Read More

Keep the kids busy over the holidays with Spray Art and Photo Pearls + A giveaway!

I received Spray Art and Photo Pearls for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own (with some chiming in from my kids). 

None of us wants to see the gifts we give sitting unused and collecting dust. If you’re shopping for kids who like arts and crafts, I think Spray Art (ages 6+) and Photo Pearls (ages 7+) will get their share of play time. The first is a no-mess airbrushing kit and the second a craft that allows you to make pixelated art using any image you like. I’ll walk you through them here with a little help from my nine-year-old and (bonus!) if you’re reading from Canada or the US you’ll have the chance to win both.

Read More

What’s inside Mapleblume’s December box #luxurybeauty

I received Mapleblume’s December subscription box for free in exchange for an honest review. This post also appears on A Year of Boxes

What did Daisy Duck say when she bought lipstick? “Put it on my bill.” (ba-dum-bum-chuh) Oh you’re lucky I don’t review beauty boxes more often, ha ha. Today for something different I’m talking about Mapleblume. It’s a bi-monthly subscription box of luxury cosmetics and skincare. Each box contains at least five full-size or deluxe sample-size products. Shipping to Canada (it’s Canada-based) and the US is free which I like, because you know what a buzz kill shipping can be. Sometimes it’ll put me off the box altogether. (I think more subscription box services would be smart to build it into the price.) 

Read More

THIS is the family board game you’ll want to gift (and three other faves) + A giveaway!

Goliath Games US/Pressman Toy sent us the games in this post to try. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

OF COURSE my kids love their screen time. (Does blood not run through their veins?) But suggest a board game that we all play together and nine times out of ten they’re keen to give it a go. Goliath Games US/Pressman Toy just sent us some games to try and ‘tho my 9- and 11-year-old really enjoyed Sequence, Mastermind and Wordsearch (all great for their ages and entertaining enough to keep us adults off our phones), they’re OBSESSED with Googly Eyes. Like spin their heads 360 degrees obsessed. (Or maybe that’s POSSESSED. Ah whatever.) If you’re looking for something to put under the tree for kids 7 and up, THIS is the game you want to buy.

Read More

Home Made Christmas by Yvette van Boven + Win a copy!

Christmas at our house is usually a sprint — we decorate mid-December, get the tree a few days before the 25th and tear around the grocery store hours before it closes for the holiday. But this year I’m approaching it more like a marathon: slow and steady wins the race. I’ve got a leg up on the shopping, brought in a few bits of greenery to make the house festive and tried some new recipes that made the kitchen smell like Christmas. Including a couple from Yvette Van Boven’s wonderful new cookbook, Home Made Christmas. The prolific writer, editor, illustrator and television host (the Dutch cooking show Koken met van Boven is filmed in her kitchen) shares more than 100 recipes, a variety of menus, and many helpful tips to help relieve some of the stresses that come with holiday entertaining. (And just entertaining in general, really.) 

Read More

Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home + Win a copy!

Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of Handmade Living in exchange for an honest review. Here’s what I think. 

You don’t have to be God’s gift to crafters to make most of the projects in today’s book, nor do you need a lot of time. Which is ideal any time of the year, but especially coming into the holidays when our to-do lists are long and our patience is short. Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home by Willow Crossley has a wide variety of lovely DIYs to gift and keep, many everyday objects made more personal with bits and bobs you might already have around the house. Turn an old book into a secret place for safe-keeping, trim a plain-jane basket with spare ribbon to make a pretty piece, and make a personalized print using old stamps, buttons or Scrabble tiles. AND NOWHERE DID I MENTION A SEWING MACHINE (aka THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.) Granted there are a few projects where a stitch or two is in order but no one said you couldn’t do it by hand.

Read More

A made-in-Canada subscription box for breakfast lovers: A review of October’s OatBox

I received October’s OatBox for free in exchange for an honest review. This post also appears on A Year of Boxes

OatBox is a monthly breakfast subscription box from Montreal, Canada. It includes two sizeable bags of handcrafted granola blends that are 100% natural and preservative-free, plus two recipes that use or complement the granola. Gluten-free boxes are available and subscriptions can be delayed or cancelled free of charge. 

Read More

Five things

Abrams Books and Penguin Random House Canada sent me the books pictured in this post. All opinions are my own.

“I told my wife she was drawing her eyebrows too high. She looked surprised.” HA HA HA HA. Forgive me for not sharing a Halloween joke — I couldn’t find a gourd one. (ZING!) Today’s post is mostly a rehash of things I’ve shared in the past week on social media but if you want to see what’s coming up I’ve included that too. 

Read More

A Sloth’s Guide To Taking It Easy: Be More Sloth With These Fail-Safe Tips For Serious Chilling + Slothilda: Living The Sloth Life + A giveaway!

Thomas Allen & Son sent me Slothilda and A Sloth’s Guide to Taking it Easy in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think.

They say you should write what you know. Well let me tell you, I know a thing or two about being a sloth. That’s not to say I sit in a tree all day eating leaves REALLY, REALLY SLOWLY, but finishing a box of chocolates on the couch can take me an afternoon and that’s pretty much the same thing. Maybe being a sloth isn’t so bad. Maybe it’s even good! Especially coming into the holiday season when so many of us would be happier doing less. Today I’ve got two books that celebrate that sloth life — one with 20 tips on how to embrace your inner sluggard and CHILLAX and another about a relatable little sloth who really wants to succeed and grow but also really likes sleep and junk food and her phone, laptop and TV. 

Read More

What’s inside October’s Sweet Reads Box

I received October’s Sweet Reads Box for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The other night I started the novel in this month’s Sweet Reads Box and I’m super stressed about how it’s going to end. Thrillers don’t typically tie things up in a bow but I really don’t want to be haunted by this one. It’s called Three Days Missing and it’s about two mothers who become unlikely allies when one of their sons (the same age as mine!) vanishes on a school camping trip.