Part memoir, part manifesto, The Simple Life arose from Hetzel’s passion for sharing and storytelling. Central to her simple life is the role of the home, and how it can have a profound effect on the way we view the world outside it: spending more time at home – cooking, cleaning, growing produce, knitting, mending, creating – made her ‘kinder, calmer, and more patient’. No longer did she need the money-sapping thrills of outside of the home – such as shops and cafés – to feel happy. She realised that happiness can exist in the simple things, and that producing is much more rewarding than consuming. And that the home should not be relegated to the status of ‘that place you spend time in at the beginning and end of the day’.
The Simple Life is Hetzel’s second book, following on from the inspiring Down to Earth (2012, Penguin), a manual for simple living, for which she has a blog of the same name. If there is one useful and timely nugget to take out of this book it’s that by simplifying one’s life – avoiding the temptations of spending money as a hobby – and viewing the home as a centre for creation, new pleasures will arise and you’ll save money.