Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Welcoming the New Year...thoughts

A bright and shiny New Year is on the horizon.

Feeling very encouraged that we will see some significant improvements...
 the vaccines are here and are being doled out to the health care workers and the residents of long term care first and then they make their way down the ladder to those of us who wish to get the vaccine. 

Our Covid cases in BC are moving slowly downward.

I cannot help but feel optimistic...

Every year, for decades, I write in a day timer.
The Moleskine day timer for 2021 has been updated with birthdays.

I chose a new gel pen with a pretty peacock blue shade of ink.

The little things that can be mood shifters and change they way we see life
are so worth embracing...

Ideas for small Joys:

a new shade of lipstick
wearing a vintage piece of jewelry
mixing up your outfits, pairing different items
wearing a bright coloured pair of socks or tights
fresh flowers and foliage in a jug
a new blend of tea
experimenting with a new hairstyle
sampling a new fragrance
painting your nails
rearranging an area of your home
hanging your clothes in a different order, by colour or grouped by item
polish your leather shoes, boots and purses
buy a vintage accessory or piece of clothing that makes you smile
get rid of any clothes that are "ho-hum" ~ keep only what makes you feel great
invest in a new teacup and saucer or mug
read a new magazine, perhaps one from another country
sample an exotic variety of fruit
make a vinaigrette with a different type of oil and vinegar than you usually use
walk in a different area and explore
take a thermos of coffee or tea and sip it in a park or on a beach

The list of ideas could go on and on...

Maybe it is time to start a new collection?

I know people who collect smooth rocks from the beach...
some only collect pure white and others opt for dark black.
Put them in a bowl or a jar and enjoy looking at them.

“Always keep your eyes open. 
Keep watching. 
Because whatever you see can inspire you.”

~ Grace Coddington ~

How are you approaching 2021?
Are you feeling positive or negative?
Have you got goals or are you making New Year resolutions?

I'd love to hear your ideas of things that you do to lift your spirits.

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.
Wishing you peace and joy in the New Year.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Sunday, December 20, 2020

French Canadian Tourtiere Recipe


 French Canadian tradition

This recipe makes 3 double crust savoury meat pies.
I use the pastry recipe off of the box of Tenderflake Lard.
Make the pastry ahead of the filling as the dough needs to be in the fridge for an hour before rolling out.


2 tsp olive oil
2 cups finely diced onions
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of finely minced celery
2 pounds ground pork
1 pounds lean ground beef 
1 tsp ground sage spice
1/4 tsp each ground cloves and ground cinnamon spices
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 cup water
3 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

In a large pot heat the oil and saute onions, celery and garlic until soft.
Add the ground meat and cook until no longer pink.
Drain any fat from the pot.
Add the sage, cloves, cinnamon, salt, pepper and water
Add a lid to the pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the mashed potatoes and parsley stir well to mix.
Cool on counter.

Roll out the pastry dough thinly and line 3 pie plates 
make sure to save enough dough to top each pie.

Fill each pie with the filling.
Roll out the pastry tops and seal edges.
Cut in some vents in the tops for steam to escape.
(You can use a very small star cookie cutter to make these vents attractive)

Brush pies with egg yolk and milk
bake for 35 - 40 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

If you make these ahead you can freeze the uncooked pies.
remove from freezer, thaw then in a fridge then bake them.

Allow pies to sit on the counter after baking for about 20 minutes before slicing them.

Serve with the condiment of your choice...

HP sauce 
Branston pickle
sweet mustard pickles

Hope you have fun making these tourtiere pies.

They are usually served on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Christmas Traditions

There are many traditions that we embrace over the holidays...

We hang this hand made wreath that was made in the ealy 1960's.
This was made by a friend of my husband's mother.

It has shiny baubles, pine cones, faux holly and vintage rhinestone brooches.

We were fortunate to be given this wreath...
we hang it in The Humble Bungalow dining room every Christmas season.

Christmas is going to be VERY different this year because of the pandemic.
We will be visiting each other via ZOOM and FACE TIME.

Baking and cooking for Christmas occupies a lot of my time
 I am enjoying trying out new recipes.
Sharing Baskets and Food Hampers with family.

We'll be doing driveway drop offs!

With a focus on comfort these days I want to share a super simple pot roast recipe.

Pot Roast with whipped potatoes and peas.

Savoury Pot Roast

3 pound beef blade pot roast
2 Tbsp. oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp soy sauce ( I use Braggs)
2 Tbsp worcherstershire sauce
1/2 Tsp minced garlic 
1/2 Tsp dry mustard

3 Tbsp flour
1/4 cup water

In a Dutch oven heat oil and brown roast on all sides.
Sprinkle with salt
Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour into pot.
Simmer covered for 2 hours.

Remove to a carving board and cover with foil to rest for 5 minutes.

Make a slurry of  3 Tbsp flour and 1/4 cup of water and shake in a bottle.
Whisk into the fluid left in the pot and thicken and use as a Gravy.


How are you celebrating the holidays this year?
Are you able to meet in person?

I'll be busy for the next week or so baking and preparing gifts.

Are you ready for Christmas?

Thank you for dropping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

December Vibes


The Christmas tree and fairy lights
we've added a few festive touches.

Our decorating has happened much sooner than usual.
Spending most of our time in The Humble Bungalow during the pandemic 
has made us much more aware of our surroundings and we need more Cheer!

Snow capped Mount Baker in the background at Willows Beach.
Walking along the sandy beach listening to the sound of the waves 
gulls calling as they fly overhead.

Walking under sunny skies is preferable to the rain...
there is rain in the forecast for most of the week
so I will don my new red raincoat and grab a brolly...
Needs Must!

Cooking through Covid is helping me stay focused on comfort food.
Why not make a soothing meal each night for dinner?
Ina has hit the ball right out of the park with this timely cookbook.

The Ultimate Beef Stew recipe is full of flavour and makes a big batch.
Leftovers can easily be frozen for a future meal.

While this stew was simmering in the oven our Bungalow 
sumptuous scents wafted out from the dutch oven.

We were extra hungry by the time it was ready to sit down to dinner!

This wonderfully written book is transporting me back to Tuscany.
Its a delight to read...thank goodness for armchair travel!

Mr HB is busy building our deer fence. 
He installed the 3 panels this past weekend.
The tall cedar posts will be cut down and capped.

Our roses out front should be safer next Spring and Summer.

We listened to Dr. Bonnie Henry's announcement yesterday and learned that the Covid cases here in BC are showing no bend in the curve...

We are not allowed to gather with friends or family inbdoors or outside.
Fines will be issued if we do not obey the rules.

Christmas will be only allowed for the family that live under one roof...
so we will need to be creative 
meet up remotely via Zoom or FaceTime.

In good news the vaccines are on their way!

How are you holding up during the pandemic?
 What are you reading?
Have you decorated earlier than usual for the festive season?

Stay Safe

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Thursday, December 3, 2020

My Stylish French Box reveal...

I just hopped on to the blog to quickly share the November contents of My Stylish French Box! The luxurious items were themed "holiday chic" and they did not disappoint. Sharon Santoni and her team know their clientele very well.

My favoutite item is a bespoke cashmere and wool wrap.
It is so cozy!

Our weather is colder now so it is perfect for the chilly afternoons and evenings.
I am draping this over my shoulders and don't feel any of the usual drafts in our 100+ year old bungalow.

This lipstick is super moisturizing and luscious.
The box is pretty too and opens up like a flower petal.
The lipsticks are refillable and come in a red velvet pouch.

Emollient balm
Writing paper and a beautiful pen.

Antique crystal drop strung onto a purple velvet ribbon
It can be worn as a necklace or hung in a window to refract the light.
A lovely pouchette to use as a bag or for makeup or whatever you fancy!

I've got to run now as I have a bunch of things that I need to get done.

It surprises me how busy my days are during the pandemic.
The homekeeping chores haven't gone away and despite the fact that we are not entertaining I cannot let the dust bunnies take over.

I've been cooking a ton of new recipes, reading oodles of books, walking, and more recently I have ventured out to the shops to buy gifts for friends and family.

Take care, stay safe.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Adding some festive touches in The Humble Bungalow.

Welcome to The Humble Bungalow
we've started adding a few festive touches a wee bit earlier than usual.
With all the time that we are spending in our home these days...
 why not?

Festive starry candle holder 
a recent purchase from the Victoria Art Gallery gift shop.

I love to decorate with warm creamy white accents.

Sweet white hearts are hung from the knobs on the cupboard.
These were also found at the Art Gallery gift shop.
I think they would be really pretty hung on a tree with all white lights.

Cookie tins and English crackers.
We have no idea if we will be permitted to have our family come over for Christmas with the Covid cases still climbing.

I bought the crackers just in case...
I will drop them off when I pass over the gifts
 if we are not allowed to meet up in person.

The tins will hold cookies and chocolate bark...
which I will start making in a couple of weeks.

Battery powered LED lights add ambiance in The Humble Bungalow Kitchen.

These lights are warm and add festive cheer.

We plan to put up the tree this coming weekend and will pull out some of the other decorations.

Are you decorating for Christmas early this year?

Do you think Christmas will be celebrated differently this year due to lockdown?

Have you started shopping for the holidays?
Are you shopping online or supporting the local small businesses?

I am making a concerted effort to buy local.
I want to see the small shops survive...
it's so sad seeing those that have already closed up shop.

Stay safe and wear your masks!

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Roses, Tea and Covid Cooking...a tonic during lockdown


Roses continue to bloom in The Humble Bungalow Garden.
The cheerful pops of colour elevate our days.

Jude the Obscure still putting on a show!

Walked downtown on Thursday 
to meet my husband at the lawyer's office and sign our new wills.

I had a few minutes to spare so I popped into Winners.
I bought a couple of gifts and just happened upon this trio of teas.
I have savoured the Wittards Chelsea Afternoon Tea blend and was eager to expand my taste experience...
I bought all three!

I have yet to try this one but it sounds delicious...
Oolong tea, pineapple, strawberry and papaya pieces, marigold flowers.

No7 Mango and Bergamot is SO GOOD!!!!
Green Tea, Mango, petals from cornflowers, sunflowers and roses.
Bergamot flavouring.

This one is a gift for a dear friend.

Lockdown is here to stay for the forseeable future.

The Covid Cases are climbing far too fast.
Hospitals are filling up and our provincial health doctor has had to enact the act
that prohibits us from gathering with others.
Only our immediate household can be together, even outdoors.

We are permitted to walk with one friend.
Masks are mandatory in public places and at worksites.

So I am cooking like crazy as a distraction to save my sanity...
(my husband winks when I say this!)
Thanks darling XO

Mr. HB seems to be enjoying all the meals.

Christmas decor here is minimal and I am fluffing the house bit by bit...
I will publish a post sharing what I've done soon.

Our neighbours to the south are preparing their Thanksgiving menus and sharing many gorgeous tablescapes.

I made Ina Garten's Herb and Apple Bread Pudding from her book 
"Cooking For Jeffrey."
(page 152)

I made it this morning and it is in the fridge waiting for later...
I love a make ahead dish.
Ina mentioned that it pairs well with Turkey.

I am making "Engagement Roast Chicken" similar to Ina's Perfect Roast Chicken.
Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Will steam some broccoli to serve with dinner.
I had hoped to buy green beans but they were not that fresh...
why do some stores keep them on the shelf when they are past their prime?

My husband has been outside all morning digging fence post holes.
He'll be weary when he finally comes inside...
Hope this meal will be tasty and comforting.

How are you doing during this pandemic?

What are your favourite distractions?

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow.

Stay Safe

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Monday, November 16, 2020

Fashion with a Vintage Vibe ~ French themed books

When I visited Paris in 2015 I met a savvy young stylist named Alois Guinut.
She led a workshop on French fashion and style 
for women on The Ooh La La Tour.

The tour was arranged and led by author Jamie Cat Callan.

You may have read some of her books...
( if you haven't already read her books you may want to!)

French Women Don't Sleep Alone: Pleasurable Secrets to Finding Love 
Bonjour Happiness: Secrets to Finding Your Joie de Vivre
Ooh La La!: French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day
Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy and That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

I took notes at the workshop as I was so inspired by this young woman.
When I returned home I decided to add some French flair to my daily outfits.

Not too long after I returned I learned that Alois had written a new book
"Dress Like a Parisian."
 I knew that I had to buy it and read more about this fascinating style.

I have just finished reading 
"Why French Women Wear Vintage and other secrets of sustainable style."

There are lots of great ideas here and as I am a passionate second hand, consignment, and thrift shopper so this fits right into my values of recycling and my current relaxed lifestyle.

My wardrobe is streamlined and minimalist with a colour palette based on black, white and greys that makes it easy to mix and match items.
I have denim jeans and chambray shirts too.
I add a pop of colour with accessories.

Alois shares some fun ways to add fun and flair to the classic basics.

I plan to look for more "unique accessories" when I venture out in the second hand consignment and charity shops
as well as
for more vintage finds.

Now I want to re-read her first book!

Hope that you are keeping well.
Are you cooking, baking, knitting, crafting or reading to stay safe during Covid?

 'French Exit ' a new fragrant candle from the company Cancelled Plans.

Scented candles add ambiance to our Humble Bungalow.
When the Fall and Winter weather gets gloomy I can't think of anything easier
 than lighting a candle to add a warm glow and a beautiful fragrance.

Thank you for stopping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

Hope that you are staying safe, wearing your mask and washing your hands!

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~


Sunday, November 8, 2020

Shopping and de-cluttering


Fan Tan Alley in Victoria's historic Chinatown.

A place of interest for locals and visitors.
I enjoy going to chinatown and perusing the shops.
There are also some fabulous restaurants for Asian cuisine.

One of my favourite shops is Fan Tan Gallery.
They stock housewares, home decor items, cards, candles, soaps, gifts.
Baby clothes, books and toys.

An assortment of clothing...
many natural fabrics ~ linen and bamboo and wool.
An array of beautiful accessories and scarves.

On my last visit I left without purchasing a thing 
 I came away with some inspiration for our home decor.

On my neighbourhood walks I try to mix up the routes so that I don't get bored.

My usual walks are along the waterfront where I enjoy the changing views.
When I wander through the streets and gaze at other gardens 
I come home and look at The Humble Bungalow Garden with fresh eyes...
I really savour these meandering wanders.

Cook Street Village is a few blocks long and it has a lot of small shops.
 Coffee, grocery stores, cafes, pharmacy, hair salons, butcher shop, 
health food store, clothing retailer, two antique and collectible shops, 
a garden centre and more...

When I saunter down to the village I am usually on a "mission." 
Frequently I need an ingredient for a recipe that I am making.
Sometimes I just want to peruse the antique and collectible shops.

That was my plan the other day...

As I was walking my eye wandered to a store display 
hanging in the window was a cute top.

I masked up and walked in to find my size, tried it on, it fit, and that was it!

This black and white striped top skims my wobbly bits, has 3/4 length sleeves 
in a longer tunic length great for skinny pants or yoga pants.
The V neck works best for me as I am really quite short and rather busty.

The fabric is heavy enough that it doesn't cling and drapes beautifully.

I'll wear this top a lot
Fall through Winter and into Spring.

I culled many of my cook books...
placing them in the wee library across the street and they were snapped up.

My Covid goal is to tidy every cupboard, shelf, drawer and room 
in The Humble Bungalow.

One a day...
in no time I will be finished this task.

I just took 4 large bags to the local charity shop.
Boy it feels so good to pare down.

Hope that you are doing well, staying safe, and being mindful of the Covid Protocols.

Have you taken up any new hobbies or cultivated any new habits?

Are you cooking up a storm?

Baking bread?

What is keeping you sane during these isolating times?

Thank you for popping by The Humble Bungalow Blog.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Halloween during Covid...


Spooky Halloween Eve

Choosing pumpkins for Halloween with the grandchildren at a local farm.

We wandered about the pumpkin patch for about 45 minutes searching for the perfect specimens for our Jack O' Lanterns.

So many choices!
Difficult to opt for just one, so we ended up choosing two each.

Our wee pumpkins on the front porch table.

Packages of assorted treats in zip loc bags.
50 packs

Ready for the trick or treaters!
Large PVC tube on the left, for the safe delivery of the packages of treats.

We bundled up in out down coats.
I wore my scarf, gloves and a hat.

It was fun to see the costumes and hear the excitement of the children as they made their way up and down our block.

We turned the lights out when we ran out of treats at around 7:30.

Did you celebrate Halloween?
How did you do things differently so it was Safe?

Time is flying by and it is already November.

Take care.

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~