• Caitlin Keely Gemmell

Some musings on living a life of enchanted simplicity.

Updated: Aug 27

When I was a teenager, my lovely sister-in-law presented me with a book that would forever change my life.


I‘ve always been an old soul; a romantic; a dreamer. My swan feather, sugar plum fairy soul feels so out of place in this harsh, action-packed world.


I was the kid who could be found sitting sheltered amongst the protective branches of a tree friend, perfectly content to be on my own. For one, I was never really on my own as I have nature friends everywhere: wild animals, trees, flowers, butterflies. For another, being away from people gives me a chance to linger in the world of my imagination— a place I love dearly.

I hope you are not thinking I was always a solitary child. I have two brothers, and somehow or other, as quiet and gentle as I am, other children always sought me out. I grew up with lots of friends. But, as a true introspective, introverted daydreamer I need ample solitude to really thrive.

And as much as I love my friends, I’ve always felt… different. I always thought I belonged in a different time. Or perhaps a different world. A world such as could be found in Betsy-Tacy’s Deep Valley, Anne Shirley’s Green Gables and the surrounding Avonlea in Prince Edward Island, or the English countryside such as that loved by Cassandra Mortmain — the countryside that was so familiar to me during part of my childhood and college years.


This yearning for romance followed me throughout my childhood and into my teen years.

When the book Romancing the Ordinary was placed into my hands, it was as if I found a kindred spirit in a living, breathing human being instead of just in characters in books. The author of this book explained all the things I thought about and felt. Her story was different from mine (I’d never had the experience of losing my senses before), but the way she chose to live her life, her desire to “romance the ordinary” was exactly what I had been doing all along.

This book has been with me ever since; back and forth between the US and England, to a castle in Ireland, Paris, the seaside, my current woodland home in New York state. It’s the book I turn to when I feel lackluster and need inspiration. I suppose it’s the book responsible for starting me on my path to living a life of enchanted simplicity.


For those of you reading this who have been following me on Instagram for some time, you’ll know that before I changed my IG handle to my own name it was @enchantedsimplicity. At the same time that I started my Instagram I set up the #enchantedsimplicity hashtag. It now has over 5000 posts! My mind is just blown by this. Clearly there are more of you kindred spirits out there than I thought. Clearly there is a desire for enchanted simplicity as a mindset; a way of life.

So, with this in mind, here are some of my musings on what it means to live a life of enchanted simplicity.


* Simplicity is just as important as “enchanted.” Keep things simple. There’s no need to go out and spend a fortune in an attempt to make it look like you’re living a magical, dreamy life. There’s no need to stress over wanting to make everything perfect. Enchanted simplicity is a mindset more than an aesthetic. (Though there is a certain aesthetic that seems to go with enchanted simplicity, and I do have fun pinning aesthetic photos to my enchanted simplicity Pinterest board. Also, if it’s enjoyable and you can thrift items, I don’t see anything wrong with acquiring the things that fill you with joy and speak to your soul).

* It is a mindset centered on the idea that an everyday, ordinary life can be full of magic and wonder. Enchanted simplicity is finding magic in the ordinary. It is about focusing on the beauty and the good so that more of this energy floods into your life. It is about tapping into your magic, the old ways, the fairy sorceress energy to craft the life you want to live. It is about feeling satisfied with where you are whilst still dreaming of where you want to be.

*Enchanted simplicity is for anyone who feels called to this lifestyle, regardless of religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, or race.


*Enchanted simplicity is about living in harmony with others whilst honoring ones own boundaries. It is about handling conflict with grace and high class. It is about knowing when to step away and when to engage. It is about gentleness, kindness, and having an open heart. *Enchanted simplicity is the perfect lifestyle for those gentle, romantic, old souls who dream of stepping into the pages of cozy books. It’s a #cottagecore #witchy kind of vibe for some. It’s a #darkacademia #dreamy #spiritual vibe for others. It can be about #folklore #fairycore and following the #oldways. It is most definitely for #naturelovers and particularly those who feel drawn to #animism and believe that nature is alive and soulful. It can be each of these things, or something else entirely. At its core, enchanted simplicity is about living a slower life; a mindful life; an artistic life. It is about life as art, and person as a work of art. It is about recognizing that we each have a soul’s purpose, and taking steps to discover what that is.


In a later post I’ll share some of the ways in which I live an enchanted simplicity life. I’ll try to articulate my thoughts about what it means to live a life of enchanted simplicity in a future post too. I feel this post was rather rambling and disjointed. This was just me, attempting to wrap my mind around the ins and outs of living according to enchanted simplicity.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to share in the comments. Tell me, do you live an enchanted simplicity lifestyle too?


p.s. Thank you Sarah ban Breathnach for being my first real kindred spirit. Prior to the receipt of your book, my only kindred spirits were book characters.


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