hamilton flea

One of my favourite Hamiltonians, Whitney McMeekin aka Girl On The Wing, plus her sister and organizer of all things super fun in Hamilton (namely founder of The Academy of All Things Awesome & Sous Bas), Erika McMeekin put on their first Hamilton Flea back in July.

Hamilton Flea3

It was housed in Treble Hall (a building I’m constantly gushing over) with a slew of amazing vendors from gourmet donuts from Donut Monster, vintage finds via Roly Poly Records, The Eye of Faith, and other vendors like Rare Specimens jewellery, White Elephant, Stay Home Club and the Jelly Brothers.

It was summer-time hot, the venue packed, and an all ’round success and super fun afternoon shopping around, seeing friends, and hanging out inside a very unique and underused Hamilton space.

It felt like we all got in on a little Hamilton secret for an afternoon.

Hamilton Flea1 Hamilton Flea4 Hamilton Flea2 rare specimens Hamilton Flea5 Hamilton Flea6

Well… this weekend Whitney and Erika are putting on the second edition of Hamilton Flea in yet another gem of a secret Hamilton building.

This Saturday, November 14 from 11-6 at 45 Wellington Street North and King William, come check out over 30 vendors like the ladies from Hoot Furnishings, Girl Can Create, Vintage Soul Geek, Newold’s, and… Donut Monster will be back serving up delish donuts, plus my fav coffee to-go -Smalls will be there while you chomp down on some Phat N’ Phull eats and shop around bopping to the tunes Dj’d by Young Lions Music Club.

For a sneak peak into this Flea’s building check out Whitney’s post on Girl On The Wing here.

*Hamilton Flea (No. 2), 45 Wellington Street North, Saturday November 14, 11am-6pm, Facebook, Twitter, Insta

the gifted

The Gifted is King Street East’s latest addition to its ever growing hip retail scene.

It is essentially a super cute novelty gift shop; not in the It Store kind of novelty of way, but in an art and design Magic Pony (except way more affordable and accessible) kind of way.

I took my first visit to The Gifted prompted by the fact that they carry a KEYTAG by Various Projects that literally had my name written all over it. Well… not exactly my name (as I have only ever known a lifetime’s worth of disappointment for never having been able to find pencils, paper, toothbrushes, and bath towels with my name monogrammed on them) but having This Must Be The Place etched onto an ironic KEYTAG was plenty good enough for me.

The Gifted KeyTags by Various Projects

The Gifted carries cool art and design prints, books, magazines, artwork, toys, plush animals, socks, Hamilton neighbourhood totes and lots and lots of unique gift items pretty much perfect for the upcoming shop local Christmas and holiday gift buying season.The Gifted Hamilton totes The Gifted Tofu toys

You can even by these cute little alpacas in GIANT 18″ tall format -so freaking adorable! The Gifted Hamilton Alpacas

They had a great selection of cute and punny cards. Especially love the Cher one.

The Gifted cards

In addition to the X-File card featured above you can also get more X-file heartthrob paraphernalia such as this print from And Smile Studio.

The Gifted XFiles

The Gifted Hamilton Novelty store

So if you’ve got somewhere to go with someone that requires a little unique je ne sais quoi, make sure you stop by The Gifted to say “hey” and to pick up a little something special for a friend or to just treat yo’self.

*The Gifted, 249 King Street East, 289.389.8147, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

hoot furnishings

I feel pretty proud of one of my oldest friends, who (with a great eye for super vintage gems) has taken on a joint venture with her business partner to create their home decor and vintage furniture company called Hoot Furnishings.

You may have seen them front and centre of Hamilton’s most recent Flea that was out front of City Hall a few months back.

They sell everything from vintage pictures, frames, chairs, tables, dressers and mirrors to vintage kids toys, rockers and garden furniture.

hoot furnishings frames

Hoot Furnishings red rose hoot furnishings chairs

Over the years we have acquired quite a collection of Hoot’s refinished furniture.

Most recently we picked up this super cute kid’s table and chairs. They fit perfect in this cosy little space in our son’s room.

hoot furnishings kid table and chair

Before my son was born and when Hoot was just starting out, my friend refinished my childhood high chair as a baby gift for us. It was in rough shape and in definite need of some TLC.

I was super happy with the results and loved how part of the table-top and seat were left natural. A bee’s wax finish was used on the raw part of the wood, so I didn’t have to worry about toxic paint. It felt great being able to just put food directly onto the raw wood surface.

hoot furnishings high chair

I got this super sweet children’s rocker for a friend as a baby gift. I loved the spindles on this piece!

hott furnishings rocking chair

Hoot does not focus on just kid’s vintage furniture. I just happen to buy a lot of the kid’s stuff -I can’t help it!

If you have been on the hunt for a unique piece of furniture, then you are in luck because this Friday and Saturday they are having a huge STUDIO SALE!! The sale is in partnership with Gardiner Girls and Sandi Fodor, who will also be there selling a fabulous curated collection of their vintage clothing and handbags.

If you take a look at Hoot Furnishings’ Instagram feed you can get a sneak peek of a few of the pieces they’ll be featuring at their Studio Sale. Stop by Friday for their sneak peek preview sale: great deals, door prizes and a little nosh. Or pop by Saturday for their Sale from 9am until 1pm. See you there!

*Hoot Furnishings, Preview Sale: Friday 6-10pm & Studio Sale: Saturday 9am-1pm, 83 Stanley Ave. Backgarden Studio

ancaster market

This summer I took my first visit out to the Ancaster Farmer’s Market.

The market is tucked nicely into a beautiful tree-lined grassy green space just behind the old Saint John’s Anglican church.

Not so much a traditional market as it is a destination to go to for an evening outing, a delicious meal out and a place to pick up some local and seasonal produce, plus some snacks, breads and treats for perhaps later in the week. You’ll see wine vendors, Cake and Loaf and Earth to Table baked breads, Fenwood Farms (for fresh local meat), cheese, maple syrup and a complementary and comprehensive list of other vendors here.


It was super kid and family friendly, and definitely a place worthy of another visit again in the fall for pumpkin pies, and the like plus perhaps my last indulgence of the remnants of summer with a little scoop of Foundry Ice-cream. Foundry Ice-cream

The market is open weekly on Wednesdays from 3-7pm at 37 Halson Street (with ample parking in back of the church).

*Ancaster Farmer’s Market, open seasonally Wednesdays 3-7pm, Twitter, Facebook


steam & technology

In the back of my mind I have this running list of places to check out in Hamilton and the surrounding area. There’s usually a reserve of ideas and places banked so that we don’t go and blow all our fun Hamilton adventures in one go.  That way there’ll always be some new #HamOnt gem to discover.

The Steam and Technology Museum was one of those destinations.

The drive down to the museum was pretty cool. We weaved our way through the industrial heart of Hamilton.


Neo: old factory I spotted on the way to the museum. I couldn’t resist that baby blue lettering. We pulled over so I could snap a picture.


I definitely would like to go back and take some more photos of these old buildings, and especially this weirdly out of place island of 60′s residential neighbourhoods smack right in the middle of this industrial tip. Since all the buildings and factories had a total mid-century feel it kinda made sense that the subdivisions were built to be the homes for the factory workers -perhaps?

The Steam and Technology Museum itself was pretty cool. They had a live miniature steam train that you could take a ride on for a little spin (only during their scheduled steamer days in the summer), plus a slew of other scheduled events, activities and things to explore.

The architecture alone was worth checking out.

IMG_7952 IMG_7954 IMG_7964 IMG_7965The Hamilton Globe that collects methane gas from the City’s water treatment facility. A definite iconic Hamilton symbol from my youth while passing the industrial part of the city on the QEW Niagara. There was much talk last winter of the potentially for its dismantling or refurbishment (with a new paint job)?


To read more about what to see and do at the Steam and Technology Museum, check out my post here on Tourism Hamilton‘s #MyHamilton page where I write a regular feature of family friendly outings in the city.

dundurn market

I’m giving a little nod to the latest addition to the food scene on Dundurn.

Across the street from Cake and Loaf, and just around the corner from its sister operation Aberdeen Tavern, you’ll find the fresh faced Dundurn Market.

Although not really your typical neighbourhood market, it is a high-end gourmet sandwich coffee shop with pre-made pies, dinners, cookies, sauces, flowers, and a small selection of seasonal produce.

It’s the kind of place that I might imagine someone rushing home from a busy 9-5 work day to pick something up on their way home or to a friend’s: dinner, dessert or a missing vegetable and sauce needed to complete a meal, along with a bouquet of fresh flowers -yes please! A one-stop crowd pleasing gourmet dinner stop.

I popped by the market the other day for a late morning baby date.

My friend and I devoured a super delicious breakfast biscuit with egg, dill, swiss cheese (hot and melty) and ham, in between rocking our babies and dusting renegade savoury biscuit crumbs from their heads. There wasn’t a chance for a photo opp; being a hungry mom and all, it was gone in seconds flat -a true sign of tastiness! It definitely got my stamp of good food approval and left me wanting to come back another day for more.

Dundurn Market 1

In addition to the prepared dine-in or take-out food, you can also pick up anything from bread, jams, spreads, Balzac’s Coffee beans, to a cactus in a tea cup, or a carton of eggs. Combine this place with being able to sell bottles of wine and a case of craft beer you’d pretty much have a shop that’d truly cover all the bases for hosting a hungry guest (the LCBO and Beer Store are after all just down the road).

Dundurn Market 3

Dundurn Market 2

As we were about to leave the sandwich station was being prepped for their 11am lunch start (dinners served after 4pm), and I couldn’t resist getting two sandwiches to go for Steve and I later that afternoon. I opted for the Muffaletta and Reuben both of which came with a choice out of 4 different sides or salads.Dundurn Market Menu Dundurn Market Muffaletta

Muffaletta with side of carrot raisin slaw.

Dundurn Market ReubenReuben sandwich stacked high with smoked meat and a side of creamy macaroni salad.

Right now the idea of dinning out a restaurant with a 3 year old and 2 month old is looking like something that’s probably not going to happen in our near future, so we’ll have to settle for tasty eat-ins at home a la Dundurn Market. Excited to try out their Take Away Dinner options!

*Dundurn Market, 346 Dundurn St. South, 7am-8pm daily, 289.983.5715, @DundurnMarket, Facebook



port dover

There’s something weird about the way I think about summer in that I always feel like it’s fleeting. Come July 1st I’m already counting the limited amount of days that I’ll have left for swimming, camping, cottaging, bbqs and patio beers.

This year we did not get up to much. There’s been a lot of summer city living, checking out the parks, wading pools and staying pretty close to home. I’m strictly in survival mode; whatever can get me through the day now that we have two little ones.

Last summer we made a day trip out to Port Dover. I’d never been before and since I’m a sucker for water, waves, sand and a little beachy kitch we decided to take the trek.

We arrived early-ish in the morning and were able to score primo parking close to the beach and have our pick as to wear to set up shop. The water was warm and the beach was clean with only a little littering along the shore of washed up kelpy-weeds.


The beach quickly got packed as droves of people came in to escape from the heatwave that was rocking that particular summer week. It was full-on summer on the beach with a gorgeous breeze that made you forget that the humidity was kicking at a near 100% and the ground was hot enough to fry and egg. If the summer heat kicks back into high gear (as I’ve heard it might next week) maybe we’ll make it back this way or explore another beach like perhaps 50 Point.

Erie Beach IMG_7871

Besides loving any excuse to be beach-side, one of the main reasons I wanted to take this trip to Port Dover was so that we could make a stop at the infamous Hewitt’s Dairy Bar. The dairy bar itself boasts over 50 years in operation with the dairy being over 125 years old.

Hewitts Icecream Bar

The dairy bar seems unchanged since the 60′s. We saddled up the counter and although I knew I was going to get a cone after lunch I still ordered the malted milkshake, which was AH-mazing!Hewitts Milkshake hewitts banquet burger

Classic banquet burger -you can’t go wrong.Hewitts Ice Cream Bar Hewitts Ice Cream IMG_20150804_124912 Hewitts chocolate chip mint

Mint chocolate chip (my favourite) was the perfect way to end a summer’s day at the beach.

 *Hewitt’s Dairy Bar, 4210 Highway 6, Hagersville, Open Daily 9:30am-11pm

hamilton fringe

Six summers ago when we first moved to Hamilton I attended my first Hamilton Fringe Festival. The show we saw was performed in what was then the vast and vacant second floor of Jackson Square (which McMaster University has now taken over). In the middle of that warehouse sized emptiness black curtains were draped and a stage was set up with seating for a modest audience. The festival was smaller then.

That was six years ago (half of the Fringe Festival’s 12 year life) and since then, my has it grown!

Admittedly I have not attended many shows in recent years. What with babies and kids it can be hard to steal away for a series of evenings and afternoons to check out the roster of amazing theatre that the Fringe has to offer.

Last summer I did make it out for one show: Love With Leila, which I adored (see that post here). And this summer there is a line-up of shows I would definitely check-out if I wasn’t knee deep into trying to balance life (and survival) with what is now two kids.

She Said Saffron is a one-woman play by Lisa Pijuan-Nomura. There is a never a dull moment with Lisa. She has her finger on the pulse of all things creative in Hamilton and is always doing something: dance, art, theatre, story telling, and making me laugh. Last spring I saw her debut Hamilton performance in her show Small, Sweet and Quiet. It detailed intimate, honest, and sweet moments in her life and her move from Toronto to Hamilton; all accompanied by interludes of mini historic Hamilton narratives depicted through a beautifully artistic shadow puppet show.

SSS 400px

This time around She Said Saffron touches on all my favourite Fs:  Food, Family and First loves. A story told through dance, words and Lisa’s life experience. You’ll be sure to leave with hearts full, a smile on your face, and a satiating desire to eat paella.

*She Said Saffron at The Players Guild, Th. 8:30, F. 7, Sat 3:30+8:30, $10, @GirlCanCreate

My life is such that it is not every day that I meet a playwright, so when I met Hamilton playwright Radha S. Menon I was in awe. Radha; a woman of smarts, spunk, and imagination has written such plays as: The Washing Machine, Ganga’s Ganjawas, Rise of the Prickly Pear, and Rukmini’s Gold. She was the finalist for the Woodward/Newman International Playwriting Prize and not to mention she founded the Hamilton production company Red Betty Theatre.


Rukimini’s Gold is Radha’s exploration of her family’s journey from India and around the world:

It was midnight when I stood alone waiting for a night train at a deserted station in North Cornwall.

There was no sign of life anywhere, it was eerie and desolate and I worried that my train may never come. That’s when I had a vision of Rukmini, an elderly lady waiting alone in her white sari, clutching nothing but her precious baggage. And I wondered what it would be like to meet oneself in a place like this? Would I recognise myself after fifty or more years?

Rukmini’s Gold won the  2015 Toronto Fringe New Play Contest and is a must see for this year’s Hamilton Fringe!

*Rukmini’s Gold, Mills Hardware, M 7:30, W 6, Sat 2, Sun 6, $10, @RedBettyTheatre

Bottom line is if I were to steal away from the duties of newborn parental duties I would most certainly take an hour or two to attend both of these shows. So proud and happy to have these two amazing women here in Hamilton -congrats on both of your shows!

*Hamilton Fringe Festival, #HamFringe, @HamOntFringe, Facebook



It’s true that with your second child you do things different from the first. It’s kinda “no big deal”.

Life just continues on when you’re already chasing one around and your whole world does not in fact revolve around your pregnancy as it did the first time (because it can’t -there’s just no time).

I think there’s only three pregnant belly photos taken this time around compared to the well documented monthly pictures we took with our first.


Well, as it were, one early morning in mid June. This happened….


IMG_20150616_212920 IMG_20150719_111601…. and then we were four.

We love you so very much little Mia. Xo


open streets

I know that it’s raining like the monsoons of Mumbai today, but that won’t stop me from saying that I love Open Streets!

I especially love them in Hamilton.

Since we live downtown sandwiched between car driven busy one-ways, it’s always awesome to be able to take back some public space free of cars and fear of being side swiped by the 16 wheelers on Cannon and the like.

When we first moved to Hamilton, I remember there being two Open Streets per year; one being sometime in early summer and the other being on the weekend immediately following Super Crawl in September. I particularly loved the one after Super Crawl because it was a laid back way to enjoy James Street without all the hype and crowds that are drawn for the events of the weekend prior.

I recently found out that although free for its visitors, this past year Open Streets had funding to host only one Open Street. The hope is that they could have 3-4 Open Streets per year on James North and perhaps in various other locations. But to do this they are dependant on receiving more funding. In the past they’ve received funding from different agencies such as the city -Hamilton Public Works, Hamilton Cycling Committee, and through grants via organizations such as the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and Hamilton Community Foundation, as well as other downtown organizations and businesses.

Today Open Streets is happening on James Street North from 11am-6pm rain or shine.

open streets Hamilton


Hanging out in the middle of the road because…. you can during Open Streets.


Last June at the launch of SoBi (Social Bicycle) Hamilton’s bike share network. Taking this mighty fine ride for a little test drive.


There are events and vendors lined up for the day. Everything from button making, to local musical acts like Earth Wind Choir (at the music stage on Vine Street), mural making, and magic.

Consider making a donation if you’re making your way there. Would love to see this event on James at least twice a year and spreading to other locations in the city, like Ottawa Street, Locke Street, King William and beyond.

If there’s a break in the rain today, you’ll be sure to see me there scooter and two year old in tow hanging out in the middle or the road, and wishing this wasn’t the only Open Streets of the year.

*Open Streets Hamilton, @OSHamilton, Facebook


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