Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year

It's the Eve of the New Year today and I am pondering...
thinking on things that I can do to improve my health.

Walking more 
perhaps going back to the Yoga studio 
or branching out 
by taking a Zumba class.

I've got a stack of books to read...
a knitting project on the needles
busy with the Strata Council as a new board member
plus the regular bridge games at the club.

My current book is a heart breaking story...
well written and very sad.

I recommend it very highly.

“New year—a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? 
Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.”

~ Alex Morritt ~

On this Eve I am saying farewell to 2019.

Taking with me into the New Year 
 lessons learned
places I have visited
experiences and memories
will enable me to welcome the days and weeks ahead 
with an open mind and heart.

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, 
waiting to be written.” 

~ Melody Beattie ~

Happy New Year to You!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Friday, December 27, 2019

Victoria Sponge with Lemon Curd

Recently I discovered that Bonne Maman makes lemon curd and I do love their jams so I wanted to give this a try.

I love the flavour of lemons.

An easy choice was opting to bake a Victoria sponge...
It is a basic cake that can be filled with jams
or in this case,
the star of the recipe...
Lemon Curd.

Hope you enjoy this cake recipe.
It is quick and easy.

We enjoyed our Christmas Holidays very much.

Seeing members of our small family was a highlight.

Our daughter and her husband accompanied us to Butchart Gardens for a festive dinner and a walk around the garden which is all lit up with festive holiday lights and
displays for the 12 Days Of Christmas.

Our son and the grandchildren spent Boxing Day with us.
We had a casual brunch and then a turkey dinner with all the fixings.
Salmon was on the menu for Isla the eldest grand who prefers not to eat meat.

Today I've made a tasty turkey vegetable soup for lunch.

The past few days of cooking and entertaining have kept me very busy.
The table linens and napkins are all washed, folded, ironed and put away.
Knitting and a leisurely walk with my husband sound like a great way to spend a few hours...

Now I am wondering...
what will I cook for dinner tonight?

Hope you had a lovely Holiday.


~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Thursday, December 19, 2019

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Seasons greetings!

As I am whittling down my to do list 
getting ready for the holidays 
 finding myself extra busy
fatigue will surface.

If I am not careful I can feel the stress of trying to do it ALL.

Inner pressure to be the "perfect hostess"
 serve elaborate and tasty meals
keep up appearances
 a "picture perfect" home.

I need to remind myself not to set the bar too high.

Readjust my thought patterns...

Keep it simple
slow down

Candles are one of the things that help set a relaxed mood...
I light these festive reindeer votives in the morning when I sit and sip my coffee and 
again later in the afternoon with my tea.

Music is also a powerful mood shifter...

if I need energy I play some lively tunes from my teen years
if I am looking for calm I usually play a classical piece.

One of my favourites is Barber's Adagio for Strings
you can hear it performed by the Detroit Symphony

I feel like I could just float away when I listen to the music.

The gifts are purchased and wrapped.
The tree is up...

festive tins will be filled 
with shortbread, dried fruit dipped in chocolate, and cookies.

Our dinner menu is in the planning stage.

Leisurely mulling over cookbooks
slowly turning the pages
 looking at the pictures 
 what to cook?

The Humble Bungalow is dressed up very simply...

Grapevine wreath wound with fairy lights in our family room.

Hope that you are savouring the wee moments
that make up your days.

We can start by
Peace and Quiet 
into our hearts and our homes.

I like this quote it sums up  what I am thinking.

“No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, 
for 'we' are the only thinkers in our mind. 
When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, 
we will find it in our lives.”

~ Louise L. Hay ~

Wishing you a calm and meaningful holiday.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Sunday, December 15, 2019


What is JOY?

In a google search the first definition that popped up was 
"a feeling of great pleasure and happiness."

Joy is finding a heart shaped rock on the beach.

Personally, I find Joy in many things...
maybe its easier because I am content with life's little pleasures.

Things that are mostly free...

"Attitude of gratitude" 
is my mantra.

Joy is sunshine and scenery.

Maybe it's a smile from a stranger that was unexpected.

A random kind gesture 
a surprise letter or card in the mail
when your grandchildren tell you they love you
if you are stuck in traffic and another driver lets you merge

finding a handful of sea glass on the beach
a beautiful moonlit evening
fresh salty sea air

a rose blooming in winter

there are so many places to look for JOY

it might be a pop of colour on a gloomy day
a phone call from a friend you haven't heard from in ages
a rainbow after the storm

It might even be a whimsical indulgence that makes you smile...

this festive wee tree lights up in many colours
while it might border on "tacky" I knew I had to have it.
It brings me Joy.

Sometimes you just need to take a chance...

Joy in the sunset

Joy is found in giving...
like these Lions international volunteers
who bring Mr. and Mrs. Claus to the Gulf Islands.

There was Joy on the faces of the children and parents in the crowd.

There were elves...

a choir

and pirates wielding balloon swords 
with a few local pirates ready for a battle.

These dedicated volunteers give 800 gifts to children on the various islands.
Each child leaves with a bag of treats and gifts.

Bringing JOY to these children and their families
 Hope Bay on Pender Island...
a generous gift 
that will be remembered for years to come.

“There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.” 
~ Khalil Gibran ~

“Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.” 
~ Ben Carson ~

Wishing you Peace, Joy and Contentment.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Quick Hostess Gift

Tis the Season

Comfort and Joy
a wonderful sentiment.

When I think of comfort I think of cozy.

Hot tea
warm blankets
cashmere sweaters
woolly scarves
cozy socks
a soak in the tub with scented bath salts.

If you enjoy making gifts this recipe is quick and easy.
It may be something that you'll enjoy giving,
 perhaps you will keep one for yourself.

The cost of the ingredients are relatively inexpensive.
 You can double or triple the recipe depending on how many jars you have to fill.

I peruse the local thrift and charity shops for jars.
You can use any glass container
recycled or new.

 It must have a lid
to keep the essential oil scent from evaporating.

If you give a big batch in a large glass container 
it's nice to tie on a small scoop with some ribbon or thin twine.
You could also add a piece of fresh holly.

I made the bath salts with rose essential oil.
In the past I have used lavender with great success.

A gift for the Hostess.

Hope you are enjoying the Festive Season.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Monday, December 9, 2019

Using what is on hand...

The garden is very dormant this month.
I don't have an opportunity to pick fresh flowers
to bring inside...

There are oodles of these dried limelight hydrangeas outside 
in a lovely faded sepia shade
just right for the arts and crafts hammered copper vase in the dining room.

The fairy lights stay up all year.
I've added some silver stars that I purchased about 10 years ago.

The wreath is from my husband's family.
It was made by a friend of his mom's around 1960
using rhinestone brooches
Christmas tree decorations.

It's dim in the dining room 
so it might be difficult to see the wee Noel sign on the cabinet.

A flock of Ojibwa tamarack duck decoys 
sitting perched upon an arts and crafts copper tray.
The wee battery operated copper lights were purchased several years ago.

I've been toying with the idea of putting up a small tree in the kitchen 
but I think the cats would rip it to shreds !

As you may have gathered we don't over decorate.
It's mostly because of the mischievous felines that reside here with us!

I've still got some baking and shopping to get done for Christmas...
 I am pacing myself to avoid unnecessary stress.

Keeping things simple just feels right.

We received a call from a long time family friend tonight that there has been a death in our circle...
it's been an emotional evening to say the least.

We have spent the past few hours recalling all the memories...
life is to be cherished.

How are your holidays preparations coming along?
Try not to get stressed...

Take Care 

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Sunday, December 8, 2019

OOTD basic black for evening.

Recent purchase a Lace top by Dex
(on sale and heavily discounted!)

Black Eileen Fisher pants
Lace top by Dex
Sweater a vintage Susan Bristol that I have had for several decades!

Vintage Ferragamo shoes
Socks by French Company Berthe
(mismatched hose which are rather fun to wear!)

Putting my best foot forward...

I love the detail at the bottom of the top.

We put up the tree and I unpacked some festive accent pieces.
We like to keep our decorations simple as the cats think they are play toys!
Chester still climbs the tree :-((

Finally had my hair trimmed...
its been ages growing the short style out.

Planning to grow it a wee bit longer still and with any luck it should be where I want it to be by next Spring.

The stylist used a flat iron to smooth out the waves.

We enjoyed a sumptuous dinner at my husband's staff party last evening.

Julie, my friend and recent travel companion, made a 7 course dinner for us all.
It was amazing and there were wine pairings with each course!!!

Hope you are enjoying the festive season so far...
Have you been shopping your closet or buying new clothes?

What are your favourite things to wear for the holidays?

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Festive sparklers...and a trip to Vancouver.

Tis the festive season and I like to add some sparkle to my outfits.

Vintage Rhinestone Pins

Most of my pins are by the Canadian designer Sherman.
Mom loved her Sherman jewelry.
My father used to buy Sherman for her at Christmas.

Beautiful velvet boxes from Birks.
They usually contained a necklace, bracelet and earrings.
She would wear them with a velvet dress that she made for the holidays.
My sister and I had dresses also made by Mom...
she used the leftover fabric from her dress to sew ours.
All three of us had the same colour of velvet for each Christmas season.
(I have pictures of the three of us all dressed up)

This pin is by the designer Boucher of Paris.
He went on to design for the House of Cartier.

Do you add sparkle to your festive outfits?

This tree is in the square behind The Art Gallery in Vancouver.
We were there to attend a meeting and see friends who just moved into their newly built penthouse condominium.

Painted entrance to their parking garage.

Shopping happens when we visit the city!
I love the Eileen Fisher shop on South Granville.
I met a delightful woman in the shop.
She reads my blog!

I loved her outfit...
black vest, sweater and pants.
Very chic black glasses that many women in Paris wore.

Hope she will email me.
It would be fun to meet up for a chat and a coffee next time I am in Vancouver either before or after I shop in Eileen Fisher or we could shop together!

Casual greyish beige top

Very cozy

I'm wearing it with the black Eileen Fisher pants from last season.

I've got to finish this post quickly as I have a dental appointment.

There is so much to get done in the next few weeks...
baking, shopping, wrapping,  decorating the house.

Hope that we can get some of these jobs done this coming weekend.

How are your festive plans coming along?

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~