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Create a sense of calm and freshen up your home for spring

Girl Power Vase via Scout / Bird Art Print by illustrator Geraldo Valerio via Zebuu / Ivy Plant via Plant Collective / Sprig Blanket via Bookhou Design / Candle via Citchen Candle Co. / Teakwood + Tobacco Room spray via Rose City Goods / Schlage Encode Wifi Lock / Uncomplicated Cookbook by Claire Tansey / Porcelain Plates by Atelier Make Studio via Likely General / Savon de Marseille Soap via Oliver and Rust / Wooden Dish Brush via Pretty Clean Shop / Citrus Sponge Cloth via Ten and Co./

With all this time at home, it’s more important than ever to create a sense of calm, order but also brightness. We want our homes to be a place of comfort, a place we enjoy, especially now as everyone is adjusting to the new reality of living and working at home, in our collective effort to battle Covid19.
It’s also spring, so we want to open the windows and doors and let in some fresh air.

Tending to our homes, whether it’s spring cleaning, getting things organized or adding a few fresh touches can brighten our homes and our moods.

How is your household coping?

As a freelancer, I’m used to working from home, but it’s a challenge to try to stay focused, now that I’m working in a full house. But I’m counting my blessings. We are safe and well.

I've partnered with Schlage Canada to put together an inspiration board with ideas for creating a sense of calm and to freshen things up for spring. Covid19 has created chaos, and for many - lost income and uncertainty, so I've sourced products from Canadian makers and small businesses in an effort to encourage people to support the local economy. All of these items can be ordered online.

Spring cleaning

If there ever was a time to be enthusiastic about spring cleaning, it’s now. There are so many great products on the market that help us clean our homes. Plus, they get bonus points for looking great.

Instead of buying disposables, consider buying more eco-friendly tools like Swedish sponge cloths which can replace about 17 rolls of paper towel and can be thrown in the washing machine or dishwasher and are biodegradable, compostable and recyclable.

Wooden dish brushes made of beech wood and natural bristles. The head is removable so you can reuse the handle with a replaceable head and reduce waste. I just ordered a replacable head for ours and I treated myself to a fancy French Savon de Marseilles soap for my kitchen counter. No packaging and let’s face it, it looks so good. Meg at Oliver and Rust has some great tips on how you can use these soaps on her blog.

Feed yourself

It seems like everyone is baking these days. My Instagram feed is full of sourdough loaves and cookies. Whether you are cooking out of necessity or for comfort there are things you can do to make life in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable.

Now is a great time to organize the pantry. Take stock of what you have, what you need and what you might be craving – emergency chocolate anyone?

It may be beneficial to come up with a meal plan so you know what you’ll need to stock up on - especially if you are trying to limit trips to the grocery store and keep an inventory of what you have and what you need.

There are so many great online resources for recipes. Whether it’s your favourite foodie Instagrammer, blogger, chef or cookbook author, there’s something out there for everyone.

Food writer friend, Claire Tansey is a great one to follow. She shares fun recipes and videos through her website Claire Tansey’s Kitchen, on her facebook page, and her cookbook, Uncomplicated: Taking the stress out of home cooking is indispensable for anyone looking for easy-to-make recipes.

Bob Blumer ( @bobblumer on IG ) is also sharing some great tips on how to use what you have in your pantry and minimize food waste. One of my favourite IG foodies is Rachel Roddy, author of My Kitchen in Rome is a regular contributor to Guardian Feast at The Guardian and shares recipes and stories about life in Rome ( @rachelaliceroddy on IG) and of course Jamie Oliver who has a new video series on his website called Keep Cooking and Carry On . These are just a few, there are so many more.

Brighten things up

If you are able to, support local artisans and businesses. Many shops have pivoted to offer online shopping, delivery or even local delivery.

Art is a great way to do that. You can even find downloadable options on sites like Etsy. I love this cheerful bird print found online at Zebuu.

Tend to any indoor plants and start thinking about outdoors. Now’s a great time to start growing some fresh herbs, flowers or veggies by starting some seeds that you might be able to find online.

Add some fresh flowers or plants to your home. Some florists are still delivering or offering curbside pickup. I love this ‘Girl Power’ vase from Scout.

A cozy throw from Toronto maker Arounna of Bookhou looks perfect for curling up on the couch.

Take care

Try to find some time or space to spend alone, if you are in a full house. A walk around the block for sunshine and fresh air will make you feel great.

A smart Wifi lock like the Schlage Encode can be a good choice for any home. They can save time, add convenience, and make it safer and easier to share access by eliminating spare keys. You can control the lock on your door with your voice using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant or using apps like Schlage Home, Key by Amazon or with Ring. In these times of cleaning all the things we touch, eliminating keys can be a good thing.

Do something creative. Now’s the time to learn something new. There are so many great online tutorials and resources.

Scent can do wonders to life our spirits. Try a natural soy candle or room spray made with essential oils.

Also, I’ve been unplugging from social media and news for obvious reasons. As hard as it is, put your device away and do something that makes you feel good. Whether that’s a good book, doing something creative, working out, meditation – whatever works, my friend. These are stressful times, so take care.

Disclosure: I've partnered with Schlage Canada in this sponsored post. All opinions and text are my own.

9 Earth Friendly Valentine's Day Gifts

Chocosol Traders Fair Trade Chocolate Bar / Tropical House Plant Bundle via Plant Collective / Healing Oil Balm via Maison Apothecare / Vintage Tassel Necklace via Pacific NorthRust on Etsy  / Prosecco / Vintage Plaid Throw Blanket via Pacific NorthRust on Etsy / Box Tote Tiili via Bookhou Design / Card via Fat Cat Greetings / Mimosa Candle by Dimanche Matin on Fabrique 1840 /

If you plan on picking up a little something for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day why not show the earth some love too and choose something a little more sustainable. Sharing the love, some tips and a shopping guide today...

Buy Fair Trade

When possible, choose fair trade chocolate which is produced under ethical standards and priced to give farmers and labourers a living and sustainable wage. You can read more about fair trade chocolate here. Local brands like Chocosol Traders in Toronto makes fair trade chocolate with packaging that they say is fully biodegradable.

Give Living Plants

A bouquet of flowers is always welcome but a plant will last as long as you give it love. Yes they are often tropical but they do help clean the air. This bundle of plants from Plant Collective makes a great gift for the plant people in your life. You can order online too! If you do go the route of buying blooms, ask for locally sourced greenhouse grown flowers. They're out there you just need to ask. Check out this story I wrote for The Toronto Star about the Local Flower Movement in Toronto.

Look for natural beauty and skincare products

I have many favourites when it comes to natural skincare products. My newest is this Healing Oil Balm from Maison Apothecare. It's all natural ingredients include Olive Oil, Beeswax, Vitamin E, Neroli essential oil, and Borage Oil. It comes in an aluminum tin which can be reused or recycled.

 Drinkable gifts 

A bottle of bubbly will always win. Choose a bottle with minimal packaging unlike the one I show here which has a wrap of some kind but looks good in the round-up. Oops. Glass bottles are recyclable. For extra points choose a local vintage.

Buy Vintage

Enough said. Keeps stuff out of landfills and vintage gifts are often one-of-a-kind. Lots of amazing vintage jewelry like that great tassle necklace and home decor like this cozy throw can be found on Etsy.

Buy Handmade

 Small batch products made by artisans are often made more sustainably. Head to your local craft market, pop-up or Etsy to shop for handmade gifts. Etsy is great because you can also shop local, choosing where you want to search for products. I have a soft spot for small stationers and love this card by Fat Cat Greetings. Another spot to shop for handmade and artisanal gifts is online at Fabrique 1840. Kudos to Simons for giving shoppers the handmade, small batch option. Love this candle and this fab bag by the talented Arounna at Bookhou Design.

*Just a heads up that although there is NO sponsored content in this post, there are a few affiliate links. If you make a purchase I will get a small commission but at no extra cost to you. Thanks for reading.

Create a cozy and colourful nook to practice self-care

Art via Celadon Art / Table Lamp via Schoolhouse / Side Table via CB2 / Candle and plant in headvase via Homesense / Essential Oil via Saje / Green velvet chair via Article / Schlage Encode Smart Wifi lock via Schlage Canada / Vintage rug via Tonic Living / Potted plant via Ikea / Book via Indigo / Linen throw via Wills & Prior / Pillow via Tonic Living

Cold winter nights make me crave a cozy spot to relax at the end of the day. There's no better way to unwind than to steal away by yourself with a good book.

I've partnered with Schlage Canada to put together an inspiration board with ideas for carving out a cozy nook to create a space that is focused on wellness and comfort.

Whether it's a corner reading nook or a room that you can call your own (lucky you!) fill it with all the things that you love and will help to create a sense of calm.  A comfy chair, a cozy throw and a rug to keep your feet warm are just a few of the things that will help you create a comfortable space.

One of the most important things you can do is to put away the phone. It's easy to fall into a rut of using your down time to mindlessly scroll through Instagram, I'm guilty of that too, but studies show it's definitely not contributing to our overall well being. So create a spot where you can relax, light a candle,  read a book (I'm just finishing a book called Mudlark, about the history of the River Thames in London and the treasures in it's mud), spend some time drawing, journaling or even meditate. It's just important to decompress, get your mind off of what stresses you.

Here's how to create a chill out space...

Carve out an area that is (relatively) free of distraction. If that doesn't exist in your house then you'll want to add a good set of noise canceling headphones to your list.

Somewhere to sit

A comfy chair is key. Look for fabrics that are plush, soft, something that you can sink into. Velvet will give you that. If meditation is your thing than look for a comfy floor pillow.

Warm floors

It's hardly a revelation that rugs add warmth to a space so find one that you love, natural fibres are best, your feet will be happy.

Add plants

Plants make me happy. Adding a dose of green, living things in the dead of winter is good for the soul. They say it's also good for the air. There are many plants that are easy to care for so I urge you to give it a try.  Although there are lots of great looking faux plants, they are plastic. You probably don't need more plastic in your life.

Add textiles

You can never have too many throw blankets and pillows in a cozy space. Make sure they feel good to your touch. Choose pillows that have removable covers, making them easy to wash. It's simple to swap out pillow covers seasonally.

Lighting is key

Ensure you have good task and ambient lighting in your cozy space. A table lamp or sconce adds another layer of lighting beyond the ceiling lights in a room that can be practical too, for reading etc. Then layer in ambient lighting - candles will do the trick.

Essential oils

I love using essential oils. I use a diffuser as well as roll-on oils to treat everything from headaches (peppermint!) to sleep (chamomile or lavender) or to refresh the air.


It's such a personal thing but when you find a piece of art that speaks to you it can life your spirits. I spotted this print at The Toronto Gift Market last week and loved it. I collect vintage books and paper so it caught my eye. Photographs are good too. Maybe you have a shot of your favourite beach that you can print and frame. Sometimes focusing on a piece of art or a photograph can help you relax.


Although it's good to take a break from your phones technology can also make your life easier. You can use an app your phone to play relaxing music, listen to a podcast or do meditation. There's even an app to unlock your door. Schlage's Encode Smart Wifi Deadbolt lock lets you control the locks on your door using an app, from anywhere. It just makes your life easier. You don't need to use a key or get up from your chill out mode to lock your door when a certain someone doesn't lock it on the way out. You can also set up to 100 access codes for trusted friends or family. For additional convenience, enjoy voice commands via Alexa or Google Assistant. 

Disclosure: I've partnered with Schlage Canada in this sponsored post. All opinions and text are my own.