March 2013
« Feb   Apr »




Pregnant Royal Clotheshorse Still Looks Like a Thoroughbred

March 5, 2013

The Duchess of Cambridge is in the sixth month of her pregnancy, but you’d hardly know it from her recent outing (


Maybe the photographers chose just the right angles, but the royal bump was hardly to be seen.
Here’s a picture of her wearing a coat from last year.
And here’s the same coat worn on the recent trip. The big heels are still there and the tummy is not looking a lot bigger. But maybe she has more of a glow.
I’m not a big fan of royalty but I’m starting to think that I’ll have to make an exception for the Duchess. She certainly has a lovely smile.
And it seems that others have the Duchess bug far worse than I do. The last time the Duchess wore this coat it sold out within one hour on the Hobbs website. Let’s hope the royal bump gets a little bigger before the land of hope and former glory gets its new heir to the throne.



Posted in: Events | Tags: , , , ,

Check out The Hit List at French Connection US!

March 5, 2013

SHOP French Connection

Check out The Hit List at French Connection US. The latest bestsellers welcome in the new season with a nod to the fit-and-flare dress, a sweet saccharine palette and textured panel detail. Plus, get free shipping on orders over $150. Use code SS13SHIP.

13550 10007395

Posted in: Longer Term Deals | Tags:

Our Changing World: The Lost Art of Cooking from Scratch

March 5, 2013

When I was 15 my mother taught me to back a cake. And after that I was hooked.


I used to do quite a bit of baking. The peak of my baking career came when I made two large christmas cakes for a musical society’s Christmas party. They were pretty good if I do say so myself. I am probably still carrying some of the marzipan from them around my waist. And maybe there are not many people living and remembering the event to contradict my rose tinted view of those cakes at this point.

Over the years, my enthusiasm for baking waned, or maybe I just got busy, and by my thirties I was pretty much down to making chocolate chip cookies using a killer but easy recipe. Sadly I don’t think I even have it any more.

In addition to baking, I had to learn how to cook main courses after I left home on my 19th birthday. I learned how to make Inidian curries and a whole lot of other stuff. For me it was never about making fine cuisine, or something that looked good, but simply something that tasted ok and was recently healthy. I could never be a chef.

When I was young, people didn’t eat out a lot, at least not the sort of people I knew. And eating out in New Zealand in the 60s and 70s was generally not an exercise in fine dining. I remember going to a Chinese restaurant in Hamilton New Zealand once. They served a plate of bread and butter with the metal (no it wasn’t foccacia!) and when we asked for tea it was English tea, with milk, in a cup and saucer. Ah, the good old days!

These days, there is so much processed food and pre-cooked dinners. A lot of people seem to rely on the microwave for most of their cooking, when they are not using takeout or going to a restaurant. There are now websites devoted to cooking from scratch (e.g.,


I can remember when we used to cook from scratch. And there were even home economics classes in school. Yes, it was a bit sexist (the girls did Home Ec and the boys did metal working) but at least someone learned how to cook.

These days the hipster idea of cooking seems to be buying a store-made cupcake, dumping some frosting on it, making a smiley face with a chopstick, adding some sprinkles, and then taking a picture with the iPhone and uploading it onto the Facebook page for all one’s friends to comment on what an act of genius it is.

You know that something fundamental has changed when cooking from scratch is the exception rather than the rule. Even the language has changed. Now they are calling it “scratch cooking” (call in the language police!). Here is how Wiki answers defines scratch cooking (

‘from scratch’ cooking which means taking ingredients that aren’t previously prepared and adding them together to create a dish. For example, biscuits made from Bisquick are not from scratch but biscuits where I measured out the flour, baking powder, etc. are.

So there you have it. Now it is official. Cooking from scratch has now become a quaint curiosity with the new special moniker “scratch cooking”.
For all this convenience, is the world becoming a better place?
Posted in: Events | Tags: , , , , ,

The Jane Austen Society is Hooping it up for the Bicentennial of Pride and Prejudice

March 5, 2013

I’m not a coffee drinker, but I spend a surprising amount of time in meetings in coffee shops. And I’m not the only one. I was in a Starbucks in Toronto this morning and it was completely crowded. Some of them were students between lectures, but for the rest of them I have no idea why they were there on a Tuesday morning. We live in a wonderful world if large segments of people can sit around in coffee shops for long stretches of time don’t you think? Of course some of them were probably using the place as office space, but still, there is a lot of sitting around and drinking coffee going on.
As I was picking up my tea (I can never remember to say Venti instead of large) I noticed a poster on the wall about a Jane Austen Festival. A Jane Austen Festival! Visions of Brigid Jones and her diary came flooding back. Perhaps the next best thing for a reluctant bachelor after attending numerous showings of chick flicks would be to spend a weekend in Toronto in regency attire waiting to be mistaken for Mr. Darcy by some impressionable young woman lost in Ms. Austen’s confections.
Well fear not lonely Mr. Darcy’s your time has come! On the weekend of April 19-21 the recently formed Jane Austin Society ( will be holdinging a Jane Austen weekend in Toronto, and Regency attire is encouraged. Will a horde of cosplay enthusiasts from Harajuku show up to drive lovers of both anime and Jane Austen absolutely crazy?
And it’s not just the Toronto folks who should rejoice. Porter Airlines is assisting the Jane Austin deprived of Eastern North America with a seat sale, according to the Jane Austen Society website.
Of course prospective Mr. Darcy’s are more likely to sweep a Jane Austin heroine of her feet if they know how to dance regency style. Unfortunately the special introductory lessons was on February 18. Perhaps the Jane Austen society will offer further lessons if there is enough demand.
I’m a bit beyond my Mr. Darcy prime, but I’m wondering if I should attend as a portly vicar or something, just in case the girls from Harajuku show up and I can  watch the mashup of cultures.
Posted in: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,