25 Facts About Me

First things first. To clarify, yes, my surname is really “Sherlock.”

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Celebrating Canada's 150th: What It Means To Be Canadian

Happy 150th Birthday Canada! You don't look a day over 149.

Today, on July the 1st, 2017, Canada turns 150 years old! Yes, we are a relatively young nation, but I believe Canada is the greatest country in the world. Though, I may be a tad biased. However, that being said, here are the facts: Canada has boasted the desirable title (for many years now) Second Best Country in the World by the World Economic Forum, right after our good pal Switzerland. In addition to this, Canada is the World's Most Educated Country, with over half of our citizens possessing post-secondary degrees, according to Time. We are also very happy people, coming in at number 7 worldwide, according to Forbes. There you have it. Maybe I'm not so biased, after all. Perhaps life IS better in Canada.

I am a proud Canadian and had, what I would call, a very Canadian upbringing. Summers were always spent up at the cottage; jumping into cold, picturesque lakes and sitting by warm, crackling campfires (whilst gobbling down s'mores, of course). When the bitter winter months eventually came (and boy did they show up), tobogganing and skiing were wintertime highlights, allowing us Canucks to embrace the inevitable five months of snow in a slightly more enjoyable way. Every four years, we would come together as a nation in front of our TV sets to cheer on team Canada in the Winter Olympics, another winter highlight and, frankly, the best thing on TV. I have fond memories of waking up to the smells (and sounds) of bacon sizzling and pancakes browning on summer mornings, and falling asleep on the couch to the animated voices of hockey commentators announcing game-winning goals (I admit, I was never that into hockey). The tooth fairy always left toonies and loonies, our milk came in bags (and still does), and Timbits were a classic Sunday morning treat. 

Now, as an adult, I spend a lot of my time away from Canada. While attending school in NYC and spending a lot of my free time in England, I have come to realise how wonderful Canada is, and how much I cherish my time while back here. One of my most favourite feelings is coming back home. When I see the CN Tower in the distance as I touch down at Pearson, my heart instantly warms. There is something so grounding about the experience; I don't think I will ever tire of it. In recent years, the world has seen a lot of strife; strife due to disagreement, misconception, intolerability, and ultimately, hatred. However, in Canadian culture, we do not judge a person by the colour of their skin, the religion they practice, or who they choose to love, but rather by what's inside and what the character of an individual reveals. This, to me, is what it means to be a Canadian; to accept, to love, and to seek out only the best in people. I truly believe if the world was more like Canada in this way it would be a more peaceful and united place. 

Now, go make yourself a generous Caesar, serve up some poutine, and raise a glass to this wonderful country. A country based on community, acceptance, and diversity. A vast country of jaw-dropping beauty from coast to coast. Finally, a country filled with some of the most talented, friendly, and passionate people I have ever known. I love you, Canada! You will always be home.

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Summer Cocktails Made Better with Fentimans

With experience and heartfelt craftsmanship dating back to 1905, Fentimans has mastered the art of creating the perfectly balanced drink. The award-winning beverage brand, established by Thomas Fentiman, hails from Great Britain, and has gone on to impress the world with their botanically brewed goodness. It all began with their ginger beer, and Fentimans continued on to create a dynamic and tasty array of drinks. They make the best tonic water for a classic G&T, and have mastered their dandelion and burdock, an old British classic. Fentimans distills all of their products for seven days, ensuring each of their unique flavours are beautiful potent and accurate.

Today, I'm going to show you a few of my favourite summer drinks and cocktails; all made with Fentimans. The drinks will give off unique, elegant, and clean flavours, perfect for boozy weekends up at the cottage, evenings on a sunny patio down in the city, or right at home in your own backyard. Let's get started!

The Romantic Rose Lemonade G&T

The clean tasting rose lemonade from Fentimans adds extra elegance and class to the traditional gin & tonic. With delicate floral notes this soda does not overpower the gin, but rather accents it, leaving a fresh taste that's straight from the garden.

~ Fill up your Collins glass with lots of ice ~

~ Add in 1.5 - 2oz (depending on your preference) of Hendricks gin ~

~ Garnish with lime, lemon, or cucumber ~

~ Give the drink a stir to ensure a balance taste ~

If you are not fond of floral flavours, try Fentimans classic tonic water for an equally refreshing experience. 

The Brooding Black Russian

Dark and moody, this sweet classic is made better with the smoothness of Fentimans cool curiosity cola, which brings out the vanilla and espresso notes within the Kahlúa

~ Fill up a tumbler glass with lots of ice ~

~ Start by adding in 1.5 - 2oz (depending on your preference) of Grey Goose vodka ~

~ Add in 0.5oz of Kahlúa ~

~ Top off with Fentimans curiosity cola ~

~ Garnish with a fresh cherry ~

The Luxurious Lemonberry Tom Collins

Tart and fruity, this summertime favourite is perfect for sunny days spent on the dock- and that colour; it's just like a cottage country sunset.

~ Fill up a cocktail shaker with lots of ice ~

~ Add in 1.5 - 2oz (depending on your preference) of Tanqueray gin ~

~ Fill with one bottle of Fentimans Victorian lemonade ~

~ Include one generous handful of frozen raspberries and blackberries ~

~Seal and mix for fifteen seconds ~

~ Pour in to a Collins glass and garnish with additional frozen berries ~

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The Phoenix Mule with Ginger Beer

~ Muddle limes with Canadian whiskey in the bottom of a cocktail shaker ~

~ Add ice and shake, straining the mixture into a Collins glass full of ice ~

~ Fill with Fentiman's ginger beer and garnish with a lime ~

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Rum & Roots with Dandelion and Burdock

~ Fill up a Collins glass with lots of ice ~

~ Start by adding in 2oz of Zacapa 23 dark rum ~

~ Top off with Fentimans dandelion and burdock ~

~ Garnish with an orange twist and cinnamon stick ~


This post is in collaboration with Fentimans North America, but my passion for these incredible sodas and mixers is all my own.

On My Nightstand: June 2017 Reads

I have always enjoyed reading, especially in the summer. Ever since I was a child, reading has fuelled my nostalgic side, allowing me to get lost in different times and getting to know captivating characters. At one time, back when I was eight years old, I wanted my future licence plate to read 'BOOKWORM.' I'm cool, I swear. Anyway...with school being finished, warm summer evenings present the perfect opportunity to get lost in a good book. This June, I have managed to read quite a bit, devouring book after book. Once I hop onto the reading train there is no stopping me. Mind you, it has also been raining a lot in Southern Ontario this month (sad face). Due to the weather, nights I would have spent outside have been inside with the company of a book. A blessing in disguise; though I fear my summer tan may suffer because of it. Below are 5 books I have had the great pleasure of reading this month.

Bloom: Navigating Life & Style by Estée Lalonde

Unlike other books of its nature, that are oftentimes a bit fluffy and general, Bloom proved itself to be not just another lifestyle book, but more of a memoir. In Bloom, rawness and honestly shone through as Estée unloaded her past, present, and future, along with sharing her fluid approach to beauty, style, and living with her readers. I have always really loved Estée's YouTube channel, as well as her unique and imaginative approach to creating videos. She's also very funny! Throughout the book, I certainly felt a personal tie to Estée, having made very similar transitions as her in the past, and, of course, through our shared nationality. Moving to England from small-town Canada, being in a long-distance relationship with her partner Aslan for a time, dealing with anxiety, and her integration into and fascination with British culture and people all deeply resonated with me. It's lovely to see a fellow Canuck excelling on the other side of the pond - along with a few other personal things. The book and Estée's story got me very excited to go back to live in the UK in the coming years (and to hopefully excel in my own way, too)! Way to go, Estée!

Miss You by Kate Eberlyn

Channeling some serious David Nicholls vibes (think One Day), this book was a pleasant segue into summer. It is slightly on the longer side to be considered a 'quick read', yet is a wonderfully easy beach read. The book does however deal with some more distressing issues, such as cancer, autism, cheating spouses, and (subsequently) divorce. So for those of you who like a bit of an edge, a happy ending does not come easily in this one. Miss You follows the lives of two drastically different individuals, Tess and Gus, who quite literally miss each other, always nearly meeting, but never really succeeding. Years go by, relationships fall apart, and hardships are faced. You may feel like it all plays out a little too long. However, it all to leads up to a lighthearted and satisfying ending.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

This is the first book I have read by renowned author Haruki Murakami, and he has instantly become a personal favourite of mine. His distinct prose is poignant and takes you on these vivid looks inside a character's mind and their individual worlds. Norwegian Wood is full of longing, lust, and, at times, hope. The story follows the narrator, a young man named Toru Watanabe, who is looking back and remembering his life as a university student in Tokyo. Watanabe recollects his time spent with two dissimilar women, the disturbed Naoko and the excitable Midori. The book contains prominent themes of young adulthood, loss, and sexuality, wrapped up into a beautiful and, at times, heartbreaking story.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Translated from Italian, this book (book one of a four-part series) tells a humbling and coming-of-age story based on the lives of Elena and Lila, two young friends living on the impoverished outskirts of Naples during the 1950s. The book intensely captures small town dynamics, as well as the gossip, sacrifices, and scandal that go along with them. The book follows the two girl's wavering friendship through childhood, adolescence and eventually into early adulthood, capturing two entirely different people with one unbreakable and undeniably loyal bond. The book explores Italian culture and traditions through the eyes of a Italian national - the talented Ferrante. The book, although a bit slow to start, is beautifully written and leaves you wanting to read more.

The Lake House by Kate Morton

There are many things that Kate Morton does exceptionally well in her writing, but if there is one thing in particular it is her ability to craft a gripping mystery. This is the third Kate Morton book I have read. The Australian author always seems to keep me coming back for more. Each sentence she writes is like a little present, oozing with stylistic and wordy greatness. Of the books I have read by Morton, I have found that she loves to write about family dynamics, with plots set in picturesque English locations - oftentimes Cornwall. Additionally, many of her books are often set in the early 20th century, as well as the 21st century, weaving back and forth between eras to create a dense and intriguing plot - but, never confusing. The Lake House, follows the story of Sadie Sparrow, an investigator, and her efforts to uncover the complex secrets and long-unsolved mysteries of the Edevane family. It's an excellent read. Plus, the ending is completely shocking. I'll leave it at that.

I hope you have found a new book to dive into this summer! Have any other great books I should read, or that you want me to review in July? Please leave me a comment down below!

-Meredith

Five Skin Care Products I Can't Live Without

My skin and I have had a long, and at times, disagreeable history. As a pre-teen, and into my early teens, I suffered from terrible acne, resulting in me using a ton of prescription skin care and visits to dermatologists. Today, I still have a bit of scarring from past breakouts, but overall my skin is in a much, much better place than it used to be. I have oily/combination skin, so every now and then I can expect a pimple or two to still pop up, but nothing compared to my teenaged years. 

To me, taking care of your skin is so important. Skin is the largest, and one of the most important, organs of the human body. It protects from disease, and is also a reflection of a person's overall health. However, sometimes skin needs that little extra push. This is where great skincare comes in handy. One of my favourite parts of the day is washing my face after a long day. There is something so invigorating about the removal of makeup and cleansing, all to be left with a fresh and beaming face.

I have used all of these products for a significant amount of time, and I would recommend any of them to each of you - including my male readers, too. Two things that are not listed here, but I will include, are water (my number one), and The Pill. The amount of water I drink is undeniably something that dictates the health of my skin, and probably all other humans, too. So, drink up! As we all know (well, at least you ladies who are reading), The Pill helps to lower the amount of androgens in your body, and tends to promote clearer skin, particularly around that time of the month.

Thymes Eucalyptus Body Lotion

Unlike my face, the skin on my body tends to be on the dry side. I have been using Thymes products since I was little. The company has a range of incredible scents, all presented in beautiful, simplistic packaging. Specifically, the Thymes Eucalyptus bubble bath was always the soap of choice by my mum for my baths as a kid. I still continue to use it to this day. The smell is not only nostalgic for me, but clean, calming, and utterly crisp. The lotion is made with eucalyptus oil, which is cleansing, and also helps to open up the sinuses when you're sick, promotes relaxation, and can help to relieve joint and muscle pain.

When I use the lotion, my skin is dramatically softer and smoother. The light formula sinks nicely into the skin, not leaving you oily, but is still undeniably nourishing. As a person who does possess sensitive skin, I try to stay away from things with scents. However, I have never had a problem with Thymes products. None of their scents are artificial. Due to this, you will smell so, so great all day long. People often ask what scent I'm wearing, and are pleasantly surprised when I tell them it's actually a lotion. It is not overpowering, but rather subtle and fresh. 

Purchase it here.

Clinique 3-Step Skin Care

I recently started using the Clinique 3-Step skin care system to switch up my routine after years of using the same products. I have noticed such a wonderful difference in my skin in just six weeks of using them twice a day to wash my face. Clinique prides themselves with having scent-free formulas, which is perfect for those with sensitive skin. The products do not leave my skin feeling tight, and do an excellent job at brightening, combatting oiliness, and making pores appear smaller.

Clinique offers the line for all skin types, from very dry to very oily, and for acne sufferers, too. The cleanser, exfoliant, and lotion are all catered to each specific skin type, resulting in very direct results. I particularly love the lotion, which does not leave my skin greasy, but still acts as a great base for makeup.

Purchase it here.

Planto Minerals Exfoliant For Oily Skin

This is my secret weapon. Traditionally, the product is used as a toner, dissolved in water. However, I have been instructed to use it as an exfoliant. To use, take approximately half a teaspoon of the salt on your finger tips and gently massage into an already wet face. Continue adding water and massage the product into your skin until the salt has dissolved and rinse. The product will go in and rid your skin of any impurities and oil.

I typically use it 2-3 times a week. It does not strip the skin of essential oils, but rather balances them, resulting in a clear, smooth complexion. It also helps to diminish the look of my acne scars, which is a huge plus. I also tend to get a few spots on my chest when I working out (and sweat a lot - ewww), and I have found that using this as a scrub helps to clear them up very quickly. Anna Lotan also carries Planto Minerals for those of you who have dry skin.

Can be purchased at select spas and retails for approximately $30 CAD.

Blistex Lip Medex

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Blistex and I go way back. Southern Ontario, where I am from, is famous for its cold, snowy, and dry winters. With this comes extremely dry skin and, for me, chapped lips. As a child, I remember Blistex was quite literally the only thing that could aid my raw lips - it still is! It has a wonderful cooling effect that helps to sooth, and moisturizing endurance that lasts throughout the day. I always have a stick with me in my purse, and I apply it religiously. I am a lipstick lover, and flakey, lipstick covered lips is never a good look.

Purchase it here.

Clinique Even Better Foundation

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Clinique's Even Better has been my foundation of choice for about four years now. It feels lightweight on the skin and blends very well with full, long-lasting coverage. The foundation even works to correct and even out troublesome spots on the skin, which I think is pretty incredible. No clogged pores, here! What I love even more about this foundation is the SPF that comes along with it. Knowing my skin is protected, whether it be in the winter or summer months, is always a plus. In the summer however, I do tend to put on a little extra SPF 45 sunscreen underneath (try Neutrogena's) for additional protection. Like all Clinique products, there is no scent, and is therefore a safe bet for those of us who have sensitive skin.

Purchase it here.

Thank you so much for reading. I hope you found a new favourite product to try today. If you choose to try out or already use any of these products, please let me know what you think of them and what your experience was like in the comments below!

-Meredith

Spring in London Town, Part 3: Chelsea & Saying Goodbye

Chelsea is undoubtedly one of my most favourite parts of London to explore, especially on a sunny day in the spring. The ivy-lined streets and cobbled mews awaken the Anglophile inside of me, causing very blatant romanticism and nostalgia to appear in my photographs. But, that's the thing about the residential streets of Chelsea. If you take away the contemporary cars and modern clothing, you are very easily transported back to another time. For me, in my own mind, that has always been the 1950s and 60s. To me, this was Chelsea's hey-day, so to speak. The district, dubbed as the 'borough of artists,' was home to musicians, poets, painters, designers and photographers alike. All working with and simultaneously against one another in friendly competition; painting the era we know now as the Swinging Sixties. Today, you are more likely to see those high in the rankings of the financial district, or washed out pop stars, living in this area. 

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On my last day in London (on this particular trip), Pete and I went for a wander through the vibrant streets of Chelsea, chatting and enjoying each other's company. Taking the day in slowly, we wondered together about what the area might have been like long ago. Long before either of us were even a thought. This is something I love about Pete, not only our capacity to share wonderful conversations, but his ability to dream about places and other times alongside me. He also looks great in a smart shirt and sunnies (ref. below). A stylish one, indeed.

It's funny how these nostalgic spots of London creep up on you, too. The scene above launched to Instagram fame this spring, being documented and found by flocks of seasoned Instagrammers and bloggers. Understandably so, too! It really is a gorgeous sight. Though, much of London is relatively easy on the eyes. Knowing the vastness of London, I never painstakingly search for these spots, trusting that I'll find them one day - or maybe even better ones along the way. But, sure enough, the best things are found when you're not searching for them. Including the lush doorway below (mere metres from the sky-blue Clubman above).

After a long day of walking through London's prickling heat, gawking at picturesque doorways and sports cars, Pete and I stopped to enjoy a few drinks on the patio of a quaint residential pub before catching the Tube home. We sat for a few hours, chatting and laughing as the sun began to dip - being with each other and savouring every moment before I sadly left London the next day. On the last day you're always in a state of denial; a false sense of security that nearly ensures you will be staying forever comes over you. Thankfully, that will be the case one day, that false sense will be finally true. But, for now, it always hurts to leave - like your heart is going to burst with profound feelings of love and longing. However, London is currently calling, and I will be back so, so soon. Until then, I will be reflecting on the precious memories made this past trip, and the many trips before it. 

-Meredith