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“It happens to everyone as they grow up. You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realize that people you’ve known forever don’t see things the way you do. So you keep the wonderful memories, but find yourself moving on.”
Nicholas Sparks


London in Pictures

A Seasoned Traveller

I have vague memories of travelling abroad while growing up. There were one or two trips abroad and a few road trips, but that was it. My dad was a creature of habit and so we stayed at home and regularly played tourist in our beloved city.

Flash forward 33 years and  it seems like we’re constant travelling. Would it seem weird if I considered my 20 month-old daughter a well-seasoned traveller? Amina has travelled by air since she was 2 months old. Her first trip was the move from Toronto to LA and her latest jaunt was a trans-Atlantic flight to the United Kingdom.

Travelling with a baby requires a lot of planning and organisation.  A few weeks before a flight, I would create a list of things I wanted to take- clothes based on the season, toys,  books, sleep accessories like her projector or Sleep Sheep (this was before I bought another projector and Sleep Sheep to stay at home in Toronto), bottles, and food items.  About two weeks before the trip, I would start dumping stuff that I would take into a basket so that when it came time to pack, I knew everything was in the basket and I didn’t have to go searching around the house for everything. Finally, 3-4 days before the trip, I would pack everything up so I would only have to add last minute items, like Amina’s sleeping blanket, the morning of the trip.

When Amina was younger, keeping her occupied on a flight wasn’t a problem. She would eat, drink milk and then fall asleep.  However, now that she is a very active toddler, she  needs a few things to keep her distracted and quiet for a part of the flight.  For the last 3-4 trips, I created busy bags that contained a few toys and books, some old, some new to keep Amina occupied. After every trip, I’ve reviewed the busy bag items got rid of what didn’t work for her and replaced them with new items.

Hands down, here are some of my BUSY BAG MUST HAVES on a flight with my little munchkin:

  1.  Washi Tape -This Japanese paper tape is great for sticking on the tray table, seat screen, ahem…people sitting next to you.  It’s easily removable and can entertain a toddler for at least 20-30 minutes.
  2.  Sticky Notes – Great for sticking, creating patterns
  3.  1-2 new board books, wrapped up in colourful paper.
  4. Mini magnidoodle for drawing. I found this to be better than crayons because the crayons rolled off the tray table.
  5.  Stickers and a mini book to stick them on.
  6. Weleda Skin Food– This saved me big time on my last solo flight with Amina. She was unwell and screamed pretty much the entire flight. None of the aforementioned items helped and then suddenly she saw my hand cream and the last two hours of the flight passed away very quietly!  If you do add this to your busy bag, try to find one that is non-toxic.
  7.  iPod-Load it with 1-2 toddler apps or cartoons


Post contains affiliate links.


Trying to Stay Healthy


The best way to beat a cold is to get ahead of it as fast as you can.  So when hubby came home last night feeling like something was stirring inside, we hit it with our cold and flu arsenal- doTERRA essential oils and raw Manuka honey. First, he had a glass of water followed by our Manuka and Oregano oil concoction (1 tbsp honey with one drop of Oregano oil).  Then, he had several OnGuard beadlets.  And just to be safe, I diffused OnGuard essential oil throughout the home.

This morning, I woke up feeling yucky, so I began my cold protocol: warm water with a drop of Lemon oil, OnGuard beadlets, an OnGuard throat drop, and finally, Oregano oil with Manuka honey.

These oils have been life savers for us.  If we can’t get in front of a bug, the oils help reduce cold symptoms, decrease the chances of the bug spreading to other members of the family and decrease the amount of down time we have when we’re sick.

To purchase oils, please click HERE.

To read more about the oils mentioned, click the links below:

doTERRA Oregano Oil

doTERRA Lemon Oil

doTERRA OnGuard Oil

How to reduce your formaldehyde exposure

I never really used to wash newly purchased clothes before wearing them, but that’s changed after reading this!

How to reduce your formaldehyde exposure

What’s colourless, preserves frogs, coats pillow cases and impregnates ‘no-iron’shirts?

Answer: formaldehyde.


Learn how to avoid it by watching me on The Dr. Oz show Thursday, January 9! I’m the guest expert. (For real. They flew me to New York to tape and eat half my weight in complimentary green room hummus.)

Formaldehyde is used in clothing, bedding and curtains because it

1. Prevents wrinkles
2. Prevents mildew during shipping
3. Increases colour fastness
4. Increases stain resistance

Why get your knickers in a knot?

1. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen says the International Agency for Research on Cancer (PDF); Canada has also declared it toxic and the U.S. doesn’t regulate its use in clothing
2. You won’t find it listed on the label
3. Even low-level exposure can cause headache, runny nose or contact dermatitis a.k.a. skin irritation a.k.a. rash

Formaldehyde is particularly troublesome for those with chemical sensitivities, which may explain why you’re still suffering from rashes or eczema even after switching to less-toxic laundry soap and ditching fragranced dryer sheets.

Reduce your formaldehyde exposure:

1. Wash all clothes and linens BEFORE wearing or using—gets rid of about 60 per cent of the stuff
2. Avoid products labelled “wrinkle-free”, “iron-free”, “permanent-press” or “stain-resistant”
3. Perform a “sniff test”—if it smells chemical-y, don’t buy it, or return it
4. Choose organic cottons

What household goods have you found to be the worst off-gassing offenders?

Speaking of knickers…comment on this blog to win formaldehyde-free underwear by Nicole Bridger! (Draw February 10.)

Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

Juice Cleanse

For a while now, hubby and I have tossed around the idea of doing a cleanse.  We looked into The Master Cleanse, after hearing about a friend’s experience, but since it required serious commitment and a very strict diet, we thought we’d ease ourselves into the cleansing world with a 3-day juice cleanse from Pressed Juicery, a cold-pressed juicer in Los Angeles. We also decided not to do the cleanse at the same time in the event an adverse reaction occurred- if we were both down, who would take care of Amina?

We decided that I would do the cleanse first, so two weeks ago, I took the online quiz to determine which cleanse was best suited for my current lifestyle. It turned out to be cleanse 1.  I placed my order for the 3-day cleanse, plus the aloe vera water and chlorophyll water, and patiently waited for my order to arrive the following week. (Note: If you sign up for The Chalkboard Magazine on the Pressed Juicery website, you get 10% off your first juice order). In the mean time, I read up on the how to’s of cleansing Pressed Juicery had on their website. You can read all about it here.  I started my cleanse last Thursday and finished on Saturday night.

Pressed Juicery juices

Day 1:


Peppermint tea

The juices get shipped overnight, so Thursday morning, I had to wait until 10 am to get started. My stomach was growling, so I decided to have some peppermint tea and anapple to keep me going.

The juices were shipped with ice packs, so they were still cold when I received them. After loading my fridge up with my juices, I started off with bottle 1.  All of the juice bottles are labeled so it was pretty easy to tell in what order to drink the juices. By the time I was on #4, the sugar, salt and carb cravings started kicking in.  I had to force myself to drink the other 2 juices and finish my waters.  By 7pm, I was tired and wanted to crawl into bed, but Amina was still awake and wanted to play.  

Day 2:

The mood swings reared their ugly head. I was very cranky, impatient and frustrated all the time. Thankfully, hubby was home to help take care of Amina. I was able to rest and have some “Me” time.

Day 3:

The headache from Day 2 continued into Day 3 and the day after the cleanse finished.  To be honest, I really had to push myself to finish the cleanse and not cheat by eating something after I drank my last juice bottle.  Thankfully, the end was in sight, because I was really missed using my teeth to chew my food!

Some thoughts on the cleanse:

-It was harder than I thought.  You don’t realize how dependant your body is on sugar, salt, fat, and carbs until you remove them from your diet.

-At the end of each day, I felt “lighter.” There was no heaviness in the belly and even though I was tired and cranky, I felt refreshed- if that makes sense.

-Would I try it again? Yes, but not for a while.

-The post-cleanse introduction to food is helping me stay away from refined sugars and refined carbs.  I’ve been eating raw fruits and veggies and some protein (quinoa) and my body is liking this new way of eating.


Kettle Corn

There’s something about being sick that makes me crave junk food. Chocolate, cookies, donuts are all that I want to eat.  I had none of those in the house last week when Amina and I were first hit with the cold virus, so I needed something else to help curb my sugar craving.  Luckily, I had just streamed CityLine and saw a recipe for Fairground Kettle Corn.

Corn kernels? Check.

Sugar? Check.

Oil? Check.

Time to make some kettle corn.

Kettle Corn


1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Combine 1/4 cup canola oil with 3 popcorn kernels in a large, wide pot over medium.

When the kernels pop, add another 1/2 cup kernels and carefully sprinkle very evenly with 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Cover with a lid and cook, picking up pot to shake every few seconds, until the popping slows down, 2 to 3 min.

Immediately pour popcorn into a large bowl and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt while stirring. Let cool for 3 min before serving.