As March 17th rolled around off we set to visit our provincial capital on a lovely Sunday morning. Got the children up and bathed and into the car by 8am – that is a marathon in itself! But the luck of the Irish was with us, we were the second to last car on the ferry!
After weeks of wet weather, we were gifted with beautiful sunshine. Arriving in downtown Victoria just before the noon hour, we dropped our bags at the hotel and set off to explore the city on foot and stroller.
Was it the sunny weather or are the people of Victoria always so friendly? Strolling through the streets of downtown Victoria, we stopped and chatted to passersby, people played peek-a-boo with our 7 month old, while the man at the bookstore went out of his way to get my 3 year old son “a blue bookmark” (no other colour would do) – it was just a lovely outing.
For dinner we were planning on going to the world famous Re-Bar vegetarian restaurant. I had been wanting to try it for years – had even made recipes from their cookbook on several occasions, always to the delight of the diners. For lunch, I decided to surprise my husband with a trip to a little Fish and Chip place on Victoria Harbour. My husband, a born and bred Brit, is forever complaining about the lack of quality fish and chips (England’s major contribution to world cuisine, as he puts it) available in Vancouver. A recent episode of Eat Street on the Food Network featured this little place called Red Fish Blue Fish in Victoria, locals love it and the fish is apparently the best this side of the Atlantic. So I knew that I had to take my husband there.
As we expected, there was a long lineup, which usually indicates phenomenal food – or slow service! This, it turns out, was most definitely the former and as the aroma of freshly cooked deliciousness wafted through the air, we grilled the friendly regulars on the ‘you got to try this’ items on the menu (just about all of them, as it happens!). Even our 3 year old seemed to sense this was worth waiting for and waited as patiently as he could. He was of course, quite literally climbing the walls, but he wasn’t going to miss out!
Tummies full of a variety of tacones and chips off we set to visit the famous Munro Books, check out Kaboodles for a jigsaw puzzle or two and pick up a nice cup of tea before heading back to the hotel to put the children down for a nap before our long awaited dinner.
As we stood waiting for our table at Re-Bar, we again were chatting to the locals. My turquoise and diamond ring was spied by one of the women and we got into the pleasures of jewels. There is something about jewels that always turns into a conversation about faraway, exotic places – it was almost a shame to be shown to our table! No sooner had we been seated for dinner than the fire alarm sounded…. Ugh. Did we really have to leave? We had just settled the kids into their seats! As I got up to get our jackets, the two ladies and gentleman we had met in the foyer came over to offer us a hand in getting the children out safely. Such thoughtfulness! As it happens, the alarm was pulled by a few over zealous St Patrick’s night revelers and we were able to settle back into our seats. Dinner was fabulous!
Tomorrow: afternoon tea at The Empress.
How lovely is Victoria and Her people?
As I become more and more experienced in life, I realize just how powerful words can be. Whether as a weapon to bring down an adversary, or as an ointment to heal the wounded, our words have the power to create change. I was recently reminded of this by a young woman who I will probably never see again but will always remember.
I was brought up to believe that in helping others we actually help ourselves and to this end, on the third Sunday of every month, my cousins and I with families in tow, get together in the Downtown Eastside and hand out homemade brown bag lunches. It may not be much, and invariably the food is gone in minutes, but it serves to open the eyes of the younger members of the group whilst providing some respite, however brief, from the harsh realities of life on the streets for people who in the end are just like us.
Handing out lunches during a recent trip, and a little distracted by the youngest and more rambunctious members of my tribe, I turned to hand a young woman – perhaps in her early twenties – a lunch, and in doing so I looked up and said, “God bless you.” In that moment everything seemed to stop as the she locked her eyes with mine. The smallest of tears welled up and rather hesitantly she said “Me?” She was incredulous, somewhere in life she had stopped believing that she was worthy of such sentiments.
I will never forget that moment for as long as I live. It reminded me how powerful words can be. When I responded to this young woman with a smile and “yes, God bless you” her weary face broke into a beautiful smile and her piercing green eyes sparkled. In that moment I knew this discarded soul felt she mattered. She replied with a very sincere “Thank you” and she was gone.
How could a few simple words be so powerful?
As we head into the summer wedding season, I always field questions on what the hottest trends and the freshest looks are. While fashion constantly changes and we get to benefit from the brilliant creativity of fashion artists, the one thing that never goes out of style is quality. A quality piece of jewellery will always set you apart from the crowd. Whether precious, semi-precious, or costume jewellery – always buy the best quality available within your budget. Remember, less is more, especially when you buy a quality piece, it will stand on its own merit.
Speaking of parties, surely no city celebrated more last year than London with the Olympics, the Queen’s Jubilee and of course the Royal Wedding! Kate Middleton impressed with her sense of style before, during and after the wedding. The Duchess of Cambridge, as she is now, continues to catch the eye of the fashion elite with her understated yet sophisticated style. Her clothes are always simple, but with an eye for quality fabrics and accessories. She has a timeless style and even her choice of bridesmaid’s outfit for Pippa, a simple Alexander McQueen gown in soft-white with the perfect pair of delicate pearl-drop earrings, reflected this.
Jewels should enhance your appearance and make you feel good. Many have likened jewels to being “the icing on the cake,” or “your crowning glory,” or the thing that adds that “va-va-voom” and sets you apart from the crowd. While I agree with all these sentiments, for me personally jewellery is the one item that gives me that extra bit of confidence in my appearance. Every time I look at that ring on my finger, or feel the brush of those earrings against my hair, I feel so good inside. I stand a little taller and smile just a little bit more. It’s what comes from knowing you are wearing something that speaks of your style implicitly.
How does jewellery make you feel and what does it say about you?
On January 24th, 2013 I was able to fulfill one of my bucket list items.
It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to see a certain Ms. Oprah Winfrey live. As soon as it was announced that Oprah was coming to Vancouver, my husband bought two tickets for me as a special treat. I, of course, invited my best friend to come with me – who better to enjoy Oprah with?
On the way to our Evening with Oprah we stopped to get a proper cup of tea, snuck our teas into the venue ( which never serve proper tea) and we settled in for an evening of “ah-ha’s.”
Oprah duly came on stage looking resplendent in a gown of softest rose and a pair of brilliant, sparkling large hoop earrings. She looked fabulous!
More than the clothes, the jewels or even the shoes (and make no mistake, the shoes were fabulous), it was the essence, the energy that surrounded Oprah, that made her so fascinating . In a stadium of thousands, as soon as she entered her presence changed the energy in the entire auditorium. I must admit, it brought tears to my eyes. It was a moment I felt in my soul.
With a natural glow and surrounded by a halo of positive energy, Oprah exudes kindness but at the same time she is a force to be reckoned with. I admire how she can project both these qualities simultaneously . Her work with under-privileged girls and her generosity to many great causes is something I also wish to do in my lifetime. I may not be able to give on the same scale as Oprah, but it is important, I believe, for each of us to give as much as we can. Whether it is monetary aid, giving of our time, helping by donating our skills – we all have the power to make a difference in another person’s life.
So there I was sitting having my feet massaged at a local foot lounge. This has got to be the most sinfully indulgent thing a woman can do for herself. I feel totally decadent when I take the time to have myself pampered like this. For the next 50 minutes I lay back in the soft leather seat, eyes closed, savouring the expertise this little lady with the powerful hands is bestowing upon me.