At the beginning of this journey I was like most new converts an evangelist and an extremist.  There are some who would say I still am (most notably the teenagers who are, I suspect, stockpiling plastic as I type).  How ever I have clearly mellowed for yesterday I did something that I would never have done back in June.

I bought a magazine.  To be fair I did um and ah for a while, I did go off and do some other shopping before I finally handed over cash for a disposable item.  I finally justified it by reminding myself that all our magazines go to the local dentist or doctor.  Their waiting room reading matter is prehistoric or ghastly rags written by a spirocheate on a bad day and attempting to be a poor copy of a 1960s edition of Readers’ Digest.

So I bought this.


A bit of a contradiction in terms no?  A magazine about Simple Things.  But I have read the entire magazine.  There was no article in which I wasn’t interested.  I have book marked some recipes and some events, I even saw a photograph of the first flat I ever owned (94 Landor Road, London SW9 just in case you are interested 🙂 ) in a wonderful article about The Edible Bus Stop,  it is amazing (the story not my flat) go and read it and maybe even plant one yourself.   As a final added bonus it feels good, the cover is just a little heavier than most magazines, the photographs and the LO just a little less in your face.  The only thing that grated was the standard bit at the beginning of every lifestyle magazine, two double page spreads on “beautiful things for your home”.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if  instead there was a double page spread of “beautiful things you probably already  have in your home”.

So in that vein, here are some of the simple things around my house that make me happy, make me smile and make me glad to be who I am.


The first cup of tea of the day.  I drink a lot of tea, I like it strong and black.  I am not a very nice person until I have had at least one cup.  The teenagers go so fed up of me asking for cups of tea when I was working upstairs that they bought me my own kettle and tea caddy for the bedroom.


Fresh roses from my garden.  Their perfume is heady and goes beautifully with my first cup of tea.  One of my greatest thrills is to be able to fill the house with flowers and foliage from the garden.  You just have to be inventive, it doesn’t have to look like a bouquet.  In winter I bring in armfuls of redberried holly, winter jasmine, bare branches, anything that catches my eye.


Clementime curd.  I made this yesterday after repeated requests from the Dancer.  The recipe comes from the amazing Karen at Widehaugh House. It is sublime and is a family favourite but never lasts long.  It is best eaten with a teaspoon out of the jar 🙂  The result of any curd is a bucketload of egg whites.  We are a bit bored with meringue and I am the only person who likes Angel Food Cake so I made  Nami Nami’s Egg White Cake instead.  Next time I will reduce the sugar content, but it was good to use up the ingredients in something I knew would be eaten.



My favourite bookcase, or rather the bookcase with my favourite books.  Foraging, gardening, the Desert Fathers, meditation, living off the grid.


Freshly made bed.  I cannot understand, particularly in these days of duvets (though I can still make a pretty mean hospital corner thanks to 11 years at boarding school) why so many people don’t make the bed.  I can’t bear getting into an unmade bed and will make it before I get in if I have to!


Open windows.  I can’t wait for the icy winds to pass so that I can throw open the windows and the doors.  Sadly I am alone in this.  The Boss doesn’t really notice and the teenagers must have some kind of cold blooded reptilian DNA as they close windows and doors as fast as I can open them.  I am winning 🙂



The Floor of Singer 2’s bedroom.  You will notice that there is nothing on it.  Singer 2 is the one child who has my tidy gene.  It makes me as happy to see her room as it terrifies me to see those of Singer 1 and the Dancer.



Finally my Inuit bear.  My father spent many years in Toronto and Montreal and collected a lot of Inuit Art, both carvings and prints.  I have much of that collection, but this bear is  my favourite.  She has been with me since I was at university, travelling from London to Yorkshire, back to London to Scotland and finally to Durham.  I don’t know if she is the first thing I would grab in a fire, but she is pretty close to the top of the list.




12 thoughts on “simple

  1. What a co-incidence that that mag had your flat in it. You were absolutely meant to buy that. Love your bear too. His “lines” are wonderful. Clearly a well-fed bear too! Happy. I’d grab him from the flames too!

  2. Hello Gillie,
    Found your articles a couple of days ago, via
    Rhonda at down to earth.very interesting, I shall look regularly!

    Best wishes,


  3. I am a bit of a magazine junkie. No, I am a magazine junkie. Not as many appeal these days and there is the hidden aspect of getting the electronic versions, oops!! But I do usually enjoy them (a disadvantage of being multi-lingual!). I keep a couple of regulars that I find particularly inspiring and always wish I could pass the others on instead of sending them to recycling. Our doctors and dentIsts etc. all have their own subscriptions and only ever the latest copies out, so they’re not interested! My only other interessee moved away to Canada years ago, so no offloading onto her, either. My kids never even wanted to cut them up. sigh. I see another cull on e horizon…

    1. Your dentist and doctor have magazine subs WOW! LOL at the language issue. When I had to chose a second foreign language at school I opted for Spanish partly because I thought reading the gossip in Hola would be more interesting that leaning how to make lederhosen in the, then, rather frumpy German magazines.

      What about hospitals or hospices? Or even nursery schools, they might like to cut up your old magazines.

  4. I still subscribe to several magazines, all quilting and craft types, and after I read them they go to my shop and are resold as ‘slightly used’. The difference between newsstand price and subscription price means I can resell them for what I paid and the customer still gets a bargain. Double Win….. but never buy magazines loaded with ads, have more things then I need already thank you very much. Love your writting style, btw, great day!

    1. Thank you. Excellent idea about reselling. We have a box of books at our WI which anyone can donate to. Either swap a book or take one and pay 50p with funds going to our WI. Might suggest we have a magazine box too. I bet we all buy the same ones anyway!

  5. I love this post and the insight into what makes you happy. I am with you completely on overstuffed bookcases with my favourite books, open windows, freshly made beds and your glorious Inuit bear!

  6. Great list. I’m all for simple things. Shall have to check out the magazine as have been ranting that I can’t find a magazine that actually has anything to say to me. 🙂 Thanks so much for dropping by my blog.

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