A Year of Living Simply
My Journey From Complexity to Contentment
By Kate Humble
Rated: 5 stars *****
A joyous treat of a certain peace and serenity that is actually achievable for others too.
It isn’t a self-help book, it is a journey through a part of Kate Humble’s life, but there are plenty of ideas that can inspire readers of this book too. Together with warmth, enthusiasm and relatable anecdotes, it’s a wonderful book for our times.
Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours and Octopus Books for inviting me on the tour and for sending me a physical copy of the book.
Discover more about the author, the synopsis and my full review below.
About the Author
Kate Humble is a farmer, writer, activist, entrepreneur and one of the UK’s best-known TV
presenters. She started her television career as a researcher, later presenting
programmes such as ‘Animal Park’, ‘Springwatch & Autumnwatch’, ‘Lambing Live’, ‘Living
with Nomads’, ‘Extreme Wives’ and ‘Back to the Land’. Her last book, Thinking On My
Feet, was shortlisted for The Wainwright Prize and The Edward Stanford Travel Writing
Find out more about Kate on Twitter @katehumble and @farmerhumble, on
Instagram @kmhumble and at www.katehumble.com and www.humblebynature.com.
If there is one thing that most of us aspire to, it is, simply, to be happy. And yet attaining
happiness has become, it appears, anything but simple. Having stuff – The Latest, The
Newest, The Best Yet – is all too often peddled as the sure fire route to happiness. So why
then, in our consumer-driven society, is depression, stress and anxiety ever more
common, affecting every strata of society and every age, even, worryingly, the very
young? Why is it, when we have so much, that many of us still feel we are missing
something and the rush of pleasure when we buy something new turns so quickly into a
feeling of emptiness, or purposelessness, or guilt?
So what is the route to real, deep, long lasting happiness? Could it be that our lives have
just become overly crowded, that we’ve lost sight of the things – the simple things – that
give a sense of achievement, a feeling of joy or excitement? That make us happy. Do we
need to take a step back, reprioritise? Do we need to make our lives more simple? Kate
Humble’s fresh and frank exploration of a stripped-back approach to life is uplifting,
engaging and inspiring – and will help us all find balance and happiness every day.
The minute the book is opened, there is some sort of serenity about it and an optimism. Kate Humble talks briefly about some hard times that she has faced, but it moves onto a positive calmness. It is a joy to read about her walking in the countryside. I, myself am surrounded by countryside and yet, still feel this and a quiet calmness whilst reading this book, in a way I’ve never known quite possible through a book.
It is interesting reading about her aspirations and her home. Everything is so down-to-earth and relatable. Basically she really is as far removed from a diva as you can possibly get, which is lovely.
Kate Humble talks about simple pleasures in life, which is quite grounding in a sense. She also talks of the clutter, which, I’m sure everyone accumulates over time and has to tackle it at some point.
There is also the stark contrast between 2 different types of lives – the busyness of a life that makes a name and money, but brings a cold office environment and how that can change to a lesser paid job, but with less strain.
Pleasures, she shows come in all different forms, such within people you meet, an unexpected letter or tantalising food.
There’s plenty about “earthships” and about shopping too and I must admit, I love her attitude to shopping in a physical shop. It’s also interesting reading about her gain knowledge on gardening.
She writes of kindnesses and community and having that social interactions with others, in all the different forms it takes, but especially the importance of physically seeing someone. This, and so many parts of the book is so heartwarming.
The book is not only inspirational and aspirational, it holds some key things that people, even in these uncertain times, can do now and maybe create an improvement in their own lives or to others. What’s great about this book, is it all seems so naturally written and so much may resonate with people or may give people some thought about their own lives and may inspire people to appreciate the simple things in life more than, what they perhaps currently do, since the book shows a great deal, in different forms, how to show appreciation and also how time can be given to really value things and people.
It also all feels an honest account, when reading the book, which holds a lot of positive, strong values throughout and also just how to ease life a little bit, instead of everything going from 0-100 and missing everything in-between. There seems a lot that society could take from this book and learn from.
It is simply, extraordinarily wonderful and a perfect book of its type!