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The Simple Things

The Simple Things October 2019

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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?

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United Kingdom
Iceberg Press Limited
12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

Autumn is a season to inspire creativity: the explosion of colour, darker indoor evenings that lend themselves to kitchen-table projects and a harvest of fruit, nuts and veg that call out to be pickled, preserved or simply served up for supper. What you create depends on what ticks your boxes. But the end result doesn’t have to be perfect or prize-winning (in fact, we have a ban on the word ‘perfect’ in The Simple Things) – it’s the process that is enjoyable. If creativity is about using your imagination to make something new, who says it also has to be something ground-breaking? New-to-you is satisfying in itself. There are lots of ‘proudly homemade’ ideas in this issue, whether you like to write or draw, make or knit, grow or cook.…

9 min.
pumpkin party

Americans have long known the joys of carving a pumpkin and scooping out the fleshy insides to create pies aplenty. On this side of the pond we used to carve the less glamorous turnip, but pumpkin patches have sprung up across the country, so you can make like a farmer and harvest the humble squash for yourself. Put on your wellies, grab a jumper and pick a pumpkin before feasting by the fire with friends. Spooky stories optional, but highly recommended. Parsnip soup A CREAMY-TASTING SOUP WITH A BIT OF A SPICY BITE Serves 4 Glug or 2 of olive oil1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped500g parsnips, ends removed and roughly chopped (no need to peel parsnips if they’re clean)1½ tsp ground coriander1½ tsp ground cumin1 tsp ground turmeric1 or 2 tsp chilli powder…

5 min.
dark sky thinking

One night in late September I happened to be on the north Norfolk coast, cocooned in a duvet in the back of my car, like a human burrito. I’d driven to Snettisham, an RSPB reserve formed of lagoons and mudflats that sprawl out to the Wash estuary and into the black North Sea. By midnight a waning moon hung in the sky, and I lay awake listening to waves crash down onto silted sands. Outside the birds slept and the earth continued to revolve, so indifferent to the individual creatures in its web: the ocean was alive, the stars exploding, the soil murmuring with blood flow. Everything we do depends on the sun rising every day, but half of our lives are spent in darkness. How much energy continues to burst from…

9 min.
cupboard love

Those autumnal weekends spent pottering in the kitchen and garden, radio chuntering softly, are a gift to yourself that you’ll be thankful for twice. It’s time alone to be not only quietly creative but also properly useful. And then, through winter, you’ll enjoy a regular rummage in your larder from which you’ll always emerge with something wonderful – a gift from the previous year to bring colour, flavour and cheer to colder, bleaker days. While there are practical reasons to create a proper larder, such as using up a glut and reducing waste, the real joy is in creating something special. Bottles and jars of homemade produce are never ordinary. A homemade Worcestershire sauce (see page 20) is a world away from any bottle you’d find in a supermarket; and why…

2 min.
magical creatures

Among autumn’s most evocative sights is the weak morning light sparkling on droplets of dew caught up in the webs of spiders. Our gardens and woodlands seem strewn with these complex structures, their inhabitants toiling away even through the very coldest months, creating those silken masterpieces – part home, part larder. Children’s culture celebrates the spider as a benign creature – from the beleaguered protagonist of ‘Incy Wincy Spider’ to the wise and brave Charlotte in EB White’s classic novel. These much-loved characters, applauded for their industry and the complexity of their weaving, are a far cry from the dark menace delivered fully fanged into the popular culture of adulthood. The earliest civilisations all have stories of the eight-legged arthropod, from Uttu the weaver goddess of Sumerian tradition, to Anansi the trickster…

2 min.
things to note and notice

1 October Give up drinking this month and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support (gosober.org. uk). For a great new alcohol-free spirit, try Feragaia, distilled in the Scottish lowlands.feragaia.com LEARN BY THE SEA The new Making Breaks at Bedruthan Hotel in Cornwall offer the chance to learn a new skill (screenprinting, baking, calligraphy) on a two-night retreat by the sea. bedruthan.com HARVEST SHINDIG Get stuck into harvest celebrations with corn-dolly making and onion stringing at The Lost Gardens of Heligan (5-13 October).heligan.com. Or join the the apple harvest and brew your own Herefordshire cider at National Trust’s Brockhampton. For other harvest events see nationaltrust.org.uk. “Have no fear of perfection- you’ll never reach it”Salvador Dali 3 October Pick up a book of poetry or try writing your own poem for National Poetry Day (the theme this year is truth).…