gift ideas

London Light and Photo Prints

I remember one of my favourite parts of family vacations was getting the photos back. In the days before digital, the anticipation of finally seeing the photos you took when was a treat. Now it's so easy to review and cull them instantly that I get lazy when we get home. "I'll make a book someday." Meanwhile, all these great photos just sit on the computer waiting to be seen.

Yesterday, though, S and I finally had some of our trip photos printed. We got a gallery frame set from Pottery Barn months ago and decided we were tired of staring at the empty frames and had prints made at Costco. It was so easy and cheap--under $5 for 9 photos of various sizes--that I'm kicking myself for not doing it earlier. We were even able to upload everything online and pick it up the next day. 

The photos, as nice as they are on the computer, are so much more beautiful printed. My favorite of the bunch is a simple 8 x 10 of a lamppost in London. 

I took it after we got off the London Eye at sunset. I remember seeing the lamppost falling in love with the colors, history, and imperfection of it. Every time I look at it, it takes me back to that moment. 

This is just a little reminder to go check out some of your old photos. Maybe you'll find a long lost happy memory to put on display.

Holiday Gift Guide

Instead of the usual Friday 10 today is a Friday 15 full of gifts ideas. In the spirit of the site, there are simple luxuries and fancy splurges alike for food lovers, readers, and travellers. 

What I did not add, however, is one of my favourite gifts: an experience. This can be something as simple as a lunch with a loved one, a pass to their favourite place (a park? a museum?), or a weekend getaway. Sometimes making memories is far better than collecting things. 

  1. My Paris Kitchen Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz ($25.71 CAD hardcover) | A collection of beautiful recipes, stories, and photos from David Lebovitz's Paris. 
  2. Blood Orange Oolong by Sloane Teas ($17.00 CAD for 100g of loose tea) | Flavourful, fancy and festive tea packed in a tin that's pretty enough to display. I love their Heavenly Cream, too! 
  3. Twelve Assorted Macaron Happy Holidays Travel Box from Nadège Patisserie ($27.50 CAD) | Indulgent flavours perfect for celebrating the holidays: candy cane, whisky chocolate, champagne, chocolate, salted caramel, blackberry chocolate, cherry chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, cotton candy, cappucino, and matcha green tea. 
  4. Cashmere Blend Reading Socks from Indigo ($39.50 CAD) | Warm and cozy socks to make winter reading that much more indulgent. Would pair perfectly with a great book or a tea and mug. 
  5. Personalized Passport Holder by Tagsmith ($60 USD) | I love the natural leather color and the subtle initial stamping. If monogramming isn't your thing, they have a plain one as well. Also available in Bridle and Dark Brown.
  6. Terrain Mug glazed in Alabaster by Sam Nichols Pottery ($32.00 USD) | A classic hand thrown mug thats perfect for coffee or tea any time of day and any time of year.
  7. RazorPlus from myCharge ($49.99 USD) |  A thin, lightweight portable smartphone charger with USB port. Great for travel since it can give you up to 13 hours of talk time.
  8. National Park Blanket (shown in Rocky Mountain) from Pendleton ($199 - $239 USD) | Heirloom quality, beautiful historical patterns, and perfect for the outdoorsy among us. 
  9. iPad Mini Leather and Wool Case by cinnamon cocoon ($45.00 USD) | A blend of function and beauty. I bought one of these for my dad last year. Not only did he love it, but my mom loved it so much that she bought herself a laptop case. Lovely sellers and quick shipping (although it took awhile to make it halfway around the world) when I dealt with them. 
  10. Monarch Desk Calendar by Rifle Paper Co.  ($16.00 USD) | I used the 2014 Cities version this year and fell in love with it. I snapped up the 2015 Monarch version up as quickly as I could. The illustrations are so lovely and whimsical that it always brightens my day.
  11. GorillaPod Hybrid from Joby ($38.00 CAD) | A small go anywhere, wrap around anything flexible tripod. Grab the GripTight Mount (18.00 CAD) to use with iPhone and Android smartphones, too. 
  12. Kobo Aura H2O from Kobo ($179.99 CAD) | The first waterproof* and dustproof eReader. No need to "seal" your reader in two big ziplock bags at the beach or during a bath. (Everyone does that right?) *Up to 30 min in 1M of water with the port closed (Who is even reading underwater at all, let alone for 30 minutes?)
  13. Kenyatta Shaving Case from WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie ($295) | A definite splurge. But it’s so elegant—I would be happy to own one!—and it has a removable interior lining that makes clean-up easy. 
  14. Emile Henry Artisan Ruffled Pie Dish by Emile Henry ($49.95) | Perfect for the baker in your life. Not only is it hand-glazed, but each piece is cast, inspected and signed by hand. Plus, it's the prettiest pie plate I’ve ever seen.
  15. Fujifilm X-TI from Fujifilm ($1598.95 USD) | A major upgrade from the typical point-and-shoot. This mirrorless camera has the image quality but not the bulk of a DSLR. The most expensive gift, by far, but it's fantastic for amateur photographers and travellers who are serious about taking their photos to a new level. Want other recommendations in different price ranges? Check out the Wirecutter’s reviews of digital cameras

As always, have a happy weekend!