Wednesday, 26 November 2014

8 Seconds.


Remember me? Didn't think so.

Here I go again, begging for forgiveness.

These pictures have been waiting for their debut since the Labour Day long weekend.

Poor little fellas. Pathetic attempt at blogging, I realize.

This post is so outdated, I'm not really sure what to say. I can say, it was the BEST rodeo weekend to date, due to our (read: Dad's) VIP status. As a result of a donation from the firm, the family got a little seat upgrade...courtside, you might say.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Baseball Bachelorette.

Last week (as you may have seen on Instagram), I attended a Stagette for a very good friend. As you'll see from the photos, the day was all about baseball.

Let me introduce you to the Bride-to-be...

We started at Nat Bailey Stadium (Sorry, 'Scotia Bank Field') for a noon hour game, had a picnic in Queen Elizabeth Park, headed down Main Street for some cold beverages, eventually ending in Chinatown at a Supper club for dinner.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Sea to Summit Trail.

On Monday I agreed to accompany a friend from out of town up the Sea to Summit Trail.
I like to hike, but he REALLY likes to hike. Probably my first mistake.  I was excited as I'd been wanting to do this all summer, and finally found someone who would attempt it with me. The Sea to Summit Trail takes you from the base of the new Sea to Sky Gondola, up to the peak. The guide book suggests it takes 3-5 hours. It took us three on the nose. I guess that's what you get when you hike it with a British Army Major. Stupid.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Polo Picnic: The Southlands Cup

On August 17th, polo fans donned fancy dress and headed to The Southlands Riding Club to watch the first tournament hosted in the city in over twenty years, The Southlands Cup.

Program for the Southlands Cup: BTBU

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Robert Mondavi 'White Party'

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wines

Last week I had a last minute invite from a friend to Les Femmes en Blanc (a White Party) she was hosting at her downtown Vancouver apartment.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Lazy, like Sunday morning.

Black Pine Ranch, Ranch Life, Beyond the blue Umbrella

In my last post, I mentioned we spent the afternoon at the lake down the road from the ranch (Harmon Lake). This little spot has been a favourite swimming hole of the family's for years. It's tricky on weekends in the summer, as it is often filled with campers, making it difficult to find a private entry point.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Horsing around.

Girls opening Gate- Beyond the blue umbrella

Recovering from the previous day's vineyard adventures, we spent Sunday, lazing around the ranch, visiting with our four legged friends, and swimming at the lake down the road.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Grape Run.

Last Friday, Kristin, Nicola and I headed out of the city with two intentions; enjoying a weekend adventure, and topping up our wine cupboards. We don't exactly have 'cellar' at this point in our lives. If I'm being completely honest, I have a difficult time keeping two or three bottles on hand.

Regardless, I really enjoy the B.C. wines, and even more so, when I have a chance to pick them out myself. I even find myself hesitant to drink the ones, that I hand picked from the winery. Visualizing where it came from seems to form a special attachment. Silly, I realize.

The first leg of the journey took us to the ranch, for a quick overnight, as it is the perfect 'hub' for adventures such as this, with the idea of hitting the road early the following day, to head to the Okanagan.

Knowing it was going to be a hot one, we made a quick stop to top up the water for the horses, and then headed down the dirt road towards the Coquihalla Connector.

This meant, doing some 'ranch jobs' dressed for the wineries. I'm glad the neighbours weren't around to witness how silly I must have looked cleaning out the water trough in a silk dress accessorized with a rhinestone bracelet. Of course.

 Cheyenne, however, appreciated my efforts.

Thursday, 7 August 2014


So, this is fun...

I was cleaning out my photos when I found a London adventure that was never documented. Don't get me wrong, there are some sneaky little secrets I don't put on the blog, but this wasn't one of them.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Cornershop

Reason No. 3,467 to miss London: LUCY SPARROW

Where else do you have artists producing so many amazing contemporary works that you can't possibly see them all? Honestly, people -"Tired of London, tired of life".

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

The Lovely Leo.

Yesterday, we intentionally took the scenic route on the way home from Shuswap. We drove through the beautiful Turtle Valley, had a pit stop at a country store for some piping hot donuts (speechless), and drove through the huge expanse that is the Douglas Lake Ranch (Canada's largest cattle ranch). 

Our plan was to stop at our place for a quick overnight, to break up the long drive home, and check on my new brother (read: 'Leo' the horse). Temperatures were soaring (37 degrees). After a swim at Harmon Lake, we charged home to meet the new guy.

After strategically waiting for the hot sun to tuck itself behind the hill, we headed down to the barn to work with the horses. I know what you're thinking, "We?". For your information, yes, even I helped. I swear, I did. In my brother's jeans (Thanks Chris). It was a gorgeous summer evening, and despite being in the hands of a rookie, the new guy was extremely well behaved. I think we'll keep him.

Some of the Douglas Lake herd...

Friday, 1 August 2014

Lake Escape.

What are you up to for the upcoming long weekend? I've been invited up to Shuswap to log some hours on the lake. I'm excited to spend time with family, finally get into my book, and hopefully rid myself of those awful one-piece tan lines I've acquired. 
Serious business.

Here are some pictures from our last trip up there (a few weeks ago)-

Thursday, 31 July 2014

A Great B.C. Day.

I call it a 'B.C. Day' whenever I find my friends and myself taking advantage of the magnificent geographical perks the city of Vancouver has to offer us.

This particular Saturday, we packed our swimsuits and hiked to Whyte Lake. It's a pretty easy hike, though unfortunately for us, that meant that the swimming float was very crowded. We ended up delaying our picnic (due to one too many, "Hi Miss Spencer's"...the downside of crossing the Lions Gate Bridge), having a quick bite of trail mix, and heading back down the mountain.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Morning Skate.

This morning, Amy and I dug through our storage lockers and pulled out our rollerblades. For me, this meant hunting them down in the crawl space of my parent's place. Miraculously, we were even able to find our wrist guards. Yup. Little did I know when I put them away for the last time that it would be close to a decade before I saw them again. I'm secretly a closet fan of rollerblading, and ever so pleased that it's on the rise again.

We had grins from ear to ear, as we circled Stanley Park and 'took back' rollerblading. I know you're impressed with the tube socks.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Out of Dodge...

A couple of weekends ago, itching to get out of 'Dodge', we headed up to the ranch for some rest and relaxation. The weather didn't exactly cooperate, but at least it didn't rain. We caught frogs (the novelty never dies, despite that the frog population of Voght creek has), some of us went riding (no, not me), we swam in the (very cold) lake, went for walks, collected wild flowers, drank multiple milk shakes, and did lots of reading. Just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Sunshine Coast.

I had a glorious weekend, and hopefully there's a handful of photos to show for it. The weather in Vancouver has been spectacular lately. I caught a 'nooner' at the Nat, had wine on a sun-drenched patio, hiked to a lake tucked away in the North Shore Mountains, sat seaside for a picnic, brunched at Sandbar, and even snuck in some tanning time, as well as a trivia night at the local Legion. All of that in two and a half days. Things are turning around (knock on wood).

This is just a quick post to show you some of the photos from an overnight adventure to the Coast to see Katie's new house and meet her child, 'Bean'.

We caught a morning ferry...

Friday, 25 July 2014


Yesterday I needed a 'reset' day. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. More accurately, I woke up on no side of the bed, as I was still tucked deep in the duvet when my eyes opened at 11:37am.

Seriously. Who does that? I'm not sixteen. I kept saying, "Oh well, I must have needed the sleep", but really? I felt angry at myself for sleeping in, and then quite mopey at the weather, as well as my lack of personal agenda. My lack of summer plans (read: failed attempt at heading across the pond) is REALLY weighing on my spirits.

I did what I always do when I'm feeling grouchy, and that's head for some exercise. Some people reach for ice cream (I just picked that up on the way home).  My swim was amazing. I killed it. As the weather wasn't great, it was an indoor workout, but it felt like a piece of cake, (lemon lime cheesecake to be specific) as I'd been used to swimming the last month outdoors at kits pool. To put this in perspective, Kits pool is 137.5m in length, where as the indoor pool at Hillcrest is 25m. Touching the wall after 25m feels like a breeze.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Fancy Feet.

So, I realize I'm a far cry from the cutting edge of fashion trends, and am definitely not one to dish out fashion advice. This being said, if you've spent the spring with your head in the sand (or could really care less), you may not know that Birks are once again taking over the world.

Here's where I come in. I'm a bit averse to 'hippy culture'. I blame my older brother, his acting school,  those who populated the central fountain at my university, the Pacific Northwest in general, and of course myself for cultivating these feelings. For similar reasons, I take a similar stance regarding hipsters. Where do Birks come into this? Well, thankfully for me, they are now trendy enough to no longer be cool with the later group, and trendy enough that sporting them won't necessarily mean I'm mistaken for the former group. The truth is, I used to own a pair. In middle school. Yes, it's been a while.

The main reason I'm keen on this footwear once again is because of my sore foot (remember the trials of last year? Yes, still going). Summer seems to be the time when I do the most harm to this 'Stress fracture' (or 'nerve damage'...whatever we are calling it). I'm certain it's due to the hours spent in sandals. Flimsy flip-flops to be specific. My foot takes a beating, whenever I have more than a few blocks to walk in summer footwear. Insert Birks. Finally some sandals with some support, that are actually stylish (or at least this week).

Have a look...

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Galiano Weekend.

A few of you may remember that June started off with a visit from some of my favourite London faces. A large portion of the Canadian contingent were in town for the Neeser wedding, and lucky for me, there was time for some visiting. This crew is great, and I was more than excited to see them. Catching up with these faces transports me right back to London, though it makes me sad that they aren't on this side of the pond.

The best part about this last visit is that we were able to sneak off to Paul's family's place on Galiano Island for a little overnight adventure. As you'll see from the photos, the place was beautiful, and the view was breathtaking.

We started things off with a great night out in Kits... (this is a picture-heavy post, so grab a cup of tea...or a glass of wine, depending on your time zone).

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Wedding Bells.

Katie's wedding was perfect. I've told her that. It was stress free (either that or she had an excellent poker face), relaxed, but most importantly, a ton of fun.

Katie and Callum got married in the early evening (outside), at Caulfield Rocks. They then had their reception in the hall at St. Francis in the Woods. The weather for the ceremony was gorgeous. As you can see from some of the pictures, the sun was streaming through the trees and sparkling off the water. They organized a live band for the reception, and we had a great time dancing the night away with our closest friends.

There were even 'Dilly Bars' (Dairy Queen frozen treats), massive homemade cookies, and a candy bar instead of a traditional wedding cake (if that helps you to paint a better picture).

Here are some snapshots from the big day.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Baba Ghanouj

An ex-boyfriend and I used to make Baba Ghanouj quite frequently. We'd make it whenever we were feeling uninspired to cook, and just felt like a 'picky' (as I call it) dinner. This usually consisted of meats, cheeses, pita, or naan bread, veggies, and various dips. In otherwise, a great summer meal.

Last night, I was craving it. I don't think I've made it since 'the divorce'. Luckily I found a simple recipe in one of my cookbooks.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Lost & Found.

A few weekends ago on a Sunday, Nicola and I ventured out to Fort Langley for a visit with a friend and her daughter. I hadn't been out there in years, so it was fun to do a little exploring.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Mr. Baseball.

A week ago Sunday, I was cheering on my youngest brother at the Roberto Alomar & Friends Charity Home run Challenge (raising money for Jays Care's community outreach initiatives).

Friday, 11 July 2014

Two Roads (trails) Diverged.

Did Robert Frost have GPS when he took the road less travelled? We certainly didn't. Last weekend (in an effort to take advantage of the scenic recreational opportunities at our doorstep), the girls and I hit the trails in Lynn Canyon. We were hoping to do the 'Lynn Canyon Loop' as I had done it once before, and it seemed like a good place to start. Long story short, we missed one turn, and what began as a two hour hike, doubled in length. Nicola was less than pleased, and we were wet. What started as drizzle, turned into rain, we had no reception, hadn't seen a map in an hour, and only a handful of trail mix between the three of us.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Friends in LOLO places.

Pardon my abrupt jump to the present, but I needed to take a little break from the events of this spring in order to document some of the more current happenings.

Last week, K invited us over to her 'LOLO' (that's Lower Lonsdale, people) pad for a girls night and belated birthday gathering. What does a girls night consist of?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Sail Past

For a number of years I have been fortunate enough to tag along on one of my best friend's sailboats, for the age old naval tradition of Sail Past. I'm usually dressed inappropriately. The first year, my friend 'H' didn't bother to tell me the dress code (navy blazer, white trousers).

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


While we are on the topic of Katie's wedding, I may as well follow the events in sequence and show you a snippet of her Bachelorette party, or 'Hen-do' as I was accustomed to hearing last year in London.

Monday, 7 July 2014

April Showers...

September to July has offered quite the change of pace to that of my previous year in London. A lot has happened, and a lot has kept me busy (read: working). It's not that there's not time to write, as I'm sure there has been plenty of time, it's just that I've had different priorities. Most likely the wrong priorities, as I really do enjoy writing these entries.

I have lots to talk about, but will first address the back-log (or should I say, 'the back-blog'?...see what I did there?). Enough of that. This weekend was productive, predominately because I replaced my tank of a laptop with a new snazzy one, and now have storage space for photos. The blog must go on.

First up, my friend Katie's bridal shower.

KS is a 'no frills, no fuss' kind of gal. We were instructed to wear denim, and traditional shower games were kept to a minimum. It was a wonderful afternoon with scrumptious food and great company. Did I mention that shower games were kept to a minimum? Win.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Paradise Found.

My grandfather ('Papa'), used take us as children, on all sorts of adventures during our visits to their place in Qualicum Beach (Eaglecrest to be precise). There was Coombs Market (to visit the goats on the roof), Butterfly World, Go-Carts, and the Wildlife Sanctuary, but our all time favourite was miniature golf.

It made sense that when we came back to the Island for my Grandmother's 100th birthday celebration (opposite side of the family), we would take in a round.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Surf Sisters.

I was fortunate enough to get a last minute invite to Tofino with some girlfriends from work. I've never surfed before (played spectator/photog on the Wales trip...if you recall), and was honestly VERY nervous about it.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

What else?

I think it's possible that I'm experiencing a little PTSD following last weekend's activities. As I write this, it's 2:08pm and I'm in my PJs, nestled in bed, with tea, my new book, and the latest copy of HELLO. Are you judging?

Apart from pure laziness, what else has the week entailed?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Seattle's Finest...

If you follow my instagram account @beyondtheblueumbrella, you will have realized that last weekend, there was a quick jaunt across the 49th parallel. Operation 'wing-woman' was in full effect. I received the call from my best friend mid-week to accompany her (along with 10 others) down to Seattle for a friend's (her friend's) bachelorette festivities. Yes, I was a tag-along, but pleased to be included none the less. I would have called it a bachelorette 'party', but that simply doesn't do it justice. I had only met the bride-to-be a handful of times prior, and little did I know just what she and her sorority gal-pals were capable of.

Every minute of the weekend was planned. This group of friends had set the bar high when it came to hen parties, and this one was going to be no exception.

Their weekend included an r-rated pyjama party, a tasty brunch, a scavenger hunt around Seattle, A toga-clad evening on the town, and Sunday afternoon tea at the Fairmont. What a weekend. Due to unforeseen circumstances, K and I had to miss out on some of these events, but had a weekend full of laughs none the less.

My favourite breakfast spot: The Crumpet Shop (by the market)


*Special note to friends and family: Should (ahem..WHEN) I get married, unless you want me in the fetal position, hiding under the bed, rocking back and forth, STAY CLEAR of the stripper

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

That's Amore!

I'm Back. What do you mean you don't believe me? Ok, yes, once again, I begin by apologizing for the lack of regular posts. Truthfully, I'm still as excited about the blog as I ever have been, I'm just admittedly doing a crumby job of prioritizing this little hobby of mine. It seems BTBU has taken a back seat to the likes of PVR. Not acceptable. Noted.

I'm a few days into my Spring Break, and decided that one of my (many) goals for the time off, would be to put a little TLC into the blog, so hence why you're hearing from me.

Spring Break (unofficially) started a little early ('Thirsty Thursday' to be precise) for me, when Chris and Morgan initiated a family pizza party (sans parentals).

Morgan has a little secret cookbook, by Pete Evans titled, "Pizza"(aka. the best pizza recipes this side of Napoli).

As you'll see from the photos, Chris and Morgan had it down to an art. We feasted on delicious pies all evening long, washing them down with a few cold beers.

You can see the pizza bible on the counter.

This one (below) was my favourite...

Look at that technique...

As I probably don't need to tell you, the only down side to pizza evenings is the clean-up. I would say that despite this, it was worth it, but that would be an assumption, as I didn't help with the tidying, so I wouldn't know. Dishes became a 'blue job' while Morgan helped me store some of my unused apartment items in the crawl space.

Click the link to find out where you can purchase your own copy of the amazing pizza bible.

Stay tuned for more highlights from my Spring Break Staycation 2014!