The Simple Things magazine review

The-Simple-Things-Issue-6-coverLaunched last year by Future Publishing, The Simply Things seeks out the pleasures in everyday living, emphasising the ideals of using our hands rather than our wallets, and spending time with people rather than spending money.

It’s a welcome antidote to the usual glossies, with a distinctly on-trend homespun feel, perfect for wrapping yourself in on a drizzly Sunday.

Issue six has some glorious touches, each designed, it seems, to show you how lovely your life could be with just a little time and (enjoyable) effort.

Timorous Beasties London Toile wallpaperOn opening the front cover I’m presented with some utterly beautiful ‘London Toile’ wallpaper by Glasgow design studio Timorous Beasties. So immediately I know I’m with people who appreciates beautiful surroundings.

The Simple Things issue 6 contentsGet into the body of the magazine, and I find a series of invitations: to ‘visit an inspiring home’, ‘escape to a winter beach’, ‘share a cosy night in.’ No glitz, just pleasing suggestion after pleasing suggestion. Moments later someone imparts a love of shimmering rain-drenched pavements – and I’m still only on page 6.

Beautiful photography is key throughout – something to bear in mind if you’re considering pitching feature ideas to The Simple Things team.

My City cr The Simple Things issue 6

I’m drawn immediately to the ‘My City’ feature (above) where French photographer Nico Alary rhapsodises about the delights of Melbourne, answering questions like “Which season makes your city feel most alive” and “How does your city smell?” it’s like being shown around the favourite neighbourhood of a friend.

I’m also glad to find an unexpected feature entitled ‘A Mid-winter Caterpillar’ by gardener Christopher Raeburn, accompanied by gorgeous imagery that reminds me of the curious childhood joy of stroking caterpillars found amidst leaves in my parents’ garden – soft to the touch and silky cool.

Winter Beaches with The Simple Things issue 6The ‘winter beaches’ feature is utterly enticing – with pages of light-filled, stretched-shadowed images interspersed with foraging suggestions and a run down of some of the best shores to visit, though less meandering beach-combing that I’d hoped.

The other features include a multitude of recipes, advice on growing chillies, and an intriguing series of images by John Londei of 70s and 80s little shops – each one brimming over with possible narratives.

In fact, the whole magazine glimmers with an atmosphere conducive to creative ideas – so that by the time you set The Simple Things aside there’s every probability you’ll at once want to pick up a pen and start writing.

Grow chillies with The Simple Things issue 6

Mslexia magazine review

Mslexia Cover issue 56I first reviewed this long-running quarterly magazine for EssentialWriters in December 2008 when the magazine launched by Debbie Taylor had just benefited from a fresh redesign.

At the beginning of April 2011 a more radical revamp was unveiled, revealing a classy matte white cover to a magazine that now boasts a spine (a physical one – it already had a metaphysical one), and a reintroduction of illustrative rather than photography cover art.

Today, the magazine maintains its strong outlook and valuable content, with in-depth interviews with notable writers working in a variety of mediums and genres, an analysis of a bestselling novel, and a gentle picking-apart-and-putting-back-together contemplation of a poem, as well as features aimed at helping you assess, improve and target your own writing. Continue reading