The Fun of Trying Recipes

Hello Lovelies! 

Probably the finest Chocolate Cupcakes

For my St. Patrick’s Day celebration, I decided to try out a recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting that I found over on Homemade Hooplah.  They whipped up really quickly, which is nice, plus I subbed Irish Cream flavoured coffee creamer for the alcohol version used in the recipe.  Once frosted, I also added a little edible lustre dust in a lovely green, just to keep the St. Patrick’s Day theme going.

The Trials of Blogging 

It’s jolly hard work testing out these recipes, let me tell you.  Sometimes a girl just has to drain the leftovers out of a bottle of beautiful Guinness -I just couldn’t let it go flat!  That would have been so ungrateful.



Seems like we’re in a reflective frame of mind today, lots of folk music and old stamping grounds -most not even our own- being discussed today.  Did you know my dad once trod the boards?  When he was a young man in Northern Ireland he enjoyed his time on the stage.  More recently, he clowned around for a while with the Shriners.  Perhaps I get my confidence from him, I’ve never felt shy about getting up on stage. 

Anyway, with the snow falling yet again, it feels like a good day to stick close to home and settle into hygge.  Next week, the weather is supposed to turn again and take us back towards spring, so I’m planning to spend time today enjoying this last (I hope) blast of heavy wet snow.  I’ve got a good book to read, more tea than you can shake a stick at, and two cuddly dogs to keep me warm.  Or maybe I’ll snuggle up under a blanket and marathon my way through a series on Netflix.  Either way, I’m going to have a lovely day.  

Decide it, then Make it Happen 

Regardless of whether you’re currently being buried in snow, or gazing out at green grass and blue skies, I highly encourage you to choose to take a break today.  It’s Sunday, for goodness sake, just take a day off!  If you’re working today, then block out time this evening, or sometime in the next few days, and plan an evening or an afternoon of hygge.  Bonus points if you can plan a whole day’s worth.  More importantly, once you plan it, make it non-negotiable and do this thing for yourself.  You’ll feel better, your smile will be even prettier, and your jokes will be funnier.  The world will not fall apart just because you took a break, I promise.  



Weekend Plans

Hello Lovelies! 

It’s been a busy weekend chez moi.  Busy, but thoroughly enjoyed.  Thankfully, Sunday gives me a chance to rest and relax.  

Candlelit Breakfast

This morning, my Mom, sister and myself enjoyed a breakfast of bacon, scrambled egg, and tomatoes on buttery croissants.  It was delicious, eaten in our sunny dining room, with fresh flowers and candlelight.

Candlelit Breakfast

I do love beeswax candles.  They smell so sweet and are apparently really good at cleaning the air -but I like them for the warming glow!  Tell you what, candles at breakfast are always a good idea.  Now, during the week, I tend to eat breakfast at my desk -boo- which means no candles.  So, all the more reason to go luxe at the weekends!  

Paris Dreaming  

Yesterday, I made my debut in a burlesque performance.   There’s something fabulously Parisian about being body confident and owning what the good Lord gave you.  I highly encourage it. 

Plus I only just picked up my copy of ‘A Paris Year,’ by Janice MacLeod.  Every time I read her books, it just inspires me to up sticks and have a new adventure.  Like jumping up onstage to perform a little number with my new fab sisters.  In fact, my whole day was quite decadent.  Coffee with good friends in the morning, a lovely massage, a dinner party, and then a really good show.  

There is Always Time  

I have been a chronic “not enough time” girl.  Only just recently have I begun to see that rushing and racing isn’t making me any happier, healthier, or even richer.  Only recently have I begun to understand that the important things demand doing now.  There is no reason to save the candles for a special occasion, to leave the good china in the cupboard, or save your favourite meal only for your birthday.  Don’t make the same mistake!  Enjoy as many minutes as you can make, because you -and me, too- deserve them all!  

PS: I Wrote a Book 

Being a fan of things cozy, I love a cozy mystery.  So I’ve written one!  I’m currently editing it up and getting it ready to publish.  “The Moose, the Murder, and the Single Malt” will be out in time for your summer reading list, and I am so excited to share it with you!  Keep an eye out, because I’ll be sharing more about the book and more cozy goodness in the weeks to come.

Invite the Leprechauns!

Hello Lovelies! 

I think for a lot of us, March has come in with a roar.  In Alberta we’ve certainly gotten what I hope will be our last blast of snow and chilly weather.  But I’m not here to talk about snow.  It is pretty, though, and keeps my winter driving skills sharp. 

It’s March, so let’s plan a St. Patrick’s Day Party.  (Bonus:  the 17th is a Saturday this year.)  The menu can be pretty simple, Irish stew, soda bread, maybe kick it up with a stout infused chocolate cake?  Or whip out to your grocery store, because the bakery section is bound to have oodles of green cookies and cakes!  Have fun with this, but let’s not knock ourselves out, okay? 

Plan your guest list and get your invites out now. 

Head to your craft/dollar store for the necessary decorations, green, of course!  And while you’re there, if you like to hand out a goody bag, pick up a selection of cute containers or bags.  I’m thinking pots of gold, those wrapped coins are obvious, or maybe something like this:


A popcorn mix would be a different take.  If you’re planning a party for adults, why not get a few bottles of stout and tuck them into your goody bags?  Maybe along with the candy, and some goofy St. Patty’s day trinkets.  And always, always, always, safety first.  There will be no drinking and driving!  As for music and entertainment, there are scads of Irish acts out there, or Celtic musical groups.  For something you can dance to, I would pick Derina Harvey, maybe some Great Big Sea.  For something maybe a tad more traditional, there’s the Irish Rovers, the High Kings… really, just do a search and find what you like. 

As for movies, if you want to go that route, Leap Year for a night with the girls. The Boys and Girl from County Clare if you want something more… musical.  Or what about Waking Ned Devine  if you want something funny, with heart.  Again, there are oodles of options out there, so find something that works for you.  

Most importantly, get a good group of people around you and have some fun.  Community, out in the real world, that’s what makes life sweeter.  Get your Irish on, and remember that you don’t need an excuse to celebrate. 

Rituals of Pleasure

Hello Lovelies! 

I have a couple of questions to ask you:  How much pleasure do you weave into your days?  How much love are you showering over your life?  It matters, loves, believe me.  Don’t put it off until everything is just so.  Go out there and find what you love.  Or stay in and rediscover loves that you’ve been too busy to appreciate.  Open your hearts and get excited for living your lives now, today!  Maybe you don’t have the job, or the house, or the guy/gal/friendships or whatever it is that you’re desiring right now.  That’s okay, it means you’re still growing.  You see, focusing on what isn’t here yet, what we see as not being ideal, that robs us of joy, of peace, of gratitude, and it disempowers us from doing things that would actually deepen and sweeten our lives every day. 

Now, I know this is a lot to think about.  “Angela,” you’re saying, “I thought you were here to talk about candles and chocolate.”  Well, loves, I’m about to.  Because one of the easiest ways to create a life filled with love, is by doing things we love.  Make yourself a little list, and keep it handy so you can inspire yourself every day.  Build a playlist of your favourite songs that make you feel _____________ (happy, sexy, relaxed, empowered etc.)  Whatever you need to feel on the daily.  Sign up for a painting class, or pottery, or cookery, whatever tickles your fancy.  Stop wishing, start doing!  

Okay, onto the good stuff!  

The easiest way to add a little more love to your daily round is to prioritize it.  And then you have to take the time for it, loves, you have to do the work.  Fortunately, this is pretty fun work, more playful.  A creative muse I’ve followed over the years would call it “plurk.”  Choose something simple to start with, and make it a joyful ritual.  It could be setting the table for dinner each evening, or maybe splurging a little on your skincare essentials to pamper yourself before bedtime, or even just blocking out thirty minutes in the morning to complete a beautiful tea ritual, from pouring fresh water into the kettle, to warming a pretty pot, to sipping and savouring from your favourite cup.  Once you’ve started exploring ways of loving the life you’re living right now, you’ll spark your excitement to go out a discover other passions.  Plus, you’ll be sparkling and happy, which automatically makes you want to keep up your momentum, and as a bonus, you’ll be the most interesting and attractive person in the room! 

I’m still diving into this delicious and juicy approach to my own life, so you know I’m right there with you, figuring out how to live my best life.  I believe it’s a worthwhile practice, and I’m so excited for the opportunity each new day brings to weave love and pleasure into my life as it is today.  And so that you know, as it is today is not my ideal vision.  I desire to build a business of my own, to move (actually commit and move!) to the UK, and my primary goal right now is getting my first book on the shelves and available for people to read.  Not to mention cultivating a healthier body and lifestyle, and oh yeah, putting lots more money in the bank!  So yeah, I’ve got work ahead of me, too.  Let’s share this journey, and let’s make it amazing!  The world needs more happy people in it, don’t you agree?

The Pleasures of Puttering

Hello Lovelies! 

It’s the Family Day Weekend here in Alberta, which means Monday is a holiday.  There’s something about long weekends that just seem to make it easier to get a few minor tasks off the old “to do” list.  That said, I’m not about to blow my whole weekend in the pursuit of gold stars for getting my chores done!  I propose a gentler approach, where I just hit the highlights, and maybe something more evolves from there.  For instance, on Thursday evening I took a fancy to make use of the candle making kit I received.

Yes, I used a washed out tin inside a saucepan of simmering water as a makeshift double-boiler to melt the wax!  Now I’ve got a lovely, lavender scented birthday gift for someone. 

After connecting with some friends for coffee yesterday morning, I decided on a whim to reorganize my closet.  Now all my scarves -turns out, I have quite a collection!- are organized in a drawer so that I can see them.  I had been hanging them over a multi-tiered hanger, and for some reason they never found their way back onto it at the end of the day.  I would simply keep wearing one until I grew bored with it and went digging through my closet for another.  This way, I can pick out a different one every morning, and then return it to the back of the drawer at the end of the day.  Just like that, I get to wear more of my scarves!

Spring Cleaning 2

I also managed to get everything that I regularly wear hung up in my closet.  To be honest, I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around hanging up my jeans, but I did find that having all of my options hanging in the one space felt very streamlined when I went to pick out my outfit for today.  I’m willing to give it a shot.  My goal is to wear all of my wardrobe, not just the habitual 20%.  PS: If you look close, you’ll see a bit of purple ribbon tied to the rail.  That’s how I track what I’ve worn already that week.  I’m gradually breaking those habit grooves!

Spring Cleaning1

By the way, these three projects took all of maybe two hours collectively, and that was mostly waiting on the wax!  That leaves plenty of my weekend free to do other things, like go see “Early Man” this afternoon.  (I’ve discovered that I rather like taking in a movie at the theatre.)  Last week I went to see “Peter Rabbit,” mostly because I grew up on Beatrix Potter.  I loved it, and I laughed so hard.  It was a very sweet movie. 

Often times, we look at a project as though it has to be all or nothing.  Either we get it all done in one sitting, or it just isn’t going to happen.  That’s a heck of a lot of pressure to put on ourselves.  Believe me, I still have a lot of reorganizing to do in my closet, but I’m done with it for now.  Choose progress rather than perfection.  Start with a little puttering about the house, and see what it inspires you to do.  Or do as I did yesterday, and swing by the lingerie store for a new set, because that’s what inspired me to revisit my own system!  The smallest things can lead you in pretty terrific directions, just start.   


Let’s Have a Treat Date

Hello Lovelies! 

How long has it been since you indulged in your favourite treat without inwardly telling yourself off because “it’s ruining your diet,” or “you’re breaking your resolution,” or “you’re bad for doing this”?  I’m here to tell you to stop that.  Don’t get me wrong, a steady diet of donuts and sugary coffee drinks does no one any good, but rather than cut yourself off completely, why not make a Treat Date with yourself every week?  More importantly, anticipate with delight the pleasure you’ll have at that time.  Look forward to it.  Personally, I know that if I have a venti iced caramel, caramel macchiato every day, I barely even taste it.  But oh!  When it’s been a week, it’s purely decadent delight! 

Just last week, I found myself craving a candy bar.  So I went to my usual grocery store, but all I could get there would have been a packet of four or a baggie of bite-sized pieces.  I chose to wait until I could find my candy bar of choice as a single bar.  That only added to the build-up of anticipation, you know.  Yesterday I found exactly what I wanted, and into the basket it went.  Here’s the thing, I chose to wait until I got home to make the most of my little treat.  I could certainly have eaten it in the car, and that would have been fine, too.  The key is not to rush the experience.  I found myself a quiet moment yesterday afternoon, brewed up a cup of tea, and settled in to consume my treat slowly and with pleasure.  I inhaled the scent of the candy, I admired the chocolate coating, and I let it melt on my tongue just a little.  Had I gobbled it down while working on my book, watching TV, or doing housework, I would barely have tasted it and probably ended up instantly wanting another. 

Slowing down to savour a goodie is beneficial on so many levels.  For one, we all tend to rush at living and do so very distractedly, so being able to put on the brakes and drop into the present rather than careening wildly down the road to the future is a very useful skill to learn.  Second, distracted eating is just not good for any of us because we can easily overeat when we’re not paying attention to the scents and flavours before us.  Third, consuming less costs less, so your bank account is happier.  Explore appreciating having enough, it can feel pretty good.  And finally, why wouldn’t we want to take control of the experience and actively create a pleasant moment for ourselves?  Meal times are such a great opportunity to do that.  We all need to eat, why not make an occasion out of it?  Imagine how you would feel if even just one meal a day was anticipated, savoured, and properly enjoyed!  I bet you’d want to find ways of adding a little peace and pleasure to every meal. 

So, start small and see how it goes for you.  It takes practice to live with intention, but the results are so worth it.      


Hygge in the Woods


Hello Lovelies! 

I got to do a photoshoot a couple of weeks ago.  First of all, I think this is an experience that everyone should have at least once.  Working with a photographer in a one-on-one setting, there’s a certain magic about it. 

But I digress.  I want you to see how hygge is portable.  I want you to see that time in nature is hygge.  I want you to see that hygge can be a solo activity.  It’s taking time to be in the moment, to be somewhere beautiful.  Most importantly, it’s taking time to be beautiful to yourself, in your own company.  That’s where the magic happens.  How often do we pour out love and beauty for the benefit of others?  And why oh why, don’t we do it for ourselves? 

I’ll tell you why, it’s because we let ourselves off the hook.  The story goes something like this: “I’ll just eat dinner standing over the kitchen sink, or sitting in front of the TV or computer.  It’s only me here, and I don’t feel like setting the table and dirtying up the dishes.”  Or maybe something like this: “I’ll be at home all day today, why bother getting changed out of my pyjamas?  No one will see me.”  Now, I don’t know about you, but usually when I get obstinate like that, it’s inevitably the day the delivery guy turns up!  Hey, I get it, life gets busy, and we all get tired. 

Well, I’m calling BS on that, it’s a feeble excuse for not treating ourselves right.  Remember when we all used to be told we should treat others the way we would like to be treated?  When did we let that go?  Why did we let that go?  Trust me, the people you meet on your daily round will appreciate the consideration.  However, let’s put a pin in that for now though, because I want you to think about how you would like to be treated.  Muse on that for a bit.  Would you rather wink at yourself in the mirror before you leave the house?  Or not even bother to look because you haven’t put in the effort to look good for yourself?  Would you rather delight in reading a good book and sipping a cup of your favourite tea or coffee on a rainy afternoon?  Or do you prefer running yourself ragged trying to catch up to a never-ending to do list?  Would you rather tell yourself how grateful you are for your own pleasant company?  Or not even consider yourself, whilst knocking yourself out to be prim and proper for the benefit of everyone else?  Candles and china?  Or fluorescents and Styrofoam?  Flowers and chocolates?  Or  empty, dusty vases, and fish sticks?  Forget about how other people treat you, focus on how you’re treating yourself!  I recently watched a terrific video from Will Smith, and he was discussing the difference between fault and responsibility.  If someone else behaves badly, that’s their fault.  However, it’s your responsibility to go forward and be happy, vibrant, and dazzlingly magnificent anyway.  Personally, I think he hit the nail right on the head. 

Start setting boundaries.  We all need them, even when we’re all grown up.  The fun thing is, as a grown up you get to decide for yourself what parts of your life need protecting and cultivating.  Do it, for your own sake!  

Creating the Ideal Day


Hello Lovelies! 

How much time do you devote to living your ideal day, every day?  Or even just one day a week? 

Personally, I tend to get too easily swept along in other commitments, and just plain busy-ness.  Especially on the weekends.  Boo!  So, I decided to try something different. 

My Ideal Sunday Wish List:

~Stay home

~I’m adding in about 45 minutes of weight training

~Gorgeous food

~Time to read

~A little prep and planning for the upcoming week

~And plenty of time to relax and snuggle my loves

~Oh, and puttering about the house, of course! 

So, that’s what I’m going to do today. 

Now, I realize that some things will come up that are worth passing on my ideal Sunday plans.  That’s life, and here’s the gorgeous part:  It’s also my choice!  I think, when we start to take on too much, we’re giving up our power because to claim it would mean having to take responsibility -and probably also standing up for ourselves.  I know, that can feel uncomfortable.  But darlings, life needs to be a balance of busy and restful.  And that’s really why I love hygge, it’s such a beautiful method of slowing down the crazy rush, and it reminds us to take time to just be. 

Just be relaxed. 

Just be happy. 

Just be at peace. 

I can’t tell you how important this is!  There’s enough going on out there, and it can be hard to choose what makes the cut.  Take the time to look over your schedule as it is, and then really think about what tickles your heart.  Try and slide the things that tug at your heartstrings into that schedule of yours.  Maybe it means dropping a couple of less important commitments in order to fit in working on your book, or to meet up with your dearest friends for a good meal and lively chat once a week.  Make up your wish list, and then make it happen!       

Hygge Fits Everywhere

Hello Lovelies! 

So, some folks are terrific at the details, like budgeting, menu planning, even setting up their weekly schedules and running their lives like a well-oiled machine.  I’m not one of these people.  I would far rather read a good book than tot up my weekly receipts.  Snore. 

Well, I’ve come to the realization that I actually do want to be one of those women with her eye on the ball.  I just have to do it my way, so that it feels less like drudgery and more like pleasure:


I just have to add my own sprinkle of sparkle.  Panache and style can make anything more enjoyable. 

Try it for yourself.  Where can you add a dash of hygge to the less than magical parts of your day?  Grocery shopping feels like a chore?  Why not put on a favourite outfit, write your list with a purple pen, get your shopping, and then take yourself to your favourite café for a treat on the way home?  Grab a table, too, sit down and savour your coffee.  Pack your perishables in a thermal bag, barring sweltering, sultry heat, you’ll be fine.    

It’s easy enough to make handling the details feel more pleasurable, it just takes a little extra effort.  And once you get it done, you’ll be so proud of yourself.  Bonus:  Because you enjoyed the experience, you’ll be ready to take the time to repeat it.  Now that’s a good result. 

Like Mary Poppins says, “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, in the most delightful way.”

Smile, it’s Flowers!


Hello Lovelies! 

I love a colourful bouquet, don’t you?  And mysteries… beeswax candles… puppy cuddles… thunderstorms… starry skies… moon gazing… fires crackling away in the fireplace… cuddly mittens, socks, and toques… coffee, tea, wine… great food… laughing… dancing… watching the snow fall… ooh! cheese!… and chocolate, too!  All these things are very simple pleasures, but they’re the bread and butter of everyday joy. 

Right now, my life is feeling pretty topsy-turvy.  I’m coming to grips with needing to let go of a few of my own ghosts.  Or at least packing up a few old dreams and storing them away in the attic.  It hurts, when you realize that what you envisioned isn’t necessarily what’s going to happen for you.  But sometimes wrong is wrong, or maybe, it just needs rest and darkness before it blossoms forth as an inspired idea at a later time.  How do you pick the difference?  I’m still figuring that out, Sweet Pea.  Instinct and intuition, and learning to trust my heart.  I’ll tell you what, though, I can’t help but wonder what I’m making room for?  It excites me that by letting some things go, I’m clearing space for something new -and hopefully right, better, magical.  You see, change and transition is normal, it means that life is progressing.  Not to say that it isn’t tough at times, but it’s a natural part of living a real life.  Others have gone through it before us, and they’ve built something wonderful out of the hardest points in their journeys.  The path is lit by these trailblazers, and they’re ready to welcome you to the head table.  It’s time for me -and maybe you, too?- to take charge of our lives and cultivate something real, and satisfying.  We just have to be brave enough to let go, and trust ourselves to be able to figure things out.  I have faith in us. 

So let’s toast the endings.  Let’s make room and allow new dreams the space to grow.  Let’s pick a curiosity to follow and see what happens.  We’ll honour the things that bring us real pleasure and keep them close, then build a life that supports those beautiful moments of joy.  I’m done with being bogged down by what may have been.  It’s time I got to grips with what is, and build from there.  How about you?