marmalade.ca

have passport, will travel


Bike blossoms!

Bike blossoms!


Posted on May 16, 2014 in Toronto

Introducing Shifty the Wonderbike

Introducing Shifty the Wonderbike

At long last I’ve replaced my mighty steed, Miles, with a new set of wheels: Shifty the Wonderbike.

Naturally, the first place we went together was to see the cherry blossoms in bloom at High Park.

The weather has been so chilly that the blossoms are a bit later than normal, and this week’s rain has already taken it’s toll on the sakura. Still, there were plenty of trees in bloom (and a manageable amount of people admiring them) when I went tonight after work.

Lots of great information and history about the High Park Sakura can be found here.

As for Miles 2.0, he’s a Norco Yorkville and the new love of my life. I commute to work by bike roughly nine months of the year, and need a dependable bike to get me where I’m going. Miles 1.0 was a gift from my very thoughtful friends about a decade ago, but the time has long since passed for him to be put out to pasture (aka donated to a bike repair workshop place). In the hour that I’ve ridden it, I’ve come to realize that there’s a but of a learning curve from the 3pd Breezer Citizen and the 21sp Yorkville; half the time Im convinced the chain’s going to fall off, and it makes this really discomforting clanking sound when shifting gears. Also, I’ve not yet figured out how to best ride up hills, or what the difference is between the 3 gears on the “left” and the 7 on the right. I’m not too concerned though, I’m sure that by the end of the weekend I’ll have it sorted!

I bought Miles 2.0 at Bateman’s Bicycle Company, and wow! What a fantastic experience it was. From going in last weekend to test ride a few bikes, to putting on all the bells (literally) and whistles (figuratively), these guys have been the best. Not once did I feel like I was wasting their time or asking stupid/obvious questions, which I’ve sadly come across in other shops around the city. They really do deserve being the Now Toronto bike shop of the year last year. Need a new ride? Go see these fellas!

Sakura

Sakura

Ambitious little thing

Ambitious little thing

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New tea day!

New tea day!


Posted on May 14, 2014 in In the kitchen, Toronto

Tealicious!

Tealicious!

I’ve been on a bit of a health kick the last few months: I’ve been eating better, drinking less wine (sigh), and trying to be more active. One of the more surprising habits I’ve picked up is a shiny new tea addiction and I’ve definitely found I prefer one brand over all other: Tealish on Queen Street West wins hands down for the best variety of flavoured teas in the city. Sure, David’s Tea can’t be beat for convenience (those guys seem to be everywhere), and Teavana has gorgeous accessories, but for the tea itself? Tealish.

Today’s mini haul:

Tea descriptions yoinked from the Tealish site

Queen West BlendThe gorgeous banner photo is of this tea, tell me you don’t want to steep the hell out of that!
“A cheerful black tea blend with loads of colourful ingredients! Blueberries, cherries, raspberries, oranges, blackberries and cranberries are combined with blossoms for a taste that is as unique as Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood, home of Tealish. A fruity black tea with a smooth finish.”

Winter BlendCaffeine-free
“Fight winter and get warm and cozy with this tasty herbal tea! Spice notes of cinnamon and clove embrace you, while comforting notes of vanilla, rosehip and apple protect you from the cold outside.”

Dulce de leche
“This oolong tea is a special treat with a dreamy caramel aroma. Premium Formosa oolong tea is blended with caramel pieces and marigold blossoms for an infusion with a smooth body and creamy notes of caramel.”

TLC Tea Loves Coffee
“Black tea, coffee beans, cocoa bits, brittle pieces, chocolate chips and yogurt granules come together for a unique full bodied infusion that will have you forgetting about coffee in no time.”

So! What’s your favourite tea? Anything piquing your tastebuds?

PS! They give generous sample sizes, the smaller bags lying down are the freebies. Win!
PPS: this isn’t a sponsored post, I just really love their tea and wanted to share it with you all :)

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Ohau fur seal nursery

Ohau fur seal nursery


Posted on May 5, 2014 in New Zealand, Travel

I can’t believe I’ve not shared this video with you guys! Taken in late June 2009, I’d gone on a weekend trip to Kaikoura with a group of CouchSurfers out of Christchurch. We’d gone up to go whale watching, but one night while watching the rugby at a local pub we heard about a baby furl seal nursery along the coast.

I wasn’t sure what we would find when we reached the end of a 10 minute walk through the bush, but a waterfall completely surrounded by rock with 20-30 seal pups frolicking in the pool at its foot completely blew my expectations out of the water. Easily the most magical experience I had while in New Zealand!

Stills

Kaikoura

Kaikoura

Snail shell on the beach, Kaikoura

Snail shell on the beach, Kaikoura

Choppy swell

Choppy swell

Lolling adult fur seal

Lolling adult fur seal

The magical waterfall

The magical waterfall

More lolling about

More lolling about

Kaikoura's raw coastline

Kaikoura’s raw coastline

This sign gave no indication of what was ahead

This sign gave no indication of what was ahead

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Easter in Nelson

Easter in Nelson


Posted on Apr 20, 2014 in New Zealand

Setting the table

Setting the table

It’s been a few years now (four to be exact, sigh, how did that happen?), but every year when Easter rolls around I think of New Zealand and the time I passed the holiday in Nelson on the South Island. I know I’ve written about this before, the post was lost when my site died last year so I’ve the chance to reminisce once again!

Yummy!

Yummy!

I’d been working at a Tasman Bay Backpackers for a month or so, and the other travellers working there with me and I decided we should do a nice dinner: the couple from Finland made a beautiful roast lamb, the other Canadian girl made a desert, I made a delicious salad, and the German did the dishes. We all bought boxes of cheap wine to wash it all down from the local grocery store.

Wine for everyone!

Wine for everyone!

Memories for everyone, too

Memories for everyone, too

Hanging outside after dinner.

Hanging outside after dinner.

It was a fantastic dinner and I get all nostalgic and kinda teary eyed just thinking how special it was. Moving to New Zealand for that year was hands-down the best thing I ever did in so many ways.

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In which I knit socks.

In which I knit socks.


Posted on Mar 23, 2014 in Knitting

Like everyone else in Toronto (except my friend Andrea, who is insane), I am over this winter and have taken to hibernating on the couch on the days when I don’t have to go outside. Yesterday I finally finished my Jaywalker socks, and while I’m happy to have used up stash yarn and actually finish a project, Im really underwhelmed by how they turned out.

Jaywalkers

Comfy.

Comfy.

It’s been a few years since I’d knit socks, and in the past I was crazy and knit them on US1 needles which meant that I cast on 72 stitches. The Jaywalkers were knit with a more reasonable US2 needles, and I stupidly thought I’d need more give thanks to the chevron pattern, so I’d cast on with 84 stitches. This meant that they are a little larger than they needed to be, and I realized after weighing the leftover yarn that I would run out abot 3/4 of the way through the second sock if I didn’t add in a bit of leftover yarn from another project. Thankfully I have a lot of pink sock yarn lying around for some reason, and the colour matched perfectly. Additionally, I just didn’t like the way the colours looked knit up (they’re too chaotic), which is a shame as the yarn as I remember being so excited about FINALLY owning Colinette yarn; it’s also quite springy and lovely to knit with. All the same, I’m glad I knit my stash yarn and can happily move on to my next project.

Basic Knee High Toe Up Socks

Stripey!

Stripey!

Because I’d nearly run out of yarn on the Jaywalkers I wanted my next pair to be knit toe-up, and had two skeins of Lorna’s Laces sock yarn sitting in my stash ready to go. I bought these yeeeaaaars ago at Lettuce Knit, and looking back I’m not really sure why. These colours are really not my style, but I think at the time I was more eager to buy the yarn (it was newly available and selection wasn’t that great) so maybe I didn’t care so much about the colour. It’s very summery though, and kind of reminds me of a carnival (I guess that’s what I should call these, my Carnival Socks haha. Anyway!).

It took me a few tries to get the hang of the Magic Cast-on for the toe, and you can see that one edge is a little on the weak side (will likely have to fix that somehow later on), but other than that it’s a super quick knit: I did the entire foot last night watching The Desolation of Smaug, and Twelve Years a Slave (loved the latter; thought the former was meh — which is disheartening because New Zealand.) I’m not really sure how turning the heel is going to work out, but it’s happening later today so will let you know how it goes.

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