What Phone Apps Could you not Live Without?


A variety of Phone Apps we cannot live without, differ from person to person but what is the most popular?

Apps we cannot live without -really?

Well I have not done much reading so far this month, busy entertaining and making egg nog – and drinking it well laced with brandy, I prefer brandy to rum. Enough preambling..that sort of month so far for me! Any free time I have had this month I have done some internet trawling and of course spent some quality time on Pinterest ( love that site) getting ideas for Christmas.  One of the blogs I came across was from 2013 but I found the information interesting, all about the best five food apps a Canadian should have, now the five are:

  1. Eat Canada: Dining in Downtown Canada
  2. Whole Foods Market Recipes
  3. Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet
  4. Wine Picks & Pairings: Natalie MacLean
  5. MoodFood

Now the blogs explains them very well so I am not going too but I wanted to ask what foodie blogs do people use and why? My favourites of the above are the wine picks as I never know what to choose and moodfood as I just love that idea. I actually have not downloaded any as to be honest I don’t really use them. I have allrecipes app on my phone and that is enough. Mind you if I get a nice iPad for christmas then that could all change ( hint hint).  It also set me to wondering what apps do people put on their phones. Just phones for this exercise; I really only use mine for the normal, making calls texting, using Whats App (when it works!) and my Goodreads App, what could you not live without on your phone?? Let me know in the comments below.


Robin Mckinley and Strong Female Protagonists in Fantasy


Robert McKinley's The Hero and The Crown - one of my favourites

One of my all time favourites

I have had a bit of a reading binge this past month, not so much new novels but old favourites. I was in the mood for something on the empowerment of women, a strong female character that does not have to be saved. Ok so some stuff going on for me at the moment but don’t want to dwell on it, suffice to say I am dealing with it!

One of the first books I read in the fantasy genre was by Robin McKinley; not luck it was one of the first, I had a very interesting teacher who was a strong believer in women’s rights at a time when it was a topic of conversation not a fact. Ms McKinley has a reputation for writing about strong female protagonists who were definitely not without faults but they overcame difficulties that most of us can identify with. Ok you can argue the books are fantasy with vampire and strange surroundings but still the books describe how adversity can be dealt with, without the knight on shining armour.

I actually read Sunshine first but then I read The Hero and The Crown; this last book has proven popular within feminist literature. The book advocates a woman has the right to a say in her own destiny and a say in how it is achieved. Whilst this book comes under the genre of Teens/Young adult it makes an excellent read for an adult. I have recommended it many times to friends and always got good feedback. It also appears in a number of fantasy best read lists. If you have never read any of her work I recommend you start with this one, which is the prequel to Blue Sword. Sunshine I still love but vampire novels are not for everyone.

What do like to see in your female characters? Who is your favourite author, let me know and let the discussions begin…

A Visit to The Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Canadian Museum of Human Rights - fabulous eyecatching building designed by the architect Antoine Predock

Canadian Museum of Human Rights

How was everyone’s summer? Well August? I had a great time as had family over from France. Nephew and niece came over for the first time since they where little. Both are 18 now, where does time fly. So we did a few touristy things that was actually good fun. Seeing the city through new eyes is also a treat, I think you tend to forget what you have on your doorstep when you are living and working in a place. I thought I would give a mention to some of the places I have re discovered and I am planning to not ‘forget’ again in my next few posts.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights; this just has to be top of any visitors list, it’s a fabulous day out. I actually have never got around to visiting despite every time I saw its outline I would say,” I really must go and see what is happening there’. The architecture stands out, designed by Antione Predock, it is modern, attractive and certainly eye-catching. The museum states ‘it will take you on a journey of education and inspiration unlike anything you’ve experienced before’. It certainly did just that, we had planned a morning there but stayed more or less the whole day. Do not plan this in any itinerary without allowing enough time to appreciate what is included there. I enjoyed it so much I have booked for us as a family on the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour, which explores rights and responsibilities from the First Nations perspective. I am really looking forward to it. I guess I am gushing a bit over the museum but I cannot recommend it enough, I am not going to take you on a step by step tour you need to go yourself and experience it. The visit led to some very interesting conversations with the family. One fact I was not aware of was that women were not allowed o officially register for marathons before 1972, I really had not realised that, just seems something we have always done, I was quite shocked and I am not sure why?

Anyone else been to the museum, what were your experiences?

In the mood for British Humour…

Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches #1) Fabulous series of books.

Well I throughly enjoyed reading new novel last month, now onto some oldies but goodies. Are you like me get a mood on me for a certain read, sometimes a book, sometimes an author? Well I do; this month it has been Terry Pratchett, a wonderful humorous British author who unfortunately died early 2015. The wonderful man suffered from early onset Alzheimer’s which he called his ’embuggeration’. I love his Discworld series, actually starting with the third one in the series ‘Equal Rites‘ about a young witch saving the world. I love his tongue in cheek approach and his wonderful world filled with crazy and identifiable characters. Lucky me got for my birthday (from my every patient and understanding hubby), the Complete Collection of Discworld DVD’s– a collection of film adaptations of his books and they are great! The animations are not as good as the ones with David Jason in; my favourite is ‘Going Postal’. I love British Humour first saw David Jason during a visit to the UK in a long time series called Only Fools and Horses. In fact I am leaving this post today to have a bit of nostalgia as I have my coffee and watch some more of the series via You Tube.

Only Fools and Horses, BBC Series that run for a number of years. Full of British humour.

David Jason, Only Fools and Horses

What are you doing for Canada Day?

A good book and a comfy chair and of course a good glass of redWell I will be reading; sat in my comfortable new chair with a big glass of good red wine – thinking Megalomaniac Wines Red Blend Cabernet .  Found a review of this wine in 2011 and fell in love with it, still enjoying it today. Hubby is on call, son is off with his mates to The Forks, wasn’t too sure about it but he is 17 and a responsible lad (I hope). We will be all gathering at my mum and dads for tea at 8pm so I have nearly all day to myself..luxury!

For those non Canadians reading this (wouldn’t that be nice) Canada day or Fête du Canada is on the 1st July and celebrates the uniting of three colonies into what is today’s Canada via the enactment of the Constitution Act 1867, also known as the British North America Act, 1867.  It is a National holiday and celebrated all over Canada.

As I said my celebration is a treat to myself, going to indulge in reading the 10th novel in a series by Michelle Sagara, ‘Cast in Flame’. I have read all of the novels in the series except for this one and there is a new one due out in November this year, Yea! I have been reading Michelle, who is a Japanese-Canadian, for years and have all of her novels. Michelle publishes under three names Sagara, West (her husband’s name) and Sagara West. My favourite books of hers are  of course the Elantra Series . Have you read any of hers, if so which are your favourites?

Six of Michelle Sagara Elantra Series Novels

What would we do without Maple Syrup?

Maple Syrup  - Canada's sweetest tradition

Canadian Maple Syrup

Well without maple syrup what could I put on my pancakes? Seriously though can not imagine a food cupboard without this staple in it. I was brought up on it and so has husband and my son.

For anyone not aware of maple syrup let me give you a brief introduction and some links so you can correct that. Maple syrup is of original aboriginal descent. Although the origins are not clear it is known that the tree sap was collected and then frozen repeatedly, removing the ice so the sugar concentrated in the original sap. This link is  a nice explanation of how it is made. Actually been to the Mclachlan family Maple Syrup Camp and Pancake House ( mentioned in the link) a few years ago, really worth a visit if you are over in Ontaria but only open February to April – always check before a visit.

There is endless possibilities to the use of maple syrup in recipes, this link gives you 57 of them..my favourite is the granola and maple caramel pretzels, whats yours?

One of the things that interests me, is the association of maple syrup to health. It is well-known that it is packed full of anti oxidants and vitamins but did you know it can also lower blood sugar? Maple syrup is lower on the glycemic index than normal sugar. It also has zinc which is necessary for a health immune system and magnesium that is vital for bone health. All in all one of the good foods, always knew that as my mother told me so!!!

1908 Roland Reed Photo of a Ojibwe woman tapping maple syrup

Tapping for Maple Syrup in the early 1900’s

What is your favourite recipe using maple syrup, sweet or savoury? Let me know.