brunchin’: emma’s country kitchen

I had heard so much about Emma’s Country Kitchen but never made it out there because I don’t usually have the patience for brunch, too many lines, and people with nowhere to stand but a couple of weeks ago we were up early on a rainy Saturday so I thought we’d try our luck. The wait was about 40 minutes, so we went and grabbed a coffee across the street, stopped in at the butcher and they called us in about the time they have estimated.

The first thing I noticed was the donuts, they have about 4 different flavours to choose from and our hostess told us that they sell out, they make them fresh everyday and when they’re gone, they’re gone. So, of course we had to start with a donut appetizer.

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We got the one with toffee on top, I love sponge candy and this donut was so good. We shared one but I could have very easily just had multiple donuts for breakfast, it was so good.

For our main, we had just the classic breakfast. It was tasty but similar to what you’d have at any brunch place. I did see a lot of people getting their pancakes, they looked good but not what I was looking for.

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I don’t know that I would wait in line for breakfast again but I would definitely pop in to grab donuts, it looked like you could pick them up at the counter. They were definitely worth it, particularly as the weather gets nicer and I spend more time walking in that neighbourhood.

Have you been to Emma’s Country Kitchen? What did you think?

read: jackdaws

So, I finished Jackdaws by Ken Follett a couple of weeks ago, but since I read it for a book club, I held off the post until after I had met with them.

Jackdaws is a story from two points of view, set during the war we have the point of view of Flick, a British woman working with the French Resistance and a German solider living in occupied France. It was a book I borrowed from the library, which only gave me three weeks to read it, and I didn’t start reading it until a week after I borrowed it so I was afraid I was not going to finish it but it was so captivating, I couldn’t put it down. The story takes place in the week up to D-Day in occupied France as Flick and her team of women work to undermine the German forces in France. There were a number of points in the book however that I found too graphic and I had to skip over but the story was so important it was worth reading. I wasn’t sure after the first couple of chapters that I was going to be able to get through it but I’m so glad I did.

The book is incredible, if you’re a fan of historic fiction, I would definitely recommend it. Although, I would like to read something a little lighter next time so I’m taking suggestions!

 

be our guest: royalTEA party events

I might still be in the Beauty and the Beast mode but I definitely felt like a very important guest at today’s royaltea’s launch party.

Royaltea is a new mobile, luxury, high tea business that will bring high tea events to you. Events can be customized to a variety of budgets and themes, which would be perfect for showers, special birthdays and corporate events. Royaltea had a launch party this weekend to introduce their beautiful china and custom services.

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This event had tiny sandwiches and little desserts and of course, tea. The attention to detail was remarkable, like the colourful, heart-shaped sugar. Your party can have any types of treats and sandwiches as well as a variety of tea (including some grown up tea). Contact Royaltea Party Events to book your custom tea party.

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review: beauty and the beast

I saw beauty and the beast tonight with a theatre full of millenials, because I assume that is the only age group seeing the live-action remake of the 90s classic. 

The film is almost identical to the original Disney version, with all the old songs and a couple of new ones. I hadn’t seen the movie in a really long time so there were a few details I forgot, and a few that were new to the story to make a more complete plot line. 

Although it was a little cheesy, it definitely made me feel nostalgic, I’m surprised there wasn’t a singalong in the theatre (I would totally participate in that by the way). If you loved the film growing up, I’d recommend seeing it, it’s fun and heart-warming  (even though the story is complete bizarre when you step back). 

Have you seen it? What did you think?

trying something new: cross-stitching

So, I tried something yesterday I didn’t really think I would ever do – I went cross-stitching. At a brewery. Of course, because where else would I cross stitch?

The was cross-stitching with Caitlin, a staff member of Left Field Brewery (which continues to be one of my favourite breweries in the city). For $35, you get a pint of beer and a kit filled with items to complete the cross-stitch you picked, also the instruction of a very patient teacher, Caitlin.

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When I opened my box, I knew I was in trouble. It was so cute but I was immediately overwhelmed. But a brief tutorial and several dozen questions later, I was on my way. I was however glad that the instructions said that you would not finish your cross-stitch in that time but instead, you would be able to take it home and have everything you need to complete it. Caitlin has a bunch of different designs and kits which she sells on Etsy, depending on how this one turns out (I’ll try to post a picture when complete but don’t be surprised if it’s next winter), I might get the “Wish You Were Beer” one, because, it’s true.

They’re running the event a couple more times, I would suggest trying it out if you’re looking for something fun and crafty to do, although it definitely reminded me why I don’t do crafts!

Also, I’ll include a little Thirsty Thursday, my pint was a seasonal brew with blood orange and it was really good. Not overly sweet or too fruity, still tasted like beer. Make sure to try it out next time you’re in the east end.

read: disrupt yourself

On my journey to read 30 books this year, I’m trying to read more personal development style books. Disrupt Yourself was recommended to me, and I will be honest, it wasn’t my favourite.

The idea behind Disrupt Yourself is that you can do with your career, what others have done with organizations like Uber and AirBnB. “Disrupters” find parts of the market that are largely ignored by competitors and then overnight, they explode. Disrupt Yourself is about examples of people who took risks in their careers and those risks lead to bigger rewards. Although I thought the book had a few good examples, I thought it was a little repetitive, and it was only about 100 pages. I think the stories would have made great blog posts or a podcast series.

So, this wasn’t my favourite book that I’ve read in 2017, it did have some interesting stories, if you’re interested in learning more about the “disrupter” idea, this book may be a good place to start (it’s also available at the library) but some people may be a little tired of the term and should maybe just check out a blog post or two.

thirsty thursday: swing bridge

I was at the LCBO a couple of weeks ago trying to find something new,they didn’t have a huge selection but I did find this cute beer I had never seen before. 

This blonde beer, Swing Bridge is from manitoulin island and was a great. It was a refreshing beer, I think this beer would be perfect for people who want to try craft beers but are afraid of something too strong. I’ll definitely be picking this up the next time I find it in the LCBO. 

penny candy jams

I love being able to share local companies with you and I am so happy I found this one this past weekend. We stopped in at the Honest Ed’s market for the closing weekend.

I had already bought brie to put out for my brunch this weekend and saw Penny Candy Jam and knew I had to have one to serve with it. The Jam Man had 8 kinds of jams and I was overwhelmed with the selection, so I asked which one paired best with brie. He suggested a couple and I loved the Blackberry <3s Sage.

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I served it this morning with the brie and it was sooooo good, it was fruity and not too sweet and paired perfectly with the creamy brie. You can purchase the jams online or at markets throughout the city. Penny Candy Jam is definitely worth checking it out.

money, money, money!

I’ve written a couple of posts about apps I use to earn points for gift cards in the past but I think it needs to be updated every once in a while because some sites get better, some get worst, there are so new ones and some disappear. So these are the apps I’m using these days to earn some gift cards and points for a bunch of different things:

Swagbucks
Swagbucks has been consistently on my list because it has stayed about the same over the past couple of years. I use this site to complete survey, searching the web, watch videos which I have going a lot of time when I’m home and occasionally shop to earn points towards everything from starbucks, old navy, chapters or SIR corp restaurants. You can also redeem for paypal dollars but it’s a better deal for regular gift cards. There’s a referral program as well that is 10% of earnings for as long as your referrals use Swagbucks. I like this program because it’s very easy to understand how many points you’re getting and their value. I also keep an old email for all my newsletters and other “junk” and use that for any tasks that require an email sign up.

Ebates
Ebates is another consistent app/website I use to earn cash back on purchases. There’s tons of stores on there that I use frequently, like chapters, old navy, beauty boutique, sephora, the bay and so many more. There is also travel sites, which is where I’ve gotten most of my cash back dollars from, most times I book my travel through expedia or travelocity and they have up to 8% cash back depending on what you’re purchasing. You can get a referral fee when people sign up and make a purchase and you get your payment or cheque once a quarter.

Drop
Drop is a newer app, I’ve been using about 3 months. You do have to sign in through your banking/credit card information to get the rewards but if you’re ok with that, you can pick the companies they’re affiliated with and get points for those. You can get a bonus 1000 points if you use my referral code: ‘cyb6d’. It is another app that is easy to understand the value of the points you’re earning.

Carrot
Carrot is a newer app sponsored by the Canadian government in an effort to get Canadians healthier. Earn points for completing challenges related to health and wellness for one of 4 loyalty programs. I have it set for scene points and I’m getting close to a free movie. You can use my referral code to get a bonus when you sign up with Carrot: ‘snicholson6561’.

JobSeeker
JobSeeker is an interesting app, it’s sponsored by Indeed and you get points based on posting ‘help wanted’ signs so they’re able to post jobs that may not be available online. You need to take the photos through the app so that it can track the location. The points amount changes depending on how likely the job is to not be found online but it’s still very little effort and after a couple months I’m at about $25 in amazon gift cards. You can only redeem for amazon gift cards but the benefit is you can redeem at any amount.

Choir! Choir! Choir!

A few weeks ago I did something that i haven’t done since I was a child. I sung in a choir. I forgot how hard singing in a choir was! I went with Lindsay from Happy or Hungry, Michelle from Eamonn & Jack and Casey from Waffling Blog.┬áIf you’ve never heard of it, Choir! Choir! Choir! hosts events every Tuesday and Wednesday where people get together to learn one choral arrangement they perform at the end of the night. You may have seen their version of “What a Wonderful World” around Christmas time, and occasionally they do songs based on current events which is the event we attended.

The organizers saw MILCK perform “Quiet” during the women’s march and invited her to Toronto to perform the song with the choir. All of the money raised from the event was donated to the ACLU, which could definitely use additional funding during this crazy time. It was an amazing experience and watching the video gives me goosebumps. It was a great showing of support for a great organization and a way to celebrate and continue the momentum following the women’s march. Check out the video! (Don’t worry, you can’t actually hear me).