This Blog Has Moved…

I would like to start by thanking you all for following me and the support you’ve given me over the past 7 months. I’ve truly enjoyed every moment of creating Make It Simple and I’ve learnt so much from the process, however, it’s time to move on.

The name although it captured what I wanted, it has never really felt like me, whatever that is. After six months I’ve finally settled on a name that I’m happy with. I hope it encompasses everything I love and live for. Which is basically simple living, old things, interiors, baking, long walks and of course…Otis. The name is Old Mother Hubbard. I’ve had a mixed response, some people love it, some people prefer Make It Simple. If you fall into the later category then I really hope you’ll still follow my new adventures anyway, I promise the name will grow on you.

My new blog can be found here…

https://www.oldmotherhubbard.co.uk

If you could subscribe with your email on the new website it would really make my day. Also your opinions and constructive feedback would be so welcome.

Again thank you, and I can’t wait to see you over there.

Written with love

Brooke

Aka Old Mother Hubbard.

MY GUIDE to creating your own ‘SLOW’

If you’re not familiar with the term Slow Living, It’s a movement that encourages people to let go of possessions, be present and mindful, and slow down life to escape the busy head and thoughts. It’s to live simply and live well. Whatever that should be.

However, if you’re not careful, slow can be just as exhausting as normal life. I’ve found that Instead of comparing myself to the Victoria’s Secret models and the Kardashians, I’ve just moved on to linen wearing hippies in clogs with their outstandingly minimal homes. That’s why I’ve created this guide, I can ignore what everyone else’s version of Slow is and follow my own.

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The whole reason I fell for this Slow living hype is because I would just love to be happy with what I have and enjoy the life I have now. It’s just that it’s much easier said than done. I still can’t seem to escape the comparisons of how well other people manage Slow, and how I’m just failing at it. So, Instead of swallowing content after content of what a slow life looks like for others, I’m writing my own rules, aspirations, improvements and attitude adjustments that will get me back on track to a simple life.

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Finding my values

To find my slow I think it’s good to know where I stand and what I want from life. Some people seem to be born with definitive values and some people like me, are a just little bit flakier. My values and opinions have been known to change with the wind so this has been fairly difficult to record. After scribing multiple journal entries down, I’ve figured some of them out and it’s mainly what gives me pleasure, and what leaves me with a sense of guilt. If you follow this guide and decide where your values are then maybe you could aim for your own version of slow too? Remember there’s never a wrong answer.

Minimalism

Do you prefer empty spaces or busy ones?

The SLOW movement loves minimalism, it seems you can’t live SLOW with stuff. Well I’ve decided on the contrary, an empty home isn’t for me. After discussing the idea of minimalism with a fellow interior obsessed, antique loving and junk collecting friend we came to the conclusion that filling our homes with bargains is a hobby we’re not willing to give up. A minimalist home can shove its silly boring empty sideboard ways up it’s **** as far as I’m concerned. I like my carefully curated junk just where it is. However, I am well up for a clearer wardrobe and emptier cupboards. There’s a great post on Emma’s lovely blog about how to include minimalism in smaller ways… take a look.

Friends

Are you overstretched with social commitments or could you see more of people?

I highly value my friends, but it isn’t a given that what I value I make enough time for. The power of friendship and conversation does wonders for me and my mental well-being but my reclusive and shy ways will often keep me hidden. The SLOW movement tells you to say no to over commitments, it says take a break and don’t over do the social calendar. This does not suit me at all, if I remove anything else from my social calendar I might as well live on mars. An improved SLOW life for me would be to include more intentional time with friends, time not distracted on my phone and time not In my head daydreaming. Making time for quality people in the long run leaves you feeling good about yourself. It’s something I aim to do much more of.

Work

Do you value your career?

This is difficult to admit to myself but work ethic and career success don’t rank high on my priority list. I work to earn money and I enjoy my job but it’s not my life, I’d rather work less, earn less and spend my time at home making homemade cleaning products and baking. Slow to me would be learning to accept this and not feel shame, embarrassment or like a lazy anti-feminist because of it and enjoy more time away from work.

Money

Would you like to be saving more? Or can you not relax and enjoy a treat?

I value saving money. Whilst I don’t care about earning a lot, I do feel icky about spending a lot. Mum has drilled into me since birth how wasting money is never good and I think the opinion has transferred. This doesn’t mean I’m a great saver, in fact I’m rather an impulsive spender and could easily get myself into masses of debt if I let myself. Something I really want to work on and take from the SLOW movement is only buying what I need unless of course it’s a cute vase from a charity shop. Who can feel guilty about £3? Love a barg.

The Planet

Are there any small changes you can make?

I’ve always felt a low lying guilt to be kinder to the environment but if I’m honest I’ve just completely ignored it, I don’t recycle that well and I close my ears when I hear people ranting about the planet because it’s just too much hard work to change. There’s so much pressure now to go plastic free, buy only organic and natural products and avoid disposable coffee cups like the plague. Does anyone else find all this very overwhelming? I know that setting this goal is setting myself up for failure and i’ll be throwing the towel in and going back to my normal poorly recycling planet ruining ways in no time. No, instead of this i’m just making small changes, if they suit our lifestyle i’ll keep them, if they don’t then I’ll try something else. Things like shampoo bars and buying meat from the butcher, these are things I can handle. Small steps guys, small steps.

Social media

Are you a Facebook junkie or an internet recluse?

I find social media both my angel and my devil and I still can’t decide where I stand on the subject. It is both the cancer and the cannabis. It’s the root of a lot of my anxiety and self esteem trouble. It’s also a place for connecting with people and finding inspiration. For me, It depends entirely on my frame of mind when I open the app as to how i’ll consume it’s content, and that alone is probably a good reason for me to reduce my consumption, or at least be mindful when I use it.

Lifestyle

Would you rather be in the countryside or city, outside or inside more?

I could basically just do with getting outside more. It’s too cold this time of year so i’ll tackle this in spring.

Self

Do you need to take time out? Or are you already taking too much time out?

Slow living focuses a lot on self care, taking time in the day for you. This isn’t for everyone, being a fairly selfish person myself I spend a lot of my time doing stuff I enjoy. For me an improved self would not be a pampered one, it would be a more generous one. Within my SLOW LIFE i’d like to find time for helping people, remembering and being thoughtful and to live a life with less judgement. I can’t remember where I heard this but I thought it was a beautiful thing to say “If you really take time to listen to a person, truly listen, then you’ll feel nothing but compassion” I guess it means there’s a reason for the things people do however misguided and we can help them, not judge them.

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The Art Of Busy

Are you being busy for the sake of being busy?

I am pretty good at being busy, generally I’m busy with stuff that I find important but in the grand scheme of things, they really are not. What does it matter if the laundry waits another day? Or the upstairs of the house stays unfinished for a while longer? SLOW to me would be to learn to prioritise my time better, instead of putting my home first I could put my friends and family first.  I’m always too busy prioritising my hobbies and chores and not prioritising intentional time with people. This habit is so engrained though I think it will be hard to break.

So there you have only some of my slow living ambitions and ideas and if you want to make positive changes too I think finding what you value first to be very helpful. No two people are the same, everyone enjoys doing different things, holds different values, so it’s only right that everyone’s version of slow and simple should be different too. Just like me if you love a little organised clutter don’t let some minimalist tell you it’s wrong. If you like chemical cleaning products go ahead and buy them, if you really enjoy watching TV and hate running then for goodness sake stay inside, pop on a box set, grab a blanket and DO NOT feel guilty about it.

Self Compassion

And remember, if you don’t stick to any of your goals that doesn’t matter either, I think if you just make a mental note, say oops and have another go eventually you’ll get it. That’s my approach to aiming for a slow and simple life anyway. I don’t think it’s something i’ll find, I think it’s something i’ll work on forever. I haven’t achieved much yet, but I will not let myself be mad at me for it.

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P.s. I want to only own beige things and to wear a baggy stone coloured linen jumpsuit with clogs just like the insta hippies do. I might treat myself when I’ve mastered a little more of this slow stuff.

written with love

Brooke

xx

Lest we forget – Apple Batter Pudding.

There’s nothing I can write in this blog post that can convey how much both me, my family, and everyone else in this country owes the generations alive in 1918. From the brave men who gave their lives, to the grieving loved ones at home who lost Sons, Husbands, Fathers, Uncles, Nephews and still managed to carry on. We owe them everything.

I can’t possibly imagine what the suffering and cold must have felt like, or how much courage it must have taken to climb those mud walls and run head on into barbed wire and whistling bullets. I can’t imagine the courage of the women at home who received that dreaded telegram and still managed to work the land. I can’t imagine living in a Britain full to the brim of sweat and grief. We owe them everything.

It’s been 100 years to the day and If I can’t possibly imagine how they lived through that time, then I guess the least I can do is learn and remember. I need to learn as much about those dreadful years and remember so I can pass it on to future generations.

I haven’t always thought like this. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve been rather ignorant of The Great War. We covered it a little in school, I knew they battled in the trenches and I’d dutifully stand in silence every November at 11am. For a whole two minutes every year those brave soldiers had my full attention. But, if i’m honest it really didn’t take long until I’d forget and get back on with everyday life.

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Our New Tradition
This year I acknowledged my ignorance and made more effort to learn what World War 1 was all about, why it happened and what it was like for the brave people who sacrificed their lives so we can live ours. (Dan Snow’s BBC Podcast is brilliant by the way! I’ll link it at the bottom.) I’m still pretty ignorant, I’m sure I can learn much more but at least to help me and Nick appreciate the sacrifice made for all of us I want to start a little new tradition in our house. In addition to buying a poppy (which I admittedly usually lose or wash or just completely forget to put on in the morning), I want to do something that will bring a little bit of 1914-1918 into our home.

Every year on the night before Rememberance Day, I hope to bake or cook something that would have been eaten by our torn and grieving nation during The Great War.

This year I’ve started the tradition with…

Apple Batter Pudding.
Using only 1 egg and two tablespoons of flour this recipe was a creative way to sustain the hardworking nation during the food shortage. This is how they would have eaten it back then but Tesco do have a modern recipe online, i’ll provide a link at the bottom.

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Ingredients…

  • Some apples
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • A little sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 3/4 pint of milk
  • 1 egg beaten

Method…

Peel, core and slice apples, place in a pie dish…
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Pour over a little lemon juice and sugar.
Mix together milk, egg and flour in a separate jug and pour mixture over the apples.
Bake in a hot oven for 1.5 hours.
Serve, enjoy and REMEMBER!

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This tasted surprisingly delicious! And because the apples were from a garden tree it cost us pittance.

Next year i’ll share the ingredients and recipe earlier so other people can join in if they wish.

Written with love
Brooke

Links…

Voices of the First World War

Tesco’s delicious looking modern recipe

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Grandmas Chocolate Concrete

Also known as Chocolate Crunch…

I’ll be honest there’s not much I remember from school. I’ve retained maybe 4 French words at the most, I think I’ve still got the basic rules of Pythagoras theorem, a2+b2 = c2? And of course, the wonderful memory of warm Chocolate Concrete served with pink custard. It was delicious!

The one thing about our school was that they took the word concrete quite literal. Don’t get me wrong, some days you’d be lucky, the consistency was just right and your spoon would slice through the slab beautifully. The custard would just soften it enough to eat, It was divine! The other days however, I remember you’d have to put your whole body weight into your cutlery to chop it into manageable mouthfuls. This for me usually resulted in my pudding shooting off the table one way and my plate the other. Que the obligatory claps and cries of “Wheyyy” coming from everyone in the dinner hall while I scrape my pudding off the floor in misery. Even so, embarrassment aside it was worth it! – I liked Chocolate Concrete.

Happily for me Grandma used to be a school cook, and not at my school! The pupils at my Grandmas school will have enjoyed Chocolate Concrete at it’s finest. When Grandma makes it, it’s never too hard. I’ve even made it myself and although it’s not made with her magic baking fingers it still slices marvellously! So, I thought I’d share it…

Grandmas Chocolate Concrete

Ingredients

  • 8oz – 226g Butter
  • 8oz – 226g sugar
  • 10oz – 284g S.R flour
  • 1 1/4oz – 36g cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • Sugar for sprinkling

Method

Place all ingredients but the egg into a bowl and rub together with your hands. Crack the egg into a cup, whisk and fold into the mixture to bind it.

Spread mixture into a greased tin (a Swiss roll tin according to Grandma, I don’t have one so I used a sandwich tin)

Bake in the oven for 20 mins, Gas mark 7, 180•c

Sprinkle with sugar and stand for 10 mins,

Cover and keep warm.

Serve with warm custard.

I’d say even Otis wants some but he will actually eat anything. He looks longingly at me like this even when I take multi-vitamins because he thinks he’s missing out.

Hope you enjoy

Written with love

Brooke x

P.s. I’d love to hear what your memories of school dinners are? And if this happened to you? Or was it just me? 🙈

Gardening Journal – Autumn flowers.

img_4885It’s fair to say that I’ve neglected the garden recently, I’ve been way too busy doing silly inappropriate tasks that rank far higher in my list of priorities than they should. Things like sewing a new dog bed or typing out recipes using my typewriter because well I just like using it. After a quiet word with myself I’ve come to the conclusion that arranging books on my coffee table to take pretty pictures is just a form of procrastination. What I really need to be doing is tackling the daily jobs before my house is stacked to the rafters with laundry and the weeds are tickling my ears. So that’s what I did, I went out into the garden and weeded for half an hour …

Before getting distracted by all the pretty flowers, bringing them inside and arranging them to take more pictures.

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Having neglected the garden for quite a while it really surprised me when I paid attention to what was still flowering. I associate autumn with oranges, browns and reds, I never would have thought that nearly into November you can make a pretty flower arrangement like this just from the garden.

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This gave me this idea for a post, I’d like to document what flowers are in bloom this time of year and a little information on each so I can take better care of them next year.

From Left to right

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Salvia – I think this is a Salvia? It wasn’t planted by me so I’m not 100% sure, I’m hoping a gardening guru will read this and correct me. I think this salvia is called Marcus, I could be wrong. A herbaceous perennial (disappears and comes back each year) and to prolong blooming cut off faded stems. Mulch in spring.

Osteospurmum – African daisy ‘Stardust’ An evergreen perennial which means it should provide bushy ground cover all winter however it might not survive frosts so overwinter under glass. Deadhead to prolong flowering.

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Astrantia – A herbaceous Perennial,  Astrantia likes moisture so a good 3-4 inches of mulch will help retain water, deadhead to prolong blooming. Prefers light to partial shade, needs to be protected from harsh midday sun.

Sambucus nigra – ‘Black lace’. A deciduous shrub, this bloomed much earlier in the year but I noticed the berries and thought they were very pretty. I can’t believe this but apparently for the best colour leaves i’m to prune right down to the ground in early spring. I’ll let you know how that goes.

img_4876-1Catnip – A herb, part of the mint family it can be used in herbal teas. Very easy to keep, cats love it, it’s a shame nobody near us has cats. Ignore it unless it hasn’t rained in a long time, then by all means, water it.

Rudbeckia – A herbaceous perennial. Apply liquid plant food every few weeks over the flowering period to produce bigger and better flowers. keep moderately watered over late spring, summer and autumn. Deadhead by cutting back faded stems to encourage new flowers.

 

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Peacock Orchids – These are annual bulbs, they were £2 in morrisons so I grabbed a bag, we planted them out in late May after the last frost, it felt like winter 2018 was never going to end. We’ve pretty much left them to it and they’ve been beautiful. I’m going to do the same next year to see if it was just a 2018 fluke.

Cyclamen – A tuberous perennial. These are meant to flower in autumn and winter but ours have been out since July, I’m convinced our climate here on the East Yorkshire coast is colder than most of the UK. Don’t over water in summer and mulch with leaf mould or bark chippings.

Hopefully this will serve as a little reminder of what to do next spring, summer and autumn to ensure my plants flower right through to November next year and hopefully, if we’re lucky and I stop taking pictures and actually start gardening we’ll get way more flowers than we have this year.

Written with love

Brooke