Friday, February 12, 2016

Walking in Sunshine....

My car is in the shop.
Instead of taking the offer of a driver and a ride home I wore my walking shoes
and took a walk in a different area of town.

Walking is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise.
It is simple
can be done almost anywhere
and the only special equipment you need is a good pair of shoes.

You might need some sunglasses
a warm coat or a rain jacket
umbrella or boots

if you have a walking partner 
you are blessed.

Conversation makes the time fly and going the distance with a "buddy" is supportive.
One day you may feel tired, lazy or lethargic but your partner urges you on.
Another day it is your turn to encourage him or her.

Walking in a group is popular here in Victoria, 
beyond the seafront there are hiking trails
The Galloping Goose is popular with both cyclists and pedestrians.

We have groups of walkers if you like company:
The TC 10K race has several training groups
Widow's Walking Group
Newcomers Club Walkers
Nordic Pole Walkers
Outdoor Club of Victoria
groups that walk out of the fitness and Seniors centres.

Mr. HB and I walk together on the weekends.
We have "My route" and His route."
My route goes along the waterfront to the Gonzales area of town,
his route goes along the waterfront towards the "boat pond."

Bald Eagle perched in a tree surveying the ocean 
possibly looking for a fish dinner.

Off it flies towards the sea...

soft shades of blues and greys

the sun breaks through the clouds

there are many quiet moments when we walk
moments to enjoy the scenery
moments to observe the unexpected
moments when we share some conversation
we are walking together

as we have done since we walked down the aisle so many years ago.

~ ~ ~

The Victoria Orchid Society Show is on this weekend and I'll be working at the admissions table.
I plan to take my knitting with me just in case there is a quiet moment during the day.

Looking forward to perusing the show and sales table after I finish my shift.
When it comes to orchids I have a weak spot for them and a new one might just accompany me home!

"Walking is man's best medicine."
~ Hippocrates ~

Have a fun weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February Joys

February has come in so fast I almost did not even notice it's arrival...
the thing that surprised me was that I was about to open one of the jars of yogurt in the fridge
(and thought to myself that I had purchased these awhile back...)
lo and behold the last two jars in the fridge were beyond their best before dates!

I used to think that stale dated foods kept in the fridge only happened to the elderly...
Welcome to the world of the advanced age Hostess
the first symptom is forgetting what day it is...

Retirement has had that effect on me...
I know the days of the week but not necessarily the actual date.

Pink Cyclamen
seen on my walk
a burst of colour
these flowers are so tiny 
that I had to bend down to my toes to capture their beauty.

I have actioned a fridge clean out and chucked out the older condiments 
read all the dates on all the jars
wiped out the drawers
and freshened up all the surfaces.

Dani P Mop Philosopher did this last week.
I thank her for inspiring me to get on with this job.
(we both buy the same type of yogurt made in Quebec and are fans of Bonne Maman jam)
( we both reuse the jars)

I organized my "work station" at the sink.
Polished stones make a great base for the soap.
It sits above the moisture which allows it to dry out and so it lasts longer.

Emma Bridgewater tray and bowl are re purposed for this arrangement.
I like to keep my "tools" close at hand.
I am not loyal to any one dish soap and seem to flit around like a butterfly
looking for the one with the prettiest container, the nicest scent and the best performer.

Are you loyal to a brand?
What makes it special?

Having an organized work area is worth the little bit of time and effort.
It is the "little things" that make a big difference.

Two of the books that I ordered from Ivy's on The Avenue arrived.
Style Forever was my first read...I enjoy and follow Alyson Walsh's blog
She has some great pointers about dressing and Fashion
after reading her book I felt like going shopping.
(which I did!)

The other evening after dinner
I lit my favourite Diptyque candle to set the mood.
Time to relax.

Dessert was a bowl of cafe au lait and Garance Dore's new book.
I love this book.
She looks so much like my former French fact they could be sisters.
I am not quite finished her book but know it will be a keeper and one that I will read again.

The black Hellebores from the Vancouver Van Dusen Garden shop are blooming 
in The Humble Bungalow Garden.
The plant has grown and soon seedlings will pop up and I will pot up some in the greenhouse to share with friends and neighbours.

Snowdrops are putting on their show.
Snowdrops are so elegant with their wee bonnets of white.
 Spring is coming...

February can feel like a long month as we wait for the arrival of Spring.
It feels like Spring is early and that February is going by fast.

I bid you adieu from The Humble Bungalow...
until next time when 
I will share with you some fashion focused posts.

Be Well and Be Kind.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tea time...a recipe for Scones.

Hosting an afternoon Tea is a lovely way to savour time and enjoy a visit with a friend.
(or friends)
Serving a hot cup of tea and a simple scone with jam is my idea of casual elegance.
It is much more upscale when you use china cups and your silver service...
but still satisfying when served in a pretty mug.

I always like to have fresh flowers on the table.

I like to brew a pot of tea with tea leaves...offer milk, sugar and honey on the side.
Some people like lemon wedges squeezed in their tea but they are not used among my friends.

Scones can be purchased from a bakery but they are so quick and easy to prepare that I bake my own.

This is my recipe and I have used the same one for the last 30 years!

Hostess Scones

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a big bowl combine:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 Teaspoons baking powder
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of raisins or grated cheese or dried cranberries ~ optional

With a pastry blender
Cut in 4 Tablespoons cubed cold butter

MIx in a separate bowl:

2/3 cup milk
2 large eggs beaten

Add wet ingredients into the dry and mix with a spoon until it clings together.
Use hands to mix in the rest of the flour and form into a large ball.

Place on a lightly floured or roll until flat and about 1/2 inch thick.

Cut into rounds with a small glass or a biscuit cutter.
Place on a sheet pan.
Sprinkle with a Tablespoon of sugar

Bake on a sheet pan for 10-12 minutes

Cool and serve on a pretty tea plate with butter and jam on the side.
Devon or clotted Cream makes a lovely addition and then you are serving a traditional "Cream Tea!"

I serve my scones with fresh grapes and berries on the side.

Are you inspired to host an afternoon tea party?
It is easier than a luncheon and equally as enjoyable.

It is Family Day here in Victoria and the sun is shining...
I will be getting out for my walk later and look forward to a hot cup of tea when I return.

Be Well and Be Kind

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Food and Flowers...a post that got lost in cyberspace!

First off I must say the food in Seattle was AMAZING...

Breakfast every morning was enjoyed in Andaluca, the Mayflower Park's restaurant.
(Our hotel package; "The Winter Warmer" included breakfast each morning and valet parking)

The English Breakfast tea was perfection...
loose tea leaves, boiling hot, served in a pot with fresh milk.
Followed by eggs, fruit, bacon or sausages, multigrain toast and homemade jam.

Lunches were randomly picked based on where we were walking.
When we got hungry we chose the busier spots thinking that would be a good indicator of quality, which worked well for us.

We indulged in a pre dinner cocktail in Oliver's Lounge before heading out for the evening.

We tried some new restaurants for dinners out and returned to Dahlia Lounge on the Friday night. (which we remember as being one of our favourites)

Sea Bar Sampler from Dahlia Lounge
Tom Douglas's first restaurant
(I think it is still his finest)
This dish is probably the best dish that I have eaten in many many years...
maybe it is the BEST EVER.

Mr. HB had the coconut cream pie for dessert...
the waitress brought us two forks.
I did not even pick mine up.
With great reserve and a nod to my WW "training" I watched as Mr. HB 
 savoured each bite.

The concierge at The Mayflower Park Hotel suggested Barolo when we mentioned we wanted to have an Italian meal on the Saturday evening.
It was a chilly and rainy night so we were relieved to find it was located 5 minutes from the Hotel.
The Bistro was super busy so we were happy that the concierge had arranged a reservation for us.

Grilled Cesar Salad
a much more intense flavour was released by grilling the romaine

Halibut on a bed of vegetables drizzled with lemon, herbs and olive oil.
I ate every morsel.

My first ever bite of a cannoli!
Now I know what all the fuss is about.

Now that we are home back in Our Humble Bungalow food is simpler.

The Victoria Orchid Society has it's annual show and sale this month.
It is a highlight for orchid lovers as there are so many exotic varieties on display.

I will be volunteering at the show
 and after my shift plan to peruse the show and the orchids that growers have on sale.

The windowsill orchids are blooming in our Humble Bungalow Kitchen

They love the humidity situated on the sill just above the sink.
What a pretty sight to see walking in to the kitchen after being away for 4 days.

~ Home Sweet Home ~

Thank you for popping by and spending a few minutes here in The Humble Bungalow.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Flowers and the occasional treats...

The beautiful colours of this exquisite fuchsia stand out against the grey gloom of a February day.

After a delightful trip away in Seattle I am trying to get back on track and eat more modestly.
Focusing on lean protein, fruits, vegetables and salads.

Recently my daily dose of Thyroid medication has been reduced substantially.
It is interesting to me that our thyroid glands can fluctuate so much and I am curious as to why it has changed so radically in the past 6 months, I have done some research but have not discovered any answers.
The Thyroid affects many systems in the body and losing and gaining weight can be affected by an malfunctioning Thyroid gland.
If you have not had yours checked in awhile it might be a good idea,
all that is involved is a simple blood test.

While staying the course I have been rewarding myself with non edible treats...
floral bouquets.

Cafe au lait's 
which have helped keep me satisfied...
the skim milk foams up far lighter than regular milk and it is easy opting for skim over full fat cream.
One needs a few treats now and then so a bowl of coffee with frothy milk is something I enjoy.

I have paid extra attention to my hands and have started painting my nails
 it is fun trying out new and different shades.
I am getting better with the application of the polish.
Practise makes perfect!

Paying attention to details 
Wearing a variety of accessories with my basic classic outfits
scarves, jewelry, shoes, boots and interesting tights and socks.

The bangle collection has recently grown thanks to darling daughter...
she found me the new one 
(on the far right)
Thank you @thingfinder.

I've been walking and getting plenty of fresh air and exercise.

Chronic pain is fairly new to me...
my right arm and shoulder are giving me grief.
The doctor has diagnosed me with Supraspinatus tendonitis and has suggested physiotherapy.
There will be exercises and a course of treatments and if they fail to provide relief there is talk of a cortisone shot.

No more heavy handbags for me!

Mr. HB and I have been savouring the last season of Downton Abbey.
Julien Fellowes has been writing such wonderful episodes for the past few years that we have come to expect that the Sunday evening PBS series will always be there...
we are a few episodes away from the finale.

We finished watching the English murder mystery River 
we started watching Lie To Me.
(both on Netflix)

Grand Designs is a BBC production that we are loving...
 behind the scenes stories and details during the construction of the architecturally designed homes.
We have enjoyed each episode and highly recommend the series.

What are you watching these days?

Have you tried these candies?
The "bad news" is that they are very tasty
the "good news" is...

They are just 1 Weight Watcher Point.
Guilt free pleasure that I am happy to indulge.

in moderation of course!

Pop over and read her post and the comments left by readers.

Lisa is happy with her 5 pound gain which still has her in a healthy normal BMI range.
I am working to shed 5 pounds as I am in the overweight category at 25.4 
My goal is to be at a BMI of 25 which is considered at the higher end of the"normal " range.
The Weight Watcher goal of 132 pounds for a 5'1 woman
 is not an unreasonable goal 
nor am I in any way going to look "skinny!"
I feel better at that weight...
less stress on my hips and knees
my clothes fit better
 in the end feeling good on your own skin is what it is all about
"bien dans sa peau"

Perhaps you will care to share your thoughts on weight gain and weight loss.
Does it matter to you?
Do you put your health as a priority?
Has weight gain or loss affected your confidence?
Has your doctor ever suggested that you make changes in your lifestyle to protect your heart health?

If you have been reading my blog awhile you might remember when my blood pressure went through the roof and I was on doctor mentioned that IF I could lose 10% of my weight that I would substantially reduce my blood pressure.
I lost 20% of my weight...and fortunately I no longer require the medication.

February is HEART month...

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."

~ Lao Tzu ~

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