Skyline image via shutterstock.com
Reserved for London, by London!
Murder For Hire: Take Your Party to the Next Level
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 you 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.
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.
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!
Murder For Hire: Take Your Party to the Next LevelUrban Exposure
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.
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!
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!
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 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!
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
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.
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.
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!
Great Lakes FarmsUrban Exposure
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.
“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…
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.
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.
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!
Farm BoyUrban Exposure
My Perfect Princess Party
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.
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 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
- 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
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
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.
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
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.
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!
My Perfect Princess PartyUrban Exposure
Parties at Posh Pedicure Lounge
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
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.
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
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!
Parties at Posh Pedicure LoungeUrban Exposure
Le Chateau Whiteoaks Mall
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.
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
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.
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 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?
Le Chateau Whiteoaks MallUrban Exposure
Zipp Lash London
If I’m in a rush and have little to no time for my morning routine, the very least that I will do is throw on a coat or two of mascara. There’s something about dark, thick lashes that really brightens an otherwise rushed, sleep deprived look.
Other than fake lashes on Halloween, I’ve never done anything to enhance my lashes more permanently so when I learned of Zipp Lash, I was intrigued. Luckily for us Londoners, Zipp Lash has come to the Forest City and I’m happy to share my experience with you today. And just in time for the holidays (think luscious lashes for New Year’s Eve!).
FROM DRAB TO DRAMATIC
I’ve always liked my natural lashes; they’re fairly long, thick enough and not too light but that’s not to say that I don’t love jazzing them up a bit as mentioned above. But after trying Zipp Lash, I was pleasantly surprised at the difference lash extensions make.
When I looked in the mirror after having them applied I immediately noticed the difference they make to one’s overall look. The first thing I noticed was that they made me look more youthful and brighter. What I thought was a nice full set of lashes before was enhanced tenfold.
Perhaps the greatest benefit I have realized is the ability to jump out of bed, wash my face and go. You really have to try it to be able to see the ease that lash extensions from Zipp Lash creates. Note: I do not have mascara on in either picture.
Again, since I had never done anything like this before, I really wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to the application process. I am happy to report that it is actually a very relaxing experience and absolutely pain-free.
You begin with a consultation by the lash specialist to determine the size and style of lashes that are right for your look. Next, you get to lie down on a massage-type table and close your eyes and the process is done for you while you relax. You feel very little and what you do feel is more like a tickle.
HOW IT WORKS
The Zipp Lash process works in two steps and the Lash Care Specialists complete a one-on-one “eyelash residency” with a licensed eye care practitioner. They learn micro-ophthalmic fitting and the clinical judgement that produces natural, predictable results. Many more questions can be answered on the Zipp Lash FAQ section of their website.
THINGS TO NOTE
- Once you have your first application you can go back for “fills” every three weeks or so. Fills take less time than the initial application and cost less.
- Follow the preparation guidelines as recommended. They ask that you do not wear mascara for 48 hours before application and that you do not use oil-based cleaners or cream. This is important because I had excess oils on my lashes and had to go back a second time to get my lashes completed.
- It takes some getting used to: if you have never had lash extensions you may notice little habits you have like rubbing your eyes. For the first couple of days you may be inclined to do so but you’ll want to stop yourself to not disrupt the lashes as they are fresh.
- If one of the lashes comes loose you may notice a very small pinching sensation which is not at all painful. If this happens you can go back to Zipp Lash to have it re-applied but it’s very unlikely that it will happen.
Zipp Lash is located at 640 Wellington Street (at Pall Mall) above Victoria Park Optometry. You can call 1-877.250-7219 to make an appointment.
CITY MOM’S RECOMMENDATION
I absolutely love the outcome of my lash extension from Zipp Lash. The look is subtle enough that I have an “everyday” kind of look. When I add mascara it really ups the drama and looks even more stunning.
I do plan to keep my fills up because I am really happy with the look. I recommend trying Zipp Lash because of the results and the unique application process. It’s painless, effective and worth it!
GET $25 OFF
Two City Mom readers will receive a $25 off coupon for their first Zipp Lash application. If you are interested in this offer leave a comment below and we will randomly select two winners. This offer is available to anyone in the London area, or those willing to travel. Drawing will take place on January 10, 2014.
Zipp Lash LondonUrban Exposure
Indigo North London
If you’ve been in the North end of the city recently and noticed something different about your favourite bookstore you’re not imagining things; North London’s Chapters store has changed. Chapters has been revitalized and rebranded to Indigo and London North is the very first Chapters store to undergo this update.
I was invited to visit Indigo North London to celebrate the launch of the rebranding. As a long-time fan of Chapters, I was delighted to attend the event to gain a thorough perspective on the new, the unchanged and everything in between.
MY HAPPY PLACE
I coined Chapters my ‘happy place’ years ago because I feel at home among books. I love that I can visit for a coffee and browse for my next great read or take Little S with me to play in the children’s section for something to do on a rainy day.
I love that their product line has progressed over the years to include a great selection of gifts and items for the home; it’s really become a one-stop-shop spot for me.With the Indigo rebranding, that happy-place-feel has remained the same. In fact, it has been enhanced by the changes.
Susan Finn, Indigo’s Vice President of Retail for Central Canada, summarizes the change best:
We’ve redesigned the space to be totally joyful for our customers. Our rebranded store has more great books, a larger assortment of products to delight our customers and enrich their lives, an enhanced, kid-delighting Indigokids section, engaged and knowledgeable employees, and a warm, always welcoming, environment.
Among the changes, Indigio has increased the number of books that they carry to include over 4,000 new titles. I’ve always been impressed with the book selection at Chapters and I almost can’t image fitting that many more titles within the store.
Something you will notice in Indigo is that the signage in the books section has changed; it is bigger and easier to identify from different areas of the store. I assume that this will help to accommodate the extra titles as well as make it easier for customers to find the relevant section for a particular book.
Before the rebranding, Chapters did have a small section near the front of the store that included Kobo merchandise but now it is called Indigo Tech and includes tablet sales including iPad (a new partnership) and other technology items for the home, health and general enjoyment.
As before, the children’s section features books, games, toys and more. It appeared to be changed slightly to include more displays and more merchandise.
Look & Feel
They say the best haircut is one that is hardly noticed by others, meaning you’ve maintained consistency. This is a comment I made on the general look and feel of the new Indigo. When you enter the store, you can tell things have changed but it’s not such a drastic change that you feel like you’re in a different store altogether.
At first I thought that they had physically renovated the structure of the store. I later found out that more pleasing paint colours and extra lighting were used to create a more open, expansive feel to the store.
You’ll also notice different sections like Home, Baby etc. have been created by using displays and dividers to indicate separate departments. The rebranding of Chapters to Indigo is a pleasant change and I think you’ll like it too!
Have you been to the new Indigo yet? What did you think?
Indigo North LondonUrban Exposure
Always Save Room for Dessert
Okay, so we know by now that I love to throw a good party and if I love anything more than that it’s taking pictures of our parties and posting about the event. But with all that aside, no party is any party without the perfect cake. That is why today, I am thrilled to share Always Save Room For Dessert!, a local custom cake, cupcake and other sweets company owned by cake designer, Justine Travnicek.
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT!
For Justine, her cake making business has been a natural progression; she started with nothing more than a personal interest in cake decorating. When she was younger, her aunt gave her a Wilton cake decorating book and she fell in love. She enjoyed watching her aunt make fabulous creations and absorbed much of what she knows today. As Justine got older, she began to take part in cake decorating classes and it wasn’t too long before she became the ‘go to’ member of her family for desserts. From there, friends began to ask her to create cakes for their celebrations. Soon it was friends of friends and then total strangers begging Justine to make delectable designs for their events. Justine has gone from playing around in her kitchen to spending nights at a local restaurant baking for the celebrations of strangers. She believes that life’s moments should be celebrated, and she’s honored to be a part of those intimate moments through her designs.
CALLING ALL CAKE DECORATORS
Knowing the Little S’ birthday was coming up you’d think I would have been on top of something as important as the cake for her party, but I had left it almost to the last-minute. I put the call out on Twitter asking for local #LdnOnt cake decorators. Justine’s business, Always Save Room For Dessert! was the first recommendation I got and it came with a glowing review. I quickly looked at Justine’s website and I knew right away that my search was over and that I found the perfect cake decorator! With my fingers crossed, I reached out to Justine to see if she had availability and she was more than willing to work within a tight timeline and accommodate my needs. My favourite part about working with Justine was that I was able to share my vision with her and trust her expertise to guide the process. I showed her a picture of a cake I had come across on Pinterest and left the rest with her. The design was better than I could have imagined. Justine followed my wishes and added her own personal touches to make it unique for us. The cake was not only a huge hit with the kids, but with the adults too; it definitely was the centre of attention at our party. And all of this was before we even cut into it. Somehow the taste and consistency of the cake gets forgotten when you’re talking about a work of art, however this cake was one of the most moist cakes I had ever had. Not only was it delicious the day of the party, but it stayed moist for the few days after in the fridge. If you’re looking for a custom cake or cupcakes for your next celebration, I highly recommend calling Justine of Always Save Room For Dessert!
CONNECT WITH ALWAYS SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT!
Check out some of Justine`s designs, especially on her Facebook page…you`ll be blown away! Web: www.alwayssaveroom.com Facebook: AlwaysSaveRoom Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @adozencupcakes Phone: 519-777-3991 Disclosure: I received a complimentary cake in exchange for this feature however the opinions are 100% my own!
Always Save Room for DessertUrban Exposure
Mommy/Daughter Day at Posh
Little S will be six in just a few weeks and though it seems to be going by way too fast (and that worries me) I must say that I love this age. I feel like I have a little mini me, a sidekick, a partner in crime and we’re both enjoying taking part in more grown-up activities.
One of those activities took place this past weekend at Posh Pedicure Lounge in downtown London. This was Little S’ first official manicure and pedicure and it was my first with my daughter. It was one of the most special moments we have shared together to date.
Posh Pedicure Lounge is owned and operated by Penny Rumming who started her business based on a lunchroom conversation. Penny, already a fan of manicures and pedicures, desired a fun and upbeat place for women to gather and indulge. She found there were really only two choices in the city; a high-end spa with a serene and mellow atmosphere or a lower end express service. Neither of which are bad things, just not what Penny had envisioned. She wanted to create a “Diva Den” to host pedicure parties and the rest is history!
After Penny hosted a leopard and hot pink party of her own, the idea was born and Posh Pedicure Lounge came to be. Penny is now celebrating six years of business and the recent opening of her second store, Posh in the Port in you guessed it, Port Stanley.
GETTING PAMPERED AT POSH
As soon as you walk inside Posh, you know you’re somewhere unique; hot pink walls, black frilly accents and leopard print seating all come together to create this fun-loving atmosphere. Believe it or not, there is even a hot pink fridge! Of course, Little S was on Cloud 9 the moment she took it all in.
After we chose our polish colours, we were escorted to the spa area where we were seated side-by-side and treated like queens. A mommy/daughter date is the perfect combination of bonding, fun and pampering.
While I received a full pedicure, Little S received the Princess Package that included a pedi and a mani. The timing was perfect and we finished up at the same time so there was no waiting around which is hard for young children.
I must say that I have never seen Little S so engaged and entertained at the same time. She was truly in her element and let’s face it, so was I! The highlights for my little princess were the Bubblegum scented, sparkle-infused massage oil, the designs she got to choose from for her nail art and her own cocktail of fruit punch!
MORE THAN NAILS
Posh offers many services in addition to manicures and pedicures. You can check out their brochure online to view the full list, but waxing, tinting, facials makeup application are some of the extras. And that’s not all.
I am also impressed with the event packages you can purchase to make any gathering a success; think palm reading and pedicures with your best girlfriends or a Posh Princess birthday party for you little girl or a Diva party for your teen. The options at Posh Pedicure Lounge are endless!
If you’re looking for fun activities to do with your daughter and you want to indulge or try something new, I highly recommend a visit to Posh Pedicure Lounge!
CONNECT WITH POSH
Mommy/Daughter Day at PoshUrban Exposure
Sport Clips Haircuts
Hey London, there’s a new team in town but it’s not your average baseball, basketball or hockey team. It’s the Sport Clips team and they’ll change the way you view your hair cutting experience!
This sports-themed hair cutting franchise opened its first London location at the London North Smart Centre (1985 Hyde Park Road) on September 28, 2013 and City Mom got a front row seat. Sport Clips specializes in haircuts for men and boys so when we were invited to come in for a visit, I knew there was no one better to try the experience than my two sports-loving nephews. Note that they also provide women and girl cuts too.
THE MVP EXPERIENCE
The Sport Clips experience starts the moment you open the door; a large screen TV playing the main event, stadium-style seating and complimentary refreshments make you feel like you’re at the big game.
After your precision haircut is done by your guy-smart stylist, the true MVP treatment begins and it’s time to hit the showers. The “showers” are in a separate room with special lighting and heated massaging chairs that together, help to enhance relaxation. This is where you receive your massaging shampoo and hot steamed towel treatment. My nephews, having just come from playing hockey all day, looked absolutely relaxed!
Next it’s back to the hair cutting station for a blow dry, neck and shoulder massage and then the game is over and you come out a true MVP!
MORE THAN JUST HAIRCUTS
Sport Clips Haircuts is about more than just the hair cutting experience. Peter Kowal, President and COO of Sport Clips Canada shares that Sport Clips will work closely with the London community organizations, teams and schools to help support local events and sports.
We want to contribute to the community we do business in and support the people who support us. Whether it’s prizes for sports team members, a contribution to a fundraiser or just bringing our tent and mascot to local events, we want to be a part of the action and fun in London. – Peter Kowal
You have to love a franchise company that is genuinely interested in enhancing the community in which it does business and that owners of the London location, Jean and Drew Coles are excited to be here too. And don’t worry if you’re not in the Richmond Hill area, because Jean and Drew plan to open more locations throughout London.
MORE ABOUT SPORT CLIPS
There are other great perks with the Sport Clips experience like haircuts without an appointment, stylists who specialize in male hair care and who stay up-to-date on industry trends, sports programming at each haircut station, option to visit in-between haircuts for a complimentary neck trim, and beard trim and detailing. As an added bonus, first time clients get upgraded to the MVP Experience free!
POST-GAME WRAP UP
Though it was obvious during our visit that my nephews loved every minute of their MVP Experience, I asked them what they thought and they both said “it was good” which translated from kid-speak means ‘amazing’.
When I asked them if they’d like to come back they said “for sure” and when I asked if they’d recommend Sport Clips to their friends they shared that they definitely would. Their mom also shared that they would now be ongoing Sport Clips clients. I take this feedback to indicate that the Sport Clips MVP Experience is a grand slam for the whole family!
Disclaimer: we were compensated for sharing this post, however the opinions expressed are completely our own.
Sport Clips HaircutsUrban Exposure
If you asked me a few months ago if I’d be wearing a bikini this summer I would have answered ‘no’. If you asked me if I’d be posting pictures of myself in my underwear on the web, I’d shout out ‘no!’ but here I am, eating my words because I’ve done both!
If you read my last post about my Zerona London experience you will recall that I lost a total of 6.65 inches with my first six Zerona treatments. Today I am happy to share my end of treatment results after the last six treatments.
Again, there are three guaranteed areas of fat loss: waist, hips and thighs. My first total loss in these areas came in at 4.5 inches. Today, after 12 treatments, I am happy to share that I have lost a total of 7.375 inches!
Additionally there are other areas of fat lass as a positive side effect of the Zerona treatments. These areas include the neck, arms and lower legs. After 12 treatments I lost an additional 2.625 inches, for a grand total of 10 inches over my whole body. And there are more positive side effects such as the laser’s effect on lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and helping with insulin resistance.
Note: studies show that people who have more fat to lose can achieve an even greater inch loss in 12 sessions.
I’ll write that again, I have lost a total of 10 inches with 12 Zerona treatments.
BEFORE AND AFTER
The numbers really speak for themselves, but a picture is worth a thousand words right? Though I’m not accustomed to sharing pictures of myself in very little clothing for public viewing, I have made an exception with this post because I know there are a lot of curious readers (based on feedback) that want to see a visual. And if sharing my photos helps you to eventually meet your fat loss goals then I have done my job!
I’m also really happy with the results so in this case, I’m proud to share my after photos:
CITY MOM ZERONA DISCOUNT EXTENDED
As I shared in my previous post, Zerona London is offering a generous discount to City Mom readers at 25% off Zerona treatments. They have decided to extend the discount period from the end of July to the end of August.
Book your complimentary consultation with Zerona London by August 31, 2013 and you’ll receive 25% off your
Zerona treatments when you quote “City Mom”. Contact Zerona London by calling 519-601-2601.
Disclosure: I received complimentary treatments in exchange for my posts, but the opinions expressed here are completely my own and the pictures, well they speak for themselves!
Zerona LondonUrban Exposure
Photos courtesy of Katie McVey Photography.
There’s nothing cuter than little girls dressed up in tutus, flowery head bands and princess wands. Or little boys decked out in adult-looking fedoras and neck ties. And what makes them even cuter is when these accessories are handmade with love and care. That is why I jumped at the chance to review BellaCoco Designs from right here in London.
ABOUT BELLACOCO DESIGNS
They say it’s all in the name and this trendy baby accessory store didn’t get its name by accident; loosely translated Bella Coco means beautiful pumpkin which is the pet name Mary-Ann Fougere coined for her twin daughters.
Mary-Ann found herself at a loss when searching for cute barrettes for her daughter’s Christmas photos. The accessories she did find didn’t fit the image she was looking for. She wanted to adorn her girls in something a little less baby-like and a little more chic; something that even Mary-Ann might wear herself.
In the end, she couldn’t find what she was looking for so she decided to make them herself and BellaCoco Designs was born!
LET’S GO SHOPPING
From tailor-made tutus created with North American, soft, luxurious tulle to Kanzashi Flowers (a Japanese origami style) to lead-free hair clips, there are a variety of trendy accessories for young girls at BellaCoco Designs.
And we can’t forget about the boys; BellaCoco Designs also carries neckties, suspenders and newsboy/fedora hats for the little guy in your life.
When I told Little S that she was able to sit down and view pictures of colourful tutus and pick one out of her very own she was thrilled! Her choice was not an easy one given that there are 12 styles to choose from (and you can order a custom design but she didn’t know that). She finally chose The “Mia” which came as no surprise knowing her love of all things purple and fuchsia.
The product exceeded our expectations! Little S sure feels like a princess in this fun outfit. It is clear by examining Mary-Ann’s work that she takes pride in her creations and prioritizes quality.
On Saturday, June 8th, 2o13, you can participate in a fun photo shoot with your little ones. BellaCoco Designs and Robert Russell Photography have partnered for a unique opportunity to capture your little princess in a BellaCoco Desgins Tutu. See details below:
One City Mom reader will win a custom-made Tutu from BellaCoco Designs. Open to Canadian residents. Please use the Rafflecopter form below for full rules and regulations and to enter the giveaway. Good luck!
BellaCoco DesignsUrban Exposure
As you may know, my daughter will be 7 weeks old on Saturday and I just received the go ahead from my doctor to resume my physical activity. I couldn’t wait to get back at it, but it is definitely more challenging now having a little one to think about as well; I can’t just get up and go to the gym like I used to.
Luckily there is a class that allows me to combine my physical activity with spending time with my child so I don’t have to find childcare every time I want to workout.
City Mom has featured Bernice Robinson, Personal Trainer on her blog over the last couple of years and now Bernice has started a new company called Power Stroller.
Power Stroller is a progressive fitness training program; meaning, that as your level of fitness progresses, so does the level of training. This enables you to maximize your strength, endurance, and cardiovascular performance while enjoying time with your baby and forming new friendships with other mothers.
With classes running everyday of the week at various locations around London and St. Thomas, it was easy for me to find one that fit into my schedule.
I would like to firm up my muscles since I have lost a lot of toning over the pregnancy. Bernice mentioned in our first class that muscles go through atrophy during pregnancy and we lose a lot of muscle tone.
I would also like to shed some of the baby weight I gained, which is about 15 pounds.
I will be participating in the 8-week program with Bernice. It runs 2 days a week, Wednesdays and Fridays at Springbank Park and I will be sharing my results as I go so stay tuned!
This first week we discussed protein, clean eating and whole foods. I learned that you should switch up your protein shakes each time you buy a new one. So if you used Whey protein over a few weeks, the next time you should buy soy based protein powder for example. There are also recipes listed on the website when you are a client of the program so I look forward to trying some of those as well. It was really nice meeting all the other new moms in the group.
So far my first week has been very encouraging and I look forward to the coming weeks and the progress I will make. If you would like more information on these programs, check out the power stroller site at www.powerstroller.ca.
What were your fitness goals after pregnancy and how do you combine fitness with spending time with your children?
Power StrollerUrban Exposure
I’m no stranger to what it’s like in studentville at the end of the school term. Living in the heart of the city affords us a front row seat to view the leftovers of a school year well-lived. Many of the downtown streets become strewn with debris that finds itself homeless come springtime.
This is risky business as it can result in some pretty hefty fines for homeowners, landlords and even the students heading home. No to mention it’s not good for the environment.
Luckily Storage Worx has students covered this year.
Storage Worx is London’s newest full-service self storage facility offering a full line of boxes & moving supplies, climate controlled units and contractor units. They are located in Meadowbrook Business Park just off Exeter Road.
Starting February 21 to April 20, 2013, UWO and Fanshawe College students can take advantage of a promotional offer to stash their stuff over the summer. Check it out:
4-Month Student Storage Package – $395
- 4 Months of 5′ X 10′
- Secure Climate Controlled Storage
- Free Disk Lock (Yours to keep, A $12 Value)
- Free Move-In with our truck and driver
- Delivery back to your place when school starts
- $15 worth of Free Boxes to pack it all in!
- All you have to do is load & unload
Storage Worx makes moving out and moving in a seamless process from start to finish and students (and their parents) get to have peace of mind that their stuff will be safe, dry, clean and ready for them come next fall.
Check out the award-winning facilities at Storage Worx. And I don’t use the term ‘award winning’ lightly. Storage Worx received the national Self Storage Facility of the Year award for 2012. You’ll see why:
CONNECT WITH STORAGE WORX
STORE YOUR STUFF & WIN
And there’s more, today you can enter to win an Apple 16 GB WIFI iPad mini with Storage Worx. Please use the Rafflecopter widget below and to check out the full contest details.
Contest open to legal residents of Canada only (except Quebec). NO PURCHASE NECESSARY to enter or win. Contest closes: April 15, 11:59 pm EST, 2013.
Only one email address or IP address will be accepted. Multiple entries will be disqualified. No cash or other substitution, assignment or transfer of prizes permitted. Full contest rules are included in Rafflecopter entry form. Contest VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
Good luck and happy storing!
Storage WorxUrban Exposure
You may remember back in October I did a Home Makeover episode with City Mom on Rogers TV where we turned a “closet” into an office. We re-purposed the space from a junk room to a functional work space. It was such a dramatic makeover and the extra space with built-in storage was a life changer.
It wasn’t all fun and games though. Although the designer and contractor did most of the work, we still had a lot of stuff to get rid of. First we categorized things to keep, donate, recycle or trash and from there we had to physically get stuff to the right places.
I recall many trips to The Good Will and a trip to the dump to dispose of our unwanted items. It was a lot of work! Though very worth it, I wish that we had have hired some professional assistance to make the job run smoother and quicker.
JustJunk is a is a locally owned and operated, junk removal service specializing in residential and commercial removals that help customers of all ages with anything from small de-clutter to entire house clean-outs.
JustJunk has been operating across Canada for the past ten years but starting this March they will be serving customers in London, Woodstock, and St. Thomas.
From hot tubs to pianos to yard waste, JustJunk is not limited to what they can remove. And the bonus is that JustJunk will always make it their priority to donate and recycle many of the items they remove. And they try to divert as much material away from landfills as possible. This gives you peace of mind knowing that your unwanted items are going to the best place possible.
HOW IT WORKS
Working with JustJunk is really easy! First you can visit justjunk.com/junk-removal-london and click on Book Online (note, you’ll save $10 by booking this way) and set up your appointment (no credit card needed). JustJunk will first provide a free, no obligation estimate based on the space in their trucks that you will require. Your quote will also include all the lifting loading and disposal.
Alternatively you can call 519-932-1444 to set up your on-site estimate. JustJunk London offers same or next day service and they guarantee quick turnaround time.
WHAT WILL JUSTJUNK LONDON REMOVE?
More like what won’t JustJunk remove? Check out this awesome list of items they can haul away and check out their website to see the long list of other types of items and services they provide.
CONNECT WITH JUSTJUNK LONDON
Whether your job is big or small save yourself the time, money and energy and leave it to the pros at JustJunk!
Disclosure: I received compensation for this post. As always the opinions expressed here are completely my own.