Friday, 1 November 2013


I have been focused on authenticity for a few months now and it has thrown up many interesting things. One of which is simplicity. It's a concept that's been bubbling around in my mind for a while now, but I haven't been able to quite put my finger on what it means to me. So, after two weeks of activity with my girls over half term, I climbed back into bed today with a copy of The Simple Things (and, no, the irony is not lost on me!). I love this magazine and suggest you go and get yourself a subscription as soon as you finish here!!

Jennifer Kavanagh sums up simplicity in Issue 15 perfectly: "But what does simplicity mean when it's applied to our own daily lives? When we strip away the unnecessary, the extraneous, we become more truly who we are, and as such we reveal the potential we were born to express.

What's the point of simplicity? If in simplifying our lives we're stripping away the inessentials, then the real questions are: What's left? What's my purpose? What we "clutter" our lives with can take many forms. By the very process of removing the clutter, the answer will become clearer."

How perfect is that? Basically, simplicity leads to authenticity, which leads to harmony! One of the simple things that has crept slowly into my life over the past couple of years is gardening (although I use the term loosely). We have a large terrace that is longer than it is wide and how we use it has been evolving. We wanted to love it and use it more, but the decking was ugly and unkind to bare feet. This spring we replaced it with fake grass and hurrah: the space was transformed! We are now out there all the time. It is beautiful to see so much green (all year round!) in the city and it really feels like a garden now.

It is soft to lie on and is never muddy. The kids can play (think space hoppers, paddling pool....) or just hang out (beach towel, book, lemonade...) and my husband enjoys the deck chair and a glass of wine as the sun goes down. Me? Well, I am still surprising myself with ways to articulate my creativity and have found the garden to be a place where I can indulge my love of colour.

We had a hot summer this year and so a palette of cool whites and purples (see pic above) felt just right...along with our vegetable patch. Now the temperatures are dropping, I've been craving the blazing autumn colours of my childhood in Michigan: deep, bright reds, burnt oranges and glowing yellows (see pic below). I asked my lovely greengrocer, John, what he could do and he came back from the flower market yesterday with a stunningly simple array: "true red" giant cyclamen and some chrysanthemums that seem to incorporate all the colours I described to him in one!

It took me all morning, but I got them in just before the rains came. They are making me so happy that I could just sit here quietly all afternoon and look at them. For me, that is the perfect definition of simplicity.

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