The Simple Things

The Simple Things April 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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12 Issues

in this issue

1 min.

The garden birds perched like four firm friends on our cover is a sight you’ll never see in real life (the ferociously territorial robin would see to that). But it’s a painting that made us smile because they appear to be doing what good friends do; hang out, have a chat, share news – be kind to each other. When we reach out and show kindness to others, whether through tea and cake at our kitchen table or by supporting just causes, it makes us feel good and positive, powerful even, that our small actions have changed our world just a little bit. Perhaps part of the solution to a problem is simply sharing it.…

5 min.
cake in the house

ORANGE AND ROSEMARY CAKE WITH AFRICAN HONEYBUSH TEA Honeybush, a South African herbal tea, is a cousin of rooibos, although slightly sweeter. Sweetening the tea with honey adds a further depth of flavour, and eating a slice of this lovely orange and rosemary cake with it makes it even better. Serves 8-10 320g plain flour2 tsp baking powder150g caster sugar3 eggs200ml whole milk120g butter, melted and cooledGrated zest of 2 oranges and juice of 11 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary4 tbsp marmalade 1 Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/Gas 4. 2 Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the sugar. 3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk along with the cooled, melted butter. 4 Stir the wet ingredients lightly, but thoroughly into the flour mixture…

4 min.

Recipe Wild garlic Five of the best things to do with foraged wild garlic (that aren’t pesto) • Steep in oil for a garlic olive oil. • Chop finely and beat into butter then freeze in logs (excellent on jacket potatoes or garlic bread). • Fold into an omelette. • Blend with egg yolks and flour to make wild garlic pasta dough. • Dry the leaves in a low oven, crumble and store in a jar to sprinkle on salads, soups and stews all year round. HABIT TRACKER The roots of April Fools’ Day are uncertain but one story tells that it began as it was once new year. Ancient cultures celebrated new year after the vernal equinox, around 1 April. An edict in late 15th-centruy France changed the date to 1 January and anyone who forgot was deemed ‘an…

7 min.

If you got close enough to the metal, you could pretend it wasn’t there. Look through the gaps in the fence, the wire hooked between your knuckles, and all that lay beyond was dancing white petals. Daisies, dozens of them. A brief fever dream amid the brick and concrete. When I was a child, wildflowers were weaponry. We saw nature’s offerings as something both prosaic and powerful, plentiful ammo to be deployed in the constant fantastical battles that defined our countryside upbringings. Stickyweed was to be pulled down, balled up and tossed so lightly towards the victim that, ideally, they wouldn’t know they had been targeted for several hours. Dandelions served other potentially punitive purposes. Once their scraggly yellow flowers had blossomed into far prettier drifts of fine fluff, they became soothsayers.…

4 min.
reading to rewild

A LIFE LIVED Marram: Memories of Sea and Spider Silk By Leonie Charlton (Sandstone) An evocative look at a mother-daughter relationship, with a Hebridean backdrop Charlton headed to the Hebrides for a three-week journey, accompanied by her friend, two sturdy ponies and a pile of maps. Their pace is slow enough to take in the landscape, to catch glimpses of wrens, sea eagles and sandpipers. It also afforded Charlton the opportunity to reconcile herself to her difficult relationship with her mother, and test her courage, as revealed in this beautiful, meditative memoir. Bird Therapy By Joe Harkness (Unbound) A heartfelt account of how birdwatching saved a life Harkness was in the grip of severe depression when the sight of a brown buzzard reminded him of his long-forgotten love of the outdoors and his relationship with his grandfather, so…

7 min.
bells of the ball

Finding a carpet of bluebells bursting forth among the trees is one of the best things about spring. From mid-April, a sea of blue-violet blooms appear in ancient woodlands where they have thrived under the protective canopy for thousands of years. They’re a particularly British sight, with more than half the world’s bluebells found in the UK – but stick to the paths and avoid picking them. Pack up some portable eats, gather friends and head out on a walk to see the blue blooms before they disappear as the trees come into leaf for another year. Pull out a blanket, share lemonade, along with a big hunk of pie, and take in the display of colour (while nibbling on a scotch egg…) Picnic pie This lovely layered veggie pie beats soggy sandwiches…