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

February A winter tonic

Seed cake & microleaves Walking on a windswept beach Random acts of kindness

CALM

Hot water bottles & houseplants • A glimpse of spring on the plot Auspicious dishes • Japanese green tea • Why work is easier than love Ruby Wax talks mindfulness • Proper pubs • WIN an armchair


February

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Making a home feel special

Baking bread

FRESH

LIVING

ESCAPE

08 THINGS TO WANT & WISH FOR

22 SIMPLE STYLE

54 MY CITY

24 SEED TO STOVE

60 FOOD FROM AFAR

Stylish stuff for you and your home. Maker of the month and new books to read

12 THE STUFF OF LIFE

Find things to make life a bit nicer at The Simple Things’ independent shop online

16 THINGS TO PLAN & DO

Armchair travel, puddle jumping and a mustard seed remedy. Plus: your could-do list and places to stay and learn

19 COMPETITION

Win an armchair or a loveseat – just the place to cuddle up with a loved one, a pet or a book

The parka: ready for the weather and life generally Feeling Imbolcy? Lia Leendertz satisfies the urge to grow by sprouting seeds and baking bread

32 WISDOM

Ruby Wax has arrived at a more mindful place – and wants to share the journey

Making the most of proper winter in Montreal Matcha – the ancient Japanese art of making tea

64 OUTING

Wrap up warm, we’re going to the seaside. There’s scenery for every mood on a beach in winter

38 GATHERING

Auspicious dishes for the vibrant celebration of Chinese New Year. Fun for all the family!

46 BEYOND THE NINE-TO-FIVE

Why Sophie Howarth opened her Department Store for the Mind

47 LEARN SOMETHING NEW

Yoga: suppleness, strength and spirituality, all in one handy class

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Making patterns on the seashore

48 PANCAKE DAY!

Go on, you know you want to...

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Loving something new ON THE COVER 4

50 MY DAY IN CUPS OF TEA Cocktail queen Frankie Snobel

51 CAKE IN THE HOUSE

Beetroot and caraway seed loaf cake. And it’s pink

TWITTER.COM/SIMPLETHINGSMAG

THESIMPLETHINGS.COM


CONTENTS

102

Trying out fresh ideas

38

Feasting at Chinese New Year

THINK

Why we all love a hot water bottle

71 A POETIC PAUSE

102 GROWING

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

72 WELLBEING

Why it’s cool to be kind. And good for you, too

76 GALLERY

BACK COVER: KATHARINE DAVIES; FRONT COVER: ACHIM SASS, PLAIN PICTURE/WESTEND61

Extraordinary pictures of ordinary objects

82 CALM

Wind-down stretches for a good night’s sleep

84 LOOKING BACK

101 HOME STYLE

“Oh what a feeling, I’m hanging from the ceiling!” Rethinking the houseplant Classy homes + stylish couples = chic boutiquers. Plus: How to set up an online shop

112 MICROLEAVES

115 WEEKEND PROJECT

88 IDEAS

118 HOME TRUTHS

The treat that is fizzy pop

NEST

How we really live at home. This month: a work space of one’s own

MISCELLANY 123 A curious combination of the practical and

91 FLOWERS IN THE HOUSE

Keep it simple and cheerful with early bulb blooms

the playful: how to get up earlier, make your own ink and remove lipstick from clothing. Plus feather ID, lateral thinking and our caption competition

92 HOME TOUR

130 BEDTIME STORY

Light, bright and white. A Dutch village house filled with beautiful finds FACEBOOK.COM/THESIMPLETHINGSMAG

A winter tonic

Seed cake & microleaves Walking on a windswept beach Random acts of kindness

Small but perfectly formed: tiny greens for everyday Don’t chuck out your chintz. Repurpose it and make jewellery instead

89 PASSING ON TRADITIONS

February

106 HOME WORKERS

The rich heritage of Britain’s pubs Why work is easier than love

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

Roses and Tiger by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen

PINTEREST.COM/SIMPLETHINGS

CALM

Hot water bottles & houseplants • A glimpse of spring on the plot Auspicious dishes • Japanese green tea • Why work is easier than love Ruby Wax talks mindfulness • Proper pubs • WIN an armchair

4 WAYS TO BUY NEVER MISS THE SIMPLE THINGS AGAIN l Subscribe: Save 26% with an annual subscription and get a free gift. See page 36 l Order a copy from any newsagent using our form at thesimplethings.com/ blog/newsagent l Buy direct at icebergpress.co.uk/shop for just £4.99 – postage is free! l Missed an issue? See page 75 for how to order back issues

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Enamel kettle| £30 Use on the stove top and brew a perfect cuppa. gardentrading.co.uk

Mast Brothers chocolate | £8 Made from goat’s milk and flavoured with lemon curd, thyme and toasted meringue. Tasty. cravedlondon.com

Sweeper and Funnel | £45 A fresh take on the good old dustpan and brush. By Menu at bearandbear.com

THINGS TO WANT AND WISH FOR Turn your home into a haven of calm with these serene and desirable items, sourced by LOUISE GORROD

Bermondsey sofa | £680 A two-seater for cosy nights in with a box set. sofasandstuff.com

LOUISE GORROD Our Wishlist Editor, Louise, is also our Stuff of Life shopkeeper (shop. thesimplethings.com). Look out for this symbol for items in the shop. She also blogs, bakes and photographs at Buttercup Days: buttercupdaysuk. blogspot.co.uk.

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industrial wire cage pendant | £79 Stripped back and stylish. Good hung in clusters. thedenandnow.co.uk

Desktop series | £96 Add a touch of elegance to your home office. anothercountry.com


FRESH | FEBRUARY THINGS

Table | £379; pendant light | £59; mugs | £10 for 4; dinnerware | from £3; tea towels | £12.50 for 3; chairs | £175 for 2 Pastel coloured homeware to create a tranquil space. marksandspencer.com


Food & fortune AT THIS TIME OF YEAR THE CHINESE CHOOSE DISHES THAT ARE SYMBOLIC OF PROSPERIT Y, LONGEVIT Y AND A FRESH START. SO TUCK IN! Recipes and styling: JENNY LINFORD Photography: CAROLINE MARDON

W

hat February needs is something to liven things up, to add a splash of colour and a bit of energy to the dog-end of winter. Lucky then that we can adopt the vibrant annual celebration of Chinese New Year* (In 2016 it falls on 8 February and marks the start of the Year of the Monkey). Jenny Linford always takes time to celebrate it: “I spent part of my childhood living in Singapore and my memories from that time revolve around food: from eating satay, freshly cooked over charcoal, to family outings with my cousins to dine on tasty Hainanese chicken rice. Chinese New Year is huge in Singapore. As a child, I loved collecting the ‘ang pow’ (envelopes of money) given to me by family and friends, as is traditional, and feeling very rich! Though I live in London, I still mark the day by cooking a Chinese-inspired meal for family and friends. Bringing together loved ones to feast and talk is always meaningful – and convivial.”

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* ‘Xīnnián Haˇo’ (New Year Goodness) is the most common Chinese New Year greeting. In Mandarin it is pronounced ‘sshin-nyen haoww’. In Cantonese it is ‘sen-nin haow’.


LIVING | GATHERING

Auspicious delicious – borrow Chinese New Year to cheer up February with a full-on feast for friends

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S E E D T O S T OV E THE PLOT IS SPARSE BUT THE FESTIVAL OF IMBOLC IS THE FIRST CHANCE FOR LIA LEENDERTZ TO GET OUT AND PICK OVER-WINTERING HERBS AND EARLY RHUBARB. SPROUTING SEEDS ON A WINDOWSILL IS AN EASY, INDOOR WAY TO SATISFY THE URGE TO GROW Recipes: LIA LEENDERTZ Photography: KIRSTIE YOUNG

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LIVING | SEED TO STOVE

T E R W I N Feb 1

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SAM HA IN Oct

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M M E R S U There are eight ancient agricultural festivals that told our farming ancestors when it was time to sow, reap, stop and take stock. To mark the turning of the year, Lia is looking at her plot, eating food connected to each festival or season, and carrying out a small act of celebration.

Baking a seeded St Brigid’s braid, and enjoying the first of the bulbs and a few brave wintered-out herbs... simple ways to enjoy this quiet, calm time of year

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FLIPPIN’ GOOD AN ORIGINAL FAST FOOD, PANCAKES TAKE CENTRE STAGE IN FEBRUARY. HOW DO YOU LIKE YOURS? Words: LAURA ROWE Illustrations: VICKI TURNER

ASSOCIATED WITH MANY religious festivals including Shrove Tuesday (celebrated on 9 February this year) and Hanukkah, pancakes’ few ingredients symbolise big things: eggs for creation, flour the staff of life, salt wholesomeness and milk purity. It was also a celebratory way to use up the foods forbidden during Lent fasting. Over time they’ve become more everyday. In the US they like them in the morning, fat, stacked high and covered in maple 48

syrup. Maybe you prefer a mini version; bitesize buckwheat blinis from Eastern Europe, topped with sour cream, smoked salmon or caviar? Or perhaps you’re a fan of the thin pancake, rolled and stuffed with shredded roast duck, hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onions for dinner in a bao bing like the Chinese. There’s a pancake for everyone and any time. But whichever way you like to eat them, the question remains: do you flip high or slide low?

THIN PANCAKES

Mix 100g plain flour with 2 eggs, 300ml milk and 1 tbsp melted butter. Whisk thoroughly and rest for 30 mins. You want the consistency of pouring single cream. When ready to cook, add a knob of unsalted butter to a non-stick frying pan. As it starts to melt, add a ladle of the rested batter and swirl the mix around the pan until it covers the entire base. Cook for 1-2 mins before flipping, or gently turning over and repeat on the other side. Then bin it: the first pancake is always the worst. Repeat and you’ll have perfect pancakes for the rest of the batch. Serve with lemon juice and sugar or whatever takes your fancy.


LIVING | TRADITIONS

FAT PANCAKES

Mix 135g plain flour with 1 egg, 130ml milk, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp caster sugar and 2 tbsp melted butter and whisk for a thicker batter. You want the consistency of double cream. Drop 1 heaped tbsp into a hot, buttered frying pan and fry for 1 min until you begin to see bubbles on the surface. Flip or turn over and fry until golden brown and risen.

Extracted from Taste: The Infographic Book of Food by Laura Rowe (Aurum Press)

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winter beaches THERE’S NOTHING LIKE WANDERING BY POUNDING SEA BREAKERS AND SITTING ON A WINDSWEPT CLIFFTOP TO BLOW AWAY THE COBWEBS. AFTERWARDS, HUNKER DOWN IN A PUB FOR A WELL-EARNED PINT Words: CLARE GOGERTY

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ESCAPE | OUTING

PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY; CORBIS; ALAMY

Big skies reflected are an inspiring backdrop for a winter walk. Right: the sea has a way of making you feel humble and clearing your mind. Below: waves crash on the rocks at St Ives, Cornwall

T

he door to the Surfside Café at Caswell Bay on the Gower Peninsula bangs open as a woman with a sand-encrusted lurcher comes in. A shock of cold air and the whistle of the wind enters with her. The rest of us look up from our mugs of hot chocolate and toasted sandwiches. She is the latest walker to bowl in, hair blown by sea air, cheeks pink and eyes bright, exhilarated by her winter’s stroll by the sea. The café, packed with surfers and swimmers in the summer months, becomes a friendly and welcome pit-stop for dog walkers and ramblers in the winter. An ideal place then to end a February morning spent walking along Gower’s deserted beaches. So few people visit the British seaside in winter that it feels like a secret. Apart from a couple of dog walkers, I had been the only person walking the sandy stretch of Rhossili Bay, thick with visitors in the warmer months. Having the beach virtually to myself – the limitless horizon, the endless beach, the big sky – felt like the biggest treat. Walking steadily along, feeling the chill wind and the give of the sand beneath my boots, listening to the boom of the breakers, was so mind-clearing. All that » 65


LIGHTNESS OF BEING BY PAINTING THE INTERIOR OF THEIR HOME WHITE, A DUTCH COUPLE FILLED IT WITH LIGHT AND ROOMINESS. IT ALSO CREATED THE IDEAL SETTING FOR THEIR CAREFULLY CHOSEN POSSESSIONS Words & Photography: JELTJE JANMAAT/HOUSE OF PICTURES

Left, Elizabeth’s ‘mood board’ containing some of her favourite items. The stamps are from Sjakies (sjakies.com) and the notebook has been signed by illustrator Sylvia de Heul (sylviadeheul.nl). Right, the living room is filled with ethnic and handmade pieces. The coffee table is by Hal 72 (hal72.nl)


NEST | HOME TOUR


Oh what a feeling, we’re hanging on the ceiling: terrariums, below, and kokedama moss balls, opposite, bring a new dimension to the home


NEST | GROWING

H OW ’ S I T H A N G I N G? IT’S TIME TO RETHINK HOUSEPLANTS. EVEN SPIDER PLANTS. RATHER THEN ABANDONING THEM TO A DUSTY SHELF, STRING THEM UP IN AN ATTRACTIVE HANGER Words: CINEAD McTERNAN

A PHOTOGRAPHY: THE GARDEN COLLECTION; TRANQUILPLANTS.CO.UK

few months back I was given a baby spider plant by a friend who had seen it on a plant stall and thought of me. I’m embarrassed to admit that I put it on a shelf in the kitchen and didn’t think about it again until my son pointed out that it didn’t look very well. It was, in fact, beyond resuscitation. I felt dreadful but I am sure it’s a fate awaiting many houseplants that have been bought – or given – in a moment of generosity, only to be neglected and consigned to the compost heap. Thankfully, a revival of botanically-themed prints and fabrics in interiors and fashion has had an exciting impact on the horticultural world. House plants are back in fashion and more than that, the way we use them and the type of vessel we’re displaying them in guarantees they’ll take centre stage in any home rather than being, quite literally, left on the shelf.

FOUR NEW WAYS WITH HOUSEPLANTS 1. Make a moss ball: kokedama string gardens The Japanese art of kokedama (moss ball), sometimes called ‘string gardens’, is an unusual way to display houseplants, abandoning pots altogether, packing the roots with clay, then stringing them up and hanging from a ceiling. Please explain Think of kokedama as a sophisticated evolution of bonsai, although the process is different. Bonsai relies on continual pruning to keep the specimens in miniature, whereas kokedama plants are presented as sculptural objects and are usually suspended. How to cultivate Mix two-thirds peat moss with a third akadama (soil used for bonsai), then mix in a bucket with enough water to make it very wet.

Remove the soil from around the plant’s roots and replace with an inch-deep layer of the soil mix, making a ball. Squeeze to release excess moisture and wrap with moss. Wrap string around the moss to keep it in place and create a loop of cord to hang the plant. Plants to try: Anthuriums, Philodendrons, Asparagus ferns, Orchids, Begonias, Angel Hair Vines, Coleus, Staghorn Ferns, Echeverias and »

“A revival of botanically themed prints and fabrics in interiors and fashion has had an exciting impact on the horticultural world” 103


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