Page 1

Taking time to live well Slow summer Cloud watching Skimming stones Jelly & ice cream

June

I M AG I N E

Rose water lassi & posh kebabs • Planting by the moon A home for gnomes • Port Sunlight • Treehouses Sociable gardens & picking berries • Why we love a burger


FRESH Things to buy, cook, read and do this month p7 LIVING Simple style and gatherings, tea and cake p20 ESCAPE Outings, weekends away and city guides p60 THINK Things to make you stop, read and wonder p81 NEST Loving your home inside and out p97 MISCELLANY The practical and the playful p123 Looking for a particular article? Our index is on page 128


The t hing

STYLING AND PHOTOGRAPHY: EMMA HARRIS

is th abou at yo t ima u nev kick gina er kn in. B tion o w whe ut yo your n it u can s by will enco feed your urag ing i self e t and g the t thou ivin ime f ghts g o r . crea Idle plea t p i sure asti ve s abs mes a can s orb y nd si olve ou f mple prob ully bril lems , so lian o you r t ide come have as i up wi you s n a w th ucki ay th tack ng yo at wo led t u u r ld hem h penc is su ead o il i rely f yo n . t A u he ti nd mi appr me; a dsum ecia m t e i quie r ng yo berr t mom ur ga ies, ent r a d e w n clou alk t , pic d-wa hrou king tchi gh a feel ng. B m e a the m d e enc ow, agic hant ed an happ en. d

Lisa

EDIT OR L ISA S #mys YKES imple thing


Glasilium Vase | £14.50 Shows off a single bloom or leaf beautifully. finelittleday.com

Sailor top | £29.95 One for would-be matelots, or anyone who needs a really wearable top. seasaltcornwall.co.uk

THINGS TO WANT AND WISH FOR An update here or there can do wonders for your home, says LOUISE GORROD. Imagine the possibilities…

Sycamore Wood Pie Slice | £25 Serve a tart or a slice of cake in style with this slice by Rosie Brewer. themakerplace.co.uk

LOUISE GORROD Our Wishlist Editor blogs, bakes and photographs at Buttercup Days: buttercupdays.com. On Instagram: louise_buttercupdays

Sevin soaps | £9.80 each All kinds of heavenly scents in these, including vanilla, coconut and jasmine. sevinlondon.co.uk

8

Spoon granola | £3.89 Packed with a shortlist of high-quality ingredients, including dark chocolate, for many happy breakfasts. waitrose.com


FRESH | JUNE THINGS

Heavenly Honeycomb blanket | £72 One for those summer evenings when things get chilly but you don’t want to go indoors just yet. northlighthomestore.com


Strawberries and cream but not as you know it: a cardamom-spiced cake topped with rose cream lift this classic duo out of the ordinary

No doilies required A GREAT BRITISH TRADITION GETS A MODERN REIMAGINING. RESULT — AN AFTERNOON TEA TO LINGER OVER WITH GIRLFRIENDS Photography & styling: ROSIE BARNETT Recipes: RACHEL DE THAMPLE

24


LIVING | GATHERING

A

fternoon tea is brazenly frivolous. Not only does it flagrantly flout traditional meal times, but also its ingredients read like a roll-call of treats: fizz, finger sandwiches, elegant tarts and cream-laden cakes. Modern treats, too. This menu of cardamom cake, spiced crab sandwiches and chocolate-pimped scones is moreish, memorable and anything but chintzy.


“Cloud-gazing on a summer’s day gives the brain downtime, which is where creative thought happens” Big-sky fan Gavin Pretor-Pinney may be encouraging us all to have our heads in the clouds but, as Zoe McDonald learns, there is real purpose behind his passion

C Portraits: JIM WILEMAN

loudy weather seems appropriate for a trip to meet Gavin Pretor-Pinney. On the approach to his house in deepest Somerset, which is surrounded by fields, the broad sky above hosts a rolling cloudscape, propelled by a light breeze. There are fluffy cumulus and, beyond them, wispy stretches of cirrus on high – Gavin’s Cloud Spotter app has all the names you need to sound a bit Michael Fish. It’s a fitting backdrop for the man who has become known as ‘the cloud guy’. He founded the Cloud Appreciation Society 12 years ago on a whim, and it has now grown to over 43,000 members in 110 countries. Along with the app, his books – The Cloudspotter’s Guide and The Cloud Collector’s Handbook (plus another on wave watching) – have earned him widespread praise, and he is the go-to expert on the topic for journalists. Today alone, he has already spoken to the BBC and Al Jazeera, responding to news about new types of cloud being added to the International Cloud Atlas. C LO U D F U N D I N G The new list includes one, asperitas*, identified by members of his Society, first proposed to a panel at the Royal Meteorological Society by Gavin in 2008, when the meteorologists rejected it on grounds of lack of evidence. However, since then, he has gathered more examples of the cloud, thanks mainly to the Society’s

* Find asperitas and other cloud types to spot in Identifier on page 127.

32

members submitting countless photographs of it. His is a strange specialism, he says, one he hadn’t foreseen for himself. It all started when he gave a talk entitled: ‘The Inaugural Lecture of the Cloud Appreciation Society,’ at Port Eliot Festival in 2004. “I liked the sound of it and I thought it would intrigue people. I set out with the aim of defending clouds, fighting their corner and countering the negative view of them as something that gets in the way of the sun. But I hadn’t seriously considered creating a society until afterwards. There were a lot of people who came up to me after the talk from the audience, asking: ‘How can I join?’ and I thought, ‘Well, I suppose a Cloud Appreciation Society might be a good thing. Why not?’” So, he set up a website, with a gallery where members could post their own pictures. There was a manifesto (sample statement: “We pledge to fight blue-sky thinking wherever we find it”) and he introduced a small payment for membership, for which members received a badge and certificate. Within two months there were 2,000 members, and the society grew from that. To date, members have submitted 15,000 of photographs of clouds to the website and 260,000 through the app, making theirs the largest database of categorised clouds in the world. Before ascending into the clouds, Gavin had worked as an art director at The Modern Review, then founded The Idler magazine with his friend Tom Hodgkinson (who now runs The Idler Academy in London). Among


LIVING | WISDOM


STOP THE CLOCK THERE CAN BE MINDFUL MOMENTS IN EVERY DAY – BEGINNING WITH THE SIMPLEST OF ACTIVITIES Words and illustrations: EMMA FARRARONS

P

retty much any activity can be a mindful activity, it’s fair to say, but colouring in, carefully and attentively, is particularly suitable. These beautiful illustrations by Emma Farrarons combine a colouring exercise with simple, fun and imaginative activities to help make any day a little more mindful.

Soothe your eyes with camomile

Squeeze out the water from two warm (but not hot) camomile tea bags. Test them on the inside of your wrist to check they’re not too hot. Close your eyes and put the bags on your lids for ten minutes. Bring your attention to the warmth of the teabags as the ripples of heat spread on your eyelids. How do you feel? Focus on the sensation on your upper eyelids, and then on your upper cheeks, eyebrows and the ridge of your nose. Notice the subtle smell exuding from the camomile leaves.

52


LIVING | OUTDOORS

Jelly + ice-cream CHILDREN HAVE BEEN WISE TO ITS CHARMS FOR DECADES. NOW LIA LEENDERTZ SHOWS HOW GORGEOUS AND GROWN-UP THIS COOLING DUO CAN BE Recipes: LIA LEENDERTZ Photography: KIRSTIE YOUNG

P

arties and celebrations, summer and fun – jelly and ice-cream are two foods that are all about pleasure. We’re used to making gaudy coloured jellies from packets, but in fact any liquid can be turned into a jelly with a sheet of gelatine and a little maths. Pair homemade jelly with ice-cream made from scratch to lift this fun treat into a summer pud to be proud of.

45


A LUNCHTIME WELL SPENT DURING A PAUSE IN YOUR WORKING DAY, COULD YOU BE DOING MORE THAN SCOFFING A SARNIE? THERE ARE HEALTH BENEFITS TO BE HAD FOR THOSE WHO DO

L

unchbreak for most of us, whether working in an office or at home, either involves running errands (how is there always a card to post or something to exchange?) or sitting hunched over a computer wolfing food, wondering why we always feel sluggish in the afternoon. Yet, if we actually took that time and used it productively, it would enable us to create space for the little things that there never seems to be time for, with the added benefit of making the afternoon feel like less of an endurance test. The following ideas could make a difference to your day, even if you only try them for 30 minutes, twice a week. Notice the things that make you feel happier, more energised and productive in the afternoons. You may find work more enjoyable if you break up your day with something totally different, or that you don’t resent working or doing errands in the early evening if you’ve spent time doing something for yourself earlier in the day.

Have a break from words

Emails, phone calls, meetings – all require you to communicate literally. Engage another part of your brain by doodling or drawing, both of which will get your creative juices flowing for the afternoon.

Tackle the beast

Take a refreshing dip into a parallel universe by reading the book you’ve always meant to but haven’t quite had the time or energy for.

Change your tune

Listen to a ballet or opera: tales of love, loyalty, human struggle and tragedy can offer a different perspective on your problems.

Learn a language

This is a great challenge for a week or two before you go on holiday and you don’t need to learn a lot to have a basic conversation. Try a podcast or audio guide such as Michel Thomas – the foundation guide is only 1½ hours of listening and you’ll

86


be surprised how much you learn. If you prefer something more interactive with points/rewards and so on, try an app – just search the language you want to learn for the most suitable level/format.

Read a newspaper

With news so readily accessible online, it’s easy to think you’ve already seen most of the stories by the time they go to print. But think about the way you read online news compared to how you read a paper. You log on with the intention of reading the news, but you’re soon distracted by a link to something else. Newspapers encourage you to move from start to finish and a mix of stories means that even if an item doesn’t interest you, you’ll probably still read it and come away with a more rounded view.

ILLUSTRATION: RACHEL GRANT/JENNIFER NELSON ARTISTS

Go for a bike ride

A bike will take you places your legs just can’t carry you in your lunchbreak. Use this freedom wisely. Aim for somewhere a couple of miles away, a healthy distance you can easily cover in less than 15 minutes. Being literally miles from your place of work will add to the sense of adventure.

Climb to your highest point Viewing cities from high up is always fun. It’s invigorating and gives us our bearings. Find your nearest café or bar at the top of a tall building, a viewing platform, church spire or tower and don’t stop until you reach the top.

Visit buildings

The buildings we design are works of art, feats of engineering and important places of gathering. Visit a few different buildings in your area – government buildings, town halls, churches, mosques, libraries, galleries and museums, from the very old to the very modern. Take photos and make notes, focusing on the architecture, and reflect on how people have lived in your local area over the centuries.

Help out

Share your lunchbreak with someone in need of company, advice or just a pair of hands. You could help out at a local homeless shelter, serving lunch or washing up, visit someone with no family in hospital or take lunch round to an elderly or housebound person. Search online for volunteering opportunities near you and go through a registered charity or public body where possible.

Eat in instead of taking out

How many times a week do you say you’re going to ‘grab a sandwich’? Instead, reacquaint yourself with lunch as a meal and opt to eat in at a local café, pub or restaurant rather than grabbing food and running.

Go on a date

The short time allowance means a lunchbreak is ideal for a first date. If it all goes horribly wrong you can apologise and say you have to get back to work and it leaves your evenings and weekends free to

spend time with people you know you definitely want to see!

Plan your meal

At the end of the day it’s all too tempting to reach for a ready meal, takeaway menu or just make a couple of slices of toast. Shift your meal planning to earlier in the day, buy your ingredients and if you’re at home take time to prepare the meal in advance and it will feel like more of a pleasure than a chore.

Do some gardening

There’s something instantly soothing about getting your hands dirty, especially when the only things you’ve touched all day are keypads and touch screens. If you’re not close enough to your own garden, find a community or rooftop garden and offer to help once a week. Or create some window boxes, herb pots or hanging plants in your office.

Go wandering

Heading out for a wander is not the same thing as going for a walk. The main focus of wandering is mental inquisitiveness, not physical exercise. Look around that corner, head along that street or follow a waterway you’ve never walked along before. Plan your route, but not too much and don’t be afraid of getting lost.

Adapted from Gone For Lunch: 52 Things to Do in Your Lunchbreak by Laura Archer (Quadrille)

87


A LIFE AQUATIC PAINTED IN COOL BLUES AND GREENS, THIS CHARACTERFUL DUTCH HOUSE IS INSPIRED BY THE COLOURS OF THE OCEAN Photography: ANOUK DE KLEERMAEKER/TAVERNE AGENCY Production and words: YVONNE BAKKER


NEST | HOME TOUR

Yvonne and Michiel extended the ground floor to create a spacious, light-filled dining room (opposite) that opens onto the garden, where they love to eat out in summer

99


THE SOCIABLE GARDEN A WARM SUMMER EVENING, A FEW FRIENDS, A BARBECUE AND PLENTY OF SCENTED FLOWERS… NOW’S THE TIME FOR A BACKYARD GET-TOGETHER Words: KENDRA WILSON


NEST | GARDENS

PHOTOGRAPHY: GETTY IMAGES

PHOTOGRAPHY: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

W

hen the weather gods come together and bestow a beautiful evening in summer, there is no place quite like a British garden. From June on, it would be madness not to plan each day by the barometer and use the ‘very dry’ indication as an excuse to have a gathering. We all know that outdoor events planned in advance come with the warning label ‘weather permitting’, so when it does permit, make sure you’re ready. Cocktails and conversation can make a party swing but so does attention to detail. Ideally you want level ground underfoot: cobbles and heels don’t go, and neither do wobbly tables. On the other hand, cracks in paving where cement has been resisted is an invitation for scented things to flourish. Some herbs only release their essential oils when their leaves are crushed, so push in creeping thyme and Corsican mint, designed to be stepped on. Shop-bought herbs can be divided up when planting, but always position thyme in maximum light. As long as the charcoal has not been forgotten, and paper plates considered (there is a stronger case for real glasses; your guests will feel more loved), then a barbecue could and should be that most spontaneous of feasts. A grill in a kitchen garden is more achievable than a plumbedin outdoor kitchen (which is a thing, should you have the budget), and just as nice. Plan to cook and eat near-ripening food; hors d’oeuvres can be as easy as handfuls of pea pods and small warm tomatoes. Brightly coloured nasturtiums and pot marigolds lend their petals to salad; anything that implies freedom and freshness is a mood-enhancer. Chairs and side tables near a barbecue will encourage guests to help, and a surface 107


If you like what you see you can buy an issue from www.icebergpress.co.uk/shop Want to hear more from The Simple Things? Sign up to our fortnightly e-newsletter

www.thesimplethings.com

BLOSTMA WALLPAPER 5201 BY FARROW & BALL; FARROW-BALL.COM

www.thesimplethings.com/mailinglist

The simple things june 2017