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Taking time to live well


Midwinter treats Maple porridge Turkish baths Old-fashioned puddings

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A could-do list for January Turn up your internal central heating with spicy stews and aromatic teas Have your sledge at the ready for the first snowfall Enjoy the peace and order that this month brings Take a pot of steaming soup to a friend or neighbour in need Change your route for a month and notice new things around you


Make a list below of the little things you'd like to enjoy more often this year

Januar y

is fu possi ll of bilit i e s . Pla and d ns an reams d hop . As i es the s t sho tart u l d of th be at ings. need to ru But n sh. T o heart he wa rmth h and of home durin is wh g the at we s e need dark days. midwi Appre n t er ciati have ng wh and w at we here embra we li ve, cing being and c i n d o omfor ors, table cosy hygge toget life. her — Let y a wande our m r whi ind l e y ou si case t; ma for a ke th dvent e explo ure, ring for t h e u stran nfami ge la liar, nguag for mount e s, fo ains r t h a e nd fo and w r the here stars they could Happy lead New Y you. ear.



EDITO R LIS A SYK #mysi ES mpleth ing


24 70

AT A GLANCE* 130 80

112 * Bit vague for you? A list of everything in this month’s issue is on page 128.



Coffee, walnut and maple porridge


A bowl of hot porridge made with a cup of home-brewed coffee (that’s coffee to put in the porridge, rather than drink), toasted walnuts and a drizzle of syrup is tasty fuel to kickstart those midwinter mornings when getting out from under your duvet is almost unbearable. Toast walnuts in advance to build in extra snooze time. For the recipe, see page 126.


Como cutlery sets | from £40 for five-piece set Hand-finished cutlery from Italy with a burnished effect.

Tincture lifestyle & home cleaning products | £7.50–£25 Safe, natural cleaning products based on botanical wisdom gleaned from monks of old.

THINGS TO WANT AND WISH FOR with lovely things can rekiindle dl a love of staying indoorrs, says LOUISE GO ORRO OD

LOUISE GORROD Our Wishlist Editor blogs, bakes and photographs at Buttercup Days: On Instagram: louise_ buttercupdays Glitter clutch | £40 A twinkly pouch for partygoers. hush-uk.c com


Imani organza maxi skirt | £218 A floaty skirt to drift about in.

Sol table llamp p by y Edge er Home | £84 Control thrree levels of brightness by touch. p

Unstable stool | £660 A rocking stool to keep the spine straight and core muscles strong.


‘Kunak Mountain With A Fog Bank’ wall chart | from £160 A snowy scene to transport you to the peaks. From the British Library Collection at

Skandinavisk Vinter mini candle gift set | £38 set of 3 Seasonal scents with a Scandi sensibility.

Large ash trivet | £70 A stylish way to keep hot pots from damaging tables.

Mu serving boards | £75-85 Double-sided cedar serving boards for both serving and chopping.

| £215 15 A fresh take on a traditional craft.

Scafell modular sofa | £5,718 A generous sofa system with a subtle smiling stitch detail.

Logan rug | £545 A flatweave rug with a ges. zigzag pattern and fring

Knot p pillow | £72 Made from a knitted tube by Design House Stockholm.



12 Flowers Calendar 2017 | £30 A different bloom for every month.


The Cornish husband and wife team behind a furniture and lighting brand Husband and wife team Joel and Helena Haran are furniture and lighting brand Studio Haran. Their collection, including the Lace Chair, above, £475, is produced using craft techniques and modern technology, utilising local Cornish materials whenever possible. The creative duo collectively design each product before undertaking their own specialisms: Joel works with the timber while Helena looks after the ceramic and textile elements. The couple also share their skills with others at ceramics and wood workshops held at their studio.


Christopher Somerville records his walk around the UK in The January Man Inspired by David Goulder’s folk song which celebrates the slow turning of the year, Christopher Somerville headed off on a series of walks that took him in “a great circle round” the British Isles, observing nature and the landscape as he went. He heads out to waterlogged fields where he and his friend Roo “stand like two old herons, up to our knees in floods”,

he watches as “Lapwings flew overhead in black and white crowds… flickering like an old film as they suddenly tumbled earthwards”, sees lambs, after a sharp frost, “sporting a coat of sparkle” and remarks how April becomes the “yellow month” as celandine stars and DayGlo dandelions replace the bleak colours of winter. Beautiful. (Doubleday) 11

Welcome to the world of trips.


Cloth & Clay Nordic Nights Nyoka cotton bedding set | from £120 Snuggly bedding for frosty nights.


Anne Brontë is given due respect in Take Courage by Samantha Ellis In the Brontë hierarchy, Anne has been in danger of being left on the (book) shelf as the author of two largely unread novels (Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall), overshadowed by her siblings – Emily, Charlotte and Branwell. But Samantha Ellis’s brave, bracing book forces a radical rethink of the younger sister, a staunch feminist and keenly observant writer who was unswervingly loyal to friends and family. Anne dealt with loss, tragedy and poverty with grace and resilience. Inspired by Anne’s life lessons, Ellis becomes determined “to write a new story when I don’t like the one I’m given. To expand my heart. To take courage.” (Windus)

Natural pinecone firelighters | £14 for six Non-toxic and fume-free.



Orchard decanters | £38 each Serve red and white wine with style.


A digital printer publishing covetable and colourful books and stationery Hato, a London-based risographer (high-speed digital) printer and publisher, is a must for anyone who loves colour, print and pattern. The shop stocks its own range of books, stationery, cards, prints and products as well as working with a pool of illustrators and artists to produce a unique range of children’s and cookery books. All the test prints, mistakes, and offprints from the print studio are made into notepads and sketchbooks featuring overlaid artwork, thoughts and writings. If you want to have a go at producing your own prints, then try one of the image-making workshops where you’ll be taught the basic principles behind risograph printing and leave with your own set of prints.

A non-swimmer conquers her aquatic fears in Leap In by Alexandra Heminsley Alexandra Heminsley lives by the sea, and she runs along the shoreline when she’s training for a marathon (she’s the author of Running Like A Girl and is no stranger to counting off the kilometres), but she had never been in for a dip. It wasn’t quite a fear of water – she could manage a few lengths in the pool, it was more a fear of what could be lurking in the depths. But, 14

ever determined – “I never wanted to be Penelope; I had fought for years to be my own hero, my own Odysseus”, she took lessons, bought goggles and a wetsuit and headed in to the worlds of rivers, seas and oceans, which restored her sense of peace when life was hard and reminded her of the “giddy joy” of letting her “body do its own thing”. Inspiring. (Hutchinson)


Fennel Matcha



HERBS TO HELP REBALANCE Many of us take the new year as a cue to give our bodies an MOT, with rebalancing what we eat as good a place as any to start. Nature’s medicine cabinet contains many cleansing plants. Fennel, a key ingredient of Pukka’s Detox tea, is great for easing nausea and indigestion and can help to reduce the other physical effects of alcohol. A warm cup of fennel tea will help to relieve digestive ailments, making it a handy hangover tonic and a gentle cleanser. 

Marvellous matcha Matcha is made from a special type of powdered green tea. It’s packed full of antioxidants which help to fight free radicals built up by pollution, exposure to alcohol and those not-so-healthy party foods. Sip this tea, perhaps with a squeeze of lemon, the next time you feel the need to rebalance your body. Or try Pukka’s Clean Matcha Green.

OTHER CLEANSING HERBS Mint is another renowned herb for the digestion. However, its strong menthol essential oils also help to relieve nausea and improve concentration, boosting energy.

Ginger is warming and protective. It stimulates blood flow and is renowned for reducing nausea and settling an upset stomach. Its warmth and spice also stimulate the metabolism which in turn helps get your body back on track.  Rosemary is a natural stimulant, great for relieving feelings of tiredness. For a drink- related stomach upset, add rosemary oil to your bath or use as an inhalant. Chamomile is great for calming mind and body in general, which is particularly good if you suffer with ‘the fear’ the morning after. As a hangover cure, chamomile can also help counter indigestion or a headache. Try Pukka’s Three Chamomile tea.

Free radicals Molecules that are highly chemically reactive towards other substances. In the body, when there are excessive free radicals around, this can cause damage to cells and proteins that make up the body’s tissues. Antioxidants Substances that react with free radicals, stopping the chain of damage that can occur. Metabolism Term covering all the chemical reactions the body makes to live, including turning food into energy and ‘uploading’ nutrients. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn doing this.

Parsley helps to clear harmful acid from the body due to its high mineral and chlorophyll content. Turmeric is a renowned super spice, famed for its anti-inflammatory benefits. And we now know that turmeric has a direct effect on liver cells encouraging their regeneration and repair. Try Pukka’s Turmeric Gold tea or Turmeric Lifekind supplements.

Discover more about Pukka’s incredible organic herbs at


Make a face mask, enjoy a good blub, whip up fish curry and round up friends for a weekend away.ByRebeccaFrank

2 tsp tamarind paste 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced 500g firm white fish fillets, skinned, cut into 3cm chunks 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves Thyme sprigs or chopped chives, to garnish Lemon zest strips, to garnish


SIMPLY GOAN FISH CURRY Indian dishes can have endless ingredients but this light and spicy curry is a doddle Serves 4 4 tsp coriander seeds 1 tsp cumin seeds 4 dried red Kashmiri chillies 2cm root ginger, peeled and finely grated 4 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp ground turmeric 2 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil 1 onion, finely chopped 1 large plum tomato, finely chopped 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk 1 tbsp palm sugar, or soft light brown sugar


1 Toast the coriander and cumin seeds and dried chillies in a dry frying pan for about a minute. Crush in a pestle and mortar, then mix in the ginger, garlic, turmeric and 1 tsp salt. 2 Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat and fry the onion until soft and golden. Stir in the spice mix. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato and cook until it is soft. 3 Add the coconut milk, sugar, tamarind and green chilli and bring to just under the boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for about five minutes, until slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning. 4 Season the fish all over, then add it to the sauce and simmer for about four mins until cooked through. Add the coriander leaves and serve with rice.

Recipe from Simple by Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley)

Finding hygge We might not have the snow here but you can pretend you’re in Scandinavia with one of these fun Nordic experiences. If you can’t beat them and all that… O If you’re going to Paris and fancy a very different

experience, head to the Insitut Finlandais and spend the night in a Finnish wood cabin (above). The cabins are a temporary installation (until May) designed in a pared-back Nordic style and guests will be treated to a taste of the Finnish hospitality with a traditional breakfast and themed events from music to film screenings. O There’s plenty of hygge to be had in London this winter. At Southbank Winter Festival (until 25 January) pop into the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge to sample the new Spiced Plum cider and huddle round firepits with bowls of Swedish food. Or go to Winter Wigwam in Hoxton and feast at a long table, warm up with hot mead by the fire and join a hair braiding or ukulele session. O It’s bound to be chilly in Scotland but keeping warm is easy in the new 40ft loch-side sauna with panoramic views of Loch Tay (right) in the Taymouth Marina. When it all gets too sweaty, you can jump into the loch to cool off before cosying up by the firepit.


YOUR WHOLE-YEAR RESOLUTIONS Goals that are achievable – and sustainable – to inspire you for the year ahead

Keepajournal. Whether it’s notes alongside your favourite recipes, a gratitude list or a blog, it’s a useful and enjoyable way to look back and reflect Sing, dance and enjoy music as often as possible (because it makes you feel happy and connects you with other people) Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a good friend


Take small breaks often and remember busy isn’t always better Have screen-free Sundays once a month and switch off the glare for at least an hour and a half before bedtime every day of the week

Detoxifying matcha tea face mask This wonderful green paste may make you look like a witch temporarily but will cast a spell on your skin, leaving it refreshed and glowing 1 tsp matcha tea powder 1 tsp yoghurt 1 Put the matcha tea powder in a bowl and stir in the yogurt to make a smooth paste. 2 Apply to a cleansed face and relax for 15 minutes. 3 Remove gently with tepid water and enjoy a healthy glow. Why it works Matcha tea is high in vitamins, antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids and minerals. It is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and draws out impurities. Yoghurt is moisturising and nourishing. From All Natural Beauty by Karin Berndl and Nici Hofer (Hardie Grant). For more homemade skincare, see page 125.


Have a good cry If you’re feeling below par a sad story can release endorphins that make you feel better, according to a new study. Instead of feeling you need to do something upbeat when you’re unwell or feeling blue, watch a weepy film, read a sad book, listen to the song that gives you a lump in your throat and don’t be afraid to let the floodgates open. 17


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY We’re seeking out winter celebrations

Winter skies festival Yorkshire is preparing for its Dark Skies Festival (18–26 Feb). Stargazing sessions, guided walks, art exhibitions and workshops across the Dales and Moors. darkskiesnationalparks.

PLACES TO GATHER WITH FRIENDS Wilderness Reserve, Sibton, Suffolk Gathering a group of friends together takes considerable effort (how did everybody get so busy?), and after all that effort you want it to be a memorable occasion. Organise a weekend at the Wilderness Reserve in Suffolk and not only will you have a special time in a beautiful house in a very peaceful nature reserve, you’ll have earned yourself a lifetime of friendship Brownie points. On this sprawling estate a long way from anywhere (unless you happen to live in Suffolk of course) are dotted houses of varying styles and sizes from a pink fairytale farmhouse to a sleek barn conversion, an off-grid cottage for two and, for very big groups or blowout special occasions, the grand Georgian manor house, Sibton Park. A stroll around the 5,000 acres of parkland will take you to an oval heated pool, carved into the hill with a winding grassy 18

Elsewhere OScotts Castle Holidays

path circling down to it and a bubbling hot tub. Beyond that a lake where you might glimpse a kingfisher taking a bath or another of the 100 bird species said to reside there. There are Pashley bikes and paddle boards to borrow, nature walks or games of tennis to join in, food to prepare (or you may choose to be cooked for) and long, lazy days to enjoy, catching up with good friends while making promises to come again next year.

has a range of big houses, castles and unique places to stay for large groups, from family friendly to historically interesting. OGlamping in a big group is a good budget option. Try Canopy and Stars for gypsy caravans, forested yurts and more. large-groups OFor something a bit different visit; highlights include Halula Beach House in Cornwall, bohemian Storbrook House in West Sussex or Norfolk’s wild-west themed Cliff Barns.

Burn’s night shenanigans It falls at the end of a long month when you’re in need of some fun, so why not gather friends on the 25th for a Burn’s night supper. The mix of haggis, neeps and tatties, whisky and, of course, dancing is always a winner. Chinese New Year Join the celebrations as the Chinese welcome in the Year of the Rooster (28th January). You’ll find festivities in Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and London’s Chinatown. Light Night Festival Watch Nottingham light up with art installations, pyrotechnics and glowin-the-dark activities for families in its tenth Light Night Festival (10 Feb). experience



29 th SAV Ale Ma E TH xa rch ED nd – 1 st ATE ra Pa A lac pril ! e, L 20 on 17 do n

The WI Fair returns in 2017, this time at the iconic and picturesque Alexandra Palace in London Celebrating every aspect of the WI, the event will welcome members and non-members alike for

Pop the date in your diary and sign up to our

what promises to be four fantastic days out.


With workshops aplenty, energising seminars, theatre demonstrations, hands-on activities and an extensive shopping experience, the event will have

Ticket prices for WI members will be: ÂŁ11 each for groups of 10+, ÂŁ12.50 for individuals and ÂŁ14 on the door*.

something for everyone, whatever your interest.

We can’t wait to welcome you to the fair. *Terms & conditions and a transaction fee apply.









here was a time when backpacks were mainly worn by hearty outdoor enthusiasts and ramblers (right). The ideal pouch to store a sandwich, an OS map and a waterproof, they were simple bags attached to the body by two shoulder straps. Having a bag on the back as opposed to dangling one off a shoulder allowed the hands to swing free, weight to be distributed evenly, and the chest to open. All the better to belt “A knapsack on my back”: out a chorus of ‘I love to go ramblers stride a-wandering’ while vaulting out purposefully cheerily over a stile. These days, of course, everyone has a backpack. I bet you have one in your wardrobe or even dumped beside your chair as you read this. They are the most egalitarian of bags sported by students, office workers, CEOs, rappers, cyclists and practically everyone else. These newish, everyday backpacks have replaced briefcases, messenger bags and totes as the daybag of choice. Brands such as Fjällräven, Sandqvist, Millican and Herschel have taken the basic form and embellished it with subtle detailing to make it more desirable and less utilitarian. Leather straps, a variety of colours

and patterned linings nod to the past and reference notions of freedom, escape and adventure. Hoik on a backpack and you could be off into the woods or adventuring in the wilds, rather than packing your laptop and getting the 8.15 to the office. No one knows what you’ve got stashed away in there or where you are heading, but you are definitely going somewhere. The word ‘backpack’ was coined by the US military in the 1910s. They were needed to shift the weight carried on soldiers’ shoulders to their hips by means of padded hip belts. (Rucksack is a conflation of the German words rucken – back – and sack – bag, so basically the same thing.) You can carry more stuff comfortably in a backpack, which is pretty much their point. They are still the bag of choice of the outdoorsy – some have reached absurd levels of cleverness with lightweight aluminium frames, hydration packs and reflective strips – but nowadays even the most sedentary of us can strap one on and go adventuring.




Raven 20L | £80 Commuter friendly, with a padded compartment for a laptop.


Brown canvas daypack | £75 A contoured shape and several pockets for stashing smaller items.

Sandqvist Roald grey rucksack | £89 An urban rucksack in tough canvas to withstand daily battering.


“It is the most egalitarian of bags worn by students, rappers and CEOs”

Happy New Year from Loop! WWW.LOOPKNITTING.COM




here’s an inviting way to turn January’s long, cold evenings to your advantage. Gather friends for a night of lounging on the sofa, in front of a box set you’ve all been meaning to watch, or a classic DVD that brings back happy memories. Whatever the entertainment, the menu can be as easygoing as your evening: homemade dips and chips for grazing; comfort pasta with freshly baked flatbreads. Even the apple crumble is too laid-back to pile formally into a dish… And glasses of wine all round. Trust us, January is not the month to go dry.




M EN U Hot artichoke & spinach dip Feta, cream cheese & parsley dip


DIY tortilla chips Flatbreads with three-herb garlic butter Mushroom, pancetta & sage tagliatelle Pile-it-up apple crumble with custard & maple syrup

Serves 3–4 100g cream cheese 2 tbsp grated Parmesan 2 tbsp grated cheddar 1 tbsp mayonnaise 1 clove garlic, crushed 3–4 leaves of basil, torn 1 x 390g tin artichoke hearts, drained and sliced 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves 20g mozzarella, torn 1 Preheat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/400F. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, Parmesan, cheddar, mayonnaise, garlic and basil and m season with salt and pepper.


2 Gently mix in the sliced artichoke hearts and spinach leaves. 3 Place in an ovenproof dish, top with mozzarella. Bake for 20–25 mins or until the cheese starts bubbling and turning golden. Serve warm.

Feta, cream cheese & parsley dip A CREAMY, ZINGY CROWD-PLEASER: ONE DIP IS NEVER ENOUGH! Serves 3–4 200g feta, crumbled 100g cream cheese 3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to garnish 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley, plus sprigs to garnish 1 tsp lemon juice 1 tsp lemon zest In a food processor pulse the feta until blended. Add all the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine; you may have to stop to scrape down the sides with a spatula to ensure all the ingredients incorporate. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and top with parsley sprigs.

DIY tortilla chips AS INVITING AS JUST-BAKED BREAD – WITH A KICK OF SPICE Serves 3–4 3 large tortilla wraps, torn into chunky strips 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp fennel seeds ½ tsp chilli flakes ½ tsp salt flakes

These dips and chips (feta, top; artichoke, centre stage) combine snack appeal with the virtue of being made from scratch

1 Preheat oven to 200C/Fan 180C/400F. Line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment. Spread the torn wraps on the parchment without overlapping the pieces. 2 In a bowl add the oil, fennel, chilli and salt; mix together and, using a pastry brush, coat the torn tortilla with spiced oil. 3 Bake in the oven for 3–5 minutes or until golden. Serve with the dips.



Bacon, sage and mushrooms make a classic trio to go with pasta (this page). The Italian theme continues (opposite) with herby, garlic flatbreads

Mushroom, pancetta & sage tagliatelle COMFORT FOOD HEAVEN IS A BOWL OF FLAVOURSOME PASTA

Serves 4 500g tagliatelle 2 tbsp olive oil 12 slices pancetta, cut into pieces 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced 200g wild mushrooms, left whole 6 sage leaves 2 tbsp crème fraîche 40g Parmesan, grated, plus extra to garnish


1 Cook the tagliatelle according to the packet instructions. In a large frying pan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil. When hot, add the pancetta, cook for 5 mins or so until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon, retaining the juices in the pan, and transfer to drain on kitchen towel; set aside. 2 Add the mushrooms to the pancetta juices and cook for 6–7 mins; in the last 2 mins of cooking, add the sage leaves. 3 Drain the pasta, return to the pan and add the crème fraîche, grated Parmesan and 1 tbsp olive oil. Season and stir to coat the tagliatelle evenly. Add the mushrooms and pancetta, and stir again gently. 4 Serve immediately in bowls, and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan.

Flatbreads with three-herb garlic butter SHOP-BOUGHT BAGUETTES WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST‌

Makes 6 flatbreads FOR THE BREAD

175g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting ½ tsp baking powder 175g natural yoghurt FOR THE GARLIC BUTTER

20g unsalted butter 1 clove garlic, crushed Small bunch basil leaves, parsley and rosemary (or your trio choice of fresh herbs), stalks removed and finely chopped 1 In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder and yoghurt, stir and then bring together as a dough with your hands. Dust a work surface with flour, and knead the dough for 2 minutes, just enough so you have combined the ingredients. Put it in a flour-dusted bowl and cover with a clean tea towel while you make the garlic butter. 2 Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir through the garlic and herbs. Set aside. 3 Place the dough back on a flour-dusted surface, cut in half, then divide each half into three. You should have 6 pieces of dough, roughly golf ball-sized. 4 With your hands, flatten and shape each piece of dough and then roll it out with a flour dusted rolling pin to create roughly 10cm long ovals. Use a knife to score 4 lines into each flatbread. 5 Place a pan or griddle pan on a high heat. When hot, cook each side of the bread for 90 seconds or until it is browning and puffed up. Brush each flatbread as it comes off the heat with the herb garlic butter. Serve warm.



THREE WINES TO STAY IN WITH SPINACH & ARTICHOKE DIP Cave Orschwiller Les Faîtières Pinot Gris Alsace 2014, £13.50

Let’s hope the end of the film is as good as this fruity finale, drizzled with custard and syrup

25g hazelnuts, chopped FOR THE APPLES

3 red apples, skin on, cored and sliced ½ tsp ground cinnamon 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey 2 tbsp water

This light and aromatic white has hints of acacia and elderberry on the nose, and a well balanced crisp, fruity sweetness on the palate. Goes well with green veg.

MUSHROOM, PANCETTA & SAGE TAGLIATELLE Les Athlètes du Vin Pinot Noir 2014, £14.50 A light pinot noir from the Loire valley, this has silky tannins and a great freshness. Made to go with earthy mushrooms or alongside cured meats.


Custard and maple syrup

Pile-it-up apple crumble with custard & maple syrup SOME CALL IT DECONSTRUCTED, ALL CALL IT DELICIOUS Serves 4 FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING

3 tbsp coconut oil 3 tbsp maple syrup or honey 100g oats 1½ tbsp plain flour ½ tsp ground cinnamon Pinch of salt 25g walnuts, chopped


1 In a pan, melt the coconut oil and stir in the maple syrup. 2 In a large bowl add the oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, walnuts and hazelnuts. Mix together. Pour the warm oil and syrup mix over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. 3 Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the crumble and toast for about 5 mins, stirring often. Transfer to a bowl ready to serve. 4 Add all your apple ingredients to a small saucepan, simmer for about 5 mins until the liquid has reduced, the fruit softened. 5 Meanwhile, heat the custard; add the hot apples to a serving bowl. Serve all your components for your apple crumble together for guests to help themselves.

PILE-IT-UP APPLE CRUMBLE Fox Bros Tokaji Múzsa Cuvée 2010, £22.50 This light dessert wine – from Hungary’s famous Tokaji region - sparkles with vibrant flavours of apricot and exotic fruit.

Wines recommended by Borough Wines & Beers (, which works with small producers worldwide to offer a unique selection of wines, spirits and beers through its website and eight shops in London and Hastings, including one round the corner from The Simple Things’ office.


Organic wheat at a supplier’s farm in Montana. Right: Arran Stephens in the office garden, Vancouver

Cereal pioneers W H E R E O U R FO O D CO M E S F R O M M AT T E R S TO M O ST O F U S TO DAY, B U T N AT U R E ’ S PAT H H AS B E E N C A R I N G FO R M O R E T H A N 3 0 Y E A R S

Y 32

ou might know Nature’s Path for its gluten-free cereals and granola bars. All its products are delicious, nutritious and organic. What you might not know is that organic practices have always been at the heart of the company’s story – a story that began in 1985.

are about maximising crop yields, but it turns out organically grown crops are pretty good at fighting pests and disease unaided. What’s more, when tested, organic crops contain higher concentrations of essential nutrients than non-organic equivalents. There are no articificial additives or GMOs in Nature’s Path ingredients.

CARING FOR THE EARTH Nature’s Path founder Arran Stephens grew up on an organic fruit farm. His father always believed in the importance of “leaving the earth better than you found it”. As a result, when Arran set up Nature’s Path, he championed sustainable cereal production. Even back in the 80s, he used ingredients simply grown and harvested. Today, every product is still made using methods that avoid synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilisers. These ‘helping hands’

ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY Because Nature’s Path is still an independent, family-run business, it is able to sustain its ethical values – no cutting corners to boost profit margins here. Environmental integrity comes in all shapes and sizes: Nature’s Path has adopted wind

turbine power, has two zero-waste certified plants, and steers clear of air freight. Inks are now veg-based, packaging reduced and its cardboard, wherever possible, is recycled and from sustainable sources. FLAVOUR FIRST All of its cereal recipes are assembled on the simple, non-negotiable notion of what works best as opposed to price. And increasingly the products Nature’s Path creates are inspired by nutritious ingredients such as chia, flax and ancient grains. The Nature’s Path range includes porridge and granolas, cereals and bars, most of which are gluten-free and all of which are organic.

Find out more at and @naturespathuk





The Surplus Kitchen’s fab four, from left: Becs, Matt, Gemma and Jonathan. More transformed leftovers on the menu include (opposite, from centre) baked chicken with olives, raspberry jelly and custard, and spicy courgette and chickpea stew


oors at the pop-up are about to open. The queue is substantial and there’s a definite buzz in the air. But cast aside any images of a hipster-style eatery, with coolerthan-thou attitudes. In the queue, there are kids chatting to their grandparents, friends calling out to each other, and newcomers asking about what awaits – and the setting is a church hall in Stafford. They’re waiting for The Surplus Kitchen to open, a pop-up food waste café meaning that – twice a month on a Sunday lunchtime – it serves up imaginative fare in a fun and friendly way, using food that otherwise would be thrown away. Behind The Surplus Kitchen is a team of four local friends. Rebekah

“Not knowing what we’ll be cooking with forces us to be creative. We’re pushing ourselves all the time” 34

(Becs) Long explains how they had all worked together in France and were “scheming about doing something together”. Becs and her husband Matt visited a branch of The Real Junk Food Project – a network of “pay as you feel” cafés found around the UK that use food that would otherwise be destined for waste ( – and “it sparked an idea,” she says, “that we could easily do this.” The Real Junk Food Project and The Surplus Kitchen are part of a wider movement raising awareness and doing something about the amount of food sent to waste – the UK alone throws away seven million tonnes each year – and challenging preconceptions of what places serving waste food might be like. Their idea chimed with the community interests of their friends, Gemma and Jonathan Cherry. It’s only been running for slightly over a year but has already exceeded their expectations, regularly attracting

over 100 customers. Any profits they make go to local charities. The food comes from a variety of sources. They collect from FareShare in Birmingham once a month (a nationwide organisation that redistributes food destined to go to waste to charities and community groups), as well as a couple of local supermarkets. Extra veg comes courtesy of the community garden where Matt works – with nice circularity, at the end of the lunch any leftover food goes back to the garden for compost. Becs begins her job of menu planning with the arrival of the last delivery at 9pm on Wednesday. It’s impressive work – always including a choice of meat or vegetarian main course (today, baked chicken with olives and tomatoes or pumpkin chilli with baked potato, with sides of slaw and a pear, walnut and feta salad) and plentiful gluten- and dairy-free options. Becs says not knowing what she’ll be cooking with

can be a bonus: “It forces us to be creative. We’re pushing ourselves all the time.” It’s also impressively priced: £5 for adults to eat at The Surplus Kitchen, but they run a “pay it forward” scheme where you can buy a token for an extra meal. If a visitor is unable to pay, for whatever reason, they can take a token for a free meal, no questions asked. A handful are used each time. A huge amount of effort goes into each event. On Thursday, the prep and pre-cook begins with a team of seven volunteers on Thursday evening and continues from 8am on Sunday until doors open at 12.30pm. Every detail is considered – while Becs is in the kitchen, Gemma devises beautiful decorative touches to add to the sense of occasion. These are no less budget minded: people eat together on long, communal tables that are salvaged staging blocks, prettified today with foraged sprigs of rosemary. The volunteers help for many 35

Clockwise, from left: extra veg from the community garden where Matt works; meringue sweets; Becs and volunteer Lee at the stove; diners at tables made from salvaged staging blocks; crowd-pleasing pumpkin scones

different reasons, from a love of cooking, to the social aspect, to an interest in food waste; the reasons why people visit are equally as varied. Initially customers came mainly from the church, but the clientele has steadily grown. Ursa, visiting with her partner and daughters, was curious about the idea, but entirely won over when she tasted the food. “It’s a really innovative menu. There isn’t a restaurant in Stafford where you could eat like this.” It’s a social occasion, enhanced by the mix of people who get to sit together. Gemma adds how it means, for individuals and the elderly, “they can 36

sit down next to a family or a couple and they’ll chat to you.” On this occasion the chat is centred on the pumpkin scones dessert option – initially received with some scepticism, they are now being scoffed gleefully (they are delicious). One of the things Becs likes best is tempting people to try new things: “challenging normal eating preferences in a positive way.” This positive approach to big issues runs throughout The Surplus Kitchen. The amount the event has saved from landfill is chalked up on a board by the till – 3,279kg for 2016 (at time of writing), smashing their target of 3,000. This means that,



Makes 2 large or 4 small 100g shredded cabbage (or spinach/kale/chard) 4 spring onions, sliced into julienne strips (keep outer leaves to garnish) 1 handful (50g) other shredded veg (such as carrot, parsnip and squash) 100g plain flour 100ml water 1 free range egg Olive oil FOR THE TOPPINGS: 4 tbsp okonomiyaki sauce* Mayonnaise Aonori (powdered seaweed) Kimchi, or other spicy pickles

second to the pumpkin scones, there’s a lot of chat about food waste – rarely a typical lunch topic. Little wonder their achievements are being recognised: The Surplus Kitchen was awarded best newcomer at the Stafford Green Awards. The quartet are full of ideas of what they can do – from planting the surplus herb pots they’re given in a patch outside the church, to creating a permanent set-up, perhaps with street food vans, to reach a wider audience. It’s about thinking of other innovative ways they can “feed bellies not bins”. Plates have been wiped clean, people are heading off for the

afternoon and the volunteers are starting on the clean-up. It’s all very satisfying and not just because of the full stomachs. Gemma sums up one of the reasons why the event is so special. “For me, it’s about dignity for people. Whether the food you are eating is affordable – or free – shouldn’t mean it’s ‘slopped’ out. It’s a warm, welcoming atmosphere, whoever you are.”

See for details of The Surplus Kitchen’s next event. Find out more about the work of FareShare at offers suggestions of ways to reduce food waste at home.

1 Place the shredded cabbage, spring onions and other veg into a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. 2 In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and water. Add the egg and beat to a smooth batter. 3 Pour the batter over the shredded vegetables and toss until well combined. One handful of vegetable mixture makes 1 small pancake; 2 handfuls make a large. 4 To cook the pancakes, heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add a portion of the veg batter to the pan and, using a wooden spoon, gather in any straying pieces of veg. Gently press down until the pancake is about 3cm thick. Fry for 2 minutes or until crisp then flip over and fry for 2 more minutes or until crisp. Press down on the pancake a couple of times with a wooden spoon or fish slice during cooking on its second side, just to squeeze out any pockets of uncooked batter. 5 Serve immediately topped with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, a pinch of powdered seaweed, a scattering of chopped spring onion leaves and a spoonful of kimchi. Enjoy with a good rice beer.

* Available in Japanese food stores, or you could use hoisin or teriyaki sauce.




ard to credit it now, but the fondue – that bubbling vat of cheesy yumminess – was once out of favour. In the 70s, inspired by trips to the Continent and skiing jaunts to the Alps, it was at the cutting edge of sophistication. Brought out for surburban dinner parties, and served with a bottle of Blue Nun, it was a novel and sociable way of eating, providing a talking point and a lot of double dipping. But, inevitably, a backlash followed and a new generation consigned it to the back of cupboards and charity shops, dumped, dusty and dismissed, deemed naff by foodies and weight-watchers alike. But now it’s back! The enthusiasm for all things chalet- and Alpinerelated has led to a raft of new, updated fondue sets appearing. More and more of us are gathering companionably around its flickering flame, dunking chunks of bread into its heaving, larva-like goo. A cheese fondue is comfort food at its most comfy, up there with macaroni cheese and Welsh rarebit: hot, oozy and calorific, combining the crustiness of bread with the stringiness of molten cheese. Just right for eating à deux, it is a simple winter meal to be consumed before collapsing on the sofa.

It’s reassuring to know, that the fondue does have Alpine origins and does hail from Switzerland. The first Swiss recipe dates from 1699, featuring in Kass mit Wein zu Kochen – a book about cooking cheese with wine. In the 1930s, the Swiss Cheese Union cynically reinvented the fondue as the Swiss national dish. They even created a word for it – figugegl – an acronym for Fondue isch guet und git ä gueti luune, Swiss German for “Fondue is good and gives a good mood.” It grew in favour, taking the US by storm in 1960s and then percolating to the UK. The ingredients of the cheese fondue have not changed over the years. First, garlic to rub around the pot (called the caquelon), then a splash of white wine and grated cheese (easy-to-melt cheese such as emmental and vacherin, rather than cheddar) plus a little cornflour to prevent it separating and scrambling. A little splash of kirsch is a welcome addition. Two alternatives were introduced by Konrad Egli, a restaurateur at his Chalet Suisse restaurant: in 1956 came the fondue bourguignonne, in which cubes of meat are dipped into hot oil, and in 1960, the chocolate fondue arrived, made from melted Toblerone. A fondue for two: no double dipping allowed




Mami fondue set | £200 Cast-iron and sturdy. A lifetime of fondues await.


Praline fondue set | £20 A touch of contemporary Scandi style.

Ceramic fondue set | £55 Six colour-coded forks to keep things tidy.


“A cheese fondue is comfort food at its most comfy: hot, oozy and calorific”

Freeze 4 sliced clementines in a Bundt pan with water overnight



Great for a New Year’s get-together, this vibrant punch fuses the sugary appeal of fizzy orange with grown-up bitters and bourbon

Mix all ingredients in a small punch bowl or large mixing bowl and serve with a ladle. Add the ice ring just as guests arrive. Let guests make their own sugar-rimmed glasses by rubbing the glass edge with a half

clementine, then dipping it in a small dish of raw sugar. Garnish with a straw pushed through the centre of a round clementine slice. Use mandarins if you can’t find clementines.

* Seltzer, as the Americans say, or soda water here in the UK.

Recipe and photography from The Forest Feast Gatherings by Erin Gleeson (Abrams)


“I promised myself I’d change my life into something that gave me… happiness. I’d live the life I had been too afraid to pursue” A life-threatening illness led Lizzie Carr to follow her dream of paddle-boarding British waterways, raising awareness of pollution, as she tells Catherine Butler

t 30 years old, Lizzie Carr has trekked across Africa, Asia and Australasia; become the first person to paddle-board the length of England along its canals and connecting rivers, started a campaign to rid our waterways of ion, and survived cancer. It seems the only thing she can’t quite manage is to pin down a job title. “When people ask me what I do, I never know what to say. I have adventures, I challenge myself physically and mentally, and I campaign on issues that are important to me. But I don’t think I can make a job title out of that!” she says. Perhaps there isn’t a way to describe what this young adventurer, blogger and environmentalist does, but since quitting her job in marketing a year ago, it’s clear that whatever Lizzie does do, is done with a level of self awareness and sincerity rarely found in those twice her age. Her blog, Lizzie Outside (, started two years ago to record her adventures paddle-boarding, hiking and trail-running around the wildest regions of the UK, and includes a Roald Dahl quote on the importance of finding your passion: “Lukewarm is no good.” However, Lizzie wasn’t always so unconventional. Despite a life-long fascination with adventurers and explorers, and a childhood spent outdoors climbing, abseiling and accompanying her Guide Leader mum, Val, on camping trips, Lizzie graduated with a degree in English Literature and every expectation of a 40

normal life. She completed a marketing diploma, got a job at an agency in Nottingham, where she’d studied, moved in with her boyfriend. So far, so sensible. But after taking a nine-month career break in 2012, during which time she travelled across three continents, Lizzie returned home to be told that the “swollen glands” in her neck were in fact cancer of the thyroid, which had spread to her lymphatic system. Within two weeks she had undergone a thyroidectomy, had all her central lymph nodes removed, and later had radiotherapy. “I asked the doctor if I was going to die,


and all he said was that they were ‘doing their best to treat me.’ As I lay in my hospital bed, I promised myself that if I got better I’d change my life into something that gave me a sense of purpose and happiness. I just needed a second chance to do it right and I would live the life I’d imagined, but had been too afraid to pursue.” G O I N G AGAI N ST TH E F LOW It took a little over a year before Lizzie was given the all clear. She had moved back to Surrey to be closer to her family, and landed a new job at a London agency

representing various explorers – a role she had wanted for its window into a more adventurous way of life. But Lizzie was left feeling very removed from those around her. “At 26, my friends were talking about Tinder dates, or getting married and having babies, and it was just so far from my sense of reality it felt quite isolating. I threw myself into work and did anything I could to fit in.” One day, on her morning commute, she realised this was not what she had survived cancer for. “I’d tried to live a life that resembled what I had known before cancer, but I had fundamentally changed,” she says. 41

“I’d faced my own mortality and been given the chance to reflect on the path I’d taken, and not to act on it would feel like cheating myself. When I got to work that morning, I immediately resigned.” Lizzie didn’t know what she was going to do. While resigning flooded her with a sense of relief and opportunity the day after she left her job – one month later the panic set in. “I was going away for a few days with friends, and can remember wondering what I’d done… Then I read a quote – ‘jump and the net will appear’. It made me cry, and helped me believe it would all be ok. I’d survived cancer, I could get through this.” She did some ad hoc marketing work to cover the bare necessities, but her time was no longer about working all hours and earning money, but about pursuing the things that made her happiest – paddleboarding featured heavily. She discovered the sport two years before while recuperating in the Isles of Scilly where her father now lives. “I was exhausted and my thyroid levels were all over the place, so high-impact exercise was out of the question. But I saw someone paddle-boarding on the beach and I walked over to the sailing club and asked if I could borrow a board for half an hour.” It was the ideal balance of peaceful repetitive activity and low-impact exercise to help her build up her strength, and Lizzie took to the sport immediately. TA K I N G T O T H E W AT E R She began to paddle board a couple of times a month on the Thames near Putney and in the Paddington Basin and, seeing it up close, she realised the scale of plastic pollution on our waterways. She became used to seeing plastic bottles, toys, flower pots, trolleys, even scooters submerged in the water, but it was when she paddled past a coot’s nest and saw that it had been made using plastic as much as twigs, that she felt she had to do something. “Being out in nature had restored my health. It made me feel good but to see my place of solitude and calm choked by pollution made me so sad. It was gross.” She did some research, and discovered that 80% of marine pollution comes from inland sources and while beach clean ups were all very well, something needed to be done further upstream. To highlight the problem, in May last year Lizzie set out on her paddle-board to travel the length of England, raising money for Water Aid and Water Trek, and logging every single piece of plastic she found floating in the waterways on an interactive map. “I initially thought: ‘I’ll just travel the length of the country; go 400 miles on my paddle-board, carrying the essentials, and I’ll leave in a couple of months when the weather gets warmer.’ I hugely underestimated how hard it would be, but I think it’s important to simplify some things in life because it means you’ll actually do them. If you over-think or over-complicate, you wouldn’t get anything done would you?” Setting out from Godalming in Surrey, she travelled north through Oxford, Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent and 42

Lizzie fell in love with England’s waterways but was horrified at the amount of plastic waste she encountered on her paddleboard journeys, from discarded traffic cones,through to, rather sadly, a coot’s nest woven using more plastic than natural materials

“Being out in nature had restored my health but to see my place of calm choked by pollution made me so sad” finally arrived in Kendal, Cumbria 22 days later. “People often think they have to travel abroad to farflung destinations for adventure, but the scenery here can rival anywhere in the world. Paddle-boarding the length of England was hands down the best adventure I’d ever had, and I started in Surrey, basically on my doorstep.” Like any big adventure, the trip had its low points – she developed carpal tunnel syndrome on day 15 – and just over half way through had to negotiate 29 locks in a single day, hauling her board and supplies out of the water, and carrying them around to the other side each time. “I got to lock six and just lay down on the tow path and cried with exhaustion,” she says. But these moments were greatly outweighed by the highs – wild camping every night along her route, watching the wildlife around her every day, cooking her meals on a small stove, and the friendly community she


WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE The Lizzie Carr CV 1985 1988 2003 2006 2012 2013 2015 2016


encountered on the canals who offered her succour by way of cups of tea, bacon sarnies and encouragement. M OVI N G O N She garnered a huge amount of press attention but, still uncomfortable with discussing her cancer, felt there was a huge elephant in the room. “I didn’t want my cancer battle to overshadow the environmental issues I was trying to highlight. In a strange way I was embarrassed and ashamed by my illness and felt that by not talking about it I was in control, when really it was controlling me. I now realise it’s a large part of who I am. I’ve started to embrace talking about it and that has helped me.” While cancer is still something Lizzie thinks about every day, her attitude is one of positivity. “It happened at a time when I should have been carefree, but actually I’m grateful it happened to me at 26, because I’ve been able to see so clearly what really matters to me in life and do something about it.” Although Lizzie has a lot of goals, they tend to be short-term plans, since she knows only too well how everything can be thrown upside down in a blink of an eye. “Every day I am building to where I want to get to.

Born in Surrey Family moved to Tenerife for four years Graduated, Nottingham Trent Began career in marketing Travelled from Africa to New Zealand Cancer diagnosis Given the all-clear Quit job; started her blog, Lizzie Outside Made Ordnance Survey Get Outside Champion, paddle-boarded 400 miles to raise awareness of plastic pollution

I don’t know where that is, but as long as every day I’m doing things that make me feel happy and fulfilled, I will get where I want to be,” says Lizzie. Through her #plasticpatrol campaign, others can now log their own images of plastic pollution on her interactive map, and next year she will be working with the paddle-board company Red Paddle, to alert more people to the campaign by getting them out on the water. As veteran campaigners such as Surfers Against Sewage have proved, those who spend time in or on the water are naturally more protective of it. Next on her lifeplan, in March she’s running an ultramarathon – 84 miles coast to coast along Hadrian’s Wall. “It’s a big one for me because I haven’t been able to run since I’ve been ill, because my body struggles to absorb calcium and my muscles and joints seize up. But I want to know that I can do this. I went for my first run the other day, it was horrific,” she laughs. All things considered, surely a standard 26-mile marathon would have been enough to be getting along with? “Yes, I know,” she says, with a small shrug of her shoulders, looking slightly bewildered by her own ambition. But then, there really is nothing lukewarm about Lizzie Carr. 43



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lessed be he that invented pudding,” wrote a Frenchman visiting England in the 1690s, for “what an excellent thing is an English pudding!” Words that resonate today. No other food quite offers the comfort, warmth and feelings of happy nostalgia we crave at this time of year. As food historian, Dr Annie Gray says, “There’s something glorious about a pudding. Pudding fills the stomach. Pudding salves the soul. Pudding cuts right to the heart of Britishness.” A pudding wasn’t always sweet. Early ones were made with meat, blood or from grains and stuffed into animal intestine or a cloth bag. Over time they evolved into sweet ‘afters’ while remaining close to their original form in black, hogs or steak and kidney pudding. It’s mostly the sweet puddings we’re talking about here but, let’s be clear, that doesn’t include overly sugary affairs, cupcakes, brownies or other things that happen to be served at the end of a meal – we mean PUDDING. The type you have in a bowl, with custard. It’s time to dig out your basins, roll up your sleeves and get to grips with the ultimate in home comfort food.

Preparing a pudding basin for steaming 1 Generously grease the pudding basin (mould) with butter and cut a circle of baking parchment the same size as the base of the pudding basin. Place the paper circle in the basin; it will stick to the butter. 2 Spoon the batter into the pudding basin, then cut another two circles of baking parchment with a diameter about 8–10 cm larger than the top of the basin. Make a narrow pleat across the middle to leave room for the parchment cover to expand slightly. Repeat with second circle. Tie securely around the top of the basin with


kitchen string, then cover with foil and tie kitchen string to create a handle so it will be easier to lift the basin out of the pan after steaming. 3 Now get yourself a pan large enough to hold your pudding basin(s) or, if you are steaming little ones all in one go, a large baking dish. It’s easiest to use the oven for this so you don’t have to have a pot of boiling hot water on the stovetop for two hours or more, but it will depend on the recipe. 4 Preheat oven to 160C/Fan 140/315F or the temperature suggested in the recipe. Stand the pudding basin on an upturned heatproof saucer, a jam-jar lid or trivet in the base of a deep ovenproof saucepan or pot. Pour in boiling water to come halfway up the

side of the basin. Cover the pan, either with its own lid or with foil, in order to trap the steam. 5 Place in the preheated oven and leave for as long as your recipe states. This can be between 30 mins and 7 hours depending on the size of your pudding. When you are steaming little puddings, it is sufficient to place the puddings in a deep baking dish and fill the dish with boiling water once you have put them in the oven. Cover the dish with foil and steam for as long as your recipe states.

Treacle sponge pudding Makes 1 large pud in a 16cm basin 150g plain flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 60g shredded suet 50g dark brown sugar 40ml golden syrup, plus 3 tbsp for the sauce Tiny pinch of salt ¼ tsp ground allspice 1 egg 100ml buttermilk 1 Preheat oven to 180C/Fan 160C/ 350F. Prepare the pudding basin for steaming (see opposite page). Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, suet and sugar together in a large bowl, then add 40ml golden

Recipes and text adapted from Pride and Pudding, The History of British Puddings Savoury and Sweet, written and photographed by Regula Ysewijn (Murdoch Books)

syrup, the salt and allspice followed by the egg and buttermilk. Mix well to combine. 2 Pour the extra 3 tbsp golden syrup into the prepared basin. Pour the batter into the basin and prepare for steaming, as explained opposite. Cook for 1½ hours, checking after 1 hour and 15 mins by inserting a toothpick into the pudding to see if it comes out clean. 3 When ready to serve, open the foil and loosen the side of the pudding with the tip of a knife, then turn the pudding out like a cake. Be careful, as hot water could have seeped into the foil and could run out, so wear oven gloves to do this. 4 If it is not needed immediately, freeze it in the basin and reheat it in the microwave after defrosting. Serve with custard, ice cream or clotted cream.

UNMOULDING A PUDDING 1 Carefully remove the pudding basin from the pot while it is still in the oven (to avoid spilling hot water). Have a tea towel at the ready to hold it safely and catch all the hot water that will drip from it. Leave the pudding to rest for a couple of minutes, so that it will cool off a bit and be easier to handle. 2 Have a plate ready. Remove the foil and string, then open the paper lid and turn the pudding out by carefully loosening it around the edges with a blunt knife.

Makes 1 pudding in a medium-sized loaf tin 300g plain flour 130g shredded suet 1 tsp baking powder Pinch of salt Juice of ½ lemon 200ml water 2–3 tbsp raspberry jam, or any other preserve Custard (see right), to serve 1 Preheat oven to 160C/Fan 140C/315F. Combine the flour, suet, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and mix together very well. 2 Mix the lemon juice with the water

Custard Gloriously flavoursome full-fat milk and cream and deep orange egg yolks will give the flavour you need for this sauce. Mace is excellent as a flavouring, a bay leaf added to it gives a more fragrant flavour. Cinnamon brings a similar flavour to using vanilla, but vanilla, though popular now, was never traditional. Makes about 2 litres 10 egg yolks 500ml milk 500ml thick (double) cream 50g raw sugar 1 mace blade or cinnamon stick 1 bay leaf (optional) 1 Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl. Bring the milk, cream, sugar, spice and bay leaf, if using, to a simmer in a saucepan. Strain the hot milk mixture and discard the flavourings. 2 Pour a little of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and whisk thoroughly. Continue to add the hot milk mixture in batches until you have a smooth sauce. Pour mixture back into the saucepan and cook on a low heat, stirring with a spatula until just thickened, making sure the eggs don’t scramble. 3 When just thickened, remove from heat and pour into a sauceboat. If you don’t want the custard to develop a skin, cover with cling film.



Roman puddings

14th century

16th century

17th century

The earliest recorded recipe for a black and white pudding (stuffed animal intestines) dates back to Roman times.

The first rice pudding and baked custards appeared in a book compiled by the master cook of Richard II.

Sugar loaves (rounded cones of refined sugar for sale) first arrived in England in the 16th century, changing the nation’s eating habits for ever. Sweet milk puddings and tansies (pancake style dishes) became popular around this time, too.

A great number of cookbooks were published, many written by women (a phenomenon unknown in France) featuring puddings we know today such as the first fool, bread and butter pudding, Sussex pond pudding and a syllabub (milk pudding).

Medieval Britain

15th century

Grand banquets featured highly spiced savoury meat puddings and sweet puddings made in intestines, boiled and smoked or roasted.

Pudding cloths were first mentioned as an alternative to intestines though they weren’t widely used until the seventeenth century.


Jam roly poly

and start adding it to the dry ingredients, stirring constantly. Soon it will look like very coarse breadcrumbs. Keep adding lemon water until you can bring the mixture together with your hands into a stiff dough. If it is too dry, you might need another splash of water, but the dough should not be sticky, make sure of that. 3 Roll the dough out gently to a 1cm thickness on a generously floured work surface. Try to make it as rectangular as possible, then trim the edges. 4 Smear the jam over the dough, leaving a little space at one of the long edges to crimp them together and close the roll. Starting from the other long edge, roll up the dough into a cylinder. 5 Carefully place the roll on a piece of greased baking parchment with a pudding cloth, tea towel or foil underneath. Wrap the paper and cloth/foil around the roll and tie both ends with kitchen string: first the baking parchment, then the cloth. 6 Place the pudding in a loaf tin, then stand the tin on a trivet or upturned saucer in a large saucepan of boiling water. The pudding should not be covered with water. Put a lid on the saucepan and steam for 1 hour. 7 The suet pastry shouldn’t be too sweet as it will act like bread with jam. To serve, cut crossways in thick slices to expose the spiral of jam. A generous pouring of good homemade custard is a must for an accompaniment.

VANILLA CUSTARD Adding vanilla isn’t traditional but is delicious. Use a real vanilla pod and not the essence, which has often not a seed of vanilla in it. Split a vanilla pod lengthways and simmer with the milk and cream. Take the pod out of the liquid before you add the milk to the egg yolks.

PUDDING HEROINES Eliza Acton Her big volume Modern Cookery for Private Families was published in 1845. It reads like a Jane Austen novel and dishes are given witty names such as ‘The Elegant Economist’s Pudding’ and ‘The Young Wife’s Pudding’. Mrs Beeton Considered one of the most influential English cookery writers, Isabella Beeton’s The Book of Household Management was published in 1861. It was a compilation of articles on cooking and housekeeping she had written, encouraged by her savvy publisher husband, despite knowing little about it. After her death in her late twenties Mrs Beeton became a huge brand. Critics say while some of her recipes were delicious, they were often flawed and not always her own. Elizabeth David As postwar Britain turned to convenience food, David encouraged cooking from scratch, introducing ingredients from the Mediterranean to the English kitchen. Her book English Bread and Yeast Cookery tells the history of wheat and milling, baking ovens and bread in Britain. Jane Grigson A contemporary of Elizabeth David, she wrote fantastic books such as English Food (1974) and the first cookbook to be translated into French (Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery). She and David were the first to write about food as if telling a story rather than simply relaying instructions and facts.

18th century

19th century

20th century

Georgian feasting was all about the spectacle with blancmanges and jellies made from elaborate moulds. Ice cream became popular, too. Sweet puddings appeared in all courses, often made using cloths, and were both boiled and baked.

Victorians had puds for every occasion and all classes. Plum duff and meat puddings were sold on the street to those who didn’t have a stove. Recipe books devoted to puddings appeared and the plum pudding took its place at Christmas. Steaming was popular and the first recipes for jam roll, spotted dick and treacle sponge arrived.

The disappearance of servants saw a decline in home cooking. A pudding basin which didn’t require a cloth was invented in 1911, illustrating a need for simpler cooking. French cookery became the vogue and by the 1980s it was hard to find a British pudding – trolleys with French gateaux and sweets were where it was at.

Modern British food British food has become suddenly cool again and historic recipes are being revived, including puddings. Most dessert menus, from Michelinstarred establishments to local cafés, will feature a couple of proper old-school puddings.

Eve’s pudding Makes enough for an 18–20cm cake tin or pie dish 3 cooking apples, such as Bramley 50g currants 1 tbsp light brown sugar, plus 50g extra 200g unsalted butter 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest 4 eggs 200g fresh breadcrumbs

1 Preheat oven to 180C/Fan 160C/ 350F. Peel, core and chop apples into large chunks. Butter a pie dish or cake tin. Toss in the apples and currants. Add 1 tbsp of the sugar. 2 Prepare the batter by creaming the butter, lemon zest and the extra 50g sugar in a separate bowl, add the eggs one at a time, stirring constantly, and then gradually add the breadcrumbs.

3 When everything is well combined, pour or spoon the batter evenly over the apple. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50–60 mins, until golden. Serve with clotted cream, ice-cream or homemade custard (page 46). Note: Some stewed rhubarb in place of currants is very good. If you want to make this pudding with flour, use 200g plain flour instead of the breadcrumbs.






ALL ABOUT THE COFFEE Tom Sobey is the founder of Origin, a speciality coffee company based in Cornwall

the UK. It really sparked something. When I came back, I knew I didn’t want to work for my parents – I wanted to roast my own coffee and have my own cafés across the country, although I didn’t have the money to do it then. So it’s always been about the coffee – I’m not a serial entrepreneur; I couldn’t do anything else. There are advantages in starting small. I’ve always

It’s more about the coffee than the business. I didn’t do

funded the business for myself, no loans. My pattern was to work, then save, then spend. With my first £2,000, I had a logo designed and found someone to roast for me, and began knocking on doors. It wasn’t until 2007 that we could afford our first coffee roasting machine, secondhand from the States, and until 2010, our brand new environmentally friendly one. I’ve never been a risk taker.

well at school and, at 17, I learnt to drive with my father, doing the deliveries for his coffee franchise around Cornwall, later becoming their salesperson. But at 21, I went travelling and discovered the coffee culture in Australia. In 1998, it was so much more advanced than

Stay true to your founding principles. I’ve always aimed high – partly because I figured that places interested in good coffee were more likely to pay up! But they’re also more likely to be staffed with people who can be inspired




1 One of Origin’s growers in Colombia. 2 Origin’s coffee shop and training lab in Shoreditch. 3 Damn fine coffee, poured damn finely, too. 4 Tom hard at work “cupping” (we’ll do the jokes, thank you). Cupping involves sniffing coffee grounds, mixing them with hot water and tasting different coffees to grade them – like a very sober and very alert sommelier. 5 View with a brew – one of Origin’s “brew bars”, where the magic happens


by quality. In 2007 the bar manager at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen came into one of our cafés. He loved the coffee, and persuaded Fifteen in Cornwall to use it. They then became our first London customers. We were teaching great people how to make a great brew – that was a defining moment. In a chain of business, everyone should benefit. When we started out, we used Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Soil Association accreditation because I could trust their credentials. It doesn’t matter if someone is growing the world’s best beans if they aren’t looking after their employees. It’s the same throughout the chain. If a café – that brews good coffee, pays on time and is polite – runs out on a Sunday, we’ll get in the car to get them some. In the same way, we treat our suppliers well – we’ll need them to do the equivalent of a Sunday run sometime… Great people shape a business. A real coup came in 2008 when the Barista of the Year was awarded to a Cornish café, using our coffee. This year the title went to our London-based head of wholesale, Dan Fellows. Employing people is both the hardest and most rewarding thing. If we employ creative and ambitious people who do a great job, we have to give them the opportunity to flourish, to add value. Origin is not all about me – it’s about its people and they are all amazing.  



The best-laid plans can always be diverted. When I


started the business, the idea of writing a business plan filled me with horror. As you get bigger, you just have to – I’ve a responsibility to my wife and three children, and to my team. But I’m still keen we never turn down good opportunities. For example, we recently collaborated with the Cornish outdoors-wear company Finisterre on an espresso bar for their Bristol store – you can’t plan for opportunities like that. Sometimes you need to take a step back. Twelve years into the business, the balance is essential for me. I’m now fortunate to be able to operate my business the way I want with people who can deliver that for me. When a business is going well, there’s a danger it can become an extension of yourself. But running a business isn’t rewarding if you isolate yourself, and spending time with my family is really important to me. My wife and I have recently bought a farm and I’d really like to be able to take a three-month sabbatical at some point to work on our home. Maintaining momentum can be harder than growth.

I was very fortunate that when I started Origin, speciality coffee was on the cusp of popularity. It’s been on a huge journey since – the quality is getting better and better all the time. I’d like to continue what we’ve been doing, to be the best speciality coffee roaster in country, to open more great cafés where people have great experiences and to work with people who brew fantastic coffee. You see something become popular and subsequently lose its cool and its appeal again and again. Our challenge is to keep up the momentum and to continue to be better.


THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF GIRLS IN THE WORLD: those that spent their formative years largely on their tiptoes in pink satin slippers, and those that dreamt of doing so. Adult ballet provides the chance to relive both. Result! Many dance schools and ex-professional ballerinas run classes. I’ve been to adult ballet (a beginners’ class makes sense even if you used to dance, until you and your body remember what to do) at both the English National and the Central School in London, where you will glimpse real-life professionals attending class and the me-too feeling can only fuel your dancing dreams. But why ballet? It’s the ultimate mindful activity, as every position is prescribed. Take even a simple plié (bend); it requires discipline and focus to keep your bum in, knees out and over your feet, body long and straight, arms soft and flowing. Preferably all in time with the music. And that’s before you head on to the floor and tackle adage (linked flowing, slow movements – GCSE French will get you through the terminology). Women of all shapes and sizes and all abilities attend adult classes. You can spend a lifetime perfecting your turnout, arabesques, pirouettes and jetés but the basics are accessible to all with a good teacher and a mirrored dance room, and surprisingly small adjustments will transform you from wannabe to dancer. Before you know it, you’ll be glissading and chasséing through the house wondering, “Am I really too old for a tutu?’



7am y ups WE ASKED KNITTED TEXTILES DESIGNER SALLY NCINI TO DESCRIBE HER DAY IN CUPPAS Firrst cuppa of the day and what are you doing?

Myy first cup of tea is English Breakfast, made by mee. I try to get up around 6.30am and have half an hou ur of peace to either catch up on my emails or do some hand sewing. Then the children come dow wn and it’s getting ready for school and work. SALLY NENCINI lives in Norwich, where she runs her own knitted textiles and accessories business as well as working in the art department at Norwich High School. Her simple thing is rosy cheeks on windy beaches.

at’s your home like?

have a lovely Victorian house close to the city cen ntre with a large garden – room for a dog, two guinea pigs and a vegetable patch. Children dispatched – what’s next?

I ru un my own knitted textiles business and also rk full time as a technician in the art and tex xtile department in a girls’ high school, so my dayys are pretty busy! My school day may include anyything from exposing silk screens to setting up sew wing machines – the list is ever changing. Is it break time yet?

I have my elevenses around 10.15am in the staff


room. I stick to tea at work – I like mine fairly strong with a touch of milk, ‘American tan’ colour. What does the rest of the day hold for you?

I get home around 4.30pm and walk our dog, Tulley, before catching up with any textiles orders. I try to machine knit at the weekends – it’s a bit noisy for evenings – so I stick to sewing up orders, stuffing toys and packing. Luckily my husband normally makes the evening meal. When is it feet up time?

I have a cuppa in the evening when I can finally sit down, switch off and watch some TV. I also like to browse Pinterest when I have a moment. Do you have a favourite mug?

A lion mug, which was a present from my sister. It is the perfect size and thickness! Finally, are you a dunker?

Hmm, it depends on the biscuit. A custard cream is always good for dunking.


…or in this case, biscuits! Lemon coriander curd teamed with the sour tang of raspberry biscuit is no cake substitute but a delectable treat in its own right RASPBERRY BISCUITS WITH LEMON CORIANDER CURD Makes 20 FOR THE CURD

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons 2 tbsp coriander seeds 100g caster sugar 20g cornflour 3 egg yolks, beaten 25g unsalted butter, softened FOR THE BISCUITS

80g unsalted butter, softened 80g caster sugar 2 tbsp milk 2 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder* ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste 150g self-raising flour, sifted 60g custard powder 1 To make the curd, put the lemon zest and juice, coriander seeds, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan with a pinch of salt and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then immediately take the pan off the heat. Stir in the beaten egg yolks, then set the pan over a very low heat, whisking continuously. Cook for 3–4 mins, whisking all the time, until nice and thick. 2 Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the butter until it is all fully incorporated. Strain the curd through a sieve into a clean bowl and leave to cool. 3 Preheat oven to 180C/Fan 160C/350F. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking parchment. 4 To make the dough, in a bowl, cream the

butter and sugar with an electric whisk until light and creamy. Add milk, raspberry powder and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the sifted flour and custard powder and mix to a soft dough. 5 Roll 1 tbsp of dough into a ball and place it on a prepared tray. Repeat until you have around 20 balls. Use the back of a small measuring spoon to make an indentation in each ball. Fill each hole with ½ tsp of

curd. (Any leftover curd will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to 3–4 weeks.) Bake the filled biscuits for 15 mins. Transfer them to a wire rack and leave to cool completely. Keep in an airtight container for up to four days. Recipe from The Cardamom Trail by Chetna Makan (Mitchell Beazley). Photography: Nassima Rothacker

* If your supermarket doesn’t stock freeze-dried raspberry powder, search online – it is readily available from specialist stores and some health food shops.















COURTENEY PETERS is a writer and photographer and produces an online guide to Auckland, She also runs an annual art and food event in the city called ArtDego. She used to be a pilot, but realised she loved food, wine, and home too much for a career in the air.

*There’s no better way to get to the heart of a city than through the people who live there. Every month, we ask someone, clearly in love with their city, to take us on a personal tour and tell us what makes it so special. You may feel inspired to visit one day or to rediscover the charms of a city closer to you, but for now just sit back, relax and enjoy some armchair travel.


What is it like in January? How long have you lived in the city?

I was born in Auckland and I’ve lived here my whole life – apart from a seven-year stint in Melbourne and Europe. I moved home from Australia when I was 21 when I realised living in New Zealand was as close to my version of the dream as I’d get. The pace of life is more relaxed, but you still get the buzz of city living.

Gloriously quiet. It’s the start of summer, so everyone leaves the city and heads for the beach. The city feels strangely empty and peaceful, and you can always get a parking space outside your favourite café. It’s humid but there’s generally a cooling sea breeze. Evenings are warm and filled with the smell of barbecues.

1 Volcanic One Tree Hill has an obelisk at its peak, dedicated to "the achievements and character of the great Maori people". There is, notably, no 'one tree' here. The non-native tree planted there was seen as an inappropriate choice for a site so important to the Maori and was removed following two chainsaw attacks on it. 2 The harbour and Auckland's distinctive skyline behind. 3 In December, a blaze of red blooms adorn pohutukawa trees – known as New Zealand's Christmas trees. 4 The view out to the island volcano of Rangitoto is best experienced at dawn. 5 Boutique wines and fabulous food to share at Apéro

What time of day do you most enjoy? Tell us what makes your city unique

I love the hills, and the fact you can spot the ocean around almost every corner. It’s never hard to find a beautiful view in Auckland. Being at the very bottom of the world, we often feel detached from the rest of you, but that feeling has resulted in a vibrant arts, culture and culinary scene. Auckland feels like a city just being born – we’re still finding our feet, figuring out who we are. It’s an exciting time.

The mornings are so beautiful. I live near the waterfront, and there’s no better way to start a day than with a walk that winds past the lagoon at Judges Bay, the Parnell Baths and over the bridge to the sea, with Rangitoto (a huge island volcano) straight ahead. What’s the nature like?

Auckland is an almost unbelievably green city. The streets and many parks are filled with stately, mature » 57


“Everything is crystal clear and vivid... The sky is a pale, almost transparent blue” trees. Native pohutukawa are everywhere – we call them our Christmas trees because their flowers are bright red in December. Auckland is located in a dormant volcanic field, and there are 53 volcanic cones dotted throughout the city – each is a public space offering beautiful views and walks.

except when we’re in our cars – we have awful road rage! There isn’t much pretension here, although the rest of the country might beg to differ. We’re active people, always out running, walking, cycling or standup-paddleboarding. If we’re not doing those things, we’re at least pretending to be by dressing in active wear a lot of the time. What are your favourite places to gather with friends?

Given my interest in food, I tend to meet friends in restaurants or bars. In summer, I meet them for beach walks or picnics at the Parnell Rose Gardens.

Where’s your favourite outdoor space?

Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill – a park and dormant volcano just south of the city. The view of the whole of Auckland from the 182m peak is worth the walk.

Everything is crystal clear and vivid, particularly in summer. The sky is a pale, almost transparent blue. There are so many different shades of green. The harbour flickers from pale turquoise to deep aquamarine depending on the light. Auckland is a hilly city, so even in the depths of the Central Business District you can’t escape the wildness of it.

It’s exploded in the past five years, with new cafés and restaurants opening every week. We do casual dining really well here – bistros, diners and cheap eats. There are exceptional chefs pushing boundaries in fine dining and so many cheap, delicious Chinese, Japanese and Malaysian restaurants. Our speciality coffee industry is booming. This is a great city for lovers of brunch. The real hero of NZ food, of course, is the produce – pristine environments and predominantly ethical farming practices make for world-class veggies, meat and dairy produce.

And what about the people who live there?

What’s your favourite way to get around?

When Aucklanders alight from a bus, there is a chorus of “thank you driver!” We’re friendly and polite,

Bike. Auckland has been a car-focused city up until recently. The lack of existing public transport

Tell us about the light and colours of your city.


What’s the restaurant scene like?




1 A mellow sunset over Auckland harbour. 2 Parnell Baths is a historic site with several pools, including the largest saltwater pool in New Zealand. 3 Auckland Harbour Bridge, viewed from Westhaven Marina. 4 The unmissable hot pink cycle path and walkway, Te Ara I Whiti, runs along an ex-motorway off ramp. 5 New Zealand is renowned for being able to produce a proper cup of coffee from a proper coffee pot (or snazzy Italian machine) and Kokako cafe is a great place to experience it


infrastructure left us with few other options. We have new rail projects in the works, but they won’t be completed for what feels like forever. In the meantime, there are a huge number of new cycleways making travelling by bike an awesome option. My favourite is an illuminated hot pink path on a disused motorway off ramp, called Te Ara I Whiti (Light Path). How is it for shopping?

I love interiors stores. We’re lucky to have incredible designers in Auckland, my favourite is father-daughter duo, Douglas and Bec. We also have a flourishing fashion industry, with labels like Juliette Hogan starting to make it big overseas. Ponsonby Rd, Britomart and Newmarket are the places to go for boutiques, but there are plenty of gems off the beaten track. There is a collection of shops on Jervois Rd in Herne Bay that I love – with everything from fashion to furniture.


Where do you like to escape to?

The island of Tiritiri Matangi, two hours off the coast. It’s a pest-free sanctuary for native birds. Ferries leave at 9am and return at 4pm, leaving you hours to wander about the bush and listen to the rare native birds. What’s the city’s best-kept secret?

A tiny suburb on the city fringe called Westmere – I love it. It has a small knot of shops, with two of the best cafés in town and the best butcher, as well as two fish and chip shops, a cheap bakery and a good wine store. There are tennis courts, a huge rambling park » 59

COURTENEY’S PERSONAL TOUR FAVOURITE SHOPS I love Teed Street in Newmarket for its fashion stores – Juliette Hogan and Twenty-seven Names are my favourites. BLOC is a concept store in Mount Eden filled with furniture and homeware. Unity Books on High St in the CBD is the best bookstore in the city.;;;

GALLERIES Auckland Art Gallery

The Auckland Art Gallery is a must visit, and the area surrounding it is known as the arts precinct, with lots of smaller galleries to pop into. If you’re heading to the west coast beaches, stop in Titirangi for lunch and visit Te Uru Waitakere.;



Kokako Café

Kokako Café is a community hub in an old post office building. They roast their own organic coffee and make beautiful vegetarian food.

Apéro Food & Wine

Apéro Food & Wine is an idyllic little wine bar on Karangahape Road with boutique wines and French sharing dishes. My happy place.


Cazador is a family-owned bistro specialising in wild food, from lamb’s tongue fries to venison tartare. The sherry list is excellent.


Judges Bay at the bottom of Parnell Gardens is named for three of the magistrates of the early colony who built homes there. 2 The boutique shops at Britomart are towered over by indoor hedging (lest any space in the country should not be covered in greenery). 3 Hold your tongue: Cazador's tongue fries: sounds like a medieval method of torture – actually taste quite nice 1


with mangroves and a little bay filled with anchored boats that beach and unbeach themselves with the tide. By the seaside car park a travelling florist sets up every morning, and a dumpling truck comes for lunch. What do you miss most if you’ve been away?

The coffee. The wine. The combined scent of soil, flowers and the sea. What would surprise a newcomer to your city?

How much there is to do here. Most tourists come to New Zealand for the scenery and outdoor experiences, but there is also an incredible comedy and theatre scene, a vibrant arts community, plentiful street food, world-class restaurant experiences. The only thing we can’t offer is a short flight. Where else would you like to live?

If I were to move it would be to a smaller town in New Zealand. The house prices in Auckland are some of the highest compared to average income in the world. I’d love to live in Italy for a while, but not forever.

FAVOURITE MARKET Avondale’s Sunday Market. The produce is plentiful, fresh and cheap (the pork buns are worth the journey alone), and the fleamarket offers great people-watching opportunities.


During summer an inner-city green space called Silo Park becomes a free public cinema on Friday nights. It’s a magical sight.

BEST VIEW The Sugar Club

The Sugar Club is a fine-dining restaurant near the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower. There is probably no better place to watch the sun set. 

ONE THING YOU MUST SEE Snort: an improv comedy group who play at the Basement Theatre most Friday nights. It costs a mere $12 for a hilarious hour.










For more information on all Yeoman stoves, (including high output boiler models), please visit



challenging, so the process of reaching the top can help them discover techniques to deal with anxiety. For other people, the process of engaging with the physical environment of the mountain – the air, the ground, the nature – helps them develop the ability to be more present, which can improve their relationships and mood. For me, personally, there’s something about being at the top of a mountain and viewing the world from there that puts me in a very quiet place internally, a place that is hard to reach when I’m just at home or walking down the street.” MOUNT MINDFUL It’s hard not to feel more mindful when you’re up a mountain surrounded by nature at its most impressive and the emotional health benefits of walking in green spaces are well documented. All exercise lowers stress by boosting endorphins, which help the brain to cope with anxiety. Added to that, the intensity of the sort of activity you’re likely to be doing on a mountain (hillwalking, fell running or climbing, for example) generates an added hit of mood-boosting neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. Throw in a splendid view and it’s no wonder that reaching the summit can make you want to sing like Julie Andrews. Physically, brisk walking is even better for you than running, more effectively lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. And although you probably don’t need a scientist to tell you that uphill walking burns more calories than flat walking (the sweaty brow and panting lungs are evidence enough), it’s

How could this view not be good for body and mind? Hiking down from Helvellyn towards Ullswater in the Lake District PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY


oing to the mountains is going home: so wrote the Scottish-born naturalist and author John Muir. More than a century after his death, Muir’s books and essays still strike a chord with nature lovers (not to mention the manufacturers of mugs and tea towels: “The mountains are calling and I must go”). They encapsulate the elemental lure of some of the most inhospitable and difficult-to-reach places on Earth. Man’s obsession with high and mighty places is a recent phenomenon. Three hundred years ago, as Robert Macfarlane points out in Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination (Granta Books), “risking one’s life to climb a mountain would have been tantamount to lunacy.” Yet today, mountain-going is a booming leisure activity: in the UK, nearly a quarter of a million people go climbing or hillwalking at least once a month while nearly a million of us book ski holidays each year. There’s a reason mountain-disaster memoirs sell in the millions of copies (and it’s not just the snuggly feeling you get when reading about someone’s near-death experience on Everest from the comfort of your duvet). Ever since Wordsworth “bounded o’er the mountains”, these landmarks have had a powerful hold on our minds. The awe mountains inspire is one reason why they can boost our mental health. “Being in a wondrous place can put you in a resourceful state of mind, which may help you think more positively and solve problems,” says Chris Frampton, a counsellor and psychotherapist based in Kendal, Cumbria. As one of a growing number of mental health professionals pioneering outdoor and adventure therapy in the UK, he offers “walking and talking” sessions in the Lake District fells and trains other counsellors to harness the therapeutic effects of the natural environment. Different people perceive mountains in different ways, he explains: “For some, mountains are scary or


pleasing to know that it also lowers bad cholesterol, while downhill walking has been linked to a beneficial balancing of blood sugars. Simply filling your lungs with fresh mountain air can do you good, as our Victorian forebears understood. While they were flocking to new seaside resorts to take the air, their European counterparts were building alpine sanatoriums for TB patients. The theory that mountain air, like sea breeze, is rich in negatively charged particles (negative ions), which can improve respiratory, digestive and immune function, is popular in alternative health circles. But even a sceptic couldn’t

“All exercise lowers stress by boosting endorphins... Throw in a splendid view and it’s no wonderthatreaching a summit can make you want to sing likeJulie Andrews” argue with John Muir’s ode to the healing power of hills: “Climb the mountains and get their glad tidings. Every Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” 63



You don’t need specialist training, super levels of fitness or expensive equipment (bar waterproofs and walking boots) to start hillwalking – although you do need hills. Before heading to your nearest National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s wise to be prepared. The British Mountaineering Council’s beginners’ guide is free to download ( Organised group walks and walking holidays are a great way to build confidence. See to search for events.

for any sane person. Yet fell running (known as hill racing in Scotland and mountain racing in Wales) is a sport enjoyed by hundreds of ordinary men and women every weekend. If you’re reasonably fit and have some road-running experience, there’s nothing (except a good pair of fell shoes) to stop you experiencing the endorphinboosting slog of getting up and the adrenalin-laden thrill of skipping down. The Fell Running Association ( can steer you towards your nearest club.

Nordic walking

Mountain biking

Nordic walking has been describedas cross-country skiing without the snow: you use special poles to enable your arms to do as much walking as your legs, delivering a full-body workout that burns more calories and works more muscles than two-legged rambling. This sociable sport doesn’t require hills – it’s just as well suited to urban parks – but it makes light work of them, rendering uphill sections less exhausting and downhill stretches easier on the joints.

The clue is in the name: cycling on off-road routes up and down hills can be an adrenalin-fuelled thrill ride and a cardio-vascular workout. Plus on a bike you can cover so much more ground. Trail centres across the country provide wymarked routes for all levels, bike hire and instruction.

Fell running

Running up hill and down dale might not sound like a sensible course of action



Not just for daredevils, climbing is an activity that will suit many and varying ages and fitness levels. The physical benefits include increased endurance and toned muscles, but it’s the mental health benefits that really sell it: a mindful activity that requires absolute

concentration, it is known to help sufferers of anxiety or depression and it can induce the happy state of mind known as ‘flow’, a contented feeling of immersion. Visit your local indoor climbing wall to learn the basics and find out what outdoor opportunities are available in your area ( Volunteering

Clearing scrub, restoring footpaths or maintaining walls and hedgerows are just some of the hillside activities that combine physical exercise with social interaction and splendid scenery. Conservation charities and National Park authorities offer year-round volunteering opportunities and training. Try, (The Conservation Volunteers) and Skiing

A spot of skiing tones your core, tightens your thighs, burns off fat and gives you one heck of an adrenalin high. And thanks to improving facilities in northern Britain, you don’t even need to leave the county any more to enjoy it. There are five ski resorts in Scotland, offering lifts and kit hire, and a volunteer-run ski tow at the Lake District Ski Club near Helvellyn.




HAVE A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AND HEAD INTO THE HILLS WITH A THREE-NIGHT GUIDED WALKING BREAK WITH HF HOLIDAYS There’s a drama that comes with mountain ranges and rolling hills. Snowdonia, the Scottish Highlands, the Lakes… the UK is home to some spectacular mountain scenery – close enough to home to be enjoyed in a short break. Walking specialist HF Holidays has teamed up with The Simple Things to give away a guided walking break for two, staying at one of its 19 country houses. Your first challenge? Deciding where to go… HF Holidays has been organising walking trips for more than a century, so the company knows its stuff. All of its UK guided walking breaks come with a choice of walks each day – easier, medium, harder – which means you can pick a route to suit your mood/the weather/energy levels. As well as bases at Derwent Water in the Lakes, Glencoe and two properties in

Snowdonia, highlights include escapes in the Yorkshire Dales, the Cotswolds and Peak District, and coastal getaways from Northumberland to Dorset. All HF Holidays UK locations are within National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its country houses can be as sociable or relaxed as you like. Walk together during the day or explore independently. Meet up in the bar before dining with fellow walkers. Each house offers a different experience; from legendary packed lunches to dedicated boot rooms, maps and books galore... If you’re new to walking, opt for one of HF Holidays’ taster breaks – self-guided and guided walks, from gentle rambles to longer hikes. And there are experts on hand to give advice on everything from boots to routes., 0345 470 7558

In association with


HOW TO ENTER For your chance to win a three-night guided walking break for two on a full-board basis at a country house in the UK, courtesy of HF Holidays, visit

HOW IT WORKS The winner gets to choose from any of HF Holidays’ UK country house locations, subject to availability and some peak-season restrictions. You have until 31 October 2017 to take your holiday. And you cannot transfer it or swap it for cash. The closing date for entries is 8 February 2017.


GO & STAY We arrived ‘out-of-season’ at Chapel House in Penzance, though I’m pretty sure it’s the best time to wind up in the far west of the country. With the crowds dispersed, a chill in the air and sunlight low in the sky, it can be magical – a great setting for a childfree weekend away. At Chapel House it doesn’t matter what the weather’s doing, it’s so beautiful. I would have been happy not to set a foot outside the whole weekend and just laze on the comfy sofas, flicking through books and gazing at paintings on the walls by local artists. With a soothing décor and carefully considered and eclectic furnishings and lighting, it’s a world away from traditional B&Bs. Our room on the top floor was one of three that make up the old servants’ quarters, now renovated with a glass atrium roof that takes advantage of the views. It was simply furnished, with a huge, comfy bed, a walk-in shower, and best of all, a view stretching across the bay to St Michael’s Mount in the distance. Both mornings we were treated to a delicious breakfast by our host, Susan Stuart, who has restored 66


From left: Bottoms, boats and beautiful interiors – all the ingredients for a top-notch coastal winter break

the building. Gathered at the large dining table we chatted to the other guests about our plans for the morning over eggs and coffee – a friendly start to the day.

EAT & DRINK The area is a foodie hotspot, so we were spoilt for choice. On our first night, we ventured a short distance along the coast road to the picture-perfect fishing village of Mousehole. Supper – fish stew with fennel and aioli – at the Old Coastguard Inn was a relaxed and scrummy affair. On our second night, we again ate well at the Cornish Barn Smokehouse, a restaurant in the Artist’s Residence Hotel in Penzance. The menu focuses on fresh and foraged ingredients, with meat and fish cured, hung and smoked in their smokehouse. The smoked courgette and pesto on sourdough and the beer can chicken were both utterly delicious. On our final day we had a lunch at Tremenheere Kitchen and Sculpture Garden, the perfect spot to round off the weekend. We ate homemade soup and cakes, gazing out over Penzance Bay before climbing back into the car and heading home.

This series comes from online UK travel guide This is Your Kingdom, whose handpicked contributors explore favourite places, special finds and great goings on. You can read about one we love here each month and more at 67

SEE & DO Heading out early we walked 20 minutes south along the promenade to Newlyn, passing Jubilee Pool, the largest Art Deco lido in the country. At Newlyn Art Gallery we found a ‘wet auction’ taking place with 60 local artists, sculptors and photographers creating a piece in one day. We grabbed the car and drove a winding 15 minutes south to Sennen Cove. The light and sheer rawness of this beach is something to be seen. With a bag of fish and chips for lunch and our stunning sea view we couldn’t have been happier. After lunch, we drove a few bays further round to Poldark country and the tin mines at Botallack. Perched on the cliff edge, The Crowns are built in a seemingly impossible position. Battling strong winds, we walked down the cliff path, through the mine ruins to the shoreline, watching kestrels soar. Back in Penzance, we found art galleries, eateries and quirky shops. One of my favourites was No56, full of simple and beautiful homeware crafted from natural materials. We took some pieces home, along with our rested minds and lungs full of sea air. Chapel House (; Newlyn Art Gallery (; The Old Coastguard (; Cornish Barn Smokehouse (; Tremenheere Kitchen (; No 56 (

Lou Archell is a regular contributor to uk. A lifestyle and travel writer/photographer, she also blogs daily at Follow her photographic stories on Instagram as @littlegreenshed.


Georgian splendour, welcoming interiors... and outdoors, the best of Cornwall’s rugged and wonderful coastline. Penzance makes for a magical escape weekend



taring up at an astonishing number of seahorses. That’s all I remember about a trip to a zoo, which happened to have an aquarium; I couldn’t have been older than 11 or 12. I stood in awe as what seemed like hundreds of tiny aquatic horses, all hooked together at the tail, just dragged each other around. Some were doing the dragging, some were being dragged, it wasn’t really possible to tell. Lots were just along for the ride, unwittingly caught up in

this underwater circus. None of them had a clear idea of where they were going. My fascination with seahorses continues. There’s something very other-worldly about an aquarium. How on earth does a creature as odd-looking, as prehistoric, as a short-snouted seahorse find itself in the ocean? Jellyfish, glooping and billowing their way through water don’t seem real, but they’re one of the best established and adapted species in the animal kingdom. Sailing the seven seas is an adventure that has fascinated us since



“It’s a bit of a game, an aquatic Where’s Wally? And it can’t be rushed. Aquariums force us to slow down”

From colourful clown fish (above right) to wibbly wobbly jellyfish (above), an aquarium can be a veritable circus ring of characters


Homer’s Odyssey but deep sea exploration simply wasn’t part of our world in the same way that jungle or mountains expeditions might have been. Much like space travel, the depths of the ocean have always been out of the grasp of everyday reach. There’s a sense of the unknown – an unfamiliar environment that even now is yet to be fully explored. That’s what makes it so fascinating for people, from world-renowned biologists to a child staring at a shoal of seahorses. An aquarium can transport you far away in a way that a zoo can’t. The whole space feels like a part of an underwater world. You don’t just look at the fish, the entire display is part of the spectacle. I can imagine lions in the wild, I can picture them, I can be within feet of them. But deep sea feels so out of my reach. There’s a bit of hide and seek when you

visit an aquarium. The jellyfish might be out in full force, the starfish proudly displaying themselves for the crowd, but the real discoveries take more effort. If you walk past too quickly, you’ll miss the clown fish hiding in the anemones, you won’t see the flatfish camouflaged into the bed, save for the tiniest flip of a fin that puffs up the sand. You might not get to see that sea crab tending its plants with a bit of underwater topiary. It’s a bit of a game. It’s an aquatic Where’s Wally? And it can’t be rushed. You have to really look. Aquariums force us to slow down. And it’s when you do slow down that you realise that however busy an aquarium is, even on a Saturday morning in the school holidays, it’s very calming. Everyone has found their own space in the crowd. They’re all looking for something, they’re all contemplating. Everyone is having their own personal moment of quiet experience – of something that’s almost intangible. It might feel a bit touristy at first but go with it and a trip to an aquarium is like stepping into another world.


Positively prehistoric Some of the creatures you might spot in an aquarium are certainly getting on a bit… O Jellyfish have been around for 700 million years. O Coelacanth fish are so old that the first recorded fossil of one dates back 360 million years. O Horseshoe crabs are considered to be a living fossil, having barely evolved in the past 450 million years. O Goblin sharks could win the award for weirdest looking shark (and they’re up against one with a hammer for a head); they come from a line that is 125 million years old.

An aquarium of collective nouns You might have heard of a shoal of fish, but there are some far more interesting collective nouns under the sea



Not all aquariums tick all the boxes. Here’s a guide to the tropical and the temperate TH E AG E O F AQ UA R IA While Sumerians and Chinese kept fish in pools, it’s the ancient Romans we have to thank for aquariums – they kept fish in marble tanks until around 50AD when one marble wall was replaced with glass. Aquariums became popular in Britain after one was displayed at The Great Exhibition in 1851. This coincided with a parliamentary act that made glass more affordable, giving rise to a fashion for tanks in the home. In 1853, the world’s first large public aquarium – known as The Fish House – opened at London Zoo ( with more than 300 different species of fish. Now you can see reef fish and a flooded rainforest with Amazonian species, including piranha. Liverpool followed suit in 1857. It became so popular that it couldn’t accommodate the crowds and the aquarium is now part of Liverpool’s World

Museum. It features a tidal mangrove swamp and native species in a recreation of the rocky Anglesey coastline.

A battery of barracudas A pod of dolphins A bed of eels (or clams, or oysters) An army of herrings A bloom, smack or fluther of jellyfish A run or bind of salmon A vagrant of sea urchins A shiver or school of sharks An audience of squid A fever of stingrays A hover of trout A bale of turtles

F I S H I N TH E H O U S E A museum might seem like an odd place for an aquarium, but The Horniman Museum ( in south London is dedicated to anthropology and natural history. Frederick Horniman had strong connections with Philip Henry Gosse – a self-taught naturalist who studied marine biology and pioneered the glazed aquarium, promoting glass boxes filled with salt water, plants and animals as a novel ‘theatre’ for sea creatures. His work and the mini-aquarium are part of the Horniman’s main collection, highlighting how vital underwater evolution is to our understanding of our own species. LO C A L H E R O E S Many aquariums focus on tropical marine wildlife – and it’s easy to see why with such colourful fins and gills on display – but dotted around the country are 73

A word on ethics Aquariums (aquaria, if you prefer) are basically zoos for aquatic animals, which raises the same ethical concerns. Is raising sea life in captivity valuable for conservation or a cruel practice with no value to research? “Conservation and research is the highest priority of any modern aquarium,” says Michelle Davis, Deputy Aquarium Curator at The Horniman Museum. “We share our knowledge and animals so we don’t have to take them from the wild. Our research is so important to understanding the natural environment. We can use climate control data to replicate conditions and use this to determine the effects of coral bleaching. If it wasn’t for the research by aquariums, some species of marine life wouldn’t exist.” One of the main issues with aquaria is that while species of coral are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) most of the salt-water fish that end up in aquaria, both public and at home, are not. Estimates suggest that 90% of freshwater aquarium fish (tropical and coldwater) are farmed but, as with edible fish farming, standards across the industry vary. Almost every major seaside town in Britain now hosts an aquarium, so they strive to exhibit more unusual, or larger, animals than their competitors, and offer the most stimulating ‘close encounters’ to their visitors. In the UK the last dolphinarium closed more than 20 years ago so the 12 Sea Life Centres in Britain do not have any dolphins or whales in captivity, however, according to the Captive Animals Protection Society (CAPS), Sea Life’s parent company owns other parks where dolphin shows are still performed and, in turn, its parent company is owned by the same business that runs Sea World and its orca shows in the US. Everyone has to draw their own ethical line in these murky waters and if aquaria don’t meet yours, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) suggests that If you enjoy watching fish, consider downloading one of the many colorful and realistic fish-themed computer screensavers available on the internet.




Left to right: Lakeside living – a tunnel under Lake Windermere at the Lakes Aquarium; a turtle at Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium; Colourful, distinctive and unlike any other creature, a definite case of seahorses for courses

aquariums that focus on the locals. Lakes Aquarium ( on Lake Windermere, Cumbria makes the most of its location with bridges and tunnels that take you over and under the lake, so you can explore the local wildlife – look out for the diving ducks. Scotland has the UK’s only open-topped fish tank at MacDuff Marine Aquarium ( uk) in Aberdeenshire. The tank allows its living kelp reef natural sunlight and the 400,000 litres of seawater are home to over 100 species of fish. There are also aquariums focused on the local marine wildlife at Fowey in Cornwall where most of the fish have come from local fishermen; Ilfracombe, Devon, which follows the journey of an Exmoor stream to the Atlantic; and in Lyme Regis, where you can learn more about the Jurassic Coast. N ATI O N A L TR E A S U R E Plymouth has had an aquarium for more than 100 years, run by the Marine Biology Institute. Now it is home to the National Marine Aquarium, the UK’s biggest. The

“A loggerhead turtle washed up at Sennen Cove but has a home here as she has epilepsy and would die in the wild” Great Barrier Reef tank has more than 70 species of fish including Snorkel, a loggerhead turtle that washed up at Sennen Cove in Cornwall but has a home here as she has epilepsy and would die in the wild. It’s also big on raising awareness of issues such as micro-bead and plastic bag pollution, and shark fishing for fins. Night owls could try counting fish instead of sheep at an underwater sleepover. AQ UA R I S T FO R TH E DAY If you want to learn more about the conservation work that aquariums do, consider becoming an aquarist for the day. You’ll work with marine biologists and help with their research and breeding projects. There are programmes at London, Brighton and Bournemouth aquariums and in Wales you can volunteer at Rhyl’s Seaquarium. The behind-the-

scenes projects that aquariums undertake are hugely important to the conservation of marine wildlife so getting to see them first-hand is a special experience. D R AWI N G I N S P I R ATI O N When you take a life-drawing class the subjects are meant to stay still, but that’s unlikely when your subject is underwater. Wild Life Drawing (wildlifedrawing. holds art classes at the London aquarium so you can sketch shoals of fish. Don’t have a class near you? Go it alone. Just grab a sketchbook and some watercolours and take a seat (perhaps begin with a starfish, they tend to stay in one place). If drama is more your thing, the National Marine Aquarium ( in Plymouth hosts aquatic themed murder mysteries and there’s definitely something fishy going on. 75

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Snow Louis MacNeice The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was Spawning snow and pink roses against it Soundlessly collateral and incompatible: World is suddener than we fancy it. World is crazier and more of it than we think, Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion A tangerine and spit the pips and feel The drunkenness of things being various. And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes – On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands – There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.

About the author The Irish poet and playwright Louis MacNeice was born in Belfast, educated in England and had a troubled, stern childhood. His poetry, which he began writing when he was seven, has been described as “a reaction against the darkness”. His work is often melancholic and melodic, written from the perspective of the outsider, but alive with a light-filled vividness.

‘Snow’ comes from Collected Poems by Louis MacNeice (Faber & Faber), which is out now




r Unwin, what do you make of Elvis Presley?” “Well, from across the Herring-pole… I must say the rhythm contrapole sideways with the head and tippy tricky half fine on the strings.” Even if the name Professor Stanley Unwin is unfamiliar, chances are you’ve seen (or heard) him in cameo roles in Carry On films, or as the Chancellor in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Unwin was, in his own words, “a masterlode of the verbally thrips oratory”, eschewing the Queen’s English in favour of a playfully knotted version, which became known as Unwinese. His favourite catchphrase was “deep joy”. The professor’s ability to improvise a witty monologue in Unwinese was a talent that remains unparalleled. As a creator of his own version of English, however, he wasn’t alone. Mongrel languages exist in real life. During colonial times, when islanders from Polynesia in the South Pacific were enslaved, they found themselves


unable to communicate, owing to the number of languages they spoke. To get over this, they adopted the one constant tongue they heard: that of their oppressors. Such pidgin or creole languages exist across the globe as simplified and bastardised versions of English (and other languages), each with their idiosyncrasies. In the 1990s, theatre director Ken Campbell became fascinated with Bislama – the strand of pidgin English spoken on the island of Tanna in the South Pacific. For him it was a perfect choice as a world language (or wal wantok = world one-talk), owing to the fact that Bislama consists of little more than 400 words and minimal grammar. “Subjunctives they looked into, but reckoned they’d not really brought anyone any happiness,” Ken quipped. Bislama can be learned in a few hours. And like Google Translate, it has a scrambled poetry of its own: yumitufala (you and me/two fellows) = us basket blong pikini (basket belonging to a child) = womb


own sense of atmosphere and meaning, though the inference of the words is powerfully suggestive: Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe. With Carroll there’s a clear thrill in perverting language for the very timbre of the sound it produces, a practice familiar to some singers. Those unacquainted with Icelandic may presume that Sigur Ros’ frontman Jonsi sings in his native tongue. Instead it is often in his own twisted version, Hopelandic. Inspiration partly came from Cocteau Twins singer Liz Frazer who, back in the 80s and 90s, sang almost unintelligible lyrics to songs with titles such as ‘The Itchy Glowbo Blow’, ‘Spooning Good Singing Gum’ and ‘A Kissed Out Red Floatboat’. “Combining words in languages I didn’t understand,” Liz explained, “meant I could concentrate on the sound and not get caught up in the meaning.”

Wan bigfala blak bokis hemi gat waet tut mo hemi gat blak tut, sipos yu kilim smol, hemi singaot gud (One big fella black box, him he got white tooth and him he got black tooth, suppose you kill him small, him he sing out good) = piano With the help of some drama students, Ken translated Macbeth into Bislama, taking Makbed blong Willum Sekspia on tour. When Lady Macbeth offers her soul to the devil in exchange for her husband taking the crown, the line, “Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here” translated into pidgin as, “Satan, come take mi handbag”(handbag being the rudest word in Bislama). Shakespeare would undoubtedly have approved. LANGUAGES OF THE FUTURE Authors have long experimented with their own mongrel languages. For Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell created Newspeak – a language employed by his totalitarian regime to control the masses. Through eradication of nuance and negative responses, Newspeak changed the way the masses thought. Anyone who failed to tow the party line became an “unperson”. Anthony Burgess invented Nadsat for his dystopian vision in A Clockwork Orange – a fractured teenage slang composed of Slavic, English and Cockney rhyming slang. It’s a dialogue spoken between antihero Alex and his cohorts, which colours the regular prose: “I read this with care, my brothers, slurping away at the old chai, cup after tass after chasha, crunching my lomticks of black toast dipped in jammiwam and eggiweg.” While much of Nadsat can be deciphered or guessed at, Lewis Carroll’s poem ‘Jabberwocky’ ventures further into the dark woods. Peppered with made-up nouns, adjectives and verbs, Carroll leaves us to conjure our

LANGUAGE OF THE SPIRIT As the meaning of language unravels entirely, nonsense can offer a taste of the divine. Glossolalia, better known as “speaking in tongues” is practised by religions around the world. Freeing the rational mind through a marathon session of fast-paced gobbledigook can take people into profoundly altered states of mind. Even if not divine, are such verbal acrobatics capable of opening a portal between our rational, waking state and the irrational, symbolic subconscious? Is this why we love playing with words? As self-styled entertainer-philosopher Alan Watts puts it: “Why is it that all those old English songs are full of ‘Fal-de-riddle-eye-do’ and ‘Hey-nonny-nonny’? Why is it that when we get ‘hep’ with jazz we just go ‘Boody-boodyboop-de-boo?’… It is this participation in the essential glorious nonsense that is at the heart of the world… Is this a kind of nonsense that is not just chaos… but rather has in it rhythm, complexity, and a kind of artistry?” Stanley Unwin died in 2002; his epitaph, “Re-unitey in the heavenly-bode. Deep Joy!” Unwin taught us that language can help us make sense of the world, but there may be greater pleasures to be had when it does not. We name things to help us understand. Philosophers such as Alan Watts remind us that the world transcends sense. In the real world there are no such thing as nouns. Your hand cannot be separated from your arm. This magazine cannot be defined without its paper, printing press, writers and readers. Nothing exists in isolation. Everything is connected, like drops of water in the ocean. Language is there to be played with and turned into – as Stanley Unwin would have put it – deep joy.

This feature originally appeared in issue five of Ernest Journal ( You can read more about Stanley Unwin, Ken Campbell and other curious folk in The Odditorium (Hodder & Stoughton) written by the creators of Ernest. Illustrations by Ruth Allen, an artist, writer and outdoor therapist;,



Winter MOUNTAIN HARES by John Langley Scottish Highlands “On a cold January morning, most of the mountain hares were resting in their snow holes. However, when one individual tried to use another’s resting place, a mad chase occurred. In a flash the two hares charged past me and I was able to take this image of both of them in full flight.”



Winter EIDER DUCK by Jonathan Gaunt Northumberland “This female duck was shot inside the harbour walls after a particularly stormy spell during last winter. This shot captures the wave the duck created as she pushed through the water.”

Winter COOT by Andrew Parkinson Derbyshire “These charismatic birds are a joy to work with, especially in glorious dawn sunlight on a mist-shrouded lake. Coots are especially feisty at the beginning of the breeding season when territories are being defined and established.”





MISTLE THRUSH by Sam Hobson Leicester “This unusual nest belongs to a family of mistle thrushes who took up residence inside a traffic light in a busy road in Leicester. The red light may provide a little extra warmth but, more importantly, the light’s hood provides a perfect shelter from the wind and rain.”

RED FOX by Alannah Hawker Surrey “I was waiting near the den of a fox family for the vixen to return. She appeared with a fresh catch for her cubs and one young cub, who had been waiting at the entrance, raced over when he saw her, allowing me to capture this shot.”


Summer WATER VOLE by Terry Whittaker Kent “On a stream where I have been photographing water voles for 12 years, I noticed that one vole would sit on a stone at the edge of a fool’s watercress bed to feed. I set up a camera in the stream as close as I could, then triggered it remotely.”





BADGER by Andrew Parkinson Derbyshire “I always like to try to show my subjects within the context of their environment, especially when it’s as beautiful as this forest. I worked for four months to try to capture images of these nocturnal mammals in this kind of light and I was successful on just two evenings.”

EUROPEAN ROE DEER by Mark Bridger Wiltshire “I was in a 4x4 on the edge of a field watching this buck for about an hour. He didn’t seem too bothered about me; he started to walk towards me till he was so close I couldn’t take a photo! Then he saw a female and bolted off after her.”

LITTLE OWL by Jamie Hall Suffolk “I was lucky to spend one summer photographing a pair of little owls. They would sit on fence posts edging a field to look into the long grass for prey, moving to the next post if they didn’t find anything. This shot was taken as an owl flew from one post to another: it briefly hovered above the camera, which was just enough time to get a few images.”





HEDGEHOG by Mark Bridger Suffolk “I attended a hedgehog ecology workshop at Suffolk Wildlife Trust to learn about our declining hedgehogs. Then I went outside to photograph this hedgehog in a natural setting. She was due to be released in the spring once healthy. She was walking about in the woodland leaves when she decided to roll up into a ball for a rest.”

ROOK by Ian Haskell Lincolnshire “Rooks had been feeding alongside a riverbank. One bird flew into a tree with berries. I moved my car to get the best angle for the light and was able to spend several minutes with this bird before the sun dropped below the horizon.”

Images from British Wildlife Photography Awards: Collection 7 (AA Publishing), which is out now


STICKY WISDOM Post-its rule our days, dictating what we do and what we mustn’t forget. Refreshing then to find Chaz Hutton’s collection of sticky notes, full of wry observations and clever charts, graphs and venn diagrams or, as he puts it, “a bunch of drawings on small pieces of paper”



Taken from A Sticky Note Guide to Life: Bite-sized observations you didn’t know you needed by Chaz Hutton (HarperCollins). Follow his Post-it trail on Instagram @instachaaz



Soundtrack to January SCANDI SONGS

‘Sweden’ ‘Feels Like Sugar’ ‘Singing Softly To Me’ ‘Sugar’

The Divine Comedy Hjaltalín Kings of Convenience The Crêpes

‘Hollow Talk’ ‘White Foxes’ ‘Worship’ ‘Wear it Like a Crown’ ‘Out of Shape’ ‘So Easy’ ‘Young Folks’

Choir Of Young Believers Susanne Sundfør Ane Brun featuring José González Rebekka Karijord Mellowmen Röyksopp Peter Bjorn and John

‘Call Your Girlfriend’ ‘Julie’ ‘I Love It’ ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’

Robyn Jens Lekman Icona Pop The Hives Abba

stop look listen 90

Some are moody – some, poppy: songs with a Nordic soul to make you feel cooler


Listen at





taring up at a star-drenched sky it’s easy to feel not only awe but a sense of our absolute smallness. It’s no wonder our ancestors sought to find meaning in the stars, to corral the sky into forms our human minds could handle. Astrology is old, very old. Markings on bones and cave walls show our ancestors were clocking the moon’s cycles 25,000 years ago. Agricultural turning points in the year (planting, harvesting) became linked with religious festivals, all marked by the movements of the heavens. Western astrology originated in ancient Babylon (modern Iraq), spreading out through the Middle East, then Europe via the Greek and Roman empires. “Astrology’s roots lie in an ancient world-view which perceived the universe as a single organism, animated by divine order and intelligence,” says Liz Greene, Jungian analyst and astrologer. Throughout history, astrology has been used both to predict the future and to map the human psyche. Originally considered scholarly, astrology has now been abandoned by scientists. Modern astrologers shrug, saying sceptics are missing the point. “Astrology just meets a different need than science,” says astrologer Claire Comstock-Gay. “I’m less interested in whether or not astrology is ‘real’ than in the ways it can function as a tool to reveal truths about ourselves, our emotions, and our way of being in the world.” The psychologist Carl Jung said, “Astrology represents the summation of all the psychological knowledge of antiquity” and many Jungian analysts and other psychotherapists use astrology as part of their practice. While the majority of modern astrologers follow Jung’s lead and focus on the psychological, many still use it as a tool for prediction. Some bankers and brokers swear financial astrology gives them an edge in the markets, and astrology has also nudged its way into politics. MI5 infamously had an astrologer during WWII and Nancy Reagan commissioned an official White House astrologer in the 1980s. Everything, it seems, is in the stars.


U N D E R S TA N D I N G YO U R C H A R T The birth (natal) chart analyses the position of the planets and astrological houses at the moment of your birth. It offers revelations about your personality, your potential and your challenges. Your chart could help to pin down career choices or to assess your romantic compatibility with potential partners; it could even suggest where you should live. An astrologer will need your date, time and place of birth. The more accurate you can be, the better – even minutes can make a vital difference. In the past, drawing up a chart required expert knowledge but nowadays you can do it yourself in seconds thanks to software. However, reading and understanding the chart is nowhere near so simple. The three basic components of a chart are the signs, the planets and the houses (see glossary) but a full reading is extraordinarily complex so it makes sense to find a good astrologer. How? It helps to know what you want from your reading – if you’re looking for political or financial advice, there’s no point going to a Jungian. Equally a ‘mundane’ astrologer (explained opposite) won’t be able to unpick your relationship or career quandaries. Personal recommendation is a good place to start but mainly it comes down to intuition. Read their website or blog if they have one, get a feel for the kind of advice they give and then listen to your heart and gut.

Vedic and Chinese astrology Vedic astrology (or Jyotish) developed in India. The Zodiac is divided into 12 signs (as in Western astrology), which are then further categorised into 27 Nakshatras (constellations). Vedic astrology recognises 16 types of horoscope (varga), known collectively as Shodashvarga – each represents a different area of life (wealth, career, spiritual progress and so on). Vedic astrologers often give very precise ‘prescriptions’ to improve life – including personal mantras, specific jewellery and certain colours of clothes to wear or avoid. Chinese astrology follows a 12-year cycle. Each year is assigned to an animal (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig), which are derived from myth rather than constellations. Your year animal represents how you present yourself to the outside world. However there are also animals assigned by month (your inner animal), day (your true animal) and hour (your secret animal). Chinese astrology recognises five elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth).


Five cool astrologers

Ancient wisdom from many traditions says the universe is made up of the elements of fire, air, water and earth. The various signs are expressions of those elements

Fire: Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. People with a strong fire element are generally spontaneous, energetic and imaginative. Air: Libra, Aquarius and Gemini. People with a strong air element are usually smart, swift and animated. They can tend to intellectualise their feelings. Water: Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Water people tend to be very sensitive and emotional. They often live in their imagination. Earth: Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo. Earth people tend to act with care and deliberation. They are emotionally stable and slow to change.

There is a fifth element, the ‘quinta essentia’ (also known as ether) that relates to the mystery of the eternal. It does not equate to any signs so is frequently overlooked. In addition, each element is said to occur in three states – cardinal, fixed and mutable. Cardinal signs (Aries, Libra, Cancer, Capricorn) like to initiate and lead. Fixed signs (Leo, Aquarius, Scorpio, Taurus) tend to build and organise. Mutable signs (Sagittarius, Gemini, Pisces, Virgo) prefer to change, renew and replace.

G L O S S A RY O F A S T R O L O G Y T E R M S Constellations: groups of stars the ancients identified with a mythological figure or symbol. Cusp: the point (technically, the degree) in which one sign ends and another begins. If you’re born “on the cusp” some astrologers say you may have aspects of both sun signs; but most say we only have one sun sign. Electional astrology: a branch of astrology that deals in favourable times for actions and transactions. Ephemeris: an astrological almanac or calendar, showing the positions of the planets day by day throughout any particular year. Glyphs: symbols used for the astrological signs, planets and luminaries. Houses: each of the 12 houses in a chart rule certain areas of life: self-image, communication, money, family, romance, work, health and so on. Luminaries: the joint title given by the ancients to the Sun and the Moon. Moon sign: the Moon represents your emotions, your inner being. It’s considered a very important influence in your chart.

Mundane astrology: used to predict world affairs and events. Planets: astrology deals with eight planets (plus the two Luminaries), each representing a function in your personality. Retrograde: a planet that appears to be going backwards (it’s an optical illusion). In practical terms, you experience the planet’s energy in a more subjective, internal way. Rising sign: also known as the Ascendant, it’s the Zodiac sign that was coming up on the eastern horizon at the moment you were born. It represents your outward self, how you present yourself in the world. Signs: each of the 12 signs belong to a certain element in a certain state (see above). Sun sign: the position of the Sun at your birth gives rise to your sun sign. It represents your basic nature, the constants in your personality. It’s the basis of the horoscopes you read in the daily papers – a simplified image of your astrological make-up. Zodiac: a map of the sky based on the positions of the 12 constellations.

Claire Comstock-Gay, aka Madame Clairevoyant: the poetic pseudo-astrologer Astrologer for The Cut, New York Magazine’s edgy site, Comstock-Gay is a fiction writer who’s refreshingly honest about her lack of astrological credentials and sanguine about how unscientific astrology may be. Liz Greene: the astrologer’s astrologer Jungian analyst Greene is astrology royalty. She’s patron of the Faculty of Astrological Studies, founder of the Centre for Psychological Astrology and helped create the first computer-generated astrological interpretation programme. Susan Miller: the fashionista astrologista Miller is a mega astro-brand with columns in international fashion magazines, collaborations with fashion and fitness brands, apps and a celebrity clientele (quite apart from a bevy of books, a TV show and and a website that attractions millions a week). Her style is smart, shrewd and technical. Chani Nicholas: the philanthropic astro-blogger Nicholas is a feminist counsellor and psychological astrologer. Her blog gives gentle wisdom, nourishing and nudging her community of followers into healthier, happier patterns of being. Gahl Sasson, aka Cosmic Navigator: the global astro-guru Sasson comes with an endorsement from the Dalai Lama, no less. The LA-based globetrotter teaches at universities and spiritual centres around the world, and is renowned for his engaging blend of astrology, kabbalah, psychology and mythology.



T H E 1 2 S I G N S O F T H E ZO D I AC These are the basic characteristics of each of the 12 signs. Bear in mind that your horoscope is far more than just your sun sign. If you recognise yourself in other signs, you may well have them reflected in other parts of your horoscope


ARIES (21 March – 19 April)

TAURUS (20 April – 20 May)

GEMINI (21 May – 20 June)

Cardinal fire, ruled by Mars. The firebrand. Arians are full of energy, courage – always looking for a a chance to prove themselves, a chance to win. Impatient with routine, they like to pave their own way in life.

Fixed earth, ruled by Venus. The stoic. Stability is key to Taureans; they are practical, work hard and don’t easily lose their temper. They love countryside and beauty, and often have artistic talents.

Mutable air, ruled by Mercury. The chameleon. Geminis are quick-witted, sociable communicators. Often gifted at teaching, writing and public speaking. Life is never dull around a Gemini.

CANCER (21 June – 22 July)

LEO (23 July – 22 August)

VIRGO (23 August – 22 September)

Cardinal water, ruled by the Moon. The homebody. Cancerians love to be loved, and want to be needed. Home is their castle. Often shy and sensitive, they tend to move indirectly to get what they need.

Fixed fire, ruled by the Sun. The boss. Leos love attention, love an audience – and also love to be loved. Natural, charismatic leaders, they think big and get easily bored when bogged down by dull details.

Mutable earth, ruled by Mercury. The helper. Virgos often have cool, clear minds yet sensitive, shy hearts. They are keen to help others. Happy to be alone, they also need to know they’re appreciated.

LIBRA (September 23 – October 22)

SCORPIO (23 October – 21 November)

SAGITTARIUS (22 November – 21 December)

Cardinal air, ruled by Venus. The charmer. Harmony, justice and balance are key to Librans. They have logical minds, can be highly creative yet may appear indecisive while they examine all aspects of the issue.

Fixed water, ruled by Pluto. The psychologist. Scorpio people feel intensely and see the good and bad, in others and themselves. Often introspective, they keep secrets and dive into the mysteries of life.

Mutable fire, ruled by Jupiter. The adventurer. Restless and sporty, Sagittarians need stimulation and freedom. They like to visit somewhere new, meet new people, learn new things.

CAPRICORN (22 December – 19 January)

AQUARIUS (20 January – 18 February)

PISCES (19 February – 20 March)

Cardinal earth, ruled by Saturn. The achiever. Capricorns take life seriously. Hard workers, quiet and diplomatic, they are usually successful in life. However, family is as important to them as work.

Fixed air, ruled by Uranus. The humanitarian. Aquarians have keen minds and a deep sense of justice. Tolerant, perceptive, yet not overly emotional, they often get involved in humanitarian causes.

Mutable water, ruled by Neptune. The mystic. Pisceans are the poets and dreamers of the Zodiac – the writers, artists, musicians. Often spiritual, their inner world is vital for their wellbeing.

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THE BATH HOUSE: COMMUNAL SLUICING A visit to the local pool these days is a leisure activity: where you head for swimming galas, lane swimming and aqua aerobics. Back in the day, however, the first public baths were all about hygiene. Tales of families living in one room and washing rarely and if then, in rivers and the sea, reached the ears of zealous Victorian municipal reformers. As a result, the first public wash house opened in Liverpool in 1842, and prompted by the Public Baths and Washhouses Act of 1846 (the purpose of which was “to promote the health and cleanliness of the working classes… and raise their moral tone”), the first London public bath opened in St Pancras in 1845. Although the well heeled were familiar with the 96

“Water Palace” Victoria Baths in Manchester (right), which is being lovingly restored, was opened in 1906, around the time Félix Vallotton painted this wild scene of a Turkish bath. We’re not sure the dachshund would be allowed in these days…



e have a lot to thank municipal baths for. Memories of swimmingcostume anxiety, changing-room self-consciousness and blowing up your own pyjamas aside, they are where many of us learned to swim. What we probably didn’t notice at the time, however, is that some of those pools were architecturally splendid. Fortunately, others did and several Victorian and Edwardian baths have recently been reinvigorated with the handsome details of those periods – glazed ceramic tiles, stained-glass windows, elaborate ticket booths and vaulted, glazed ceilings – restored to their former glory. Many still remain in a state of dilapidation however, as councils and swimmers abandon them in favour of spanking new leisure centres, but the old pools, and their glamorous sidekicks, Turkish baths, are there waiting for you to take a plunge if you seek them out.






Victorian Turkish bath: a series of rooms heated by hot dry air, followed by a cold plunge, wash and period of relaxing in a cooling room. Similar to ancient Roman bathing practices, the focus is on water rather than steam. Russian steam bath (banya): traditionally a small room with an oven in the corner with red hot coals, over which water is ladelled to generate wet steam, as opposed to dry heat. Turkish hamman: steam baths, similar to the Russian banya, usually with no plunge pool – the bather splashes cold water over themselves, post steam. Finnish sauna: water is ladled on to a stove, banya style, to create wet steam increasing moisture and heat in the air.

health-giving properties of bathing, visiting spas such as Bath for the water cure, the poor were unwashed. Unlike modern spas with their emphasis on pampering and indulgence, their early bath houses were all about scrubbing and hygiene. These were the days of cholera and slum dwellings and bath houses were where you went to sluice your body in a slipper bath and wash and iron your clothes in the laundry. By 1918, every town with a population of more than 200,000 had either a public baths or a laundry, which although utilitarian were also places to gossip and make deals, and provided relaxation in a time of little leisure. SWIMMING POOLS: THEIR MURKY PAST Alongside bathhouses came the first swimming pools. These no-nonsense structures were a response to the number of drownings in open water as the authorities realised that people needed a safe place to learn to swim. Initially, many pools were seen as a cheap place to bathe – many had a second-class pool which was cheaper to use than a tub in the bath house. As a result, they grew murkier and murkier as the rinsed-off dirt and grime of city dwellers built up. The introduction of filtration and chlorination, which replaced the timeconsuming empty-and-fill system, put an end to this, and as pools became cleaner and more hygienic, they were increasingly seen as places of leisure. This was given a further boost in 1896 when swimming was introduced at the Olympic Games and more people 98



began to swim competitively. Today, there are 116 listed municipal baths in Britain, most of which were built before 1936, but only 52 are operational or being refurbished. Seek out your nearest one while you can. TURKISH BATHS: A TRIP TO THE ORIENT The introduction of the exotic and sybaritic Turkish bath is down to one man: MP and diplomat David Urquhart. In his account of his travels through Russia, the Ottoman Empire and Moorish Spain in 1848, The Pillars of Hercules, he described those countries’ systems of hot-air baths and became evangelical about the benefits of hydrotherapy and thermal treatments (he even had a Turkish bath built in his home in Rickmansworth). His influential publication inspired the first public Turkish bath to open in Ireland, followed by Manchester, then Marble Arch, London in 1861. Their popularity spread rapidly with over 600 opening in the next 150 years, many being tagged on


RESTORED POOLS AND BATHS TO VISIT BRAMLEY BATHS, LEEDS Opened in 1904 as a pool and public bath house with Russian steam baths, this is now a community-run, not-for-profits pool. The poolside cubicles, ornate iron balcony and mosaic tiles remain, as does the steam room, and everything has been generally spruced up for the modern age.


GOVAN HILL BATHS, GLASGOW Operated by a Trust of committed locals who rescued it after closure by the council in 2001, this Edwardian bath house originally comprised public baths, a wash house and three swimming pools. One pool has re-opened and plans are in place to reopen two more plus a sauna and steam room.

to existing bath houses and pools, taking advantage of the water-heating boilers on site. Visitors flocked to enjoy the novel and pleasurable experience of spending a day moving from one hot chamber to another, hotter, one. Each chamber had a Latin name: the tepidarium (warm room); the calidarium (hot room); and the laconium (hottest room), a nod to the ancient Romans who regarded languorous bathing as a necessity. The hot chambers were followed by a plunge in an icy pool and half an hour lying down in a cool room (frigidarium). The process was said to relax and clean the body and leave the bather in a state of euphoria. In keeping with their exotic provenance, these Turkish baths were decorated in elaborate, Moorish style, with cavernous rooms linked by tiled Islamic arches, marble pillars, glazed brickwork and golden ceilings. Harrogate Turkish Baths, which opened in 1896, attracted European royalty and Queen Victoria’s granddaughters. Closed in 1969, it was renovated and reopened in 2002 and is the most historically complete of the remaining 12 Victorian Turkish baths in the UK. Spend the day flopping about on loungers cosseted by warmth and towels, drifting from room to room of increasing heat, before braving the plunge pool. Many of London’s Turkish baths were built in the 1930s, and Art Deco embellishments such as dancing nymph statues boosted the glamour further. At the Porchester Spa in west London, also recently refurbished, the day is spent getting hot, then cold, then scrubbed, then massaged, in a building of architectural note; an invigorating change from the often characterless rooms of the modern spa.

1 Stained glass at restoration-inprogress Victoria Baths, Manchester. 2 Roll up, roll up: tickets from Victoria Baths’ heydey. 3 Cavernous halls and intricate Moorish decoration at Harrogate, home of the UK’s most historically complete Turkish baths. 4 Bramley Baths in Leeds was originally a public wash house with Russian steam baths, which are still in use today, alongside a modern pool, gym and fitness studios

TURKISH BATHS AND SPA, HARROGATE This, the most complete Turkish bath in England, was refurbished in 2002, restoring its highly decorative and exotic Moorish arches and screens, terrazzo floors and polished hardwood furnishings. It boasts four heated chambers, one plunge pool, and a relaxation room to lounge about in afterwards. MARSHALL STREET BATHS, LONDON Built in 1928–31 (although a bath house dating from 1850 existed on site before), this marblelined pool was re-opened in 2010 following an £11-million refit. Its white-Sicilian-marble-lined pool and Swedish green marble walls were restored, as was a bronze fountain of merchild and dolphins. Changing cubicles line the 30m long pool which has a barrel-vaulted ceiling. VICTORIA BATHS, MANCHESTER No need to pack your cozzie, this is open as a heritage attraction for now with open days across the year. Described as a ‘water palace’ when it was built in 1906, this complex of Turkish and Russian baths and pools closed in 1993 when the council couldn’t afford to keep it open. So far, £5 million has been spent on restoring its original features including stained glass, mosaic floors and terracotta tiles. The aim is to reopen one swimming pool and the Turkish baths.


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Witch hazel This is the time of year when you really appreciate winterflowering shrubs, and witch hazel (hamamelis) is one of the finest. Its spidery, scented flowers which look as though they have been extruded from its branches, bring a splash of colour and a spicy fragrance that smells a little like frankincense. Its twigs are sometimes used as divining rods (which may explain its name) but we prefer to snip a few and bring them indoors to brighten the gloomy January days.



INTRODUCE BURSTS OF PATTERN AND COLOUR The Scandinavians appreciate the impact of a cushion. Chosen carefully and scattered carelessly, they bring colour and pattern to otherwise understated interiors. Finnish company Marimekko pioneered bold, colourful and graphic textile design with some of its creations such as the big flowery Unikko pattern becoming iconic, and newer companies like Ferm Living and Oyoy continue the tradition.

ABOVE These cushions,

printed with sea anemones and sea grass, are by artist and designer Kustaa Saski. The collection, called ‘Mindscapes’, was designed for Finnish textile manufacturer Marimekko. Saski was influenced by the rhythm,

colour and atmosphere of the seafloor he saw when he was scuba diving. The colourful, bold designs follow in the tradition of the company, pioneered by one of its designers, Maija Isola, whose large flowered prints became an international success.



Everything in this shot is from Oyoy (, a Danish design company founded in 2012 by interior and furniture designer Lotte Fynboe. The brand’s motto is ‘less is more’ and Oyoy focuses on creating functional, high-quality products with graphic

patterns and shapes. The simplicity and minimalism of its designs is coupled with interesting colour combinations and the innovative use of materials. Think of it as classic Scandinavian design with a hint of Japanese flair

CHOOSE WOOD WHEREVER YOU CAN The Norwegians have a word – hytta – that refers to the cabin culture that empties their cities on Friday afternoons as people head to their weekend cottages (hytte). These log cabins and the surrounding pine forests have come to represent a certain aspect of Scandi living so it’s no surprise that Scandinavians love wood in their homes, too, bringing it in whenever possible, be it in the form of a humble chopping board, a wall clad with timber or a sauna.

RIGHT This timber-clad bathroom is in the home of designer Halfdan Larus Pedersen in the remote fishing village of Flateyri in the western fjords of Iceland. He rebuilt and renovated the abandoned house from scratch using only reclaimed wood and


salvaged materials. All wood, floors, ceilings and walls are reclaimed and sourced by him. He found the sink, bathtub, tap and cabinet, and cleaned, restored and mounted them piece by piece. This massive recycling project took ten years for Pedersen to complete.


OPPOSITE Located in the

remote valley, which is an extension of a protected bay. The interiors are completely clad in pine plywood. As there is no electricity or running water, heating is provided by logs which crackle pleasingly in the slate-tiled woodburner.


Stockholm archipelago, this is one of a cluster of contemporary buildings on the shoreline. The five structures – a main building (pictured), guesthouse, sauna, boathouse and garden shed – are situated in a

LET THE LIGHT IN Living in a country with long winters but light-filled and lengthy summers makes you appreciate natural light. Scandinavian homes favour large windows and lightweight curtains to let as much daylight in as possible. Walls are often painted white, with shiny gloss woodwork to bounce the light and brighten the space.

ABOVE This living room is housed in a group of apartments called Valnötsparken in Sweden, designed by Max Holst Architects. All the triple-storey apartments have generous, south-facing windows, which overlook a lake and forest. Thanks

to the large windows, the apartments are bathed in natural light, with the kitchens and living rooms enjoying views of the water. Classic pieces of Scandi furniture, an abundance of timber, and a subdued colour palette ensure the apartments are cosy as well as bright.


USE A SUBDUED COLOUR PALETTE Perhaps it’s the long winters with their slate-grey skies that encourage Scandinavians to decorate their homes in sombre, neutral colours. Grey, black, tan and dusty pink make up the predominant colour scheme, complemented with white woodwork, which bounces around the much-valued light and sits well with wooden floors and furniture. It’s not all melancholy hues, though: this neutral palette creates the ideal backdrop for bursts of brightly coloured furniture and patterned textiles.

RIGHT This Stockholm penthouse was built at the turn of the 20th century in an area close to the city centre and was renovated by local interior design agency Koncept Stockholm. The


walls have been painted light grey; the skirting boards and window frames are clean, bright white, and extra colours such as the soft pink bedding bring a dash of warmth.


OPPOSITE This serene

house back to life, including the high ceilings and timber floors. They also designed the table and fitted a Potence wall lamp by Jean ProuvĂŠ to illuminate meal times. The colour scheme is typically Nordic: white, grey and beige.


apartment in Stockholm is home to Lisa Wikander, founder of Swedish fashion brand Mes Dames (, and Gustav Hultman, an architect. The couple renovated the entire apartment, bringing the original features of the

ABOVE Interior designer and stylist Emma WallmĂŠn uses her Stockholm apartment as a kind of 3D canvas for trying out new ideas by constantly changing the colours of the walls and

rearranging and changing the furniture. Currently the kitchen is painted a light shade of grey, a calm transition from the dark grey walls of the hall and the pink hues of the living area.


This light alcove has been furnished by Danish design company &tradition ( The wooden In Between chairs and table were designed by Sami Kallio and combine contemporary design and artistic craftsmanship with Nordic tradition and design heritage. The row of cacti in terracotta pots and aloe vera leaves in glass vases complement the wooden furniture



THINK OF HOUSEPLANTS AS FURNISHINGS The Scandinavian home is not short of foliage. The desire to bring nature indoors means that pot plants are given as much importance as cushions and curtains. No limp and dusty spider plants here, though: window sills and tabletops are festooned with groups of succulents in terracotta pots, and shiny green leaves tumble from macramé hanging baskets.

ABOVE This light-filled apartment on the site of a former factory in Stockholm has pale walls, lots of wood and – best of all – its own orangerie sandwiched between a pair of glass-walled bedrooms. Potted plants in hanging baskets and lined along the window sill are as conspicuous as the furnishings

This is an edited extract from Scandinavia Dreaming (Gestalten)

Finding Nordic style Houseology sells Scandi brands including iittala, Design House Stockholm, Ferm Living, Muuto and Normann Copenhagen. Scandinavian Design Center Online store, sells most Scandi brands and has a good range of fabrics, throws and cushions. Skandium Desirable and well made furniture and homeware from Nordic design greats including Marimekko, Kähler, Hay and Design House Stockholm. Ikea The Swedish homestore that needs no introduction.


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n a gloomy January day, why not take a bit of comfort from the relaxing glow of a candle? These three projects offer bright ideas for refashioning bits you may well already have about into candleholders – then strategically place around the home, for instant cheer. We even tell you how to make – and scent – the candles themselves. A quick word about wax. These projects use soy, which is made from vegetable oil (paraffin candles use petroleum oil). Soy candles have a longer burn time and less black soot than a paraffin equivalent. Using soy also means you can add essential oils to scent them – try vanilla oil for the hint of freshly baked brioches, or mosquitorepelling citronella oil to conjure balmy summer nights (remember those?). To get even fancier, you can buy colour wax flakes or add dyes. For wicks and wax, try Hobbycraft (





tin) for each candle 6 small elastic bands Small pan or metal mixing bowl Large saucepan Old spoon Scissors

Makes three candles YOU WILL NEED: 3 x 10cm pre-waxed wick assembly 3 small brioche tins or metal jelly moulds, roughly 150ml capacity Glue dots or glue gun 6 wick-supporting sticks (or wooden cooking skewers cut in half) 750g flaked soy wax – about 225g (or roughly twice the volume of your

1 Fix the wick assembly to the centre of the bottom of your tins by using a glue dot or a dab of hot glue from a glue gun. 2 Take the supporting sticks or skewers in pairs and bind them together by wrapping a small elastic band around them at either end. Use the skewers to hold the wicks vertically by resting them across the rim of each tin, the wicks pinched firmly between the skewers. 3 Put the wax in a small pan or bowl and set the bowl in a pan of water on the hob

over a medium heat. Add about three drops of fragrance oil (if using) to the wax. When melted, the wax will appear completely clear. Use your spoon to stir the oil into the wax. 4 Pour a small amount of the liquid wax into the bottom of your prepared tins to just cover the metal wick assembly in each one. Leave to harden for about ten minutes. This is to make sure that the wicks stay in place for the main pour in the following step. 5 Return the pan to the hob to ensure the wax is fully melted, then pour it into your tins to within about 6mm of the top edges and leave to cool and harden fully. If the wax dries with a small dip around the wick, top it up with more melted wax and thinly cover the surface of the candle evenly. 6 Using scissors, trim the wicks to about 12mm from the top surface of the wax. Leave your candles for at least 24 hours before lighting.

Adapted from Take a Tin by Jemima Schlee (GMC, available from


So quick is this decoration project, it’s easy enough to jazz up a few jars and group together in a pleasing way




YOU WILL NEED: Soy wax – enough for two jarfuls Glass jar with a lid (see decorating project, left, to add gold pizzazz) Candle wick that is slightly longer than the height of your jar 30 to 40 drops essential oil, if using 2 straws 2 elastic bands 5




YOU WILL NEED: Washi tape Paintbrush Gold glass pen Gold acrylic paint Plain glass candle holder or jar Candle


1 Determine your design and then use tape to create your masked-off pattern on the glass. 2 Paint the areas of your pattern on the exposed glass. Let dry completely and then do a second and even third coat depending on the intensity of colour you desire. 3 Carefully remove all the tape. 4 Use a gold pen if needed to touch up the pattern edges. 5 Create a few more complementary patterns on various sizes of glass holders. These aren’t waterproof so use for decorative purposes only.

Adapted from Decorate for a Party: Stylish and Simple Ideas for Meaningful Gatherings by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring (Jacqui Small)

1 Measure out two jarfuls of wax into a heatproof container. 2 Pour boiling water into your glass jar and place to one side. The water will warm the glass and help your candle to set evenly. Once the jar is warm, empty and dry carefully. Attach your wick to the bottom of the jar. A small glue dot or piece of double-sided tape will help secure it. 3 Melt the wax on a double boiler (see previous page) or in the microwave. 4 When completely clear, remove the wax from the heat and stir in the essential oils, if using, then carefully pour it into your glass jar. As with the brioche tins project, use the two straws, secured together with elastic bands, clamped around the wick to keep it in place while the candle sets – nowhere too cold, as it needs to harden slowly to set evenly. If, once hardened, the top of the candle looks a little uneven, warm it with a hairdryer to even it out. 5 When the candle is completely set, trim the wick and screw on the lid. On the candle’s first burn, make sure it is alight for long enough to allow the entire top of the candle to melt. This will ensure the candle burns evenly on subsequent lightings.

Adapted from Forgotten Ways for Modern Days: Kitchen Cues and Household Lore for a Natural Home and Garden by Rachelle Blondel (Kyle Books).




or a few weeks during the depths of winter, the garden remains out of sight and out of mind. But it’s no chore to put your feet up and pick put a few nice plants for when the weather improves and there are glimpses of spring. No need to visit the garden centre even, as independent nurseries have more interesting plants (many of which are grown on site), more specific advice and you can browse their catalogues online or sit there with a pile and a marker pen and make like a child in a sweet shop. All the nurseries listed here also offer an online mail-order service (there may be a charge for delivery), with plants and seeds arriving promptly, carefully packed and ready to plant.


F O R D R O U G H T- L OV I N G PLANTS T H E B E T H C H AT TO N U R S E RY Gardener, Beth Chatto famously believes the secret to a thriving garden begins with putting “the right plant in the right place.” Based in the South East, which is warmer and has less rainfall than other parts of the UK, her beautiful Gravel Garden features a variety of plants that will thrive in hot, dry conditions. So, if yours is also a garden that suffers from long periods of drought, or has a light, sandy soil that doesn’t retain moisture very well, you won’t go far wrong choosing plants from Beth’s nursery. The nursery also sells plants for other out-of-the-ordinary conditions, including

water-retentive soil, sunny spots, shady areas, and marginal wet areas. Elmstead Market, near Colchester, Essex;; 01206 822007 FOR U N USUAL E DIB LES EDULIS Paul Barney originally only intended to offer a wide range of fruit, herbs and vegetables that you couldn’t find in garden centres and DIY stores. Rare architectural and shady plants followed to supply his landscaping business and then, after a series of planthunting expeditions in Chile, India, Ethiopia, Vietnam and China, the collection expanded to include an interesting mix of climbers, ferns, bulbs and grasses, too. Unusual edible plants include Japanese


asparagus, cabbage thistle, garlic cress and wasabi. All the plants are grown in a Victorian Walled Garden in Berkshire, which Paul rescued from dereliction. Ashampstead, Reading (visits by appointment only until 31 January).; 01635 578113 FOR HEIRLOOM VEG REAL SEEDS Perfect for ethically-minded, growyour-own enthusiasts, none of the seeds on offer at Real Seeds have been selectively bred (known as F1 hybrids) or genetically modified. Owners Ben Gabel and Kate McEvoy grow everything themselves, often conducting taste and performance trials so they can ensure that customers only have easy-to-grow, flavoursome varieties to choose from. Varieties include lots of off-beat ones including many different cucumbers, achocha (an easy-to-grow salad veg hailing from South America) as well as rapini (a type of broccoli that has an ever so slightly spicy flavor). The couple also actively encourage their customers to collect their own seeds to sow the following year (how-to instructions

are provided with each purchase). Mail order only.; 01239 821107 FOR FLOWE RING BU LBS AVO N B U L B S This family-owned nursery produces a catalogue twice a year: in spring, for bulbs that are planted for summer flowering, and then again in June for autumn-planted varieties that flower the following spring. There’s plenty of choice if you’re looking for types to naturalise or intermingle in herbaceous borders or to create a seasonal container display, with a huge list that ranges from autumn-flowering crocus and cyclamen, to hyacinths and paperwhite narcissus for Christmas flowering, through agapanthus and alliums, to dahlias, gladioli, camassia and tulips. Mail order only.; 01460 242177 FOR IRIS AND PEONIES C L A I R E AU S T I N H A R DY P L A N T S Daughter of David Austin, the acclaimed rose-growing nurseryman, Claire grows a range of hardy perennials in her nursery in the Welsh borders. But it’s her National

Collection of bearded iris and peonies, with more than 90 cultivars in each range, that are worth checking out. All the plants are grown in 100% peat-free compost and her peonies are sold bare-root from October time. A useful feature in the catalogue and on the website is the ‘Plant Collections’ guide, which helps you choose which plants to group together if you’re not sure or are stuck for inspiration. The nursery has two open days in 2017 on 2 and 3 June. Sarn, near Newtown, Powys;; 01686 670342. FOR GRASSES KNOLL GARDENS What nursery owner Neil Lucas doesn’t know about ornamental grasses simply isn’t worth knowing. In addition to a fantastically stocked nursery and plenty of expert advice on hand, his four-acre show garden is inspirational when it comes to using this group of plants in a naturalist planting scheme along with other flowering perennials to create year-round interest. Hapreston, near Wimborne, Dorset;; 01202 873931 117


AT THE END OF THE DAY, little beats shutting the door, drawing the curtains, putting a log on the fire and settling in for the night. The best thing about the colder days is returning home and feeling cosseted by enveloping warmth. Happily, timed thermostats and clever gadgets like the Hive Heating Control (, which enables you to control the temperature from your phone, ensure that your entrance into warmth is guaranteed. These days most of us take central heating and double glazing for granted but a whippy draught under the door can still


freeze the ankles, and an open door still brings in a blast of chilled air. Which is where extra layers of warmth come in. An evening spent on the sofa is one hundred times better when snuggled under a throw, and a bed heaped with extra layers and with a hot water bottle tucked inside is the most inviting place to burrow. Wood-burning stoves and open fires, although not always strictly necessary, also boost the heat and a provide a place to huddle around as the rain patters on the window and the wind whistles down the chimney.

Every home should have plenty of places to hang things on to warm them through. Radiators, above, are the obvious choice, of course, and a useful place to drape socks, smaller items of laundry and sheepskin cat radiator beds (see for a range of inviting options). Towel radiators turn your exit from the bath into a sublime moment of wrap-around cosiness. Lakeland’s popular heated airers (, from £80) make laundry crisp and toasty in no time and provide an impromptu wigwam or den for small children and pets. Draw the line at hanging soggy clothes on a wooden airer in front of the fire, though, unless you want to recreate the damp and steamy mood of a 1960s kitchen sink drama.




RELIGHT MY FIRE Whenever a fire needs to be lit, there will always be debate about the best method to do it. This is especially true, of course, when staying in a holiday cottage or similar, when a tussle over whether to use firelighters or not, or how to layer kindling is almost inevitable. With these instructions under your belt, though, you will be the one to shine. OMake sure the grate is clean. Sweep away any ash from the hearth if it is an open fire, or clean the tray if it’s a wood-burner. The key to getting any fire going it so ensure there is a good air flow to combust the fuel. OScrunch up several balls of newspaper and lay them in the grate. Some folk recommend rolling the newspaper into a tube, then loosely knotting, but this is not essential. OLay pieces of very dry kindling (small, dry pieces of wood or twigs) on top of the newspaper. A couple of interwoven layers should do it. OPile two or three well seasoned (dry) logs on top. OLight the paper with a match (push the door to, if you’re using a wood burner), stand back and watch the fire ignite. (If all that fails, then is the time to use a firelighter.)



W H I C H R A D I AT O R ? Remember when all radiators were cumbersome blocks of metal sitting awkwardly along the wall behind the sofa? Those days are over. Designers have turned their attention to these essential dispensers of warmth, treating them as pieces of furniture in their own right. Some hang on the wall, some look like art, and some are just plain show-offy. Other, more conventional styles, are also available.


1. CLASSIC APOLLO CAST-IRON RADIATOR, £91-£2,000 Slim, understated and with a rounded top to fit in most interiors. 2. TRADITIONAL CENTURION CAST-IRON RADIATOR, £109 This free-standing Victorian style radiator suits period properties. Can be painted to match your decorative scheme.


3. MODERNIST PAJAK COPPER RADIATOR, £1,063 Made from copper pipes, this would suit a loft-style space. Has knobs to hang coats and towels and keep them toasty. 4. WOODEN KNOCKONWOOD, £409 Comes in a variety of wood veneers including beech, maple and walnut. Also has low-energy consumption.


5. SCULPTURAL OSLO RADIATOR, £1,500 Radiators can be more than mere heat dispensers, they can be features! This one with its wavy vertical tubes hangs on a wall and creates pleasing shadows. All radiators from The Radiator Centre


A D D A N O T H E R L AY E R You may think that since Sir Terence Conran Conra a blessed us with the nental quilt” aka the duvet, in “contin 197 , the need for an eiderdown is oveer. T This feather-stuffed, satin item spent decades d on top of scratchy blan nkeets and stiff sheets in chilly, pre--centrally-heated homes. But

there has been a revival in its fortunes as more of us covet an extra layer of warmth and a decorative flourish. Now, lighter bedspreads, like the Winchester wool quilt, £249 from (below) eliminate draughts, nipping in around the edges of the duvet.


THE HOT WAT E R B O T T L E One of the loveliest phrases in the English language is, “I’ve put a hot water bottle in your bed.” The successor to the bed warmer (made of brass, filled with coals, cumbersome), the hot water bottle was once essential to take the chill off cotton sheets. These days it is an affordable luxury and gives a boost of localised warmth that is hard to resist. Knowing that one awaits you, heating up the bed in readiness for your entry, makes clambering in far more inviting.


On wintry days, little is as inviting as a blazing fire, and nothing is as bleak as an empty grate. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, you know all about its rewards – crackling flames, flickering light, calf-roasting heat. If you don’t, you have probably considered a wood-burning stove. These cast-iron cupboards full of fire can be installed anywhere a flue can be fitted, and are a neat and tidy way to blast out heat. They look good, too (see the new Bay BX from Charnwood, £1,620, above) and can match your style of furnishings. Naysayers claim that they are a tame option when compared to an open fire, but they most probably have chilly backs and grubby, coal-smeared hands. Find one at; charnwood. com;;;


EXTRA E X R SOMETHINGS S SOME OM nder with a cuppa and a good book

Duck egg blue mohair throw, £89

Pumpernickel blanket, £266

Shetland herringbone throw, £75

Etto orange and grey throw, £60

Ysbryd tonnau throw, £122

Charcoal weave throw, £350

Cley navy stripe throw, £150

Peat Earley throw, £55.30

Woodstock lambswool throw, £120



MEET THE TEAM 020 7415 7238

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Catherine Frawley Gathering, page 24 @catherine_frawley

Sian Meades Outing, page 70

Jonathan Cherry Photographs, page 33

Rachael Oakden Wellbeing, page 62

Catherine Butler Interview, page 40

Lou Archell Review, page 66

Taking time to live well


Co-founders David Parker, Guy Foreman, Lisa Sykes Maple porridge Turkish baths Old-fashioned puddings

The Simple Things is published by Iceberg Press, printed by William Gibbons and distributed by COMAG. We print on chlorine-free paper from suppliers that have been independently certified by the Forest Stewardship Councill. © Iceberg Press Limited 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be

Living room suppers • Ways to keep warm • Nordic home style Why mountains do us good • Citrus drinks & fruity biscuits Dreaming of adventure • Making candles • How star signs work

used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. ISSN 2050-4136 Iceberg Press Limited is registered in England, company no 09051321 with its registered office at Thorne House, Turners Hill Road, Crawley Down, West Sussex RH10 4HQ. All information contained in this

FRONT COVER Sandra Cunningham/

magazine is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press.

Stocksy. BACK COVER Emma Harris

Iceberg Press Limited does not accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. Readers are advised to contact retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this magazine.



Midwinter treats



A curious combination of the practical and the playful Compiled by: FRANCES AMBLER

Illustrations by: JOE SNOW



2 3 4







CAPTION COMPETITION OVER TO YOU… Make us giggle with a caption for this rather chilled seal. We’ll send a lovely book to the writer of our favourite. Post your best efforts at thesimplethingsmag

H OW H A R D C A N I T B E … Do plug this doughnut into your computer to keep your cuppa toasty. Freshly Baked USB Cupwarmer, £8,


Celebrating lost gems from the lexicon of yesteryear

Chew on it Chewing gum for threeminu ute es can relieve an earworm.So(ap apolsto Lady Gaga)there’s no o needto Rah rahah-ah-ah! Rom o mah ro-mahmah! GoGa Gaga oh-la-la! any mo ore.


Can’t get a song out of your head? Listen carefully to these tips Avoid certain songs Researchers found earworms are faster, have a memorable melody and feature unusual ‘leaps’or repetitions – so strike ‘Smoke on the Water’ and Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ off your Spotify now. Pay attention We’re most likely to get an earrworm when caught off guard or day ydreaming. Snap your brain back with h some gentle activity – Sudoku or five ve word anagrams worked best in tests. ts

to start to thaw Origin: Yorkshire.

Found in Landmarks by Robert MacFarlane (Hamish Hamilton)



A4 WEEKLY DIARY Go nuts for this pistachio-coloured bonded leather beauty. Best for: all the added extras – from stickers to wish list pages £36,

TASTY TREND CASCARA Made from the sun-dried outer peel of the cherry of coffee plants, this, confusingly, tastes and is brewed more like a fruit tea and is a drink popular amongst those in the caffeine know (we were slipped a cup by our friends at Volcano Coffee). The flavour is sweet and fruity with a smoky aftertaste, and a quiet coffee-esque buzz. A delightful way to confuse your tastebuds... TRY IT: at central London’s Kaffeine coffee shops . ( BUY IT: from SEE IT: on our Tasty Trend Pinterest Board

From Fresh Made Simple by Lauren K Stein. Illustrations by Katie Eberts. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

The Riddle of the Burns Supper

NOTO BABY BLUE WEEKLY DIARY A leather-look week-to-view, with matching elastic closure. Best for: a budget with style. £12, p p

THE MYSTERY John and Joan Jones return home in the pitch black after a roisterous Burns Night supper. They relieve their children (Jeremy and Julie)’s babysitter and head straight to bed. After all that sparkling wine, Mrs Jones wakes late next morning. She gingerly opens the curtains. The sun is streaming onto the lawn and it’s a good deal warmer than of late. But she notices some strange objects on the wet lawn. In the middle are 11 pieces of coal – not far apart and seemingly placed together deliberately. Nearby is a carrot. And

somebody has left their scarf on the grass, and it’s soaking. She hears Jeremy on the stairs. “What do you know about the things on the lawn?” she asks, swallowing aspirin. “Did you or Julie put them there?” Jeremy shakes his head. “No,” he replies, “nobody did.” Mrs Jones is bemused but doesn’t fancy an argument. “Not too much noise,” she tells him. “Your father had a busy day.” THE PROBLEM Jeremy was telling the truth. Nobody put the objects on the lawn. How did they get there?

A: Julie and Jeremy made a snowman while their parents were out. Overnight heavy rain washed away much of the snowman and the morning’s sun did the rest, leaving the strange objects on the snowless lawn. RIFLE PAPER CO MIDNIGHT AGENDA Illu ustrated endpapers and qu uotes, cloth h-bound with copper acccents. Beest for: Storybook beaauty. £330, p p


Adapted from The Pilot Who Wore a Dress and Other Dastardly Lateral Thinking Mysteries by Tom Cutler (HarperCollins)



Made from recycled material, these are super eco-friendly and non toxic You will ll need: Ends s of candles Em mpty baked beans (or other) tins Egg cartons Some sheets of newspaper Sawdust Sc cissors 1 Place e the candle stubs in a rinsed out baked d beans tin and place in a bain marie with wit a couple of inches of water. ntly melt 2 Turn the heat on low to gently the candle wax. 3 Remove the lid from the egg boxes and place on a few sheets of newspaper to protect your worktop.

4 Put a large pinch of sawdust in the bottom of each egg holder. 5 When the wax is liquid, fill each egg holder to about half full. 6 Wait until completely cooled and set, before using scissors to cut up into individual firelighters. The egg cartons light really easily and the sawdust acts like a wick for a candle, keeping it lit more than long enough for the fire to get going.

Ide om sug sugara g f / g / the-stable-at-huntington i gton, who use these lighters for their wood-fired hot tub and Kotlich outdoor cooking pot/fire pit.

THE DOMESTIC ALCHEMIST Winter Skin Tonic A facial toning elixir for all skin types – soothes irritated skin, tightens pores and keeps acne at bay MAKES: 375ml KEEPS: For two week ks in the fridge INGREDIENTS 375ml water 1 peppermint tea bag 1 rooibos tea bag 1 chamomile tea bag ESSENTIAL OILS: 1 drop rosemary 4 drops lavender

When making marmalade, always make sure that the fruit is completely cooked and soft before adding the sugar. Once the sugar is added, the fruit will not continue to cook and soften. From: Women’s Institute Practical Know-How: in the kitchen (Simon & Schuster)

Scouring shelves for second-hand gems

Courtesy of Jenny Pao. Found in The Domestic Alchemist: 501 Herbal Recipes for Home, Health and Happiness by Pip Waller (Leaping Hare Press)

1 Bring the water to the boil, then leave to cool for 3 mins. 2 Pour the water overr the tea bags in a pot a and leave to stand for 5 m mins. 3 Cool completely before removing tthe tea bags. Add the oiils and pour into a glas ass bottle. 4 Shake botttle before use. Apply y toner daily to clean nsed skin prior to moist sturising.

HOW TO BE A MORE INTERESTING WOMAN By Barbara Wedgwood In this 1965 book, the challenge is to become more interesting. The book contains such gems as: “being ‘interesting’ can be as much about listening attentively as spouting forth” buried within a whole load of commandments on appearance and home life that make you want to burn your bra all over again. Our advice on being a more interesting woman? Read a less boring book.


Lessons from our sch chool days, long since forgotten


DOGS IN BLANKETS The secret dreams of sleeping pets RINGO, JACK RUSSELL/CHIHUAHUA, FOUR “In the town where I was born… lived a man who sailed to sea … and he told …” Haha, only kidding, babe. I may be called Ringo, but I don’t truly believe I am Ringo! Always been more of a Stones hound. And I don’t like to be hidden away behind a drum kit – babe, I’m a star! Yeah, I’ve got the moves like Jagger. Thank you, adoring public! And, yes, thank you, adoring owner (even if you did wildly misjudge my musical leanings). Tweet a pic of your #dogsinblankets or #catsonmats @simplethingsmag

If you feel winter may never finish, take comfort in the fact that even the Ice Age eventually came to an end – 18,000 years ago, Britain was covered in ice as far down as the Bristol Channel, meaning much of our landscape has been shaped by glacial processes. Glaciers are slow-moving masses of ice, with processes of plucking and abrasion as powerful as any beauty therapist. Plucking is when stones and rocks are frozen to the base of the glacier and ‘plucked’ as it moves, leaving behind a jagged landscape. Abrasion is when the stones embedded in the glacier rub against rock surfaces, smoothing like sandpaper as they move. Striations are scratches carved out by angular debris. The overall result is some spectacular landscapes that are much easier to appreciate now we’ve got central heating to make things a little less chillsome.



This recipe for winter morning fuel comes from the co-owner of London-based Danish restaurant Snaps+Rye MAKES 2–3 BOWLS 2 tbsp chopped toasted walnuts 125g jumbo oats* 250ml full-fat milk 250ml home-brewed coffee TOPPING Drizzle of maple syrup

1 Preheat oven to 180C/Fan 160C/350F. Place the walnuts on

a baking tray and toast in the oven for 15 mins, turning after 5 mins. 2 Meanwhile, put the oats, milk and brewed coffee in a pan and cook over a medium heat for 5–10 mins. 3 Remove the walnuts from the oven and leave to cool.

4 Spoon the porridge into the bowls, top with the toasted walnuts and drizzle over a little maple syrup. Recipe from Spoon by Annie Morris and Jonny Shimmin (Hardie Grant). Photography: Hugh Johnson

* Jumbo oats lend themselves perfectly to full-fat milk, you get a creaminess that you cannot be achieved from other milks.


“Before you start any kind of diet or exercise plan, there is something that I believe … is much more important. It is what the … Frenchmen call ‘joie de vivre’ ... If anything isn’t fun, the heck with it” Lilly Daché’s Glamour Book (1956)


WICKED PLANTS Some plants are the root, bark and berry of all evil. Avoid these botanical beasts with our handy guide

Ayahuasca vine This vine’s bark brewed with chacruna leaves makes ayahuasca, a potent tea causing hallucinations and extreme vomiting, used in ‘purging’ ceremonies. Nice.

Castor bean Poisonous seeds contain ricin – responsible for the 1978 murder of a journalist on London Bridge, jabbed with a poisoned umbrella.

Deadly nightshade With tempting black berries often eaten in error – causing hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, seizures and death – it’s also known as ‘devil’s cherry’.

Ergot Alkaloids in this fungus that grows on rye restrict blood vessels, causing seizure and nausea. It may account for the ‘demonic possession’ of the girls in 1691 Salem.

Henbane Known for its rank odour, this plant’s many alluring nicknames include “fetid nightshade”, and “stinking Roger”, butliterally means “killer of hens”.

Iboga Central to Bwiti religious practices in Gabon, where the hallucinogenic bark is used in initiation rites, and healing medical or emotional problems.

Mandrake Not much to see above ground, but beware what lies beneath – roots of up to three to four feet long that are a powerful hallucinogen.

Poison hemlock Similar to parsley and carrots. Purple blotches on its stem are called “the blood of Socrates” – the Greek philosopher was killed using its poison.

Aconite Responsible for two priests’ demise at an 1856 dinner when mistaken for horseradish. Contact can cause numbness, tingling and cardiac symptoms.

Excerpted from The Wicked Plants Coloring Bookk by Amy Stewart (Algonquin Books); illustrations by Briony Morrow-Cribbs. To win one of five copies, enter our competition online at p g / g/ p 127

WHERE WAS THAT? All the lovely things in this issue – organised with page numbers to help you find them

COOK Proudly Homemade Simply Goan fish curry Gathering: A box set supper Hot artichoke & spinach dip Feta, cream cheese & parsley dip DIY tortilla chips Mushroom, pancetta & sage tagliatelle Flatbreads with three-herb garlic butter Pile-it-up apple crumble with custard & maple syrup Eating well Okonomiyaki pancakes Tipple of the month Clementine cocktails Proper puddings Treacle sponge pudding Jam roly poly Custard Eve’s pudding Cake in the house Raspberry biscuits with lemon curd Miscellany: snacking made simple Fontina Miscellany: tasty trend Cascara Fresh Coffee, walnut and maple porridge

BUY 16 26 27 27 28 29 30 37 39 45 46 46 49 53 124 124 126

THINK Eating well The Surplus Kitchen Wisdom Campaigning paddle-boarder Lizzie Carr A job well done Origin Coffee My day in cups of tea Textiles designer Sally Nencini Wellbeing Mountain highs A poetic pause ‘Snow’ by Louis MacNeice Ideas Made-up languages Gallery The British Wildlife Photography Awards Notes on life Chaz Hutton’s sticky notes Know a thing or two Astrology Looking back Victorian pools and Turkish baths Wild word Glocken Miscellany: caption competition Chilly seal Miscellany: lateral logic Burns supper Miscellany: I used to know that Glaciation Miscellany: identifier Wicked plants Bedtime story ‘Carnival Cats’ by Katherine Arden


33 40 50 52 62 77 78 80 88 91 96 123 123 124 126 127 130

Wishlist Maker of the month Studio Haran Book reviews The January Man, Take Courage, Leap In Shop of the month Hato Simple Style Backpacks Home Style Fondue sets Best of The Simple Things Anthology Oh Comely subscription The Simple Things subscription Home Truths Keep nice and warm Miscellany: fab gadget USB cup warmer Miscellany: trio Diaries

8 11 11, 13, 14 14 22 38 76 95 110 118 123 124

DO Homemade remedies Match tea face mask Winter skin tonic Sunday Best Have a good cry Your could-do list Whole-year resolutions Learn something new Ballet Playlist Scandi songs Flowers in the house Witch hazel Home tour Get Scandinavian style Weekend project Candles Growing Armchair gardening Home truths Light a fire How to get rid of an earworm, make firelighters

17 125 17 17 51 90 101 102 112 116 119 123, 125

GO Can we tell you about… Wilderness Reserve Dates for your diary Winter festivals My City Auckland Competition Win a walking break Weekend away Penzance, Cornwall Outing Aquariums

18 18 56 65 66 70




My City

Homemade soup & bread

How to be less anxious

A local’s guide to Buenos Aires

Weekend project


Know a thing or two

DIY energy balls

The moneyless manifesto

The secrets of massage



…you can buy the next one at from 25 January If you really liked it, might we suggest a subscription? It’s cheaper, too – see page 110

ON SALE 25 JANUARY 2017 TERMS AND CONDITIONS By taking part in our competitions and giveaways, you agree to be bound by the Competition Rules which are summarised below but can be viewed in full at Late or incomplete entries will be disqualified. 2. Proof of posting (if relevant) shall not be deemed proof of delivery. 3. Entries must be submitted by an individual (not via any agency or similar) and, unless otherwise stated, are limited to one per household. 4. Iceberg Press reserves the right in its sole discretion to substitute any prize with cash or a prize of comparable value. 5. Unless otherwise stated, the Competition is open to all GB residents of 18 years and over, except employees of Iceberg Press and any party involved in the competition or their households. 6. Winners will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the closing date. If for any reason there are more winners than prizes, a simple draw will take place. 7. By entering a Competition you give permission to use your name, likeness and personal information in connection with the Competition and for promotional purposes. All entries will become the property of the company upon receipt and will not be returned. You warrant that the Competition entry is entirely your own work and not copied or adapted from any other source. If you are a winner, you may have to provide additional information. 8. Details of winners will be available on request within three months of the closing date. If you are a winner, your receipt of any prize is conditional upon you complying with (among other things) the Competition Rules. You acknowledge and agree that neither Iceberg Press nor any associated third parties shall have any liability to you in connection with your use and/or possession of your prize. DATA PROTECTION TERMS & CONDITIONS When entering our competitions by post, text or email you agree to our Competition Rules and that you’re happy to receive details of future offers and promotions from Iceberg Press Limited and carefully selected third parties, via post, email or text message. If you do not want to receive this information, please mark your email entries ‘NO OFFERS’ or include the word ‘STOP’ at the end of your text message.




n winter, men in yellow vests dash water onto the fields and paths of Gorky Park to make a skating rink. Each winter sunset, red and pink lights spray candy colours on the ice, and the air smells of mulled wine and meat sizzling. The park becomes a carnival, at gliding speed. The snow beside the front gate glittered like a despot’s couch, and Nadya sat in it, fumbling skates onto her feet. Olga, hair starred with snow, was smiling up at Maksim, who grinned loutishly back. “Hurry up,” Olga said. Neither of them wanted Nadya, obviously. “Take your sister,” their mother had said, and Olga had, rolling her eyes. Nadya liked skating, and so she went along, with a sullen expression to indicate that she hadn’t asked. Nadya stood up. The noise engulfed her. Olga was skating in circles with a half-clumsy grace. She fell giggling into Maksim, who spun her around the ice. The crowd sucked them all in, and next moment Olga and her boy glided away, arm in arm. Nadya did not follow. “Going to go make babies in corners,” she muttered. Well she was going to skate. She pushed off. Her skates were too tight, the laces frayed. Snow drifted down. The red whirl of the lights threw shadows from each snowflake.

Boys whizzed past. Nadya skated by bars set right on the ice. Revellers skated into them, drank, and skated out again, listing. Nadya slipped away from the noise, into the dark half of the park. The cold seemed to deepen, as though crowds and lights had been keeping back the winter. This part of the ice was indifferently kept: jagged under Nadya’s blades. But at least it was quiet. Her only danger was running into Olga and Maksim, kissing. She heard a mewl. Nadya slowed. Mewl. Just beside the path, Nadya saw a box. In the box were two tiny kittens. “That’s a stupid place to put kittens,” said Nadya. Moscow was rotten with stray animals. She could barely see the tiny, shut-up eyes in the dark. A scrape of cat food smeared the cardboard, but the kittens were obviously too small to eat it. She wondered who had taken the time to put the little ones in a park, boxed, with food, where someone might find them. Some child, maybe, afraid of an angry father? “Who cares about you?” she asked the creatures. She was going to skate away. That is what she should do. Skate away. Mother would never let her have a cat. She picked up a kitten and put it in her pocket. This kitten was orange. Then she pocketed the other kitten. This kitten was grey. “If you pee, or anything,” said Nadya, “you are done.” She skated off, pockets squirming. Light to dark and back again. Circle the park. Circle again. The party whizzed past her. Her mother would never allow cats; the apartment was tiny. She’d have been kinder to drown them. Who put them there? A shriek like a train whistle and Nadya’s sister ploughed into her. “There you are!” cried Olga. “We were worried, weren’t we?” “We were,” said Maksim. “Here,” said Olga. “I want wine. Come on, Nadya, I’ll share, even if you’re little.” Olga paused. “Why are your pockets moving?” Nadya hesitated. Then she scooped out the kittens. One hand, then the other. “I found them,” she said. “Someone hoped—” “We’ll never be able to have a cat,” Olga said. But she put out a finger to touch the tiny orange head. “No?” said Maksim. “Maybe,” said Nadya, realising that she had begun to smile, looking at her sister. Olga was cradling the orange kitten.

The Bear and the Nightingale (Del Rey) is Katherine’s debut novel. The Texan author’s travels have taken her to Russia, Hawaii and more. Her simple thing is warm socks, wood stoves and the smell of baking.



A short story by KATHERINE ARDEN

The wood burning stove perfected Clearview stoves are considered by many to be the finest available. They combine clean burning efficiency and state of the art engineering in many designs and colours. With the natural warmth produced and an amazing view of dancing flames behind crystal clear glass, they will save you money and enrich your life.

STOCKISTS THROUGHOUT THE UK Manufactured at More Works, Bishops Castle, Shropshire SY9 5HH Brochure Line: 01588 650 123

The Simple Things – January 2017