I have been really fortunate this year in that many of my presents for Christmas, birthdays etc were actually subscriptions or tickets. As I get older, I find I need less and less stuff, so gifts that are experiences or, like magazines, are treats that I would usually get myself with spare cash make great gifts.
The Simple Things is one of my favourite magazines. Get used to seeing it featured in Magazine Monday often, since it’s a magazine that always seems to capture my interest and to have a broad range of articles. I especially love the fact that it doesn’t arrive months ahead of schedule. The January issue arrived just before Christmas, the February issue is due out on 29th January. I hate it when magazines for August arrive midway through June… the need to keep seasonal seems to have slipped away over the last twenty years, until magazines are racing to push the Christmas tree before the leaves have finished turning. Next thing, the year is over and you’re staring mortality in the face and wondering why the four score years of life expectancy are flying past, when the time you spent waiting for a reply from a service engineer drags by in a melange of 80’s music that you didn’t aprticularly like the first time around.
Living in and of the moment is often cited as one of the best things we can do for mental health. It’s good to have future events to look forward to, but essential to be content where you are, to know how fortunate you are at this present moment in time. The Simple Things, with the byline ‘Taking Time to Live Well’ has always had a focus on nature, the cycle of the seasons, the small things that make life more pleasant, that make you happy. So many of the regular articles are focused on those small things, on living seasonally and appreciating the small beauties of life. Every month has a word that it focuses on… this month, Renew… and various articles and lists connected to the word. It’s like the Word of the Year, but changed monthly for the short of attention.
I love the Could Do list every month… it used to be focused on monthly actions. This month it was a Could Do List for Renew: Spend an evening just listening to the radio, Wander outdoors into Winter. With space at the bottom for your own ideas, I know I enjoy thinking about and creating my own list.
A more recent innovation is the monthly almanac pages, filled with reads, events and information about each month. Did you, for example, know that today (13th January) is St Hilary’s Day and traditionally the coldest day? No, neither did I. It’s a beautiful spread as well, very easily copied by BuJo enthusiasts and adapted to your own interests.
The articles this month (look to the back for an index, rather than the front for a content table) include cookery, travel, self-care, ethical living, interior design and crafts. I don’t believe in folding down corners, but I don’t need to this month, because almost every article is a good read.
Most hyggely to me are the articles on season self-care. Cold Comfort Balm is full of great advice on how to thrive through winter: drink water, bathe in sunlight, get outside and connect with loved ones. These are all the building blocks for good health at any time of the year, but especially so during the winter when we’re sleeping off any Christmas excess. On The Trail is a lovely recipe feature on food that travels well in the winter… thermos flasks of soup, trail mixes and a list of places to visit for a winter picnic… there is magic at the beach in Wintertime that summer visitors cannot appreciate.
And the whole magazine, as always, is beautifully illustrated. The Simple Things is photo heavy, but they are lovely, simple, clear and beautifully staged photos. It’s a nice aesthetic.
At £6 per copy in the shops, a subscription for £13.25 per quarter brings the price down to £4.40. I’ve been a regular subscriber now for about seven years… almost since the first edition. Does it get repetitive? Well, only in as much as there is always a pancake article, a Christmas edition, a beach-focused article. Living seasonally and according to the cycle of life means that there are always points that get revisited. The Simple Things manages to do this and often with a twist from last year so that the reading is always interesting. I love how some of the articles are focused on real people… My Day in Cups of Tea, for instance, or What I Treasure, a 500- word article on the things that mean a lot to the readers.
You can find The Simple Things on the Web, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The January edition should be available until 29th January, when the February edition (focus word: Thrive) will hit the shops.
If you’d like to support me….
My new book, Cosy Happy Hygge is available as an ebook or a paperback on Amazon now. As you know, I do the whole kit and caboodle myself, from writing to proofreading to designing and I’m very proud of this one. It’s about using rhythm and ritual to make your life a gentler, kinder place. Writing it has been an important part of my mental health recovery.
I don’t monetise my blog. I don’t run adverts, take sponsorship for writing posts or use affiliate links. I want everything I do on this blog and in my hygge life outside to be truthful. If I promote a book it’s because I’ve read it and like it, if I point out an item it’s because it’s impressed me on its own merits and not because the publicist has talked me into it. It does mean I don’t run giveaways and I’m not chasing followers, but the drawback is that I need to find a way to support myself.
That’s why I write books. My thoughts are that if I ask you to buy a book not only does it support me, and let me keep writing as an independent writer, but you get something back for your bucks. I’ve written several books, some on hygge, some on Christmas. If you like what you read here, or in the Hygge Nook, and you’d like to support a struggling writer, would you please consider buying a book? Ebooks give you the best value, since for 2 or 3 pounds you get the whole content of the book without paying the extra for paper production, but I’d be a pretty poor writer if I didn’t appreciate the beauty of a real book in the hand. If you buy just one book, it all adds up in the end to support me, and I’d be so grateful.
If you already have my books, or just want to support me as an independent writer, you can always just send me the price of a cup of coffee as a friend, to paypal.me/HyggeJem . I tend to use a lot of my spare cash on books that I review for the website, so every penny donated goes towards building my happy hygge life.
My first three books are hygge related, 50 Ways to Hygge the British Way was my first book, and is available in Paperback and Kindle version. It’s a simple look at ways to feel more hyggely in life and at home even though we’re not Danish and don’t have it in our DNA.
Happier is my fourth book. It’s about how I boost my own happiness levels. It’s full of hints, tips and ideas for you to use and adapt to suit your own situation. It is available in ebook and paperback version from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I have three Christmas books,
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas was released in September 2017 and is available again in paperback and ebook version. It looks at keeping the Christmas season warm and cosy, with ideas for activities and routines to keep Christmas happy.
A (Hygge) Christmas Carol is my look at Dickens’ immortal classic and the many lessons we still learn from it today. It contains the full text of the book as well as hyggely thoughts on the story.
Enjoying a Self Care Christmas is only available in ebook version. It’s about keeping Christmas simple enough and healthy enough to keep you sane in the process.
If you buy any of the books or some of the items through the links on this page, I get a couple of extra pence per copy, as an Amazon Affiliate, in Amazon vouchers which go towards buying more books to review for the blog. I’d really love it if you’d support me monetarily, but I quite understand that cash is tight for many people, and I just love having your support via reading and commenting as well.
Truthfully, I’ll probably never make a living as a writer, but I do make a little extra income that gets ploughed back into books and magazines. One obsession feeds the other…