Tonight we spring forward which always makes me happy. While this winter was bearable by Canadian standards, the dark days are always a challenge for me and I definitely tend to favour cocooning at home over the winter months.
Long before hygge became the popular lifestyle trend it is today, I learned about the concept after seeing Sharmi Albrechtsen on House Hunters International when she embarked on a move from the USA to Denmark. Sharmi was also featured on the Oprah Life Class on Gratitude that I attended in Toronto. Sharmi’s introduction to happiness and the Danish way of life definitely intrigued me to learn more.
Hygge – pronounced ‘hoo-guh’ – is the art of creating intimacy, fellowship and coziness in the smallest everyday moments. With my Finnish roots, hygge and this way of living appealed to me. I essentially fell in love with this Danish way of life which seemed like a perfect fit for the cold and dark winter months in Canada. In the spring of 2015, I travelled to Finland to see my family and loved being surrounded by their simplistic way of life. This is something I am definitely trying to incorporate back home in Canada. I purchased these beautiful iittala candle holders to help me perfectly capture the coziness of hygge at home. Every time I light them, they are a perfect reminder to savour what is important in life – time with family and friends, to take time to just be and to enjoy the simple joys of living.
Chilly, winter days are not over yet so a warm winter coat is definitely still needed. Since I started working full time and wear dresses and skirts most days, I really just invested in winter coats I could wear to work and on the weekends too. However outside of work during the winter months, I am pretty casual with jeans and leggings my outfits of choice so I have kept looking for a casual coat to suit this part of my wardrobe. For many years, I would try on lots of coats but everything I would find was just too puffy for me. Finally last autumn I discovered the Columbia Sportswear WOMEN’S MIGHTY LITE™ HOODED JACKET. Absolutely love the Omni-Heat™ Reflective technology that keeps me perfectly comfortable both indoors and out. Definitely the best winter clothing investment I made last year.
Today is World Cancer Day. Thinking of all those currently battling this awful disease and the many loved ones that are sadly no longer with us. Talk to your Doctor about screening and when it should begin for you. Learn what symptoms to look for and listen to your body when things just don’t feel right. Early screening can save lives. Try to adopt healthy lifestyle changes. Little changes can make a big difference. Advocate for someone who can’t. If a family member, friend or someone you know has cancer, show up. Call, visit, drive them to their chemotherapy or radiation appointment and keep them company, drop off a home cooked meal, send them a card, a care package or do something that just brightens their day. Please don’t disappear because you are feeling uncomfortable and don’t know what to say.
“What Cancer Cannot Do – Cancer is so limited … It cannot cripple love, It cannot shatter hope, It cannot corrode faith, It cannot destroy peace, It cannot kill friendship, It cannot suppress memories, It cannot silence courage, It cannot invade the soul, It cannot steal eternal life, It cannot conquer the spirit.” Unknown
Homemade lunches and dinner always seem to go out the window when my life gets busy. The key is definitely prepping in advance. I spent a bit of time this morning making this one-pan chicken and roasted veg to ensure I have some homemade lunches to bring to work.
I melted coconut oil in a frying pan. Coated the chicken thighs with a tandoori spice purchased from a Indian grocery store. Seared both sides of the chicken thighs and placed on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Melted coconut oil to toss with the chopped vegetables. My veg mix included orange, yellow and purple carrots, beets, zucchini and red and yellow peppers. I also added finely minced red chilli, garlic and ginger for a bit of flavour.
Combined the chicken thighs and vegetables on the the cookie sheet. Baked until fully cooked. While the chicken and veg were baking, I made brown basmati rice. Once everything was cooked, I placed one chicken thigh, 1/2 cup of rice and the roasted veg into individual containers and froze immediately.
A Finnish gathering is never complete without coffee. Love the added touch of a pretty Marimekko napkin to make a simple white coffee cup something special.
Me and weekday mornings are challenging especially in the chilly winter months. The comforts of my bed and sleep often wins over a healthy homemade breakfast.
To simplify and speed up my morning routine, I spent ten minutes packing my smoothie ingredients to simplify for the week ahead. This week’s creations included one banana, blueberries, spinach, hemp hearts, coconut oil, cashew butter and vanilla extract. Just grab a smoothie ziploc package from the freezer, add almond milk, blend, enjoy and GO!
Happy Anniversary! Twenty-one years ago today we met for the first time. It was definitely love at first sight.
Growing up in Canada, we had many British influences from food, music, fashion and traditions. I will always remember waking in the wee of hours of July 29th to see Prince Charles marry Lady Diana. A few years later, I was lucky to catch a glimpse of Princess Diana outside Rideau Hall when my class trip to Ottawa just happened to correspond with their Canada visit. Likely the beginning of my love and fascination with all things British.
After my first year of full time employment, I embarked on a holiday to Marbella, Spain to meet a dear friend for a mini break. With no direct flights to Malaga, I flew to London Heathrow with an eight-hour layover where I decided to take full advantage of my opportunity to see the city. I hopped a bus to Central London to take a Big Bus Tour where I was immediately memorized by the charm, history and architecture. I promised to return again soon. Little did I know a week later, an unexpected airline strike would find me travelling to London a day early so I did not miss my flight home. My dad arranged for me to stay with our cousins who lived in Wembley Park. My less than 24-hour visit included being collected at Victoria Railway Station only knowing each other from printed photographs, finally meeting and getting to know my family, enjoying a lovely whirlwind underground adventure the next morning and a homemade lunch before I made the long journey home. I absolutely love everything Christmas so was dazzled by Selfridges and Oxford Street all decorated for the Christmas season. I have returned twice in December and it is truly my favourite time of year to visit.
This anniversary is also a reminder that things in life don’t always go as planned but this bump in my travels led to the beginning of a beautiful friendship with my family across the pond and a lifetime love of this beautiful city. London is definitely my home away from home.
London – It was definitely love at first sight that October day. No matter how many days between our visits, you are always in my heart. A true love like ours last forever.
Till we meet again.