Everyday Life Lately

Wow, November, you totally blew me away.

Take a look at this photo that I took last year, on November 19, 2014.

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Yuck. That was the start of the Winter That Would Not End.

Now let’s look at this November.

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What a difference from one year to the next. Not that I’m complaining – the November weather was brilliant. Actually, November overall was pretty brilliant.

As I mentioned previously, we’ve had a bit of a break – we were only open on weekends in November. That meant there was time for one of my beloved road trips, walks around Niagara-on-the-Lake (which I never get tired of), some running, some reading, some winetasting, some cooking. Yes, the dreaded cooking, which you know I don’t like. We even had some social time, and I’m looking forward to some more of that this month.

So here’s what I’ve been up to – just my everyday life. Get a coffee, tea, or heck, – a glass of wine – and let’s get caught up.

I think we have had – hmmm – maybe 2 grey days this November? So on every sunny day that I could, I walked around my gorgeous town. Here’s some of my final pics of this autumn’s gloriousness.

This tree below was just stunning. Such a vibrant yellow, and pretty much in full leaf while the other trees were already bare.

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Spent some time people-watching at Queen’s Royal Park.

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There’s something so peaceful about being down by the water. The views over Lake Ontario are always beautiful.

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The view of my hometown across the water never gets old.

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The shot below I took in mid-November. Can you believe that flowers were still blooming? In mid-November?  Unheard of, really, for this time of year.

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The vineyards have also been stunning in their golden-ness. The ones at Konzelmann are always beautiful, with their view straight down to the lake. I think the autumn view just might be my favourite.

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Personally, I breathe a sigh of relief at this glorious autumn we have had. I am no fan of the weather for the months of November through to March, so this reprieve has been a special blessing. Actually, I’m thinking a lot about my blessings lately.

Today is the two year anniversary of our move to Highbrook. Living in Niagara has provided me with many terrific things – new experiences, new friends, a new business, new adventures. Thanks for sharing them with me here.

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Speaking of new adventures, we put up our Christmas decorations. Honestly, it was way too early for me. One of my dearest friends was down for a visit, and as she is the Christmas Queen, I convinced her to do it with me. She did a great job.

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Ken and I have an ongoing debate about tree placement. I like it by the fireplace, he’s not so sure. We are new to all of this Christmasy-ness though. In the city, we used to just put up what I call a “Charlie Brown tree”. You know, like in A Charlie Brown Christmas – a small little tree that needs some love. Ken and I actually aren’t known for large doses of Christmas spirit (shocking, I know!) so that suited us just fine. Now, however, visitors to Niagara-on-the-Lake during the holidays want the Christmas thing. So Ken and I are learning.

It is really pretty though. Perhaps all this Christmas stuff is growing on me.

So we put garlands up in the hall foyer.

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And this is Ken’s minimlaistic, avant-garde, Christmas-inspired thingy for the hall table. I like it.

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Of course, the usual outdoor stuff is out too.

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But one of the things that I’ve really been enjoying lately is just getting out to places “I’ve been meaning to get to”. For example, I really wanted to visit the Craft Arts Market in St. Catharines, and just hadn’t been able to get there. So last Saturday, I did.

I love wandering around downtown St. Catharines, looking at all those gorgeous old buildings….the old stores on St. Paul, and the Yates Street Heritage District. There’s something I just really like about it. So Ken and I went for a bit of a wander. On our way to the Craft Arts Market, I stopped in at Gwen’s Teas. I have always been a hardcore coffee drinker, but find it makes me a tad jittery these days. So I am venturing into the world of tea.

And if you love tea, you really should drop by Gwen’s.

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Oh yeah, another thing to catch up on before you see the pic below. I’ve gone back to blonde. Red was fun, but after a few weeks, I missed my blondeness. I guess some things shouldn’t be tampered with.

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And here I am, smelling the heavenly Creamy Earl Grey. It’s something else. Pamela asked me what smell I got from it (and by now you all know my nose is a bit lacking), and I blurted out “Grand Marnier!” I don’t think anyone has ever said that to her. It says something when the first thing I think of is an alcoholic beverage, I guess.

Hmmm.

Please ignore the dorky back view of my hair too. Another thing to catch up on – I think I’m going to grow it a bit, so it’s in a rather awkward stage.

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I’ve really been loving that Creamy Earl Grey though.

Then we got to Craft Arts Market.

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Craft Arts Market describes themselves as similar to a handmade travelling market. They rent display and retail space to artists and crafters, and as a result have some very interesting products on offer. They also have a great Espresso Bar.

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By the way, the Cowgirl Candy and Whiskey Brine Pickles from The Wandering Locavore are amazing. I put Cowgirl Candy on practically everything, as I adore jalapenos.

I was really glad to meet the lovely ladies from Scratch Bakery while I was there. I was especially glad to taste their scrumptious cookies too.

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The Salted Chocolate Chip Shortbreads were my favourite, but the Crinkle Cookies were really good too. As it is the season for oodles of cookies, I think I will be giving them a call. Perhaps you should too. I am no baker, I prefer to leave it to the experts.

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Now, we’re heading into December. Niagara-on-the-Lake is getting very festive, and I’m looking forward to some of the merriment. I’ll be starting off the season by attending our Candlelight Stroll this Friday – I missed it last year cause I was sick, so this will be my first time.

At Highbrook, we’re back on a bit of a schedule. We’re taking guests for the whole month of December, and I have lots of events and outings pencilled into my calendar – which I’m sure you will hear about.

Well, that was quite a varied bit of stuff to get caught up on! I haven’t even touched on my running (which has been going really well, thanks) or my cooking (which honestly, still isn’t going very well – but I will persevere)

How has your month been? Any fun plans coming up?