Saturday, 17 August 2013

Release Your Inner Surfer Dog...

Oh, but I love finding cool new things, and when it's cool news things for my dog (read 'surrogate baby') I'm even happier. And... finding a cool new things for my dog in my neighborhood, well, SCORE.  I love my neighborhood (Lower Mission), not least for the fact it has some great little local shops.

One of my favorites is Green and Bear It which is one of those wonderfully eclectic local shops that is part gardening store, part gift shop, part home store and part clothing and accessories boutique. This may sound a bit schizophrenic in print, but believe me, in person it works.

But... back to the aforementioned cool thing for my dog.

Green and Bear It are carrying the coolest beaded dog collars, like, ever.  Made by a Vancouver-based company called FurryBeads, the collars feature wooden beads strung on to vinyl covered stainless steel cable with a nylon webbing and plastic click fastening. According to the company's website, FurryBeads are: 'waterproof, stink proof, stain proof (do not discolor your dog's hair), massages your dogs neck as they roll, do not break or matte your dog's hair, do not tangle in long haired dogs, do not rust in salt water, look good as they age/ weather, and also make "intimidating" breeds appear more friendly and  acceptable'.

The collars, $35, come in a variety of colour combinations, and in sizes small, medium and large. Muddy the Whoodle is currently rocking a teal, turquoise and grey combo that makes him look truly 'surfer dog'.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Star Fever...

One of the coolest things about living in places like London and Los Angeles is that you never know what fabulous person you might find yourself standing behind in the supermarket queue or next to in the pub.

Sadly, I am really useless at noticing celebs. Apparently, I have stood behind Dudley Moore in a cinema lineup ('You mean the really short guy?' I asked my bemused boyfriend at the time), and also have photographic evidence of myself sitting behind Kanye West at the last fashion show I attended (and, yes, I had to ask my friend who he was). However, the fact that I can now have these same brushes with fame here in the Okanagan Valley just further confirms that Kelowna (and area) is the place to be.

So just how happening is the Okanagan?  Well... actor, director, producer, screenwriter, humanitarian and all-round heartthrob George Clooney is currently ensconced in Enderby filming his new film, Disney's sci-fi 'Tomorrowland'.

Okanagan. George Cloony. Need I say more?

Actually, I will. The movie also stars Hugh Laurie as the villain, which - for any Brits or fans of 'House' - is every bit as cool.

Word on the street says that  'Tomorrowland' will be filming on and off in Enderby until mid-September. I sense a short road trip in my future - now, where did I put my binoculars?


Image sourced from

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Boating Life For Me...

If you're gonna live in Kelowna, you better get a boat. Or so my husband thinks, and I can't say I disagree. So, we crunched our numbers and toddled along to Dockside Marine's July 'Customer Appreciation Day' to see what our limited budget might afford us.  The answer?  Something pretty damn good.

Thanks to Dale and Chris, two weeks later we were on the lake in our own (second hand, but in pristine condition) SeaRay feeling like true Kelwona-ites.  Or is that Kelwo-no-nians? Or maybe its Kelownans. (Answer on a postcard please!)

We couldn't have asked for more friendly and helpful service, all the way up to our 'on the water' induction (the boating version of the 'test drive') with the lovely Cap'n John.  Furthermore, there was a problem with our trailer on the way to the marina (the left wheel decided to low a ball bearing enroute) so Dockside organised weekend mooring for us at their Manteo Resort facility, took the trailer away, fixed the problem, then picked up the boat and delivered it to us Monday afternoon. Very impressive.

As for the boat, we love it, and being on the water is just amazing.  As one of the sea dogs in the marina said to us, 'Kelowna opens up in a whole new way when you have a boat'. Popping over for coffee also takes on a whole new meaning. Of course, like all new boaters, there are a few tricky bits - like launching and loading your boat.

Our local boat launch is the Eldorado, right beside the (normally heaving) patio, where patrons consider watching boat launchers making complete fools of themselves as part of the venue's entertainment.  I know this because my husband and I have been two of those cruel people pointing and giggling when it all goes horribly wrong for some hapless captain.  Now it's going to be us providing the chuckles.  Gulp.

Though... we may have found a way round this.  Want to watch our launching learning curve? Come down to the boat launch any morning at 6am. Yup. We are only launching when we know that NO ONE is going to be around. Now we just have to figure out how to get the boat back out of the water and onto the trailer under the cover of darkness.


PS: We are also busy discussing names for our boat.  The current favourite? 'Mywifeletmebuyit'.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Church & State

Considering that I tell all my British friends that I have moved to 'the Napa Valley of Canada' as a quick, shorthand way of describing my new home, I can't believe I have been blogging about Kelowna for over four months and have yet to write anything about a winery. Well, I am about to rectify that.

One of the first things my husband and I did when we got back to town was to spend a day exploring and re-connecting with the area.  This included a pilgrimage to the place that produces one of my very favourite wines - Church & State's utterly yummy Chardonnay.

Located just south of Oliver, Church & State is a wonderfully modern winery, nestled in the Coyote Bowl vineyards, which is in turn nestled in the Black Sage Bench of the southern Okanagan.  Not only is the wine wonderful, the winery's contemporary architecture is to utterly fab. Can anything be more modernly fan-tabulous than wood and polished concrete? It's like a match made in thegood(new)life heaven.

Now let's talk awards.  The aforementioned Chardonnay - described thus: 'great
 intensity on the nose, with lanolin, honey, spice, dried lemon zest and vanilla notes. Big and bright, the palate carries a lot of oak flavour, with spice and a touch of smokiness' -  won a Silver Medal at the Wine Access 2011 Canadian Wine Awards, and Church & State is no slouch in the reds department either.  It's 2010 Coyote Bowl Syrah was awarded Bronze for the best red wine in Canada at the Canadian Wine Awards, 2012, and the same awards saw the Syrah, the 2008 Quintessential (red blend) and 2011 Voignier all achieving gold in their categories. All of which added together to place Church & State as the fourth ranking winery in Canada. Can't argue with that.

Prices range from $20 to $35 (the Chardonnay weighs in at $27), with the uber-special 2008 Quintessential 
(a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec & Petit Verdot, which won gold at the 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition) costing $55. 

For slimmer wallets, Church & State also produce the Church Mouse series, a Chardonnay and a Gewerztraminer both priced at $17.

Through the summer, the tasting bars (indoor and outdoor!) are open daily from 11 to 6.