Urban Cottage Weekend ❧ February 7, 2016

Welcome to the weekend at the cottage! Here are a few things that have been happening around here lately, including some of what’s caught my eye out there on the internet. Grab a cup of coffee or tea (or maybe treat yourself to a hot chocolate) and settle in for some reading and browsing.

Out and About

Deserted Island 2016 02 01 | © Marlene Cornelis - Urban Cottage Life.com

Overall, we’ve been having an unusually mild winter this year, and that means I’ve been getting out for some winter walks. Just look at the view on February 1! I’ve been photographing this small island in the Thames River throughout the year, and this time thought I’d try a different vantage point. I think the real star of this shot is that glorious blue sky, shot through with dramatic white clouds. I edited this photo with Snapseed to bump up the drama a bit and capture the feeling of the moment. It was definitely a day to breathe deeply, celebrate the sun on my face and get moving outside!

Outside In

Our mild winter has also been very gloomy, with day after day of overcast skies. Combined with the lack of snow, many days just seem to be unrelentingly grey and brown and blah. But every so often, we’re gifted with glorious sunshine … rarely a full day’s worth, but golden hours that lift the spirit. I took this picture of the sun streaming through my kitchen window one January morning; I could have stood there and washed dishes all day long! (I didn’t, though.)

Sunny Window January | © Marlene Cornelis - Urban Cottage Life.com

I’m one of those people who feel the weather, which is one of the reasons I take photographs outside in all conditions; it makes a big difference to see the beauty in every situation, even on the grey, gloomy days. It’s there, we just have to look for it. But thank goodness for moments like these where the beauty is front and centre.


Life with Cats

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the boys on the blog, and that’s probably because we went through such a tough period of time together! As you might recall, after I moved to the Urban Cottage I adopted Kalonji from the Humane Society. He was six years old at the time, and simply the sweetest pussycat a person could hope to have. A few months later I got the bright idea that he’d like to have a companion, so I adopted Chili from someone in town whose cat had presented her with a surprise litter of kittens.

Things seemed good at the beginning, but then the acting out started. I’ll spare you all the sordid details, but Kalonji turned into a cat I didn’t recognize, and no wonder. Chili has a more dominant personality and he got up in Kalonji’s space big time. The older cat seemed to be permanently ruffled, and began jumping on counters, emptying cupboards and ripping open bags of cat food. And Chili went into a full-blown teenage phase (I’ve raised three kids, so I know how to recognize one of those). Wreaking havoc was his specialty. As all this was going on, I was away from home more. I would return to a clean house, and then a day or two later be presented with evidence of feline snit fits through, ahem, inappropriate elimination. Let’s just say I went through a lot of bleach for a while.

Kalonji & Chili in Harmony | © Marlene Cornelis - Urban Cottage Life.com

Thank goodness (dare I write this?!) things are settling down. Once Chili had the big snip his behaviour settled down, and the boys are getting along better. I’m home more now too, and the acting out has pretty much stopped. Sure, there are still times when they don’t seem to get along very well, but sometimes they’re best buddies. Let’s just say everything is moving in the right direction.

Around the Web

I tried this recipe using rump roast instead of ribs, and oh my deliciousness … that sauce!

The past week was Cupcake Week over at Food Bloggers of Canada, and my strawberry chocolate cupcakes were among those featured. Do check out the whole series!

This cake. Is it not utterly beautiful? And yet I feel I could make it too. If I haven’t yet told you about the incredible blog, Eye Candy Popper, then just get yourself over there right now and see why I’m such a fan!


If you’ve missed any of the recipes that I’ve posted since New Year’s, I do hope you’ll check them out now! If there’s a theme, I guess you could say it’s healthful and simple food to help you feed yourself and your family well: Cauliflower Mash (along with a simple dinner idea); Avocado Toast; Healthier Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (with some stealth nutrition); Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup; Almond Butter; a Date & Almond Smoothie; and, Beef and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie. That’s a lot of good food!


  1. Beautiful photos Marlene. Your weather sounds so similar to ours at the moment, barely any frost but now we’re having big storms, wind and more rain. Your kitchen window view is gorgoeous, love the light. i feel the weather too, know just what you mean. Darling kitties…thanks for sharing, I enjoyed popping over to say Hi! 🙂

  2. Looking at your photo and before I read the description, my eyes were immediately drawn to the blue skies. We never see enough of them in winter. When we do, though, they’re certainly worth a moment or two of our attention. Your boys missed you and the battle lines were drawn. I hope they forget all about it so that when you leave next time, they’ll not get so feisty. I know what it is like to return home to a house where a pet — or two — has “missed” me.

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