Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Travel wardrobe and simplifying the closet.

Its that time of year for me...
The time when I look at my clothes closet
and wonder how I can simplify my wardrobe.
What can I purge? What should I keep?

I don't need many clothes for my casual retirement lifestyle.

Looking tidy, age appropriate, but not frumpy, are my priorities when it comes to putting an outfit together.

With a couple of trips on the horizon I am looking at pieces that will pack well and be versatile.

My wardrobe is basically black and grey so everything can mix and match...which makes for many more possible outfits with fewer items.

The one thing that I would like to find is a trench style coat, single breasted in a charcoal or that I can add a layer underneath for warmth should the temperatures dip. I have not found one that I like many are double breasted and they do not work for me at all...far too wide on my short frame.

I plan to hop across the pond to Vancouver to see if Nordstrom's or other shops may have something that will work for me.

In the meantime, I did find a new basic that will travel well...

Bryn Walker swing coat
I like the weight of the fabric and it skims and flatters my curves.

Are you familiar with the brand Bryn Walker?

The pockets are handy!

I like to roll up the sleeves.

I've got some Eileen Fisher basic black pants and one of her black tank tops.
I will add a layer over top...
perhaps my denim tencel shirt worn as a jacket
or this jacket by Bryn Walker.

The other option is a cashmere cardigan or a vest.

I am already thinking of a minimal travel wardrobe
for 3 weeks taking only a carry on.

We travel this fall 
 fly to Rome
then we will go to
attend a week long cooking vacation 
(with daily excursions)
rent a car 
drive to Provence
stay in a villa near Aix en Provence
explore the surrounding villages
drive to Auvillar to visit our friends for a few days
hop on the TGV to Paris 
where we will spend a couple of days before flying home.

I am already madly "pinning ideas" from Pinterest 
that focus on travel and packing.

The planning is so much fun!
I'd forgotten...
it's been several years since my trip to Paris and the South of France

What are your "go to" travel items?
Do you travel with a carry on or do you check your bag?

What would you pack for 3 weeks in a carry on?

I welcome your thoughts and ideas...

Take care and thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Life at the cottage ~ easing into 2019

After a busy festive season I felt the need to relax and cocoon.

Taking life a wee bit slower 
as we ease gently into the New Year.

We were fortunate to be able to go over to the cottage for a week of relaxation.
Its such a peaceful place...
there are many opportunities to "just live in the moment"

to  listen to the birdsong

watch the raindrops 
while listening to the howling winds

taking note of the tides
the ebb and flow of the waves 
as they lap upon the Salish Sea

a bouquet of fresh flowers 

nibbles for dinner 

sharing them with the neighbours from across the road

They joined us for the Juniors Hockey Gold Medal Game

USA vs. Finland
one of our neighbours is Finnish 
so it was much more exciting watching the game!

Finland won the gold!

Heritage barn
seen on our walk.

My BFF came over for a few days.
We played crib, chatted, walked, drank tea and enjoyed each others company.

My BFF has a Fit Bit so we knew how many steps we took...
7,000 on our walk and by the time time we had picked up a few groceries
then returned to the cottage
it read out 10,000 and fireworks exploded on her screen!

Self care is so important...

it can mean different things for each of us:

eating mindfully
dabbling in a creative hobby
learning something new
taking time to dress in clothes that make us feel good
indulging in a spa day
putting on a pretty and flattering shade of lipstick
savouring a piece of good quality chocolate
going out for lunch
saying yes to things we love and no to things that rob us of joy
we can choose those
opportunities that fill our days with meaningful "feel good" moments

listening to our heart and paying attention to what we need

reading a good book

Thirty More Chic Days by Fiona Ferris
an inspiring one that is starting my year off on a positive note.

Thank you to Fiona who sent this to me...
I am embracing many of her ideas from the book.

Wishing you a peaceful 
Happy New Year!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year thoughts and shiny bright lights...

Happy New Year!

The bright and shiny day dawns and it feels like a fresh start...
turning the page on my day timer offers an opportunity to put the past year behind, but not forgetting the events, experiences and adventures but taking note and learning from them, while moving forward with a spirit of renewed energy, optimism and positivity.
As this new year unfolds, my plan is to live simply, honestly, compassionately, while embracing beauty and slowing down to consciously look for the bright spots in my daily round.
Making small changes that will help contribute to a healthier, happier year ahead for myself and our family.
I am grateful for so many things in life and will continue to give thanks...

We spent some time on New Years Day at Butchart Gardens.
The gardens are lit up for the festive season with lights and their popular
 "12 days of Christmas" displays.

I don't make many resolutions...
I will try to walk more and moderate the amount and type of food that I eat.

The New Year will include a couple of trips.
I have not felt inclined to travel much since Mom passed away 
these past few months. 
I am in the process of planning a cruise to Alaska this summer
followed by a 3 week adventure 
to Rome, Tuscany, Provence, SW France and Paris.

I will be packing for three weeks in a carry on!

Italian lessons for travellers are on the agenda for the next few months.

What plans do you have for the New Year?
Do you make resolutions?

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve

                         Seasons Greetings from The Humble Bungalow.

Our Island and many of the southern Gulf Islands are recovering from a devastating storm last week that blew down trees and power lines.
Many people are still without power. We never lost our power and I am so grateful that we are warm and cozy snug in our home.

We are ready for the festivities...
time to enjoy our family and friends.

Our faux Christmas tree is lit with plain white lights
"cat proof" 
with no baubles.

Chester climbs it most days 
he has not knocked it over (yet) 
he got stuck once 
with the wire of the lights stretched tight across his belly
fortunately I was able to extricate him.

                    Like many of you, I have been busy these past few weeks.

"It's true, Christmas can feel like a lot of work, particularly for mothers. 
But when you look back on all the Christmases in your life, 
you'll find you've created family traditions and lasting memories. 
Those memories, good and bad, are really what help to keep a family together over the long haul. "

                                       ~ Caroline Kennedy ~

I love the message on this Emma Bridgewater tote!

It's not quite time for me to hang up my gloves...
the cooking is not finished.

The baking is done

The rum balls, citrus shortbread and butter tarts are ready for the tins.
The deliveries are in process...

Stuffed devilled eggs are ready for the party.

Christmas Day 
we will serve a simple brunch 
followed later by a small turkey dinner.

Thank you for your comments 
on the recent passing of my husband's mom.

"The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than in things."

~ Thomas S. Monson ~

Best wishes for a Peaceful and Happy Holiday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December ~ love, loss and memories.

Are you ready for the Festive Season?
No matter how hard we try to make Christmas special 
we cannot be prepared or predict what might happen.

Christmas has always been one of my favourite holidays.

Family, friends, giving to others, baking, bright lights and song.
It's never been a picture postcard storybook Christmas 
but that is what makes it special
we try 
because we are human things can go sideways...

This past weekend we went over to the cottage and rode on the Salish Orca.
(our regular ferry is out for annual maintenance)

While we were driving onto the ferry my husband's cellphone rang
it was the nurse from the care home.

 Mr. HB's mom, who is 100, took a turn. 
The next morning
my husband boarded an early ferry and returned to town...
his mother passed away within a few minutes after he arrived.

We have lost our beloved matriarch
the last of the long lived Scottish family.
It is the end of an era...

Elaine lead a long and rich life 
she was a spunky woman, 
"a force to be reckoned with"
her gifts and talents were many
she will be missed by all of us.

I feel blessed to have met her when I was fifteen 
 she taught me so much...
she was generous with her time, fiercely loyal to her family,
 she shared so many wonderful things with all of us
her tried and true recipes
boat skills, crocheting, card games,
how to live within a budget
everything from hostessing tips to the full on turkey feast.

She will be missed...

Fortunately we all have many years of great memories to recall.
I am confident that they will help comfort and sustain us 
in the days and weeks ahead.

I made a pasta dinner for my husbands' return to the island.
I knew that he would need a warm hug and a hot meal.
We rely on comfort food to help soothe us in times of distress.

We hunkered down in the cottage as the skies grew dark and ominous...

The weekend weather was very stormy...
rain pelting sideways with powerful gusty winds
the seas churned up with choppy waves covered in white caps.

I started reading this new book by Beatrice Colin...
it is set in Paris around the time that the Eiffel Tower was under construction.

We spent most days quietly thinking of her
 reminding each other of our favourite memories.
Laughing and weeping.

We were cozy and warmed by the fire
while outside the storms raged on...

We ventured out when there was a break in the rain...
for a welcome breath of fresh salty air.

We went to the Chocolate Shop where Mr. HB enjoyed a rich hot chocolate 
I opted for a salted caramel mocha...
I've never tasted one before today!
(it was so tasty!)
I purchsed some of their delicious chocolates for a few people on our Christmas list.

Dessert in a mug.

Looking to the light...

Holding fast to the memories of Christmases past
when all our loved ones were gathered...
several generations at the tables
wearing our paper hats from the Xmas crackers
an older family member saying grace
 we dined on turkey and all the trimmings.

This year there are many empty chairs...
we will gather around
in their memory
toast to them.

Wishing you a Very Happy Holiday Season.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~