Saturday, February 25, 2017

French themed goodies starting with My Stylish French Box...

Paris and the quaint villages of southern France have a powerful hold on me...
I have so many fabulous memories from my trip.

When life gets rocky I try to be proactive and balance the stress with some self care "tools" that I have practised over the years...
one of which is to reflect on better days,
focusing on the sweet snippets and highlights from happier days.

My travel photos instantly transport me back to those idyllic weeks in France.
Blogs also help to keep me connected...

Sharon Santoni's lovely blog French Country Home  has been one of my favourites for many years. When Sharon announced that she was writing a book I ordered mine before it had been printed...
Recently I learned that she was offering a box of carefully curated French items and I ordered my subscription as soon as I heard that she would deliver to Canada.

My Stylish French Box arrived this week and it was the highlight of my day.
The packaging is exquisite and each item is carefully wrapped...

I carefully and slowly unwrapped each item...and kept saying to my husband how excited I felt...
everything is so beautiful.

satin ribbon bow

hand printed tags

I love the extra touches that Sharon has put into the presentation of the box.

Fragonard soaps
(I went to the Fragonard museum when I was in Paris.)

a lovely hand made porcelain cup
which Mr. HB suggested that I could use for my morning espresso

Cire Trudon candle

There were other delightful treasures...
a journal, book, pencils, antique glasses and a small soap

These treats could not have come at a better time.

 I have been very busy
 helping Mother navigate her journey with terminal cancer.
Her diagnosis was recent and came as a shock to us all.
Mom had breast cancer 10 years ago in the same area where this lung cancer has presented itself and it has spread to her lymph system and she has pain.

I have cancelled all my commitments for the time being as I want to spend my time with her...

My sister and I received a bit of respite this weekend for the overnights which is a blessing as listening for her call and waking her for her pain meds every 4 hours does not make for a restful night.

Its such an emotional experience 
my heart goes out to those of you who have traveled this path before...
I have a whole new respect for caregivers

I will try and post again in a few days as I do love writing this blog.

Hellebore in a hand picked garden grown bouquet that my BFF brought to Mom.
Friends and Family have been super supportive 
I am so grateful...


~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thoughts on Mom and a peek inside the closet...

I started writing this post before I found out that Mother had cancer and I am immersed in her care giving with little time for anything else...

 a little window of opportunity and escape presented itself this morning 
so I took the opportunity to edit and share it with you today.

My days are filled with ups and downs
oodles of tears
interspersed with laughter
Mother is telling me stories of her childhood 

her life as a nursing student at the Catholic Hospital
snippets of trips that she took with my Father
she is sharing a side of herself that she has never before revealed
it is quite a gift
and I am so grateful for this opportunity
to be at her side.

Despite her pain we find ourselves laughing
and there is a lot of hand holding
as we sip
many cups of tea throughout the day

I knit to keep my hands busy while she sleeps...
there in the silence
 memories and thoughts bubble up
there is a huge lump in my throat
and the realization that Mom is on her way...
she is calling the shots and is very much in control of her demise...

Mom has 4 closets full of beautiful clothes...
she loves fashion and has always been a stylish dresser.

Here is our
Teeny tiny closet
workout wear is interspersed with everyday basics.

After posting about Tees,
 I received several emails from readers who wanted to see more posts on clothes and my wardrobe.

I pine for a better, more organized closet and fortunately it is in the plans.
Just when it will happen
I am not sure,
when we redecorate our bedroom 
the closet will be completely redesigned.

Basic Winter Everyday Wardrobe
(does not include evening or special occasion attire)

Two shirts
crisp white shirt by Northern Reflections 
blue Tencel Nine West

2 skirts
black M.I.K.O knit 
grey Kenar boiled wool 

I wear skirts a lot more after I bought the new thicker Hue tights.

Part Two simple black wool sweater 

Bamboo dress Blue Sky 
which can also be worn with footless tights

3 tops
black and white patterns and stripes
Bianca Nygard V neck asymmetrical pattern 
Lands End tunic top 
Betty Barclay stripe 

black Style and Co. top 

these pants look dreadful 
hanging here 
 they look much better on

grey knit pants 
black knit pants 

vintage leather vest 
black cut velvet Nygard pants 

You can see that the basics are covered
black and grey items make up the bulk of my Fall and Winter wardrobe.
Most garments are separates and are worn with many other pieces.

I don't "need" more clothing...

I replace garments when they are worn out, which is usually very few years.
When one has fewer items in rotation the clothes actually do wear out.

Washing garments inside out on the gentle cycle, 
then carefully hanging them to dry does prolong their life.

What colours do you like to wear?

Is your wardrobe big or small?

I will not have time to respond to all your comments 
but I will read each and every one.

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mid February and it's Friday...

Life has been a bit of a roller coaster this week 
and there's more on the way so I am going to fasten my seat belt and try to navigate the days ahead with grace.

Carnations for Mom who has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Our views have been rather sterile...

I am grateful for family and friends...
Whose love and support sustain us during tough times. 

Looking for the beauty in my daily round has never been more important.
It helps me put things in perspective...

The guest room and a wee antique Herend vessel.

Chester is up to his usual tricks.

Oak tree bark in Oak Bay

Acorn sculpture in the Oak Bay municipal yard.

The view from here...
Humble Bungalow dining room.

Roycroft hand hammered arts and crafts candlesticks
melted beeswax candles.
I love the scent of beeswax candles when they are burning.

I'll be posting snippets when I have the time 
 my time and energy 
right now is focused on Mom.

I may not have the time to respond to comments but be assured that I will read them all.
Thank you again for you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentines Hearts...

Good morning from The Humble Bungalow.
It is Valentine's Day today so I am sharing a few hearts with you today...
and a message of love.

Chocolate hearts 

"All you need is love.
But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."

~  Charles M. Schulz ~

"The most important thing in the world is family and love."

~ John Wooden ~

"Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses." 

~Ann Landers ~

I am sniffling today with a head cold so I plan on drinking loads of fluids.

Happy Valentines Day to my husband...

"in sickness and in health"
I remember our pledge on that wedding day back in 1974.

We've come a long way since that day and I love you more now than I did back then.

Happy Valentines Day

"The best thing to hold onto in life is each other."

~ Audrey Hepburn ~

I'll be taking a few days off while I am sick
will be back soon.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Friday, February 10, 2017


Since many of you have shown interest in my thoughts on a smallish wardrobe
I am continuing on the theme with jeans today...

Many office workers will wear jeans on Casual Fridays 
so I thought today would be a good day to share this post..

changed my focus on dressing 
to a much more relaxed and casual style.

This lifestyle revolves around activities and pursuits that I enjoy
time is spent with family and friends...

nothing too fussy or fancy
live theatre
french lessons
the gym
home keeping
grocery shopping

(image from the archives)

Clothes that are well made, fit and flatter are worth their weight in gold...

Jeans are a basic in my wardrobe and I have tried many different brands over the years. In the past I have worn Levis, GAP, French Connection, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, g21 from Walmart.
The cost of all of these jeans has been modest, well under $80...some sourced at the thrift shop for under $10.

I really like the brand NYDJ they are made in the USA which makes them "guilt free" fashion.
The jeans wear well and last a long time so I use the CPW (cost per wearing) factor to justify the expense. NYDJ rarely go on sale here in town, and the prices are around $150 - $200 which definitely puts them in the category that I consider  "investment clothes." I save up for these jeans and because my wardrobe is small they play a big role in my casual retirement dressing.

Writing down and tracking every clothing purchase with the brand details has become a habit since I lost 30 pounds and had to rebuild my wardrobe.
The notes in my book have shown me which clothes wear better than others and I am able to avoid costly mistakes in the future.

I wash the jeans on the gentle cycle, turned inside out and then hang them to dry.
The styles are flattering, look smart and are slimming.

NYDJ are also available in Petite lengths which I love, because I feel jeans that have been hemmed never look quite the same as those fresh from the factory.

Boyfriend, straight leg and skinny
The skinny and the straight legged jeans are over 2 years old and the boyfriends were purchased last year on a trip to Vancouver.

Stay tuned for another post on clothing items 
in my basic wardrobe.

Do you wear jeans?
How many pairs do you have in your closet?
At one time I think darling daughter had over 20 pairs...
the most that I have ever had at one time would be  4 or 5 pair.

What brand(s) of jeans do you like and how do you feel about the cost?

Hope you have a lovely weekend 
thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

White Wednesday ~ a fluffy blanket of Snow.

Welcome to our White Winter Wonderland!

The Christmas lights are illuminating the snow laden climbing rose.
I am so happy that those white lights are still strung on the climbing rose...
they add such a pretty touch to the back porch.

These rustic seats and table are part of the local area known as the common.
The common is a spare lot that will never be developed 
apparently a brick culvert runs beneath the surface...
(too close to the surface and vulnerable)
there was a creek that ran through the property 
the First Nations used to portage along the creek
on their way to the Inner Harbour.

A former resident, who was a gifted woodworker, scavenged the local beach for the materials and built the seats and table.

Neighbours gather here in nicer weather to chat and have picnics or coffee.
Children climb the trees, run around the site and play on the swings.
Our "wee lending library" is situated out front for anyone wanting to borrow a book.
The policy is based on the honour system.
It is suggested that you "take on and leave one."
The turnaround of books is quite amazing...

I took one for Mother yesterday...
The Lake House by Kate Morton.
I plan to read it when she is finished as it has been on my list for quite sometime.

Looking out the back door of The Humble Bungalow at dark.
Thats a lot of snow!
The fluffy white carpet of snow softens sounds
the neighbourhood feels quiet and very hushed.

The trees are laden with snow...
according to the forecast more is on the way.

Chester has found a cozy blanket of his own!
In between their usual cat naps they have been sitting at the windows
watching the snowflakes fall.

Last but not least...
this lovely white heart shaped rock.

This rock has come all the way from Hyeres France,
 a thoughtful gift from a local BC reader.

She spends each Fall season with her husband living on the Cote d'azur
they love Provence
spend many days exploring the quaint and beautiful villages...

we have met up several times and most recently we had lunch at which time 
 she shared her favourite spots to visit.

Thank you A for your kind and special gift.

Hope you are cozy and warm.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Monday, February 6, 2017

Budget friendly basics...starting with Tops.

Most women I know like to get a bargain,
especially on clothing and
many will only buy at the sales when items are sold at a reduced price.

Thrift and consignment shops are great places to look for items when one is trying to stretch the clothing budget.

Finding decent tops in great condition can be a challenge, particularly in the thrift shops. Tops seem to show wear faster than most pants or sweaters.

I have been on the hunt for some new white Tees,
which I never seem to find second hand,
readers gave me numerous suggestions of their favourite brands
many of which are sold exclusively online.

I am tactile and visual so I prefer to try things on before I buy them.
Returns can be expensive and I am frugal
so I do not like to "pay to try things on."

Last year I had a rather tedious experience when ordering Tees.
The fabric on the Tees was too thin and sheer and the styles were quite shaped which meant that they clung to reveal and focused on my untoned  midsection...

Currently I am working to improve this area at the gym,
but in the meantime, I do not want to advertise my wobbly bits!

Tees and crisp white shirts are two items that I love to have in my wardrobe.
I obviously have high expectations
when currently planning to replace those that are tired and worn out.

Two new white Tees 
by Joe Fresh
which I will be test driving for the next while.

Mr. HB and I drove out to the Western Community on the weekend and we stopped in at Superstore where a line of clothing by the name of Joe Fresh is sold.
It is a low cost line of clothing that Club Monaco founder Joe Mimran sells.
The cotton Tee on the left is lightweight and has some texture to the fabric 
but is not too sheer and was on sale for $7.64
The "performance tee" is made in a heavier weight blend 
 spandex is mixed with the cotton
has body, does not cling 
 sells for $16.00

I really like to try things on as sizing is not standard like men's wear.
Here is an example of the size variations...

Two basic black tank tops which make great layering pieces.
Gap in an XL
Haggar in a Small.

Impressions top in a Large.

Two other tops in blue...
Style and Co. 
Calvin Klein

These 7 basics are my casual every day tops.

I have 2 other active wear tops for working out in at the gym and on my walks.

Keeping a small inventory of clothing is necessary as our closet is really small.
It does make it easier to stay within a budget and it means getting dressed is mush faster as there are not too many choices.

I will share some more aspects of my minimal wardrobe in a future post.

Thank you for your suggestions and comments about the Tees
and I hope you have a lovely week.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~