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New Celebrating the things that matter most

simple makes www.thesimplethings.com christmas | issue 04 | ÂŁ4.99

5-minute ideas Bunting, napkins, trees, wreaths & a bow for the dog

can’t wait for

Christmas! brunch before shopping off to buy chocolate the tree (at last!) decorating nostalgia Baking shortbread

love every minute A feast for christmas eve

welcoming the family Home

decorations from the garden

An easy roast and chocolate cake

Preparing your house for a cosy christmas

bright red berry garlands to make

We wish you a simple Christmas. One in which you never have to shop on an empty stomach. And in which the finest

chocolates, the bushiest Nordmann fir and the

shapeliest pine cones magically find you, and every speaker you walk past is playing your

favourite Christmas song. A Christmas that feels like the best kind of relaxed, indulgent Sunday – just with added glitter and a new pair of slippers.

Light your little lantern. Log onto NORAD. Eat a homemade biscuit. One day the kids will

measure all future Christmases against these small things you do without thinking.

grow

cook

make

share

Because nothing beats the satisfaction of growing your own. It’s true that a patio, window box or just a pot will do.

Because the real joy of food is in the preparing and the sharing – simple suppers, breakfast with friends and always cake-in-the-house.

Because it feels so good to say you made it yourself. Learning new skills and discovering traditional crafts well worth reviving.

Because it’s family and friends that shape our lives – the Sunday walks, the hot-dogs on the beach, the movies in front of the fire.

‘Meet you at the lodge’ Christmas card by Hello Lucky. www.hellolucky.co.uk

A SUBSCRIPTION MAKES THE PERFECT GIFT!

CELEBRATING THE THINGS THAT MATTER MOST

SUBSCRIBE! TRY 3 ISSUES FOR £5 TRY 3 ISSUES FOR £5 THAT’S A SAVING OF £9.97 CONTINUE AFTER THE TRIAL SAVE 23% OFF THE SHOP PRICE DELIVERY DIRECT TO YOUR DOOR AT NO EXTRA COST NEVER MISS AN ISSUE DELIVERY GUARANTEED

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OVERSEAS READERS SEE PAGE 128 TERMS AND CONDITIONS: This offer is for new UK subscribers only. You will receive 13 issues a year. Full details of the Direct Debit guarantee will be provided and are available upon request. Your subscription will start with the next available issue. If you are dissatisfied in any way you can write to us or call us to cancel your subscription at any time and we will refund you for all unmailed issues. Offer ends: 31.12.2012

’TIS THE SEASON TO BE KITSCH Every room deserves something festive. Search ‘circus’ on the site www.dafont.com to download and print a similar alphabet, or click the ‘Christmas’ category to choose from

everything from letters made from candy canes to Christmas trees. If you’re feeling fancy, print onto the pages of an old book or use sheet music as a background. Make each letter do double duty as a gift bag. Just print on lovely old-style paper bags and add treats. www.craftycomputerpaper.co.uk

DECORATING EVERY CORNER ONLY MINUTES IN THE MAKING, WE PROMISE THESE IDEAS OFFER MORE SATISFACTION THAN A BLUE PE TER ADVENT CROWN

THE CRAFT HOUR

DRESSING UP YOUR TABLE Jazz up plain napkins with simple shapes like hearts or holly leaves. Make a card template so you can draw out your chosen shape several times, then cut from fabric and add to a napkin. Stitch in place or use the magical powers of Bondaweb, to anchor it with only the heat from your iron. www.cottonpatch.co.uk And remember, frayed edges are a style statement.

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Bringing

home Christmas OH CHRISTMAS TREE, OH CHRISTMAS TREE… JOIN US AS WE UNTANGLE THE TINSEL, WR AP GIFTS AND FLOOD THE HOUSE WITH FESTIVIT Y. FIVE FRIENDS SHARE RITUALS – OLD AND NEW Photography: CHANTELLE GRADY and JAMES LAMPARD Styling: CHANTELLE GRADY and FREYA LAMPARD

BERRY GARLANDS THERE’S ONLY ONE CHRISTMAS COLOUR – AND NATURE KNOWS IT. GATHER RED BERRIES FOR SPEEDY DISPLAYS THAT WILL LAST FOR DAYS

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ook no further than the garden for a supply of simple decorations, ready to add juicy details to dinner table and sideboard. Got five minutes? Fill glass jars with bright red berries. Half an hour to spare? Make a berry lantern or two. Feeling smug with time on your hands? Hang a garland or bunch of berries from the back of each dining chair. It is Christmas after all.

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2 Wrap wire around the top of the jar and twist to make it really secure. Add a loop to create a handle. Cut with pliers or old scissors. Nestle a tea light inside amongst the pebbles – you can use berries but be braced for loud pops as they heat and burst!

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1 Gather all those jam jars you’ve been hoarding, it’s time for them to do a star turn on the Christmas table. Add medium-gauge wire, tealights and pebbles.

3 Thread berries on to another length of wire to decorate the jar. If they’re reluctant, pre-pierce with a chunky needle. Group odd numbers for the best casual effect.

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IN THE GARDEN

Nothing suitable in the garden? The humble greengrocers’ cranberry will make an excellent stand in.

PHOTOGRAPHY: ©LIVING4MEDIA

Matte black paint on a thick card tag makes a blackboard-style surface on which to chalk your guests’ initials. Rub out and chalk again for the next party!

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WARM & WELCOME THE HOUSE IS DRESSED AND READY... VERONICA CAN 'T WAIT TO WELCOME HER GROWN-UP FAMILY HOME FOR CHRISTMAS Words: KATHERINE SORRELL Photography: ANOUK DE KLEERMAEKER/TAVERNE AGENCY

HOW WE LIVE

The living room with its planked white walls is full of light even in the middle of winter. The striking portraits date from 1934, and are actually black-andwhite photographs coloured by the 'artist'.

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M Y C I T Y * : LO N D O N FOOD BLOGGER AND PHOTOGRAPHER MOWIE KAY EXPLAINS WHY HIS HEART BELONGS TO LONDON

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*Share the simple things in your city. Leave a comment at www.thesimplethings.com or email thesimplethings@futurenet.com

WHEREVER YOU MAY BE

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MOWIE KAY Award-winning blogger Mowie Kay is also a professional food photographer and experienced stylist based in London. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and cookbooks all over the world.

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1 Mowie’s favourite view from Trafalgar Square with Big Ben in the distance. 2 “I love people-watching and soaking up the atmosphere at Trafalgar Square.” 3 The Christmas lights over Oxford Street never fail to wow the crowds. 4 The lights at Piccadilly Circus illuminate the way to Leicester Square.

Most of us live in cities. Even if a tiny part of us yearns for the country, it’s hard to deny the excitement of town. Every issue we ask one person – clearly in love with their city – to tell us what makes it so special. Through their eyes, we can take a fresh look at where we live too. How long have you lived in London and what originally drew you there?

I moved from Germany to London when I was 18 and it was mainly because I wanted to go to University here. I finally did, ending up studying Genetics and Cancer Research – very different from what I do now! I’d visited London a few times previously, but never stayed long enough. I felt there was so much more to see and do, and the only way I would be able to do all that was to move here. What keeps you in the city now?

I have so many friends here. Work has really taken off over the last few years and I feel that there are so many more opportunities coming my way, so I can’t see myself moving anywhere else just yet, especially as my business is now set up here. Which season makes your city feel most alive?

I love the winter and the lead-up to Christmas – especially if it snows. London is not a city that’s well Subscribe at www.thesimplethings.com

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prepared for snow, mostly because we don’t get that much of it. When it does fall, London’s transport comes to a halt and no one is able to get to work, school or anywhere. We all head for the parks, build snowmen and throw snowballs. Everyone actually talks to each other; it’s an unspoken rule that when it snows, strangers are allowed to be sociable for once. What does the city feel like at Christmas?

Christmas is so magical in London and I think it’s mostly the excitement and build-up to the big event – all the street lights go up really early, everyone’s out shopping. Last year, I walked right into a Santa pub crawl – it was »

“Christmas Eve is the day when we like to do something a little more casual. We can relax in our old jeans and gather around the kitchen table.”

Christmas Eve dinner EXCITEMENT IS IN THE AIR . THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS CALLS FOR A REL A XED MEAL AND A SELECT FEW Recipes and photography: CHANTELLE GRADY

GATHERING

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easons to love Christmas Eve dinner. One, you can wear your old jeans. Two, you can gather around a bare kitchen table rather than something draped in linen. Three, it’s a chance to hog your loved ones before they disappear into the familial bosom. Four, no turkey. Website editor Claire is a fan of this special evening, and is spending it with husband Martin, their boys Ludo and Jack, Martin’s Subscribe at www.thesimplethings.com

sister Stephanie and her good friend Reid. “Roasted chestnuts are a Christmas time classic,” says Claire. “ So I thought about using them as a nice way to start the meal.” Slowroasted lamb with fistfuls of rosemary then provides a pleasant contrast to the long days of ham and turkey ahead. And for dessert, an indulgent chocolate cake. After a few rounds of cards and several goodnights, it’s time for sleep. Tomorrow will not be half so mellow. »

MEN U Creamy ricotta crostini with chestnut & thyme honey Slow-roasted rosemary lamb with roasted vegetables Butter greens with pine nuts Bourbon chocolate cake with strawberries & cream

decEMBER A CURIOUS COMBINATION OF THE PRACTICAL AND THE PLAYFUL, DESIGNED TO ENHANCE THE SIMPLE LIFESTYLE

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WINNING/CHEATING AT CLASSIC BOARD GAMES 120

POSTING CHRISTMAS CARDS ON TIME 121

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BUILDING A SNOWMAN 123

BECOMING AN ARMCHAIR GARDENER 124

IDENTIFYING SNOWFLAKES 124

DISCOVERING NEW WAYS TO COOK SPROUTS

BAFFLE THE BARMAN

SILVIA.TRENTA@MOLESKINE.COM

SPEED-BAKING CHRISTMAS CAKE

Make mine a mutchkin! Ordering drinks was much more fun before metrification Nip A sip or mouthful, typically from a hipflask.

WINE JOURNAL You remember that bottle of wine that was so delicious that you vowed to jot down its particulars for future reference? Then you proceeded to appreciate it so deeply you clean forgot? Request this Moleskine Wine Journal for Christmas and you’ll never wander lost down the wine aisle again. There’s a beer one, too. Chin chin.

Tot, or dram A little pour of a beverage. About 1 ⁄8 of a fluid ounce Noggin or gill A small mugful, typically a quarter of a pint. Mutchkin A little less than a pint. Thirdendeal Three pints, or a third of any other liquid.

ALCOHOLIC ACCOUTREMENTS

Pottle A half gallon, or four pints.

MOUSTACHE CORKSCREW Startle dinner guests as you twirl your ‘tache and open another bottle of burgundy. www.follyhome.co.uk DOWAGER-DISCONCERTION POWER: 5/5

PINE CONE BOTTLE STOPPER This beauty looks like something Robin Hood might have bunged in his unfinished firkin of mead. www.theestateyard.com DOWAGER-DISCONCERTION POWER: 4/5

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REAL ANTLER BOTTLE OPENER Made from the naturally discarded antler of a Finnish reindeer. Animal remnants never looked so pretty. www.anthropologie.eu DOWAGER-DISCONCERTION POWER: 3/5

PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES

Firkin About 1⁄4 of a barrel or 9 gallons. Hogshead A large cask, particularly one that contains from 63-140 gallons. For more archaic units of measurement: www.phrontistery.info/unit.html

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PWR EVENTS

THE PACKER’S KNOT ILLUSTRATION: PETER FIELD

For the neatest gifts under the tree FROM JOINTS OF MEAT to Christmas presents, this knot keeps things snug and secure. One of its beauties is the way it can be tightened or loosened halfway through its construction – and easily released when it’s time to let everything spill out. Start with a figure-of-eight near the standing end. Pass the running end through the top loop. Pass the standing end through the same loop. Tighten. More knotty problems solved in Des Pawson’s Handbook Of Knots (Dorling Kindersley) 1

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THIS MONTH’S CHECKLIST Festive fixtures fighting for your attention over Christmas

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1 Mind that beefeater! Practice your triple axel at the utterly spectacular Tower of London ice rink www.toweroflondonicerink.com

2 Walk through Britain’s largest winter garden. Santa’s set up camp in the stables, too… www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunhammassey

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CHEAT AT CHRISTMAS CAKE JUST REMEMBERED ABOUT THE CAKE? Too proud to buy a ready-made one? Don’t panic! Fall back on a kit – here are three that are worth the stir

Yield to the joys of the local panto – the cheesier the better. www.bigpantoguide.co.uk

4 Celebrate a Victorian Christmas at beautiful Bodelwyddan Castle on North Wales. www.bodelwyddan-castle.co.uk

5 Discover a winter wonderland at The Festival of Winter Walks from 22nd Dec-6th Jan. www.ramblers.org.uk/info/events/ Festivals/winterwalks

ILLUSTRATION: GEORGINA LUCK

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THE WELL-HEELED Simply add fresh eggs, butter and orange juice. Bonus feature: comes in a rather pretty cake tin. www.fortnumandmason.com

THE NO-NONSENSE All the components you could possibly need, including ready-to-roll marzipan and icing. www.ocado.com

THE GRANNY-PLEASER Probably Delia Smith’s most popular recipe. And for more sensitive lovers of cake, it’s egg-free and vegan-friendly. www.waitrose.com

Lose yourself in the sumptuous film version of Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, released on Boxing Day. www.midnightschildren.com

7 Volunteer to help London’s homeless during Christmas week. www.crisis.org.uk

8 If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and wash your seed trays. www.theseedsite.co.uk

Easiness factor: Easy peasy

Easiness factor: Bring it on

Easiness factor: Rinky dink

Tip of the month If someone drops red wine on your carpet, blot with a cloth (do not scrub), then dab with white wine and blot again. If the stain persists, dab on soda water, then an absorbent substance such as salt, baking soda, or talcum and let it cake. Uncover more gentle but effective tips in Rachelle Strauss’s Self Sufficiency Household Cleaning (New Holland).

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9 Wake up early to greet the Winter Solstice on 21st Dec www.english-heritage.org.uk/ daysout/properties/stonehenge

10 You don’t have to be a believer to believe they sound lovely... Carols from Kings. BBC R4 Christmas Eve; BBC R3 Christmas Day. www.kings.cam.ac.uk/events

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A SUBSCRIPTION MAKES THE PERFECT GIFT!

CELEBRATING THE THINGS THAT MATTER MOST

SUBSCRIBE! TRY 3 ISSUES FOR £5 TRY 3 ISSUES FOR £5 THAT’S A SAVING OF £9.97 CONTINUE AFTER THE TRIAL SAVE 23% OFF THE SHOP PRICE DELIVERY DIRECT TO YOUR DOOR AT NO EXTRA COST NEVER MISS AN ISSUE DELIVERY GUARANTEED

2 EASY WAYS TO SUBSCRIBE www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/TSTP14 Call 0844 848 2852 Lines open 8am-9.30pm weekdays, 8am-4pm Saturdays – please quote reference code TSTP14

UK PRICING: £12.49 BY QUARTERLY DIRECT DEBIT. FIRST 3 ISSUES AT £5. ONE YEAR PRICE (13 ISSUES): £48.49

OVERSEAS READERS SEE PAGE 128 TERMS AND CONDITIONS: This offer is for new UK subscribers only. You will receive 13 issues a year. Full details of the Direct Debit guarantee will be provided and are available upon request. Your subscription will start with the next available issue. If you are dissatisfied in any way you can write to us or call us to cancel your subscription at any time and we will refund you for all unmailed issues. Offer ends: 31.12.2012

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20 THE SIMPLE THINGS ISSUE ONE


The Simple Things Issue 4 sampler