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!
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?
We’re back in Calgary, and I’m still dreaming of our beautiful days in Kelowna! Days by the water, building sand castles…. after lock down it was such a blessing.
So while I’m saving up the new album material for next month’s Patreon Show, I thought it a perfect opportunity to share with you one of my favourite pieces of music to play. I have performed this for my own family at a very special occasion, and many others as well. I hope you enjoy this Patreon exclusive video, shot by my own husband and edited by yours truly, no special hair or makeup, this is a first! Check out the preview below, and you can sign up to my Patreon Membership Page for fans for as little as $1 a month!
Huge thanks to the Quails Gate Winery for hosting us- side note- we also had two absolutely amazing meals at their world renowned restaurant, Old Vines, as well. It was pretty relaxing to know too, that there were no cases of Covid-19 in the Kelowna area where we were too, and everyone just seemed so relaxed! It was truly wonderful.
My little ones really are my biggest lesson and my biggest inspiration. Their innocence and random proclamations of love are just so beautiful.. even though as their mother, I guide them, and do my best to lead them, they teach me so much as well their little spirits often uplift mine, as much as I do for them in all the comfort and love that mothers provide.
This performance was just a perfect representation of the great moments, fit in amongst the chaos!
I just had the three most magical, and challenging days here in beautiful Scotland. I should always start to expect the unexpected, because I could never have guessed how this was going to go. I had in my mind, that we were going to film an epic music video…. And I think we did thanks to Ringtail Films… But the experience was so much more!
I landed in Glasgow and went to stay with family, which was awesome. Then on day two, we started filming early in the morning. We started at some famous forest areas (some of which were used in Outlander- I know some of you on social media have asked if it was from Highlander- did you mean Outlander?) and walked down to a waterfall right down in a deep crevice between some rocks called The Devil’s Pulpit. It was amazing to hear how my violin sounded down there on a large speaker! I had planned to host a Facebook Live session down there, but alas, terrible reception! I can see why it’s called the Devil’s Pulpit- you feel like you’re right down underneath the earth in a hidden place…. Hopefully we shone some musical light down there!
In Skye, I wanted to stay right out near the farms, however… we had trouble getting there! Google maps had trouble identifying the location and right out there, the reception was terrible, and…. There were no streetlights out there and it was quite dark by the time we arrived! Anyway, we found each other and all was well. The things you don’t expect! Well, at least, the things I didn’t expect. Once daylight arrived it was just breathtaking. It could have been a scene from 100 years ago. The rolling hills with the small houses and the farms, with very majestic and magnificent coastline everywhere, were just so dreamy! Check it out this picture of one of the very cute little houses and the scenery! Bonus- a double rainbow! It had been a LONG time since I saw a full rainbow let alone a full or double rainbow. It was very pretty, very mystical.
The little white houses with the grey slate roofs were just so cute and the local farmers provided a lot of the local restaurants with fresh bread and dairy, and the landscape like a scene from an old film.
My favorite location was definitely The Fairy Glen (this is a shot from the drone! Ringtail Films totally rocked it!)
Locals tell me that the Fairy Glen was simply the result of what they call a land slip, but that there is some legend floating around that it is home to fairies and magical happenings! It was a awe inspiring location and we found it just fascinating, and beautiful to film. I would have enjoyed being on top of the peaks much more if it hadn’t been so darn cold and windy though! There was the challenge: staying warm on top of very high peaks in the very cold wind. But we did it, and I can’t wait to share it with you!
The single Unvanquished will be out October 8th, and the video clip will follow soon after.
So… this was an interesting shoot you guys! I was so excited to shoot here on the pristine salt flats with the beautiful backdrop of the mountains.
The Bonneville Salt flats are one of the largest salt flats in the world- it is the largest of many salt flats located west of the Great Salt Lake, and was about a 90 minute drive out of Salt Lake City. I had a show scheduled there, so I came in a day early to do the shoot! I teamed up with the talented cameraman Markus Aedo, who shot the video, and all went well… until poor Markus’ car got stuck in the flats!
We were VERY lucky that some people stopped to help get him out… it was a little stressful! It was hard to stay stressed for too long with the beauty of our surroundings however, and we got the job done (with a bit of sweat and tears!).
The trip to Salt Lake City was amazing. It was an honour to perform in the Rice Eccles Stadium for a very inspiring corporate event, and I got to visit the famous Salt Lake Temple which was so peaceful, inspiring and beautiful. I left inspired. One recommendation I would make- do NOT drive your car onto the salt flats unless it’s car racing season (apparently August!) when the area is used for races! It’s too muddy before then!
I’ll be traveling to Europe next! Let me know if you have any ideas where we should shoot a video! I hope you’re having a wonderful summer…. or winter for my Aussie family and friends!
As we head into the weekend, I have a little something to share with you. This video is something different! The Water Lantern Festival is a beautiful community event, where I was lucky to be able to perform and also shoot this music video. I chose to shoot my track Kissed by the Moon as it really fit the vibe….. Dionysius and I brought the whole family, and we spent the afternoon making our own lanterns- with drawings and messages of the things important to us, and it was really quite emotional. As I was about to perform, I listened to the stories of those who chose to go up and share their story on the mic. Children, adults, sharing hopes and dreams, and love, fare-welling a loved one… it was quite emotional, and it really brought the crowd together. Then, at 9pm, the lanterns were launched onto the water, with little lights inside where they floated together, representing the hopes and feelings of the crowd. It really connected everyone, and for one peaceful evening, there was a great sense of togetherness at Olympic Plaza in Calgary, Canada. It was incredible!
Water Lantern Festival takes place all over the globe- check it out! Wherever you’re traveling, you may find an event near you. According to One World, “As the sun begins to set on the evening sky, the Water Lantern Festival begins to shine with the launch of the lanterns onto the water as we Light The Water together. Watch your unique lantern drift out into the water as it joins other lanterns carrying hope, love, happiness, healing, peace, and connection. It’s a night that you’ll never forget.” Check it out:
I hope you love the video and that it gives you a little bit of the beautiful energy that was present that night!