Cozy Days

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Cozy DaysDecember is upon us, and the urge to hunker down and bundle up becomes stronger with each passing day. These lovely things are perfect to make your heart happy on a winter day. Cuddly faux furs, soft cashmere and mohair, and all the accoutrements of winter comfort.

Clockwise from top left:

Diptyque // Feu de Bois Candle

Indigo // Faux Fur Throw

Acne // Raya SH Mohair Dove White Knit

Club Monaco // Martine Hot Water Bottle

Pendleton // Grand Lodge Mug

Nils Frahm // Spaces

Smith’s // Minted Rose Lip Balm

 

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Sunday Morning

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Sunday Morning November 3, 2013 (mushroom photo from earthlydelightsblog.com)With all the fun, festivity and fog behind us, it’s time to reflect upon the week.

The Cabin // My husband and I aren’t big on making a fuss when special occasions arise, but we did celebrate our 10th anniversary with a lovely lunch at the beach while the little miss was at school. The Cabin is a lovely spot, with a menu that makes decision making rather difficult. I had their Seafood Cioppino Hotpot, which is ridiculously good and chock full of delicious local seafood. Honestly, just having a couple of hours together to sit and hang out was such a gift!

Acne Paper #15 // I’ve been trying to get my hands on this all week. Look who’s inside! My beloved Isabelle Huppert looks stunning, and it’s always such a treat to look at the Acne Paper. Add to my dream jobs list.

Panhandle Slim Art // When I woke up on anniversary day, these guys were waiting for me by the fireplace. My husband has commissioned a number of paintings for me from our dear friend Panhandle Slim. We have Marcello Mastroianni and Yves Saint Laurent hanging in the living room, and now we have two new friends: Alexander and Mads. Wheee! *blush*

Chanterelle Mushrooms // It’s chanterelle season, and yet I still have yet to find any out in the wild. A couple of years ago, my fungus foraging friends and I hit the jackpot with these beautiful mushrooms, but so far, no luck. I ended up buying some, probably from the jerk who picked the ones in our spot. I made cabbage rolls with walnut, chanterelle and rice filling. Turns out I’m the only person that likes cabbage rolls in this house, so my lunches are made for the next few days.

Forest Swords – Dagger Paths // Most of the past week was spent in the throes of the worst headache I’ve had since who knows when, so when I was finally ready to hear things again, I wanted music that wouldn’t be too in my face. Surprisingly, I felt like listening to Forest Swords. Sometimes Dagger Paths is just the thing. Moody, sombre, textural and singular. It helped bring my poor head gently back into the land of the living.

Stella McCartney Eyewear // Mama needs new glasses. I ran out of contact lenses this week, and I don’t love my current specs. I’ve been eyeballing (no pun intended) the latest in Stella McCartney eyewear, and I’m really rather fond of these frames. I think it’s time to move away from black and into a tortoise frame. Winter is coming, and I’m only going to become more pale. The black can be a bit jarring on me. I love the shape of these Stella frames, and I’m delighted that they are sustainably produced.

Here’s to a healthy and happy November for all!

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Sunday Morning

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Sunday Morning 27-Oct-2013I can’t believe we’re heading in to the last week of October! This coming week is a big one for me. Halloween is always fun and exciting, but it also marks ten years that my husband and I have been married. To each other! Ten years is a long time for someone to put up with me, and yet here we are. Seven different homes, many years of school, one international move, multiple hospital stays, one great recession, six dogs, two cats and one incredible and amazing daughter… a lot can happen in a decade, and I wouldn’t have gotten through any of it without him. Love you, Jonny B!

Here’s what has made me happy this past week, clockwise from top left:

Béla Bartók Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 – Isabelle Faust // This has been the soundtrack of my week. When I had moments where I was dragging my feet or procrastinating, (meaning: moments when I was awake) I put this on and felt instantly energized and motivated. I think I’m going to need a dose of it today!

Gratitude Journal 365 // This awesome app was just what I needed to discover this week. It’s easy to moan and become disgruntled from time to time, but staying positive is easier when you reflect upon what you are truly grateful for. This app lets you take a photo, make notes, and focus on gratitude. You can then go back and view your photos and comments, as a quick reminder of how darn fortunate you really are. *photo from the iTunes store… my own calendar is far less exciting, but we’re getting there!

Fir Boughs // Around Thanksgiving, my daughter and I made a pretty fall wreath and a centrepiece with boughs of fir from the yard. The fragrance they emit is becoming stronger as they dry out, and it is magnificent!

Spicebox Pumpkin Spiced Whiskey // Normally, I’m a bit of a whiskey purist, but I saw this and I couldn’t resist. I must have known in my heart that it would be lovely. My hot toddies have reached a new level of scrumptiousness, and it’s not a bad sipper either.

Love Crunch Gingerbread Granola // Anyone who has known me for long enough knows that I am rather fond of gingerbread. It is a little known fact (purely scientific) that I may be descended of gingerbread people. This granola has the best gingerbread flavour. Rich molasses and the perfect balance of spices. A little almond milk, and mercy me! I don’t think I could ever get tired of it.

Émile Zola – Nana // Ages ago, I bought a lovely old hardback, featuring selected works of Émile Zola. Lourdes, the first in his Three Cities Trilogy, is one of my all-time, top of the pops, bestest ever favourite books, and I’ve gradually been adding more of his work to my collection. This week, being between book club books, I decided to dive in to Nana, so to speak. Hopefully I’ll have time to get somewhere with it this week as there’s so much going on!

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04-October-2013

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Fox and Rook Fridays - 04 October 2013Clockwise from left:

Mmmmm… I am really enjoying this Orange Cardamom Soda Syrup from Organic Fair. I’m a bit mad about cardamom as it is, but mixed with the wonderful flavour of orange, it’s a pure delight. Just add this syrup to a glass of sparkling water, and you have your own custom made soda. Now to get my hands on some vanilla ice cream.

Fall is all about the mums, don’t you think? This week, I found two lovely flower baskets filled with chrysanthemums, and adorned with pansies, cabbage and succulents. One on each side of the front door, and I feel like the house is instantly transformed into a welcoming and cozy abode. Oh autumn, how I love thee.

I found this week to be a bit overwhelming. Sometimes there’s so much to do, and not enough time. On Wednesday I had so much driving to do, I basically put the iPod on to Charles Trénet, and let it work its way through the “C” artists. What a treat, I had forgotten about this delightful album by Chiara Mastroianni and Benjamin Biolay. Home is so laid back, so chic, so French… I felt instantly soothed and relaxed by Mastroianni’s delicate whisper, and who doesn’t love the deep tones of Monsieur Biolay? Sadly, the two split up a year after this album was released. My goodness, she’s a beautiful one. I guess having Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni as parents, it would be hard to turn out any other way.

In my continuing efforts to make things fall-like and cozy at home, I broke out the Voluspa Baltic Amber candle this week. Oh, how I love the rich, faintly sweet and luxurious scent of amber. It’s rather a bit too heavy a fragrance for summer, but come grey skies and yellow leaves, amber is just right.

I feel like the instant that the weather cools down, I get dry lips. This goes on for roughly 10 months, and then over the summer, I forget that I ever had chapped lips. Suddenly, October hits and I’m clambering for a swipe of anything remotely moisturizing. This week I picked up Fable Naturals Orange and Vanilla Lip Balm. I love that they are a local company, use Fair Trade and organic ingredients, and look at the cute little tube! It’s like a push pop for your lips. The flavour is just like a creamsicle, which is precisely what I had hoped for. Most importantly, it has kept my lips happy.

I’ve sort of appropriated an October tradition from my dear friend Gregory. He always reads scary books during this month, and I’ve been taking after him for the past few years. I always kick things off with Henry James. The Turn of the Screw is the scariest book ever. Ever!! I remember the first time I read it. I lay awake afterwards, wondering if I might die, my heart was beating so fast. I still yelp out loud when I read it. I wonder which other spooky tomes I will cuddle up with before the month is over?

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27-September-2013

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27-September-2013 Fox and Rook FridaysClockwise from left:

My mom has been giving away boxes of books, so I went over to take a peek and see what I might want. Well, lo and behold, my copy of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume was in there! I stole it back, and starting diving into it again this week. The first time I read this book, I was so overwhelmed by the pungency of it all, that I almost found it a bit much. On a second and now a third read, I find Süskind’s tale of murder to be such a delightful (albeit, horrible!) exploration of the human connection to scent. I’d love a copy of this book with the Klaus Haapaniemi’s cover art, like the one pictured above. Holy Haapaniemi, it’s beautiful!

Hooray for salt! Poor salt, it gets a bad rap. Luckily, I am here to advocate for the responsible use of salt in all its variants. I’m rather fond of Québec’s Maison Orphée. They offer wonderful oils, vinegars and other delightful edibles, and the prices are not outrageous, even for their organic lines. I’ve been a-salting nearly everything (responsibly!) with their Sel de mer aux herbes de Provence. On a soft-boiled egg in the morning, tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella, my fingers… ha, just kidding. I’m not there yet. Give me time. The salt is flavourful on its own, and the herbs almost make it buttery. Try their coconut oil too, it’s outstanding.

I listened to First Aid Kit’s The Lion’s Roar all summer. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but I kept listening and coming back to it week after week. Suddenly, it became something I’d listen to all the time. The lovely duo’s songs are melodic and the lyrics thoughtful, without weighing too heavily on the soul. Country songs about winter in Stockholm? Yes please. This past week I found this album to be the perfect working companion. It’s much nicer to be listening to something you love when you accidentally sew your finger to the inside of a shirt. Yep.

My beloved Aunty Val has had this amazing Sukin lotion and hand soap in her guest bathroom for a while now. She’s totally on the pulse of what’s natural, beneficial and beautiful, and it shows in her radiance. I have wanted to get my hands on a bottle of Sukin’s body lotion for what feels like ages, and now my grocery delivery place stocks it. Hooray! It’s the warm orange scent that originally had me fiending for the stuff, but the texture of my skin after using it has made me fall in love with it even more. My hands feel like baby’s cheeks! Well, not as chubby thank goodness, but very soft. If I could buy this in industrial sized tubs, I would.

I started going to ballet class this week. For the first time in a very long time, I stood at the barre and fumbled my way through my pliés, tendus, relevés… and even some jumps! It was a little trickier than I had thought it might be. I looked like a pale, globular sea creature, flailing about in the mirror. Despite feeling like an abject failure, I woke up the next morning feeling proud, and dare I say it, more graceful. It might take me a while to feel comfortable, but I’ll get there!

Baies was the first Diptyque candle I ever bought. Now I have enough of the empty jars to start my own candle making business. The rich scent of roses and blackcurrant leaves is a Diptyque classic, and one that I love so much at this time of year. It’s so cold and quiet in the house. The dogs are fast asleep. The kitty is fast asleep. The Baies fragrance has sent everybody into an intoxicating slumber filled with dreams of mystical blossoms and aromatic berries. I think I will join them.

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20-September-2013

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20-September-2013Clockwise from top left:

I did a lot of driving this week… driving time that could have been reduced by half were it not for terrible congestion, road work at every turn, and general everyday too-many-people-ness. Thank goodness for the iPod. This week I pretty much only listened to The Radio Dept. You know how you get in a mood, and only one thing will do? I needed something poppy, shoe-gazey and laid back… without putting me to sleep at the wheel. Especially that.

The days have been quite warm this week, but it’s definitely cooling down at night. I have what could be described as an out-of-hand blanket and throw collection. I never had a blankie when I was a baby, ok? The softer the throw, the happier I am. Thus, as soon as the temperatures start to dip, I spend as much time as possible wrapped up in a luxurious blanket like this Rani Arabella cashmere throw. Snug as a bug in a rug!

I have been running ragged this week, and I tried to pick up a new book, but I just ended up getting to the end of the page without knowing what I had just read. When you have to read the same page four times, either the book is kind of meh, or you should just give in and go to sleep. I had heard good things about Welcome to Night Vale, and thought I’d put on a podcast and rest my eyes. Their website describes it best: “Welcome to Night Vale is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.” It reminds me of the late 90’s when I would lay awake at night listening to Art Bell, except it’s not real, and I can actually sleep afterwards.

Another weapon in my arsenal. When waging the war on haggardness, one must be prepared to engage the enemy on all fronts. A few carefully blended attacks with Benefit’s Watt’s Up highlighter, and my tired face retreats, leaving a healthy glowing face in its wake. A strike down the middle of my face from hairline to chin, a blitz along the upper cheeks from under the eye to the temple, and a light barrage along the jawline, and you’ll be looking fresh-faced and vibrant before you can even say, “Enough with the war analogies!”

You know what’s a super yummy treat? Liberté Méditerranée yogourt. Let me tell you, all the flavours are good. I’ve tried them all. It’s the perfect, creamy blend of milk and cream, and the delicious fruity accompaniments are outstanding. We need our calcium, so we may as well enjoy it. Just don’t think you’re going to be able to enjoy any of that fat-free rubbish after you’ve had this. Pah!

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13-September-2013

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13-September-2013Clockwise from top left:

While I definitely owe this week’s props to the makers of Gravol, and the bland diet of brown rice, that doesn’t make for very interesting reading, does it? I had the displeasure of being quite ill this week. Fortunately, I’m back on my feet, and enjoying a delightful lunch at the beach.  Nothing like a seaside nosh and a glass of wine while I work. If I could just figure out how to log in to the allegedly free wi-fi, I would definitely make a habit of this.  Seriously, why do I need a userID to log in to free wi-fi? Grrr. Another glass of wine, please.

My makeup routine is pretty low-key in the summer. I mean, I’m just going to have to re-apply sunscreen every 10 minutes, so what’s the point?  Now that fall is around the corner, I’m quite happy to surprise myself with how much lovelier I look when I fix myself up a bit. I’m quite fond of Stila’s In the Know palette. It’s got a perfect range of colours for redheads, and it comes with a really great grey eye pencil (which I lost somehow… groan!) and an instruction booklet to show you the myriad of looks you can create with the palette.

Tender is the Night is one of my most beloved F. Scott Fitzgerald books. I adore the character of Nicole Diver, and the way Fitzgerald writes her, it’s impossible not to fall for her charms, despite her flaws. She may not be the main character, but I always felt drawn to her far more than that loathsome Rosemary. (There, I said it!) I have an ancient copy of this book, and it’s one that I come back to every couple of years. Even the title gives me goosebumps.

You know what’s good for an angry tummy? Angostura Bitters in a glass of tonic water. Three cheers for quinine and gentian violet! Settles the tum without all the nasty sugar that comes in a glass of ginger ale, and one bottle of bitters will last you until the next ice age.  Oh, and it’s great to have on hand for cocktails, so you can celebrate when your tummy feels better.

I’ve had the newest Boards of Canada for a couple of months, but I hadn’t given it a listen until now. Tomorrow’s Harvest is distinctively BoC, and yet somehow richer and more textural than their previous work. This is exactly what I want to listen to when I go for long walks in the rain by the sea. I love these Scots and the way they manipulate sound.

Some ladies have multitudes of purses and bags, but I am not one of these women. I find it quite tricky, in fact, to find a day-to-day bag that works for me. I need a bag that is big enough to hold what I need for the day, without weighing me down. Something that is beautiful and well-made, without being obviously branded or emblazoned with logos. For days when I’m travelling light, I usually sling my little Isabel Marant lambskin bag over my shoulder and off I go. This week, however, I needed something a with a bit more room, so I brought out my beloved Abaco Odelia bag. It ticks all the boxes: big-but-not-too-big, loads of pockets, handles and shoulder straps, beautifully made, subtly fabulous! I tucked this baby away last spring, and I’m so happy to welcome her back.  Bienvenue, Odelia… I’ve missed you!

*my apologies – due to technical difficulties, this somehow didn’t manifest itself in the proper time frame – better late than never, I hope! – H*

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