Take a Hike? May 15th, 2016

With fingers crossed for good weather I have decided to check out the Sunday nature hike at 10 am at the MUN Botanical Gardens this weekend.

pathI walk on a regular basis but I have been thinking about taking up hiking more seriously this summer. We live in such a beautiful province. I look forward to checking out our great hiking trails.

In an effort to “bite off one piece of the elephant at a time”, I thought it might be best to start with a 1 hour hike.

MUN Botanical Gardens offers a guided hike through the barrens, b7NoDY-phoreal forest, or bog. The guide will introduce you to Newfoundland plants and animals while you enjoy plenty of fresh air and exercise.

This event is Free for members of the Friends of the Garden, Memorial University students and children 5 years and younger.  For all others general admission applies.

They also offer a Sunday morning bird watching hike that takes place every second Sunday with the next one being on May 15 at 8 am.  

Stay tunpath3ed for my review.




Love to Garden? Planting a Hanging Basket.

Click on this image above for hours and admission cost information.

Friday lunch time, I attended a free public workshop on planting a hanging basket offered by MUN Botanical Garden.  It was really informative and I picked up some great tips and tricks.

I was busy with work on Friday and I was tempted to skip it but I am so glad I didn’t. Firstly, just walking into the gardens on my way to the classroom started to release the stress of the week.  On this rainy warm day the smell of the garden was heavenly and there were signs of spring were everywhere.

We met in the classroom where Tim Walsh, the nursery manager, gave an eIMG_0704ntertaining and educational presentation along with a demonstration on how to plant a hanging basket.

Along with the lecture, Tim provide us with a couple of reference sheets listing plants and their sun requirements.

For inspiration you can take a look at some amazing photos of hanging baskets and containers designed by the talented folks at the Botanical Gardens here and a plant list here.

I really liked the way he broke down the plants required to create an attractive hanging basket.  Thrillers – the centerpiece or main attraction of the basket. Spillers – plants ideal for cascading over the edge.  And Fillers –  plants required to fill the basket.  It was so exciting to see all the options and I wanted to rush home and start planting right away 🙂

These free lunch time lectures were held all week.  I wish I could have attended all of them.  I hope they will do this sort of event again.  In the mean time,  they offer several other paid workshops that look interesting, particularly the Wine and Walks. 😉

Rating: *****

Cost: This event $0.  Other workshops $0 – $70

Great activity to do alone or with a friend.

MUN Botanical Garden

Have you ever heard the saying “You look but you don’t see”? I find I have done this a lot in St. John’s. I think you get comfortable in the areas of town you usually frequent and you live life repetitively. And in doing so, you miss so many opportunities to really enjoy the little things this city has to offer and maybe some big ones too!IMG_6239

Yesterday, I came across a small ad for the MUN Botanical Garden on Mount Scio Rd……now there’s somewhere I hadn’t been in a long time. I often drive by it but never stop. But this week, they are having free lunchtime seminars from 12:00 to 1:00 pm covering a host of topics, so off I went today to learn all about composting!


What a great little seminar. In one hour, I learned all I needed to know abIMG_6231out making my very own compost and the benefits it would bring to my garden. Plus, it turns out that years ago when the city and MMSB joined to promote composting with a reduced rate on bins, it was a bit of a disaster as people didn’t understand how to compost and ended up creating smelly bins that attracted rodents. Now, they require you participate in an Information Session like I did today before you are allowed to purchase a bin and today, plus other days this month, they are selling them at a reduced rate to participants. The traditional bin you can purchase at the reduced rate of $40.00, is on the Lee Valley Tool site for over $150.00, now that’s a deal.

I am an avid gardener and am always open to learning something new, especially as our province provides gardening challenges. The thought of turning my household garbage and garden leaves into rich soil has me inspired and I have purchased the traditional compost bin and the new model, The Tumbler! I was impressed to discover that the whole of the Botanical Garden has been created with their own compost. Now there’s something to aspire to.

The traditional compost bin

For the rest of the week, the topics include:

Tuesday: Plants for the Sensory Garden, Wednesday: Choice Vegetables for a Newfoundland Garden, Thursday: Vermicomposting, Friday: Planting a Hanging Basket.

Great time, short and sweet but very well done and easily fit into a lunchtime slot if you are pressed for time. I highly recommend.

Who would have thought this was once wild woody forest. Still asleep but signs of spring are there!

Rate: *****

Cost: Nil

I’m no van Gogh but… (Painting Class)

This was a most enjoyable activity. Not because I came away from every class with “great work of art” but because I got to spend 2 and a half hours every week for the last three weeks, with my daughter, in a stress free environment enjoying the company of others (cell phones off 🙂 ).

In early March, my daughter Sarah encouraged me to do a painting class. I was intrigued by the idea of challenging myself so I signed us up to do water colour painting classes with the City of St. John’s.

Like gardening, golfing, crafting etc. I found this activity a fun escape from the day-to-day worries of work and so forth and my focus changed to appreciating the beauty around me and how that could be translated into a painting.  What I learnt even carried with me through the week as I noticed beautiful things around me and wondered “what painting technique” would be used to capture what I saw onto a piece of paper.

My daughter’s painting. :-)

This was a 4 week course.  Each class was 2 and half hours long.  Brendan Traverse, our teacher, was patient and knowledgeable. He was also very generous in sharing his supplies, which he brought to each class.  When you register you will receive a small list of required supplies but it was fun to try other brushes and painting tools to check out their effects.

During the first class, Brendan spent most of the evening discussing some of the basic water color painting techniques and the entire class tried their hand at a water shoreline view (You can see my painting at the end of this blog).

For our next class, Brendan asked us to find a picture we liked from a pile he provided or bring one of our own.  During that class he helped us individually with techniques to turn our favorite photo or picture into a watercolor.

At first I found this really stressful.  I brought along a favorite photo of a salmon river in Spread Eagle, Newfoundland.  I love this photo, so I wanted good results. No! I wanted great results.

However there is so much to learn. I was putting unreasonable expectations on myself and it was really taking the fun out of it for me. When I reminded myself about my purpose for taking this course I starting just enjoying the process and the results weren’t too bad 🙂

My watercolor painting of a photo taken in Spread Eagle, NL
My watercolor painting of a photo taken in Spread Eagle, NL

I would highly recommend this course.  It was fun, informative, relaxed and inexpensive. I encourage you to check out the many activities offered by the City of St. John’s.  Sign-up early, especially for the painting classes, as the class size is small and they fill up quickly.  Scroll down to see pictures of our classmates and their paintings.

We have 1 class left and I am really looking forward to it.  In addition, I plan to check out the other painting courses offered and sign up again soon.

Rating: *****

Cost: $ ($50 for 4 classes)

Great activity to do alone or with a friend.

Sarah, our classmate, posing with her clothesline painting from class #3. She had never painted before doing this course. Nice Job Sarah!
My painting from the 1st class.
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Our classmate, Marilyn, posing with Brendan and her sunset painting. Pretty!

Tattoo? No, you!…No, you!! (part I)

Trouble Bound Studio located at 132 A, Water Street, St. John’s, NL.

Call us crazy. Call us what you want. We are 40+. Being a little crazy is a privilege of getting older. 🙂

I have been thinking about getting a tattoo for a very long time.  Recently, one of my friends and her 2 sisters got tattoos and it really inspired me to put it at the top of my bucket list again.


One of Trouble Bound’s tattoo artists

As Wendy and I embark on a 2 week trip to Greece in May, I encouraged her to mark the event with a friendship tattoo. Is she on board? I think so.

On a recommendation from a friend, we visited Trouble Bound Studio located at 132 A, Water Street, St. John’s, NL for a consultation. We met with Mike Ledrew who discussed our design and reviewed the process.

Subscribe to our blog to follow our tattoo journey.


Do something spontaneous!

Sunday morning, nice and easy, no deadlines, no rush. It was a beautiful sunny day and I thought “What a perfect day to spend in the garden…I’ll just browse the internet while I drink my coffee”……. And there it was. An ad for a new nail salon.

Have to say, I amIMG_6046 a sucker for being pampered, who isn’t? So off Carol-Ann and I went to Nails Time.

It was your typical quick and easy salon but I have to say, I was impressed with the quality of the service and the friendly staff. We both had a manicure and pedicure and as “first tiIMG_6047me visitors” were given a complimentary paraffin treatment. They possibly have the best selection of polish I have ever seen and our services were extremely well done. Seated in a massaging pedicure chair, beIMG_6044ing given a hot stone massage as part of the pedicure, I thought I was in heaven!

The salon is very clean and tidy and it is evident they are taking precautions to ensure the services and equipment are clean and sterile.

Lawn? Was I going to rake the lawn? Oh well, I guess there’s always tomorrow!

Rate **** 1/2

Price ***IMG_6049

The Fifth Ticket with a side of comedy

SapuuYU6A great server can make or break a meal.  Agree? While our food was yummy it was our server Jordan that made the evening so pleasant.

Wendy and I decided on an early reservation since the comedy show in the piano bar started at 8:00 PM and we didn’t want to rush though our meal. At 6:15 PM the restaurant was mostly empty with the IMG_4921exception of a couple of tables but it quickly filled as the night went on. The Fifth Ticket is located at 171 Water Street, St. John’s NL (the east end of Water Street).

When we arrived we were shown quickly to our table. Once seated I heard Jordan mention “Silver Fox”.  I immediately assumed he was talking about me. LOL. Actually, he was describing one of their most popular drinks. A combination of gin, black current syrup topped with Prosecco served sweet or dry. It was delish!

IMG_5911Our meal choices included cold duck slices served on arugula and pan fried trout with asparagus and a type of pasta similar to orzo.

We enjoyed our meal but it was Jordan’s attention to detail; eagerness to explain the choices and he recommended when asked. He was authentically friendly and clearly took his job very seriously.  He reserved for us two seats in the piano bar for the comedy show and with such chivalry, offered to show us to our seats and carry our drinks. (FYI…Jordan nor the restaurant knew of our plans to write this review.)

This is a 1/2 portion as Jordan offered to split the plates as we were sharing.
This is a 1/2 portion as Jordan offered to split the plates since we were sharing our selections.

My thoughts on the restaurant are this.  The food was good and the menu choices were interesting. If I would make any suggestions for improvement I would say the ambiance lacks a bit of intimacy and softness.  Some dividers, white table clothes and soft window coverings would make it more comfortable.

The comedy show? Not for us. Sorry. I like the idea of the piano bar and I look forward to returning to listen to the live music instead.

Price: $$$

Restaurant Rating: ****

Comedy Show: *



The Fifth Ticket

Once known as The Social Club, the Fifth Ticket claims to have a brand new vibe with the same great food offering more selection.

St. John’s only Piano Bar, the Dining Room and the Chef’s Table for private 5 course meals, all combine to provide “internationally inspired comfort food.” IMG_4921
downloadFriday night, April 1st is Comedy Night featuring “Dont Panic: A night of Story-Telling, Song, and Stand-Up.

Carol-Ann and I will be there, stay tuned for our review!

Tickets $10.

171 Water Street. St. John’s


Can you paint?

The only things I know I can paint are the walls of a room. 🙂 My daughter, however,  is quite the artist (not sure where she gets it) and has been encouraging me to do a painting class.  I was intrigued by the idea of challenging myself so I signed us up to do water colour painting classes in April with the City of St. John’s .

City of St. John’s Subscription Site

The City of St. John’s offers an impressive selection of activities including painting classes offered at accessible prices ($50/person for 4, 2.5 hour classes). In addition, they offer such activities as swimming, guitar lessons. dance, yoga and so much more.

Stay tuned for my review.  Receive the review automatically by subscribing to FortyandFun.com in the side bar at the right or at the bottom of this blog.

Happy Easter,


Flower Studio Spring Bulb Workshop

I am quite remiss in posting….I apologize, life just seems to hurtle along at breakneck speed sometimes.

The lateness though, has no reflection on the absolutely wonderful time I had at the Flower Studio’s Spring Workshop…it was pure heaven!


If you’ve never been to the Studio….go….. even if it’s to just walk in the front door and breathe in the absolute bliss of a zen moment. It’s in a class of its own which you feel as soon as you walk through the door. Classic, edgy and creative IMG_5546design oozes from the decor and into the limitless floral arrangements that surround you. Accents and unique indoor/outdoor garden suggestions will tempt you or at least inspire you.

The evening workshop (7-9 pm) was an intimate group of 5 and hosted by the Studio’s owner and Principal Designer and his Guest Designer, Nicholas Smith who had flown in from Toronto to give the seminar. Nicholas demonstrated 3 completely different types of floral designs using a myriad of flowers and accent pieces and went into amazing detail on the intricacies of each type of flower, its requirements and particular characteristics and why something worked and why it didn’t. I don’t consider myself a novice in flora but I learnt A LOT!

We were then sent out into the world of choice and selection! What impressed me, was that nothing was off-limits. They had pots laid aside for us to use but if we saw one on the shelf that we liked better, we were more than welcome to use that. There were fresh flowers everywhere, pots and pots overflowed with colour, texture and beauty. We were set free and encouraged to use what spoke to us, inspired us and to just dive in and create our masterpieces.

IMG_5549 IMG_5547

I was also very impressed with the quality of the flowers. Not your typical selection of Roses, Carnations and Lilies  in the basic colours but Orchids, Tulips, Orchids, Hyacinths, Gerbera Daisies and  Iris to name a few in the most fabulous colours, shapes and sizes….and fresh!! How many of us have grabbed a bunch of happy looking flowers from the supermarket or like, only to have them a wilting, drab blob the next day. All the flowers we saw looked like they had just been brought in from the garden and in fact, they get daily shipments of flowers that have been picked less than 24 hours prior. My arrangement, 4 weeks old and minus only a couple of flowers, is still beautiful, welcoming people into my porch!

All in all, a great evening! One I certainly will do again and again. I highly recommend you sign up for a workshop but do it quickly as they fill up extremely fast!

My Creation!

Rating:  *****

Price: $$$