Swell Made Co.

Paper goods + gifts that make a statement.

Love It | Mint

Love It, DecorLesley PocklingtonComment
Love It | Mint + Black with Swell Made Co.

Love It | Mint + Black with Swell Made Co.

2017 was the year of greenery (as seen in LOVE IT | Greenery this past spring). It was well-loved throughout the year and it will mostly certainly continue into 2018, but with variations of green ranging from green jewel tones, moody greens and aquamarines and one of my favourites - mint. Whatever palette of green you love, I'm happy it's here to stay for a little while longer. Especially when it comes to the abundance of plant life that is making way into the hearts and homes of many.

When you think of mint green, you might think retro. While, this hue does pay homage to the 1950s this LOVE IT list takes a modern approach to this colour your Grandma loved too. Combined with matte black, other neutral colours, and graphic patterns; it complements with minimal or ecclectic interiors.


Here are a few of my favourite ways to bring mint into your space:

  1. Mint Moon (11x14) Art Print by Swell Made Co. Drift off to dreamland with this mint moon art print.
  2. Matte Black Pendant Lamp. Choosing a matte black pendant in a contemporary shape is great in any space. Better yet, choose one with a gold or brass interior for a bit of extra panache. Swoon.
  3. Jasmine Green Tea Toner by Herbivore. Not for your space, bur for your face. This calming, hydrating, and nourishing toner is infused with Jasmine Water to reduce inflammation and Green Tea, which is loaded with antioxidants for cellular regeneration.
  4. Matte Black Dinnerware from World Market. Timeless and moody, black ceramics will always make a statement on your dinner table and they complement mint or neutral interiors perfectly. Crafted in Portugal.
  5. Graphic Izabal Pillow from Leif Shop. Black and white graphic patterns will continue to trend in 2018. This graphic pillow is a visual treat. Each pillow is handcrafted in Guatemala, empowering indigenous women to overcome poverty and become agents of change in their communities.
  6. Morandi Mint Bud Vase from Buk & Nola. Brings little bit of greenery into your home with this mini ceramic bud vase from Montreal's Buk & Nola.
  7. Medan Graphite Lounge Chair from Article. Rattan is still going strong, but you can modernize the look with this lounge chair in graphite/black. Inspired by rattan, this chair is made with synthetic wicker. Clean lines, with a bohemian feel.
  8. Minty Moon Dish by Hinkleville. This sweet minty moon dish is perfect for holding tiny things and bringing minty cuteness into your space. Available in various sizes and in a mug too!
  9. Mint Cactus (11x14) Art Print by Swell Made Co. A mint cactus art print for a cool (yet, warm) vacation vibe in your space.

For more inspiration, head to Pinterest to see some of my favourite spaces with mint decor and accents. Click the images below to see the original sources. Thanks for reading!

Netflix & Wine | Fall 2017

WineLesley PocklingtonComment
Netflix & Wine | Fall 2017. Your favourite shows paired with delicious wines by Swell Made Co.

Netflix & Wine | Fall 2017. Your favourite shows paired with delicious wines by Swell Made Co.

It's been a while since the last edition of Netflix & Wine. Summer months have a way of doing that, but with the arrival of Fall I'm ready to snuggle up and stream my favourite shows and pour some wine. Some of these shows were released a little while ago, but they're worth watching if you haven't already. Read through to the end of the post where I mention other notable shows to watch. You'll have to pair those with wines yourself, but here are 5 to get you started.

  1. Master of None Season 2 - Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir 2015, Niagara, Canada

    Allora! Aziz Ansari's Emmy winning Master of None picks up where it left off with an incredible second season. The season starts off with Dev's adventures in Italy and follows him back home to New York City. The first few episodes will have your stomach grumbling as Dev learns to make pasta and tastes his way around Italy while hilarity ensues. I bet you're expecting me to pair an Italian wine, but you don't have to go that far to get a good bottle of Gamay to accompany your tomato-based or creamy pastas. Pair it with Ontario's own, Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir 2015.

    Ruby red colour; fresh berry aroma; raspberry, cherry and a touch of spice in flavour, light body, clean dry finish. A medium-bodied, easy-drinking red wine.
     
  2. Jack Whitehall: Travels with my Father - Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand

    Comedian Jack Whitehall sets about on a missed "gap year" adventure in Southeast Asia with his upper crust (stuffy) and elderly Father in this new Netflix travelogue series. This odd couple takes on Thailand and Cambodia in an attempt to strengthen their bond. Their mishaps and escapades will guarantee laughs. Order some Thai food (a perfect pairing with this wine) and watch this series with a solid Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough (ouuu, ahhh), New Zealand's Greywacke.

    Very ripe stone fruit and pineapple aromas are lifted by flowers, dusty brown spices and anise. Plush, round and slightly sweet, but with nicely integrated acidity giving shape to the peach, grapefruit, white pepper and nutmeg flavors.
     
  3. Gaga: Five Foot Two - Domaine des Nugues Made by G

    It's no secret, Lady Gaga loves wine and the word is out that Lady Gaga has plans to open a winery aptly named "Grigio Girls" in the near future. Not to be confused with Gaga Wine that was released by Kendall Jackson a few years back.

    In the meantime, we can have a little fun with Domaine des Nugues Made by G. A sparkling red wine that will pair well with the documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two. This documentary that follows the icon as she releases a new raw album and prepares for her infamous Super Bowl halftime show. Easy drinking with some easy watching.

    The wine is deep red with a gorgeous pink mousse and fine beads. Made By G is a sparkling red wine or cuvee produced from 25 year old vines (gamay grapes). It finishes very lively and fruity on the palate, but not too sweet. This is a fun and different wine that's perfect for parties.
     
  4. Hidden Figures - Torres Celeste Crianza 2012, Ribera del Duero, Spain

    If you haven't seen this flick yet, queue up Netflix and settle in for Hidden Figures. Three brilliant African-American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson -- serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. You'll be in awe (and completely humbled) as you watch this galvanizing and little known piece of history. Pair this movie with a bottle of Torres Celeste Crianza 2012. A delicious wine with a stunning celestial label. 

    A polished texture carries reserved but harmonious flavors of black cherry, licorice, smoke, tar and mineral in this rather austere red. Well-integrated tannins impart structure, giving this depth and focus.
     
  5. Narcos Season 3 - Patron Reposado Tequila

    Pablo Escobar may be gone, but the drama continues in Narcos season 3 with the Cali Cartel. What I believe, is the best season yet. Watch Pedro Pascal take down more kingpins in Colombia. The final episode eludes to another season that takes place in Mexico where the cartel inevitably takes off, so let's skip the wine for this one and pair it with Reposada Patron Tequila. Mix yourself a cocktail and sit back with this series. This bottle doesn't come cheap, so perhaps save some for season 4?

    Lightly aged for two months in oak barrels, this offers subtle complexities of fresh agave, oak, citrus, and honey with a light amber hue. Smooth and sweet on the palate with exceptional balance; the finish is highlighted with flavours of floral and vanilla notes.

What else are you guys streaming? I'd love to know! Other notable shows are:

Ozarks - A breaking bad style series about money laundering that takes places in, you guessed it, the Ozarks.

This is Us - A feel good family drama that will bring you to your knees in tears. I have yet to see my husband cry (15 years and counting), but this one makes his eyes turn red.

Friends from College - A comedy series that follows a group of friends from Harvard that are now facing their forties. Complicated relationships among the group make for a good show.

The Keepers - This brilliant docuseries examines the decades-old murder of Sister Catherine Cesnik and its suspected link to a priest accused of abuse. It takes a sobering and riveting look at a real-life terror which exposes long buried secrets of the Catholic Church in Baltimore.

Mindhunter - A new crime drama series inspired by true crime in the 1970s. It follows an elite FBI unit as they try to understand the minds of serial killers.

And finally, Glow - A series about an out-of-work actress in the 80's that finds a chance at stardom in the world of women's wrestling. Children of the 80's will appreciate the spandex and cultural references.

Pair The Velvet Devil Merlot with Stranger Things for some spooky BOO-zing.

Pair The Velvet Devil Merlot with Stranger Things for some spooky BOO-zing.

There are so many more, but I have to catch up! Ummm, Stranger Things is coming on Friday! Pair that with The Velvet Devil Merlot for a bit of spooky BOO-zing.

Until, next time, enjoy these shows and wines. You can buy all of these wines (and tequila) at the LCBO in Ontario, Canada. Most of them are also available in liquor stores across Canada and the USA. Cheers!

*Some tasting notes and images from LCBO.com.

How To | Make Your Candles Last

Decor, How To, GiftsLesley Pocklington2 Comments
How to Make Your Candles Last by Swell Made Co. 5 Ways.

How to Make Your Candles Last by Swell Made Co. 5 Ways.

I love burning candles all year round, but when the temperatures drop it's a necessity. Snuggle up and create a cozy (hygge) vibe with your candles this fall and winter; but not without reading these simple tips. Here are 5 ways to make your candles last so you can get lit and prolong the burn.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR CANDLES LAST


  1. Take the First Time Slow
    Take things slow the first time. To maintain a clean burn with your candles, the first burn is the most important. For your inaugural burn, DO NOT blow the candle out until the wax pool covers the entire surface of your candle, or reaches the outer edge of the candle. This will ensure your candle will melt layer after layer and prevent tunneling. As a guide, a candle should burn an hour for every inch in diameter. Let the candle wax set after it is extinguished.
     
  2. Keep it Trimmed
    For a slow and even burn, keep your candle clean and trim the wick at about 1/4 inch before each use. Long wicks will cause the candle to burn too quickly. Plus, they can create smoking and soot which will inevitably kill the calm mood. Use a clever little wick trimmer like this one. Scissors will do as well.
     
  3. Avoid Drafts
    When burning your candle, avoid drafts. Drafts will cause your candle to flicker and cause erratic or uneven wax burning. It's best to keep things minimally breezy to make your candle last, but also to maintain a zen vibe. Not to mention, drafts can be a hazard as well. Always burn candles safely.
     
  4. Store Candles Properly
    Store candles away from heat and light when not in use. This helps prevent warping and discoloration (if tinted). Particularly if they're long tapered candles. Lay those flat when not in use.
     
  5. Keep a Lid On It
    If your candle has a lid, like this one, keep it on while your candle is not in use (after it's set). This will keep dust and other stuff (yuck) out of the wax to ensure a clean burn the next round. If you don't have a lid, gently wipe your candle with a with damp cloth if dust has collected between use.

Finally, when your candle has a 1/2 inch of wax left, it's time to say goodbye. It's sad, but with all these tips, your candles will indeed last longer.

That's it! I bet you didn't know there was so much to making a candle last. Neither did I, until I made the tunneling mistake a few times too many. Enjoy your candles and thanks for reading!

If you want to grab the candle shown here, it's our signature blend of Grapefruit, Bergamot and Rose. Dreamed by Swell Made Co. and hand poured by our friends, Wax & Fire Co.

Keeping your candle wicks trimmed will help them last longer.

Keeping your candle wicks trimmed will help them last longer.

Grapefruit, Bergamot and Rose Eco Soy Wax Candle. Dreamed by Swell Made Co. and poured by Wax and Fire Co.

Grapefruit, Bergamot and Rose Eco Soy Wax Candle. Dreamed by Swell Made Co. and poured by Wax and Fire Co.

5 Ways to Make Your Candles Last by Swell Made Co.

5 Ways to Make Your Candles Last by Swell Made Co.

Love It | Girl Power

Love It, Inspiration, Do GoodLesley PocklingtonComment
LOVE IT | Girl Power Love with Swell Made Co.

LOVE IT | Girl Power Love with Swell Made Co.

October 11 is International Day of the Girl. To celebrate, this edition of LOVE IT is all about my favourite everyday things to empower girls and women. Empowerment goes way beyond things (read this post to the bottom). That's not lost on me, but it doesn't mean girls don't want to have fun (and fundmental rights)!

  1. Pouches by Swell Made Co. For pencils, devices, or make up. Made in Canada and ready for anything.
  2. Beats Solo Wireless Headphones. Every girl needs a good pair of headphones to listen to music, podcasts or audio books. These wireless headphones are the key to listening while you work it.
  3. GRL PWR Card by Swell Made Co. Let another girl know that you support her or she inspires you. Or, both. Writing a handwritten note is always a good idea. Words are powerful and encouraging.
  4. Hustle Heart Keytag by Swell Made Co. For those who hustle with heart.
  5. Books to Empower Girls. Build a library that empowers and inspires. Learn, learn, learn. A girl can NEVER ever have too many books.
  6. JUST BE Meditation Bracelet by Breathing Inspiration. Just be with this minimalist meditation bracelet that brings good vibes and strength.
  7. GRL PWR Triangle Keytag by Swell Made Co. A little triangle keytag that says it all.
  8. Queen Art Print by Swell Made Co. Queen by her own definition, this art print is perfect for her home or work space.
  9. GIRL GANG Tee by FRANC. Support your local girl gang with this black tee that's perfect with jeans or a flowy skirt. Made in Canada by FRANC.

Swell Made Co. is also celebrating by working with Plan International to support their Because I am a Girl project to help girls access basic human rights that will protect them and give them the ability to transform their lives – and the lives of everyone around them. Every purchase you make from Swell Made Co. will have an impact that empower girls around the world. Not just today, but everyday. Thank you!

With a daughter and son of my own, this cause is near to my heart. Raising a girl and boy who value and stand up for equality and diversity will be one of my greatest contributions to more fair and just world. And with the current state of affairs, we still have a LOT of work to do.

"I've always believed that when you educate a girl, you empower a nation." - Queen Rania

Thank you for your continued support of Swell Made Co. and the Because I am a Girl project. 

Educate a Girl. Empower a Nation. Quote by Queen Rania.

Educate a Girl. Empower a Nation. Quote by Queen Rania.

Podcasts & Coffee | Fall 2017

Podcasts, Coffee, Round UpLesley PocklingtonComment
Podcasts & Coffee. The fall 2017 round up of podcasts to enjoy with coffee by Swell Made Co.

Podcasts & Coffee. The fall 2017 round up of podcasts to enjoy with coffee by Swell Made Co.

When I'm working at my desk all day, I'll admit, I'm fueled by two things. Podcasts and Coffee. Podcasts and coffee make perfect company for getting through the work day. From escaping through stories (real and fictional), catching up on current events or learning something completely new; this new blog series will round up some of my favourite podcasts. Grab your headphones and turn up the volume with me. If you have suggestions of your own, comment below. I'd LOVE to hear them. Literally.


Podcasts & Coffee. The fall 2017 round up of podcasts to enjoy with coffee by Swell Made Co.

Podcasts & Coffee. The fall 2017 round up of podcasts to enjoy with coffee by Swell Made Co.

FALL PODCAST ROUND UP

  1. The Daily by Michael Barbaro of the New York Times
    Every morning starts with this daily (5 days a week) news podcast powered by the New York Times. In twenty minutes you'll catch up on the news. This is how news should sound with only what you want to know, none of what you don't. Plus, Michael caps off each episode with a splash of gin. That's my kind of news.
     
  2. Revisionist History by Malcom Gladwell
    You've read Malcolm Gladwell's infamous books, now you can listen to his fascinating podcasts. Revisionist History seeks to explain the misunderstood. He approaches the past; whether it be a person, and event, and idea or even a song with the question of if we got it right the first time. Through facts and an insight that only Malcom Gladwell can expose, history gets a second chance.
     
  3. 99% Invisible by Roman Mars
    For design lovers like me, this will become one of your new favourite podcasts. Host Roman Mars explores the process and power of design and architecture that's often overlooked. Weekly episodes look at design in a whole new way from the history of the stethoscope to stories of architects like Frank Lloyd Wright. Roman has a dreamy voice that will captivate you from the beginning to end of every episode.
     
  4. Locked Up Abroad by Wondery
    Host Jim Clemente brings you first hand accounts of people who have lived the nightmare of being locked up in foreign countries. This immersive podcast has been adapted from National Geographic's hit TV series. Hear the riveting stories from the prisoners themselves as they have experienced being locked up (and escaping) from Istanbul to Bali.
     
  5. Casefile
    Not for the faint of heart, Casefile covers the shocking, strange and unsolved true crime stories. Fact is definitely scarier than fiction with this series. If you like true crime, you'll find this podcast fascinating as they look at well known and obscure cases. If you're not into true crime, skip this one.
     
  6. Women, Work + Worth by Mavenly & Co.
    A podcast for women by women about designing a career and lifestyle with purpose. The hosts and professionals touch on topics that are relevant to women in business with honesty, intention and meaning.

You can listen to and subscribe to all of these podcasts for free, of course. Happy listening while you work! Again, if you have any podcast suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Make it Simple, But Significant

Design, Brand, CollaborationsLesley PocklingtonComment
Make it simple, but significant. Quote by Don Draper.

Make it simple, but significant. Quote by Don Draper.

Wise words, right? Don Draper knew a thing or two (even though he was completely daft in personal areas of his life). Simplicity is my mantra. When I'm not designing the simple pieces for Swell Made Co., I'm helping other small brands develop their significance. It's a true and mad love that I've devoted much of my life to. A life without working on branding projects would be unrecognizable, so I make time for both branding design and stationery + gifts. They go hand in hand, and for that, I am very fortunate.

For the first time, you can see these projects too. Check out all of my recent design + collaborative projects here. There are some stellar brands to check out including franc, Club Botanic, and Skin to Skin Goods. Plus, collaborations with the June Motel and Mini Mioche.

If you would like to work together, let me know. I'd love to learn about your small business dreams.

Adventure | Peterborough & The Kawarthas

AdventuresLesley PocklingtonComment
Adventures | A Guide to Peterborough and The Kawarthas

Adventures | A Guide to Peterborough and The Kawarthas

Last week, I took you to my long time home of East Toronto. This week, I'm introducing you to my new home, Peterborough & The Kawarthas -- a gateway to cottage country, the two go hand in hand. While I'm still a newbie in this small city, it didn't take long to discover its gems. They go way beyond butter tarts, lift locks and canoes; but those are great too.

A quick 1.5 hours (or less) from Toronto, this little city boasts beautiful natural scenery and all the things you'd expect to find in an urban centre. Longtime locals, students (from Trent University) and expats mingle to create a casual vibe in this city that loves nature, art and good food. You'll find a bustling art scene with contemporary spaces,  loads of live music, and theatre performances in Peterborough and The Kawarthas. Peterborough even has its own Symphony Orchestra.

Summers are a dream in Peterborough. You can hop in canoe or kayak on the river (from downtown), visit quaint cottage country towns and lakes, and be back in time for a patio dinner on Hunter Street and a free concert under the stars -- all in one day. The towns of Lindsay, Lakefield, Bobcaygeon, Buckhorn and so many more offer their own unique charms and experiences throughout the lazy summer months.

Evans Contemporary Art Gallery | Peterborough, Ontario.

Evans Contemporary Art Gallery | Peterborough, Ontario.

Peterborough may be a small city, but there is a BIG love for good food. There is a ton of local flavour in this city from farm to table food, to local wine and beer. It's all here from casual to posh. You can even enjoy a 6 course dinner IN the Peterborough lift locks during the summer. Here are a few of my favourite spots, but I'm still discovering new spots all the time.


EAT & DRINK

Two Dishes Cookshop
Specializing in comfort food and HUGE portions, Two Dishes is always lined up or full as soon as the doors open. The food really is delicious, just come prepared with a big appetite for things like fried chicken, pan bread, hearty breakfasts, lunches, sweets and so much more. As seen on the Food Network's "You Gotta Eat Here".

St. Veronus Cafe & Tap Room
A Belgian style pub in downtown Peterborough, this spot offers up a lengthy list of imported beer. My favourite is the Vedette -- a wheat beer that's almost always on tap. Try the moules frites (blue cheese) and the vegetarian pate. Both are tremendous, as are their bigger plates.

Ashburnham Ale House
In East City you'll find this gastropub or ale house. They serve lunch and dinner, plus brunch on the weekends. Pub fare is fresh and so is the beer on tap. It's a cozy spot with a fireplace burning in the winter, and private shaded patios in the summer. I love visiting this spot to view local art as well.

Publican House Brewery + Smithavens Brewery
Local brews are a plenty thanks to these two local spots. Both sell their craft beer at their retail spots in Peterborough. The Publican House is set to open a gastropub this summer (2017) and Smithavens often has Ellie's BBQ in-house. For a steal too. $11 gets you a pint of craft beer, a brisket sandwich and two southern sides. So good!

The Planet Bakery
All you can drink, self-serve coffee and vegetarian fare are found here. I love this spot for breakfast or brunch (lunch too). Brie stuffed French toast while my kids play with the mini sized "kitchen"? Yes, please. Sadly, this spot is not open on Sundays.

Amuse Coffee Co.
A lovely French inspired coffee and tea shop will greet you just north of downtown on George Street. Lindsay, the owner, is wonderful at dreaming up new baked goods and beverages that will delight your taste buds all year round. The decor and ambiance will make you feel like you've landed in Paris.

Caffeina Espresso Bar
This hip espresso bar is a great place to work, meet locals and drink espresso, of course. I love the cortados and grab-and-go lunch offerings. It's right in the heart of downtown on Hunter Street with a small patio, but big heart. Weekend visits often include live and local music.

Le Petit Bar
A quaint, but delightful and chic spot -- Le Petit Bar is a wine bar and sister to St Veronus next door. The wine list is always changing and features local wines and wines from abroad. The charcuterie options are top shelf with choices of local cheese, meats, and smoked salmon paired perfectly with fruit, mustards and honey. Speaking of top shelf, I love watching the bartender use a ladder to fetch things from the ceiling high shelves. Come for Sparkling Thursdays where you can taste Prosecco cocktails for $6. Salud!

Farmer's Markets
Peterborough loves its farmer's markets and it shows in the culinary scene. There is a distinct respect for supporting local farmers. I love them too. Markets run every Wednesday throughout the summer, and Saturday all year-round. Shopping seasonally is made easy by these farmers. Hard Winter Bread Co. makes bagels right at that market that rival Montreal's. You have to get there early, but it's worth it. Don't forget smoked salmon and cream cheese.

Kawartha Coffee Company
This quaint spot is not to be missed while in Bobcaygeon. Of course, there's always coffee brewing at the Kawartha Coffee Company; but stay for lunch, some sweets or even a beer. They pride themselves on offering local food with global flavour and occasionally, live music.

Two Dishes Cookshop | Charlotte Street in Peterborough, Ontario. Art by Holly Young.

Two Dishes Cookshop | Charlotte Street in Peterborough, Ontario. Art by Holly Young.

Watson & Lou | Water Street in Peterborough, Ontario.

Watson & Lou | Water Street in Peterborough, Ontario.

SHOP LOCAL

Burrow Home
This shop on Hunter Street is stocked with modern furniture, housewares and gifts. Megan, the owner, has impeccable taste and will help you find anything you need. She offers brand like Gus Modern and Drake General alongside local artists and craftsmen.

Watson & Lou
Brand new to Peterborough, you'll find Watson & Lou on Water Street in the downtown core. It's a hub for local makers, art lovers, and the latest in hip handmade goods for the home. Owners Anna and Erin are proud to present the best of local goods with half of their stock coming from makers in the Nogojiwanong/Peterborough region. Watson & Lou also offers a creative work space for co-working and events/workshops.

Flavour Fashion
This casual shop is a fixture in Peterborough and part of the group that owns SOS Shoes and Plush Boutique. Sneakers and street wear are in abundance at this shop on George Street, but my favourite items are the tees that represent local towns and neighbourhoods. From Havelock to Keene, and everywhere in between. Nothing claims love for this small city more than a PTBO tee or sweatshirt.

Stony Lake Furniture Co.
20 minutes north of Peterborough is the sweet little town of Lakefield. Here, you'll find the shop and full studio, Stony Lake. A posh, but causal shop that services locals and cottage folk alike. You'll find cozy home furnishings, rugs, decor items and gifts. The owner, Lisa, also specializes in interior design to help bring dream cottages (and homes) to life. Don't forget to say hello to the famous pup, Owen, while visiting.

Douglas + Son
A little further west, you'll find Douglas + Son in the town of Bobcaygeon. Yes! The town from the Tragically Hip song. The owners left life in Toronto and moved to the country to open this idyllic shop. This shop offers up new goods and vintage finds for the home, but they also have tees and sweatshirts. Casual, but well styled goods.

Gilstorf & Gray
Also located in Bobcaygeon, is Gilstorf & Gray. A fine home and gift shop that specializes in cottage decor. It has an airy and timeless vibe where you'll find artisan goods from local and Canadian makers. It has a hygge feeling about it with so many soft textiles, and warm wood pieces.

LOCAL EXPERIENCES

Peterborough and The Kawarthas are the perfect spots to experience Ontario at its best. Getting outside is just part of life here, and so is soaking in local culture and music. I love the big city; but if you're open to embracing the hygge life year-round (simplicity), you'll get a taste of the good life in Peterborough and The Kawarthas.


Live music can be found in Peterborough all year round. Small venues give you a chance to see some of your favourite bands up close and personal and tickets are very reasonable, or free. No summer in Peterborough is complete without a night at Peterborough Music Fest. Free performances take place outdoors two nights a week all summer long. If that's not enough, the Peterborough Folk Festival takes place in August featuring some of the best Canadian music. And it's also free.

4th Line Theatre and Westben Theatre offer theatre and musical performances throughout the year. Located in quaint country spaces (barns), these theatres attract locals and cottagers to take in a piece of Canadian culture under the stars.

There are countless ways to get outside in this area. Treat yourself to a "nature bath" and enjoy the natural beauty by foot, bike or canoe/boat. In the summer, avoid the crowds and head to Laveanne Lavender Fields near Port Hope to enjoy the lavender blooms. Visit local beaches in cottage country. Or, head to the Trent Hills to explore. Warkworth is adorable and deserves its own blog post. A few of my favourite spots to get outside in the summer are Petroglyphs Provincial Park, the Warsaw Caves and Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary.

In the winter, you can snowshoe and ski (downhill or cross-country) near Peterborough. The Kawarthas offer a Nordic Centre and Devil's Elbow and Brimbacombe are a short drive away. There are just too many spots to mention in one post. I'll leave it for another day after exploring more in this beautiful area.


Have I convinced you that Peterborough is the place to be yet? You have to get out here to see and feel it for yourself. Did I mention house prices are a steal?! Come by and visit, or be my neighbour. And, if I've missed some spots, I'd love to hear about them. I've only just begun exploring and would love to learn more. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Adventure | A Guide to East Toronto

Adventures, TorontoLesley PocklingtonComment
Adventures | A Guide to East Toronto by Swell Made Co.

Adventures | A Guide to East Toronto by Swell Made Co.

Since 2007, East Toronto has been my home. I love East Toronto. While there have been some breaks (I am currently in Peterborough, ON), I'll always be an East Ender. I know every East End street, I have defended it fiercely over the years, my son was born there, and every time I arrive in the East End, I just feel a sense of calm. It's my happy place.

You may think you know Toronto's East End; but do you, really? It's a part of the city that sometimes lays low. You have to dig a little  deeper to truly know it. Come east of the DVP with me, as I take you on a guide of my favourite spots in the neighbourhoods including The Beaches, Leslieville, and Riverdale. The Danforth and Little India and everywhere in between. Welcome to the beloved other side.


Bodega Henriette | Cafe, shop bar and eatery on Gerrard Street East, Toronto.

Bodega Henriette | Cafe, shop bar and eatery on Gerrard Street East, Toronto.

Often considered "lacking" in the culinary department, I'm going to challenge that. It's not the case, at all. Sure, you'll find Toronto chainlets like La Carnita, Sweet Jesus, Tabule, Queen Margarita Pizza, Dark Horse and Box Car Social (all wonderful) and other transplants in these 'hoods, but here's where it's really at.


EAT + DRINK

The Shore Leave
Head to the Danforth's Tiki style bar for in-house tropical drinks and snacks. This spot promises a fun night out. Bring a group of friends and share a punch bowl. It might be quiet on the outside, but it's buzzing and warm inside.

Bodega Henriette
Tucked away on Gerrard Street East this local coffee shop, convenience shop, bar and eatery is as sweet as they come. Delicious food and drinks with chic decor keep the locals coming back to this spot on the corner. Try their other corner spot, Eulalie's, mentioned below.

The Green Wood
You'll find this hip spot Queen Street East just before Coxwell. Brunch to dinner options are served here, as well as items to grab on the go. It has a comfy and bright California vibe and loads of fresh options made with love.

Lake Inez
In Little India, you'll find Lake Inez. A mix of Asian street food and craft beer that just works so well. If you're familar with the Wren on the Danforth, you'll love this spot. Just look for the unassuming, but welcoming, door to find out what's inside. You'll enjoy it. Guaranteed.

Eulalie's Corner Store
Just a few doors up and over from Lake Inez, Eualalie's Corner store is another neighbourhood secret that offers delicious in-house cocktails and casual eats. I love the chicken and waffles, and the flamingo wallpaper. Start or finish your night here.

Maha's
Egyptian brunch is a must-try at Maha's on Greenwood. This place is always packed, so be prepared to arrive early or wait. It's worth it. Traditional Egyptian food paired with a honey cardamom coffee is the best way to start any day. Just not Wednesday, because Maha's is typically closed.

Lady Marmalade
A mainstay in the East End on Queen Street East, Lady Marmalade is another delicious brunch spot offering savoury and sweet waffles, Eggs Benny (with mango and avocado, yes!) like nowhere else. Plus, more! Again, be prepared to line up Portlandia style unless you arrive early.

Tori's Bakeshop
Now available in the Canary District, Tori's originated in the Beach neighbourhood on Queen Street East. Natural, organic and vegan baked goods that will blow your mind can be found all day. Having lunch? The coconut bacon BLT is the BEST. You may bow down and never go back to real bacon. 

Godspeed Brewery
The long anticipated Godspeed Brewery is finally open on Coxwell south of Gerrard. You can buy local brews at the retail space and the unpretentious brewpub is scheduled to follow soon.

Left Field Brewery
The established East End brewery, Left Field, offers craft brews inspired by a love for baseball. With names like Wrigley and Maris. High on hops, they offer distinct beer that can stand on taste alone. 

The Green Wood | Queen Street East, Toronto.

The Green Wood | Queen Street East, Toronto.

RC Harris Water Treatment Plant | Art Deco Architecture in East Toronto.

RC Harris Water Treatment Plant | Art Deco Architecture in East Toronto.

There's so much to see and do in this part of the city. Toronto truly is a "City of Neighbourhoods" which all have their own distinct personalities and flavours. Its' what makes Toronto, so Toronto. Come to the East End and you'll a chill and relaxed vibe. Soak it in all year round at some of my favourite spots.


Girls, girls, girls | Tribute wall art in the stairwell of the Broadview Hotel, Toronto.

Girls, girls, girls | Tribute wall art in the stairwell of the Broadview Hotel, Toronto.

SEE + DO

Beaches Boardwalk
See what all the fuss is about on the Beaches Boardwalk. It turns out, it's worth it, right? Stroll a long the shores Lake Ontario and the city's most beautiful beaches on the Boardwalk from Woodbine moving east. A Great Lake in the city! How lucky are we? Want to head further east? The Scarborough Bluffs are equally stunning, but may I suggest choosing a weekday visit? Unless you love crowds.

Glen Stewart Ravine
A hidden gem and perfect way to discover Toronto's green spaces, the Glen Stewart Ravine is a place that feels miles away from Toronto. Soaring trees and bubbling creeks follow you on your walk as you pass happy dogs and neighbours. 

RC Harris Water Treatment Plant
A pristine example of Art Deco architecture, you must visit this gigantic space on the shore of Lake Ontario. Tucked away at the end of Queen Street East (where the streetcars turn), you can wander the outdoor space surrounding this gorgeous building. Better yet, come during Open Doors TO for a peek inside. It's fascinating to think this type of architectural detail was dedicated to a water treatment plant.

The Broadview Hotel
The newly refurbished building at the corner of Broadview and Queen (formely Jilly's) is about to have its official grand opening as The Broadview Hotel. This beautiful boutique hotel features a roof top restaurant and terrace, and cafe and bar to enjoy brunch to dinner. Every ounce of this space is stunning and definitely worth visiting, or booking a room for a little staycation.

This hotel will transform the East End. Just think of it as the West End's Gladstone Hotel with a similar style and vibe that's be designed just for the East End. Queen East will rival Queen West with this new neighbourhood gem. 

Riverdale Park on Broadview
The best views of city (aside from the Island) can be enjoyed from this rolling and expansive green space. Grab a coffee from Rooster Coffee House on Broadview and enjoy a good book or some simple downtime in this relaxed space in the middle of it all.

Danforth Music Hall
Some of the city's best musical acts perform at the casual Danforth Music Hall. This is my favourite spot to see live music in Toronto. Mostly because it's close to home, but also because the vibe is so chill. See your favourite bands here first in the "intimate" atmosphere. If you're looking for a place to eat before a show, Seven Numbers offers up a pre-show Italian family style meal. Mmmm.

Little India
Little India or The Gerrard India Bazaar is one of my favourite 'hoods in the East End. It's teeming with good food, eclectic finds, spice markets and fun events. If you're up for Indian food, my two favourites are Lahore Tikka House and Udupi Palace (vegetarian). After dinner, grab Kulfi pops from any convenient store and stroll around. You'll also find recently rooted restaurants and shops mentioned above and below.

Collected Joy | Kingston Road in Kingston Road Village, Toronto.

Collected Joy | Kingston Road in Kingston Road Village, Toronto.

Birch & Co. | Gerrard Street East in Toronto.

Birch & Co. | Gerrard Street East in Toronto.

Some of Toronto's best brands and shops are located in the East End. Here are just a few of my favourite spots to pick up all kind of goods. Small is the new mall. Avoid the crowds and shop local at these sweet shops.


SHOP LOCAL

Birch & Co.
Owned and curated by East Ender, Tanya, this sweet shop has perfect finds for gift and home. Lots of local goods can be found in store.

Collected Joy
In Kingston Road Village you'll find one of my favourite shops, Collected Joy. Everything in store truly brings you joy. From the huge stationery wall to the local goods from brands like Lovefresh, Dalish, Akai Ceramics and even Swell Made Co. Grab a caramel at the counter. They're the best. 

Good Neighbor
Found in a tiny house at Carlaw and Queen, is this hip boutique for men and women. They also have gifts, housewares and cute things for kids. Come for the fashion, stay for the best sneaker collection in the East End.

Token
Token in Riverdale has cute and quirky gifts and a great record collection. You'll know you're there when you can't stop staring at the hologram wallpaper as you walk in. Tiny, but fierce; this shop is a gem.

Black Rooster
Straight out of the pages of a magazine (literally), Black Rooster has everything for gift and home with an extra bit of panache and style. Top-quality furnishings that are made to last are their specialty.

Queenie's Cards
Newly opened, Queenie's cards is a bubblegum pink shop full of fun at Coxwell and Danforth. Longtime lovers of Queenie's cards (and so much more) will find her entire line a long with other cute Kawaii inspired brands like Pusheen and Pocky.

Toronto Yoga Mamas
This zen yoga and learning space for mom and baby is also home to a lovingly curated gift shop. you'll find the best local goods in  skincare, nursery decor and baby fashion. I can never say no to a tiny baby bathing suit!

Enjoy the East End, swell friends. Did I miss anything? Just let me know by commenting below.