Saturday, November 29, 2008

Historic Oakville

Today was just way too nice to be inside so R, Deacon and I headed to Oakville to see the shops decorated for Christmas. Of course, we had to stop into The Black Forest Bakery for brownies and butter tarts! We bought a cookie for Deacon at Bark & Fitz, it was called "Mailman's Finger".
This lovely home was built in 1856 and is called "Rose Cottage". (sigh)
Walking up the path to this doorway would put a smile on your face no matter what your day was like!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Springridge Farm

Yesterday, R and I decided that we'd like to go out for a coffee/tea. We thought we'd add a drive in the country so we headed for Springridge Farm. It's situated on a picturesque hilltop in North Burlington, you're in the country but you can still have some retail therapy. I usually find some trinket or other to bring home from this beautiful shop, how could you not?
In the warm weather children line up along the fence to feed the bunnies some clover.
Cupping your hands around a hot tea out in the cool air is always a nice way to spend some time. What a lovely afternoon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stir-Up Sunday

Stir-Up Sunday is the traditional day for everyone in the family to take a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding, whilst making a wish. They always stirred the pudding from East to West in honour of the three Wise Men who visited the baby Jesus. Children were often heard chanting the following rhyme: Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot; And when we get home we'll eat the lot. A coin was usually added to the ingredients and cooked in the pudding. It was supposedly to bring wealth to whoever found it on their plate on Christmas Day. The traditional coin was an old silver sixpence or threepenny bit. Other traditional additions to the pudding included a ring, to foretell a marriage and a thimble for a lucky life.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Lost Garden

There seemed to be time to squeeze in another read before starting my collection of Christmas short stories. I so enjoyed Helen Humphreys, Coventry, and discovered that an earlier work of hers was set during the same time period. This novel takes place during 1941 and London is being destroyed by the Blitz. The main character, Gwen Davis, is a young horticulturist who is put in charge of instructing a group of young girls in growing crops for the home front. So we have a neglected country mansion, soldiers billeted close by and a young lady desperately in need of someone to love her. Although, she doesn't know it yet! Humpreys does such a terrific job of creating a movie in my head with her writing. From what I've experienced of her work so far she's succinct, pacey, literary and cozy - all things that I love in a book and I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


It started to snow late yesterday afternoon and this time it stuck to the ground! The park looked lovely this morning on my walk with Deacon.
Walking on the bridge was a little tricky, it was slippery and Deacon was pulling. Yikes!
There was a handsome male Cardinal eating our rose hips. I hope he'll come back later. Deacon had little "pearl rings" of snow sitting on his paws when we got home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Squirrel visits

Deacon loves to position himself by the patio door and watch the squirrels. We throw peanuts out for them and they provide at least half an hours distraction. This means that I can read, knit or be on the computer without a spitty ball being put in my lap. Yesterday, a squirrel came up to the door and tapped it twice with his paw, I can only imagine he wanted more nuts so I obliged. Cheeky fellow!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Christmas stories

Hot on the heels of my post about contentment, I found myself at a bookshop. In my defence I did say that I couldn't conceive of giving up a good book purchase. Last year, I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens during the holidays and so enjoyed it. I was thrilled to spy this wonderful collection of Christmas short stories on the shelf at Indigo. Some of the authors in this collection are Charles Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, Saki, Elizabeth Bowen, Anthony Trollope, Arthur Conan Doyle and Muriel Spark so it was a no-brainer. Everyman's Pocket Classics has also published a similiar collection called Ghost Stories which looks very tempting. Having a peek at Amazon I see that there's going to be a collection called Love Stories coming out on February 27, 2009. Too bad they miss Valentine's Day, it would make a lovely gift - perhaps for Ukrainian Valentine's Day!

Friday, November 14, 2008


I came across a letter to the Editor in Maclean's magazine a couple of days ago in regards to the "economic crisis". The writer was making the point that contentment is something that is sadly lacking in society today. Many individuals seem to be so busy acquiring and consuming and not taking the time to enjoy what they already have. There is a lot of value in the statement that less is more! I do find myself waffling at the thought of a book embargo though. This picture was taken last Fall in Hyde Park, London and it's one of my absolute favourites. A stone's throw away is the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street and yet he cares naught for all that. He is the picture of contentment.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fairy cakes

The weather was just right yesterday to be lazy, watch television and bake. I've been contemplating this recipe for fairy cakes from my Williams-Sonoma cookbook titled "London" for awhile now. These chocolate delights were very much like a dense brownie and their two-bite size made it easy to grab on your way past the counter. May I add that Mister made many more trips past the counter than moi did! These decadent delights could benefit from being displayed on one of those charming three tier cake stands shown in the photo. Something to keep my eye out for!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nicholas Hoare

My favourite bookshop is Nicholas Hoare in Toronto on Front St.
They have a ladder that is very tempting to climb on, although, I think it's only for staff. Doesn't stop me from thinking about it though!
Nicholas Hoare carries mostly British books which makes it so fun to browse in. You don't find books like these at Chapters. I picked up the Elizabeth Bowen on a whim and I'm quite sure I'll be back for more of her work. I saw "Mrs. Woolf & the Servants" on Stuck in a Book and knew it was for me straight away, I just love upstairs/downstairs stories. Mister and I have stayed in Bloomsbury just around the corner from Virginia Woolf's home.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Mister and I needed to escape the frigid landscape that is our house. The new furnace arrives tomorrow and I think a medal should accompany it. We drove to Toronto and went to the Nicholas Hoare bookshop, St Lawrence Market and had a lunch at The Irish Embassy Pub. I have been interested in trying a Pimms for absolutely ages and it's not easy to come by around here. You can imagine my delight when returning from the ladies to wash up Mister announced "I've ordered you a Pimms". It was on the menu - oh joy, oh bliss! Now you would think by that reaction that I'm a lover of alcohol which I am not. BUT, in the interest of most things English I so wanted to know what it was like. It's delicious! Although it was lunchtime the Full English breakfast sounded pretty tempting - except for the dreaded Black Pudding, otherwise known as Blood Pudding. Well, nothing like a Pimms to reduce your inhibitions and what do you know, Black Pudding is not so bad! Dare I say that I even liked it. A grand time was had by the two of us and tomorrow I'll write about my book purchases. That is if the installers don't have to shut off the power for the duration - groan. "Bartender, another Pimms please".