What’s Been Happening | January 2023

The last Friday of January is a good time for me to reflect on what’s been happening and what I enjoyed during the month. January has been a calm and joyful month in lots of ways.

Exploring Outdoors

I enjoyed time in nature – always a happy time for me. Outdoor cycling and walking supplemented my indoor fitness routine. Toronto has experienced relatively mild temperatures throughout January and just had a major snow storm on January 25.

A glorious winter day
Canada geese having a snack
Beautiful blue space
Resilient Hellebores flower in winter
Snow on tree branches
Holly berries give a pop of colour
Snow on evergreens

Socializing, Art and Culture

I celebrated New Year’s Day and Lunar New Year’s Day with my family. Good food, good company, and twice in three weeks, what not to love? We all hope for a year of good health, peace and joy.

I also met up with friends for a few fun outings. Outing #1 was to the Bentway Skate Trail which is under the Gardiner Expressway, a major road in Toronto. On display at the skate trail is artist Shellie Zhang’s Beacons installation of five colourful flame-like features that light up at night.

Outing #2 was a nature walk and coffee catch up in the downtown core where I photographed Thing’s End sculpture by artist James Carl. I love the crafty title, the unique design of a rubber band and the soft blue colour.

Thing’s End, 2012 by James Carl

Outing #3 led to discoveries of public art in Chinatown.


My blogging and hosting the weekly Weekend Coffee Share (WCS) linkup has been going well. Thank you to all who have shared updates, comments and/ or photos from around the world. Here’s the links for January’s posts in case you missed any and want to catch up:

For more blogging fun, I’m linking up with Ju-Lyn‘s #TheChangingSeasons and #WBOYC hosted by Donna, Sue, Jo and Deb.


This month I enjoyed discovering four new books and three new-to-me authors (Mandel, Patchett and Picton). While all four books are very good, the most delightful is The Knighton Women’s Compendium. It was published on January 4, 2023, set in Australia, and told from a child’s point of view.

  • The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
  • The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • The Knighton Women’s Compendium by Denise Picton

What’s the best book you read in January?

Weekend Coffee Share

I’d love for you to share what’s been happening, simple joys from your week and/ or favourite public art photos from around the world in the comments or Weekend Coffee Share linkup #104 InLinkz below.

Please note that starting in February, I’ll end the WCS linkup on Sunday at 5 p.m. Toronto time. The start date and time stay the same. This change should not affect regular participants since all add their links on Friday or Saturday and before 5 p.m. on Sunday. If any blogger wants to join in after the linkup is closed, feel free to leave me a comment with the link to their WCS post or a pingback. Thank you.

Happy February!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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109 thoughts on “What’s Been Happening | January 2023

  1. Ally Bean January 27, 2023 / 8:26 am

    Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is one of my all-time favorite books. I’m glad you found it. I enjoy seeing red holly berries, kind of a reminder that color exists. My world is very gray right now.


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 5:16 pm

      Patchett’s description of gray at the beginning of the story was great. As soon as I read it and before I knew where the story set, I thought of “Lima the gray” as I’ve been to that city and knew what it looks and feels like. I was delighted to see the red holly berries. We also have red winter berries which were devoured by birds. I hope you and I both get some sunshine soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. leannelc January 27, 2023 / 8:26 am

    Hi Natalie – it looks like you had a great January getting out and about and being able to catch up with friends. I always enjoy the contrast in our weather – your pics that include snow etc while we’re sweltering in the sun. Thanks for another great link party.


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 5:20 pm

      Hi Leanne, January mild weather has been good for my out and about. I actually had to wait for about two weeks to have some snow to photograph. It will get colder here next week and I’ll be thinking of my blogger friends enjoying summer in Australia and New Zealand.


  3. Dan Antion January 27, 2023 / 8:42 am

    How lovely to find a plant the flowers in winter. That is so pretty. Your winter scenes are beautiful, Natalie. Looks like your year is off to a great start.


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 5:40 pm

      Dan, I love going outside after the first big snowfall to see ‘winter wonderland’. This month has been mild and I actually had to wait for snow. I hope January has been good to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan Antion January 27, 2023 / 8:13 pm

        We have had almost no snow, Very mild temps, and the outlook is the same for a couple weeks,

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Book Club Mom January 27, 2023 / 9:05 am

    Hi Natalie and Happy New Year! I enjoyed looking at your January pictures. So nice to see a flower and a little bit of color in the winter 🙂 Also, you’ve read 2 books that I really liked – Bel Canto and The Glass Hotel. Happy reading and exploring!


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 5:47 pm

      Happy New Year, Barbara! I was pleased to read four books that I really liked, one after another. I requested a few books from the library for February. I look forward to reading them. Thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Darlene January 27, 2023 / 9:18 am

    You had a great January! The books you read all sound very good. The best book I read this month was Longbourn by Jo Baker. I loved it! (Pride and Prejudice from the servant’s point of view.)


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 5:50 pm

      Darlene, Thank you for sharing the best book you read this month. It sounds really good. I’ll check with my library for its availability.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Karen January 27, 2023 / 9:45 am

    You have such interesting places to explore that’s so different from mine on the prairie. I like those flames under the express way. I’m sure they’re a bit magical when they light up at night while out walking that trail. That flower blooming in winter is a unique beauty. We have a primrose that blooms in late spring/early summer that looks similar. The rubber band art is spot on the way it curls up like that. I work with rubber bands daily on the job. We have continued safety talks about keeping them picked up off the floor for slipping hazards. #Weekendcoffeeshare


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:05 pm

      Karen, It was a delight to see the hellebore flower blooming in January. I’m glad you liked the rubber band sculpture. I love everything about it. Rubber bands are useful but yes, they can be slipping hazards. Have a great weekend!


  7. dawnkinster January 27, 2023 / 10:09 am

    I haven’t been able to read a book in a long time. Loss of concentration, trouble with my eyes….but your list of January books is good, I’ve read a few, though not that last one which you enjoyed so much. I’ll put it on my list for sometime in the future when I hope to be able to read it!


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:07 pm

      Dawn, I love that the Knighton Women’s Compendium book is delightful and not depressing. I hope you’ll read it when you have your reading mojo back.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dawnkinster January 27, 2023 / 7:13 pm

        I bought it, so it’s on my Kindle….I want to finish the one I’m reading about Justice Ginsburg…and I think I’m in the middle of another one too, but can’t remember…but I hope I get to this one soon! Thanks for the recommendation!


        • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:32 pm

          You’re welcome, Dawn. I’d love to know what you think of it once you read it.


  8. Writing Sparkle January 27, 2023 / 12:23 pm

    I really like the picture “Snow on evergreens”. As always, your photographs of the local art are so fun! Happy Friday, Natalie.


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:09 pm

      Shari, When I saw the snow on evergreens, it looked like a classic winter scenery so I stopped cycling to take a picture. I’m glad you like it. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Retirement Reflections January 27, 2023 / 1:05 pm

    Hi, Natalie – Thank you for the great catchup. Your weather looks like its been okay. Ours has been mixed – but no snow since just before Christmas.
    Good question about our favourite January books. I’ve had a few contenders, but the writing in The Secret Lives of Church Ladies literally took my breath away. What did you think of The Glass Hotel? I especially loved the Vancouver Island setting.


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:18 pm

      Hi Donna, I loved the Vancouver Island setting of The Glass Hotel and how the author weaved the characters and multiple timelines to build the suspense. Thank you for mentioning The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. My library has the book and eAudio book. Hooray!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thistles and Kiwis January 27, 2023 / 1:31 pm

    Looks like a great month with some lovely things to enjoy. Best book in January? The latest Richard Osman “The Bullet That Missed”


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:20 pm

      Oh, I have Osman’s The Bullet That Missed on hold. I look forward to reading it. I haven’t read his earlier books so I hope I’d still be able to enjoy The Bullet That Missed.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Lydia C. Lee January 27, 2023 / 3:41 pm

    Did you like Bel Canto? (the movie misses the best bits and doesn’t quite work – as much as I love Wanatabe). I loved the way the nationalities kicked back into their ‘habits’ and the Russians just started playing cards and ‘waiting’.
    Love the Beacons. What a great idea. Turning nothing into somethings.
    I really love The Vanishing Act. Will get round to writing it up in my Bookshelf post for feb – this link up I covered Uncultured.


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:25 pm

      Yes, I liked Bel Canto. I haven’t seen the movie. Thank you for mentioning The Vanishing Act. My library has it so I’ll request it when I’m done with my current loans.


  12. Joanne January 27, 2023 / 4:33 pm

    We’ve been enjoying a milder winter this year too and haven’t even had our first major snowstorm (yet!). Though thankfully we’ve had tons of rain so we have no worries of drought either.


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:31 pm

      So far this winter has been good for my out and about. I hope February will be good, too.


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:33 pm

      Janis, So many good books, so little time. I hope January has been wonderful to you, too.


  13. Denyse Whelan Blogs January 27, 2023 / 6:27 pm

    Lovely to visit again Natalie and see what you have been up to, and January looks like it was packed with all the experiences you love and enjoy so very much. Your outdoors pics are so colourful and the contrast of snow on the ground and yet blue skies is beautiful. I am listening to Michelle Obama narrate her book, and finding it really interesting. Thank you for your link up…Denyse


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:40 pm

      Denyse, It’s been a mild winter here and I was happy to finally see enough snow on trees and on the ground. I like Michelle Obama’s conversational writing style. I haven’t listened to her books. I hope you enjoy her audiobook to the end. Thank you for linking up. Have a great weekend!


  14. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 January 27, 2023 / 6:54 pm

    Hi Natalie it is great that you have linked up with us at the What’s Been On Your Calendar? . As always your photos are a beautiful representation of all that you have been doing. I look forward to reading what you’ve been up to in the coming month. Happy February and enjoy xx


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:43 pm

      Hi Sue, Thank you for hosting WBOYC. I’ve read Donna’s January and am off to read yours next. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and February.


  15. Amila January 27, 2023 / 7:38 pm

    Hi Natalie, It seems like your January is fantastic. I like all these nature photos. The Beacons installation and other sculptures are great too. I loved reading your post. Thanks for the share. Have a great day!


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 7:47 pm

      Amila, I’m glad you loved reading my post. January has been very good to me and I’m grateful for that. Thank you for linking up. Have a great weekend!


  16. Jo January 27, 2023 / 8:00 pm

    I’ve been really slack with linking up so have missed the weekend catchups. I love those pics with the snow on the side of the banks and footpaths… Happy new year and thanks for linking up.


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 8:58 pm

      Happy New Year, Jo. We’ve had a mild January to date with no snow so when snow finally arrived, I was happy to see it on the trees and the ground. Glad you love those pics.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Deborah January 27, 2023 / 8:49 pm

    Oh I also loved The Knighton Women’s Compendium. I loved Denise’s previous novel as well.

    That Things End statue is amazing – sleek and beautiful! Is it warming up, the snow seems to be melting a bit?


    • Natalie January 27, 2023 / 9:05 pm

      Next week’s forecast is colder with more sunny days than what we’ve been having so I expect the snow we’ve got will be gone. I haven’t read Denise Picton’s previous book. It’s good to know you loved it. I’ll see if I can borrow it from my library.


  18. Mama Cormier January 27, 2023 / 10:11 pm

    I’ve read books 1 and 3 on your list and really enjoyed Bel Canto. This month I’ve read The Four Winds, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan. I enjoyed them all but Lessons in Chemistry was my favourite.


    • Natalie January 28, 2023 / 9:51 am

      Thank you for sharing the books you’ve read in January. Our library has Lessons in Chemistry so I’ll request it when I’m about to finish my current book loans. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. trentpmcd January 28, 2023 / 7:51 am

    Sounds like a great start to the year. I hope it continues with plenty of outside time, public art and great reads. Have a wonderful weekend!


    • Natalie January 28, 2023 / 9:54 am

      Thank you, Trent. I hope January has also been good to you. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Janet Alcorn January 28, 2023 / 10:58 am

    Sounds like you had a great month, and I’m glad you’re able to enjoy the outdoors even in winter. Loved the holly and hellebore pics–when I lived in Portland (OR), I really appreciated anything that produced color in our grey winters.


    • Natalie January 28, 2023 / 11:11 am

      Even though there is a lot of grey and white in winter, when I look closer, there are some colours like the red berries or evergreens full of light brown cones.


  21. Gary A Wilson January 28, 2023 / 11:28 am

    Hi Nataie, I have to admit, the giant rubber band art was pretty cool. Thanks for another great WCS. BTW – I think ending it a bit sooner makes sense. Australia will catch on.


    • Natalie January 28, 2023 / 5:37 pm

      Gary, I’m glad you liked the giant rubber band sculpture. Have a great weekend!


  22. Dan January 28, 2023 / 11:44 am

    I can’t remember if I finished Love and Ruin (Paula McLain) at the end of December or in January, but it’s the last book I would give five stars to. Then I liked Only To Sleep.

    I missed the Canadian geese (we were away from NYC for 3.5 years) but I didn’t miss the cold 🥶


    • Natalie January 28, 2023 / 5:57 pm

      Dan, Thank you for your visit and comment. The two books you mentioned sound interesting. I’ll check with my library for their availability after I finish reading my current loaned books. Do you have a blog?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan January 28, 2023 / 7:37 pm

        My blog is departingin5mins.com, a travel and literature blog. I’m not sure you’ll like Only To Sleep. I reviewed it on my blog.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Natalie January 28, 2023 / 8:08 pm

          Thank you, Dan, for the link to your blog. I’ll visit shortly. You may want to update your gravatar to make it easy for people to find your blog.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Dan January 28, 2023 / 8:55 pm

            I just fixed it, as soon as I found out what gravatar was.

            Liked by 1 person

  23. Astrid January 28, 2023 / 3:46 pm

    I’m so happy you’ve been celebrating both New Year and lunar New Year with your family. I’m also happy the weather has been mild where you live. Thanks for the heads-up about the linky’s new closing time. What time does it close now?


    • Natalie January 28, 2023 / 5:38 pm

      Thank you, Astrid. The linkup currently closes at midnight Sunday night Toronto time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Astrid January 29, 2023 / 3:10 am

        Oh, thanks. In that case, I’m pretty sure that even if I write my post late Sunday evening my time, as I sometimes do, I’m still on time for the link-up.


        • Natalie January 29, 2023 / 11:59 am

          Per my InLinkz data, the new and earlier closing time of the linkup does not affect any regular Weekend Coffee Share participants. People also have the option to do pingback or leave their link in a comment on my blog.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie January 28, 2023 / 5:38 pm

      Thank you, Pam. Hope you’re enjoying the weekend.


  24. Debbie January 28, 2023 / 7:47 pm

    Thanks for joining us for #WBOYC Natalie, it’s always fun to see what you’ve been up to and I learn so much from your explorations around your area! I’ve just finished a great book The Measure by Nikki Erlick which was recommended by Sue (co-host of our link-up), it really captured my imagination!


    • Natalie January 28, 2023 / 8:13 pm

      Thank you, Debbie, for sharing your recent great read. My library has The Measure, hooray! I’ll request it when I’m close to finish my current loaned books. It’s my pleasure to join you for #WBOYC and have you join Weekend Coffee Share.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Antoinette Truglio Martin January 29, 2023 / 8:22 am

    WOnderful winter tour. Thank you, as always.


    • Natalie January 29, 2023 / 12:00 pm

      Thank you, Antoinette, for your ongoing support. Have a great weekend!


  26. Suzanne@PictureRetirement January 29, 2023 / 8:33 am

    Hi Natalie, this is my second reading of your post and I enjoyed is as much as the first. The tree with snow against the blue sky, the flower peaking through the harsh winter ground, and the rubber band sculpture are standouts for me this week.

    I read Bel Canto years ago – such an engaging (tragic) story, and I have The Glass Hotel on my reading list. Eventually I will get to it.

    I am glad that your Coffee Share link-up is still going strong and based on comments, it appears to have grown in popularity. Thank you for taking the time to manage the task. I’m sure it isn’t easy. Have a good week.


    • Natalie January 29, 2023 / 12:06 pm

      Hi Suzanne, I’m glad you enjoyed my post. The photos that you liked are my favourites, too. Hosting the weekly WCS linkup is manageable while I’m at home. It will be a different situation when I resume my travels. I’ll see how it goes when I get there. Thank you for linking up. Have a great weekend!


  27. Rowena January 29, 2023 / 9:46 am

    Happy New Year, Natalie. As usual, you’ve been pretty busy and out and about. I’ve been away for the last month and my blog has been rather neglected but I have loads of catching up to do now.
    Best wishes,


    • Natalie January 29, 2023 / 12:08 pm

      Happy New Year, Rowena. I hope you have fun blogging and catching up.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Maria January 29, 2023 / 10:18 am

    What a great month for you! The weather does look very mild in the pictures. I have not been able to ride my bike at all in January, something I really miss, and hope to be able to do again sooner than later. Thank you for sharing your great month 🙂


    • Natalie January 29, 2023 / 12:13 pm

      Thank you, Maria, for linking up. I was slightly concerned about the lack of snow in January over here. Even with the recent snow storm, it was a non-event in downtown Toronto. The trail that I cycle on in the winter is maintained year round (my first photo) so I ride my bike as often as possible, except on extreme cold or windy days. Have a nice weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maria January 29, 2023 / 12:47 pm

        Thank you for your always inspiring posts! wE also have cycling trails that are maintained year-round, but even with all the upkeep there’s a thick layer of ice under everything, and I’m just being a scaredy cat nowadays…


        • Natalie January 29, 2023 / 12:51 pm

          You’re smart not to ride on icy surfaces. Our health and safety is #1. There will be time for cycling after the ice melt.

          Liked by 1 person

  29. Terri Webster Schrandt January 29, 2023 / 10:40 am

    Happy Lunar New Year to you and your family, Natalie! Great shots of the areas you visited this month! When I read bicycling and then saw pics of snow on the ground, I immediately thought–oh no, how can she ride her bike? It will be a while before I can ride mine. You capture the mild winter climate in your images so beautifully. Hopefully, the arctic blast will be kind to you. Have a fabulous week ahead!


    • Natalie January 29, 2023 / 12:21 pm

      Thank you, Terri. The trail in my first photo is cleared of ice and snow in winter so I can ride my bike safely. It’s part of the Great Trail that goes across Canada. Except on extreme cold or windy days, I love the tranquility on this trail in winter. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Terri Webster Schrandt January 29, 2023 / 12:52 pm

        That’s nice they groom the trails! We have a similar trail that goes from here to Idaho–but not groomed in the winter…enjoy yours!


        • Natalie January 29, 2023 / 1:00 pm

          I definitely enjoy this trail and greatly appreciate the winter maintenance service on it.

          Liked by 1 person

  30. eirlysgwenllian January 29, 2023 / 10:57 am

    Sounds like you’ve had a lovely start to the new year. 🙂 How cool that you celebrated not only New Year’s Day but also lunar new year. Always fun to be able to spend some time in nature.
    Hope February will be just as good for you. 🙂


  31. csuhpat1 January 29, 2023 / 12:51 pm

    What an amazing January you had. Very nice. I love your outdoor photos. All of them so very nice.


    • Natalie January 29, 2023 / 1:51 pm

      Thank you, Patrick, for your comment. I’m glad you love my outdoor photos. I enjoyed photographing winter scenery.


  32. Hasmeyya 🇵🇭 January 30, 2023 / 10:23 am

    This month feels longer than 2022 lol. Happy to see someone made much of it ❣️


    • Natalie January 30, 2023 / 12:15 pm

      Thank you for your visit and comment. I hope you make February a great month.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. notesoflifeuk January 30, 2023 / 11:41 am

    The best book I read in January has to be Once Upon a Tome by Oliver Darkshire. It’s about the goings-on in a rare bookshop in London. Really interesting and enjoyable!


    • Natalie January 30, 2023 / 12:13 pm

      Nikki, Thank you for sharing your best read in January. That sounds like an interesting book that I’d enjoy. My library has it but not in e-book format yet so I’ll check back again in the future.


  34. Kirstin Troyer January 31, 2023 / 10:27 am

    I love the Hellebore. I have a holly tree that started randomly growing on our property, but it never has any berries on it. Loved your update!


    • Natalie January 31, 2023 / 10:40 am

      I was delighted to see the hellebore, a hardy plant to bloom in January here. I’m glad you loved my update.


  35. Pepper February 28, 2023 / 12:14 pm

    All lovely images. I especially like the blue skies against snow. 😊


    • Natalie March 3, 2023 / 7:34 pm

      Pepper, Yes, the blue skies against snow is a nice colour combination. Thank you for stopping by.


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