Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Beauty in Gardens and My Stylish French Box...a treat from France

I walked in one of my favourite spots last week...
Abkhazi Gardens.

The temperatures were mild, the skies blue, and the sun was shining.
It felt like a gift after a few days of rain.

A lovely display of naturalized Crocus flowers popping up from the soil...
or is it croci ?

Love the way that the light illuminated their petals.

Gnarly trunk and twisted branches above a bed of snowdrops and cyclamen.

This is such a sweet structure on the site...
it was a place where the original owners would take tea and eat their picnic lunches when they were first designing the gardens.

I've been dreaming a lot about garden design
  the beautiful spaces that people have been able over the years to cultivate.
A well designed garden, once established, is a living legacy.

I try to visit many of the local gardens and join in on the various garden tours.
Some of my favourite things to do are to peruse the garden centres
 leaf through gardening books
watch TV shows on gardens.

Are you familiar with Sharon Santoni?
Her garden in France is stunning.
She is the founder of My Stylish French Box...
I have subscribed to these boxes and they are a real treat to receive...
the current box theme is focused on a Parisianne woman.
One of the partners is the renowned perfume company of Annick Goutal!

The February Box is almost sold out 
you might be able to order one if you are quick!

Go here to get more information and good luck!

I am excited as Sharon has just launched a new digital magazine.
She has a giveaway on her Instagram page.

As I sit here at the table in my Humble Bungalow Kitchen 
I can hear birds outside singing
the clock chiming
the fridge humming
the keys on my lap top 
tap tapping
a rumbling motorcycle speeds by
the neighbours dog barks

taking time to stop and notice the little things
those moments each day that can easily slip by if one is not present

Hope that your week is ticking along nicely!

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Recipe for fabulous pork and beans....

My long time friend Leslie, who grew up and attended the same schools as I did in Oak Bay, shared her classic recipe for pork and beans. Leslie is a wonderful hostess and invites many friends over to her heritage home for dinner and cocktail parties. The food is always delicious, the home that she shares with her husband is warm and inviting, the guests always feel welcome and she is relaxed and makes these events look effortless.

I tried to make her recipe for pork and beans once before but with no success. Now I know why...
I rushed the cooking of the beans and put them in the slow cooker
before they were soft.

This past Christmas my BFF served the bean dish at her Christmas Eve Event where they were a huge hit!
Her brother went back 3 times for more! He raved about them to me.
(I can say this as he doesn't even know that I write a blog!)

One of my New Year goals was to master this recipe.

You'll need a crock pot.

Leslie's Beans

3 cups of dried Navy beans soaked overnight in 6 cups of water
Rinse then drain them and place in a pot with 6 cups of water 
Bring to a boil and then simmer until tender
soft, but not falling apart.

Drain the beans and place them in a slow cooker 

1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup molasses
1 large onion chopped
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 Tbsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
12 slices uncooked bacon diced
(or sliced salt pork)

Cook on low for 8 -10 hours.


Bon Appetit!

Hope you enjoy this classic that is a favourite in our circle of friends.
The men in our group absolutely LOVE this dish!
My husband is happy too.

Thank you to Leslie A., 
"a Hostess with the Mostess!"

We are enjoying the leftovers tonight...
they make a lot and can be frozen.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A POP of colour and my favourite IPhone APP.

New in The Humble Bungalow.

Le Creuset Dutch Oven

A friend shared her secret to keeping her Le Creuset pots and pans
looking like new.

(it's Bar Keepers friend!)

I made a paste of this cleanser 
soaked our stained white enamel pot for a few minutes
then rubbed it with a scratch free scrubber and voila
clean as new! 

My current read...

Hooray the hellebores are blooming!

One bloom can make a big statement in a small vase.

Rain or shine 
I'm out every day for a walk.

My goal is to walk 7,000 steps.
The IHealth App on my IPhone makes it easy to keep track.

This Saint James raincoat helps keep me dry.

(a picture from the archives)

Purchased several years ago and still going strong.
I can wear a vest or sweater underneath if the temperatures are dipping.

Another walk would be needed to reach my daily goal...
  it is already 4:00 and I have to start preparing dinner after I publish this post.

Some days are easier to fit in more activities...

Are you motivated by a fitness app?
Do you go to the gym?
Have you worked with a personal trainer?

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Guo Pei Exhibit at Vancouver Art Gallery

We ventured across the pond to Vancouver for a few days.
To shop, attend a workshop and enjoy the sights and sounds of a big city!

One of the highlights was to see the Guo Pei Couture Beyond exhibit.

We were in line up at 10:00 am when the doors to the Vancouver Art Gallery opened and were able to take it all in on the very last day of the exhibit.

I will share a few pictures of the magnificent gowns...
IF you ever get the opportunity to see this show I highly recommend it.

Guo Pei is China's "preeminent couturiere."
There were over 40 of her haute couture designed gowns on display from the period 2006 to 2017.

Most of us will never wear a hand made gown such as the ones that were on display.

It was amazing to see the intricate bead work, the embroidery, details that would have taken many many hours if not months to create.

I'll share the photos next and hope that you will enjoy seeing them.

After seeing all the gowns and shoes we explored the rest of the gallery and then ventured out for a long walk in the sunshine.

A friend mentioned that she uses the IHealth app on her IPhone.
She showed me how it works and I am so excited as it tracks walking stats!
I am so grateful as it is going to be a new motivator in my goal to better fitness.

This was an exceptional day for walking...
I plan to aim for between 8,000 and 10,000 steps each day.

Hope that your week is off to a fabulous start...
thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

 ~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

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 black...one that I can add a layer underneath for warmth should the temperatures dip. I have not found one that I like yet...so 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 ~