Christmas Gift Ideas for 2015

This will be our last post before taking a break for the holidays, so we thought we’d help out with the Christmas shopping with suggestions from some of our posts this year. Follow the blue links to see the full post.


We did a post about our favourite artist Moya Foley Art Ecuador. Given Moya lives in Ecuador, it’s too late to have a piece of art arrive before Christmas, but it’s not too late to put a gift card under the tree for a piece of art from Moy. Her contact information is on her website and if you missed this post, you’ll be blown away by her art.

Moy's home page

Olive Oils

We fell in love with The Unrefined Olive, a wonderful shop with custom olive oils and balsamic vinegars you can taste before you buy. They also have a great selection of sea salts and other seasoning. A perfect gift for the foodie on your list.

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For the Guys

We visited Stroked Ego in their new location at the corner of Bank and Slater. It’s a beautiful space with just about everything the fashion-conscience men on your list would want.

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Bloomfields Flowers

One of our favourite shops in the city (or any city for that matter), Bloomfields Flowers has amazing flowers, bouquets, plants, house and Christmas decor. A great place to find something for the person who has everything.

3 WM



The Clothes Secret

We’ve done several posts about the best consignment shop in Ottawa – The Clothes Secret. The selection is amazing, the prices are unbeatable and if you need some help picking out a gift, the staff are the best personal shoppers around.

The Clothes Secret

Gift Certificates

If you’re stumped and Christmas Day is fast approaching, gift certificates are a great option and we have a few ideas.

Stillwater Stables

Any kids on your list? They would love to have some lessons, or a party, or spend a PD day with horses, rabbits, cats and dogs at Stillwater Stables.


Daya Spa

Located on Dalhousie Street, Daya Spa is the perfect place for a treat any time of year, but especially in the winter. Daya carries a large selection of organic products and it also happens to be where our favourite esthetician, Hailey Hamilton, works 🙂

Daya collage 2

Parlour Hair Salon

Located around the corner from Daya (why not make a ‘daya’ of it) Parlour Hair Salon is the best salon in Ottawa. The salon is beautiful, the products are amazing and you will walk out of there with the best haircut you’ve ever had.

Parlour chair

That’s all our suggestions for this year – hope they helped!

This is a silly question…have you finished your Christmas shopping?
Our readers may not know you’re making a joke. Of course I’ve finished my Christmas shopping. I started last January. And you?
Almost. Can’t decide what to get for Matt. Any thoughts?
Well he does have a very refined palette and is crazy for a good Chardonnay, but I’d go with beer.
Chardonnay it is then.
I hope everyone has as much fun and alcohol as we’re planning to.
Enjoy the holidays everyone!
Merry Christmas!

Stroked Ego – One Stop Shop for Men


Stroked Ego is located at 131 Bank Street above the Starbucks at the corner of Slater Street. It’s a beautiful space with lots of light. When you arrive you’ll be greeted by Jasmine. She is very affectionate and loves a little rub. Kevin Martin is the owner of Jasmine and the shop.


This is a one stop shop for men. Kevin has everything one would need to pull together a great wardrobe and more. They have an onsite barber, Jay, and a large selection of men’s skin care products. Below are a few photos of what’s in the store now.

UnderwearStroked Ego has the best selection of men’s underwear in the city.

more socks

3 pack socksThese socks come in packs of three so when one inevitably disappears, you’re still good to go.

Must have jeans

Kevin has a great selection of jeans for every style and budget.

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IMG_9189 (956x1280)You’ll find accessories to go will your new outfit!

Barber's chair

barber's desk


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This is our second post about Stroked Ego. You can check out our first post here – Stroked Ego Summer 2014.

I’ve been back to Stroked Ego three times now.
You went without me? What’s up with that?
The first two trips were to purchase gifts and the 3rd to exchange sizes. Even when I’m not returning things I keep going back.
And you didn’t want me to know you were returning things…I always assume you’re doing that on Saturday morning. So does Matt.
Aww…really? What else does Matt know about me.
He knows everything. But back to Stroked Ego – no question it’s the best shop for men in Ottawa.
Absolutely – Kevin has everything. If you’re Christmas shopping for the men in your life, this is where you should go.
Not that we bought anything for the men in our lives – and that would be our boys.
Right. Make your life easy this holiday season and head over to Stroked Ego.
And tell Jasmine that Sydney and Irene sent you!

The Unrefined Olive


Everyone has someone on their Christmas list that has everything/wants nothing. The Unrefined Olive, located at 151A Second Avenue in the Glebe and 499 Terry Fox Drive in Kanata, has the answer for just those people. You can check out their website and also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

IMG_9175 (1280x956) (3)They have olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world, and you can taste them before you buy them.

IMG_9174 (956x1280) (2)Once you make your selection (not an easy task), the oil/vinegar is poured into bottles and labelled for you.


taste testing

premium virginIf you don’t want a flavoured oil, but simply a great virgin olive oil, there’s a large selection to choose from.

specialty oilsThey have specialty oils and seasonings. The truffle sea salt smelled unbelievable!

salt and seasoningsSome great stocking stuffers…

olives…and other things to go along with your oils and vinegars.

cutting boards

I’m so glad we finally made into The Unrefined Olive – that place is amazing!
I know! I love the set-up and the very helpful service. I’m sure the people on my list will love their gifts. Guess where I’m buying yours?
At another great Glebe retailer -Bloomfields. I thought we decided that.
Did we?
So, I bought the first oil and first vinegar I tried. How many did you try before you made a decision?
I tried two.
I don’t believe you and neither does Matt.
I’m telling the truth. We should go back to taste the other oils. It’s such an amazing place.
It could totally be a dating place it’s so great.
We can go in there to write my online dating profile while tasting olive oil.
We absolutely should. They are so good at pairing oil and vinegar they could probably pair people too.

Roasted Cauliflower – A Vegetarian Main Course


With the holiday season fast approaching and lots of entertaining to do, most of us have at least one vegetarian to feed. This Roasted Cauliflower recipe was in Chatelaine magazine and can be a great main course for the veggie at the table and a side for the meat eaters.

The ingredients are cauliflower, red pepper, onion, diced tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, thyme leaves, Parmesan, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt and cider vinegar.

Prep time is about 20 minutes and cooking time is an hour. This is an easy meal that is unbelievably filling and will serve lots of people. The recipe calls for the tomato mixture to be puréed before serving, but I skipped that step to make it even easier.

Pepper mix

The tomato pepper mixture in the roasting pan.

Cheese mix

The cheese, mayo, mustard mix for the top of the cauliflower.

Out of the oven

The roasted cauliflower coming out of the oven.


Bon appétit!

So, got some good advice from our friend Bridget, who is herself, a strict vegetarian.
Is she? What does she eat?
Her diet consists of eggs, jujubes and bridge mixture.
LOL. You’re kidding.That’s like eating plastic.
We all have a high tolerance for junk in our family. Even Marley, our dog.
You’re all crazy. Let’s get back to the healthy cauliflower.
She pointed out that all that cauliflower could make you and your dinner guests a bit gassy.
So we wouldn’t recommend this meal for a date night.
I’ll keep that in mind if and when I ever have a date.
This going to be on the Boxing day menu this year.
So you’re not planning on having a date?
Oh, I haven’t ruled that out, but I’ll go easy on the cauliflower. Thanks for the tip, Bridget!

Moya Foley Art Ecuador

Costa Flip Flops

We have long been waiting to do this post about our favourite artist, Moya Foley, and we’re doing it now because last week Moya launched her website – Moya Foley Art Ecuador. We are speechless every time we see one of Moy’s pieces and are absolutely thrilled we can share her talent with our readers. That picture of the flipflops above is not a photograph – it’s one of Moy’s paintings. #ridiculoustalent

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Moy is a Canadian living in Ecuador where she paints and teaches art. Yes, you can take a trip to Ecuador and take art classes with Moy – what a great idea if you’re planning to get away from winter.

Moy’s lives in Canoa – which is right on the Pacific coast – with her dog Martini (and no, that’s not why she’s our favourite artist.)


Moy’s art speaks for itself (and we have a few pieces to share that aren’t on her website because they’re in our houses), so have a look below and check out Moya Foley Art Ecuador. You can buy and/or commission art from Moy through her site by clicking on the blue link, or her homepage below.

Moy's home page

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll see on Moy’s site.


Marley (Irene’s dog)

The Pier at Tonchigue (1024x678)

Infinty Mortality Collage


Below is some of the art we own.

Front ring

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Napa 1

So we got to take an art class with Moy when she was in Canada this summer. I think we were complete rubbish.
And that’s saying it nicely. Moy has such skill and a unique talent. She’s also a bit of a recluse. Didn’t she live alone on an island for 5 years?
The recluse gene runs in her family – she has some crazy stories about living on that island.
So what did she do in emergencies? Did she have electricity? Was there a corner store?
No electricity, no corner store, no Starbucks even! She hung a sheet out on a tree trunk when she needed someone on the mainland to come to the island. Like the morning she woke up to find a great big boa in her kitchen.
And she stayed there for five years. Remarkable. How did she keep the beer cold?
I think living like that is clearly beyond anything you or I could do. We’d be hanging out that sheet morning and night.
We’d have an a.m. flag and a p.m. flag.
And you would somehow manage to convince people they needed to drop everything and come to our aid whenever they saw the flag. Maybe we could make a go of it afterall.
I don’t know about that. Maybe for a day or two.
You’re probably right. But I came up with the flags just in case we ever find ourselves in that situation.
Brilliant idea. I feel much better now.
We’ll have to start carrying them everywhere we go now – one never knows these days…
Back to Moy – she is truly remarkable. As an artist, she should be world-renowned. Maybe she will be now that we’ve blogged about her.
Yes, that should do the trick! You can thank us later Moy.

Art class

An art class with Moy

Special Sydney & Irene flags in case of emergencies…
white flags

3 Cool Things from Bloomfields Flowers

In case you missed our post this week, we went to the holiday season launch at Bloomfields Flowers in the Glebe. Bloomfields is one of those (much-too-rare) magical retail spaces where every item looks as those it was carefully hand-picked and placed exactly where it should be in the store. And don’t even get us started on the flowers!

Their holiday season stock was so wonderful, we just had to point out a few of our favourite things again. So here they are, and if you missed our post, just keep scrolling down and you’ll see it right below this post.

1. Klippan Blankets

A bit of background. Klippan is a family owned business that started in Sweden in 1879. Their blankets are made with pure lambs wool from New Zealand and the designs are incredibly beautiful which makes it difficult to decide which one to buy. Klippan is one of the very few producers of this kind left in Europe. These blankets are meant to be handed down to future generations. I have my eye on the one second from the left…















2. Reindeer Soap Dish

Soap dish


Great for Christmas…and all year long as far as we’re concerned.









3. Flowers/Plants

Bloomfields Flower collageBloomfields is a florist and their flowers and plants are the best!

Bloomfields Flowers – Getting Ready for the Holidays


Bloomfields Flowers is ready for the holiday season and this week we went to their holiday launch. Bloomfields is located at 736 Bank Street, in the Glebe (in Ottawa). You can check out their website, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but really, you need to get yourself to their store – it’s amazing!

3 WM

Metal fox and squirrels

Tree bobbles

Below is a larger gallery of all the amazing items we saw at (locally owned) Bloomfields. Given our vast knowledge of horticulture, you’ll see we’ve referred to some of the flowers as ‘purple flowers’ and ‘greenery’, rather than using their real (undoubtedly Latin) names. Click on an image to see it full size.

Bloomfields is one of our favourite stores in Ottawa.
We both wanted to buy every single thing we saw there.
It’s a good thing most retailers don’t know how to do what Bloomfields does because we would both be impoverished.
I’m just trying to think – out of all the wonderful things there – what you’re going to buy me for Christmas…
I’ll have to think about that… there’s so much to chose from.
I know you want one of those blankets – D&J, take note…
Can’t have too many blankets.
Can’t have too many of anything we saw.
For us, Bloomfields is THE most beautiful florist in Ottawa.
It is an awe-inspiring store. I’m actually at a loss for words it’s so beautiful!
That’s a first.
I know! I think the pictures speak for themselves, so Ottawa, get yourselves to Bloomfields.

outdoor candles

North & Navy

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North & Navy Restaurant
226 Nepean St., Ottawa, Ontario






Last Friday morning I read a review about North & Navy, one of Ottawa’s top new restaurants. What got my attention was the description of Bacaro: On practically every calle, salizada and ruga in Venice, you’ll find a Barcaro – a casual place to grab a glass of wine or Prosecco and a bite to eat, known as “cichèti” … before I finished reading the rest of the description I was texting Irene to meet me there after work for a glass of Prosecco.









You’ll find N&N’s Barcaro at the rear of the restaurant with a view into the kitchen. In my haste to get there after work I arrived a bit early so I took a few photos while waiting for Irene.

Here’s that glass of Prosecco we’ve been waiting for.




FeetIrene arrived – love the inlaid floor tile.

Here are a couple of the dining areas.



small room


Beet Goat Cheese & Apple
Ricotta e lardo

Postcard collage

This lovely postcard comes with the bill. Nice touch.

I love discovering new places.
And I love drinking Prosecco.
Yes, a match made in heaven.
This was a fantastic meeting place for a drink after work.
I know and our fantastic server Carla gave us those delicious appetizers to try.
Next time we’ll come back for dinner and bring all our friends.
Or at the very least we have to go back for an after work drink at the Barcaro.
Can’t wait.

5 cool things… notice how we changed the title from 3 to 5 cools things…

This week we posted videos of Canada’s top 5 Restaurants voted by the 2015 Air Canada enRoute People’s Choice award.They all look amazing and next time we’re in Toronto we’ll be stopping by Bar Raval.

01/10 Pigeonhole

02/10 Port City Royal

03/10 Pilgrimme

04/10 Dailo

Unfortunately we couldn’t find a video for Cantonese restaurant Dailo which means “big brother; a term of endearment to show respect and love to an elder, a nod to the ways and tastes of older cultures and generations; implies a connection to future generations. Or, big boss; bad-ass”. Located at 503 College St., Toronto. For more information you can reach them at

05/10 Bar Raval

Daya Spa, Dalhousie St., Ottawa


Great news! Our favourite esthetician, Hailey Hamilton (formerly of New U on Queen St.) is back at work!
And it’s a good thing – I’m in dire need of a pedi.
And full disclosure here, Hailey is a family member, but also just happens to be the best esthetician ever.
Daya Spa, Hailey’s new employer, is in my favourite neighbourhood – Dalhousie St. in the Byward Market.
So when you go there you can visit all the other great shops along the way.
And it’s close to Parlour –
– where you go every six weeks for a few hours, right?
Yes, you are correct. I have a standing appointment.
We need to pamper ourselves because we don’t have anyone else to do it for us.
Yeah, I’m gettin’ tired of that. I wish my dog was capable of cooking a meal.
If she could, it couldn’t possibly take any longer than you do.
We should get back to the spa. For real – when are we going?
We’ve booked a group evening there in November – our pre-Christmas prep.
Daya is really beautiful with a wonderful, relaxing vibe. And you could shop ’till you drop with all the products they sell.
And they’ll fill up quickly, so book your appointment now to get ready for the holidays, and while you’re there, do some Xmas shopping.
Ask for Hailey…
Everyone who works there is great, but of course we’re partial to our girl.
And we’ll see you there!

SignDaya Spa, located at 200 Dalhousie St., is owned by Linda Leclerc.

Not only are all the products at Daya Spa organic, but Linda employs ecological and sustainable practices in the spa operations. You’ll come away feeling good about yourself (because of the pampering you just received), feeling good that you didn’t do any damage to the environment while you were being pampered, and feeling great about supporting a local business.

You can find out more about Daya Spa here and follow them on twitter @dayaspa and on Facebook at daya spa well being boutique bien être where they often post information about openings for that day.

Daya collage 2Daya Products Collage (1280x594)So many products to peruse and purchase from Eminence (a favourite) to Daniel Thompson, a wonderful Canadian line of skin care and makeup products.

Daya PedisPedi anyone?

ManisWhere the mani-magic happens.

ColoursPedi tools

Final product

I will never, ever be able to spell esthetician without Googling it. Not ever.
The computer doesn’t even know how to spell it.
I’m just going to start using the painted nails emoticon instead.

Painted nails