a rustic and natural touch to my Christmas gifts

 

IMG_3753.jpgI love to give my packages and gifts a touch of “luxe” with natural items to give them a rustic touch. Packages wrapped in inexpensive brown Kraft paper, monochrome paper or fabric and even in table cloth get a high-end update when topped with small bits of leftover fabric, raffia, rope, pompoms, small branch of pine or even ornements or small bells.

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First get yourself a yummy hot coco, tea or coffee, get all you wrapping paper out, tape, ropes, ornements, fabric, pine branches, bells etc… and make it all happen.

I always preferred more natural tones for my wrapping paper so like that, I can add a pop of colour if the trend changes or my mood… and it can be used for any gender or any ages as well, just needs to be personalized with a small decorating item to add a more delicate touch and change the vibe.

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I really love the simple and free add on when it comes to small branches of wood, or pine or any other tree you would have at home.

Ornements can be used to decorate any gifts, and it’s a fun way to offer an ornement to someone when you know that they will be able to reuse it at home in their own tree or maybe for your own kids as a souvenir of that year. Wrapped chocolate, pine cone or bell could be a fun and cute idea too.

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I love to add the pop of colour with the small decorating item or ornement on top of the gift that I can tie with the rope or ribbon.

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I also love to shop for many fun and cute items all year round. Sometimes it can be small pieces that I know I will use on gifts or better, the best deals are coming write after Christmas with the huge boxing day sales, so definitely time to stock on for the next year.

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Happy gift wrapping guys!

xx Stephanie

Here are some more idea and inspirations for you, all from my PINTEREST board, click HERE for MORE ideas and inspiration.

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Small changes to make a kids room more cozy and fun

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If there is a guilty pleasure that I enjoy a LOT in life is definitely decorating, doing DIY project, refurbishing furniture, giving life to secondhand items and accessories, swapping decor items from room to room etc…

I made recent changes to Liam’s room since I didn’t like the vibe of his old room because I thought it was not welcoming enough but at the same time I didn’t want it to be a major project neither or a too expensive one.

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The dresser is a dresser that my boyfriend’s great grandfather built when he was young. We wanted to keep it since we love vintage pieces that has life but gave it a modern touch by applying paint on it and done a ombre effect with the drawers only in 3 shades of grey and painted the top and sides with a black chalkboard paint, so he could draw on it with chalks to make it more fun.

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I always had a preference for warm tones and wood accents so this is why you can probably notice, in every room of our house, wood accessories or furniture, wicker plates and chest, as well as some natural materials like cotton, linen or burlap.

The reason I also like to keep from rom to room the same colour palettes or tones is that it’s easier then to swap accessories from a room to another if I need to change the decor easily and without a budget… and by having more neutrals I know it will go in time .

So here is the list of what you can find in Liam’s room and feel free to comment below if I missed something.

Discovering Jamaica with Transat

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We had the chance to discover in November the beautiful island of Jamaica with Transat, to be more exact, the region between Montego Bay and Negril, in the city of Lucea. We stayed at the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton hotel, where luxury meets relaxation and breath taking views. This 5 star resort is located 32 km from the Montego Bay airport, which is about 40 minutes. The shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel is amazing. The views are spectacular and the landscapes are uniques. Get your camera ready as soon as you hit the road because the discovery starts there.

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A MOUNTAINSIDE RESORT

This beautiful and luxurious oceanfront resort, located on the western side of Jamaica, the Grand Palladium, has 2 sections and we stayed on the Lady Hamilton part. It has a multitude of greeneries, beautiful sidewalks and little lounge areas and offers exceptional amenities. There is a continuous onsite shuttle service that we took sometimes because the kids were too tired to walk, but otherwise, we walked all the time, everything is quite close and the walk is totally worth it.

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SOFT TONE ROOM

We had a beautiful Junior suite of the family collection. The room was pretty nice with a contemporary style and warm wooden furnishings.

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We had more then enough space for the 5 of us, with a full bathroom and a bath… which is always nice to have when traveling with kids, if you ask me.

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GASTRONOMY

Because the food is definitely a big concern when it comes to choose a resort or destination and I totally agree with that. One major comment I would have is that every dish was really tasty, with all it’s fresh herbs and island seasonings. Don’t be afraid to try many of their dishes, you will definitely discover new favorites, just like we did. The resort counts 10 restaurants in total + 2 huts for lunch, and here are our favorite…. because food is important when making a resort decision right? To resume, we ate well. Really, really well!!

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We all know that with kids, it gets sometimes tricky finding the right meal for them but you won’t be disappointed with this resort. My 3 sons found meals they loved, all from the regular menu with local flavours, even if they offered a popular kids menu choice or that we could’ve opt for the buffet.

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Our favorite was definitely the El DORADO – STEAKHOUSE.  Ask for a banquette, it’s really cozy, you will love it with kids. You need to try the filet mignon, it’s really good, even if you are not a meat lover just like me. The boys enjoyed the little salad bar to start, because we all know that kids loves to pick their own stuff and make their plates. You can ask for smaller portions at the restaurant for the kids too.

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We really enjoyed the POSEIDON – SEAFOOD restaurant, were we really enjoyed eating outside with the warm ocean breeze. Again there was a salad bar ( so popular with my sons ) and we loved, loved the tuna steak and the seafood and fish plate. Everything was so yummy and tasty again. Also, the presentations where always stunning.

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Finally, you need to try the XAYMAICA – JAMAICAN restaurant and be open to try yummy local dishes. We took the akee saltfish appetizer ( that is their national dish usually served as breakfast ) and the coconut shrimps that were both AMAZING. For main dish we tried the coconut sea trout, the curry goat and the escovitch snapper. So yummy again and what an EXPERIENCE! When at the beach during the day, we had lunch almost everyday at the jerk huts and honestly, it was the BEST place to have it!

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BREAKFAST and LUNCH

We love eating outside when we travel as much as we can so we had breakfasts at the BLUE LAGOON, an outdoor terrasse with a view on the main pool and beach with a buffet (between the Bhogali and the El Agave restaurants). We had lunch either at the jerk huts or Poseidon restaurant, which was 1 minute walk from the Sunset Cove beach… because with kids,  we’re always in a  hurry because they are always hungry right?

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LOCAL FOOD

If you ask me what are the moments and things I enjoyed the most during our Jamaïcan trip, well discovering new culinary traditions and dishes is definitely one of them. Discovering new plates is definitely a reason why I love to travel. The jamaicans knows how to cook the tastiest fruits, local vegetables, fresh fishes and locally grown herbs and spices. You will be pleased at the hotel or if you eat outside because all the food was delicious, fresh and really tasty. You need to try our favorites, the Jerk chicken, the Akee Saltfish and the plantains.

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SWIMMING and POOLS

The Lady Hamilton counts 6 pools, and the way they are located on the site, you never feel like being at the same spot. They are all well located and easy to access and walk to. The water is pretty warm which was a plus with the boys… because the youngest doesn’t like it if the water is too cold. We enjoyed the built-in chairs in some of them while the kids could swim around and have fun! We brought them small pool balls which they always like to play with when we travel.

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BEACHES

What I really enjoyed and loved about this resort is definitely the layouts of the multiple beaches. There are several beaches, all located in between big rocks which makes the view a little more natural and wild. The sand was very very soft and the water itself was very clear, with almost no sea weeds around, so we could enjoy swimming quietly.

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WATER PARK & SLIDES

To my boys surprise, there was a nice and fun water park, perfect for all ages, with fun slides. Even Axel was able to do them, so it was the perfect setup for them. Their pool is perfect for their hight of course and the enjoyed the games and splashing seahorse in the pool. We always bring balls with us so the kids had fun for hours.

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KIDS CLUB

The cute and fun kids club, next to the main pool, has supervised activities, indoor and outdoor areas, a splash pool as well as a craft and arts room. My youngest sons enjoyed the little pool as well as the big playset park. There was also a mini-disco during the evening to party with friends. We loved the little rides that we could borrow as we wished.

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SPORTS and ACTIVITIES

The boys enjoyed some tennis and basketball games outside. I recommend that you go very early right after breakfast because it is really hot if you go later. We had lots of fun at the Sunset Cove beach, where all the water sports are happening. We had the chance to try the kayak, the snorkelling and catamaran! oh the fun we had! We brought our own snorkelling equipment, but if you don’t have yours, you can rent it for free at the sports hut.

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The boys loved to play pingpong at the beach, volleyball by the main pool and giant chest game as well, located on the site. One thing for sure is that we were never bored at the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton with all the animation, festive vibe and happy and welcoming staff.

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KIDS MOCKTAILS

Happy kids makes happy parents right? Besides sports, activities, beach and pool, my boys lives for food… and mocktails, an a special exception they know that we will approve on vacations. So of course they were more then served with the food and buffets but let’s talk about the mocktails or the pina colada “no alcool”… even Axel ordered his own like a big boy! They even make smoothies with real fruits and coconut milk, they were really yummy. We even had them in the morning after our sports as a snack.

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VISTING THE COUNTRY

If there is something you really need to do is to go out of the resort, visit the country and I guarantee that you will be amazed with all the landscapes, how friendly the locals are and all the beautiful hidden gems this country has to offer. I totally think it’s the best way to learn about a country.

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We booked beautiful excursions and I can’t wait to share my experiences on my next blog post with lots of details, must see and do and many, many pictures.

Here’s a sneak peak at the beautiful locations we visited and that we ALL enjoyed so much, I’m telling you, it’s a MUST to do with kids, even young ones.

YS FALLS

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RICKS CAFE

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LUCEA

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NEGRIL

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BLACK RIVER

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ST-ELIZABETH

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MONTEGO BAY

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TRANSAT

Did you know that Air Transat was named World’s Best Leisure Airline in 2018?

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We’ve been traveling with Transat for many many years now and I need to admit that they stay my choice #1 without any hesitation. The reasons why I love this carrier so much, especially now that I have kids, is because they welcome for free, in the kids club  little ones from 2 to 11 and offer them a kit filled with cool travel goodies and many on-board surprises to make air travel fun… and to my sons greatest happiness, they tried Transat new kids menu wit a yummy Mac and cheese… and for our greatest happiness, we can benefit from a free seat selection, a dedicated family check-in counter and pre-boarding for all our family… which are a MUST when traveling with little ones if you ask me!

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Check out all the many more Transat kids club advantages here.

I totally recommend the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton and I am sure you will be able to make beautiful family memories like we did.

Thanks for reading and feel free if you have any questions regarding our experience, Transat or the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton.

You can find all details and book your trip here with Transat.

Stephanie

 

 

 

Testing the new Extend2Fit® Graco Convertible Car Seat

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Choosing a car seat is tough! There are so many options, and one look at the car seat aisle or webpage can make our head swim with weight limits, positions, harness options … So how do you know what the best seat for your child is? You want to find the safest seat that fits your vehicle, child, and can be used correctly 100% of the time.

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After trying many, many car seats for 14 years now – on and off, of course – I can say that we have tried a lot. Liked some and hated some. I was happy when I was told I could give
the Extend2Fit ® Graco Convertible Car Seat a try for Axel!

The great thing about the Extend2Fit ®  Graco Convertible Car Seat, your little one can also ride rear-facing longer – allowing for a safer ride – up to 50 pounds! It has an extension panel that allows for 5 additional inches of leg room, so your little one can be more comfortable also! I have always been on the really careful side of things when it comes to road and car safety, so I felt secure when I found out that it was side impact tested for occupant retention, with the built-in 5-point harness system and the steel-reinforced frame that provides more strength and durability.

My favourite features about the Extend2Fit ®  Graco Convertible Car Seat are definitely the following:
 6-position recline  (I love it for long car rides and our frequent road trips)
 The seat pad is comfortable and machine-washable (Axel was sick in it the first time he
tried it and it came out like a brand new one after washing it in the machine)
 There are two integrated cup holders (one cup for Axel and one cup for his brother, of
course haha!)
 The 10-position adjustable headrest is easy to use and adjust as Axel grows

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I installed the car seat myself and found the entire process really easy. It comes with an
installation guide that is easy to read and understand. All the markers on the sides of the
Extend2Fit ®  Graco Convertible Car Seat made my life easier and the clear signage helped give me confidence I was doing it correctly.

Did you know that the paediatric recommendation in Canada is to keep children rear-facing as long as possible as your child meets the weight and height limits in the manufacturer’s instructions, even if they are beyond one year of age. Don’t rush to move them to the next stage! Even young toddlers are safer in the rear-facing position.  The Extend2Fit ®  Graco Convertible Car Seat didn’t exist when I had Loïc and Liam, but I wish it had so they could have been rear-facing for even longer than they were. I totally recommend this car seat. In fact, I just did to a friend who’s expecting her second baby. She bought the colour Gotham, just like ours!

Thank you for reading!

Stephanie

Asian salmon pan with potatoes, cauliflower and brussel sprouts

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Avec des journées vraiment remplies, un boulot à temps plein, 3 garçons et des activités quotidiennes, je dois avouer que je ne suis pas la mieux planifiée pour de ce qui est des repas. C’est pourquoi j’aime bien avoir sous la main des pommes de terres congelées, prêtes à servir et parfaitement assaisonnées @cavendish.farms que je peux servir avec du poisson ou poulet préparés les weekends, carottes et brocolis et voilà! Les enfants adorent, c’est rapide et délicieux!

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Voici donc ma recette en question, je vous le dis, ils vont adorer et c’est santé aussi.

INGRÉDIENTS

  • 1 sac de pomme de terre de 750g  de Cavendish Farms au sel et de poivre concassé
  • 2 c. à soupe de sucre brun 
  • 2 c. à soupe de sauce soja
  • 2 c. à soupe de beurre fondu
  • 1 c. à soupe de vinaigre de riz naturel
  • 1/4 c. à thé de sel
  • 4 filets de saumon avec la peau
  • 1/2 lb de fleurons de choufleur frais (environ 4 tasses)
  • 4 tasses de chou de bruxelle tranchées
  • 2 oignons verts tranchés en biais
  • graines de sésame
  • coriandre

ÉTAPES

  • Chauffer le four à 425 ° F.
  • Couvrir une plaque à pâtisserie d’un papier parchemin
  • Étaler les pommes de terre surgelées en une seule couche sur la plaque de cuisson et cuire au four pendant 16 à 18 minutes.
  • Retirer du four. Retournez les pommes de terre et faites de la place pour le choufleur, le chou de bruxelle et le saumon.
  • Dans un grand bol, mélanger la cassonade, 2 cuillères à soupe de sauce soja, le beurre, le vinaigre et 1/4 de cuillère à thé de sel.
  • Transférer 2 cuillères à soupe du mélange dans un bol moyen. Ajouter le saumon au mélange et tourner pour enduire.
  • Ajouter le choufleur et les chou de bruxelle dans un grand bol et mélanger pour bien enrober.
  • Ajouter le saumon, peau vers le bas sur la plaque avec les pommes de terre; ajoutez le chou de bruxelle et les choufleur.
  • Versez le reste du mélange des deux bols sur le saumon, les pommes de terre et les légumes.
  • Rôtir 12 à 15 minutes ou jusqu’à ce que le saumon soit bien cuit et se défasse facilement à la fourchette et que les pommes de terre soient tendres.
  • Garnir d’oignon vert, de graines de sésame et de coriandre. Bon appétit!

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With really busy days, a full time job, 3 boys and daily activities, I must admit that I am not the best  at planning meals. That’s why I like to have frozen potatoes ready to serve and perfectly seasoned @ cavendish.farms that I can serve with fish or chicken cooked on weekends, any veggies and that’s it! Kids love it, it’s fast and delicious!

Asian pan

1 bag of salt and cracked pepper Cavendish Farms 750g bag

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon natural rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (4 oz) salmon filets, skin on
1/2 lb fresh broccoli florets (about 4 cups)
5 big carrots, sliced
2 green onions, sliced on the bias
sesame seeds
cilantro
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Steps

  • Heat oven to 425°F. Cover a pan with a non-stick baking sheet
  • Spread frozen potatoes in a single layer on the non-stick baking sheet and bake for 16- 18 minutes.
  • Remove from oven.
  • Flip over Chopped Potatoes and make room for broccoli, carrots and salmon.
  • In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, the butter, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the mixture to medium bowl.
  • Add salmon to mixture in medium bowl; turn to coat.
  • Add broccoli and carrots to large bowl, and toss to coat.
  • Add salmon, skin side down, to pan with potatoes; add broccoli and carrots.
  • Pour any remaining mixture from both bowls over salmon, potatoes, broccoli and carrots.
  • Roast 12 to 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, and potatoes are fork-tender.
  • Top with green onion, sesame seeds and cilantro.
  • Bon appétit!

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