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Lovely things: short wellies

Lovely things: short wellies



Ah, autumn. In Vancouver, that means days and days (and days) of drizzle. While big Hunter boots are everywhere, and I do love my Ilse Jacobsen wellies for epic downpour days, they feel like overkill when it’s just a regular rainy day.

Ankle-height wellies that look more like regular boots are what I’m looking for this autumn, and I found some interesting ones. Clockwise from top…

1 // ASOS Gamble wellies

2 // däv Glasgow boot

3 // Joe Fresh Moto Rain Boots

4 // Mel by Melissa Big Plum in navy


Finally, a decent jerk marinade in a bottle

Finally, a decent jerk marinade in a bottle

jerk pork

When I was young, several sticky bottles of sauce lived in our cupboard: Pickapeppa, Worchestershire, and various ones bearing the Grace brand.

I didn’t realize until high school that not everyone put Pickapeppa in their tuna salad. That actually, no one knew what Pickapeppa was. Not until I went to university and met some girls that also had Caribbean families. We shared my tin of guava jelly, and talked about the best place to get Jamaican food in Ottawa. In 1995, the answer was nowhere!

Vancouver has never been a hotbed of Caribbean food, and finding the ingredients to make a good jerk marinade is difficult. When Grace contacted me about trying their bottled jerk sauce and marinade, I jumped at the chance.

Grace is a Jamaican company, I remember drinking their sticky sweet pineapple soda when we’d go to the island to visit family. Everyone in the car would peer out the windows when we drove by the factory, looking at the squat building where so many of our sauces and drinks were made.

And I am pleased to say, their bottled jerk sauce is very, very good indeed. So if you need some barbecue ideas, grab bottles of Grace jerk marinade and sauce, you won’t be unhappy. Until I can track down my father’s recipe for jerk, I’ll be using this.

Some quick tips I’ve learned the hard way, and some slavish reading of Cooks Illustrated:

  • Brine your meat before you marinate for the best texture and moisture, it only takes 20 minutes and can make the difference between moist meat and cardboard
  • Wipe most of the marinade off before you put it on the grill, that way you don’t get burned bits everywhere, and minimize flare-ups
  • Dump your cooked meat into some sauce right after it comes off the grill

Oftentimes jerk equates the hottest spices. That shouldn’t really be the case. In Jamaica, your jerk chicken or pork comes quite dry, and you add sauce to it yourself. Yes it’s a bit spicy, but it should be very flavourful, with definite hits of thyme and allspice. If you’re still worried, serve it with a fruity salsa, or to be fully authentic, the deep-fried dumpling called festival, and rice and peas.

Pick up Grace sauces and marinades in Canada at Loblaws, Metro, Sobeys, Walmart, Food Basics, and Oceans.


Whistler Children’s Festival + Giveaway

Whistler Children’s Festival + Giveaway

Whistler is probably not top of mind for a summer holiday destination, but I can tell you from experience, it should be.

Stunningly beautiful lake beaches, paved bike paths, and a great playground surrounded by pedestrianized paths and many coffee shops. And on the 12th and 13th of July, there’s also the Whistler Children’s Festival.

The Children’s Festival is returning to the Whistler Olympic Plaza, right in the heart of Whistler Village, with performances by Will Stroet, Charlotte Diamond, Fresh Groove, and the Vancouver Circus School to name a few. There’s face-painting, a toddler free play tent, Vancouver Aquarium touch tanks, and balloon creatures. Keep an eye out for giveaways from Lovechild Organics and Yumm Brownies, as well popsicles and fruit leathers.

One of my favourite aspects of this festival are their creative workshops. Register online ahead of time, and your little one can make soap-stone carvings, bear-paw t-shirts, birdhouses, cereal box jet-packs, or learn circus skills. The creative workshops are all under $20 each, and many less than $10 – that’s impressive, as supplies are included.

And because I’d love for you to get a chance to go, enter the giveaway below to win this incredible package:

– 2 nights’ stay (nights of July 11 & 12) at Whistler Hilton hotel
– VIP family entrance pass to Whistler Children’s Festival
– $200 gift certificate to The Keg restaurant in Whistler
– Family trip for 4 on the River of Golden Dreams
– 4 hours of babysitting in Whistler for 1 to 2 kids
– $50 gift certificate to 21 Steps restaurant
– Pizza delivered to the Hilton for one meal

Now that would be fun, wouldn’t it?

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Camp stove charging station. Seriously.

Camp stove charging station. Seriously.

biolite campstove biolite campstove with grill

I don’t know if there’s a more Vancouveresque piece of camping kit than the BioLite CampStove System. What? You say it was developed in Brooklyn? Oh well. I think they all should move here, don’t you?

This sleek little unit is a portable wood-burning stove with optional kettle or folding grill, that can also charge your phone.

What I love about this whole project is it’s not just a neato 1% camping gadget, the people behind BioLite also develop the HomeStove, a properly useful stove for the half of the planet that still does most of their cooking over open fires. The HomeStove uses fuel more efficiently, reduces smoke and the related health problems, and allows for charging mobile phones and LED lights. This is critical in countries like Africa where the main access to the Internet services, and in some countries banking, is via mobile phones.

When we buy a CampStove (and we will), we’ll be helping BioLite build and refine HomeStoves.

And if you’re super quick, you can get one of their BaseCamp giant CampStoves through their Kickstarter campaign.

All images courtesy of BioLite.



My new favourite cycling dress

My new favourite cycling dress

stripe-bottom dressIt’s just what I look for: a bit stretchy, just above the knee, breathable. Just above the knee is crucial, because it allows full leg movement without getting tangled in my rear brake pads (say) but doesn’t ride up enough to give the entire bike route a view of my knickers. Yay!

And only $24 at Joe Fresh.

My other secret weapon in the cycling in dresses department is Jockeys Skimmies Slipshorts. Ignore the naff name, enjoy the comfortable, non-chafing underwear. I particularly like these as they aren’t meant as shapewear, so there is no Olympics-worthy, sweat-inducing 20 minutes getting them on. They come in many colours and the bottom edge isn’t lacey or anything, so if you do accidentally flash a passing cyclist, you just look super prepared in bike shorts. They are also quite cool to wear.