The Simple Things May 2021

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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If there’s a message for May, it’s a simple one; seize the day. The countryside is at its loveliest (and even the most humdrum of gardens looks pretty this month), while towns and cities are slowly coming back to life as markets and shops re-open. And time is on our side, when both mornings and evenings are long, light and inviting. Work and chores can wait when there are road trips, camping weekends, picnic outings and, at last, holidays to enjoy. Go slow, though, there’s no rush to make up for a year in just a few weeks – for some there’s apprehension alongside our rediscovered freedoms. Embracing every day as a fresh beginning can help us live more in the moment. Uncertainty is still with us, but each dawn…

may almanac

A day out has declared this ‘No Mow May’ to allow flowers to grow in lawns to attract pollinators. Why not leave the bees to some peace on your lawn and head to a meadow for an afternoon for some wildflower inspiration? The Wildlife Trusts has a guide to finding one near you on its website. Grab your binoculars and perch at the edge of a meadow to see what wildflowers and wildlife you can spot. LOCAL LORE Cheese lovers should head to Gloucestershire this month. At St Briavels on Whit Sunday, pieces of bread and cheese are blessed by the vicar and thrown to the crowd. And for the more peckish, Coopers Hill cheese rolling is held on the last May Bank holiday. Chase a 4kg wheel of Double Gloucester as…

nature’s table

LATE SPRING In May, the countryside is suddenly all growth and abundant floral froth: cow parsley, apple blossom, fat dandelions, hawthorn and bluebells, and, of course, the birds all singing their hearts out. It’s a glorious time of year, with all the good stuff ahead of us, and quite a bit of it already here. This is also the month of two bank holidays – the first is rooted in May Day, but the origins of the second are less well known. It used to be attached to Whitsun, once the most important holiday of the year for working people. It was traditional for the whole week to be given off, for Whitsuntide fêtes, Morris dancing, village walks and visits to the races. There are plenty of foods associated with Whitsuntide, including milk,…

deeply dippy

What’s more liberating than the feeling of swimming naked? When it’s just you, your body and a body of water it’s as if you could be from any time in history. With no swimsuit fabric or thick wetsuit neoprene on your skin, you’re more aware of the bite of the ocean, of river mud under your feet, of seaweed softly brushing your legs. Swimming in the nude celebrates your body and the wild alike. Many of my favourite memories are of skinny dips – rushing shrieking into the waves with friends on Cornish beaches, or slipping alone into the cold water of a deserted bay on a Hebridean island. Wild swimming, with or without clothing, has been proven to reduce anxiety and boost our mood and our immune system. So why…


For something in-between the morning yoga classes and onsite bistros of the modern campsite and going completely off-grid, almost-wild camping is the best way to sleep under the stars in a remote-ish spot and have a campfire – but with a proper loo. LEE VALLEY ALMOST WILD CAMPSITE Broxbourne, Hertfordshire What’s special about it? When you find this campsite on the map – half a mile from a train station, five miles from the M25 and less than 20 miles from central London – you’d be right to question, how wild can it really be? But with just 15 pitches and many people arriving by bike or canoe from London, this parcel of partially wooded land, where the River Lee intercepts the Lee Canal, is as wild as you’re ever likely to find…

how to go almost-wild

• Check the facilities Availability of toilets, showers and washing-up areas may vary so check before you book and you’ll know what to expect. • Stock up Few campsites will have an onsite shop, or it may be very basic. Find the location of the nearest shops before you travel and bring adequate supplies, just in case. • Cut the clutter Try not to pack the kitchen sink. Aim for being able to fit everything you need into a wheelbarrow (often provided) as you can rarely park by your pitch. • Book early For the best spots, plan ahead and book early, especially in (this) summer. Check if children and dogs are allowed, too. • The right pitch Practise putting up your tent at home and check you have all the necessary parts. • Cook…