30.6.14

Summer Holidays!

Campfire Bags - Adventure Pack (I want one!!)
We're off to Finland this week for 10 days of coastal living, forest walks, saunas, Scandinavian food and design, and maybe even a few Moomins (for Edwin, of course!). I'm so happy that we are once again close enough to Finland that we can afford the airfare for all three of us to go and visit my Finnish family—this will be the first time they're meeting Edwin. We'll be staying with my family in their home in Turku for a few days, and then going to the cottage on the Baltic Sea. On our way back we've booked a night in Helsinki, so we'll spend one day there before flying out.



And, in a super lucky coincidence, one of my favourite Finnish design studios, Polkka Jam, just released a Turku Treasure Map, "Find everything from art, books and records to ecological products, vintage clothing and Finnish design." Sounds great, can't wait!

Hope you're enjoying your Summer!
xo Bess

10.6.14

WE'RE OPEN!



I'm so happy to share with you that I re-opened both the English Muffin online shop and Etsy shop last week. They had been closed for a bit longer than I had originally anticipated while we got our little family settled in Freiburg, Germany, and I thank you all for your patience.

Some Good Shop News

Shipping to North America and many other locations around the world will be less expensive than when we were shipping from Canada (if you can believe it!). English Muffin now offers two shipping options, Standard International Shipping (anywhere outside of Germany) for $5 USD, and Int'l Shipping with a Tracking Number (anywhere outside of Germany) for $7.50 USD.

New Prints will start appearing in the shop over the next few weeks beginning with the individual Truck Prints! There are currently four trucks available in sizes ranging from 8" x 10" to 17" x 22".

I'll be sending out a Newsletter soon with a promo code for a sweet Summer deal—sign-up to the English Muffin Mailing List (in the blog sidebar, or at the bottom of our website) to make sure you don't miss out.

Have a wonderful day!
xx Bess

30.5.14

iPhone Study No.1



The world is an ever changing place, and if you had told me only a couple of years ago that I would leave my Nikon DSLR sitting at home while exploring a new European city I wouldn't have believed you. However, that is exactly what I am now doing. We've been in Freiburg for two months and the only—I repeat, the ONLY—photos of the city I have are on my iPhone. 

Does it mean I'm getting lazy in my old age and new motherhood? Maybe. Does it mean my love of photography is waning? I don't think so. Does it mean the convenience of the iPhone and it's small and practical size are winning out over my expensive and bulky camera? Yes. Not to mention, the photos it takes are pretty impressive. 

So, here's a little study I made on moss and lichen while Edwin and I were exploring one day. He was having fun running up and down the ancient stone staircase, and I was having fun discovering what was living on these ancient stone walls. 




Have a wonderful weekend!
xx Bess 

23.5.14

The Girl From Away - PEI, Canada


My wonderful friend (and former hair dresser of Chez Snips fame), Nadyne, has recently embarked on a new adventure in her life having opened a studio and shop in the lovely province of Prince Edward Island. This new chapter was spurred by a sudden tragedy in her life, the loss of her beloved step-father. Nadyne, being the champion that she is, has taken her deep sadness and grieving and used it to create something hopeful, inspiring and beautiful through her new shop, The Girl From Away. Before Nadyne left Montreal she asked me if I would create a print inspired by the fair island, I was flattered and honestly am very honoured to be among the artists whose work is available in her shop.

The Girl From Away
697 Rustico Road
Route 7 North Milton
Prince Edward Island

xo Bess

19.5.14

LA PRESSE Press





Thank you for the wonderful press La Presse, and for saying that my French is impeccable! It is such a treat to be featured alongside the other artists and designers. Merci!!

For those of you looking to purchase your own English Muffin map, the shop will re-open shortly.

Oh, and that "new baby" in the English Muffin family happens to be a book collaboration with the oh so talented Girlfriday :) We don't know the due date yet, but we'll keep you posted!

xo Bess





20.4.14

Easter Sunday in the Forest





This morning we decided to go for a little hike in the forest, near the Waldsee. It is a short walk from our apartment and the weather was perfect for a stroll outside before lunch and nap time. The hike up is a little toddler-treacherous at points, a steep drop off and narrowed path, and I wondered to Charles if this might be too much for the little guy, but Edwin did a wonderful job and had a great time exploring the woods, as did we. 

The path was almost deserted—luck us—we had the forest all to ourselves. Just when we thought the magic couldn't get any more magical we were treated to the beautiful sounds of the Easter bells from the church below...



Hope you are having a wonderful long weekend.

Happy Easter!
xx Bess



11.4.14

TGIF!


I rarely thank god that it's Friday, but this week I am! We made it through our first week in our new Freiburg routine; Papa at work and Mama at home with Edwin. Granted, this won't be our routine forever, but while we look for a suitable childcare solution (daycare spaces are very hard to come by here, as are apartments) I have returned to my solo-parenting daytime duties. It wasn't that long ago that I was home with Eddie full-time, from birth until 14 months when he started part-time daycare, and then a couple days a week until he starting going full-time to daycare at 18 months. A lot changes though in 9 months in the life of a toddler, and 27-month-old-Eddie is a whole different can of worms. 

These days feel more intense, interesting and exhausting (I think there will always be an element of exhaustion when it comes to motherhood, no?). We go on adventures, and chat, he can help me do laundry or load the dishwasher, carry home the bread from the bakery, and he notices all the wonderful little details around us that I might otherwise miss. He's funny and bright, and having the time of his life—for about five minutes. Then there's the flip side, he drags the laundry across the balcony, pushes buttons on the dishwasher while it's running, drops the bread on the way home from the bakery, ignores me and my commands to "Stop and wait for Mama!". He's whiny, mischievous, and says no to anything and everything I suggest or offer—for about the next five minutes. We seem to oscillate between these two Eddies quite frequently throughout the day. 

I guess that's being two years old, right?! (Please agree here!)

It's a little bit like living with a crazy person, the days are exhausting not just because of our outings and the general physical nature of being with a toddler, but more so emotionally, the ups and downs of his absolute most wonderful self juxtaposed with his strong will and determination to be his most oppositional self. My back is also taking a beating with all the picking up I have to do... "Mama, I wanna pick you up." He really means he wants me to pick him up, but sometimes the other version sounds so much more inviting. 


In all honesty, I'm really thrilled that we've been given this time together again. When he was at daycare in Montreal, I always felt guilty that I wasn't spending enough time with him—a common feeling for working moms, I'm sure. The situation now is good though, I know it's not going to last forever, so we are making the most of it. We're working through the difficult moments that happen for all of us as we grow and learn new things, and basking in the amazingness of tractors, chasing pigeons and comforting "pick you ups". 

Ahhh, life with a 2 year old...

xo Bess

8.4.14

WE'RE HERE!


We have been in Freiburg for just over a week now, and I am happy to report that things are going very well. The days leading up to our departure however were stressful, to say the least. Edwin developed laryngitis / croup on the Friday before the Monday we were leaving. I spent most of the weekend taking care of him, and the majority of Sunday morning we spent at the walk-in clinic waiting to be seen. Luckily, the doctor also diagnosed an ear infection and we got medication for both ailments, unluckily we had a very sick little boy on our hands who needed to board a plane in 24 hours and a ton of packing still to do. Fun times—NOT. So, Charles took over most of the packing/cleaning/storing duties and I tried to keep Edwin happy and on the road to recovery. The meds for the croup kicked in pretty quickly and his breathing and cough started to improve. He did a great job on the plane, slept like a champ and stayed happily in his car seat for the entire 7 hour flight (I highly recommend travelling with a car seat). I think all those trips between Montreal and Toronto paid off, because (knock on wood) this kid is a good traveller. We had to change planes in Frankfurt and the last leg of the trip was a bit more trying than the first—jet lag, illness, and the fun of the airport was wearing off. We did however make it, and only suffered one luggage causality, we left the car seat in the taxi that took us from the Basel airport to Freiburg. So, Eddie's car seat is in Switzerland at the moment. I do have to give my husband a big, public, high-five for the stellar job he did packing my 27" iMac and Epson printer, both arrived safely. Thank you Charles, I should have never doubted your genius. (If you plan to take your computer on a flight email me and we can recommend a flight case.)



When we left Montreal we were wearing parkas, hats, mits and boots, thankfully spring is in full bloom here. I hated wrestling Eddie into those snow pants every morning. Speaking of Edwin, he is thriving. The freedom he has to run around by the Dreisam river, just a few minutes from our apartment, is unparalleled. We are all enjoying it so much. We spend a huge portion of our days outside, exploring, walking, running, climbing, jumping, touching, looking, smelling and listening to all the new things around us. I feel like this proximity to nature is what had been missing in our lives. North America provides the suburbs and countryside as an alternative to the hustle and bustle of city living, but Europe generally manages to keep cities liveable. We have always lived in a city and will likely continue to do so for Charles' job, but have also longed to be surrounded by the freedom and beauty that nature provides, I feel like this is what we have found here. Freiburg is not a big city though, with 230,000 inhabitants and surrounded by the Black Forest—and with the Mayor a member of the Green Party—it's not an impossible feat to make nature and city feel seamless, of course it takes a lot of planning and a strong will for it to succeed but it is possible—and it works so well here!

There are many more things to share about what life is like here, and I'm sure my opinions will continue to change as we spend more time in Freiburg. For now though, things are looking up! And, if you want to follow our journey in photos, I'm posting daily to my Instagram feed.

xo Bess