Kicking the Fall Cold - Silk Road Style

There is so much to love about this time of year, from cozy sweaters and glowing pub windows to pumpkin pie and crunchy leaves. But there is one thing that the cold weather brings that isn’t so great - the dreaded fall cold. And man, it hit us hard this year. Red noses drip like leaky faucets, pounding headaches and endless hacking plague Victorians as the chilly season sets in. I’m no exception. I might be over the worst of it (cross fingers and toes), but the cough is hanging around like a one-night-stand that hasn’t got the memo – and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere…awkward. So I bundled up and went to get the supplies for my anti-cold arsenal. First stop: Silk Road.

I love this shop. Not only does it have all the bagged and loose teas that you could ever want but add the lovely merchandise, the organic beauty and wellness products and the adjoining spa, it is a veritable Valhalla. But today is a get in, get out, get better kind of trip. After perusing the teas and wellness products and asking the incredibly helpful and knowledgeable staff a few questions, I made my purchases and bustled home as fast as my sore body would allow. Now I have to admit, it’s only been two days so I’m not 100%, but I do feel a lot livelier and the rattle in my lungs has subsided considerably. Success! Here’s what I tried:


There is a reason this tea is at the top of my list, it’s a life-saver. It’s soothing and peppy all at the same time. With ginger to boost immunity, lemongrass and citrus peel for a gorgeous zing, green tea for a smooth boost of energy and rooibos to help soothe that headache it’s a winner and I can’t stop brewing pot after pot. The awesomely wise people at Silk Road also shared a few recipe ideas with me: make a Ninja Twist by adding a teaspoon of honey and a ton of fresh lemon to soothe that sore throat and eliminate that icky mucus. Or add equal parts of apple or pear juice and a cinnamon stick to make it a sweet and spicy treat dubbed The Fortress.  

Lullaby Wellness Tea

Sleep is an essential part of the healing process, and lets be honest, hacking a lung every 15 minutes isn’t really helping. This lovely floral tea is a blend of soothing peppermint, calming chamomile, lovely lemon balm, lavender and rose petals. Two cups of this bad boy with a book and a blanket and get ready to zzzzz; plus keeping this blend on hand is a good idea to combat those non-cold related stressful days and sleepless nights.  

Ok so we’ve got the tea, awesome. Insides are all warm and taken care of, but I wanted to kick this cold and kick it hard so I decided to also give their Cold and Flu roll-on a try. With powerful and pungent eucalyptus, tea tree, conifer and bergamot balanced with calming lavender and peppy citrus this little roll on packs a huge punch. I rolled it on my temples, forehead and sternum and ka-pow! Breathed freely. Plus the cough subsided, which made me feel like less of a leper when I was out running errands. Silk Road also carries a Cold and Flu diffuser oil which would be incredible beside the bed for easier breathing during the night. If you don’t have a diffuser (I do not) you can add a few drops to a carrier oil, I use jojoba but grapeseed, avocado, olive and many others work just as well. Then add your concoction to a bath or rub it into your chest or on your shoulders…aaahhhhh.

Make sure to also check out the Sweet Dreams roll-on and diffuser to help boost the potency of the Lullaby Wellness Tea and get some much needed shut eye. With lavender, ylang ylang, spearmint and clary sage essential oils you’ll be well on your way to dreamland. Plus, you can keep it on hand for the more stressful times to make sure you stay balanced, rested and healthy!


Make sure to check out Silk Road to explore their entire collection of teas and wellness products and don’t forget to try their limited edition blends!

Photo credit: Isabelle Archibald. Follow Isabelle on Instagram

Make, Bake, or Grow: Why you can't miss the Esquimalt Farmers Market

If there’s one thing you absolutely MUST do before the summer ends, it’s visit a local Farmer’s Market. Picture this for a moment – it’s the (late) morning after the (late) night before and for better or worse, you’re nursing a much-needed coffee. You wander through the lazy crowd, giving the peaches an appreciative squeeze as you peruse stall after stall bending with organic produce, while children laugh and the strains of an acoustic guitar gently sweep the cobwebs away. Sounds like the opening scene to a Gilmour Girls episode I know, but rest assured… this is Victoria.

The newest addition to the list of markets on the Times Colonist’s interactive market map is the Esquimalt Farmers Market. Located behind the Library in the Esquimalt Town Center, this little neighborhood market opened in March 2015 and the response was incredible! The core tenants of the market are simple: Make, Bake or Grow. Supporting local growers and producers who adhere to environmentally sustainable practices, opens up the market to neighbourhood farmers and artisans whose yield is limited by the size of their home, which is awesome, if not ridiculously quaint. Not only is the economy being stimulated internally but those is search of great produce and a neighbourhood market vibe sans touristy chinz will be more than impressed. Esquimalt has become a model of Sustainable Market Culture – a progressive method of creating and strengthening the bonds of community.

But this wholesome, community-driven image is somewhat new for the Esquimalt area. Esquimalt has long had the stigma of being Victoria’s little cousin from the wrong side of the bridge - rough and tumble with more than a few dodgy friends. But things have started to change in the last few years. A recent crime report from the Victoria Police Department shows that Esquimalt is on par with Fairfield and Oak Bay, places which have maintained their squeaky clean reputation since…forever. Sure, there was a time when Esquimalt was a rougher industrial part of town, home to blue-collar docks workers and petty criminals but so much about the area has changed for the better. The municipality has focused on bringing community driven, family-friendly events to the area with the Township Community Arts Council and now the Farmers Market. In late 2014, a meeting was held to gauge the community’s response to a proposed Farmers Market, in early 2015 the first market day was held. You don’t get results like that from an estranged community riddled with crime.

With live music, artisans, farmers, food trucks and the Esquimalt Little Free Library exchange this market has become more than just a place to wander and buy local produce. It’s the hub for a community with a hell of a lot of heart.

*The Esquimalt Farmers Market season has been extended to September 24th! 

Video credit: Gabe from Esquimalt Parks and Recreation

Photo credit: Vanessa from Esquimalt Farmers Market

Poster design: Tara from Digitally Crafted


The Beast, the Whole Beast and Nothing but the Beast

You know that moment when you walk into a holiday party and as you’re exchanging obligatory greetings, you’re simultaneously shooting surreptitious glances around the room for the food table? Yeah, us too. You discreetly sidle up to the table, sizing up the victuals; yup, the hummus and veg is present and accounted for, devilled eggs? Check. And then, just beyond the breadbasket, you spy your target - the charcuterie board. Now, there are some gatherings that don’t quite get the importance of a great artisanal cured meat selection. There have been times when I’ve suppressed the urge to lunge across the table and attack it like a wild animal, and instead, gracefully sidle up to the meaty target, all the while maintaining a conversation with the IT guy only to find that the board consists of cheap pizza pepperoni and garlic sausage slices speared haphazardly with toothpicks. Nooooooooooooooo! Oh the humanity!  Enter: The Whole Beast Artisan Salumeria.

It’s no secret that Victorians go the extra mile to seek out local sustainable food products. So when Cory Pelan opened The Whole Beast Artisan Salumeria in the summer of 2011, it was a calculated move in response to the growing desire for all things local. And it’s no surprise that Pelan has helmed this venture, given his passion for and involvement in local, sustainable food practices. As a former president and treasurer, now board member of the Island Chefs Collaborative, board member of the Slow Food Vancouver Island and stewardship team member representing Vancouver Island for Farm Folk City Folk, Pelan lives, breathes, eats and makes sustainable food a practice in the Capital Region. 

But this little salumeria is far more than cured meat counter offering local charcuterie, run by a passionate foodie – it is an artisanal workshop where local heritage meat gets transformed into high quality, handcrafted, cured delicacies using traditional techniques with no additives, preservatives or fillers. So if you haven’t already checked out this little slice of spicy, savoury, meaty heaven you really need to. While you’re browsing, check out their selection of preserves – think kimchee, sauerkraut, mustards, pickles, vinegars and sauces, yum! They’ve also formed awesome relationships with restaurants all over the city, so while you’re tikiing on Tuesdays at North 48, or grabbing some grub at The Guild you’ll be getting incredible quality cured meat from right up the road.

So here’s the take away folks: when it comes time to host a holiday party or when you’re headed to a Christmas potluck, make sure that you aren’t the shmuck with the wheel of supermarket garlic sausage. Instead, be the babe with the kick-ass plate of artisanal charcuterie - just try not to eat it all before the party starts.