Autumn in Geneva and potato gnocchi in brown butter and sage sauce

A hilarious thing happened when I went to the hardware store the other day … I discovered that Christmas had thrown up all over the place. We’re talking mid-October, and Santa’s workshop is already fully set up. I’ve never seen anything like this before, and I used to cover and write about Christmas decorations for a living.* The entire back warehouse of the store (which is usually their outdoor area and greenhouse) is completely decorated top to bottom with candy canes, elves and the like. There was even a full room dedicated to an LED light show. No actual Santas, though, and I’m not yet sure where Switzerland stands on Santa yet. One thing I have discovered is that Christmas is a HUGE deal in Europe. I guess there’s no Halloween to break up the holidays – they go straight from summer to Christmas and, I suspect, back again. I’m excited to see how out of control things get.

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Beauty update

Imagine me saying “beauty” super sarcastically, because I have found that during pregnancy, the idea of beauty goes out the window. Or is at least vastly compromised. Some women have that lovely pregnancy glow? Mine is more like a pregnancy ooze. Around now, I start to get compliments when I’ve recently showered. It’s condescending but I’ll take it.

However. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how my more natural beauty regime is going, so I thought I’d give you an update as to how natural I’ve remained. It’s been about four months, so I figure the things that have stuck are probably going to stay.

Firstly, the Oil Cleansing Method. This is where you “wash” your face in oil – see here for more details. Sounds gross? Is amazing. Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday, and I was a little sad that I was going to miss out on it this year. Imagine my incredible delight, then, when I realized that not only would I have guests over Thanksgiving weekend, but some of my favourite people in the world – my sister, two brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law! What luck. And we have many many things to be thankful for. One healthy baby and another one on the way, family who loves us so much they travel across the world to see us and more family who we couldn’t be with but were in our thoughts and hearts.

My family got to go and explore the Bains de Paquis – basically a mecca of nakedness in downtown Geneva. I was assured that no one I knew went nude while taking a dip in Lake Geneva, but everyone enjoyed the Turkish baths. I can’t wait until I can try the saunas, one of these days.
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Announcement and an epic amount of book reviews

What do you mean, I’m going to be a big brother?

This is the face of a kid who has no idea what’s coming. And what’s coming is … his little brother or sister! The reason why I’ve been completely off of eating food, or of doing anything other than lying around and feeling nauseous, for that matter, is I’ve been getting through my first trimester with my next baby. A very exciting time for our little family, and while I try not to talk too much about my kid(s) here, it’s funny how being pregnant ends up being an all consuming kind of thing that influences everything that I do. So I thought I’d make my little announcement; that’s our next bit of exciting news in what has been a rather exciting year for us.

Back to my regularly scheduled blog, I have spent the last few weeks touring around Canada, but mostly reading. It was glorious, guys. There is something so decadent about devouring book after book, not feeling guilty about discarding one and moving on to another in the next minute. I read A LOT, so this is an exceptionally long blog. I decided to put them down from my favourite to least favourite, because when you get bored halfway through, at least you’ll have seen the really good books that you should be reading.

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Traveling with Baby: Canadiana edition part two

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The next part of our trip in Ontario was much busier. After all the peace and quiet it was almost shocking to have places to go and people to see, but it was welcome. Especially since they were beautiful places to go and loved ones to see. We got to spend time with friends and family we haven’t seen since leaving the country, and it was so nice to spend time with familiar faces.

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Traveling with Baby: Canadiana edition

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If you really want to see Canada in all it’s glory, I would suggest visiting in September. It is truly spectacular – the fireworks of maple leaves and the crisp, sun-warmed air give you a sense of everything the country has to offer. If you really want to enjoy your stay, I would suggest leaving the toddler at home.

Just kidding. We had the most amazing time on our Canadian adventure, and X was awesome almost all of the time, especially taking into account the fact that we just uproot him and drag him around the world on a whim, and he has no clue what’s going on. Things started off a little bit touchy, when he only slept a half hour of the eight hour flight from Geneva to Montreal. The rest of the time was spent screaming, as though we were torturing him. Think I’m exaggerating? Well, a little, but not by much. All he wanted to do was run up and down the aisle of the plane. As long as he was doing that, everything was right in his little world. If not, well. Back to the torture. Even the Air Canada staff, not exactly known for their caring ways, were stumbling over themselves trying to get him to be quiet, giving us more and more food and milk. Little did they know our little guy cares nothing for food, only for moving around. Not many people slept well on that flight, let me tell you. I’m not that sympathetic – they at least slept better than I did.
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Lavender: Harvesting, Drying, Baking

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Hey all. This is going to be my last post for a few weeks. Z, X and I are going on a much-needed vacation – back to the mother land! I’m so excited to get back to Canada. We’ve already discussed that we’ll be stopping for Timmy’s in the airport as soon as we land. Some things you just can’t really get out of your system. We’ll be out of range of the internets for awhile, which is going to be quite nice, but I’ll be back in October, with more of our travel adventures (with a Canadian edition, I’m sure!) and exciting news.

I adore lavender. I find it to be such a multipurpose, perfect flower. It smells wonderful, it helps you get to sleep, it has elegant blossoms and a lovely colour. And you can even cook with it. I have one tomato soup recipe that is to die for, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with the herbes de provence, including lavender, that’s in it.

So I was very excited to discover that lavender grows EVERYWHERE here. In fields. Along the sides of fences. In ditches. And, lucky for me, in a huge bush right outside my front door. The plant is massive, and clearly very mature. I produces so many flowers throughout the season. The whole area is usually cheerfully buzzing with bees as they let off wafts of delicate lavender scent while they work. It’s as bucolic as you can get. I was determined to do something about the massive amounts of lavender growing right outside.
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