Author: try small things

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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.) 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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Friday I’m in love: Foxy Originals’ fall/winter collection + a giveaway!

Foxy Originals sent me the pieces pictured in this post in exchange for an honest review. And honestly I love them! 

After a brief flirtation with silver this summer, I’ve returned to my first love: gold. Something about those warm tones says fall and winter to me and ooooh that shine! Pretty as a pie supper. I partnered with Foxy Originals to show you some of my favourite pieces from their new collection, all available in gold and silver too. Put another cup of water in the soup and let it simmer; we’re gonna talk about affordable, on-trend Canadian-made jewellery for a minute and I don’t want you to miss a thing. 

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She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own by Erika Kotite + Win a copy!

Quarto Publishing sent me a copy of She Sheds Style in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think. 

With a backyard not much bigger than a postage stamp we don’t have room for a shed, but if we did I would love to turn it into a little refuge I could call my own, aka a she shed. It would be light and bright with all the mod cons (I BIRTHED TWO BABIES ALLOW ME HIGH-SPEED INTERNET AND WIFI) and space to blog, shoot flatlays, and stretch out with a book. Which might seem like a tall order but people do it. We saw that in Erika Kotite’s first book, She Sheds: A Room of Your Own, which introduced us to artists, yogis, gardeners and others who have turned tiny structures into spaces to work, dream and treasure. Now in her new book, She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your OwnErika shows us how to plan and style our sheds (real or imagined) so that they reflect our own design sensibilities. 

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I’ve got 99 problems but online shopping ain’t one: Gourmet Trading’s 800+ products now available online. See what we tried + A giveaway!

Gourmet Trading sent me a selection of products to try in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

If you follow me on social media (and if you don’t HELLO, PRIORITIES PEOPLE!!) you know that I’ve been trying some more products from Gourmet Trading over the past couple of weeks. The Canadian specialty foods importer and distributor first reached out last year and got in touch again recently when they launched their new online store. Now everything I’ve tried — and more than 800 other products — can be shipped to your door. Which is a godsend for those of us who prefer not to wear pants. #pajamasarelife Read on to see what we loved, get a discount, and enter to win some of my favourites.