Eleanor Ozich knows a thing or two about living a life of less and ultimate simplicity. Her fourth book, The Art of Simple, is now in its second print run, which is of no surprise as the book is brimming with nourishing recipes, tips to declutter both your mind and your home, and ideas that bring joy and order to your day.
Introduce us to The Art of Simple and what inspired you to create it.
Inside The Art of Simple, you will find recipes and ideas I’ve embraced in my quest to cherish life’s simple pleasures. Alongside recipes for nourishing meals, it includes tips to de-clutter your home, calming night-time rituals for children, and ideas for bringing order to your day. There’s also recipes for home-made natural beauty products and household cleaners, which will cost you less and be kinder to you and the environment.
Our journey to living a less complicated way of life was inspired by a yearning to slow down after a whirlwind couple of years. My husband and I both had our own businesses, and had fallen in to the habit of working long, relentless hours, and losing sight of the everyday things that mattered to us the most. Even though I had a career that I loved, I felt as though I was being pulled in too many different directions, each day becoming more detached from the slow lifestyle that I desperately yearned to live.
And so, we made the decision to move from the hustle and bustle of the city to a little 1950s beach house nestled among native bush and beautiful birdsong in Titirangi, Auckland. Shedding unnecessary clutter and adopting a simpler style of living, I found myself with far more time and energy to appreciate family, friends and the small pleasures in life. This experience inspired me to put my thoughts on to paper, and The Art of Simple was born.
Take us through a day in the life of Eleanor Ozich!
I wake with the sunrise each morning, and take the time to enjoy a lovely cup of tea. Next I’ll do ten minutes or so of light yoga, with my youngest Archie playing next to me with his beloved trucks. When my older two children wake, we all sit down and have breakfast together before walking to school.
Once I get home, Archie and I often spend the morning pottering around, preparing dinner, and simply hanging out until he has his nap.
For lunch, I’ll often make something along the lines of toasted sourdough topped with avocado, finely sliced shallots, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a decent sprinkle of dukkah. And if I’m feeling particularly hungry, I’ll add a few poached eggs. Once I’m feeling nourished and happy, I’ll spend the next few hours doing a spot of writing, or testing a new recipe or two.
Afternoons are often spent at one of our local beaches, our favourite being French Bay. We all loved to read, and so our evenings are spent doing just that. I’ll be tucked up in bed with a good novel and a mug of chamomile by the time 9pm rolls around.
If you could take just two ideas from The Art of Simple to encourage a simpler, calmer and happier life what would they be?
There is one thing I believe we can all use a little less of, and that is our digital devices. Checking social media or scanning through emails can easily become automatic and highly distracting. Not only does this hijack our focus and put us in a reactive state, it can also mean we are constantly putting other’s needs before our own. Next time you reach for your phone, do yourself a favor and ask whether you really need it in this moment? or if you’re like me, you might benefit from having designated ‘switch off’ time.
Secondly, I would encourage you to find a handful of simple pleasures and rituals that make you happy and bring you joy. I believe that the things you choose to do on a daily basis, are not only an indicator of the quality of your day, but by extension, the quality of your life. Learning to enjoy the small, simple rituals throughout your day not only help you to slow down, but to connect with the beautiful, meaningful moments that we so often dismiss when we’re too busy to notice them. This could be taking the time to sip on that heavenly first cup of tea for the day, or going for a slow, quiet walk by yourself in the evenings. It’s such a simple concept, but one we often forget to give ourselves.
When you were building The Art of Simple, what did you enjoy about the process the most? (i.e. the photoshoots, the recipes / cooking, the writing, the routine, looking at the beautiful homeware).
I would have to say my favourite part of putting together The Art of Simple, would be the styling and capturing of images to go inside. I’ll almost always use flowers or greenery to enhance my photos, whether it be a small vase of dainty wildflowers in the corner of an image, or a haphazard arrangement of blooms between dishes, I find they add such a beautiful element to the photo.
Tell us about a book that will always be on your bookshelf, and why?
The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater Volume I, II or III, they’re all brilliant! Whenever I’m feeling at a loss of what to make for dinner, I’ll flick through one of his books, and feel instantly inspired by his marvellous way with words. Behind his carefully considered methods and ideas, are beautiful stories of real life in the kitchen that bring a new appreciation for food in it’s most pure form. His recipes are also dependable, and always delicious.
You can buy Eleanor Ozich’s book The Art of Simple at Unity Books, Auckland. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! In the meantime, why not visit her absolutely beautiful website?