Sunday, September 29, 2013

Megan's Bachelorette / Pressed Cafe

Earlier this year, Antoine and I were watching the planes take off at the airport in Montreal when I got a phone call from my sister. At first I panicked, I thought something was wrong until I heard... "so... we're engaged!" as she beamed down the phone line. It was as though I could feel her grinning from ear to ear even though we were 200 km away. My reaction was to do a little happy dance in the parking lot amidst some curious onlookers. A lot of excitement, planning, and some stressful moments pursued until we were a week away from the wedding and ready to celebrate her bachelorette!

We started with a little wine & cheese at Geneviève's, one of the bridesmaids' place...

Delicious zucchini cupcakes made by the hostess on the right, recipe here
Megan was looking beautiful after having done her trial wedding makeup from Third Avenue Spa... not to mention the addition of the customary tiara and sash ;-)

Things got a bit silly after a round of "How well does she know the groom?" (luckily Megan knew him quite well), as well as getting dressed up in recycled denim tank tops that she and a friend found at a clothing swap!

Seeing as Megan met her husband-to-be as a result of a bus strike, I found it fitting she need to take the bus to our next destination, dinner at Play food & wine

Looking glam on the OC Transpo :)
Dinner was only the beginning of the night, as we went bar hopping in the market afterwards. The night, which included duelling pianos and an entire bar serenading Megan to Sweet Caroline, was full of good times, as Neil Diamond would say. 

All smiles before din dins 
The next morning, as Megan was texting me about her "wicked headache," I was having a waffle brunch in Chinatown at Pressed with a few good friends (I may have had somewhat of a headache myself!). There was one called the Hangover, but I really didn't feel as though I could stomach poutine on a waffle...

Florentine - Wilted Swiss chard, poached eggs, house-made hollandaise  

Huevos Rancheros - Fried eggs, house-smoked salsa, black bean, guacamole and smoky BBQ sauce

Megan, it was so much fun to celebrate your last night out as a single lady. You have some great friends that made the night extra special. Love you long time, xx.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vacation photos - London

"London goes beyond any boundary or convention. It contains every wish or word ever spoken, every action or gesture ever made, every harsh or noble statement ever expressed. It is illimitable. It is Infinite London." Peter AckroydLondon: The Biography (2000).

View of London from the Tate Modern

The last stretch of our trip was a fabulous week in London. We got in on a Saturday and that night we went to see a West-End musical where the actors were also the musicians - amazing. The next day, we were treated to a traditional Sunday roast that my uncle cooked followed by a walk along the Thames in Richmond. My aunt had driven down from Nottingham for the day, which made it extra special.

I only just learned that the Thames was tidal...

That night, we went to a local pub to play a couple rounds of darts. I was told by a local that all I needed was two weeks and I would be a real pro! (Yeah, right). Antoine was charmed with the pub culture throughout our UK trip, the concept of a place to meet up in a relaxed environment was something he took a real liking to.

During the week we were true tourists venturing to some of the classic London landmarks...

Taking a break in Trafalgar Square

Getting up intimate with England's history at The National Portrait Gallery

Tower Bridge, not to be confused with London Bridge ;-)
...Getting a taste for true British weather, whether it be rain, hail, or just plain overcast...

Outside Buckingham Palace
Greenwich meridian with some not-so-weather appropriate footwear on my part 
The Shard, piercing through an overcast London

...However, what really made the trip that more special was that we were fortunate to be taken to or recommended to go to places and restaurants thanks to my uncle and brother.

Sheltering from the rain at Monmouth Coffee in Covent Garden

Meeting my brother on his lunch hour at foodie heaven Borough Market

Going for the best. ramen. ever. with my uncle - a stones-throw from Piccadilly Circus

Merging two of MTLs best eats - bagels and smoked meat - in London's east end, Shoreditch 
The view from Primrose Hill on our last day with the sun making an appearance!

It was an amazing trip and I left feeling so fortunate to have such a great family and to have shared some fantastic memories with my favourite person. xx

Taking a 'selfie' in St. James Park

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Vacation photos - Devon

The next part of our trip was in the southwest, to visit my mum's parents.

Highlights from Devon include :

...Participating in an episode of Antiques Roadshow in Exeter and watching an item get evaluated at £25,000 (!) (just under 42 000$);

This man was exceptionally good at politely telling this women her item was worthless...

Said valuable item being evaluated in right of photo.
...Walking around the village at dusk followed by joining in on quiz night at the local pub (team Crazy Canuks shamefully walked out after the second round!);

The church where my parents and grandparents were married

...Taking in the sea air at Teignmouth, gambling away our 2p's on the pier, and treating ourselves to a 99;

Back Beach, Teignmouth

The train tracks are so close to the sea, I heard once it is one of the most repaired sections of railway in the UK

Clotted cream ice cream = pure joy
...Laughing at my Nana's hilarious old Devonshire sayings. When making our cooked breakfast, she looked out the window one morning and announced that there "wasn't enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers." Oh Nana, I love you.

Quince's growing on my Grandad's shed

On that note, I must love you and leave you, as my Nana would say. xx

Monday, September 09, 2013

Vacation photos - Cymru

This fall, Antoine and I took our first plane journey together to visit my family in the UK. We were due, not only for a vacation, but to introduce Antoine to all the places and faces I had been describing to him over the last few years. 

The first leg of our journey was to south Wales to see the paternal side of my family.

After the 6 hr red-eye flight to London and a two-hour wait at the car rental company (where we were upgraded to an Audi S4 - I guess we looked appropriately disgruntled), we were off to Cardiff! We had lunch with my aunt, uncle and cousins before touring the city.

Cardiff Bay

We then drove off to my Mamgu's (grandmother's) up in the Welsh mining valleys. What was slightly ironic, is that leading up to this trip, I had been less favourable in my anecdotes about Wales (rainy, near an open cast mine, etc. - sorry Dad!). However, on all our drives, we were amazed to be graced with amazing vistas - many of which we saw on our day trip to Brecon, a town in the Brecon Beacons.

Brecon, Powys, Wales - with Pen y Fan in the background

Antoine turned out to be a real pro at driving on the left, skillfully navigating his way through the endless roundabouts and single-track roads. This was made evident on our drive to Rhossili Bay, where there were many country roads, but was it ever worth it! 

Of course these day trips required a good hearty breakfast to start the day and what better than a Welsh spin on a cooked breakfast...

Just missing the bara lawr
...made lovingly by Mamgu on the Rayburn fuelled by the coal from the said mines.

I learned a Welsh word while I was there that does not have a direct English translation. Hiraeth is deep longing for home, a nostalgia for Wales. Now that I back in Montreal, I feel that word accurately describes the feeling I have when I think of those incredible views Antoine and I saw while touring Wales. xx

Monday, September 02, 2013

'twas a long weekend.

I love celebrating Labour Day by not working, don't you?

Highlights from the long weekend weekend:

-Our first try at doing a "Cuisine collective." Excellent idea - socializing whilst making an abundance of meals, salads, desserts that can be saved for the coming week! Ideas here.

-Lovely nights with friends savouring our said cuisine collective meals.

-Getting in a meal-delivery volunteer shift at Santropol Roulant.

-Enjoying our choice of morning beverages in our new mugs (thanks Marli & Melissa!).

French toast à la Vieux Vélo
-Walking along the shore line at Parc-nature de l'Ile-de-la-Visitation.

-Taking in the beauty of art & nature at Mosaïcultures with the parents.

Thanks for reading, xo.