Urban Exposure

Murder For Hire: Take Your Party to the Next Level

Mad Men Style Party

When it comes to celebrating the big milestones and special occasions in life, you want to do it with style; something unique, exciting and something that your guests have likely never experienced before.

This was my line of thinking when I began planning my husband’s milestone surprise birthday party. After some research, I happily discovered Murder For Hire, a high quality, interactive murder mystery dinner theatre experience.

I loved the concept of providing entertainment for our guests in a home setting and providing something just a bit unusual. For the guests that preferred to sit back and watch, a live story unfolded right in front of them. For the more outgoing guests, an opportunity to become a part of the story presented itself. And to round it all off, all the guests were able to interact with the actors and take part in trying to solve the murder. It was so much fun!

THE MURDER FOR HIRE EXPERIENCE

Murder For Hire is a company based in Thorndale, Ontario (just outside of London) and is dedicated to the presentation of the highest quality interactive murder mystery dinner theatre, paying particular attention to detail. The company was established in 2006 by Kay Rogers whom writes all of the scripts for the stories as well as the creation of costumes, props and sound effects for each show.

When you visit the Murder For Hire website, you can check out the different script options. I chose the Diamonds, Death and Second Chances show because I loved the idea of the late 60’s themed basis. The script is based on an auction of fine jewels hosted by Lady Ophelia so I decided to go with a Mad Men-inspired theme. I even asked the guests to dress up in their favourite 1960’s look…it really added to the experience.

I served 60’s style foods like Swedish meatballs, deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket and a cheese ball. I also set up a Martini Bar so that guests could sip away in style.

The party starts like any other, mingling among the guests; the Murder For Hire actors blend seamlessly into the crowd and begin to tell their back stories. This shapes the characters for the upcoming events. With fun sound effects, vibrant props and costumes, the mystery unfolds until the climax takes place; the murder.

During this time, the cast will get to know you and your guests too and they will throw in some fun surprises that will seriously take your party to the next level. Again, I don’t want to give away too much, but let me just say that I never knew some of the guys in my life looked so good in leisure suits!

It is then time for the guests to gather the evidence, question the actors and submit their hypothesis on whodunit and possible motives. The truth is finally revealed and awards are given out to party guests based on various criteria (I don’t want to give anything away here) that are fun!
This all takes place over a few of hours and provides a really fun and out of the ordinary experience. We opted in to add a photo booth setup to enhance the experience and to make sure we got some great shots of all the fun costumes and actors. You receive all the images on the spot on a handy USB card.

Murder For Hire Photo Booth

The Murder For Hire team does a wonderful job of staying in character and providing laughter, entertainment and the opportunity to bring out your inner detective. This is something that I would highly recommend for your next celebration.

TAKE ANY PARTY TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Each month, there are featured Murder For Hire scripts to bring your party to the next level…check out GHOULS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN! for a unique way to celebrate Halloween, or CRIMES OF PASSION to celebrate Valentine’s Day in a whole new way. And the Holidays will never be the same with the 2017 featured script, THE CHAOS IS KILLING ME, a Christmas themed show featuring the annual CHAOS (Canadian Honorary Association of Santas) Convention. Sounds fishy huh?!

CONTACT MURDER FOR HIRE

If you want to throw a party that your guests will never forget, be sure to check out Murder For Hire online or call 519-495-1446. You can also follow on Facebook to learn more.

Thanks to Kay and the Murder For Hire Team for providing such a fun and memorable event to celebrate such a special day in our lives!

City Mom

Fall Farm Fun at Great Lakes Farms!

Great Lakes Farms

When I found out I was pregnant with my second baby and that his birthday would be sometime in October, I knew right away that when I planned his first birthday party it would be an autumn theme. Fall is my favourite season so I am thrilled to have a reason to plan an autumn party!

When I think of fall, I always think of going to pick apples in an apple orchard, wagon rides, warm apple cider and fresh-baked apple pie! Similarly, these are also all fun things to do for a fall birthday party.

We have some great orchards in London however, with unpredictable fall weather, I needed to find a place with an indoor space that could accommodate all of our guests. Luckily, I came across Great Lakes Farms in Port Stanley, Ontario, which is only a short (and beautiful) drive from London.

THE LOCATION

Great Lakes Farms
Great Lakes Farms is a family run orchard with over a sixty-year history in the Port Stanley area. Farmer Joe and his wife Mary Anne run the farm and orchard. They also expanded in 2014 to include four acres of peach trees, along with the apples, pumpkins, pears and strawberries that are also available seasonally. They are open for pick-your-own, baked goods and farm fun!

Great Lakes Farms

THE EXPERIENCE

When arriving at the orchard, it is such a picturesque setting as you drive up the long driveway toward the cornfields, orchard and barn that you just want to spend all of your time strolling around the beautiful grounds picking your own fruit. Yet, the aromas emanating from the barn lure you inside where fresh-baked apple pies are baking!

THE BAKERY

When you step inside the barn where the bakery and café are located, you are instantly consumed by the scrumptious smell of fresh baked apple-y goodness! Here they make their famous fresh baked apple pie where they use their own freshly picked apples. The pastry is made from scratch on site as well. They also offer apple crisp, apple strudel, apple muffins, and apple cookies along with apple cider and ice cream! They have a rustic covered porch area that overlooks the sprawling orchard where you can sip on a beverage and indulge in a freshly baked treat.

THE FUN FARM

Great Lakes Farms Fun Farm

Great Lakes Farms has created an “agri-destination” by including attractions such as their corn maze, and fun farm area for children and parents alike. The fun farm is a child’s dream playground! They have a “sand box” for the kids to play in, but instead of it being filled with sand, it is filled with kernels of corn! My one-year-old son loved feeling the texture of the corn.

Another bonus, they don’t get all sandy after! They also have sand diggers that the kids can operate themselves which proved to be a big hit among our crowd. They even offer a pumpkin launcher in October! The corn maze is not only a fun activity for both parents and kids but it is also currently supporting a great cause as well by promoting anti-bullying messages that can be found throughout the maze.

Kids will also love their pirate ship play structure with a slide, lookouts, ropes and ladders, as well as “straw mountain” where kids can climb on, crawl through and swing from barrels of hay. Strollers are welcome but they offer cute little green wagons that parents can pull their children around in as well.

Entrance fee into the fun farm play area is $5/person and children under 2 are free. Parents are also free Monday-Friday. They even offer a season pass for only $10, which gives you unlimited access to their play area!

EVENTS

There is so much to do at Great Lakes Farms; they host different events throughout the summer and fall season like Peachfest, Applefest and Pumpkinfest, which is coming up at the end of October. They also host weddings, school tours and birthday parties.

OUR BIRTHDAY PARTY

Great Lakes Farms Birthday Party

As mentioned, I was drawn to Great Lakes Farms because it was the only orchard experience I could find in the local surrounding area that also offered an indoor space to host the party in case the weather decided not cooperate with us that day.

When I walked into the barn and in the café area where the parties are held, I was extremely pleased with our choice of location to host our son’s apple-themed birthday party! The exposed barn board walls, wooden tables with the quintessential red and white checkered orchard table cloths and aroma of fresh apple pie and cider in the air gave me the instant farmhouse.

We had about 35 people with 18 kids and there was more than enough room for us to sit. They have a beautiful, long wooden harvest table that could accommodate all of our food and lots of extra tables for desserts, apple cider station and gifts.

GreatLakesFarmsBirthdayPartyCityMom

They have a rustic high chair as well for the birthday boy to sit in and have his first taste of birthday cake! Then, when our group was finished opening presents, Farmer Joe took us on our private wagon ride around the orchard. This was a highlight for me. Having our family and friends all together on our son’s first birthday, being taken around a beautiful orchard on a beautiful day on our private wagon ride was just the cherry on top of the whole experience for me! I am so thankful to Great Lakes Farms for creating such a wonderful day for us.

Great Lakes Farms will work with you to design the exact type of birthday party you are looking for. They offer packages as minimal as simply renting out the room with no staff intervention, to a package that includes a fully guided experience with one of their staff who will entertain and lead your group through the various activities around the orchard.

GreatLakesFarmsWagonRide

I would like to thank Great Lakes Farms for hosting our group for my son’s first birthday party and making it such a special and truly unforgettable experience.

IF YOU GO

And you should…their fall season runs from September 12-November 1 and they currently have apples, pears, and pumpkins available. They are open daily (including Thanksgiving) from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 11am to 5pm. Pick-your-own admission is free and prices for apple varieties are available on their website at www.greatlakesfarms.ca.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful fall weather the best way possible at Great Lakes Farms…you won’t regret it!

Disclaimer: we received complimentary services in exchange for our feature. These opinions our completely our own and really, it speaks for itself!

Village Mom

Shop Local with Farm Boy’s Third #LdnOnt Location

Farm Boy CEO Jeff York, London Mayor Matt Brown, Ward 7 Councillor Josh Morgan and Ed Holder, MP London West cut the ceremonial Grand Opening ribbon to celebrate Farm Boy’s third London location.

I am a huge supporter of buying and shopping local. I’m passionate about supporting our local farmers and I also get really excited about food; especially fresh, organic ingredients that come together to create the perfect meal.

That is why when I was invited to attend Farm Boy’s Grand Opening Celebration for its third London location on May 9th, I jumped at the chance. As a customer of the other London Farm Boy locations, I already knew I was a big fan of Farm Boy and that I’d love to help them celebrate their new location.

FARM BOY BEAVERBROOK

Farm Boy’s newest store is located at 1415 Beaverbrook Ave right next to the Rona store on Wonderland Road. This location had a lot of people excited, especially Rick Buckley, who was at the Grand Opening with his daughter Brooke and son Mason.

Rick Buckley shops at Farm Boy’s newest London location with daughter Brooke, 6 and son Mason, 1.

“It’s close; we can walk to it. The food is really good, they have what we want and it’s fresh. We don’t buy a lot at the same time; we shop every couple of days so this location is great.” said Rick.

His six-year-old daughter was just as excited and shared that she loved Farm Boy because of how the store is organized into sections and they don’t have to wonder where “stuff” is.

I agree with Brooke; the esthetic appeal of Farm Boy is just as attractive as their product. With sections for fresh produce, pantry items, seafood, Meat Shop, Cheese Shop and fresh sushi (to name a few), it’s really easy to get around and grab all your grocery needs in one stop. But it gets better…

Farm Boy London

SUPPORTING LOCAL VENDORS

For me it’s not just about a nice shopping experience; it’s about buying local, supporting London’s economy and getting quality products that are healthy for me and my family. This is why I love Farm Boy.

The Beaverbrook location alone features over 40 South Western Ontario vendor’s products on their shelves; many of those come right from London.

Mayor Brown, who was in attendance at the celebration, made it known that City Council fully supports Farm Boy and its contribution to the London community:

“On behalf of City Council, it is my pleasure to welcome Farm Boy to London once again. Congratulations on opening your third store of Farm Boy. This is great news for London. We want to tip our hat to Farm Boy for bringing so much energy and for bringing so many great products to our community.”

One of the local vendors featured at the Beaverbrook location is Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), an organization that aims to provide a caring and active place where youth ages 16 to 30 are engaged in learning and creating opportunities to build their future.

The Beaverbrook Farm Boy location carries a line of products that are made in Middlesex County by YOU at one of their training facilities. Farm Boy also carries a private label Pumpkin Butter that is made right here in London by YOU. And guess what?! This Pumpkin Butter is the mayor’s choice! It’s a must-try for sure.

Farm Boy Pumpkin Butter

It is said that you should always know the story behind your food and this story is definitely one that shows the direct effects and benefits of shopping local and supporting our community.

Lulu the Cow

If you haven’t shopped at a Farm Boy store in London yet, I highly recommend checking it out and taking in some of our very own local products! If you’re already a Farm Boy fan, then you know what I’m talking about…be sure to check out their newest location and don’t forget to say “hi” to Lulu the cow who is at the store every Saturday!

City Mom

A Magical Birthday with My Perfect Princess Party

My Perfect Princess Party London

I love party planning and I especially love planning my daughter’s birthday parties. However, my daughter’s birthday is in February and having a winter birthday party is a bit challenging at times since the cold weather limits outdoor activities; finding a theme and having corresponding activities proves to be difficult.

Thankfully, I had My Perfect Princess Party recommended to me by a friend and I am so glad that I called them! They absolutely made my daughter’s 2nd birthday party a huge success and one that we will always remember.

FROZEN OBSESSED

My daughter, like most young girls, is obsessed with Disney’s Frozen, so what better winter theme to have for a February birthday party?! I knew that I could plan Frozen themed food and decorations but I was looking for something really “Frozen” to put it over the top for our guests and reinforce our Frozen theme. Enter My Perfect Princess Party!

MAKE YOUR PRINCESS’ DAY TRULY MAGICAL

My Perfect Princess Party Elsa

My Perfect Princess Party provides amazing princess parties all over Toronto, London and surrounding areas. They recently added Elsa and Anna to their available Disney princess characters.

I contacted them, which is very easily done online or also by phone. Their online booking system gets all of your party information, such as how many children are participating, your preferred date and character(s), a choice of activities and you can even add “extra magic packages” that include dress-up parties and a costume parade!

If you begin your planning process with them, you can even have an option to have personalized themed invitations sent to you as an electronic file that you can print at any photo printer.

FAIRY TALE PRINCESS PARTY

I chose the “Fairytale Princess Party” package which includes:

  • 1-hour engagement, perfect for 3-9 year olds (although my daughter was turning two, she was completely engaged in all of the activities.)
  • A choice of characters: The Little Mermaid, Beauty, Cinderella, the Arabian Princess, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, the Highland Princess, the Frog Princess, Rapunzel, Princess Sophia, the Snow Princess (Anna), the Snow Queen
  • Your character then does the following:
    • Royal Entrance
    • Fairytale Story time
    • Royal Ball Sing-a-long and Dancing
    • Autographs
    • Royal Coronation for the Birthday Girl
    • Happy Birthday
    • Royal Farewell

There are other activities that you get to include as well, depending on the number of children at your party. Check out My Perfect Princess Party to get all the details.

SENDING A POSITIVE MESSAGE

My Perfect Princess Party

One of the included activities we chose was Perfect Princess Makeup and the kids loved it and I really appreciated that Queen Elsa explained to the little girls before applying their makeup, that princesses sometimes dress up by wearing makeup but that real princesses are beautiful just the way they are and don’t need make up!

A ROYAL EXPERIENCE

My Perfect Princess Party

Within seconds of Queen Elsa entering our party, I knew we made the right choice for our party theme and activity. My daughter’s face lit up; she was in absolute awe. In her mind, the real Elsa just walked into her birthday party.

Elsa sang songs with them, (she had an amazing voice) and read a story to the girls as if she were the real Elsa recounting her adventures to them.

My Perfect Princess Party

Elsa took my daughter’s hand and made her feel like a special princess the whole time. Along with all of our guests, my husband and I watched the magical memories that were created for our daughter. We both got teary-eyed watching Elsa do her makeup and paint her nails. You could just see the amazement and total adoration in her eyes. This was a priceless experience and memory; we will never “let it go”!

NOT JUST FOR PRINCESSES

While My Perfect Princess Party is certainly most popular among young girls, boys can enjoy as well! Boys under six usually enjoy the party as much as the girls. Older boys sometime need to be encouraged to participate but My Perfect Princess Party offers superhero or pirate tattoos and superhero or pirate colouring sheets as well as prizes geared towards boys in the treasure box.

GIVE YOUR PRINCESS HER OWN SPECIAL DAY

My Perfect Princess Party

After working with My Perfect Princess Party I highly recommend booking them for any little girl’s birthday party. Your little girl will be made to feel like a beautiful princess, completely special on her special day and you will have amazing magical memories.

You guests will be equally entertained and in awe, leaving you to relax and enjoy the event with your child.

For more information on My Perfect Princess Party visit www.myppplondon.ca and Like on Facebook.

A special thank you to H&S Studios for capturing our special day and allowing us to sit and enjoy the event right alongside our daughter without missing a beat!

Village Mom

Pamper Your Little Girl with a Birthday Party at Posh Pedicure Lounge

Posh Pedicure Lounge Birthday Parties

All photography in this post provided by H&S Studios.

I love throwing Little S’ birthday parties. I mean LOVE! You may remember some of my past posts where I’ve gone all out to celebrate. But as much as I love planning her parties, it is a lot of work! Not just the decorations and food, but also entertaining eight little girls.

This year Little S was dying to have her party at Posh Pedicure Lounge so I had a big decision to make; indulge my obsession or handover my party planning rights. Of course I chose the latter and I’m so glad that I did!

PRINCESS PARTIES AT POSH PEDICURE LOUNGE

Posh Pedicure Lounge Party

It turns out that I didn’t have to give up any of my party powers. In fact, I was able to work with Penny, the owner of Posh Pedicure Lounge, to customize and add my own touch to the party. Penny shared with me what is included in the party package and I was able to add to that if I wanted and bring in my own food items too. I didn’t end up doing that because what was offered in the package suited us perfectly.

The Posh Pedicure Lounge is the place for girlie girls…no matter what her age! If hosting a palace get together for an entourage of princesses is not your thing – leave it up to Posh…we throw the best parties in our pink and leopard lounge! The best part is that you can sit and enjoy a pedi too while the princesses get pampered and eat pink cupcakes!

For a Princess Party like Little S’, you get one and a half hours of party time, manicures and pedicures for the princesses, party punch, cake pops, vanilla ice cream, gift opening time and treat bags. It’s the perfect amount of time and activity for a party of this type.

The event was really well run and organized by the girls at Posh and they had the timing down to an art. We didn’t feel rushed nor were there moments of boredom. It all played out perfectly.

Posh Pedicure Lounge Princess Party

You can tell by the huge smiles in the photos that all the girls had a fabulous time. And Little S was having the time of her life!

The impression that I got was that the girls felt very grown up getting their nails done and getting to choose the designs.

THE TREAT BAGS

PoshPedicureLoungeTreatBags

Treat bags get their own heading because I know from experience that these little mementos can cause a lot of headaches. I know when Little S attends a party, one of the things she looks most forward to is…you guessed it, the treat bags. That’s a lot of pressure on a parent throwing a party.

Deciding on what to put in the bags can sometimes be a challenge and the cost can really add up. Simply put, treat bags are a necessary evil, so I was thrilled to find out that they were included in party package. Not only was I relieved, but I was also super impressed with their contents; all age appropriate, fun items for the girls and not too much candy!

BOOK YOUR LITTLE GIRL’S PARTY

If you have a little girl in your life with an upcoming birthday, I highly recommend booking it at Posh Pedicure Lounge. The kids had a blast and I have never been more relaxed during and leading up to one of Little S’ parties! It is definitely a memory neither of you will ever forget!

For more information on Posh parties and other services visit poshpedicurelounge.com.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU

A special thank you to H&S Studios for their wonderful photography of our special event; Brianne is wonderful to work with and has a special touch with children; we just loved the photos!

City Mom

A Face-lift for Le Chateau in White Oaks Mall London

Le Chateau White Oaks Mall London

 Shawn Schmidt, National Director, Visual Presentation Le Chateau Inc. cuts the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the brand’s third new concept store in Canada at White Oaks Mall, London.

They say that change is  a difficult transition to adjust to but that was definitely not the case with my recent visit to Le Chateau in White Oaks Mall, London.

The White Oaks Mall Le Chateau location has undergone a re-branding as one of the brand’s flagship stores and the change is delightful. Not only has it moved from its food court location (it is now beside Sephora) but it has received a pleasant face-lift.

WHAT’S CHANGED

Le Chateau London

Perhaps the most notable and refreshing change is the light, airy and modern feel that the new concept has achieved. This is in thanks to a few different things including new merchandise fixtures, lighting and interiors that come together to create this bright and open atmosphere.

The new merchandise-friendly layout creates an organized structure; collections are grouped together in redesigned features like wall displays, tables and clothing racks. Accessories like shoes, handbags and jewelry have their own, designated sections which help to feature these important outfit add-ons and to create a one-stop-shop experience.

Important features have been strategically placed to create a shopper-friendly environment; dressing rooms have been tucked away to create a more private experience, the cash desk has been moved out of the main floor space and the cash registers have been given a futuristic makeover. The “gown shop” has been enlarged and rearranged to make dress shopping as easy and enjoyable as possible.

SHOES & HANDBAGS

LeChateauShoesHandbags

Everyone knows that purses and shoes are a girl’s best friend so they get their own section both on City Mom and in Le Chateau.

There is a new focus on footwear and handbags with front-facing display cases and prime real estate, the actual merchandise has changed too. You will now find genuine leather boots and shoes with designer labels such as Jessica Simpson, Corso Como and Franco Sarto and handbags from Italy. Price point is around $100 for a pair of heels which is competitive with other footwear stores throughout the mall.

MEETING #MISTERSCHMIDT

#MrSchmidt

Part of my Le Chataeu shopping experience included a face-to-face meet with Shawn Schmidt, National Director, Visual Presentation and PR and Media Spokesperson, Le Château Inc. This was a treat on its own. #MisterSchmidt is very passionate about the new Le Chateau concept stores and the brand in general and gave me a very detailed tour of the new store.

This recent re-branding in London marked the third of its kind for Le Chateau with the first two taking place in Montreal, QC with more to take place over the next three to five years.

Why is this good? Well, if you’re a fan of Le Chateau you’ll soon enjoy your shopping experience that much more; you’ll find it easier to locate what you’re looking for or to put an outfit together if you need inspiration.

Le Chateau Mens

Le Chateau in White Oaks Mall is a great place to shop for men and women alike who enjoy a moderate price point, on trend fashion and a semi-sophisticated curated shopping experience.

What do you think of the new look?

City Mom

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