For me, reading a magazine is one of life's greatest pleasures. Of course it goes without saying that I also love the internet and reading blogs, articles and e-magazines online. But, nothing really compares to flicking through weighty paper pages, poring over gorgeous images and even more evocative words. So enamoured am I with magazines, that a while ago on this very blog I began a magazine review series. The first review was of the fabulous Uppercase magazine. (I cringe now, looking at the photos in the review, but I stand by my words!) And since then this series fell a little by the wayside. But, in recent months I've been buying more and more magazines, so here I am resurrecting this old feature. I hope you like it!
One magazine that I have long enjoyed is The Simple Things. Published monthly it is a magazine about taking time to live well. Covering everything from mindfulness to microadventures, eating and growing, forgotten wisdom, home life and slow moments. In their words: "We like tea & cake, learning stuff, being outside and the satisfaction of a job well done." A magazine manifesto I can get on board with!
Each issue is divided into six sections: fresh, living, escape, think, nest and miscellany. Within each section is a seasonal mix of ideas and inspiration. For this review, I settled down with the April issue...
The April issue is filled with spring cheer and includes, among other things, an interview with a girl who ran away with the circus, a recipe for the most delicious looking spring chicken pie and a feature on the joys of camping. Much of my love for magazines comes from the rest and quietness that reading them demands. These are pages to be savoured, accompanied where possible with tea and cake. They are not to be rushed. Pages can be torn out in an act of pre-pinterest scrapbooking enthusiasm. I don't think I have a single pristine copy of The Simple Things as each month I fold over corners, tear out recipes and circle covetable items to add to my (ever-growing!) wishlist. That's my kind of magazine - one full of practical advice and inspiring ideas.
But it's not just the practical ideas which spark my interest. In this issue, for example, there are also articles dedicated to the pleasures of the garden shed, the wonder of walking and to record players. All are fascinating, beautifully written and open my eyes to things I would not have otherwise considered. In this regard, I love how each issue is a journey into new terrain, exploring other viewpoints and ways of life.
The magazine is written such that it can be easily dipped into, with both long form and short form articles. It's perfect if you've just got time for a quick sit down, and equally as good if you've got a long relaxing afternoon stretching out in front of you. It's probably a good idea to have a snack with you as you read, as the recipes are all so tempting, they'll no doubt have your tummy rumbling in anticipation in no time! In the April issue I've already torn out the recipe for the most incredible looking lemon, almond and pistachio cake with lemon cream frosting.
While the magazine does include features from around the world, whether it's a city guide (this month Rotterdam), a home tour or food from afar - the fact that it is British also doesn't go unnoticed. A good number of magazines I read are US based, so it's lovely to read one which is from good old Blighty. While a sense of wanderlust and adventure is encouraged, the pages also celebrate homegrown talent, especially in the monthly maker and shop of the month features. In fact, the 'things to want and wish for' and 'things to plan and do' are some of my most-loved pages each month.
That said, the miscellany section at the back of The Simple Things is also a firm favourite of mine. As the name would suggest, the section is filled with a range of pieces - from the playful to the practical. This month's section includes everything from learning how to darn and a round-up of the best colouring books for grown-ups to a chart detailing the component parts of a fern to a reminder of the difference between transitive, intransitive and ambitransitive verbs. It's all jolly fascinating stuff and I'm pretty sure is brilliant pub quiz knowledge fodder.
If you're a fan of slow living, adventure, cooking, getting outdoors and taking time to live well with friends and family this is surely the magazine for you. You can read a little sample of the April issue here, or find out more about buying/downloading the current issue, subscribing or signing up to their mailing list here.
Do you read The Simple Things? What other magazines do you love? Let me know in the comments below, or tweet me!