Swell Made Co.

Paper goods + gifts that make a statement.

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.

Love It | Terrazzo

Love It, Inspiration, DecorLesley PocklingtonComment
LOVE IT | Terrazzo + Concrete with Swell Made Co.

LOVE IT | Terrazzo + Concrete with Swell Made Co.

For this edition of LOVE IT, it's time to look at the comeback (or emergence) of the terrazzo and concrete trend. Seen on floors of the schools and subway stations of the 1970s, terrazzo is making its way into homes, restaurants and inspiring accessories. Terrazzo was "invented in 15th-century Venice as a way of using up marble remnants. Composed of chips of marble, granite, quartz, and/or glass suspended in a cement or polymer binder, terrazzo is extremely durable". Read more about the comeback on Apartment Therapy.

  1. Love By the Moon 11x14 Art Print by Swell Made Co.
  2. Chromas Pendant + Oculus Studs by Beton Brut. Canadian maker, Beton Brut, creates stunning concrete jewelry. Made with an array of pigments and semi-precious stones mixed in micro batches.
  3. Ettore Table Lamp from Oliver Bonas. This simple statement piece made from concrete is a perfect way to light a room.
  4. Terrazzo Stationery by Normann Copenhagen. These fun pieces of stationery pay tribute to terrazzo with notebooks, rulers, pencils and even scissors. Neutral and natural gem coloured palettes give this Daily Fiction series a distinct look meant to tempt and delight design lovers.
  5. Terrazzo Mustard Cushion by Rebecca Judd Loves Home Republic. This graphic pillow brings the terrazzo look into your home without the commitment of flooring. Plus, it's a softer too.
  6. Hex Keytags by Swell Made Co. Minimalist hex keytags that say it all. Also available in triangles.

Here is some more inspiration for you. Toronto's new Cafe Cancan, with interior design by Tiffany Pratt, features rainbow terrazzo flooring. Combined with soft pinks, flamingos and French cuisine, this cafe is an Instagram and culinary dream.

Holly Young, Canadian artist, interior design lover and blogger, has a new collection that reminds me of terrazzo with abstract shapes and soft, summery colours. Check out the collection here.

These stairs go retro at Paradiso, a cafe in Geneva. Combined with brass fixtures and extreme attention to details, this cafe transports you to Italy. Check out Pinterest for a bunch more terrazzo + concrete goodness.

Finally, another concrete maker from Canada, Concrete Cat. Pioneers in making concrete cool, they have a unique collection of concrete goods including the tile below and even a baseball bat. They explore the use of concrete with a focus on colour, pattern and form to create magical pieces of art and furniture.

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Adventure | Washington D.C. with Kids

Family, AdventuresLesley PocklingtonComment
Adventure | A Guide to Washington D.C. with Kids by Swell Made Co.

Adventure | A Guide to Washington D.C. with Kids by Swell Made Co.

In May, we took a much needed break and headed to New York City and Washington D.C. as a family (auntie + uncle included). New York City is always fun; but never having been to Washington D.C. as a family, we really enjoyed our time together in a new city. Washington D.C. is beautiful and family-friendly with so much to see and do. And eat! The best part, so many things are free! Known as the Capitol of Free, which is reassuring when traveling as a family. We'll be back again soon. Here is a quick guide to some of our favourite family spots in D.C.


Washington D.C. is known for its food and restaurants. As of late (past decade), the scene has changed dramatically and it shows. Read more about that here. During the week, you'll find food trucks lining the streets around the downtown core, high-end and diverse dining is abundant, and you'll easily find everything in between. Here are a few of our favourite family-friendly choices. My sister-in-law is an expert at finding fun restaurants, so I give her all the credit for helping us track these down. Most of these are (by coincidence) "chainlets". Meaning, you'll find multiple locations throughout the city and surrounding area.

EAT + DRINK

Busboys & Poets
Described as a haven for writers, thinkers and performers from America's progressive social and political movements, Busboys & Poets is a restaurant, lounge, theatre and book/gift shop. This casual spot offers southern comfort food (and more) and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere.
busboysandpoets.com

Founding Farmers
A love for local, seasonal food fuels this farm-to-table American restaurant. Rustic-chic, you'll find brunch to dinner at this busy spot. Try the beignets and sausage at breakfast and a cauliflower steak for dinner. 
wearefoundingfarmers.com

We, The Pizza
Need to nosh on the go. Kids love pizza, am I right? We, The Pizza has NYC style pizza by the slice or pie. Wash it down with homemade sodas.
wethepizza.com

Ted's Bulletin
Ted’s Bulletin is an American classic with a bit of style, complete with savoury homemade food and a family friendly atmosphere. Try the homemade pop tarts, pies, and cakes. Kids and adults will love the shaketenders and baristas who can whip up a custom milkshake — with or without alcohol (seen below).
tedsbulletin.com

District Doughnut
Handcrafted daily, District Doughnuts offers delicious pastries with signatures flavours: Brown Butter and Salted Dulce de Leche. They serve the nation's capital with a penchant for classic and internationally-inspired flavours and a commitment to Washington's history and creative spirit.
districtdoughnut.com

Adventures with Kids in Washington D.C. | Smithsonian National Gallery of Art

Adventures with Kids in Washington D.C. | Smithsonian National Gallery of Art

As mentioned above, Washington D.C. is the "Capitol of Free", so don't worry about breaking the bank. And for Canadians, this makes the current exchange rate easier to swallow. From concerts, festivals/events, renowned galleries and museums, there are so many things to do as family for free. Or, almost nothing. This stands true for anytime of year.

SEE + DO

Smithsonian Museums, Galleries & Zoo
Come to Washington D.C. to see the Smithsonian museums, galleries and zoo and you pretty much have your trip planned. There are so many intriguing properties and collections to see. Kids will especially love the Museums of Natural History, Air and Space and American History. Parents will love a little quiet time in the American Botanical Gardens and National Art Galleries (including the outdoor sculpture garden) and the Renwick Gallery (seen below), which are also great for kids.

While not downtown, don't forget to take trip to the zoo and explore the animals and park system. The best part of all, everything is FREE! Giving you a chance to visit them all, not once, but as many times as you like.
si.edu

International Spy Museum
Not free like the Smithsonian museums, but high on entertainment value, this museum guides you through an exciting look at the history of spies. Our kids are 7 and 4 and they thoroughly enjoyed this museum; although I'm sure older kids would get more out if it. Be sure to let staff know you're a family and you'll be given a special task with a surprise at the end. My 7 year old daughter loved solving puzzles and deciphering secret messages as we learned about spies. It had an "escape room" vibe which is fun (not scary).
spymuseum.org

The Newseum
The Newseum promotes, explains and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. Considered one of the most interactive museums in the world, the Newseum experience also traces the evolution of electronic communication from the birth of radio, to the technologies of the present and the future. I'd recommend this museum for "bigger kids" (10 and up).
newseum.org

Playgrounds, Parks & The Potomac
Take a break from the tourist spots and explore the neighbourhoods of Washington D.C. where you'll be delighted by "epic" playgrounds (Palisades Playground seen below). See a list of the best ones here. D.C. is lush and green and full of parks, trail systems and gorgeous neighbourhoods to enjoy the outdoors and be active. This is the best way to live like a local and explore. If you want to get wet, check out the Yards Park at the Capitol Riverfront in the summer (or skate in the winter). You can certainly walk the parks; and if you're so inclined, see the outdoors from a kayak or paddle boat along the scenic (a tidal basin) Potomac River.

Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts
When you visit Washington D.C. be sure to see what's on at the "Ken Cen". There are free performances on the Millennial Stage every night at 6 pm! Regular performances start shortly after and tickets are reasonably priced. The types of performances vary from folk music to orchestra and so much more. There's something for everyone.
kennedy-center.org

The Mall
You can't visit Washington D.C. without a trip to The Mall. Take a walk among the monuments and visit the galleries and museums that line it. There's lots of room to move about as a family, and so much to learn about American history. Use the Circulator to get around easily from site to site. It's a bus system designed for those touring the sites with regular frequency. It's a $1 to ride each time (kids are free). The routes also extend beyond the mall.

I didn't get into accommodations, but there are plenty of places to stay in Washington D.C. As a group of six, we found it best to rent an apartment through Airbnb to give everyone a bit of space. It also allowed us to explore neighbourhoods like Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights away from downtown, which I'd highly recommend. We just happened to be steps from one of the zoo entrances which was a huge bonus with kids.

That's it! Just a quick and easy guide to Washington D.C. If you have suggestions for family-friendly things to see, do or eat in D.C. I'd love to hear them. Feel free to comment below as we'll definitely make a trip to Washington D.C. again. Politics aside, there truly is something for everyone and it's a fascinating place to see where history has taken place for generations. Not to mention, it makes watching House of Cards so much more intriguing ;)

Thanks for reading. Enjoy!

Adventures with Kids in Washington D.C. | Lincoln Memorial. Martin Luther King Jr. Quote.

Adventures with Kids in Washington D.C. | Lincoln Memorial. Martin Luther King Jr. Quote.