We have spent a lot of time in the Okanagan, but since relocating here last year, we have really started to get to know this beautiful place intimately! Every city has its own charms and while our little ones definitely miss the Science Centre and the zoo in Calgary, there is SO much to explore here! Even with the Covid restrictions, we have managed to find safe and healthy outdoor activities for the kids and we’re so grateful for that!
You guys KNOW that I miss being on stages and meeting you all, but it’s been a great time for reflection, writing and some good family time in the outdoors. Friends, if you want to visit, let us know, we cannot wait to re-connect with you all.
Here are our absolute favourite things to do here to share with you!
Picking Fruit at Paynters Market in West Kelowna- check in with them what fruit is available at what stage of the season
Turtle Pond in Mission Creek Regional Park
Horse Riding- lots of great spots for kids to learn!
Janzen Garlic Acres- not only can you feed the animals, you can even learn how to pot a plant, take eggs from the chicken coup and buy some delicious veggies while you’re there.
H20 Fitness Centre- perfect for when you need some indoor fun.
Strawberry picking at Duggan Farms in Lake Country
Bertram Beach Park, our favourite beach just far enough away from the crowds, a beautiful leafy beach and playground!
If you’re planning on visiting, I hope you enjoy Kelowna as much as we have!
You guys!! I am SO excited to share that among the very exciting projects in the works that have come to life with the absence of my usual performances is a children’s book!
Some of you might recall the Gold Violin Show with my custom electric gold violin back in Sydney Australia…and at the time the book was in the works but came to a pause and I was so busy performing I didn’t pursue it. Thanks to the break over the past year with Covid putting a hold on so many things, we are planning to release this in 2022!
I’m excited to share that UK artist Pearl Bates who created this fab painting of yours truly way back at the time of the Gold Violin show, is creating the illustrations. Honestly guys, makes so much more sense to finish this book now I have my own children! I can’t wait to share more very soon! Sophie XO
Well, we’re already a month into 2020 and it flew by… more restrictions but not creatively! I’m excited to share that I recorded a little love song called Walk With Me- a special piece of music with a story based on an old Irish song which dates back to the Jacobean rebellion. It’s about a woman who is heart broken that her lover has gone to fight in the war but that she wishes him well. So to me, it’s about giving your partner freedom in love and I think that’s beautiful. I imagine she’s inviting him to come back and join her.
We shot the music video at the Telemark Nordic Club in West Kelowna, a beautiful winter sports club here in British Columbia. It was stunningly beautiful, with snowflakes falling on us- and the suprised look of some skiers coasting by! I was so glad to have the whole family there- we all went out and had a fun day, and a fab team as well- thanks to:
What’s going on here? Well…..I’m not sure about getting into this dress in the freezing cold!!!
This Valentines I also have a gift for you guys- a Valentines Giveaway for Okanagan residents + a gift for the rest of you across the globe as well!
Here’s what you could win:
❤️One of 3 $100 Gift Vouchers to Kelowna Medical Aesthetics Kelowna (I get my facials here they are AMAZING!). Okanagan residents only.
❤️A Makeup Session with Jenny McKinney Makeup Artistry Kelowna (so FAB! Jenny did my makeup for this shot above!). Okanagan residents only.
❤️A Box of Valentines Cookies from Hello Hoopla Kelowna (totally delish, and a fellow Okanagan Mom). Okanagan residents only.
❤️One of 5 copies of Sophie’s New Single, Walk With Me. (I hope you fall in LOVE!). Winner can be anywhere in the world
Hope everyone is doing amazing this Christmas season. I know the holidays look a lot different for many people this year as we navigate all of the uncertainties 2020 has brought us. A major change for my family this year has been the limitations on travel – something I have loved to do. Travel for me has always been more than just the destination but getting to meet the people and experience new culture.
Since no one is travelling abroad this holiday season I thought it would be fun to explore some of the Christmas traditions from around the globe! I have been lucky enough to experience some of these traditions first hand – and others hear about them from members of their culture!
Christmas time looks a lot different for me in my adulthood vs my childhood. For those of you do not know I grew up in Australia. Christmas time often consisted of celebrations by the pool and boxing day barbecues – not exactly how my family now celebrates in Canada!
My husband is half Ukrainian and our family has adopted a few special traditions from this culture. In Christmas’ past when celebrating with my husband’s family we have done the traditional 12 Ukrainian dishes for Christmas eve. The 12 delicious dishes represent the 12 apostles and all have special meanings. The dishes are all meatless as it is tradition to fast on Christmas eve to remember the hardships mother Mary faced that evening en route to Bethlehem. Musically speaking, one of my favourite Christmas songs is actually Ukranian! Carol of the Bells, which is featured on my album Christmas Classics with Chantal Dube, is an adaptation of this song:
My family had a mix of different traditions from the British side, and the Scottish side and of course, and a little French and Dutch from the mix we are, and the Aussie in all of us! The night before Christmas we always had Buche de Noel, which as kids, we called the log cake, and my Dad would light angel chimes and we would sit and watch them…angel chimes are popular in Europe and my Dutch great grandmother handed this tradition down. My Dad often played the organ at the evening services at our Church, and we’d try to stay awake if we went, or we’d head to bed early with a tonne of excitement about Santa Claus’ impending visit…
On Christmas Day, we would always have roast turkey, but often a little Aussie additions like roast lamb, and on occasion some seafood, sitting my the pool! Christmas outside in Canada with potential negative temperatures is not really idea!! It does however, match the expectations we had as children of a white Christmas, which we only experienced in American movies.
We would always light the pudding on fire after we had all had too much and then, while opening gifts, the atheist side of the family would usually debate those celebrating the birth of Jesus and praying, and then we’d usually swim or go for a walk.
Here in Canada, our family has adopted some Canadian traditions as well- lots of ginger bread house making and cookie decorating, and loads of outdoor snow activities! We absolutely love cookie decorating, and making ginger bread houses, and last year we got to go to the world’s largest real ginger bread house at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto! I’m grateful that we have these memories.
We also LOVE the tradition of the advent calendar… we have one that we fill ourselves and the kids LOVE the countdown! My eldest is the only one who gets it so far – to my youngest ones I’m sure they just see it as a fancy chocolate box lol.
Matching Christmas PJs is an American tradition we have loved as well!
Working around the globe, I have seen and heard about many different Christmas traditions… tell me about yours?
What a year 2020 has been – I can’t believe December is already here! It has been a while since my last blog but my family has been keeping quite busy- and I would love to give you an inside look.
My family made the move west from Calgary to beautiful Kelowna in September of this year. The past few months have been filled with packing/unpacking, getting the kids settled in a new school and getting our bearings in our new city! All of the work aside we have still been able to make some memories and have some fun!
I celebrated my 40th birthday in early October! I had been planning my 40th birthday celebration for years to be filled with beaches, Luau’s and mai tais. Although I wasn’t able to go to Maui with friends and family like the original plan we made the best of it here in Kelowna. My family finally got to check out the Quails Gate Winery and Old Vines restaurant. We had a beautiful dinner – followed by walking through the picturesque vineyards. It was still a perfect birthday, I am always so grateful to spend time with my friends and family no matter where we are! 2020 has taught me a lot about going with the flow and being able to adapt – perhaps Maui for my 41st?
Although the uncertainty of this year has put a pause on most live performances for me, I have still been busy working! I have been working hard on a video which will be released December 1st to one of my all time favourite worship songs “Shout to the Lord”. The song features Juno Award nominee Mark Masri and I, together with pianist Delyle Polet. This song is so close to my heart and I cannot wait to share it with you – I hope you love it as much as I do!
Kelowna has some great venues that I am so excited to perform at in the future. Recently I had the chance to film a live show for my Patreon Members at the Kelowna Community Theatre. I’m definitely planning on doing this again soon! It’s strange to broadcast only, with no one physically in the audience, but I definitely don’t feel alone with you guys tuned in!
One of the things our kiddos miss most about Calgary are our family trips to Made by Marcus ice cream shop. We love spending little moments with our kids like this that have turned into some of our favourite family past times. Recently, we were lucky enough to stumble upon Parlour Ice Cream in downtown Kelowna. I have a feeling this will be our new go-to spot for our little family – very delicious! It was also great to go to Church in person again!
As Christmas approaches we are trying to make this year feel as normal as it can for our little ones. One of our favourite family traditions is going to a tree farm as a family to hand pick our Christmas Tree. What a beautiful morning we had at “Grumpy’s Tree Farm”. The tree farm looks like a set straight out of a hallmark movie set! If you are in the area and are in the market for a Christmas tree you should definitely check it out!
I truly hope that all of you are staying healthy and find yourself optimistic of a fresh year quickly approaching! Now that we are finally settling into our new home, I promise to be in touch again soon! A lot of exciting things are coming up for me and I cannot wait for you to be a part of it.