Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Content (at last) with my grey hair...

My hair...has been an ongoing battle issue over the years.
It is thick, wavy...
many would say it is curly,
and it most certainly has a mind of its own.

I value my hairdresser as much as I do our family physician.
They both are very important people in my life, and both give me great advice.

Mother used to say that a woman's crowning glory was her hair. When we were children she cut our hair and we wore it in a short bobbed style that was popular with straight short bangs or "fringes" as they are called today.

Mother once gave me a Twiggy hair cut after I begged to go to the hairdresser for a professional one...just for the record I HAD to go to the hairdresser to have Mom's snippy mess "fixed"...
the hairdresser said "I can do little with this now but it will grow"...
(it took ages and I avoided looking in mirrors for months!)

Mom would collect rainwater to rinse her hair and once a month would give herself an oil treatment...
this involved olive oil, a plastic bag and a towel.
She spent an entire day "at home" during this procedure.

Mom's hairstyles metamorphosed over the years...
my sister and I observed many changes.

Mom had perms for a few years,
she also gave my sister and I "Tonette perms"
usually around Easter for the Sunday service at church.

Mom dyed her hair blonde for a year and we referred to this as her "Doris Day" phase...
later she sprayed a silver streak in the front...this was her "Virginia Graham" phase.

Mom loved fashion, style and was never one to be stuck in a rut...
she moved with the times and had she had a great sense of humour.

The "signature hairstyle" that so many women adopt has always eluded me.

Hair has been a source of frustration over the years
flipping and flopping and changing my mind...
cutting it,
growing it,
colouring it.

Now that I have salt and pepper hair, it feels simple and easy ~ to just be natural.

My hair is cropped quite short, it is almost a pixie cut.
I wash it in the shower and towel dry it before I spritz it with curl enhancing spray and then let it air dry.

It feels good to accept things and be content.

Wishing for something illusive is really frustrating
 a complete waste of time and energy.

The style of my hair does not define me, nor take up too much  angst  space in my mind.
I have finally just let it go...

Salt and Pepper
like the highlights I formerly paid for and now they are free!

Mother had lovely silver hair and I expect it may be several years before I get to that all over shade but in the meantime I am embracing this "new natural phase."

I am curious...
Are you happy with your hair?
Have you found your signature style?
Do you colour your hair or have you let it go natural?

Summer reading has commenced... 
I've a long list of books and plan to buy a few more in the coming weeks.

I finished this book recently and wept at the end...
it is worth reading and I would ask you to please read the author's personals note at the end of the book.

What is on your summer reading list?

Thank you for popping by The Humble Bungalow.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Glorious colours in Humble Bungalow Garden

Orange poppies
paper thin petals
waving in the breeze.

Pure white lilacs against a clear blue sky.

a foamy pink and white flowering bush
below lies the stalwart pink ground cover "pride of London"
and below that the hardy Lady's Mantle which when in bloom is chartreuse green.

(succulents to the left in a planter)

The weaving path is lined with 
Creamy Smilacena racemosa
Pinky Pride of London

Purple Alliums

The pink Madame Gregoire Staechelin roses have started blooming...

The climbing Royal Sunset Rose has a few blooms.
You may see those small dots of orange colour at the top of the lattice.
This vigorous rose has the most amazing fragrance and is a reliable supply of cut roses throughout the season.
There are 4 new white David Austin Roses below just getting established...
we planted the boxwood to line the edge of the bed.
I am very eager to see them bloom.

Our red chairs look so tempting
but they will have to wait as
there is a lot of work to do in the Humble Bungalow Garden.

I have yet to open this book which is a recent purchase.
It was recommended on several of the blogs that I regularly read.

The community of dedicated bloggers that I follow
share loads of information with their readers.

They are most 
and giving.

I have been able to read and discover...

their favourite books
make up and skincare products
packing tips
travel pictures
cleaning tips
home decor

Thankfully there are many many wonderful blogs...
do you have any that you love and care to share with our readers?

Thank you for taking the time to stop by mine.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cruising recap...The Long Weekend in May

The long weekend weather was given a favourable forecast so we took to the sea.

Snug and Cozy tied up at a little marina at Genoa Bay.

Mother's Day flowers made the trip.

Tasty Lime Margaritas on the deck of the cafe.

Floral lined lanes nearby made for some spectacular walks.

The bees were busy working in the hot sunshine.

Dinner plate sized tree peonies were in full bloom.

It was lovely to get away and relax in the peace and quiet.

Healthy meals, a comfy bunk, friends nearby, a good book.
Simple luxuries while aboard our small boat.
Feeling grateful and thankful as I write this post...
reflecting on all the good things in life.

I have some garden photos to share with you soon.

Until next time...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bringing France Home...My Stylish French Box

It has been 2 years since I travelled to Paris and the SW of France...
my love for the French countryside and the sights and sounds are still very vivid.

For the time being, I incorporate as many French habits and French products into my daily routines.

French Soaps, candles, hand lotion, recipes, and books set in France and Paris keep the memories alive and I feel content.

Do you follow Sharon Santoni's blog My French Country Home?

Sharon is a busy lady...
besides keeping a lovely home and garden she has written a lovely book My Stylish French Girlfriends and another book will be available in August...
My French Country Home.
I love her first book and have preordered her second...

BUT this is not all that Sharon does...
she has created the sumptuous My Stylish French Box...

I splurged and subscribed...these French themed boxes arrive every few months and are filled with wonderful French gifts. Each box is wrapped in ribbon and the contents are carefully curated and packed with care.

The May box has a rose theme...

I unwrapped these items and took a photo...
a vintage spool with new blush pink velvet ribbon and a pair of scissors
hand lotion and balm
a rose diffuser
slate tiles to use as labels for roses or cheeses 
(or whatever you desire)

a hand made linen tote with a rose print on the front
perfect for shopping

I particularly like the hand "gelee" and I am keeping it handy beside the kitchen sink.
I look forward to trying the balm.

It's so nice to have a box delivered from France that is full of surprises.

 I love how these special delivery boxes transport me back to the French country.
I remember those poppy filled fields near Auvillar
and the roses that clung to the stone buildings.

One day I hope to visit the lush lavender fields of Provence...
but until then I'll dream 
and look forward to another one of Sharon's gift boxes.

BTW all opinions are mine...
I have received no benefits from this post other than to be happy with the contents of the box that I fully paid for!

Most of the readers here are polite and some are rather discourteous and rude...

So there you have it...
I must be
with no ethics
this humble hostess is honest.
I am not ashamed...

The Humble Bungalow Garden is filled 
with the scent of lilacs and muguet des bois.

Our garden roses have started blooming...
and if you did not already know, roses are my favourite flower.

Hope that you are having a great week.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

More and polish

I have been living in Yoga wear lately as I am going to Yoga 3-4 days a week. It seems silly for me to change clothes when I get home just to action domestic chores, read and prepare dinner. Besides, my Yoga pants are comfy and the tops I wear are Tees topped with a grey cashmere that Mother owned...
and the cats do not complain!

My mid section has expanded and I am finding the zippers on my pants do not lay flat anymore and that bugs me so I purchased a pair of Ralph Lauren pull on jeans that are a slimming and flat at the waist...very comfy.
I hope to whittle down my midsection a bit given time...
but I am taking "baby steps"
giving myself permission to lose slowly to avoid added stress.

The top seen below is navy and white stripes with a white under layer showing fits loose but not baggy so it should be cool in the summer.
I can wear this with my white NYDJ jeans too.

This bright and cheerful Columbia raincoat apparently "breathes" 
Do you see how the colour caught my eye?
(its not black!)
This happened innocently 
while I was looking for new deck shoes to wear on the boat. 
The jacket was marked down almost by half and it fits and flatters so I bought it. 

It will be great for walks and with the boating season almost upon us I could not resist.

I own several pieces of Columbia gear for walking and cruising.
I appreciate the quality of these garments.
Whats not to like about active wear with a bit of style?

Here are the deck shoes...also by Columbia.
Not on sale but oh so comfy and I needed them...
somehow last season my deck shoes were lost
I rarely lose things and when I do it drives me a wee bit crazy trying to figure out what happened...
it is a mystery and one that I cannot waste any more time thinking 
obsessing about!

Lisa at a mid life of privilege showed us her freshly painted toes today.
and I got to thinking that I should have a pedicure.

Most of the women at the Yoga studio have their toes painted and I usually indulge in a pedicure from May to September during sandal season.
It is too late to get an appointment at the Spa this afternoon but not to late to try my hand at an at home pedicure. 
The main reason that I get pedicures is because I am not that flexible and my eyesight is dodgy...

well I surprised myself 
Yoga must be helping me with flexibility as I did not find it at all difficult bending over and applying the polish.
I am quite pleased with the results
 not as professional as I would get from the Spa but they are OK.

So Lisa, I must thank you for sharing your toes...
I used Formula X "Thrilling" 
The next time I am in the "downward dog" position I'll enjoy looking at my toes!

It is a long weekend here in BC and we have the Victoria Day parade this Sunday.

I'll be taking a few days off and will catch up with you all next week.
Hope you have a great weekend.

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Skincare and make up Hostess Style ~ in response to a reader

One of the many things that I enjoy about blogging
is receiving private emails from readers.

Once in awhile, a question is posed or a specific request slips into the mail.
Often that prompts or inspires me to write a blog post.

This past weekend I was asked my opinion and recommendations on "green" skincare products. This is an area that I cannot address without a significant amount of time and I will leave that to those who are much more qualified.

I bow to the experts at The Environmental Working Group.

This site is user friendly and one can look up many of the products currently on the market and read about the pros and cons of the ingredients.

If you are interested in what I have discovered that works for me
I am happy to share...keep reading.

My skin is mature, sensitive and I have rosacea.

I have discovered that skin is a reflection of genetics and general health.
Our skin says much about our lifestyle and what we eat.

Cosmetics can augment and enhance beautiful skin,
or they can cover up a problematic complexion.

I indulged in a professional Hydra Facial at the Spa and it was amazing...
a specialized machine was used to cleanse my skin,
a gentle peel was applied that unclogged pores,
emollient serums followed and when the facial was finished
my skin felt soft, supple and it glowed.
I plan to go back for another facial in a few months...
perhaps after the summer season.

Hostess Skin care Tips...

Start by choosing fresh fruits and vegetables,
drinking lots of water and eating small portions of protein.
Exercise (for me that means walking and also practising Yoga),
Aim for 8 hours of sleep
Reduce stress as much as possible
Wear sunscreen and or avoid the sun altogether.
Embrace joy and beauty everyday
Adopt the attitude of gratitude and give thanks...

For things that you can buy pop into your local pharmacy
or the beauty counter in your department store.

I opt for a mix of high and low priced potions.

For those that do no "stay on the skin" I use a less expensive but a quality line...
there are many good ones out there you just need to experiment to see which ones work for your skin type.

My skin is prone to rosacea so I need to treat it kindly...
Gentle Avene products work for me.
Anti redness cleansing milk and mask are two in my skincare arsenal.
I avoid hot water.

The more expensive Spa line by Methode Physiodermie...
for the products that stay on and those that need to perform. 

I love the Bio-Gommage 
which exfoliates efficiently with a minimum of irritation.
I use it once a week.
My skin gets slightly pink but it doesn't stay that way for long.

The anti redness emulsion I use sparingly each morning
 followed by the Emulsion for Sensitive Skin.

Then I wait a few minutes before applying my make up.

Make up is light and takes 5 minutes.

5 products for daytime = 5 minutes

Mineral make up
Eye brow tint
eye shadow


SPF 20 mineral make up
use with a light hand or for more coverage it can be built up
used with a big brush it is easy to apply.

Amethyst eye shadow by La Bella Donna
an everyday colour for my hazel coloured eyes.

For evening
I simply add blush and eye liner for a bit more of a dramatic effect
and apply a darker shade of lipstick.

I have posted before about skincare and make up...
to read previous posts please scroll down on the right hand side bar to the "labels section"
click on the titles "skincare" and "make up"

I love the following quote...

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years. 

~ Audrey Hepburn ~

Hope that your week is off to a great start.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Tulip mania...and some "happy" habits.

The local markets are overflowing with buckets and buckets of colourful Tulips.
Priced so low, that they practically hop into my shopping basket...

Even after Tulips have fully blown open they are quite lovely.

One can buys masses of these or settle for a bunch as I have done here.
It depends on your budget, how big your vases may be and how many bouquets you want to display in your home.

Flowers in the home have always been a prominent accent in our home decor.

Personally I feel it essential that one has something of natural beauty in the home
 it helps keep ones spirits up...

it can be a single stem
some woody branches
a fern frond
plants or orchids
a bowl of lemons
pine cones

These natural adornments are particularly helpful for our long rainy winter season.
The season here where sunshine is rationed and the gloom can be oppressing...
for some it is debilitating and depressing.

I look for "guaranteed mood lifters"
 like flowers that add elegance and ambiance.
Scented Candles are another one of my essentials for the home.
They do not need to be the posh Diptyque or Cire Trudon brands
many scented candles are affordable and readily available.

I find that it is the "little things" make our everyday life richer.

linen tea towels
triple milled soaps
quality chocolate
soft cashmere sweaters and wraps
cozy socks
plush robes
a hot cup of coffee
a great fitting pair of jeans
framed family photos
pretty china cups and saucers
emollient hand lotion
bath salts
fluffy white towels

Those are a few of my favourite things...

I also like to keep our home tidy
free of clutter
pleasing to the eye.

I am also a big fan of lists. 
Which help to motivate me and keep me up to date on things that need to get done.

I love using "rolling ball" ink pens 
better still, but more expensive, a beautiful fountain pen.
Writing feels effortless using these inky writing implements.
Great for cards, grocery lists and letters.

I keep stocked in our writing desk a variety of pretty cards and stamps.
I buy them in bulk when they are on sale.
I look for the most attractive stamps from the post office.
Lately they have had floral stamps which are simply lovely.
Why opt for boring when one can have beautiful for the same price?

Friends gave us an arts and crafts copper letter opener one year for Christmas. 
I use it for every bill and letter that we receive...
it slices envelopes open swiftly and evenly
a bit of affordable luxury that I enjoy.

Surrounding oneself with little affordable luxuries
things that make one feel good
are well worth the time and effort it takes.

Getting in tune to what "small things" that you can cultivate...
things that may add to your daily round. 
Those that augment and beautify your environment 
it is an exercise worth the time...
listen to your heart
make notes.

You'll soon discover which things make your heart soar 
household habits that make you smile...
perhaps they will change the way you feel about a chore...
like ironing.

Buying some lavender linen spray
use a pretty floral ironing board pad.

It is so much more satisfying
drinking sparkling water out of a vintage etched goblet.

Imagine how pretty it would be
storing your cosmetics or perfumes on a silver tray.

What do you like?
Do you have any tips for cultivating beauty in your home?

Wishing you a wonderful, rich and bountiful weekend.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The last "Mother's Day" with Mom.

May morning vista from a walk in Oak Bay.

My sister and I got up early
and soon found ourselves dressed and ready to head out the door.

Yesterday was a very important day for my sister and I
 as we said our final goodbyes to to our Mom.

We spread Mom's ashes
enjoyed massages
dined in The Snug
drank a few flutes of bubbly 
swam in the outdoor mineral pool several times.

The Buddha Bowl was amazing!
Mango, tofu, veggies atop quinoa
drizzled with a soy sauce balsamic reduction...
this is so tasty that I am planning to find an excuse to go back very soon!

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel is opulent and elegant 
very well appointed which provides the ultimate in comfort...
beautifully located
on the edge of the shoreline looking east to the San Juan Islands.

The mineral pool was so inviting and warm...
we swam twice on Monday and once today. 

This is the view that overlooks McNeil Bay
a few short blocks from the house where I grew up.

The snow capped mountains of the Olympic Range in Washington State.
Freighters use the international shipping lanes located in Juan de Fuca Strait.

Trial Island and the lighthouse are a short boat ride from shore.
The currents in this narrow passage can be fierce...
they are often referred to as rip tides.

My uncle Owen used to be the lighthouse keeper.
My aunt, uncle and cousins spent quite a few years on the island.
My cousins were home schooled and there was a supply ship that delivered their groceries.

There were some amazing stories of sea rescues. 

The Ham radio was the essential lifeline...
which linked my family to the boats, the Coast Guard and others in Victoria.

If you look closely you will see the Native flowering camas
which is happily growing in the Garry Oak Meadow and rocky outcroppings.

Memories and thoughts are often jogged by scenery...
the power of suggestion is so powerful
that it can transport us back to the past.

The neighbourhood where I grew up has changed quite a lot.
Houses, new and modern, are mixed with the traditional and the heritage styles.

The workers next door are building the forms 
for the foundations of the new homes under construction.
The sounds of saws and nail guns repeating are louder than the drone of the bees or the hummingbirds staccato chatter.

It has not been as invasive as I first expected...
or perhaps
I am getting accustomed to the noise.

Muguet des bois in The Humble Bungalow Garden 
is thick with fragrant blooms.

A handful of flowers popped into an icy vase
make a room fresher
and more beautiful.

These wee white bonnets are so delicate and dainty...
perhaps the loveliest of May flowers in our garden.

My sister and I may make an annual pilgrimage to the OBBH and Spa
sometime close to Mother's Day 
to celebrate our Mom
share memories and relax.

I had never heard of this book.
 I saw it on the shelf at the book sellers on Pender Island...
and was immediately intrigued by the description on the inside cover.

It is a delightful story...
easy to read and very entertaining.
It's "light enough" to be considered a Beach Book
and very hard to put down.

Fingers crossed it is a quiet week...

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow.