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

October Nice surprises

Making a care package Mindful doodling Neighbourhood secrets

MISCHIEF

The magic of jam-making • Hygge & happiness • Autumn treasures Wise ways with herbs • A fairytale cottage • Bomber jackets & board games Persian salad & medjool cake • Building a hibernaculum


October

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Gathering for a harvest feast

FRESH

LIVING

08 THINGS TO WANT & WISH FOR

22 SIMPLE STYLE

Stylish and useful items for you and your home. Plus maker of the month and new books to read

16 THINGS TO PLAN & DO

Grown-up hostels and homemade pittas. How to be a kitchen witch. A face mask – from chickpeas – and your could-do list for October

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Sending a nice surprise

Bomber jackets are back – and cooler than ever

23 COMPETITION

WIN £500 for a new wardrobe from Hush

55 CAKE IN THE HOUSE

Banana and medjool date – a taste of Palestine

56 MY DAY IN CUPS OF TEA Indigo dyer and textile designer Catherine Quinn joins us for a cuppa

33 MINDFULNESS

ESCAPE

Enjoy this time of plenty with a modern take on a thanksgiving feast Welcome to Hirameki; ink blot doodling where you draw what you see

38 WISDOM

Living Danishly: a man who knows how to find hygge and happiness Steam up the kitchen with an afternoon of making jams and jellies

50 TRADITIONS

60 MY CITY

A local’s guide to Lisbon. Cable cars, seafood and a very big bridge

66 OUTING

Discovering neighbourhood secrets on a good long urban walk

72 WEEKEND AWAY

An appreciation of pumpkins in infographics

A fairytale Russian cottage on Derbyshire’s Chatsworth estate

52 A JOB WELL DONE

76 BEST OF THE SIMPLE THINGS

Dave and Sally Emery run To Dry For out of their love for an illustrated tea towel

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A 60-second insight into a new personal challenge. This month: silent retreat

24 GATHERING

42 PROUDLY HOMEMADE

ON THE COVER

53 LEARN SOMETHING NEW

TWITTER.COM/SIMPLETHINGSMAG

Our favourite features from the first three years – gathered together for your reading pleasure

THESIMPLETHINGS.COM

FRONT COVER: PENG AND HU; BACK COVER: KATHARINE DAVIES

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Exploring a new city


CONTENTS

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Making jam

100

Enjoying the comforts of home

THINK 77 A POETIC PAUSE

The Wild Swans at Coole by William Butler Yeats

78 WELLBEING

How to bring back the boundaries between work and play

100 HOME TOUR

If you like colour, fragrance and flowers in your garden, then plant a shrub or two

114 WEEKEND PROJECT

85 KNOW A THING OR TWO ABOUT...

117 HOME STYLE

...herbalism. Health and healing through wise ways with herbs and plants

90 NATURE

Why we all love an oak tree

October

109 GROWING

80 WEEKEND PROJECT

Surprise someone with a care package

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

You’d expect a knitwear enthsiast and wool seller to love colour, pattern and texture – and her lovely flat proves it

Nice surprises

Making a care package Mindful doodling Neighbourhood secrets

Smashing pumpkins: carve out your own style The poster. Not just for teenage bedrooms

118 HOME TRUTHS

MISCHIEF

How we really live at home. This month: baking bread and popping a cake in the oven

The magic of jam-making • Hygge & happiness • Autumn treasures Wise ways with herbs • A fairytale cottage • Bomber jackets & board games Persian salad & medjool cake • Building a hibernaculum

92 PLAYLIST

Soundtrack to October: songs of the woods

94 LOOKING BACK

A history of the board games that stopped us from being, well, bored

NEST 99 FLOWERS IN THE HOUSE

The delicate blooms of dried hydrangea

FACEBOOK.COM/THESIMPLETHINGSMAG

MISCELLANY 123 A curious combination of the practical and the playful: how to build a hibernaculum and get fitter at work. Plus useful mini-kits, Lapsang souchong and identifying autumn leaves

130 BEDTIME STORY Melody by Jess Kidd

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4 WAYS TO BUY Subscribe: Save 26% with an annual subscription. See page 89 l Buy direct from us at icebergpress.co.uk/ shop for just £4.99 – UK postage is free! l Missed an issue? You can buy back issues and bundles at icebergpress.co.uk/shop l Christmas gift subscriptions Treat friends and family with our special offer on page 122 l

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Ceramic votive | £12 Bring a little splash of light and cheer into the house. houseoffraser.co.uk

Orange drybrush rug | £188 A pleasing mix of pattern and warm colour. dashandalberteurope.com

THINGS TO WANT AND WISH FOR As the nights draw in, cosy up with a few snuggable and covetable things, says LOUISE GORROD

Mustard cobweave throw | £58 A traditional weave used in a contemporary pattern. thebritishblanket company.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. Louise also blogs, bakes and photographs at Buttercup Days: buttercupdays.com

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Sahco Cosima cushion | from £85 An embroidered cushion to add texture and colour to your sofa. kensingtondesign. com

Teal linked snood | £25 A luxurious fishnet stitched scarf. By Storyhorse at shop. thesimplethings.com

Federica Bubani small ceramic pot | £24 A little pot to introduce a fresh wash of colour. haykinshop.com


FRESH | OCTOBER THINGS

Isaac table lamp | £99; Clayton chair | £249; Clayton desk | £499; Clayton display cabinet | £999; Solar stripe rug | £179; marble tealight holder | £12; hurricane lamp | £25; Yellow Moon wall art | £99; Colour Chips wall art | £119 All by Conran at M&S: an excellent British partnership. marksandspencer.com


LIVING | WEEKEND PROJECT

HUBBLE BUBBLE LIA LEENDERTZ STEAMS UP THE KITCHEN IN AN AFTERNOON OF JAM MAKING – WITH DELICIOUS RESULTS THAT ARE WORTH ALL THE TOIL AND TROUBLE... Photography: KIRSTIE YOUNG

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If you have a spare afternoon and a freezer fruit glut, it’s the best time of year to stir some fruit in a cauldron-like pan

P R O U D LY HOMEMADE

THE GROWING SEASON

may be almost over, but the preserving season is in full swing. There are some fruits recently gathered, and others that I have stuffed into the freezer over late summer, just waiting for a free afternoon when I can concentrate on creating mixtures of flavours and turning those already lovely fruits into something seriously special. The recipes for the jam, jelly and marmalade that follow all mix fruits of the season or the past summer with the spices that bring out the best in them, which makes for a particularly fragrant, vibrant kitchen on days when the weather is grisly.*

The essential kit

For an afternoon jam-making session you will need: a jam pan, a jam thermometer, muslins, jars, wax discs and cellophane lids and labels. Endless cups of tea and a radio will also come in handy to keep you company during all of that patient chopping and stirring.

* For more on jam-making kit and kaboodle, read our Home Truths feature in issue 39 or go to thesimplethings.com/blog/preserves

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CAKE IN THE HOUSE

Gooey, sticky and sweet, this cake is best enjoyed with a cup of Turkish coffee, sitting in the garden, dreaming of warmer climes BANANA AND MEDJOOL DATE CAKE Serves 8 – 10 300g salted butter, softened 300g golden caster sugar 3 eggs 3 bananas, plus 1 sliced for decoration 9–12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped 100g milk or dark chocolate*, broken into smallish pieces 350g self-raising flour 1 tsp baking powder

* Use dark chocolate if you like your cake a little less sweet.

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/ 350F and line a 27cm round baking tin with baking parchment. 2 Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and light. Add the eggs and beat again until well combined. 3 Peel and mash the bananas in a bowl until just smooth with a few chunks. Add to the cake mix with the dates and chocolate and fold in gently. Carefully fold

in the flour and baking powder. 4 Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the sliced banana on top. Bake for 60–70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 5 Leave it to cool, then serve with tea or coffee. This cake will keep for a day or two in an airtight container. Recipe from Palestine on a Plate by Joudie Kalla (Jacqui Small). Photography Ria Osbourne

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LIVING | CREATIVITY

hirameki E V E R Y B L O T ’ S A N I N S P I R AT I O N , E V E R Y L I N E I S F R E E , U N L O C K YO U R I M A G I N AT I O N A N D D R AW W H AT YO U S E E

IF YOU’VE EVER doodled, then you can turn your hand to a bit of Hirameki. The word means ‘brainwave’ or ‘flash of inspiration’ in Japanese and it is the art of turning a seemingly random paint blot into a picture by adding a few dots and lines. Artists Peng and Hu realised that the tiniest blot could be easily turned into something amazing; even the most inexperienced doodlers can make something from a blot. “It is simply about drawing what you see,” says Peng: “all you need is a pen and a dash of imagination.” On the subject of pens, they recommend the following: “A

Hirameki pen should be no longer than your arm and no shorter than your little finger. The ink should be coal black or midnight blue, never shrieky yellow or shrinking violet. Calligraphy brushes, quills and charcoal are all acceptable. Best of all, though, is a fine-tipped felt pen.” This new take on doodling is a fun version of the famous Rorschach inkblot test, created to reveal unconscious thinking. Peng says; “It’s creative and a little bit anarchic for those who are bored of drawing inside the lines. And it’s a delight for hand, eye and mind, giving you an unexpected sense of satisfaction.”

Have a play with the blots we’ve printed on the next few pages or splatter your own

PENG & HU

Artists Peng, from Austria, and Hu, from Germany, discovered Hirameki when they saw a cow with a splotch that looked just like a film star

Taken from Hirameki and Hirameki Cats & Dogs (Thames & Hudson) by Peng & Hu

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LIVING | GATHERING

M EN U Cider & sage turkey Fresh cranberry sauce Apple sourdough stuffing Persian pilaf pumpkin Rosemary and ginger carrots Brown butter sweet potato gratin Deep dish apple pie

A time of plenty

Pumpkin pie with hazelnut crust

GOLDEN DAYS, A SURFEIT OF HARVESTED FRUIT AND VEG AND A GOOD EXCUSE TO STAY HOME WITH FRIENDS . THERE’S PLENT Y TO BE GR ATEFUL FOR AT THIS TIME OF YEAR Recipes: RACHEL DE THAMPLE Photography: JEN GRANTHAM/STOCKSY

T

hanksgiving has never really taken off here the way it has across the pond*, where family is summoned from far and wide for a feast to rival Christmas. But it is a great excuse to gather a group of good friends to whoever’s house has the biggest dining table. Ask everyone to contribute a dish so you can go to town on a seasonal spread that has none of the stresses of a big family party but all of the fun. There’s even a turkey and a pumpkin pie (stars and stripes, optional). And if you’re looking for a reason to celebrate, being thankful for what you have is not a bad place to start. So gather everyone together, cook up a storm, and take a moment to remember how lucky we really are… * If you’re a stickler for dates, Thanksgiving falls on Thursday 24 November this year. Canada celebrates on Monday 10 October.

A joint-effort lunch, where everyone is designated a dish to bring, makes for a lowstress meal – and more convivial washing up

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THE MOST REMARKABLE TREE FROM TINY ACORN TO MIGHTY OAK WE APPRECIATE THIS MOST ENGLISH OF TREES, AS NO OTHER. BUT FOR LISA SYKES IT’S MORE THAN A GENERAL FONDNESS, IT’S DEEPLY PERSONAL

Y

ears ago I had the pleasure of a 60-year old oak tree growing in my city garden. Its leaves, acid green when tiny, darkening as spring gave way to summer and, briefly, beautifully golden before the fall, rustled outside the window of the room where I worked. London was hidden behind its canopy and sturdy trunk. Then one day, the news that it would have to go. The subsidence word was mentioned, neighbours were worried, experts came, looked, measured and reported. When the

90

chainsaw roared I watched from my window. Then I left the house, unable to bear it. I came home purposely after dark but the familiar silhouette was gone. There was a knock on the door; a concerned conservationist asking why we’d chopped down a mature oak tree. I burst into tears on the doorstep. We moved soon after; it was never the same once the tree had gone. And that’s the thing about oaks; everyone loves an oak tree. They are a constant though often unobtrusive presence; the National Trust logo, the many Royal Oak pubs, the best firewood, solid furniture. As

Fiona Stafford writes in her collection of essays, The Long, Long Life of Trees (Yale University Press), “A single oak is a playground and an entire natural community in itself.” A tree of legend and strong, so strong: “Its surety is only emphasised by the way it spreads its branches open wide while other trees reach tall for the sky.” An oak’s copious canopy supports more insects, beetles, lichens, butterflies and fungi than any other tree, and that’s just the alive bits. Dead leaves, the rotting heartwood of fallen branches and hollow trunks offer


PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY

THINK | NATURE

further opportunities for camouflage, shelter and food. The toughness of their timber made them desirable to shipbuilders, who had them felled in their thousands – the real threat of the retreating oak forests partly fuelling the popularity of Robin Hood and his band of merry men in Sherwood. But it’s their capacity for survival that most entrances us; a healthy oak can live thousands of years. Trees admired by the Georgians are still around today. The oak in the park or outside the pub has always been there and we believe it always will be.

Maybe it’s the guilty memory of what I had to do in that garden in London but I like to collect them. If I find an acorn germinated on a verge I dig it up and pot it. Then I give it to someone. “Plant it,” I say, “in your garden, in a hedge or a wood.” Now I have the pleasure of a sixyear-old oak in my garden. It’s one of my seedlings, nurtured in a pot before I carefully decided on a spot to plant it. There, in 60 years’ time the person enjoying it through the window won’t have to worry, won’t have to end its story. Because everyone loves an oak tree.


NEST | HOME TOUR


This page, Susan has used gentle shades of green and cream to give the living room a light, airy feel and to draw the eye to the re-upholstered vintage Ercol chairs. Right, a charcoal wall and black chest of drawers highlight the objects displayed in the spare room, which include a birdcage and an old gold crown from Swoon Lounge

MATERIAL GIRL KNITWEAR ENTHUSIAST AND SHOP OWNER SUSAN CROPPER’S WEST LONDON FLAT REFLECTS HER LOVE OF COLOUR, PATTERN AND TEXTURE Words: SIAN WILLIAMS Photography: POLLY ELTES

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SMASHING PUMPKINS WHAT BETTER WAY TO SEE IN THE SEASON THAN BY GATHERING FRIENDS, FAMILY AND A PILE OF BIG PUMPKINS...

Funny, freakish or friendly, what does your pumpkin face say about you?!


NEST | WEEKEND PROJECT

O

nce pumpkins arrive you know autumn is really in full swing. Throw a pumpkin party: ask people to bring a small pumpkin as well as the one they’ll be carving. Carve off the pumpkin tops and fill them with tea lights, votive candles or dried flowers and seedheads from the garden. Send everyone home with their pumpkin vase. Tell stories as you carve of fancy dress disasters, maybe a ghost story you once heard or simply what the word ‘pumpkin’ brings to mind. Eat pumpkin, too – a pie is the obvious choice. But pumpkin and sage lasagne or pumpkin soup make for filling savoury dishes, especially accompanied by a mug of hot cider or two.

Extract from Handmade Gatherings by Ashley English. Photography by Jen Altman (Roost Books)

*Carving pumpkins are an altogether different prospect to eating varieties. Turn to page 50 for more on which types are best in which dishes.

How to carve YOU WILL NEED Carving tools (a variety of spoons, knives and other tools for decorating Cookie cutters (use a mallet to pound them through the pumpkin flesh) Carving pumpkins TO MAKE Place newspaper over a large table. Pile carving tools in the centre, plus a communal bowl for seeds and filling. When it comes to carving, there are no rules, just decorate whichever way you fancy.

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