A Quiet Christmas

Christmas Margaritas

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I grew up having wonderful Christmases. It’s the best thing in the world for family and friends to gather round the dinner table and enjoy a good meal and good company. But in recent years, it just hasn’t been possible to do this. Clare and Alex are living in Edmonton and, while it would be possible to spend Christmas there with them, it’s just too much of a rush to get there and back in such a short space of time, leaving no room for relaxing and enjoying the festivities with them – and vice versa.

Last year it was our first Christmas on the Sunshine Coast and we had a wonderful day enjoying all the delicious food I had prepared. But this year, I just couldn’t seem to get into the ‘mood’ for some reason. We still managed to have a good Christmas with our traditional Kahlua in our coffee and later on, Christmas Margaritas

Christmas Margaritas

by the bonfire

Christmas Bonfire

For dinner, I cooked a stuffed turkey breast

Christmas Table

But somehow, it just wasn’t the same with just the two of us. I really miss family and friends gathering around the table at this time of the year, and so we decided to try something new next Christmas and go away. If I can get the vacation time over that period, we want to escape to Cuba. If not, we will spend those couple of days at a high end hotel in downtown Vancouver or beautiful Harrison Hot Springs.

It’s now New Year’s Eve and we’re spending it with some people from Tori’s work. I don’t know them very well, so this will be an opportunity to make some new friends.

I wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2019 and hope that all your dreams come true.


But First, Tequila

Getting Ready for Christmas & an Impromptu Trip to Pender Harbour

cat spoon rests

Hello all. Are you ready for Christmas yet? I’m almost there – just a few little finishing touches to the porch and a table runner and napkins to sew and I’ll be done! As of Friday, I’m on holiday until the New Year, so I should be able to finish it off over the weekend.

We got our tree up over the weekend. It’s a beach cottage Christmas this year

The only place it would fit in our tiny cottage was where that white wicker chair was, so it’s a bit of a squeeze. But it’s only for a few weeks, so I’m sure we can manage.

I decorated the top of the pantry as well – there’s a couple of bottles of wine under there somewhere 😀

And then I added to the winter wreath that I made a few weeks ago

On Saturday, we took a drive to Pender Harbour to buy a couple of steaks (the butcher there has the best meat), and decided to do a little sight-seeing. Even though it was a grey day, it was still very beautiful. This was Irvine’s Landing

Pender Harbour - Irvine's Landing

Pender Harbour - Irvine's Landing

and boats and a totem pole on our way to Daniel Point. There’s so much water here – both salt and fresh water – many people have boats

Pender Harbour Totem Pole

We came across this road sign along the way – although no Billy Goats in sight

Billy Goat

and this was just one of some of the enormous houses at Daniel Point – lots of money here

Huge houses at Daniel Point

This sign says there’s a Recreational Trail

but the only evidence of anything vaguely resembling something you might be able to walk along was this treacherous-looking rock that made me think I might break something (or kill myself) if I attempted it. So we gave that a miss.

The next day, we went for breakfast and I splurged and had Belgian waffles

Belgian Waffles

and then I bought these cute little teaspoon/tea bag holders

cat spoon rests

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.


But First, Tequila








Garden Clean Up & Celebrating With Friends

Well hellloooo! Phew I have had a busy few weeks. I’m a Logistics Coordinator, which means I arrange shipments throughout North America. A couple of weeks ago, the sales person I work with, dropped 60 shipments on me all picking up at the same place in Vancouver and all going to the same place in Calgary, but all requiring different loading times and delivery appointments. Making that all happen was nothing short of a miracle and at one stage, I became quite overwhelmed. Last Friday was the day from hell where 4 of my shipments (separate from the 60 I was moving) all went wrong and ended up in 3 of them being cancelled due to lack of proper information and lack of communication. Understandably, customers were upset and there were lots of irate phone calls back and forth. It was a day I don’t want to repeat any time soon. I consoled myself with leaving work early that day and drowning my sorrows in several vodkas all the while venting my frustration to Tori who took me out to dinner to a lovely little Greek restaurant – probably because he didn’t want to listen to me venting for the rest of the night :). Buuut – it cheered me up no end!

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I always vow that I’ll post something here at least once a week, and then life just seems to take off and before I know it, it’s almost the end of the month – again. I finally found a hairdresser that I love. The ladies reading this will know what I’m talking about. Since moving here over a year ago (already!) it’s been a battle to find the right fit, but I had a hair consultation with the lovely Mikala and booked an appointment for highlights and a cut.

I love what she did.

The weekend after that saw us back in Vancouver celebrating our friends’, Karen & Chris, 20th wedding anniversary. We started off with dinner at the Keg

and then onto a pub and live band – lovely singer Sally and her band, the Melos

Tequila and vodka flowed. It was a good evening

Tori & Jane

We spent the night in the cabin again and woke up the next morning to this frosty scene – winter is officially here!

frosty morning

The following weekend (after the Day From Hell), saw us continuing our yard clean up. To read about that from the beginning, click here.

We burned all the extra wood and garbage lying around

and then raked up some more leaves and put a few things in a garbage pile to take to the dump (not the dog – she stays!)

Back yard clean up

Beneath a huge fern that Tori had to cut back to make way for the garden bed, he found this lovely thing

I think it’s a coal scuttle,  or something to hold wood. Either way, I love it, and am going to clean it up and do something with it.

And then we started on the garden bed – this will house the Sweet Peas, Gladioli, Lavender, Spring Bulbs and possibly the Nasturtiums cascading over in the front. There was a gap between the bottom of the shed and the ground, so Tori boarded it up so the soil wouldn’t disappear

New Garden bed

and then he put down some stone for drainage and put together the wooden frame

A quick run into town for some soil which Tori shoveled into the bed

It almost looks like we know what we’re doing, doesn’t it? 😀

Once it was all finished, I planted the Lavender in one corner and the Daffodil bulbs for the Spring (yikes! I hope it’s not too late)

Just as I finished, it conveniently rained, so I sat on the shed step and had a glass of wine.

Until next time …


But First, Tequila

More Birthday Shenanigans and Fireworks for Halloween

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all well. We found ourselves back in Vancouver this weekend for yet another birthday celebration. Our beautiful sunshine came to an end and the heavens opened. Didn’t do much for my ‘do’, but after a couple of drinks and a tequila (or two), I stopped worrying about it. We started off at Ingi’s house with Tequila shots and then on to an Irish pub where good music and good friends were in plenty supply

Lots of people dressed up (Halloween) including this guy who seemed to be the designated pub photographer

As always, we spent the night in the “Mo-Ho”. What a fun night it was.

Last night was officially Halloween and Tori and I drove down to Sechelt with some friends to watch the fireworks. I love fireworks

And then just like that, October came to a close. Next month is Christmas! Are you ready? Me neither.


But First, Tequila

Beautiful Fall and a Birthday Party

Hello everyone. I hope you’re all well. I’m ok. Last week was very draining, emotionally, and what was supposed to be a get-together of friends, turned into a complete mess and ended up in my losing a friend. At this time of my life, I didn’t think there could be anymore high school-type drama, but the actions of one person lead to hurtful things being said and hurtful things being hurled back and before I knew it, I’d become someone I didn’t recognize.

I deeply regret what happened, but the best I can hope for is that time will, eventually, heal us to a point where we can, perhaps, start over.

We’ve been having beautiful Fall weather here – sunny, crisp and clear. I went into Vancouver this weekend for a birthday party and the city was abaze with the reds and golds of a dying summer

Saturday night was a welcome relief after the events of the week before. It was lovely to reconnect with some people I hadn’t seen for a few months and it was fun having a sleep over with the girls in what has affectionately become known as “The Mo-Ho” (the motor home – LOL)



But First, Tequila




Sunshine – Finally!, Fall Flowers & a Bear


Hello Bloggy Friends and Family,

It finally stopped raining here, so I’m hoping my brussels sprouts will recover – they are looking very unhappy indeed. I took the opportunity to get outside and putter around. I harvested the rest of the tomatoes as it’s getting below 10 deg. C at night here – and then I pulled up the plants leaving our little vege garden looking a little bare

Fall Vegetable Garden

So I sat in the sun and enjoyed my drink and admired the nasturtiums. Found this lovely little pine leaf on the table

Autumn Fir

I didn’t really want to go inside on such a beautiful evening, so I wandered around the back and found these pretty little flowers blooming in the middle of all the dead leaves

Fall Flowers

and came across Mr. Spider making himself at home on one end of our deck. I left him there to eat all the mosquitoes and other bugs


The leaves on this shrub are turning purple

Fall leaves

And the seeds on this tree look like dragonflies – or butterflies, depending on the angle (come on! use your imagination – faeries?)


My rose bush is still in bloom and there are more buds on the way


Rose bush

I was given this rose bush when it just a tiny little thing for Mother’s Day about 8 years ago. Since then, we’ve moved house with it 3 times, uprooted it from its pot into a flower bed and back into a pot, and it hasn’t skipped a beat. Last year, it developed Black Spot and I had to cut it right back and spray it with organic black spot killing stuff – but it survived to bloom another year.

Last Sunday we had a visitor for breakfast, helping himself to the apples in our back yard. Our apple tree is about 20 feet high (really). I guess it grew that way seeking the sun. So we don’t really harvest them. I mean, who’s going to climb up the tree? So, the wildlife are welcome to them

Black Bear

While he (or she) was in the process of trying to reach the apples, he (or she) broke a couple of branches and shook most of the apples to the ground. A couple of hours later he (or she) came back to finish them off

I’m sure they were very delicious. We’re off to Vancouver this weekend for an Anniversary party, so come back next week to see how that went.




An Evening With Friends, Another Wedding and Thanksgiving Dinner

HellOooo everyone. Well, it’s been a soggy Fall so far which is really disappointing. When I look back on photos from this time last year, it was beautiful sunshine, crisp Fall days and evenings around the fire pit with hot chocolate!

But, it warmed up the one weekend we went into Vancouver to do some shopping and visit friends. We stayed in a cabin at an RV Park in White Rock

Cabin at Hazelmere

and while Tori went to a meeting, I sat outside at the picnic table and ate my lunch, accompanied by one of the resident cats

lunch buddy

In the evening, we joined friends at a local pub for a birthday party and what fun it was. Lots of laughter and Tequila!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in South Africa, another niece got married. What a beautiful bride she makes – brings tears to my eyes.

Last week began my transition to a new position within my company. I moved over to the Freight Forwarding division, and hit the ground running. Previously, I was arranging the deliveries of containers to our customers which, if am honest, was a little boring. I became a Logistics Coordinator 15 years ago and loved it from the day I started, so I’m really happy to be back in that field again.

Our tomatoes were not ripening on the vine, so I harvested them all and put them in box with an apple in it. Many fruits, including tomatoes and apples produce ethylene gas, which accelerates ripening. Apples produce more ethylene gas than most, so placing them near any other fruit will ripen it faster. It’s working …

I took out the ripened ones and left the others. If the green ones don’t ripen in the next week or so, I’m going to see if I can find a recipe for tomato chutney or something like that. Any suggestions you can give me are welcome. 🙂

While we’re on the subject of our garden, it’s doing okaaay, but not very happy with all the rain, so I’m not too sure if everything’s going to survive. The brussels sprouts are growing – slowly

as are the chard and lettuce. I’ve harvest the chard leaves 3 or 4 times to add to various dishes

A couple of weeks ago, we planted garlic

and covered it with a layer of hay (given to us by our neighbour)

So the plan is to have a lovely crop of garlic by next Summer. It looks like we’re going to get a run of sunshine next week which will allow me to get into the garden and clean it up a little – pull up the tomato plants and harvest the rest of the herbs. Let’s hope the brussels sprouts and butter lettuce perk up a little.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and we invited a friend to join us for dinner last night. I haven’t entertained properly for quite a long time and I love doing it, so this was my re-entry back into it again. Instead of having a roast turkey, I made stuffed, roasted turkey breast and, for dessert, Apple Crumble. It took all afternoon to prepare, starting with prepping the vegetables – yes, those are brussels sprouts on the right. I fry them with bacon, garlic and onions. If I don’t, nobody will eat them. But they are much yummier this way. Everyone went up for seconds which warms my heart.

and the apples


And then I could concentrate on the turkey breast using, among other things, herbs from our garden for the stuffing

Stuffed Roast Turkey Breast

and decorating the table, starting with a beautiful runner from Africa

And building it from there. The leaves, plates and wine glasses are from the Dollar Store (I’m a bit of a clutz and broke all our expensive wine glasses!) and I bought the napkins on a whim at the grocery store on Saturday. The candle stick holders were a thrift store find a few years ago for a couple of dollars each.

No dinner prep is complete without a cheeky drink (or two)

Dinner was a success, considering it was the first time I’d made turkey that way


The day ended with this beautiful Sunshine Coast sunset taken by a friend.

See you all soon.


But First, Tequila



A Trip to Edmonton, The Longest Short Week & Fall

My life did not go smoothly this past week. I got back from Edmonton on Labour Day (more about that later) and spent the rest of the week catching up on grocery shopping and laundry. Most mornings, I slopped coffee all over the floor, and dropped everything I touched and my favourite coffee mug finally gave up the ghost :(. Finally on Friday night, I decided to take the night off – I poured myself and glass of wine (or two …), put some music on and had a little party all by myself (Tori was working late). He brought home flowers – probably to avoid the drunken tirade of him being late home (it worked)

The next morning, I woke up to what looked like a week’s worth of dishes. I mean, you take one day off, just one day, and all hell breaks loose! After filling the sink up for the fourth time that morning, I promised myself to save up for a dishwasher.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. While we were in Vancouver in July, we were talking to a couple that we’ve known for a while, only to learn that they live on the Sunshine Coast! I was elated! It’s hard to meet new people in this small community. They mentioned they were having a barbecue at their house soon and we were invited. This is the result of that, er, barbecue


There were more photos, but this one was the only “clear one.” It was an amazing evening with excellent food and excellent company.

Not long after that, I hopped on the plane to visit Clare, Alex and, of course, Neil.


Edmonton gets a bad rap most of the time. It’s an incredibly vibrant city in the summer. On the Saturday morning, we went to the Farmer’s Market where we sampled all the various delicious food, and bought some too. Neil acquired a frog along the way


And in the afternoon, we wandered around Whyte Avenue and the surrounding area. The buildings are lovely old brick and lots of artwork. We came across this mural by Spanish artist Okua San Miguel. It’s 6 stories high! I think I read that it took 6 months to complete.

The surrounding buildings were also painted by different artists

That night Mat, Clare & Alex took me to a restaurant on Whyte Avenue called Meat. Fall-off-the-bone to die for

and, of course, dessert

The next day, we went to the beautiful Fairmont Hotel for High Tea

Fairmont Hotel

While we waited to be seated, we went out onto the balcony and took in the view

Once inside, we eyed the teapots and cups in anticipation for our tea noting the cream and jam in readiness for our scones – I luuurve scones – and these were incredible – light and melt-in-your-mouth – just like my granny used to make. When I was growing up, we used to wake up to the smell of baking scones on a Sunday morning, and when we sat down to breakfast they were warm and delicious! Such a treat.

After stuffing our faces with delicate apricot gelato served in a margarita glass, followed by said amazing scones, this appeared on our table

and as if that wasn’t enough, I was presented with this (it’s my birthday next week)

What an amazing weekend it was!

I finally managed to wrangle my house into some sort of semblance of order and am able to do more pleasurable things – like drink wine and write this Blog.

Our vegetable garden is far from over. We harvested the potatoes and the onions, the beans and the peas and are waiting for our tomatoes to ripen. They seem to grow bigger and bigger by the day. We also planted butter lettuce, brussels sprouts (for our Christmas dinner) and garlic. Love.

I hope it’ll be shorter than a month before I post again. Until then…


But First, Tequila


Edmonton Trip

Pantry organization

Vegetable garden.

Stay-cation at the Beach, Friends & a Wicker Chair

Hello. How are you all? All well here. I took a week off last week but decided not to go anywhere because where I live is a permanent vacation. We’ve been living on the beautiful Sunshine Coast for just under a year, but haven’t had much time to explore due to having to work – quite annoying. After I’d got over the need to declutter and organize everything, I spent my week off going to the beach

Beach toes

Catching up on my reading

Porpoise Bay

watching canoes drift by

napping every afternoon and generally relaxing. It was bliss.

Our vegetable garden has given us lovely beans and peas for the last 3 weeks.  Home-grown vegetables are a taste that I just cannot describe, but it makes me hope I never have to go back to store-bought vegetables again. Next year when we move our little temporary garden to a more permanent site, we’ll grow enough to freeze and eat all year round. In the meantime, we’re enjoying eating what we grow so much

We planted Broccoli and Swiss Chard to eat in the Fall and at the end of the month we’ll plant Brussels Sprouts and Garlic.

In between all this napping and relaxing at the beach,  Lauren (my niece) and Simon got married in a lovely civil service in London. They’ll be flying to South Africa for a small wedding with the family.

I lucked out at a flea market and found a white wicker love seat that I’ve been looking to get my hands on for so many years I’ve lost count. Isn’t she lovely?

It was scorchingly (is that a word?) hot and humid here and I spent many happy hours in this lovely, shady spot reading.

I ended off my little staycation with a barbecue/party on Saturday night

and a visit from friends and a bike ride on Sunday

Just before our ride, a visit to the beach

Talk to you soon


But First, Tequila


Dog Days of Summer, a Barbecue and Stunning Sun Sets

Dog Days of Summer

Summer is in full swing and it is hot, hot hot! Not that I’m complaining – this is my kind of weather.  I am, however, thankful now that we live in a forest surrounded (mostly) by trees that provide cooling shade from the hot sun. We have the best of both worlds – in the front we get full sun most of the day, and so our vegetable garden and sun-loving plants live there, and in the back, half of our patio is in shade and the other half is in the sun. So we can choose.

Speaking of vegetables – our temporary garden is thriving

and we have the beginning of peas and beans

To read more about our garden, click here.

We bought a humming bird feeder a couple of weeks ago and have two humming birds that drink from it almost constantly. Unfortunately, they move too fast and are too small for me to get a photo of them, but they are comical little birds and not afraid of us at all.  When we’re sitting outside in the evenings, they come right up to us and hover in the air, checking us out. I wish they ate mosquitoes instead of nectar!

Tori’s been taking the dogs to the beach most days this week so they can cool down. Tiki loves the water, but the little dog has to be coaxed a little bit. In the end, they’re happy to feel a bit cooler. We live in a holiday town, so it’s teeming with tourists at the moment, which makes life, er, interesting. One very large family drove their enormous motor home down the narrow road leading to Cooper’s Green beach and then couldn’t figure out how to turn it around to get back out again. This after taking, what seemed like endless, posed photos of every family member taking turns to sit on the same log. It was painful to watch.


Meanwhile, in Edmonton, little Neil is having a wonderful time at the park

Neil at the park

and the petting zoo

I can’t believe he’ll be 3 soon. I’ve booked my ticket to visit at the end of August – I can’t wait! We’ll be celebrating 4 birthdays and some family time. A bit of sad news – Alex and Na-mee are splitting up after 7 years. Sad, but part of life, I guess. I think it’s very stressful and difficult for a young couple to support a family these days and I think the pressure just became too much for them.

Last weekend saw us back in Vancouver at a barbecue. It was lovely to see all our friends again. There was much laughter and the Tequila was flowing. It seems everybody brings a bottle lately. Where it used to be one or two, it’s now four or five!

The next morning was not a good one for Tori, who seemed to consume the most tequila :D. After only 6 hours’ sleep, he had to get on his (very loud) bike, ride an hour to Horseshoe Bay and get on a ferry for 40 minutes.  It was very amusing to watch, to say the least.

All in all, he survived to live another week. After supper last night we sat on the beach with our drinks and watched the sun set over the water. It was very picturesque with small boats dotted around the bay and a lone sea gull scrounging for tidbits.

Paradise. I’m so grateful to have found this place.


But First, Tequila