Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I've reached my personal weigh loss goal ~ 25 pounds!
Honestly I cannot believe it 'cuz I still feel like a fat woman.
Probably because I have been overweight for soooo many years.

Weight Watchers guidelines suggest that I lose another 4 pounds.
 If I do, I'll get the "golden key" with it a lifetime membership ~ which means that I can weigh in and attend meetings for free if I stay within 2 pounds of that weight.
Sounds like it is worth it so I will track on and continue on this journey.

I lit a candle and made a pot of Earl Grey Tea.

 Johnston Scottish Cashmere sweater, a gift from Mr. HB.
Years ago (and wearing a size 10) the Christmas that he gave this to me.
Echo black and white scarf.
Dark Denim g21 skinny jeans.

Stuart Weitzman these old stalwarts.

You might ask what big changes I have made to shed this weight.
Well besides walking everyday I am eating differently...
small amounts of lean protein and way more greens and fruits and veggies.

I celebrated by treating myself to a few non-food items...
I scored a Joules jacket in a smaller size at The Thrift Shop after my WW weigh in.
At Starbucks when I bought some coffee for Mr. HB they gave me a free coffee.

I found a dressy beaded vintage sweater.

Love the attention to detail in these vintage garments.

While I sat and sipped my tea I perused this fabulous cookbook and made notes of all the low calorie recipes.
What's not to love about a fundraising cookbook?
High Society Hostesses sharing their favourite recipes.
Well this Hostess could learn a thing or two from all these clever cooks.

The celebration menu:
(gin and soda with a wedge of lime)
Kale and vegetable salad with Paul Newman's Light Sesame Thai dressing
 Wasabi Encrusted Halibut
(Whitewater Cooks)

Bon Apetit!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scotch Orange Marmalade ~a great Hostess Gift

I love to bring a Hostess gift when we are invited to a dinner party or an Open House.
Frequently I opt for flowers or a plant from the florist and a bottle of wine.

This past week I was seeking to satisfy a creative urge that was washing over me...
and decided to make something home made.

Juicy oranges on the counter were the source of my inspiration.

Mr. HB designed the label
(thank you honey!)
  I will have this printed on card stock and punch a hole in one end making my own rustic label.
 Tie it onto the jar with some twine and perhaps attach a vintage silver jam spoon.
Easy Peasy

The recipe made 9 jars of marmalade...
one which I put into the fridge for Mr. HB and the rest ready for the hot water bath!
I seal these properly so they can be stored in a dark cupboard and will stay fresh for several years...
but they usually don't last that long!

Scotch Marmalade

6 large Navel or Seville oranges
10 c. water
10 c. sugar
1c. Lemon juice
1/2 c. Scotch
1 tbsp. butter

Wash and grate the oranges discard any white bitter pith.
Soak overnight in a large pot.
Bring to a boil and simmer 1 hour.
Cool slightly and add sugar and lemon juice, stir well to dissolve.
Bring back to boil.
Check to see if it has reached the gel stage by using "sheeting" test. 
When poured off the side of the spoon there are no longer two drops, they merge in the middle as one blob!
It may take 1 hour or more.
(90 minutes for this batch)
Skim foam off the top.
When the marmalade has finally reached the gel stage 
Stir in butter and scotch.
Then pour into hot clean jars and seal. 
I use a hot water bath and a canner and process for 10 minutes.

Do you have a favourite Hostess gift?
With the Holiday season in the offing I'm looking for ideas...

Thank you for stopping by and for your comments...they really mean a lot.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

(Re) Building my wardrobe....slowly ~ one piece at a time.

I am in the process of re-building my wardrobe as I have lost almost 25 pounds and have gone from wearing XL and size 14 + to wearing M size 10/12. My weight loss journey is ongoing and I hope to lose another 5 pounds.

 Before Weight Watchers
I am dressed for a summer wedding weighing in at a hefty 160 pounds.

Most of my larger sized garments have been donated or consigned as I do not plan to wear them again.
I have kept a few things and some fortunately were in a smaller size.
I had kept hoping I would slim down and be able to wear at some point...and now I can!

Before hitting the shops I needed to take everything out of the closet and decide what to keep, what to consign and what to donate.

I had forgotten about these cute leather booties!

The things that I kept:
(about 30 pieces)

Burberry quilted jacket
Lands' End down coat
Eddie Bauer down jacket
Jones of NY metallic grey raincoat
Aunt Tirzah's fur jacket (for the snow!)
Royal Robbins black squall jacket

Lands' End cashmere pullover, grey cardigan, black cardigan
Johnston of Elgin black cashmere pullover
grey tweedy knit sweater in a "jacket style"
St. James grey sweater coat
Betty Barclay grey sweater ~ longer style

Talbots white shirt ~ which is oversize now but gets worn over a white tank
2 white tank tops
white lace top
Banana Republic Breton striped tee
Carilyn Vaile black SS top
Splendid black sheer top
Black sequined Tee
black white patterned 3/4 sleeve top
Cut Loose quilted vest in chartreuse green
Mondetta white grey patterned workout jacket

Gelco tweed trousers
(Pants are the most difficult to have tailored and still look decent.)

Dressy wear:
3 LBD's
Precis Petite patterned dress which I bought for a wedding a couple of years ago...see above image.
(I have not tried it on recently but it was expensive so I have kept it and it can be altered.)
Symplii knits in black ~ palazzo pants, tank top, top 3/4 sleeves, jacket
Spanner metallic pewter skirt
Jones of NY multicoloured silk skirt

I have kept all my accessories:
bags, boots, shoes and scarves ~ they always fit!

Everything else is gone!

I started rebuilding by first having a professional bra fitting and purchased some new undergarments.
My next priority was decent looking outfits for walking and fitness ~
(wearing smart workout clothing helps keep me motivated)
2 pairs of  Lands' End performance pants ~ black, grey.
3 Champion white tops and a black pair of capri length workout pants
3 workout/Yoga style hoodies

I am focusing on fall and winter right now and will tackle the out of season clothing in the closet downstairs next Spring and see what I can salvage and what needs to go.

Purchases since September amount to approximately $350.
I am applying my new rules of frugality, minimalism and function before any purchase.

Levi's distressed jeans (thrifted) $15 (they replaced my beloved Vear Wang boyfriend jeans)
Black Ponte knit Bellissimo trousers (thrifted) $12
g 21 skinny jeans, one in black, the other dark wash denim $10 each
Chillox black coat $130
Barbour vest black $125
Merino Tees ~ grey and black $17 each
Eileen Fisher silk tank top ~ a muted mocha shade which is a very versatile shade (thrifted) $15

I have read many books which offer basic wardrobe guidelines.
Two of my favourites are Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott and Parisian Chic by Ines de la Fressange.
Tish Jett has a new book...Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Timeless Secrets to Beauty, Style and Substance.
I am eager to read this as she writes one of my favourite blogs.

I am adjusting to my new "retired lifestyle" and am wearing casual workout clothing most days at home.
I really do not "need" too many outfits as most of my activities are quite relaxed.
Weekly lunches out, grocery shopping, errands, dinner out, the occasional house party and theatre.

Weight Watcher Month 5
(almost at my goal weight)
Feeling better, I have more energy and my hips don't ache when I walk now.
WW = Win Win 

Thank you Kristien for posing the question and Congratulations on your weight loss!

If the thrift shops in your area are not to your liking try some consignment shops.
There are lots of great online shops with great return policies and some offer free shipping.
Depending on where you live you might want to take a drive to another city to find some great clothes.
If you have a friend whose opinion you can trust, you could take a weekend away and have a fashion adventure!

I hope this post helps to better answer your question.

I know there are a few readers out there who buy online...I'd love to know where you shop.
Please share your favourite sites in the comments section.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you are having a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

OOTD ~ I've been digging deep into the closet to dress for a meet up with a blogger!

Do you get rid of clothing or hang onto it hoping that it may be back in the spotlight?
I have hung onto a few gems from my past...most are accessories but a few are garments.

I still have my wedding gown hanging in the closet and that was only worn once in 1974.
I cannot part with it for sentimental reasons and I know in my heart that I will never be 106 pounds or a size 6 again. But that's another issue so let's not get too far off topic shall we.

J Crew necklace
Symplii black tank top
Lands' End black cashmere cardigan

Stuart Weitzman bow patent leather flats.
(many seasons ago)

Gelco wide legged trousers
several (many) seasons ago!

I met up with the savvy shopper and local fashion blogger Sheila from Ephemera this week.
We enjoyed a salad at a local brew pub/restaurant before hitting the aisles of Value Village.
I love to shop with Sheila as she has a trained eye for quality, can hone in on fabulous finds and "by touch" can "feel" if the fabric is worthy of purchase.

If you have been following my blog for awhile you might remember that we met up to thrift shop once before and had some serious fun, you can read about our adventure here.

I tried on several beautiful things which would have been wonderful additions to my meagre wardrobe but they were too tight across the chest. It is disconcerting when one is a size 10/12 in every area except the bust...that is where a clever tailor could come in handy...but I digress.

Sheila had a basket full of options and chose a colourful silk skirt and a great pair of shoes.
I came home empty handed but had a lovely evening and we parted planning a meet up next Spring.

Thank you Sheila!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A scarf appears out of the corner of my eye....

Some lovely things just pop up, even when I am not looking.
Last weekend as I waited for our house guests to arrive I snuck off for half an hour to browse a hospital thrift store. It is the same store where my daughter found her genuine leather Hermes belt.
Darling daughter has a real gift for finding treasure.
I enjoy looking at the vintage wares...
they each have a story and I like to think about who owned them and where they have been all these years.

This bright and cheerful scarf caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.
Vibrant, bold and beautiful colours spoke loudly and I couldn't help but turn my head.
It is in mint condition...made in England of 100% pure silk, has exquisite hand rolled edges and is signed by the designer Frankie Welch.

Worn here with my Lands' End cashmere cardigan which is several seasons old.

I think this is the 7th purchase this Fall.
For the first time in my life I am tracking what I buy and how much I spend.
Skinny Jeans, black dress pants, 2 Merino wool Tee's, a Barbour vest and the Chillox walking coat.

I'd never heard of Frankie Welch so being naturally curious I looked on the internet.
 It turns out that she designed thousands of scarves and has designed many around the political arena and many have The White House architectural details in their designs.

She wanted to study with Frank Lloyd Wright but he refused her request saying that he did not teach women!

I do not recognize this building or if indeed it has any significance.
Perhaps it is a Virginia landmark.

I love the bright tones and how they perk up my basic greys and blacks.

Knotted twice ~ it's so simple.
I plan to pair this scarf with my red ballet flats.

~ ~ ~

"Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. 
Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. 
Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up."

~ Allen Klein  ~

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Frugal Fish Chowder and my OOTD.

I am embracing frugality this Fall.
In and around the kitchen preparing soups as a weekday meal with leftovers for lunches.
Soups are so soothing when the thermometer dips and the chilly winds blow.

Befriend your local fish monger and ask for some fish bones...
I prefer to use salmon as I love the strong flavour it imparts to the stock.

Here are the frugal fish fixings.

"Humble Bungalow Frugal Fish Chowder"

Boil the fish in water for about 30 minutes.
Cool and remove bones and skin.
Set aside.
In a large pot saute 1 large diced onion and several stalks of celery sliced until soft.
Add water to cover and then add 2 or 3 chopped potatoes and 2 large carrots sliced.
Simmer until cooked, about 20 minutes.
Pop in a cup of corn kernels and a small can of tomato paste.
Add the fish stock, season with salt, pepper and dill.
Simmer for an hour and serve.

Hearty and delicious.

Weight Watchers friendly!

Serve leftovers for lunch or freeze for future use.
Mother will be getting some of this chowder!

Grey sweater coat with ruffle detail at front.
Betty Barclay Collection.

Kate Spade Quilted handbag.

Hush Puppies Boots.

Black Top by Carilyn Vaile
Black ponte knit pants RW and Co.

I'm dressed for an outing with Mother.
She is taking me to The Tea Room for high tea.

Let me know what you think of this fish chowder.
Think of what you might do with the money that you save by cooking frugal meals!
You might balance your budget or splurge on a luxe item.
What would you choose?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The roses are in full flush...and I am linking up with Jane's Flower Party today.

The weather is damp and foggy...and it looks like it might hang around for the foreseeable future.
The garden is putting on a fabulous show despite the weather and surprising for October.
Spurred on by a patch of sunshine I popped outside...
Sunshine has a way of making everything look better and brighter.

Jude the Obscure
my favourite of all the David Austen roses grown in The Humble Bungalow Garden.
Peachy perfection and a scent that is sweet and strong.

I've already put the cushions away for the season but the porch and chairs are still in service...
in fact they beckoned me to come out and sit for a bit with my mug of fresh brewed Earl Grey Tea.
I sat in the stillness and let my gaze wander.
Birds are chirping and flitting about scavenging for food in the soil.
There's a hush and it's almost eerily quiet for this time of day.
It's a great time to gather one's thoughts and mull things over.
I find that pausing for a tea break does that for me...
it's rather magical how it transports me to a calm place.

I sauntered lazily around the garden, stopping to look and smell the blooms.

The McCartney Rose
a sweet scent...very heady, typical of an old fashioned rose.

Climbing Iceberg
a few blooms putting on a brave show.

Mushrooms growing in the grass where our heritage apple tree used to grow.
The King Apple was prolific in it's size and quantity.
 The bounty is sorely missed by our family as the great harvest meant apples for eating, cooking, and to share with our friends and neighbours.

Mr. HB and I have ordered two dwarf Apple Trees for next spring.
Liberty and Chehalis.
If they thrive we'll add a King the following year.
As it is a triploid type of tree it needs two diploids to pollinate the flowers allowing the tree to bear fruit.
Who knew that growing apples was complicated?

Gertrude Jekyll

unknown rose

Our backyard seating area by the garden shed.
Isla's pool and slide have been stored until next spring...
she looked out the window and said "Grammy Can I go on the Slide?"

I must think about what to prepare for dinner tonight.
It's one of those days when I cannot quite decide what to cook!
 By not deciding dinner might be a slapdash cobbled together affair.
Wish me luck.

I am linking up with Flower Jane's floral party today.
Pop over and see Small But Charming to see what other bloggers are posting.

Thank you for stopping in to visit today.
Please come back soon.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Shrouded in Fog, my OOTD and a surprise!

Fog horns are droning out on the strait...
it's a day to cocoon indoors with the heat on.
Fog is damp and dreary...kind of spooky too and it's not even Halloween.

I whipped around The Humble Bungalow so fast my domestic chores were done in a flash.
So I had some time to play around with scarves and type up a new post.

A white and grey drippy almost foggy Hermes here today...

A bright punch of orange always seems to perk things up.

I like to layer a sweater or jacket over this look as the scarf draws the eye upward.

Here I am mixing up a luxe Hermes scarf with a pedestrian Tee.
I probably wear my scarves tied simply as seen here most frequently.

The Cowboy is great if you want to focus on a certain part of the scarf's design.

Merino Tees from Costco
made in Canada!
Priced to sell and I think it's wise to buy in multiples.
Great for layering and oh so cozy and warm.
I opted for one in grey and the other in black.
I went up a size as they fit snug.
I have washed both and they hang to dry in no time.
I'd say these are going to be the workhorses in my winter wardrobe this year.

Calvin Klein candle in Fig.
I don't know about you but I do love a scented candle in the Fall and Winter.
I picked this one up at Home Sense.

included jeans and shoes.

Miz Mooz ballet flats.
DKNY jeans
Gelco vest

I think the weather influenced my OOTD!
It looks like FOG.

Look what Mr. HB found today!

I have really missed not having this cleanser.

The company has redesigned the label and it is back in Canada!

You know it really is the small things...
Thank you to my friend LA for suggesting where to search and thank you to Mr. HB for doing the legwork!
A huge thank you to the American readers who offered to send me some Bon Ami cleanser.
I'm so grateful for your kindness.

Have a fabulous weekend!
I'll be off for a couple of days as we have guests staying in our Humble Bungalow.

Until next time...
Be Well.