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I’m usually fairly organised when it comes to planning for birthdays and other special days. But Mother’s Day–or Mothering Sunday if you prefer–is the one that always seems to sneak up on me. While Father’s Day in June falls on the same date whether you’re in the UK or Canada, the UK Mother’s Day (March 6th this year) is usually a good 2 months ahead of the Canadian one (May 8th in 2016). And unsurprisingly you won’t find it marked on any North American calendars, or see any coverage in the Canadian media.

Locating Mother’s Day cards this early (especially in Northern Ontario) is a challenge. Thankfully my local Hallmark store has always come to the rescue so far, and choosing between the 4 or 5 different designs never takes very long :-) Postage has become so expensive here that I’ve recently started researching ecards too. Blue Mountain has some fun designs. They offer a free trial and inexpensive membership.

If you’re looking for a reliable florist for the big day, I’ve used Flying Flowers and Clare Florist for years and always had good reports on the quality of the flowers.

Whether you’re with your Mum this Mother’s Day, or celebrating across the miles, hope it’s a special day.

I was thrown into a panic last week when I saw the headline “Canada orders Briton to stop selling Marmite and Irn-Bru.” Irn-Bru I can happily live without—in fact I’ve never tried it—but give up my Marmite? That’s a scary proposition.

The British yeast extract spread is one of those things you either love or loathe and I was firmly in the loathe camp until my husband introduced me to “special beans on toast with Marmite” about 15 years ago. Since then, I’ve become an addict and Marmite on toast is my daily snack when I get in from work. Plus it’s a great source of B12 and a great flavour enhancer for veggie dishes. So why would Canada want to ban it?


Apparently Marmite contains vitamins not permitted to be added to food spreads in Canada. This has me confused as I thought vitamins were generally a good thing. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is now assessing the products for safety – hopefully dressed in full protective clothing. They wouldn’t want to take any chances there.

The CFIA does admit that there’s not actually any threat to public safety; it’s more of a “technical violation.” Nonetheless, this has me worried. Should I go and buy up all the remaining jars of Marmite left in Sudbury? Will people soon start trading in illegal Marmite? And worst of all, will I be forced to switch to Vegemite?

And just in case you think that I’m obsessed, take a look at this site to hear the Marmite rap and read about the man who loves it so much, he actually changed his name to Marmite…

In my New Year’s quest to be more efficient and organised (we’ll see how long that lasts!), I figured I should check the expiry dates on my Canadian and UK passports. My UK passport runs out this summer, so I figured now was a good time to sort out the renewal.

When my husband renewed his UK passport a few years back, he was able to send it to Ottawa. Now it has to go to the UK, but the actual application and fee payment is all done online, making the process quite a bit easier. You then need to mail photos, a signed declaration form, your current UK passport plus any other non-expired passports. For me, this meant sending in my Canadian passport which I felt very uncomfortable about. So I made sure I took copies of everything I was posting.

Canadian and UK passports

The required photo size for UK passports is ridiculously small – much smaller than the photos in Canadian passports. I had my photos taken at our local Canadian Superstore and the woman in the photo studio had quite a job cutting them to size. Thank goodness there was no requirement to have someone certify the photos; it would be difficult to fit on a signature. The photo in my Canadian passport has me looking like an escaped convict and the new ones aren’t much better. Plus it looks like my eyes aren’t open very wide, so I’m hoping this won’t lead to my application being rejected.

I checked at my local post office what would be the most secure method of sending the package as I didn’t want to take any chances with my precious Canadian passport. I was able to send it as registered mail for $20.00, so someone will have to sign for it when it arrives, plus I can track the delivery.

For more information on renewing a UK passport from overseas, go to