My book review of 'A Year of Living Simply' by Kate Humble

A Year of Living Simply

by Kate Humble
A Year of Living Simply
by Kate Humble

Another fascinating and uplifting book from the TV presenter known for her love of animals and the outdoors, and for her smallholding in Wales. 

Kate visited two years ago to talk about her enjoyment of walking and all that she'd learnt about its benefits. This time she's encouraging us to seek simplicity.

This is a wonderfully soothing and inspiring collection of thoughts about how to rid ourselves of some of the clutter of our lives.

There are some fantastic stories here, and some great ideas, with a few recipes too - toasting banana bread, for example, never occurred to me but delicious!

Kate meets a woman who teaches her how to wash clothes by hand - two tubs of water, takes 10 minutes for a load of washing including cleaning, rinsing and hanging on the line. She introduces us to community initiatives which encourage people to restore rather than buy new. There are snippets of information about the mental health benefits of feeling the soil in your hands, and the giving and receiving of compliments. And she explains how having more 'things' can make you feel less secure because you feel a pressure to hold on to them.

Despite its title, this book is not presented as a diary, instead the chapter and section breaks are led by subject, and it really is a collection of thoughts and meetings. It reads almost as if we've been sent a letter from a friend.

It would be possible to dip in and out for distraction in a quiet moment, but actually I couldn't put the book down, reading it quickly from cover to cover. I even felt a bit lost when it was finished - I was enjoying Kate's company and loved hearing about her encounters with these fascinating and inspiring individuals. A great book and certainly reassuring for these times. I highly recommend it!

Read about Kate's visit to launch 'Thinking on my Feet' here and my interviews here and here.

Review date: December 2020
Publication date: 17th September 2020