To Muskoka and Beyond….

 
It’s been awhile, I know, slap on the wrist!
I’m back after a beautiful, but quick weekend away in Muskoka. For those of you who don’t know, Muskoka is a district about 2 hours north of Toronto full of lovely small towns and it’s considered mainly cottage country to us city folk. Life up north is different, and a much quieter pace, so it’s the perfect place to get away from the city for a weekend, and best of all, for me, it means spending time with close friends who spend their Summers there.
Steven and I hit the road early Saturday morning, beating the sure to be terrible traffic, by an hour or two, and arriving in Huntsville by around 10am. It was the perfect day, full of bright sunshine, somewhat overwhelming heat but also a big street fair running right down the main street. They had rolled out grass to cover the pavement and kids played with giant Jenga, bouncy balls and hula hoops up and down in their bare feet. There was music and the entire town was alive, just how I remembered it from being there last time, at least 9 or so years ago.
 
 
I took Steven up and down the high street, and we poked our heads in to all the shops that sell a million versions of Muskoka branded clothing and strange little antiques. We picked up a couple of neat vintage things that we don’t have space for at home but wanted to have anyways.
At the bottom of the main street is a pub with tables on the main docks, so we had a drink and some lunch there before deciding to move on to another little town called Bracebridge.
Bracebridge is smaller than Hunstville but also a bit cuter, with a little waterfall and a historic walk that takes you around the falls and into a bit of forest.
 
 
Despite the afternoon heat becoming a bit much, we did the little walk and followed it up with Nanaimo bar ice cream cones. I was feeling increasingly more Canadian as the day went on, as Muskoka really brings out my Canadian pride – it just feels like home no matter what town we stop in.
 
 
To add to the already friendly home town charm, we heard The Tragically Hip playing in so many shops and people everywhere asked if we were planning on watching the final show on Saturday night. It really made me happy to see the support and love that they are getting everywhere.
We were going to be visiting friends at a cottage, but had received a night at the Pine Lodge Inn in Port Sydney, not far from where our friends were staying, so we stopped by our lovely room to have a rest before heading over to dinner.
Pine Lodge is just a quick walk from the main swimming dock on Mary Lake and about 15 minutes walk from the general store, Uncle Larry’s, in Port Sydney. It’s an older lodge with modern rooms so ended being a great place to stay and we felt totally spoiled.
Our evening was filled with sharing a barbequed meal, with wine and cake to celebrate a friend’s birthday, her daughter’s imminent departure to university and Steve and I’s upcoming wedding. Best of all, we laughed and had a wonderful evening in the best company.
 
 
To top it all off, we watched the Hip’s last show and it was emotional like I expected but even more touching was hearing it around the lake when you stepped outside. I think most people in neighbouring cottages were tuned in as well, to spend one last night with Gord Downie. I think I will write a separate post about The Tragically Hip because I know that so many of you are reading this and have no connection to them since they aren’t known all around the world – they are a genuine Canadian treasure.
 
 
In true Muskoka fashion, it thunder stormed all through the night on Saturday and we woke up to no power on Sunday morning. We set out to still have a big hot breakfast, making eggs, bacon and toasted bagels on the barbeque, although I have to confess that we cheated slightly when we took the glass coffee pot down to the general store to fill it with hot coffee. To be fair, one can only do so much with a barbeque before they have had coffee.
We spent the remainder of Sunday sitting on the porch in the random moments of sun and shade, and we bravely went for a swim in the lake, despite it being windy and a bit chilly. Being in the lake is so therapeutic mainly because you can float along without worrying about salt water getting in your eyes, which in my opinion makes it more fun than being in the ocean-  but maybe I’m biased, having not grown up close to the ocean.
 
 
 
As per tradition, at least in my family, we made a pit stop at Webers burgers in Gravenhurst before sitting in traffic with the million other people who decided that driving home Sunday night was a good idea too – but hey! What can ya do?! EH?!
 
 
I have to say that after being away from cottage country for so long, I didn’t realize just how much I missed it and how much it’s a part of who I am. I’m so excited that we are spending more time up there after the wedding in September – I can hardly wait.

Dressing for Work with House of Fraser

Hey everyone!
So I survived my first week in my new office and I must say that adjusting to corporate life is not as easy as I thought. I have had to really think about my wardrobe everyday and so now I am on the hunt for office friendly outfits, in particular dresses, because they are my favourite, but that also allow me to still feel young and fresh. The chance of me wearing a pant suit is slim, as I just don’t think they suit me so I like to stick to corporate friendly pieces that have fun colours and prints so I still feel like me. I thought I would put together a little wish list post of some of my favourite wants at the moment. I’m working with House of Fraser, as I love how I can find plenty of my favourite brands in one place, but also that there is a wide variety of sizing (and really good sales… shhh… our little secret!).
 
 
Linea Printed Woven Shirt Dress – I love this dress because I think it’s fun and has a bit of disco vibe, but would also translate well into Fall with leggings, which is always a bonus!
Linea Flora PU Skirted Dress – This dress is just all around amazing, mainly because I can’t resist a bit of pleather. I would wear this with epic statement jewelry and some fun flats or heels.
Elvi Water Colour Print Dress–  I love the flow of this dress, along with the delicate floral pattern. I also think the neckline is cute and different, making the dress a bit more special.
Studio 8 Otto Dress – I love the pattern and cut of this dress. It’s both office appropriate but would also be cute for drinks out in the evening – a perfect transition piece! 
 
Do you work somewhere corporate? I would love for you to share ideas of your favourite outfits and your go to pieces that you can always count on. I feel like I’m building an entire new wardrobe!
 

Summer Footwear Wish List – Feat. Jones Bookmaker

Hi everyone!
So with a new job in the pipeline and my love for shoes still strong, I’m thinking I need to up my shoes game for the office. I don’t want to lose the fun and freedom of my usual sandals, but still want to feel put together. My go to shop for a great mix of fun and sophisticated has, for the last couple of years been Jones Bookmaker. I like that I can get several brands including their own in one place and I find the sales are always really great as well.
I’ve put together a little wish list below of my ultimate Summer to office footwear along with Jones Bookmaker, my first paycheque better watch out! It’s definitely going to be on my feet!
Gamine Smart Silver Flats via Jones Bootmaker – I love these silver flats because the straps give them a sandal feel while remaining fun and colourful but still office appropriate.
Ted Baker Loomi Smart Brogues via Jones Bootmaker – These brogues are amazing because they are fun and bright, still feeling like Summer but ultra smart.
Giselle Casual Athleisure via Jones Bookmaker – I love the suede and metallic mix on these and not to mention the platform – The would look so cool with cigarette pants or a midi skirt for fun!
Koi Wedge Heels Wedge Sandals Medium Heels – My favourite part of these sandals are the pastel colours but also that they look like nice and comfortable shoes. I could likely stand all day in these and still feel cute and put together.
So what do you think? What are you go-to shoe styles for Summer when you work somewhere corporate? I’m interested to know what others like as my new job is going to be the most corporate place that I have ever worked… roll on new experiences!

Polka Dots in Paradise

Good morning everyone!
So I finally have some great news! I am starting a new job next week and with this, a new wardrobe is the obvious next step… I think we can all agree! Over the last 7 months or so, working from home has been great, in terms of having my own time and being able to settle in to my new home, however, I found that it had a huge effect on my energy levels, excitement around clothing and getting dressed and just generally about how I was functioning. I am really looking forward to getting up everyday, putting on my makeup and picking out an outfit. I really miss that routine that I had back in London as I do love that entire morning process.

With this news, I am hoping that it will provide amazing opportunities for loads of blog photos and to go back to having a busy Instagram like I used to. I miss being on social media the way that I was before and am hoping to get back there with all of you asap. 
I wanted to start by sharing a little clothes story about a super cute dress that I received from Navabi a while back.

When I was browsing on Navabi’s website, this little navy polka dot number from Zizzi, one of my favourite brands, caught my eye. I loved the print, and the fun yet sophisticated cut. I could immediately imagine myself wearing this dress out for fun, or with a blazer and pointed flats for work, and that to me is reason enough to own it- versatility is key!
When I received the dress at first, I put it on, and in all honesty I wasn’t that into it. I let it hang in my closet and ignore it for a month until I gave it another try. The reason I am telling you all this story, is because sometimes it’s not the clothes, but it’s actually how I am feeling. The day that initially tried this on, I wasn’t feeling great and so that feeling was projected onto this poor dress.
Today, I wear this dress 1-2 times a week – I can’t get enough of it and here is why.

For starters, the obvious cute print and neckline is excellent for those of us who are bustier but would also work nicely on a smaller chest. I love that it has a little sleeve, so it feels office appropriate and also protects my delicate shoulders from the sun. Next, what you can’t see, is that it’s lined with a soft jersey fabric which means it feels so nice on the body. It’s loose and doesn’t cling but comfortable and fits right and true to size. I think we can all agree that there is nothing about this dress that isn’t great.

I think you should all have it on hand for both work and play – I plan on wearing it to the office lots and also think that it will transition well into winter with a cardigan and tights.
You can find links on where to buy what I am wearing below the post. Unfortunately, my pineapple bag is last year’s model from Primark, but I have found a similar one to link you. Also, my little green belt is one that I pinched off another dress so sadly I can’t provide you with a link to that.
So how’s that for a new outfit post, probably the first in a few months. Stay tuned for my exciting new work wear posts, along with a couple of fun lifestyle things too!
xoxo
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Just Keep Swimming… with Simply Be!

Hi everyone,
I’m making an an effort to write new posts for you as I slide back into blogging. Like I have mentioned, I haven’t felt entirely myself lately but I’m feeling a bit more normal, certainly the sun outside is making things easier too.
For those of you who think that Canada is just a big old cold country, you are very wrong, we, especially here in Toronto suffer from some serious heat waves and this Summer is no exception. Today, I am couched with my computer in front of a fan so that I don’t melt. All I can think about is going for a swim, which I am planning on doing later at a friend’s condo, thankfully! 
What I am really looking forward to though, is heading over to the Toronto Islands which aren’t far at all, and swimming in the lake. This is just such a Summer friendly activity and makes me want to have all the swimwear in the world.
Since I have been saving for my wedding though, I can’t have all of the swimwear, but a girl can dream right? I have put together this adorable swim day wish list of all of my favourites from Simply Be, because they have such a great selection of plus size swimwear.
At Simply Be, they are running a campaign around body confidence and as part of it they are offering loads of mix and match options. If you, like me, love the bikini tops with lots of support but then a mismatched bottom in a high waist then you can make all this happen now without breaking the bank! 
Long live Summer swims!

Best Bold Summer Looks 2016

Hi everyone!
Do you fancy a change? Do you want to overhaul your look for your summer holiday or an upcoming music festival? Pick something you can wash off, something to last all summer or something to last for the rest of your life, from the ideas below.
Non Permanent
First of all try some non-permanent measures to switch up your look.  Use a wash in, wash out hair dye. If you’ve got light hair, you could even try one of the very popular pastel colours trending at the moment. Why not combine them all and have rainbow hair for the summer? Or try a dramatic hair accessory like a flower crown or these head chains.
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Another way of drastically changing your look without any permanent consequences is to use coloured contact lenses.  You can change your eye colour to any nother natural eye colour. So blue-eyed ladies can go for brown, green or lilac and vice versa. If you are looking for more of an extreme change, you could get some blackout lenses. Perfect for that heavy metal festival or cosplay convention.
Semi-permanent
Feeling a little braver? Why no go for a more lasting semi-permanent change? I count cutting and dying your hair in this category because hair grows so you won’t have the look forever. Getting the right cut and colour for your skin tone and face shape, affects your look in a big way. If you’re currently sporting long hair, why don’t you go for a short on the sides and long on the top pixie crop? This cut is perfect for hotter weather as there is no hair weighing you down and heating you up. Pixie cuts look super cool too! If you have pale skin, consider blonde or light brown colour for your hair. If you have a warmer skin tone try and deep brown, red or black.
Another semi-permanent change you can make this summer is to get a fake or spray tan or use gradual tanning products in your home. The only problem with gradual tanning is that you do have to apply them once a day until you reach the required colour that you are looking. But they are a good value option to maintain your tan for the whole summer.
Permanent
So if you’re feeling a bit more daring, a permanent change might be for you. As this is a more drastic option, you need to think carefully before going for any change that your can’t reverse.
Some of the most artistic permanent changes available are of course tattoos. With such a wide range of tattoos available, how do you know which one to pick? A style that is trending at the moment is the watercolour tattoo.  Watercolour tattoos often have bold lines and are filled in with pale coloured streaks. This gives them a beautiful contrast which can look softer than a traditional tattoo. If a tattoo is just too permanent for you, don’t worry. There are plenty of temporary options available!



I’ve Joined the Revelo-tion!

Hi everyone!
So after a much needed break and a nice visit from my beautiful friend Hollie, I am starting to ease my way back into blogging. It’s been harder than we expected to settle into life in Canada and we are still working on a few things, as well as planning our wedding, but it’s coming together slowly.
 I posted a while back on my Instagram about my new bike that has literally made my life so much better and more exciting. I work from home so don’t have any kind of transit pass, and Toronto transit is pretty expensive, so when I had the opportunity to get an electric bike, I jumped on it straight away.   I chose a Revelo Electric Flex bike for a couple of reasons, but mainly because it folds so I never have to lock up outside and worry about it, it can fit off to the side and out of the way. Toronto is notorious for being a haven for bike thieves so I never feel good about leaving my bike anywhere. I have used it to go everywhere and its made things so much easier but also super fun. I can only compare the rush of the open road to go-carting- it’s actually so fun!
It has a battery that takes me 30km going upwards of 28km per hour so it’s a quick little thing!
Today, when we went out to take photos, we took it into the park and it was great zipping around on the grass too. On the road, I don’t have to worry about going too slow as I kept up with everyone in the bike lanes too.
I’m getting some extras added to it soon, like a phone holder so I can use my maps or listen to music, and a carrier for the back so I can pick up groceries or run other errands and throw them all in the back. It’s nice that it doesn’t cost me to run it and I can easily pull the battery out and bring it inside to charge it.
Here I can be seen having light evening chitter chatter with out neighbour’s cat Gloria, she’s a charmer, unless she is visiting our window and terrorizing Bettie, then she’s not.
I’m going to keep updating you on my new bike because I love it and it’s making my life just way more exciting and convenient but also I am getting some exciting goodies for it like I mentioned above. The coolest thing about Revelo is that when you buy a bike, you become an ambassador, meaning that if someone buys one with your code, you then make money and they save money. So if you are considering an e-bike, check out Revelo. If you decide to buy, put my name, KATIE, in the code box and you will save $200 bucks!
Check out Revelo in all these cool spots:
I’d love to know if you have ridden an E-Bike or if you have questions, stick them below! I am an open bike, I mean book. I had never ridden an e-bike before this so I am genuinely new at this and really loving it.
If you are curious about what I am wearing, check out the shop this post at the bottom of the post.
See you all soon!

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