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A Year of Living Simply: The joys of a life less complicated

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  39 reviews
'Simply wonderful.' - BEN FOGLE

'Kate's book has the warmth and calming effect of a log fire and a glass of wine. Unknit your brow and let go. It's a treat.' - GARETH MALONE

'Kate Humble pours her enviable knowledge into attainable goals. It's a winning combination and the prize - a life in balance with nature - is definitely worth claiming.' - LUCY SIEGLE

'As ever, where Kat
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 17th 2020
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Karen Mace
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hands up who needs help in stripping back their life and finding joy in the smallest of things?! ✋ And this is the book that is going to help you reconsider, reflect and reprioritize what is going on in your day to day life and it was such a refreshing read that I raced through it and am now eager to put into action just a few simple changes to stop me feeling overwhelmed by what life throws my way - 2020 sure has been excessive on that front!! - and to look for more positives than negatives! Ea ...more
Sep 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recently I got very into Kate Humble’s television series Twice the Life for Half the Price. The premise is that families living in urban environments seek out a life in the country that delivers less of the stress of modern life and more of life on the land, for less money or at least relatively less for what they have in return. What distinguishes this programme from others about escaping to the country is that the lives they seek out are real and authentic country lives, rather than chocolate ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed Humble's writing style - which is pretty informal and reads as if she is having a casual conversation with a friend - as well as her optimism and zest for life. I also enjoyed the chapters about the Earthships and various organisations such as Mens Shed and repair cafes who do excellent work within their communities.

However, I did find parts of the book to be hypocritical and patronising such as flying to stay and work in the Earthships and getting the train to interview the lady worki
Sep 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a book that looks at “The Joys of a Life Less Complicated” from the viewpoint of a well known television presenter. Kate Humble is keen to stress that this is not a how-to book of survival techniques using purely natural items, but it does include some recipes to use garden produce, especially if you have a glut of such things as chillies. It does have examples of living in a hut or minimal accommodation, but acknowledges that it is not for everyone.

This is a book that looks at happines
Jemima Pett
Ms Humble is a well-known wildlife (Springwatch) and occasionally farming TV presenter (Lambing Live). She's also done her time as president of the RSPB, the UK's equivalent of the Audubon Society.  This means she has gravitas while still being bubbly and enthusiastic, with a delightful girl-next-door aura.  She talks well and she writes well.  She captures the countryside and her subject matter so that you accompany her on her journeying.

In this year of living simply, she does a lot of journeyi
Linda Hill
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An investigation into making life simpler.

I loved A Year of Living Simply totally unreservedly. I loved meeting the people between its pages, I loved being chatted to by Kate Humble’s gloriously conversational style, I loved seeing nature and discovering Kate’s successes and failures so that when I was away from the book I was thinking about it and I loved the sense of belonging I found when I picked it up again.

I’d defy anyone to read A Year of Living Simply and not be inspired to change someth
Viki Edwards
Nov 03, 2020 rated it liked it
For the past few years, I’ve been drawn to both minimalism and sustainable living. I’ve watched a lot of content about it, and follow quite a few people who follow these lifestyles. I’ve decluttered a few times, and I try to choose the most sustainable option that I can when I’m shopping (budget permitting). Reading this book, I realized that what I’m searching for is a simpler life.

I’d heard of Kate Humble, though I don’t think I’ve watched any of her TV shows. So I didn’t know much about her
Louise (Bookmarks and Stages blog Cannon
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 d
Susan Corcoran
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Year Of Living Simply by Kate Humble is the first book I have read by this author, but it will not be the last!

Within it’s pages is a captivating and humble telling of a year in her life, when she looks at all the ways she can lead a life of greater sustainability. It is both moving, informative and written with humour. It is a gentle call to us all to consider a life in which we treasure the simple things and consume less of the items society suggests we should aspire to.

Less waste, more repa
The Literary Shed
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Most people will recognise Kate Humble from telly. She’s a well-known face; honest, appealing, the kind of person you’d like to sit down and have a cuppa with and chat, knowing you’ll come away enriched by the experience. It’s thus a joy that Humble’s new book, A Year of Living Simply, reflects her broadcasting style. It’s conversational, thoughtful, funny, at times even profound, and just strips away a lot of the nonsense we’ve been obsessed with in our twenty-first century, all singing all dan ...more
Gaby (GNTxREADs)
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, blog-tours
In this book Kate outlines how her experiences have opened her eyes to appreciating and immersing herself in a simpler lifestyle. She addresses how making simple changes can improve work-life balance, quality of life, and overall satisfaction with life. Whether it be within the realms of cooking, gardening, up-cycling, building, or simply putting in the extra graft - this book will inspire you to do more in order to live simply.

The book emphasises how as individuals we can become more self-suffi
Val Robson
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I’m in two minds about A Year of Living Simply as the timing of it coming out during the Covid19 pandemic is either very appropriate or not depending on how you look at it and I suspect on the state of your mental health as you read it.

Kate Humble extols the virtues of living more simply since moving from an urban courtyard garden in the city to a four acre smallholding in Wales twelve years ago when she “swapped roads, pavement and streetlights for a dirt track, woods and fields”. Much of what
Michelle Whitham (curled_up_with_a_good_book)
This book will make you want to get in your garden and dig yourself a vegetable patch (or rent an allotment)! The conversational style of this makes it a joy to read; it flows easily and makes you feel like Humble is actually telling you her stories.

And it will certainly get you thinking about what changes you can make in your life. From as small as sorting out your cupboards, to as big as building your own house and going off grid, there are ideas in here for everyone. You will definitely be in
Jo Barton
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing

From its stunning cover, with the Kintsugi bowl as its centre piece, the book takes us through a myriad of thoughts and feelings which are so beautifully described by an author who leads you by the hand into the ways and means of a simpler life. There is much to enjoy, not just in terms of the writing, which is wonderfully informative, without being preachy, but also in the description of how Kate's own search for a simpler life led her to meet the most amazing people who were all trying, each i
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Year Of Living Simply is written by well-known TV personality Kate Humble. Her cheery and friendly nature really comes over in the book along with her passion for animals and the great outdoors. She explains that after suffering several heartbreaking bereavements she felt the need to evaluate the areas of her life that really matter.

For years I have looked for little sparks of joy even when times have been particularly tough. I totally agree with the author that happiness can be found in the t
Fleurtje Eliza
Oct 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Kate Humble is a brilliant writer, this book is full of kind words and gestures, interesting scientific facts and figures, she often made me smile and sometimes even laugh.


1 – There is nothing new in this book, mostly she talks about how working for money makes you unhappy, people often ending up with serious mental health problems. Doing things to find satisfaction is key (make your own bread), and think of the environment (want something new, buy something old). Nothing of all of th
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
READ THIS IF... you like nature, sustainability, or if you grew up watching Animal Farm like I did!

THE STORY... Kate takes us through her 'year of living simply' which ranges from her planting a garden, to visiting a 'repair cafe', to building Earthships.

I WAS... surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! Kate beautifully described the feelings she experienced doing simple things, and it was inspiring. I didn't think anyone could make rearranging a shelf of plasters and painkillers exciting, b
Oct 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I approached this book with great hope. I like the presentation style that Kate Humble has and, particularly in the current climate, a slower, simpler approach to life is highly attractive.

There's no mistaking that this is an easy read. You can almost hear Kate's voice in the narrative and the style is very approachable. However, that, for me, is where the positives really end. I'd liken the book to watching an episode of Countryfile or Springwatch. It gives you points to ponder but doesn't real
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a brilliantly simple, warm stress reducer in it's considered, uncomplicated delivery. Only pages in and I was keen to commit to a Kate's views on a simpler life. With A Year of Living Simply I created more bookmarks in this one book than all the other books I have read combined. So many great ideas!

Like Kate, I enjoy a dog walk around the British countryside regardless of the weather as a great balm to many ills. I found her different chapters - everything from bread making to earth
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I didn't really warm to Kate Humble until I watched a programme where she helped city folk who wanted to move to the country and try smallholding or veg growing or whatever and she came across as very genuine and seemed to want to help the people really settle into a completely different life. This book is a sort of extension of that with Ms Humble taking us through her attempts to cut back on unnecessary things and make more of the simple things. It isn’t necessarily about saving money (she buy ...more
I don't think there could be a better timing for this book, throughout lockdown so many people seem to have discovered the joys of the 'simple life' that Kate proposes, and as we head towards a winter that looks ever more likely to be lockdown again it's a brilliant reminder to take joy in the small things rather than hankering after the holidays and experiences we might usually be able to have. I enjoyed Kate's realistic outlook on living simply, as she points out simplicity isn't the same as e ...more
Charlotte Booth
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked this book but it wasn't what I was expecting. I was hoping for some 'tips' on how to live a simpler life without throwing all my stuff out and living in the woods.

Although the book didn't offer that, it follows the author on her research into ways that people live a simple life - including the people who build Earthships, and an eco-village in Europe as well as the rising trend in repair cafes and the Shed movement - the WI for men really.

I found this fascinating, as well as Kate's for
Nov 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I simply loved this book.

Who doesn't feel a tad guilty for the amount of waste we produce everyday, for buying things that we don't necessarily need, or for not considering that something could have been repaired before we toss it aside and buy a replacement. This book takes the reader on a journey with Kate looking at how people have created happier and simpler lives for themselves in various ways. It is down to earth and doesn't at all feel preachy in the way that these types of books sometim
Oct 26, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kate Humble writes as she speaks and her book is a gentle and enjoyable read that feels more like a conversation with her. I love books that lead you off at tangents and introduce you to new topics and authors. This is definitely one of those books and I found myself happily diverting to explore interesting new threads.

Many of the people and groups she shares made me think about how life was when I was growing up, having to make do and mend and what seemed to be a far less wasteful society. Her
Kath Middleton
Sep 17, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I chose this book as I really enjoy Kate’s enthusiasm as a TV presenter. This comes through in the book and you find yourself reading it in her voice. I admire the intent to live a simple life, something many of us strive for but fall short. It’s full of anecdotes and stories of friends who have done this. In a way, however, it takes a back seat and watches. It’s a fine line between inspirational and preachy and I felt it crossed the line a time or two. I also found it ironic that, in w
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I ve been a fan of Kate Humble's presenting style. She always seems down to earth and I relate to her view. During lock down, I had time to contemplate life, what was important, what could I do without and was there anything that I wanted to change? So I was intrigued by this book which examines how Kate wants to change her life to make it more simple. I already share her views about nature and mental wellbeing from being in nature, as well as her reuse/recycle views and we grow vegetables too.
Chiara Pinto
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book resonated so much with me and crystalized themes I think a lot of us have been reflecting on over the past year. If nothing else 2020 has made us all rethink our priorities on what is important (health, access to outside space, work life balance) Although a lot of what Kate says has been said before I felt so seen by the gap between her perception of herself as someone who doesn't buy a lot of stuff and yet her cupboards are filled with "things". I also liked that she was willing to re ...more
Kaye Fraser
Oct 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is like a big, warm hug - it manages to put across some of the vital themes we should all be addressing to ensure a future for our planet, but extols the joy to be found in living more simply and cutting down on the things we all see as essential, but are really not necessary at all. The people Kate Humble meets, the ideas she shares with them, her own experiences and the extraordinary beauty of our planet (and of her own small part of it) are all conveyed with honesty and a refreshing ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked Kate Humble’s style of writing and how I felt like I was there with her, trying new things and meeting interesting people who were Doing amazing things with recycled materials. She gave me a lot to think about and inspiration as to how to improve my life by living more simply and respecting the earth more, although I’m not sure I can do what she has done and move to the countryside and be self sufficient. I can however learn to make things and do more to reuse and recycle and live more s ...more
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