Countdown Abbey (II)


God bless us all, it’s finally that time again!

I can’t believe I arrived home from our “Grand Tour” of Patagonia JUST in time.

It’s all too exciting!

I’m literally dashing off this post as I’m unpacking (wet clothes from our suitcases-nice) and drinking way too much coffee waaay too late in the day.

But stay up I must!

I hope you’ll all be watching with me and for those across the Pond and Down Under please feel free to chime in, with judiciousness of course (omg-I spelled that correctly the first time. Note to self; perhaps more coffee less wine…)


May I just include a complete non-humble brag and mention I attended a party during the Christmas Season where I met a lovely relative of Lady Mary’s who told me that L.M. reads Slim Paley!!

Swear! Fetch the smelling salts

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management

A great friend of mine who lives in Britain says this season is an absolute cracker.  She’s been awfully good at not letting anything slip while whetting my curiosity just enough.

She also sent me this absolutely divine and massive antique book;


published in 1912 and weighing in at no less than 2,040 pages.

I’m quite sure Mrs. Patmore kept it handy.

‘Isabella Beeton (1831-1865) the eldest child of an extended family of 21, was required from an early age to see to domestic arrangements. After her marriage to a small publisher, she began to contribute to his Domestic magazine. In 1861 her writings were published in book form for the first time. An immediate success, selling over 60,000 copies in its first year and nearly two million by 1868! One of the most famous of all cookery books it also contains advice on household management, childcare, etiquette, entertaining and employment of servants.’

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her”

Can we get an AMEN?! 🙂

Mrs Beeton's

Sadly, Isabella Beeton’s life story was not a happy one. She lost her first child at only 3 months of age, her second to Scarlet Fever at 2 and poor Isabella died just days after giving birth to her 4th child when she was only 28.

Downton Abbey-esque or what?

A BBC drama based on Isabella Beeton’s life aired in 2006 and a documentary by Sophie Dahl in 2011.  I would love to find both.

OK, must wrap up before the show begins!

One Final Downton Abbey Recap before Tonight’s American Premiere HERE

And, if you’re so inclined;

Exactly One Year Ago

& last but certainly not least,


xox SP




  1. I am not surprised that she is a Slim fan! Who isn’t? And would you believe, I actually have the Beeton book as well as her bio? The first Martha, I think – though more tragic, less felonious. Give a shout out if you find the BBC documentary, please.

  2. I am ready with the wine in hand!Just me and the dogs tonight!A perfect way to end the week…………….Boys home tomorrow after skiing in ZERO temperatures in JACKSON HOLE!A perfect way to end my vacation too of not cooking!That portrait of the crew and the fact that ONE of them reads your posts all TOOOOO EXCITING!

  3. So happy you are back…selfishly. I know you will now write more. Love all your posts. Happy it was your phone down that crevasse and not anything else…..thank heavens!!!! Love the look of the book you received so I went on line to see if I could get one myself. Go check the prices. That was a really lovely gift for so many reasons. I may need it anyway. Love books like that. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  4. Finished the season already, which makes me a little sad, I just have no patience!

    I love that Lady Mary reads your blog!

  5. Loved, loved, loved it (DA) tonight!! Worth waiting for…and one can see lots of juicy possibilities for this season…
    especially with Rose…isn’t she just a firecracker?! And yeay to Mary for finding her way out of her grief…dear
    Mr. Carson having his chat with her…so much wiser than her dear Pa Pa.
    Slim, glad to hear you are home safe and sound and snuggled up watching DA. We, here in Chicago, are in the
    midst of arctic air masses and we are huddled in our homes praying the power doesn’t go out.

    • Hi Susan, yes lots of possibilities-my head was spinning.
      All the cold everywhere is just terrible! I always think of the elderly that might not have someone checking on them. Stay cozy there and praying with you that the power doesn’t go out-omg!

  6. Can’t wait for DA….40 minutes and counting! I too have a Mrs. Beeton’s but mine is Everyday Cookery AND Housekeeping. The recipes are so fun…carrot jam is on my to-do list this year. Hope Patagonia was fabulous…can’t wait for that post. Happy New Year 🙂

  7. A dear British friend, now 97-years-old, gave me a copy of Ms. Beeton’s book as a wedding present in 1975. It was a particularly apt gift from one who has great dry wit to a young, ardent feminist! Looking forward to your comments on the new Downton season as it unfolds. Welcome back, and Happy New Year, Leslie

  8. Half an hour into Downton Abbey, Violet, Tom Branson, and Mrs. Hughes had me crying…fifteen minutes left and the tears are still falling. I did laugh at Violet’s “Chinese laundryman” comment.

  9. I have that book nd you must read her recipe and idea for a country picnic! Crazy it was the amount of food she recommended. I love to read it as it is a great insight to her time. I can’t believe your self control tho not to tunnelbear your shows. Hope you had a great trip! X

    • Naomi, I have Tunnelbear and it’s the best. I don’t think too many here know about it yet. I love BBC2 and now I can get all those wonderful shows. No way would I watch Downton though before my American peeps. Part of the excitement is waiting and discussing with everyone!

  10. Okay, so I have never watched Downton Abbey. Don’t hate! So, I watched the documentary on the show the other night. Hooked. Tried to find all the episodes on Netflix. Nope, didn’t have. Then went to On Demand. Nope, didn’t have. So, went the old fashioned route. Went to Barnes and Noble and bought the DVD. Got it home, unwrapped stuck it in the DVD player. It rejected it. UGH!!! Looked at it and it was a Blue Ray. What the heck is Blue Ray anyway??? Now I have to go buy an new DVD player. Technologically challenged lately. Can’t wait to see all of them and catch up with everyone else!!!
    My New Years Request!!! Write more pleassseeee! You are one of the only blogs I read when I see one come up on FB. I enjoy your writing so much Slimmy!!! Especially want to see those amazing pics you took in Patagonia! xxxooo
    oh!!! new website! check it out!!! think you’ll love!!!

      • I am Slimmy!!! Thank you so much! I just need something extra to do with all that extra time I have on my hands. wink. SOOOO glad you are back!!! My New Years Wish for YOU….Write a book!!! I’ll be the first to buy.

  11. loved da! + what’s not to love? + hmm, no wonder lady mary reads sp excellent taste, she + that book is wonderful + let us know if you find how,where to watch Isabella Beeton’s life(both shows). love your blog just like lady mary.

  12. Oooh…James Fox in cast photo. Just re-watched Remains of the Day. Could he be reprising the Lord Darlington, Nazi sympathizing aristocrat? Probably not. Did you all catch Mrs. Crawley’s pronunciation of “wrath” last evening? This show never provokes my ‘roth!’

  13. All of the episodes for the new Downton Abbey can be found on
    Since the UK aired them earlier, I couldn’t wait to see them all before the season started here!

    If you haven’t watched the series ‘The Paradise’ yet, that’s another great one on PBS

    • Hi Eliza,
      Just wondering if you know whether more people will be able to watch episode 2 because when I
      go to your supplied link unfortunately it says that the number of views has exceeded the limit and
      I am unable to watch episode 2…I am so sad.
      My dippy hub started the DVR recording late and so only half the episode was recorded..I
      am besides myself with grief…Anyone know where I can catch the full episode?
      Thanks in advance if you can help me out!!

  14. Mrs. Beeton’s book is a fab find!! What a tragic life, but she left behind a legacy for posterity. I wasn’t able to finish watching the full episode of DA last night. Kids needed to get to bed early for the first day back of school. Can’t wait to see the remainder tonight. Thank you for sharing such a great find!

  15. Slim, Was so excited to read this post! Loved Sunday night. No one messes with me here when DA is on! They know better. Can’t way to see what happens this season.. Am I the only one who is hoping just a little that Tom and Mary end up together? Is that weird? Also love that cute footman…Forgot his name..
    The book is a treasure. I have a similar one titled, “The Ladies Indispensable Asset” found at my great uncles. he didn’t know how he came of it, but it’s of the same period and pretty amusing to read.

    Happy New Year! Kim

  16. Greetings and Salutations,
    and to all things British.
    I also have this delightful book. With the likes of its recipes, for potted snipes,
    roast teal, and haunch of venison. Quite a fascinating look into another era.
    Mine has a note in the front to my great Grandmother Clara, from my Grandfather, Bob
    Best Wishes 1901. Such a long ago and far away time free from fast food, and frozen dinners.
    It was a much more genteel and formal era. I am sure the recipes in this book would have come into play at a grand home such as Downton Abbey.

Would love to hear from you!