British hospitality and an event with Jamie Oliver

London Bridge in the fog. The view from the galleries of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Cheery Christmas markets. Mince pies from Harrods.

I pondered every little detail of my recent trip to London, as I tossed and turned, draped over two airplane seats. Flying over the ocean for hours on end, I finally summed it up in one word: hospitality.

The British have had a long-standing reputation for being polite, but everything my sister and I experienced went far and above common courtesy. It was enough to leave a lasting impression, and oddly enough, made me understand my dad’s preoccupation with good manners.

It started at the airport, receiving friendly assistance as we sorted out the public transportation to central London. (If you’re taking notes, buy the Oyster card and hop on the Piccadilly line.)

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On returning home {Apple & Fennel Stuffed Salmon with Cider Sauce}

I crammed my hands in the pockets of my jeans to keep them warm as I followed my brother along a narrow path that paralleled a creek.

It was mid-October and the chill in the air confirmed that fall was well advanced in Northern British Columbia. The woods were vibrant with reds and oranges, one last festival of colour before Winter would wave her wand and transform the scene into a world of white.

Josh and I walked over mossy logs and slippery leaves until the brambles of wild roses and clumps of willows parted to show the stream. The water tumbled white, then quieted into a narrow creek bed lined with small, smooth stones.

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Returning home and Tomato Farro Salad

I‘ve returned from a week of travel on Canada’s West Coast and have found myself surprisingly short on words. Could I be talked out? It’s entirely possible.

First there were two short days on my brother’s homestead nestled under the towering peaks of Hudson Bay Mountain. Over meals such as grilled wild salmon and apple cider braised grouse, we shared our hearts with each other far into the night, making up for lost time.

Beautiful British Columbia

From there I took two flights and two ferries to meet up with my retired parents who are setting up on Cortez in the Discovery Islands. We roamed beaches in the first light of day and pried open oysters harvested from under our feet at the water’s edge. We talked of the past, present and future; we laughed and even argued a bit. Family does that.

Cortez Island, Beautiful BC

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Family travel on Prince Edward Island: Part 2

A few days after our return from Prince Edward Island, I called my parents to catch up. Both of them remarked how relaxed I sounded and I suppose they were right. I really unwound over the eight days we were traveling, soaking in the laid-back energy of my surroundings.

We didn’t bring back any shells, driftwood or even a t-shirt from the Island, but I did return with a resolution to not get overwhelmed with the day-to-day demands of being a work-a-home mother. Easier said than done, I know, but taking things one day at a time helps, as does knowing how to de-stress.

Danny and I are are the same in that we both draw tremendous peace from nature. It could be field or forest, sea or sky, but enjoying a belle vista is one of the best ways we release our cares and let the breeze blow them away. Below are some of our favourite views from P.E.I. (and after that, a story about digging for our dinner!).

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Family travel on Prince Edward Island (part 1)

My first visit to Prince Edward Island was last summer, when we spent two night at a B&B on tall red bluffs overlooking the ocean. The boys hunted for sea glass on the shoreline, we climbed a lighthouse during a wild storm, and Danny fell hard for a locally distilled gin.

On that trip we played Anne of Green Gables on the minivan’s DVD player and didn’t resist falling in love with the Gentle Island. We knew we had to come back to explore more of P.E.I. and this summer it happened, with a little help from their tourism board.

Travel is a big part of our developing family food culture; our children learn about and sample the local fare, whether it is freshly dug clams or pan-fried fish. This topic is a little different from my usual blog content, but as many of you enjoyed reading about Mexico and Nova Scotia, I thought you’d like to join us on the beautiful Prince Edward Island.

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