizations, courses and competitions.
The result is the next-best thing to a direct line to many of the top names and most useful contacts in publishing – a truly invaluable resource for both would-be and practising novel writers.

Advice on the Realities of Being a Novelist, Outlining and Plotting, Creating your Characters, Setting, Dialogue, Telling the Story, Structure and Style, The Final Edit
Insider’s Information from authors including Simon Brett, Sophie Hannah and Caroline Taggart, and publishing experts such as Penelope Hoare, Jane Friedman and Jonathan Pegg. Includes tips on submitting proposals, negotiating contracts, sales and marketing, ebooks, legal issues and the publishing process.
Directory including UK & Irish Book Publishers, Agencies & Consultancies, Literary Consultants & Editorial Services, Useful Organizations, Online Resources, Bursaries, Fellowships & Grants, Writing & Publishing Courses, Competitions & Prizes, and Festivals & Conferences. Find out which publishers specialize in which subjects, email addresses of specific contacts, submission guidelines, online links to further information and more.

Editor Caroline Taggart is the author of the bestselling I Used to Know That and co-author of My Grammar and I (or should that be ‘Me’?). Her Book of English Place Names has just been published. She has worked in publishing for over 30 years, is a regular speaker at literary festivals, and is frequently invited to appear on radio and television. She lives in London.
The Novel-Writer’s Toolkit edited by Caroline Taggart is published by David & Charles on 26 May 2011 in paperback at £9.99

For a review copy, more information, request for an interview with Caroline Taggart or to set up a discounted reader offer, contact Susie Hallam Marketing and PR

susiehallam1@gmail.com T: 07761 836782

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The Book of Forgotten Crafts by Paul Felix, Sian Ellis and Tom Quinn

Anyone who cares about the survival of Britain’s craft heritage needs to read this book. From bodger to brickmaker, potter to pub sign designer, tanner to thatcher and cooper to clog maker, many crafts survive in the hands of just a few individuals. The Book of Forgotten Crafts tells their stories, and is illustrated with beautiful photographs of the crafters at work.

Traditional British crafts are currently enjoying an extraordinary resurgence of interest, as people turn away from a throw-away culture and start to appreciate again the dedication, skill and passion of craftspeople and the beauty and intrinsic value of an object made by hand.  Publication of The Book of Forgotten Crafts, a celebration of traditional craftsmanship, is therefore very timely.

It is impossible not to be inspired by the life stories of the nearly 50 British craftsmen and women interviewed for the book, which brings to life a history of craftsmanship that in some cases stretches back as far as 1,000 years.

From bodger to brickmaker, potter to pub sign designer, tanner to thatcher and cooper to clog maker, these talented people all make a hugely important contribution to Britain’s heritage.  The book is illustrated with inspirational photographs by Paul Felix which show the craftspeople in their workshops and display the beauty of the objects they make.

Included among the forty-nine craftsmen and women featured are:

Neil Hopkins of Two Rivers Paper Company on Exmoor, a commercial hand mill that has been restored to use waterpower to make paper from old rags in the traditional manner

Robin Wood, bowl maker, who uses timber local to his studio in the Peak District to create traditional, functional wooden bowls.  Robin is also Chair of the Heritage Crafts Association and has written the foreword to this book

Rhiannon Evans, goldsmith, an award-winning jewellery designer who works in pure and mixed Welsh gold

Adam King, broomsquire, based in Buckinghamshire, who has been making besom brooms since he was eighteen and was nearly swept away by Harry Pottermania

Christine Springett, a bobbin lace maker for over 30 years, who specialises in Bedfordshire lace and enthuses about the weaving, plaiting and looping involved in her craft

Lesley Pyke, glass engraver from Suffolk, who is passionate about crystal and works in many layers of colour

Guitar Maker

Dyer and Felt Maker

Lobster pot maker









Full list of craftspeople featured in The Book of Forgotten Crafts:

Village Workshop Crafts:
The Wheelwright
The Cooper
The Tanner
The Leather Bottle Maker
The Papermaker
The Millwright
The Potter
The Rhubarb Forcer Maker
The Blacksmith
The Rope Maker
Decorative Crafts
The Woodcarvers
The Glass Blower
The Goldsmith
The Stained Glass Artist
The Pub Sign Designer
The Glass Engraver
The Serpentine Rock Carver
The Silversmith
Basketry Crafts
The Basket Maker
The Oak Swill Basket Maker
The Bee Skep Maker
The Lobster Pot Maker
The Rush Seat Maker
The Trug Maker
Textile Crafts
The Tapestry Weaver
The Dyer & Felt Maker
The Spinning Wheel Maker
The Lace Maker
The Fabric Weaver
Woodland Crafts
The Bowl Maker
The Broomsquire
The Hurdle Maker
The Bodger
The Stick and Crooks Maker
The Hedgelayer
The Clog Maker
The Rake Maker
Building Crafts
The Brick Maker
The Dry Stone Wallers
The Flint Knapper
The Stone Mason
The Thatchers
Crafts for Sport and Recreation
The Bowyer/Fletcher
The Bagpipe maker
The Cricket Bat maker
The Guitar Maker
The Gunsmith
The Whip Maker
The Gig Boat Maker

The authors:

Paul Felix has been taking photographs of traditional craftsmen for over forty years.  His work has been published in newspapers and magazines around the world.  He lives between Gloucestershire and Cornwall.

Tom Quinn is a writer, editor and a social historian. He is the author of the book Mastercrafts, also published by David & Charles, and several other books with a rural theme.

Siân Ellis is a travel/heritage writer, who specialises in rural subjects, and is a former editor of Heritage magazine.

The Book of Forgotten Crafts by Paul Felix, Siân Ellis and Tom Quinn is published by David & Charles on 14 April 2011 in hardback at £20.

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These two little books are so cute, they are almost edible.

Amazing & Extraordinary Facts

Two amazing little books

Packed with amazing and extraordinary facts (did you know that when tea was first sold in London in 1657 it cost the princely sum of £6 per pound weight, and was said to have been ‘gathered by virgins’ and would ‘make the body active and lusty’? – or that during the reign of William the Conqueror the pig was considered so valuable that if you killed one illegally you would have your eyes put out?), they’ll amuse and fascinate for hours.  They’re lovely little hardback gift books, and can be pre-ordered from Amazon at £3 off at the moment.

Amazing & Extraordinary Facts: The English Countryside  by Ruth Binney RRP £9.99 hardback; £6.59 from Amazon

Amazing & Extraordinary Facts: Great Britain by Stephen Halliday  RRP £9.99 hardback; £6.59 from Amazon

Both out at the end of this month as part of the Amazing & Extraordinary Facts series published by David & Charles

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A cookbook for all fans of BBC Radio 4's The Archers

A must-have cookery book for fans of Radio 4's The Archers

I have spent some happy time today looking through the proofs of Jennifer Aldridge’s Archers’ Country Kitchen – a book of recipes that David & Charles is publishing in the summer. Author  Angela Piper has played Jennifer in the BBC Radio 4 series for more than 45 years, and this cookery book should tick all the boxes for an Archers fan.  There are recipes from Archers characters old and new,  from Brian’s Proudly Potted Trout to Eddie Grundy’s Saucy Pickle, and including dear Nigel’s Nanny’s Nursery Pudding.  Let’s hope that even those furious fans who have stopped listening (following Nigel’s demise), will still appreciate the recipes in the book, which really does bring a little bit of Ambridge to life.

So why not turn back the clock a few years and maybe shed a tear or two….

Nigel’s Nanny’s Nur­sery Pudding

The lovable Nigel Pargetter was cared for in those innocent formative years by a doting nanny.  If Nigel was good, it was syrupy pud – with even a spoonful for his precious teddy bear, Tiddles.


115g (4oz) unsalted butter
115g (4oz) caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 eggs, beaten
175g (6oz) self-raising flour, sifted
6 tbsp (90ml) golden syrup

Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3. In a mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the orange zest and juice, and then beat in the eggs a little at a time. Fold in the flour. Spoon the syrup into a greased 1.2 litre (2 pint/32 fl oz) pudding basin and then spoon in the sponge mixture. Cover the basin with pleated greaseproof paper or foil and place in a roasting tin three-quarters filled with water. Bake for 1½ hours, until risen and firm, topping up the water in the roasting tin if necessary. Turn out and serve with a jug of warmed golden syrup mixed with fresh orange juice.

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Farewell to Marie

Marie Jones leave F+W Media International

Marie Jones

Lovely Marie Jones is leaving F+W Media International today.  Marie has publicised our craft books to great effect for several years and is moving on to a job with Coats Crafts UK.  Our loss and their gain.

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