The Simple Things

The Simple Things February 2020

The Simple Things is a beautiful, useful, quirky and fun magazine about taking time to live well. We cover mindfulness and microadventures, eating and growing, forgotten wisdom, home life and slow moments. It's for people who love their lives but want to take the pressure off and remember what’s really important. We like tea & cake, learning stuff, being outside and the satisfaction of a job well done. Do you?

United Kingdom
Iceberg Press Limited
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$8.25(Incl. tax)
$74.38(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

There are two choices when it comes to February. Hibernate, embrace the duvet and wait for spring, or hold it lightly, look about you and find reasons to be cheerful. This will see you through the darkest of days; flipping a pancake or two is always fun, watching the antics of a dog is guaranteed to make you smile, and the courtship dance of grebes (this month, on a lake near you) is a thing to behold. On the subject of romance, consult our love oracles, where wisdom comes from surprising sources. Elsewhere, we’re learning to tune in to sounds that energise and uplift us to transform our mood. Sometimes to thrive we simply need to take a nap or remember to pause – then before we know it, winter…

6 min.
crepe expectations

Wholemeal maple syrup & banana pancakes Incredibly moist and fluffy, these syrupy pancakes stack up well at any time of day Makes 8 100g wholemeal flour1 tbsp baking powder1/2 tsp ground cinnamon1/4 tsp fine sea salt1 small ripe banana, mashed (save a few slices to garnish)1 large egg2 tbsp maple syrup (plus extra to pour on top)1/2 tsp vanilla extract2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted200ml milk 1 Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt to a large bowl and mix until blended. 2 In a separate bowl, whisk together the banana, egg, maple syrup, vanilla, butter and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. 3 Meanwhile, lightly grease a large frying pan with a little butter and wait until the butter sizzles. Pour around a ladleful of the mixture…

1 min.
flipping fantastic pancake facts

• The first ever pancake race was a women-only affair in Olney, Buckinghamshire in 1445. The annual race still takes place, with this year’s event on 25 February. • Made in Manchester in 1994, the largest ever pancake weighed a whopping 3,000kg and had to be flipped and edible to qualify. • The French have some quirky traditions when it comes to crepes. Our favourite is that you must hold a gold coin in your writing hand while flipping with the other. If you catch the crepe, superstition says you will become rich that year. For more pancake-making advice, visit thesimplethings.com/blog/pancakes…

5 min.

Instead of spring cleaning this year, I’m redecorating my study. I have a Pinterest board full of ideas and a vision that involves clear surfaces, extra bookshelves, an armchair with plumped cushions and an awful lot of plants. This is very far from the current state of affairs (books stacked sideways, carrier bags destined for the charity shop, stained coffee mugs and, for reasons I don’t quite understand, the whole family’s collection of wellies). But spring is coming, and I’m an optimistic soul, as well as an untidy one. Now is the time to do it. The Gaelic festival of Imbolc arrives on the first day of February, when snowdrops are showing. It marks the end of winter, a time when the ice would traditionally melt, and its debris could…

4 min.

Recipe Rhubarb meringue pie A tangy, tasty treat for a cosy teatime by the fire Short crust pastry case FOR THE RHUBARB CURD 6 sticks of rhubarb, chopped into chunks200g caster sugar100g unsalted butter3 whole eggs plus 1 yolk FOR THE MERINGUE 4 egg whites, room temperature200g golden caster sugar2 tsp cornflour½ tsp ground ginger 1 For the curd, blitz the rhubarb in a food processor, then strain through a muslin. Put the rhubarb juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir until the butter has melted. 2 Lightly whisk the eggs and egg yolk and stir them into the rhubarb mixture. Whisk until combined, then leave to cook for 10-13 mins, stirring occasionally until creamy and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Set aside to cool, stirring…

2 min.
magical creatures

Great crested grebes love February like we love Christmas. While we spend January lying low, recovering from the season of excess, these freshwater diving birds are busy glamming up their dull-brown winter plumage with brindle-like black and orange facial ruffs (think hamster cheeks) and glossy black tippets, or ear tufts. If you’re going to attract a mate, you want to look your best: courtship season is quite the calendar event if you’re a great crested grebe. Now resembling a ginger-punk cormorant, these birds rely on more than looks to find a mate, establishing and bonding as pairs with an intricate, dance-like courtship ritual. Basic moves include head-shaking (‘Have you seen my tippet?’), bill-dipping (‘…and my ruff from this angle?’), and preening, which looks a bit like stopping to scratch their backs.…