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TA K I N G T I M E T O L I V E W E L L

April Enjoying outdoor days

We’re going camping! Growing a meal in a pot Taking a mindful walk

CURIOUS

The girl who ran away to the circus • Upcycling in a Dutch garden Why record players rock • Spring chicken pie • The sanctuary of the shed Crumpets & cake for proper high tea • WIN a VW camper holiday


April

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Gathering for pie and mash

Stealing recipes from a secret tea room

FRESH

LIVING

ESCAPE

08 APRIL THINGS

22 SIMPLE STYLE

66 MY CITY

15 WIN! A VW CAMPERVAN TRIP

Isle of Wight Campervan Holidays are giving away a six-night break for four people

The appeal – and the dangers – of a cape

24 SECRET TEA ROOM

Cake recipes from a living room legend

32 WISDOM

Nell Gifford’s life lessons from running a circus

38 GATHERING

An Easter feast for friends and family: chicken pie, mash, vegetables and of course, chocolate dessert

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Growing your own ingredients

46 ONE POT GOURMET GARDENER It’s amazing what you can do with just one pot – meals to plant, nurture, harvest, cook and enjoy

54 EXPERT

Tim Matthews of The Artisan Smokehouse explains smoking, curing, and building layers of flavour

60 GO TO WORK ON AN EGG CUP

The arty couple on an egg cup making challenge

63 MY DAY IN CUPS OF TEA

Cornish maker Poppy Treffry’s day in cuppas

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Local Pauline Egge introduces her home city, Rotterdam, which blossoms in spring

72 FOOD FROM AFAR Greek Easter bread, Tsoureki

76 OUTING

Camping season is here; we’re full of ideas about where to go, pitching tents and telling the best stories around the campfire

ON THE COVER

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Making eyes at a plate

FRONT COVER: GEORGIA GLYNNSMITH; BACK COVER: KATHARINE DAVIES

Your essential guide to the month ahead, from stylish product picks to the best new books to read, events to take part in and dates to put in your diary


CONTENTS

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Making a new garden from old

Combining vintage and modern

THINK

98 HOME TOUR

83 BEAUTIFUL BOOKS

106 UPCYCLED GARDEN

Be mindful with Leaping Hare Press

84 LOOKING BACK

Vintage furniture in a modern Hamburg home Waste not, want not – a demo from a Dutch couple on transforming the old into the new and useful

The women artists behind the husbands who got the glory

112 WEEKEND PROJECT

88 IDEAS

116 HOME COMFORTS

Think again about whether you really want to bash a beetle or whack a wasp

89 PASSING ON TRADITIONS

The pleasures and quirks of the park café

Alice in Wonderland-inspired craft projects The particular pleasures of the garden shed

120 POSTCARDS FROM THE HEDGE Mark Diacono is harvesting asparagus and meeting the first piglets of the spring

92 MY SIMPLE THING

Wandering around an art gallery

93 WELLBEING

Walking to calm the mind and soothe the soul

NEST 95 FLOWERS IN THE HOUSE Bring in spring: primroses

97 HOME STYLE

Stack up the 45s on a record player

MISCELLANY 123 A curious combination of the practical and the playful: how to darn; colouring in for grownups; the origins of yarg; learn a new card game; remember stuff you once knew; spot a bird of prey; learn about ferns; get rid of hiccups 130 BEDTIME STORY

We Shall Not be Moved by Tim Clare

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/THESIMPLETHINGSMAG

WWW.TWITTER.COM/SIMPLETHINGSMAG

3 WAYS TO BUY NEVER MISS THE SIMPLE THINGS AGAIN. HERE’S HOW: ● Subscribe: Where do you read yours? Our subscribers tell us. Join them and save up to 26%. See PAGE 90. ● Order a copy from any newsagent, using our form – on PAGE 56 and online at www.thesimplethings.com/blog/newsagent. ● Buy online at www.thesimplethings.com.

WWW.PINTEREST.COM/SIMPLETHINGS

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Forest Dweller pots | £16 each Woodland creatures and succulents in a winning combination: what’s not to like? www.anthropologie.eu

Polar Bear table | £125 A furry friend to support your bedside reading. www.frenchbedroom company.co.uk

Copper mug | £12 The shiny, mirrored finish turns tea drinking into a luxe affair. www. lunaandcurious.com

THINGS TO WANT AND WISH FOR Interesting and covetable things for the curiousminded, unearthed by LOUISE GORROD

Labyrinth iPad case | £39.95 Made from a snazzy canvas print with leather trim, there is no smarter way to carry your tablet. www.the-pippa-andike-show.com

LOUISE GORROD The Simple Things’ wishlist editor Louise is a Hove-based writer, baker, photographer and author of blog Buttercup Days www.buttercupdaysuk. blogspot.co.uk

Ladle | £12.50 What a handsome thing this copper ladle is, and perfect for soup. www. marksandspencer.com Philosophical honey | £25 Three jars, each sourced from the birthplace of a different Greek philosopher. www.theschooloflife.com/shop

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FRESH | APRIL THINGS

Stacked Shelf System | from ÂŁ79-145 Customise your shelving by stacking these modular boxes of varying sizes in useful combinations. www. placesandspaces.com


LIVING | GATHERING

Nice as pie ANY THING BUT HUMBLE, THIS COMFORTING PIE IS SURE TO ELICIT NOISES OF APPROVAL AROUND THE TABLE AT A LONG AND LEISURELY EASTER WEEKEND LUNCH Photography and recipes: VIVIANE PERÉNYI

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he four-day weekend means blissful extra time for hanging out with family and friends. Why can’t they all be this long? If you’re gathering a lunch gang, a pie you can make beforehand is a simple, steaming gift to bring to the table. Fill it with spring chicken (or rabbit for the less squeamish*). Then run it off afterwards with an Easter egg hunt in the garden. There’s got to be chocolate for the adults too – how about a mousse with candied orange peel? 

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* Poach rabbit pieces in milk on a low heat with the same flavours, but lose the lemon as it would curdle the milk. Remove bones and make sauce from filtered milk


It is the law that any pie must be always be served with hearty veg and an over-generous dollop of buttery mash

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LIVING | GROWING

One-pot gourmet gardeninG WITH JUST A SINGLE CONTAINER, YOU CAN GROW ENOUGH PRODUCE FOR A TASTY MEAL. PLANT THESE NIFTY COMBINATIONS AND A PLATE OF DELICIOUSNESS WILL BE YOURS Words: CINEAD MCTERNAN

BABA GANOUSH

Smoky, smooth and sumptuous, this MiddleEastern dip transforms aubergine from a spongy vegetable into a creamy, heavenly treat. The plants are pretty too: soft purple flowers appear in early summer, followed by dark or striped violet-purple vegetables. Cha Cha chives add fun, with their swirly leaves.

GROW ME 1 packet aubergine Amethyst F1 seeds 2 pots chive Cha Cha 2 pots apple mint (Mentha x gracilis) 1 seed tray 1 container, 45cm/18in in diameter Multipurpose or soil-based compost General organic vegetable fertiliser

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Photography: JASON INGRAMS

Sow aubergine seeds in late winter; plant in spring. 1 Fill the seed tray with compost. Thinly sow a handful of aubergine seeds and cover with about 5mm/¼in compost. Place on a windowsill or in a heated greenhouse or conservatory – the seeds need a temperature of 15–20C (59–68F) to germinate. 2 When the aubergine seedlings are large enough to handle, pot on into 9cm/3½in pots. When flowers start to appear in spring, they are ready to be transplanted to their final positions in a sunny, sheltered spot. 3 Plant two aubergines, about 35cm/14in apart, in the middle of the prepared container. Plant a chive next to each aubergine. Pot the two mints individually in 13cm/5in pots to

restrict their vigorous growth, and sink one pot on each side of the container. 4 As the aubergine is a dwarf variety, there is no need to stake the plants. It’s a good idea to limit the crop to three to four fruits from each plant for the best results, so pick off surplus flowers. Don’t let the compost dry out and, once flowers appear, feed every week with a proprietary feed. Mist the aubergines every day to help the fruits set. 5 Thankfully, ‘Amethyst’ aubergine will not produce thorns (unless stressed), making the late-summer harvest less prickly than from one of its cousins. Snip the heads off the chives and use the leaves in the same way as traditional varieties. Regularly pick the mint, too, to keep it neat and compact.


EAT ME Serves 4 4 small or 3 medium-sized aubergines 2 tbsp tahini 2 garlic cloves, crushed Juice of 1 lemon 1 handful mint, chopped 1 tbsp chives, chopped Salt and pepper, to taste 2 tbsp olive oil 1 Char the aubergines over a gas flame or under a grill, turning them regularly to ensure they cook evenly and all the flesh is soft and collapsing. (If you don’t have a gas cooker, poke them all over with a sharp knife and bake on a foil-lined baking sheet in a preheated oven at 180C/Fan 160/ 350F for 15 mins. Place a damp tea towel over the hot aubergines to steam off the skins.) 2 Set the aubergines aside to cool. 3 Scoop out the flesh and squeeze it to release excess moisture. Discard the skins. 4 Mix the rest of the ingredients, apart from the oil, in a bowl. Season to taste. 5 Roughly mash the aubergine flesh, add to the other ingredients and mix. 6 Pour over the oil and serve with pitta bread, cruditÊs or thinly sliced, toasted sourdough.

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M Y C I T Y * : R OT T E R DA M PAULINE EGGE TAKES US TO HER FAVOURITE ADDRESSES IN HOLLAND’S ARCHITECTURAL PLAYGROUND, ROTTERDAM

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ESCAPE | CITY GUIDE

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1 Rotterdam’s skyline, taken from the lake at Kralingse Plas 2 Architecture meets art in Piet Blom’s cube houses, designed to look like trees 3 The Erasmus bridge, known locally as ‘The Swan’, seen from the terrace at the NHow Hotel 4 The spring spectacle of tulips at Keukenhof, just 30 minutes from Rotterdam 5 Point us to the food – signage at the Fenix Food Factory

PAULINE EGGE

Pauline Egge was born and raised in Rotterdam and loves every paving stone of it. She studied journalism in Utrecht, moved back to Rotterdam and now travels the world to discover the most beautiful design for her blog www.petitepassport.com.

There’s no better way to get to the heart of a city than through the people that 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. How long have you lived in the city?

Pretty much my entire life. I moved to Utrecht for a few years to study journalism and last summer I moved to Barcelona to be with my boyfriend who lives there. But I still think of Rotterdam every day – I’ve even got a poster hanging in my workspace to remind me of it.

PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES

Tell us what makes it unique.

When people think of the Netherlands they usually think of medieval cities (in terms of architecture) like Amsterdam, Utrecht and Haarlem. Rotterdam is totally different because it was bombed during World War II – a traumatic experience, but it looked forward and started building a new town, which has become the playground of world-famous architects such as Rem Koolhaas and MVRDV. It’s a spectacular-looking city and I find it difficult to walk anywhere without stopping every few seconds to take a photograph. Subscribe at www.thesimplethings.com

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What is it like in spring?

When the first sunny day arrives in spring the whole city goes to Kralingse Plas, the biggest and most beautiful park situated around a lake, usually taking a portable barbecue and a cool bag to have dinner on the grassy fields. Rotterdam is very multicultural with more than 170 different nationalities so you can hear lots of different languages – it’s like a patchwork field full of people enjoying the sun. Outside of Rotterdam, but not to be missed of course at this time of year, are the fields of spring bulbs. At the famous Keukenhof Gardens there are more than 800 varieties of tulip to be seen in Keukenhof season (20 March to 17 May). You can get there in about 30 minutes by car from Rotterdam or you can take a train to Leiden Central Station and then catch the bus. What time of day do you most enjoy and why?

I like Sunday morning when the city is quiet. Waking » 67


The painting prisoner: Margaret Keane, the true artist of the wide-eyed waif paintings that were so popular in America in the 1960s

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THINK | LOOKING BACK

THE CON ARTISTS BEHIND SOME FAMOUS AND WELL-REWARDED CREATIVES ARE WIVES AND MISTRESSES WHOSE TALENTS WERE APPROPRIATED BY THEIR PARTNERS. IT’S TIME TO GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE Words: RUTH TIERNEY

PHOTOGRAPHY: BILL RAY/GETTY IMAGES; DUANE HOWELL/GETTY IMAGES

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he year is 1986, the scene is a courtroom in Honolulu, the crime is art heist on a grand scale. Charged with stealing authorship of his wife Margaret’s paintings of saucereyed waifs, Walter Keane’s bluff is about to be blown wide open. After meeting Margaret in San Francisco in 1954, Walter, an estate agent, began exhibiting and selling his wife’s art, pretending it was his own. More than that, he kept her in virtual slavery, forcing her to churn out more and more, signed simply ‘Keane’, so that he could reap the rewards. And they were plenty – the American public loved the kitsch paintings and bought originals and prints in their millions. While Walter lived the high life, Margaret was imprisoned in her tiny studio for 16 hours straight, doors locked, curtains closed, paintbrush in hand. But in 1986 Margaret, divorced from Walter, finally snapped and set the record straight. Ordered by the judge to do a live painting in court, Walter declined, saying he had a sore shoulder. Margaret finished her painting of a doe-eyed boy in 53 minutes – and was awarded $4 million in damages. It is this stranger-thanfiction story that caught the imagination of Tim Burton, whose film Big Eyes was recently released with Margaret’s blessing (Walter died in 2000). It’s a spectacular turn of events, but the real shocker is that this is far from an isolated case in art history. Just take the so-called father of modern art, Marcel Duchamp, and his seminal work Fountain, a urinal. The story goes that Marcel obtained a standard urinal from a plumbing store in New York, signed it with the

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Walter Keane told his wife ‘People don’t buy lady art’ to justify his deception

pseudonym R. Mutt 1917, and submitted it into an exhibition. It was rejected, then accepted on the grounds that the urinal was indeed a work of art, because the artist had deemed it so (and conceptual art was born). But in 1982 a startling letter emerged. In it Marcel writes to his sister that, ‘One of my female friends, under a masculine pseudonym, Richard Mutt, sent in a porcelain urinal as a sculpture.’ Last year art historians discovered that this female friend was German Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, an artist, poet and would-be lover of Marcel (he rebuffed her many advances). Fond of creating ‘readymade’ sculptures from rubbish found on the street, Fountain fits with Elsa’s artistic style. It seems she asked him to submit her urinal into the exhibition on her behalf – and he encouraged

“Ordered by the judge to do a live painting in court, Walter declined. Margaret finished her painting of a doe-eyed boy in 53 minutes” 85


NEST | HOW WE LIVE

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The flat has been painted white throughout to maximise the light and show off colourful furniture and cushions

BEYOND RETRO THIS COLOURFUL FLAT IN HAMBURG PULLS OFF MODERN-MEETS-VINTAGE WITHOUT A HINT OF FUSTINESS. THE COUPLE BEHIND IT EXPLAIN HOW THEY DID IT Words: CLARE GOGERTY Photography: NINA STRUVE/CAMERA PRESS


T H E J OY O F

THIS MONTH IN OUR SERIES ON WHAT MAKES A HOUSE A HOME , WE RETREAT TO THE SHED, TURN ON THE R ADIO AND FORGET ALL OUR WORRIES Words: CLARE GOGERTY


NEST | HOME COMFORTS

The stuff of life

A few carefully chosen items to make your time in the shed even more pleasurable

Sophie Conran galvanised trug, £19.95 www.burgonandball.com

Small A-frame, £35 www.sainsburys.co.uk

Metal twine tin, £5 www.sainsburys.co.uk

Five large wooden labels, £5.95 www.burgonandball.com

Dualit kettle, £70 www.debenhams.co.uk

Eight-drawer storage unit, £329 www.harrodhorticultural.com

Roberts Revival mini radio, £130 www.johnlewis.com

Potting sieve, £ £16.95 www.annabeljames.com

N E X T M O N T H we throw open the French windows

Orla Keily watering can, £42.50 www.berryred.co.uk

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