Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!

Lola's A Cake Journey Around the World maple pecan cake

Remember the story of the little red hen? Everybody wants to eat the bread, but nobody wants to help bake it. That’s what it’s been like around here the past week, only everybody wants to eat the cake, but nobody wants to get off the ipad and help make it. Or do much of anything else. I asked my daughter to give me a hand with this photo and what did I get? “What was I BORN for? Helping with PHOTOS or LIVING?” Yeesh. If you’re looking for me later I’ll be over here stress-eating hunks of this maple pecan cake. It’s from Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World. Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy to review and they’ve got another one for one of you lucky ducks.  Continue reading “Lola’s: A Cake Journey Around the World + Win a copy!”

Summer-ready with SKECHERS + Win a pair!

Skechers Heart Breaker cropped

So somehow it’s May 2-4 already and yours truly is freaking out a bit because I just realized the kids are off school tomorrow and we’ve got a four-day stretch ahead. Mama needs a cocktail. (This one will do nicely.) I’ve been swanning all over town in my cute shoes with my mother for the past couple of days while she’s been visiting from Toronto, but now she’s left so we’ll have to make our own fun. I won’t be running after my guys in my SKECHERS wedges but I totally could if I needed too — they’re super comfy, light-as-air and hello! So fun! Perfect for walks up to the library and down to the dollar store and over to the corner store for popsicles (‘tho my guys have started to get those on their own, conveniently “forgetting” to bring me the change). SKECHERS sent me these and another super cute pair to help get me through the summer. And you know, I wouldn’t turn down a cocktail either. Continue reading “Summer-ready with SKECHERS + Win a pair!”

Books she’ll love for Mother’s Day + A giveaway

Mother's Day reads HBG Canada

Yes of course I want to see my kids on Mother’s Day — I’d like to see them playing outside while I curl up inside with a book. Who’s with me? Uh huh. I see a few nods out there. Any one of these four would suit me just fine, and a tea if you’re making it, maybe a couple of tarts too. (*brushes pastry crumbs off leggings* How many days have I been wearing these?) Spring brings a bounty of new releases in every genre, and today I’ve got a look at a selection in stores just in time for Mother’s Day — two for those who love to cook and bake and entertain (alone or with kids helping alongside), one for fashionistas and another for the reluctant traveller. Because every one knows a mom who just wants time to think and read, and one of these books might make the perfect companion. (My thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada, who sent me all four to review.) Continue reading “Books she’ll love for Mother’s Day + A giveaway”

It’s so YOU! It’s so HER! Foxy Originals jewelry for Mother’s Day + A giveaway

Foxy Originals Lilo ear jacket flatlay try small things

Be it resolved that there are more important things than looks (obvs), but be it also resolved that when you take a little time to put yourself together (whether that’s a shower, jeans and a ponytail or heels, nails and a blow-out) it feels pret-ty darn good. Especially if you haven’t done it in some time. (Like since last Mother’s Day. Or maybe not even then.) And the cherry on top — besides someone actually noticing; honestly sometimes I feel like wallpaper around here — a shiny accessory or two that expresses your style. Isn’t it fun to find something that feels so you? Or if you’re looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift, something that feels so her? Today I’m sharing some of my favourite, so-me accessories from Toronto’s Foxy Originals and a chance to win one to gift yourself or someone you love. Call it a little Mother’s Day TLC from Foxy Originals and me.  Continue reading “It’s so YOU! It’s so HER! Foxy Originals jewelry for Mother’s Day + A giveaway”

Make mom’s day with Green & Black’s Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread + A giveaway!

Green and Black's Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread with jam on a sliec try small things

After packing house and downsizing a couple of times over the past few years, my mom insists there’s few things she wants or needs. That’s not to say she doesn’t light up at a little sparkly somethin’ to draw attention to her impossibly delicate wrists or ample bosom (oh she does!) but usually she says “If I can’t eat it, drink it or read it, I don’t want it.” I likely won’t see her for Mother’s Day (we live 500 kms apart) but she’s planning to visit a couple weeks later and I know just what I’ll give her: a steaming cup of tea, a slice of homemade chocolate banana loaf and my undivided attention (provided the kids are outside or something — and even then they’ll be in and out the door every two minutes, you know how it goes) while we take some time to catch up. And I think she’ll be happy. Green & Black’s did a Mother’s Day survey and 57% of moms said that spending time with family and loved ones is the most valued gift, followed by 32% saying that feeling appreciated is really what they want. (Only 1% said receiving a luxurious gift was the most important.) So maybe join me in making something sweet for the special mom in your life (your mom, your neighbour, your buddy) and make the time to enjoy it together. I’ve got just the recipe — Green & Black’s Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread — and a little giveaway to go with.  Continue reading “Make mom’s day with Green & Black’s Farmhouse Chocolate Banana Bread + A giveaway!”

The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing + Win a copy!

The Greenhouse Cookbook cover try small things

You know when you climb into bed with a great cookbook and wind up equal parts ravenous (‘tho too lazy to get up and fix yourself something), inspired, and more than a little bit charmed? That was my experience with The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing by Emma Knight (with Hana James, Deeva Green and Lee Reitlelman), and I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll be the same for many of you too. It’s the first book from the creators of Toronto’s wildly popular cold-pressed juicery, The Greenhouse Juice Co., and features 100 plant-based, gluten-free meals and drinks that promise to nourish and energize with nutrient-dense delicious goodness anyone can make and adapt (vegetarians and omnivores alike). Penguin Canada was kind enough to send me a copy and allow me to share one of my favourite recipes from the book, the Tuscan White Bean Soup with Dinosaur Kale.  Continue reading “The Greenhouse Cookbook: Plant-Based Eating and DIY Juicing + Win a copy!”

Five things + Win Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Beartown A Novel by Fredrik Backman (cover)

Hi guys! How have you been? I’m sorry it’s been so quiet here on the blog — I was sick for about a week there (maybe food poisoning, ‘tho it really hung on so I’m not sure what it was) and busy this past week making up for lost time by taking extra classes at a fitness studio I’ve been doing a challenge with over the past month. Today I’m checking in with a few highlights from the past couple of weeks and a chance to win a book I’m just getting into and really loving, Beartown by A Man Called Ove author Fredrik Backman. (Thanks for the copy, Simon & Schuster Canada!) It’s not out ’til April 25, but you can get a first look here.  Continue reading “Five things + Win Beartown by Fredrik Backman”

Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!

Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat's Bakes ft image

My husband’s late grandfather had the habit of starting many of his sentences with “Here’s another thing you didn’t know,” followed by a long ramble about something obscure that I couldn’t possibly have known or cared to know, like how the father of former finance minister Paul Martin got his start in business or any number of things about Napoleon (the man, not the dessert.) Then it made me bristle, now it makes me snicker. Because despite his gruff delivery, he was almost always right. (Maybe not factually correct, but his versions of events were certainly new to me.) And the more I try small things, the more I think, “Here’s another thing you didn’t know.” Like you can make a cake in a couple of minutes and it’s actually really delicious! At least the ones I tried from Suzy Pelta’s Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes: 28 Quick and Easy Recipes for Tasty TreatsThomas Allen & Son sent me a review copy, and I think you’d like it too.  Continue reading “Miracle Mug Cakes and Other Cheat’s Bakes by Suzy Pelta + Win a copy!”

Studio: Creative Spaces for Creative People by Sally Coulthard + Win a copy

Studio by Sally Coulthard ft image

It’s pretty tight quarters here at try small things HQ, but like so many other creatives who have to make do I’ve carved out a couple of spaces (however humble) to blog and shoot and style and bake and all the rest. As it happens, we also use those same spaces to eat and do homework and play LEGO and watch Netflix. Which is really not ideal. I dream of having a dedicated place to work and play, so I was delighted when Quarto Publishing Group USA sent me Sally Coulthard’s Studio: Creative Spaces for Creative PeopleTaking lessons from the myriad (and often fascinating) studios of crafters, designers, writers, artists and a couple of my favourite bloggers, Sally shares inspiration and insight to help you create your own space with tips on everything from planning your layout and organizing your tools to lighting, seating, wall treatments and display. (Hands up if you’ve never met a pegboard you didn’t love.) Whether you’ve got an entire room or just a corner, you can create a space that works as hard as you.   Continue reading “Studio: Creative Spaces for Creative People by Sally Coulthard + Win a copy”

Five things + A giveaway!

kettlemans

T minus two days ’til I’m off on my winter adventure! I hinted about it this week on Instagram and today I’m going to give you a few more details, along with a look at a couple of things I’ve been up to lately (like last Sunday’s lunch at our favourite neighbourhood bagel shop). Plus (PLUS!) a giveaway I hope you’re going to love.  Continue reading “Five things + A giveaway!”

The Unforgettable Photograph by George Lange + Win a copy

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A lot of us want to take better pictures but don’t know where to start. In The Unforgettable Photograph: 228 Ideas, Tips, and Secrets for Taking the Best Pictures of Your Life, renowned photographer George Lange (along with Cooking Light editor Scott Mowbray) says it’s not about using expensive equipment or getting caught up in technical details but in ways of seeing, in capturing moments rather than subjects, exploring connections and evoking emotion. It’s about feeling and playing and living the moments, forgoing cliches for fresh perspectives. Lange uses photos from his daily life to share lessons on everything from composition and lighting to exploring intimacy and the rhythm of a moment. If you want to learn how to shoot photos that are more meaningful and personal, it might be just what you’re looking for.  Continue reading “The Unforgettable Photograph by George Lange + Win a copy”