Thursday, July 21, 2016

Home Keeping in The Humble Bungalow

Home keeping is very much a top priority here in The Humble Bungalow.
Keeping house is an ongoing one else notices unless you neglect to keep things neat and tidy!

I have been emailing with a reader and we have been chatting about home keeping and exchanging tips on how we stay motivated and on top of the jobs required to keep the dirt and grime at bay.

I thought that this topic might be of interest to other readers so I quickly cobbled together this post...I hope you'll enjoy it.

Home keeping encompasses many aspects in the domestic arena...
laundry, ironing, dusting, vacuuming and tidying up keeping the clutter under control and out from under foot.

We have the luxury of having hired help every week.
In the two hours dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning of the bathrooms is accomplished.
This helps to keep our home looking spic and span and I take care of the rest.

When I see a mess it creates unwanted stress so I have a daily routine that takes very little time...
I make the bed right after I get up...
fluff the pillows and shake and smooth the duvet.

After showering and having my morning cafe creme
I will empty the dishwasher, put on a load of laundry and do some ironing.

I wander from room to room to look for anything that needs to be put away...
a pair of shoes by the front door, a sweater that hangs on the back of a chair, a magazine or mail that needs to be filed or recycled.

I will opt for one or two chores of a bigger nature if I have the energy...
polishing some silver, cleaning out a few drawers, mending, washing windows, wiping out the fridge, filing receipts etc.

I try to do all the cleaning jobs in the mornings and leave time in the afternoon to meet up with friends, go for a walk, run errands, or grocery shop.

Our kitchen is small and I prefer to see the counters 
not a jumble of appliances cluttering up the space.
Countertops and the sink and stove are wiped clean several times a day.
I keep a bottle of Method cleaner and a microfibre cloth tucked away in the cupboard by the sink.
(I am a messy cook!)

Dish soap, hand soap, lotion and scrubbers are kept on a tray beside the sink.

Dishes are white and I have mixed antique ironstone with new pieces.
Having glass cupboard doors makes one feel the need to keep the dishes tidy.

We keep a basket by the stairs where we put our recycling and take it down to the bins once or twice a day if it is full.
Storage is an issue in a small home so we try not to accumulate too much stuff.

Our main bathroom has a built in medicine chest but no other storage so we improvised by adding an arts and crafts wood shelf to store the towels.

The bathroom sink needs wiping daily 
which I do after putting on my make up and brushing my teeth.

The laundry room...
I spend a lot of time down stairs 
 it is so nice to have a clean and bright place to do my work. 

I have a small ironing board that fits on top of this counter for small things like linen napkins and dish towels.
The big ironing board is stored in a closet and I use it for shirts and sheets.

The handy drying rack is used a lot for delicate things like lingerie.
I also hang my tees and tops and yoga pants and find that they last longer when not subjected to the heat of the dryer.

I recommend that you read Fiona Ferris's book Thirty Chic Days 
for more hints and tips on home keeping and cultivating a rich and joyful life.

Isn't this a gorgeous flower?
It was swarming with bees and I had to step into the bed and stand on the dirt to capture this image...

I am going to take a blogging break.
I don't plan to be off line too long but I need some time to consider some new topics as I feel like my post are becoming a bit redundant.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

France....Food and market memories...

Warm summer evenings are perfect for dining al fresco...
at home or in France.

Fresh harvest of home grown tomatoes and cucumbers...
 the flavours are truly incredible.

Eating freshly picked vegetables reminds me of my trip last year to France 
The markets are full of farm fresh produce and the display and array of food is so tantilizing, sumptuous and inviting. 
Shopping at the outdoor markets is a real pleasure
it is also a very social event.
One meets and greets the seller before embarking on a purchase.

Weekly Market day in Southwest France 
in the village of Valence-d'Agen on the Garonne river 
a town in the Midi Pyrenees 
across from the wee village of Auvillar where our good friends reside...

Cheeses that are rich and creamy ripe and tasty.

We arrived at the market early...

White asparagus is a delicacy here but in France it is quite common.

We are more accustomed to the green variety.

The radishes look so pretty...
we purchased a bundle and served them before our dinner.
We ate them raw dipped in delicious salty butter.

With our baskets filled with fruits, veggies, lamb and cheese...
we stopped at the bakery for a fresh brioche
then a last stop at wine merchants for a bottle of rose.

A glass of rose
 fresh grilled lamb 
fresh asparagus
assorted cheeses

which we ate outside in the sunny courtyard

Ah! the memories of French food are as fresh and crisp as ever...

Our backyard is an oasis on this sunny evening in July.
Not a breath of wind and perfect for dining outdoors.

Grilled steak, boiled new potatoes, and fresh veggies 
(which I drizzled with a balsamic reduction)

The Humble Bungalow Garden is such a peaceful spot on a sunny day...
the front porch is shady and overlooks the hydrangeas out front.
The side area has a stone patio surrounded by roses and hostas and hydrangeas with two comfy chairs just waiting for someone to sit in them.
The back deck looks down on the green grass a perennial border and the new greenhouse.

This may not be located in France but nevertheless is a lovely spot to relax.
A place where one can read and sip a well deserved cup of tea.

I read Michelle's previous book and am eager to start this story...
I read so many books these days since I have retired and think it is such a luxury.
There are so many things that call to me...
flowers, books, fashion, friends, family, events, food, art, scents
life is full to the brim.

The Attitude of Gratitude still rings loud and clear...

And as I draw a close to this post I would be remiss not to show you the 
the lime light hydrangeas that are really looking spectacular this year.

And as a side post Mr. HB and I spent a day with the grand children this weekend 
we wandered along the chip trail near their home and discovered a vintage tractor on a side street...
If this tractor actually works 
I am certain that there would be several eager drivers in our midst!

How is your summer going?

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Monday, July 18, 2016

Weekend Paint In...

The Annual Art Gallery Moss Street Paint In was held this past weekend and Mr. HB and I wandered up the road to the Gallery perusing the artists stalls before enjoying a bite of lunch.

Of course we donated to the gallery's fund raising event.

The Victoria Art Gallery is located not far from our Humble Bungalow.

Over 35,000 people were in attendance 
and the street was full of people and dogs...
(almost) everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

This sign was situated just outside a very large pottery display
many people were lined up to get a closer look.
Two fellows were sitting here when I reached for my IPhone and when they saw what I was doing they made a quick exit!

There was another sign, 
one raising awareness of a possible site for a large sewage treatment facility...
it just happens to be on the waterfront at Clover Point Park.
IMO not the best possible site for this kind of facility...

This hydrangea was given to us when my father passed away in 2007.
The blooms are the largest that I have seen since we planted it.

With so many people parking on our street and wandering past The Humble Bungalow I decided that I needed to dress up the front porch a wee bit so I picked a bouquet and popped it on the table by the front door.

This week is going to be a very busy one 
so my computer time is going to be limited.

Hope you have a great week lined up and that you have set aside some time to stop and smell the flowers!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Friday, July 15, 2016

Seeking peace and the Humble Bungalow Garden.

The late night news coverage of the violence in Nice, France was hard to watch.

is unsettling...
difficult to process....

I was worried for the safety of our friends who live in the South of France
so I sent off a couple of emails before retiring to bed.

When I woke up I went to the computer and read the emails from our friends confirming they are safe...

Sunshine shining through the freshly cleaned windows was a welcome gift.
The birds were chirping and the garden beckoned...


I took my coffee outside and wandered in The Humble Bungalow Garden...
I am going to take you along too.

Limelight Hydrangea

Fisherman's Wand

Limelight Hydrangea blooms are quite large.

Calla Lily

The flowers and birdsong are calming...
I understand that
world events are beyond my control.
All I can do is control my own reactions to these events.

My current novel...
sitting quietly reading with a cuppa on the porch.

This lovely Hollyhock is blooming in a garden nearby...
The delicate crepe papery petals reminds me of our Romneya Coulteri.

Romneya Coulteri

I find solace when I am immersed in domestic routines 
like polishing silver,  
weeding the garden 
cooking in the kitchen.

 ~ Stuffed Peppers ~

Two recipes popped up at the top of my google search for stuffed peppers
I added some other ingredients that I had on hand.

Halve the peppers and remove the seeds.
Cooked rice
sun dried tomatoes, corn, olives, basil, onions, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic 
Mix to blend in a bowl.

Stuff the peppers
top with tomato sauce and grated cheese.

Chill until time to bake.
Cover loosely with foil
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. 
Without them humanity cannot survive."

~ Dalai Lama ~

Chester looking rather relaxed on the front table in the entry hall.
He uses the wicker chair behind him as his scratching post.
He is a naughty boy, but is so cute that he gets away with it!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Books, Bedding, and Bouquets...

Summer reading...
I love having a stack of books ready and waiting for summer holidays.

Reading has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember...
The summer of 1960 we moved to Oak Bay and the first friend I met was Diane.

Her family lived up the block from us and we hit it off right from the start...
they resided in a charming heritage home tucked away, it was actually hidden from the street, surrounded by a lovely large garden.

We spent many lazy sunny afternoons playing in her garden that first summer.

I learned how to read at Monterey School using the Dick and Jane readers and became interested in other books. The Anne of Green Gables series, Trixie Beldon, The Famous Five series, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Box Car Children were among my favourites...

After playing outdoors all morning,
we would retire to read in her cozy bedroom nestled under the eaves.

We started reading novels voraciously...attending a library club one summer at the Public Library. Our mother's permitted us to take the bus downtown...Victoria was a small town and much safer in those days. We read so many books that summer and collected a stamp for each book we read...the program was called "Circus McGircus."

In our preteen years, we started listening to music and developed crushes on the Beatles. We owned a TV and her family did not, so she came to our house to watch The Beatles on Ed Sullivan...a lot of screaming ensued, and my parents were not amused!

We would peruse the Beatle fan magazines that her English aunt would send in the post...I had a huge crush on Paul McCartney, and if my memory serves, I think she liked John Lennon.
We even wrote fan mail to Paul and John at The Beatles Fan Club!

As we grew older our taste in reading changed and Diane and I went our different ways...she now lives back east and I stayed in town,
we are now "FaceBook friends."

The love of reading was fostered early in our lives and continues to be strong.
Fostering the love of reading is important and one needs to start early....
reading regularly to babies and children is the best way I know of to get them into the habit...and there are so many great kids books available!

Lands' End had a 50 % off sale on one item on the 4th of July.
I jumped at the chance and ordered some linen bedding 
linen sheets have been on my list for several years.

Bunny is test driving them...
These are the flax colour and soon I plan to buy a linen duvet cover.

Love love love this bouquet!
 Thorn and Thistle put this beautiful bouquet together for our darling daughter's elopement photo shoot.

NYDJ skinny jeans
London Fog polka dot trench coat
Sperry espadrilles

I arranged to meet a friend for lunch this week.
We met at a popular Victoria institution...
Pagliacci's on Broad Street.

You need to be there early or wait in line until a table is available.
They are well known for their pasta and focaccia bread.

After lunch we perused Russell Books
then parted ways 
as I was totally immersed in searching the shelves for more books!

The newlyweds will be home soon...
looking forward to seeing all the pictures taken by Kim Kaylyn Photography.

What books are you reading this summer?
Any titles worth sharing?

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~