Thursday, May 30, 2013

The book goes to....

I apologize but it's been a busy week and I am behind on my posting.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog,
I hope you know how much your feedback and emails mean to me...
it's often your voices that inspire my blog topics.

The selection committee of two...the Mother Daughter team have struggled with our decision.
What makes one feel beautiful is very personal.
Beauty is as one writer said..."in the eye of the beholder."

It would be wonderful if we all found our reflections those of beauty.
Being comfortable in one's skin
accepting ourselves for who we are
and confident enough to be content.
It may seem illusive and yet there are many aspects that radiate love and loveliness.

Now if only we could award all of the participants a book our job would be easy.
Jamie Cat Callan will autograph her new book and send it in the post.

We narrowed it down but we chose two of the commenters...A Well Styled Life and Little Sister.
Please email me at with your mailing addresses and I will forward them to Jamie Cat Callan as soon as I receive them.

I hope that you both will enjoy Jamie's book.
If you did not win a copy her book is available online and at a local book store soon.

I brewed a pot of tea when I received the Advanced Reading Copy of her book and found myself transported to Paris...
through the voices of the fabulous French Femmes who were profiled and interviewed in
Ooh La La! French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Everyday.

Look for beauty today...
it might be in the eyes of a child, the smile from a stranger, a weed blooming in the garden.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

~ Tuesday ramblings ~ an abstract tangental post!

These are handy to have on hand...

any thoughts as to what they are?

Napkins by the roll.
You simply pull them off where they are perforated and they can be washed and reused many many times.
I purchased both the luncheon and the dinner sizes.
They usually are a tad expensive but these were on clearance.

I popped them in the napkin basket
we use cotton or linen napkins every day.

I brewed a pot of coffee this afternoon.
I usually drink tea but after our recent cup of Drum Roaster brew I knew that tea would not cut it.

Tracking points seems like a never ending job...
I am hoping that my due diligence will pay off.
Last week I was sorely disappointed by the reading on the scale...
I have not cheated at all.

I have noticed that my thoughts are always on food and planning ahead.
This is new, and I wonder if it is healthy to be so focused on meals and snacks.

For example a few minutes ago I had a "modest" snack 
consisiting of 6 wheat thins and a wedge of lite Laughing Cow Cheese.
I was ravenous when I got home from work and thankfully the pangs of hunger have abated.
Normally I would have grabbed a handful of crackers and a chunk of full fat cheddar or brie
munched them quickly and maybe have gone back for more...

Any thoughts on mindful eating?
~ ~ ~

It's a dreary day out there but I need to put on my walking shoes and get going.

Attitude is huge isn't it?
It might sound crazy but when I am wearing fitness gear I feel more like walking...

What motivates you to stick to your exercise regime?
Do you have a personal trainer or do you work out with a friend?
Any tips that you care to share?
~ ~ ~

I bought the new Michael Buble CD "to be loved"
and could benefit from an uplifting energizing listen.

Just finished booking my appointment...
so glad that they send out reminders.

If you are due for yours perhaps you'll make that important call.
~ ~ ~

Don't forget to enter the giveaway...
Jamie Cat Callan's new book could be yours!
You've got one more day to enter.

~ ~ ~

Bon Chance!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shopping Spree and the Giveaway reminder...

It's been a shopping dry spell that was broken this past weekend.
It didn't hurt that I spent the weekend with a friend who loves to shop!
She lives on Thetis Island and I picked her up on Vancouver Island at Cobble Hill.

The Drum Roaster Coffee Shop fabulous brewed coffee beverages and tasty food for those who are hungry!

We explored the Vintage Fair in Cobble Hill before going to the Duncan Farmers Market
and the quaint shops in the older part of downtown Duncan.

14 vendors with shabby chic and country items
furniture and home decor accessories
a wonderful event!

Tick Tock
I found this clock for my hobby room
time flies when I have my paint brush in my hand!

Mustard pickles
from Hillary's Cheeses at Cowichan Bay.

 Thetis Island vineyard 2012 pinot gris
Domaine Jasmin
a wine tasting this morning and a subsequent purchase
very pretty blush coloured wine
a lovely fruity flavour and a perfect summer wine...
great to pair with salads and seafood.

Franco Sarto

a sweet slip of a scarf by Echo
light weight for summer

my "go to colours"
  black and white

a light loose cotton topper
shown here with my Eileen Fisher tank

Mr. HB picked a Royal Sunset bouquet!
The fragrance is delicious...

the blooms exquisite.

I had a fun filled weekend
the weather was cloudy with patchy sunbursts and a smattering of rain.
It didn't matter because we know how to make the most of our time together.

I hope that you had a great weekend too.

Don't forget to enter the book giveaway...
you've got until May 29th to leave me a comment and become a Bloglovin follower.
My daughter and I will read through your comments and decide on who Jamie Cat Callan will send her new book to so check back to see who wins as you'll need to provide her with your mailing address. Good Luck!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Afternoon tea....

Taking tea is an afternoon ritual but one that I most often engage in alone at home after work.
I found myself in great company
on a terrace overlooking
a beautiful garden
on a sunny day in May.

Pondside blog author H and I taking tea at Abkhazi Gardens in Fairfield.

Royal Abkhazi Tea blend with scones, jam and Devon cream
aka The Cream Tea
(Weight Watchers allows me to budget for occassional treats)

A full tea with sandwiches and sweets is available for those with bigger appetites.

The garden is enchanting
and the rhodos and azaleas are in full bloom.

there are some shady areas...under a canopy of heritage trees

rhodos grow like trees here as they are very mature specimens

the summer house
originally constructed by The Prince and Princess Abkhazi 
as a spot to take tea and lunch when they were designing their lovely gardens

Abkhazi Gardens are  a reflection of a labour of love
by a couple who were very much in love
it is worth a visit.

If you find yourself in Victoria please do stop in and take a stroll
perhaps sip a cup of tea 
 listen to the birdsong
and bring a friend to share it with...

Have a Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Oak Bay ~ memories

I grew up in the area of Victoria known as Oak Bay.
It was and still is a lovely quiet neighbourhood.
Oak trees are prolific, a living green canopy providing dappled shade.

I feel very much at home in Oak Bay.

The Avenue is on my weekly rounds and I remember how quaint and small it used to be...
basically a couple of short blocks of retail shops, the butcher, bakery, banks, grocery store, cafe, real estate agent and one cannot forget The Oak Bay Theatre.
(where I sat to watch Romeo and Juliet ~ 5 times!)

Today The Avenue spans from Monterey to Foul Bay Road
there are some who like to think it creeps a little further nudging towards Richmond Road.
(I think not) The Tweed curtain officially starts at Foul Bay!

The street where I grew up is a humble block named Guernsey.
We had no sidewalks, today it is the same...
the houses are the same although they have been tarted up with fresh paint and some of the gardens have changed, including ours...
Mother had a green thumb and we had lots of flowers and beds in front of our home.
Today many of the beds have been filled in...although it has similar bones to the design.

I drive Mother by often and we stop to stare.

It is a modest 2 story home covered in pebbledash stucco, which as a child used to fascinate me.
You could see shells and broken bits of coloured glass which I tried to pry off on occasion.

Our family home transports me back to a time of innocence and freedom.
I can almost hear myself giggling as a girl...

I wonder what Mother feels and thinks as we sit silently in the car.
A few moments in time where we almost hold our breaths and listen to the echoes of dialogue from the past...
in the distance...
the voice of my Father as he flips burgers on the BBQ
two little girls playing with dolls and staking out our territory in our shared bedroom
Mother singing with abandon as she washes dishes...
her habit was to circle the rims of the crystal goblets with her fingers to make them sing with her.

It seems like such a long ago and yet like almost yesterday.

A week or so ago we stumbled upon this sign...

one block from Guernsey
we stopped for a plant sale

Gardener and author Lynn Milnes has a stand outside her home.
My sister studies the plants tags before choosing several marionberry bushes.

I couldn't resist sneaking a few pics.
Lynne's garden is a gem snuggly tucked away on a block long byway, 
like Guernsey it too has no sidewalks!

Can you see that the telephone pole has been painted a bright blue with some flowers?

I'll be back in Oak Bay every week for as long as I am able...

My 40th High school reunion is this summer
Oak Bay High
 will be demolished 
to build a new school very soon.
~ ~ ~
It will be rather strange perhaps surreal going back...
for one last time.

Where did you grow up and do you go back and visit often?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Giveaway...Ooh La La!

When I received Jamie Cat Callan's latest book "Ooh La La" I could not put it down.
I have read all of her books and think that the French Femme theme holds great interest for me.

With each new book I learn a little more about the chic and mystique that French women possess.
"French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day."

Women of any nation can cultivate these habits...
you don't need to be a French Femme to feel beautiful.

Adopting a few tricks goes a long way...
delve into Jamie's book and you'll learn more.

Jamie has graciously offered to autograph and send one of her new books to one of my readers.

All I ask is that you follow my blog by email or by Bloglovin ~

google reader is phasing out their service very soon so in order to stay connected I've been advising readers to join  Bloglovin so they can keep bloggers posts coming.

Leave me a comment before May 29th telling me what makes you feel beautiful every day.

I will ask my daughter to help me choose the recipient on May 30th.

Good Luck!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Weight loss and the weekly wrap up....

It's been a hectic and busy week at work
and there have been some euphoric highs and some challenging lows...

I'm so grateful that I live in such a beautiful neighbourhood...
grateful for friends who are just a phone call away
a wonderful life partner and husband
two crazy but affectionate cats and a wonderful family
who keep me grounded and whenever I feel that my mood might spiral downward
I ponder on all life's gifts and blessings.

I lost almost 6 pounds since my last week weigh in at Weight Watchers
it was so exciting you could have knocked me over wih a feather.
Tracking my food intake and walking really works!

I've been tired after the longer fast paced walks and have slept so soundly 
that I have not even stirred when Mr. HB gets out of bed 
and when he brings me my morning tea I am slow to respond and groggy.
Thanks Honey!

Leaving the house later than usual and feeling like I am in a bit of a stupor is not like me...

Thankfully the roofers have departed 
after finishing the noisy work and taking their immense bin away.

It looks calm...
but there is major construction just across the street
Our neighbourhood is changing...
new homes are being built
concrete mixers
are taking over!

Heavy equipment parking in "my spot" 
oh dear me 
breathe in deep Yogic breaths
I know
it's silly but it has been my spot to park for 30 years...

 I am not territorial at all :-)

If you want a brand new home in Fairfield 
there are two across the street which should be finished in a few months...
one is considered to be an Emily Carr replica
the other an arts and crafts style home
($865,000 asking price)

If I were to choose my new neighbours 
I would ask that you like:
to play bridge
enjoy gardening
be mindful of the noise bylaws
join in on the annual Block Party and be neighbourly
perhaps you'd like to walk with The Hostess a few times a week
and if you like to cook let's have a progressive dinner several times a year!

There is a lot of clean up required on the front porch...
fine shavings and dirt need to be swept away 
 the porch and chairs need to be washed. 
I am praying for a sunny weekend so I can remedy this quickly.

On Mother's Day in the Cook Street Village 
I found a funky distressed tool tote at a local shop and envisioned it filled with herbs or flowers.
(the singing green grocer sold me the herbs)
I decided that herbs would be the best bet as I can keep them on the porch or sundeck near the door and when I need them they are nearby and ready for snipping.
The great thing about this new planter is that it can easily be moved with it's sturdy handle.

We have a long weekend coming up and I hope to spend time catching up on my domestic chores
pottering about in the garden and cleaning up the front porch.

If the weather is mild 
I'll be taking my tea outside with the newest issue of Country Living UK...
after I clean the porch and plant the veggie seeds of course!

What have you got planned?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lilacs and lily of the valley....sweet scent~sations.

Springtime is one of my favourite seasons.
Fresh air, milder days and longer daylight hours.

intoxicating scents
lilacs and lily of the valley...

loving white blooms as I do I cannot resist picking a handful.

Fortunately I can open the door and venture a few feet along the gravel path and snip off some lilac blooms.
Picking the lily of the valley simply requires that you pull straight up and firmly and they come up clean.

I cut into the woody lilac stems to help them soak up water...
longer lasting ~ less wilting
heady fragrance.

Pretty too, do you agree?

sweet little blooms
"lily of the valley" 
sounds like a humble country plant 

"muguet de bois"
 feels ever so much more elegant!

What's a name 
when they are such a perfect posy...

I think that white always makes a statement 
subtle yet stunning
~ ~ ~
simply elegant.

If pearls were flowers 
they might be muguet de bois...

Pearls are sublime...
I love the creamy lustre that they radiate.
and they go with everything...
a LBD 
cashmere sweaters
silk nightgowns

Take care not to let them come in contact with perfume or cologne
which strips the nacre of the pearls 
and to my knowledge nothing can be done to repair them after that.

Have your pearls hand knotted between each bead and have them restrung them every few years.

Do you know how to tell if pearls are real?
  you gently rub a pearl on your tooth and if it is natural it will feel gritty

Chester tried testing this strand...
rather a cheeky little move don't you think?

When our children were babies Mother wore her baroque strand of opera length pearls
and she let them chew on them.
She did draw the line when they tried to tug at them though!

Are you wearing pearls with what you have on today?
Do drop me a comment if you have time I'd love to hear from you.