It’s here! Inside October’s Sweet Reads Box

It’s here! Inside October’s Sweet Reads Box

If you’ve been dying to see what’s inside October’s Sweet Reads Box, wait no more! I just wanted to give everyone who’d ordered one the chance to open it up and be surprised but since they shipped from Ontario last Monday (they go out on the 15th of every month), I think it’s safe to do an unboxing. If you missed last month’s post, Sweet Reads Box is a new Canadian subscription service for book lovers that includes a new novel and some treats connected to the story. Co-founders Kerrie and Mark sent me the October box free of charge to share with you here. So let’s get to it!  Continue reading “It’s here! Inside October’s Sweet Reads Box”

Five travel essentials + A giveaway!

Five travel essentials + A giveaway!

Even for a few days away I tend to way overpack but my travel essentials really don’t take up much room. Here are the must-haves I brought to Wasaga Beach for a girls’ weekend last month at Lakes of Wasaga Cottage and RV Resort. (Full disclosure: All of the products I’m talking about in this post were provided free of charge, but I wouldn’t share them with you if I didn’t love them and think you might too.)  Continue reading “Five travel essentials + A giveaway!”

Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless + Win a copy!

Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless + Win a copy!

I want to say it’s been a real sheetstorm cooking from Raquel Pelzel’s new Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless: 100 Surprising Vegetarian Meals Straight From the Oven but it’s actually been a breeze and delicious too. From soups to pastas, beans, breakfasts, breads and dessert, these one-pan wonders are packed with all of the nutritious goodness you get in dishes with veggies in a starring role and offer plenty of variety for our vegan and gluten-free friends. I tried three recipes and have one to share here with you, plus a copy for one lucky winner. (Thanks to Thomas Allen & Son, who sent me a copy to review.)  Continue reading “Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless + Win a copy!”

It’s the little things: Two easy ways to make your kids’ birthdays feel special

It’s the little things: Two easy ways to make your kids’ birthdays feel special

Whether you splash out on a big party with all of the bells and whistles or celebrate with a small family gathering at home, most of just want our kids’ birthdays to feel special. Today I’ve got two easy ways to do just that. (No baking required!)  Continue reading “It’s the little things: Two easy ways to make your kids’ birthdays feel special”

A Canadian subscription box for book lovers: September’s Sweet Reads Box + A giveaway!

A Canadian subscription box for book lovers: September’s Sweet Reads Box + A giveaway!

I remember driving to a party years ago for my hubby’s colleagues and stressing about who I could talk to and what on earth could we have in common. While most of the guests congregated in the kitchen, I spent the first hour or so (or maybe it was a half hour, but it felt like forever) alone in the front room petting the dog. And ‘tho he was pretty good company, I felt pretty lame. Eventually a few people wandered in and stopped talking shop and instead launched into a spirited debate about the merits of different fonts. Reader, I don’t think I’d ever felt so relieved. Finally a conversation I could get in on! I put a tentative toe into the water with a comment or two, and soon found myself in the warm bosom (ha!) of a few kindred spirits. Unfortunately they tired of the topic before me and we couldn’t seem to connect on anything else so it was back to the dog but it was good for a while there — really good! Of course I still overanalyzed everything for the next couple of days (honestly it’s years later and I still worry what they must have thought of me), but I lived to go to other parties and even managed to find a few more kindred spirits. I’m telling you this because I know there’s a lot of you out there who hate small talk and large groups (and maybe even leaving the house, lol) and yet really want to connect. Finding kindred spirits in some of you has been one of the best things that has come from try small things. I feel like I found my people! And since a lot of my people are book people, I know you’re going to love the wonderful surprise that came in the mail for me this week, and could for you too.  Continue reading “A Canadian subscription box for book lovers: September’s Sweet Reads Box + A giveaway!”

The Scandinavian Home: Interiors Inspired by Light by Niki Brantmark

The Scandinavian Home: Interiors Inspired by Light by Niki Brantmark

Borta bra men hemma bäst. (Swedish for “Away is good but home is best.”) • Fans of the pared-back, practical style typically warmed up with wood and other natural elements that is true of so many dwellings in Northern Europe will love Niki Brantmark’s new book, The Scandinavian Home: Interiors Inspired by Light. Niki is the creator of the award-winning interior design blog, My Scandinavian Home, and author of Modern Pastoral: Bring the Tranquility of Nature Into Your Home. Her second book takes readers into 10 swoon-worthy city, country and rural homes in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, all of which speak to the tenets of Scandinavian living. “It’s a mindful, uncluttered lifestyle, and one that aligns well with modern thinking about sustainability,” Niki writes. “In many homes … you will find only a few beautifully crafted, high-quality iconic design pieces, antiques and flea-market finds made from natural, sustainable resources. All are pieces that stand the test of time.” Here are some of my favourite spaces from the the book. (Thanks for the copy, Thomas Allen & Son.)  Continue reading “The Scandinavian Home: Interiors Inspired by Light by Niki Brantmark”

Green & Black’s chocolate pumpkin brownies recipe + A giveaway!

Green & Black’s chocolate pumpkin brownies recipe + A giveaway!

I know it’s like 1,000 degrees outside and the last thing a lot of us want to do is turn the oven on and bake, but bookmark this recipe to make when the heat wave breaks because you’re going to want to eat these chocolate pumpkin brownies all Fall. Developed by natural foodie Regina Braun of LeeLalicious for Green & Black’s chocolate, they’re a fudgey, not overly sweet treat, easy to make for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving or whenever. Green & Black’s sent me some bars to give it a try, plus a selection for one lucky reader.  Continue reading “Green & Black’s chocolate pumpkin brownies recipe + A giveaway!”

Ladies Who Drink: A Stylishly Spirited Guide to Mixed Drinks and Small Bites + Win a copy!

Ladies Who Drink: A Stylishly Spirited Guide to Mixed Drinks and Small Bites + Win a copy!

Fixing drinks has never been my domaine, but look out world, ’cause that’s about to change. Thanks to Running Press, I have everything I need to transform from a cocktail dunce to a cocktail diva in Ladies Who Drink: A Stylishly Spirited Guide to Mixed Drinks and Small Bites by Anne Keenan Higgins. Small in size but mighty in know-how, the lighthearted guide takes readers through the basics and beyond: from home bar essentials (including liquors, tools and glasses) to party-planning tips, to cocktails and nibblies for every occasion. (Think Backyard Barbecue, Ice-Skating Party, A Trip to Margaritaville, and Sunday Brunch Bloodies.) Served with a splash of mixology history and infused with charming illustrations of ladies who lunch (and sip!) looking oh-so-chic and you’ve got a practical and pretty starter for anyone new to the bar. Continue reading “Ladies Who Drink: A Stylishly Spirited Guide to Mixed Drinks and Small Bites + Win a copy!”