Friluftsliv Fashion; Forty-Six Weeks In

Last Monday was Robbie Burns’ Day, and the entire day passed unnoticed by me. It wasn’t until Tuesday that I realized I had missed the day entirely; I usually take a few minutes to watch this video and listen to some Rod Stewart, but this year, alas. Nothing. What kind of partial Scotswoman am I? What’s next, am I going to stop saving tiny useless pieces of soap by attempting to mold them onto the larger bar of soap where they will fall off constantly until my husband, frustrated, throws them out, much to my consternation? Am I going to stop banging the shampoo bottle to get out that last ounce, probably wasting water in the process? Will I stop squeezing out every last millilitre of toothpaste and face primer? Am I going to stop cursing the designers of nail polish for their useless little brushes that preclude using the last quarter of a bottle?


Some of this could be pandemic-, “what day is it-” related, some could be exam break related, but I am putting some of the blame on my father – not for the nail polish, as far as I know he had nothing to do with that – but for my blowing past Robbie Burns Day. He usually sends me a text, sometimes even with a cryptic “some hae meat and cannae eat” line, but he did not this year. What the heck, Dad? In a pandemic I need all the reminders as to what day it is that I can get.

Saving tiny pieces of soap and other fairly useless frugalities aside, I have been focusing lately not so much on my Scottish heritage, but on the Norwegian part. Specifically, as I have mentioned before, Friluftsliv. As of today I’m on a 302-day movement streak, and I am spending, on average, 90 minutes a day outside. It has not been hard, really, because this January has been, by Calgary standards, mild. We usually have at least a few days, if not weeks, of temperatures in the minus 20s and below, and here we are in FEBRUARY ALREADY and that has not happened. Most days have been around the freezing mark, plus or minus five degrees, but the last week has seen a small blast of winter, and by “small,” I mean in the minus teens. Minus 16 isn’t “my face has actually frozen with exposure to the air” temperatures, but it’s pretty cold nonetheless.

I channeled my Norwegian side, not with a sudden craving for lefse or lutefisck, god, no, never, but with Friluftsliv.

Yes, those are snow pants. Yes, my coat requires its own postal code. Yes, I have a toque underneath my hood, and this entire outfit is meant to obliviate any idea of outdoor fashion. Dress for the weather you have, not the weather you want, people. I am happy to tell you that ninety minutes in this very saucy outfit, and I was as snug and as warm as can be. It made me think of all those hours I spent freezing at the playground, when I could have been wearing snow pants. No wonder kids can spend hours outside in the cold while adults freeze, it is because they are dressed for the weather. Why did I dress my children so well and me…not? Well, no time to spend on regrets, let’s look forward, not back, and meanwhile I will be wearing my snow pants until this cold front has passed.

Hilariously, I’ve been following some new blogs by women who are in their fifties, and they write about fashion and beauty for women of a certain age. For a while I found it aspirational. Now, though, I think I’ve passed right out of “aspirational” and into “we are on different planets.” As I was donning my giant outfit, I thought of their latest “California girl” post wherein they were dressed for the weather in a long sweater, scarf, and cropped pants. What must that be like. At the moment I can’t remember what grass looks like.

Outfit of the Week

Ooh, I love this week’s outfit! It’s a teaching outfit with added layers for the hours I’m NOT teaching. It’s a Monday outfit; Mondays I teach zoom yoga at the community centre – by myself – and that community centre is COLD.

Black tank with grey polka dots, grey long sleeved tee, and, best of all, LEGWARMERS. The legwarmers are essential for that freezing cold space.

Cute, soft black sweater for warmth when not teaching.

Pandemic Reading

The title is a bit misleading but this is a very interesting read on how our society vilifies certain foods and how “professionals” make tons of money on “studies” about our diet. The key takeaway is “There’s a colossal problem with focusing on one macronutrient, and with ‘everything you’ve heard up to now is wrong’ message.” Interesting if you’re into that sort of thing.

The author does talk about how celiac disease was first discovered, and the treatment for it was a diet of bananas and milk. Celiac children immediately thrived from this diet – because it obviously contains no gluten – which sparked a whole movement for bananas. The first of the “superfoods” I suppose. The author believes that people who cut out gluten, without having a medical diagnosis to do so, delegitimize the enormous health issue for people who are actually celiac. I don’t know what I think about that. It’s a very valid point but I think there is also a benefit to more widespread information. I remember when a friend’s mom was diagnosed – she’d suffered her whole life – back in the nineties, when essentially no one had ever really heard of celiac disease. For her, eating out was extremely difficult at that time because no one understood the severity of celiac or how to manage it. Now, we are so much more aware and there are so many different products, so I’m not sure if the gluten-free craze was all bad, as it would ultimately give celiac people options. When I first went plant-based, many years ago, eating out wasn’t always easy. I’ll have a club sandwich but without the cheese and meat, hold the mayo. I’ll have the chicken pasta without the chicken. But now there are vegetarian and vegan options everywhere, thanks to a brief period when such diets were in vogue. The takeaway from the book is to eat how you like, and not to buy into “studies” as the “studies” are not science.

In my lifetime I can remember the following: low-calorie, low-cholesterol, low-fat, high-protein, low-carb, no-carb, gluten-free, low-sugar, no-sugar, high fat. What’s next? I agree with the author, eat for joy and pleasure and personal health, whatever diet brings you those things.

This was the most creative and original book I’ve read! I loved it! If you had infinite chances to live your life, would you get it all perfect? How can decisions change your destiny? It’s like a choose your own adventure book on steroids. A must-read, especially if you have interest in World War Two.

This empowering and enlightening book resonated so strongly with me; at times I literally gasped and had to stare off into the distance for a while. I wish I’d read this when I was a younger woman. I think this is an important read, for all women but especially those of my generation who were brought up to have it all, but without thoughts to the cost.

Barkley and I wish you a wonderful first week of February, friends! xo


  1. Speaking of winter fashion, my youngest child is refusing to wear a winter coat this year, which makes me glad we have milder winters than you do.

  2. I took the tots out to play in the snow last week. The temps were not terrible, but I did wonder why I do not own snow pants. The tots had them on and they looked so cozy.

    Love your outfit of the day – especially the cozy sweater.

    Well, as a person with celiac disease I must admit that I’ve run into trouble when ordering ‘gluten free’. Restaurants tend to cater to those who want to eat gluten free but don’t have to. That leaves room for carelessness. I make a point when ordering food to let the server know that I have a diagnosis and CANNOT have gluten. This started when a server asked me “Do you have a diagnosis or are you just preferring to eat GF?” Oh. They clearly take diagnosed people more seriously and hopefully are more careful with food prep. I do appreciate that there are more options out there, because I hate bananas and would’ve starved to death if I’d been diagnosed back in the day. In general though, there are cereals that claim GF (looking at you Cheerios), but they aren’t certified so I can’t eat them. They don’t do enough to be sure there is no gluten in the food for me to be able to eat them. This is confusing and sometimes frustrating.

    Barkley is really so darn cute.

    • Thanks so much for weighing in. I wondered about that! So I guess if a restaurant doesn’t have a specific preparation area, cross-contamination must be a huge problem. I don’t know if people know how devastating celiac is. I have seen places advertise “gluten aware” which is NOT the same and would be useless to a celiac. Ugh, I’m sorry 🙁

  3. Angela Kelley says

    Regarding food and diet trends: I have been listening to a fantastic podcast called “You’re Wrong About.” The episode about “the obesity epidemic” really blew my mind:

    I highly recommend the entire series, I grew up in the late-80s early-90s, and remember most of the events and social trends they are debunking. I’m up to mid-2019 and love the hosts Mike and Sarah so so much!

  4. I can’t believe your winters; SO cold. I suppose you wouldn’t be able to believe our summers though. YOU are the cutest little Eskimo/Canadian I know.
    Fad diets. I agree, eat for joy and consider your health. (low cholesterol for me!) Celiac is a real thing too, so it’s so nice the restaurants/bakeries are taking that into consideration.

    • I would probably melt into a puddle during your summers. I can’t even imagine the heat and humidity that is normal for you! I could only survive if I never got out of a swimming pool. At least with the cold you can dress for it; when it’s super hot you can’t get LESS dressed than, you know, a bathing suit!

  5. My husband is a GI and the gluten-free movement drives him bonkers — gluten is essential for many people! Don’t just cut it out unless you NEED to! But I think your point about it being a more widespread movement having positive consequences is a good one — there are SO MANY gluten free options now, which I imagine makes life easier and more enjoyable for people with celiac. And their mothers! I have a dear friend whose son has celiac and so the availability of gluten-free foods is so helpful for her. On the other side, though, she says that a not-small percentage of restaurants that offer “gluten-free” items don’t actually have any training on cross-contamination. For instance, a pizza place that offers gluten-free crusts might still use the same ladle to spoon on tomato sauce, and spread it around on the crust, that they use for gluten-containing crusts.

    I could never get into Life After Life even though I ADORE Kate Atkinson. Your review has inspired me to move it back to my TBR pile. (I am reading Friends and Strangers right now, per your suggestion!)

    • Yes! Cross-contamination is a huge issue! I wondered what a medical professional would think about it, that is good to know. Oooh, let me know if you like Friends and Strangers, I really liked the Jessica Simpson book!

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