April 9th, 2017

LD Picks: 10 Easter Dishes the Whole Family Will Love

From low-key brunches to big, sumptuous dinners, Easter meals offer a variety of opportunities to celebrate and relax with your loved ones. Whether you’re hosting a feast or making a dish to contribute, you won’t want to plan your spread without these recipes.

1. Ham and Artichoke Quiche with Mustard-Rye Glaze

Enjoy all of the succulent flavours of an Easter feast with this savoury quiche, perfect for brunch. Chopped artichoke hearts, gruyere cheese, and a nutty crust combine to make what’s sure to become a family favourite.

[Get the recipe from Crumb.]

2. Leg of Lamb with Stuffed Artichokes, Spinach, and Red Pepper

Searching for a triumphant main dish for your dinner? Look no further. This leg of lamb is stuffed with a gorgeous assortment of veggies, and is bound to impress and delight everyone at your table.

[Get the recipe from Canadian Living.]

3. Easter Egg Bread

What’s Easter without some thematically adorable treats? This Easter Egg bread is not only seasonally appropriate, but is bread-making-beginner-friendly.

[Get the recipe from Simple Bites.]

4. Rosemary Goat Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

What’s more reminiscent of spring than fresh herbs? This scalloped potato dish is covered in a rich and creamy sauce, and topped with fresh rosemary. It’s the perfect accompaniment for any Easter dinner.

[Get the recipe from the Little Potato Company.]

5. English Pea Salad Recipe

Even if you’re not a huge fan of peas, this salad is dressed up with so much flavour that you’ll never notice you’re eating your greens. Prepare it the day before to save time and let the veggies marinate in the dressing.

[Get the recipe from Country Living.]

6. Sour Cream and Bacon Deviled Eggs

No Easter spread can be considered complete without a tasty egg dish. These aren’t your standard deviled eggs, either. A rich sour cream and bacon filling will make this a fast favourite.

[Get the recipe from The Food Network.]

7. Roasted Carrots with Carrot-Top Pesto

Roasted carrots are the perfect side dish for any Easter feast. If you love buying them with the tops still on but don’t have a resident pet bunny to eat them for you, you can turn them into a tangy pesto with this simple recipe.

[Get the recipe from Vega.]

8. Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs with Dilled Orzo

If you don’t feel like having a big to-do so that you can enjoy more time relaxing with your family, this is the perfect dinner recipe. You need only eight ingredients, fresh herbs for garnish, and you’re set!

[Get the recipe from Family Bites.]

9. Baked Ham With Orange & Brown Sugar Glaze

This succulent ham recipe includes a how-to to make your own simple (yet so delicious) glaze out of aromatic cloves and citrus flavours. If you’re planning on cooking a ham for your Easter dinner, you’ll absolutely want to give this a try.

[Get the recipe from Cookin’ Canuck.]

10. Put an Egg on it: Easy Easter Cake

This decadently adorable dessert will put the Easter bunny to shame. If dessert is your domain, this is for you (and it will look great on your Pinterest board, too!).

[Get the recipe at Coco Cake Land.]

 



April 5th, 2017

12 “Homestyle” Tricks To Deep Clean Your Vehicle

It’s spring cleaning time again. And at London Drugs, we’re thrilled. No… honestly. We love the annual reminder to declutter, deep clean, and start fresh. This spring, we’ve already shared cleaning tips for the kitchen and for your computer.

But what about your vehicle?

If it’s been some time since you last gave your chariot a thorough cleaning, now’s the perfect time to tackle it: the weather is (slightly) warmer and the sun may even be peeking out. Even better? That sunshine will make the results of your cleaning look fabulous! And remember, you don’t need fancy detailing products to make your car look amazing, inside and out.

Below are 12 cleaning and detailing tricks we trust, using common household products.

6 Homestyle Tricks To Clean Your Car’s Exterior

1. Shine Your Car With Hair Conditioner

It sounds a bit strange, but you’ll be amazed by the results, especially if you use conditioners containing lanolin, a kind of wax. The bonus: conditioner is much easier to apply than traditional car waxes. You simply mix it with water, lather, apply, then rinse…just like your hair. And if conditioner isn’t your thing, you can make homemade car washing solutions, too.

2. De-Bug Your Grill With Dryer Sheets
If you’ve ever taken a Canadian summer road trip, you know all about that thick layer of bugs that develops on your car’s front bumper and grill. It’s often tough to remove and pretty icky. One approach: try rubbing it off with a dryer sheet. We’re not sure why it works, but it does. You’ll be relieved.

3. Shine Your Tires With Olive Oil
Want to get your tires back to the deep black they had when they were brand new? There are a slew of customized products designed for doing just that, but regular olive oil works spectacularly well, too (actually, almost any vegetable oil works reasonably). After washing the tire and letting it dry, just rub the oil in liberally with a cloth. Voila.

4. Remove Rust Spots With Vinegar

Rust spots can a real pain: they spread quickly if left unchecked and are tough to repair. So if you only have small surface spots, so far, remove them right away with undiluted white vinegar. Lemon juice works, too. Just rub it into the rust, give the acids a few seconds to work, and wipe clean.

5. Fill Scratches with Nail Polish
After you’ve removed the rust, or (even better) before it forms, you can fill small paint scratches with nail polish. Sure, the results from vehicle paint patching kits might last longer. But if you’re looking for a quick way to protect, this might be it. And nail polish comes in so many shades that it’s dead easy to colour match. Just be sure the surface is dry before you apply and look for a polish that says it dries hard.

6. Use Toothpaste To Clean Headlights
That yellow-ish film that can develop on your headlights not only looks bad, but might block some of the light from making it to the street, to guide your way. A quick natural fix: baking soda toothpaste. Just brush it on and rinse it off.

6 Homestyle Tricks To Clean Your Car’s Interior

1. Recondition Your Dashboard with Vaseline
Once again, there are many products designed for detailing your vehicle’s dashboard and other soft, interior surfaces. But plain old petroleum jelly, known to many as Vaseline, works about as well as any of them, and it costs a lot less.

2. Remove Pet Hair with a Squeegee
This tip doesn’t apply to everyone, but some of us pet owners really need the help. Of course, a vacuum may be needed to remove every last hair and all the dander, but you’ll be surprised by how much you can clump up and pull out with just a couple sprays of water and a regular rubber squeegee.

3. Clean Windows With Baby Wipes
Glass cleaning sprays are great when you’re already cleaning the car, but they aren’t very convenient for day-to-day smudges and fingerprints inside your car. For that, keep a box of baby wipes handy. They couldn’t be more convenient and most leave only streak-free clarity behind.

4. Get Into Crevices With a Table Knife
Your car has many seams, cracks, and tight corners that even a standard ‘homestyle’ cleaning tool like a toothbrush won’t reach or clean very easily. To effectively get rid of that hairline grime, wrap the end of a regular tableware knife in a cloth and use it to scrub it out.

5. Blast Dusty Vents With A Can of Air
You can try sucking the dusty build-up out of your vents with a vacuum, but enough accumulated crud will make that approach less than satisfying. Try spot blasting the vents with a can of air, instead. You might even already have one hanging around the house for cleaning dust out of your electronics.

6. Make Your Own Air Freshener with Essential Oils
Now that your car is clean inside and out, freshen its scent with a DIY air freshener. One method is to douse a wooden clothespin with essential oils and clip it to a vent. This approach gives you an almost endless number of natural smells to choose from.

What are your favourite homestyle cleaning tips? Or cleaning tips in general? We’d love to hear them. Until then, enjoy your spring cleaning. We know we will!

ALSO: BEST HOME CLEANING TIPS & TRICKS



April 3rd, 2017

April Book of the Month

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Travel writer Lo Blacklock’s latest assignment is tantalizing: write a story about the maiden voyage of the luxury cruise ship Aurora. The promise of clear skies, calm waters, and a small list of well-heeled guests awaits. How could she say no?
As the voyage sets out, it is everything Lo could hope for. The ten cabins are plush and the guests are elegant. Soon, though, frigid winds lash the deck while dark clouds conspire overhead. Then Lo is awakened to something out of a nightmare – a sickening splash and a woman’s body disappearing beneath the waves. But the passengers and crew remain accounted for, and nobody admits to having seen this woman on board.
Lo knows something has gone horrifyingly wrong. But who was the woman in cabin 10? And why will no one believe what Lo saw?
With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense thriller in The Woman in Cabin 10.

Reviews
Murder mystery thriller set on a small high end cruise ship on its introductory Scandanavian cruise for press and investors.  Fast paced and keeps you guessing as to what really happened.  Ending seems rushed or poorly edited but still a good read. – Review by Carolynn

The Woman in Cabin 10 kept me flipping pages so I could get to the finale of the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a passenger on the luxury ship, The Aurora Borealis. Although it does start off a bit slow, the beginning uses traumatic experiences of the main character and journalist Lo Blacklock, and incorporates them into the twists and turns of her quest to uncover the truth. In addition, an array of supporting characters each with a strange past leaves the reader suspicious, curious and wondering if Lo is going a bit crazy herself. The setting of a cruise ship in the midst of the Norwegian fjords, isolated and disconnected from the main world adds to the dark plot. It was a great “who done it?” type story that keeps you on your toes. – Review by Samantha

Book of the Month
Every month we will be featuring a new book to be showcased in our Book of the Month. Staff members and friends will be reading the book and posting their reviews. We’d love to hear what you thought of these books as well. Post your comments and let us know.

The Woman in Cabin 10 is available at London Drugs along with many other great titles and is on sale for the month of April.



April 2nd, 2017

LD Experts: Shoot 4K Photos and Video Like a Pro

Looking for the update on the latest photo and video tech? Our LD Experts have you covered with exactly what you need to step up your camera game.

On CTV Morning Live’s Tech Talk in Regina, LD Expert Joel Bortnick shared his thoughts on the newest camera to shoot ultra HD resolution photos and video. Watch the full video here.

Here’s the gist … If you’re looking to step up your photography from an iPhone, but aren’t ready to invest in a DSLR, the LUMIX G85 camera is for you. As the latest user-friendly model from Panasonic, the G85 (much like Canon or Nikon) allows interchangeable lenses, but is mirrorless, making the camera significantly more compact and portable.

If you enjoy ultra-high-definition, the LUMIX G85 shoots in 4K resolution for video, with the option to save in 4K Photo Mode. This camera represents a happy bridge between photo and video, giving you the ability to shoot both—simply.

And if you’re a blogger or musician looking to take video with incredible sound quality, you might consider trying the Zoom Q2n Handy Video Recorder. With a wide-angle view of 160 degrees and battery capacity of about two hours of filming time on a single charge, this recorder makes high-quality video a breeze for anyone.

Visit your local London Drugs store to chat to an LD Expert, or visit londondrugs.com to find the top photo, video and tech products online.

Also, shop our Computer Event on now until April 12



March 31st, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Vinyl

People around the world have fallen (back) in love with vinyl records. It’s no different here at home. According to Nielson, Canadian vinyl revenues grew once again in 2016 by an astounding 29% over the year prior. It’s not too late to join the record resurgence, either. In fact, with so many new albums being released on vinyl these days, now might be the best time yet to start or revive your collection.

If you’ve considered getting into vinyl, this primer should help.

Benefits of Vinyl

Sound

Some say vinyl captures more depth and detail than other formats. Maybe so. But only audiophiles with the best setups are likely to notice. What records definitely have is a uniquely organic sound. The occasional crackle, pop, or hiss that gives us chills and transports us back to simpler times.

Experience

“Tactile” and “mindful” are words often used to describe the vinyl experience. Unlike digital music that can play endlessly and go anywhere, vinyl is much more contained. You usually play it in just one place, probably a living room, and records must be flipped or changed regularly. And as the record is playing, there’s still the opportunity to examine the cover, and read the liner notes and/or lyrics. Mindfulness results, especially when compared to today’s on-demand, virtual listening experience.

Getting Hands-On

These days, it seems there are fewer opportunities to get hands-on. From cars to computers, everything we use is now harder to tinker with. Not so with records. Setting up the player, placing the needle down, even feeling the heft of a physical record all make vinyl a more grounded experience.

All About Records

LPs vs. 45s

LPs are larger and more common. Lasting about 45 minutes between both sides, they are often called ‘full albums.’ 45s are smaller and play only one song per side, except extended play or EP 45s, which hold about six tracks. Most record players have settings for both record formats, but finding 45s to buy is a lot harder. If you’re lucky, someone you know (or you?) has a box of them somewhere!

Vintage vs. Modern

Nothing immerses you in music history quite like picking through vintage vinyl. At times, it can be cheaper, but not always, depending on collectibility or rareness. Especially at thrift stores and garage sales, be sure to check for visible scratches on vintage vinyl, and that the right record is actually in the box. New vinyl records, on the other hand, are guaranteed not to be scratched, available by new and older artists, and directly benefit the artists themselves. They also won’t be dusty, crusty, or dirty, which is a major bonus.

Getting Out There

No matter where you buy your records, the activity of shopping for vinyl itself is one of the greatest pleasures of vinyl culture. Be sure to talk to the staff to see if they have recommendations and don’t forget that browsing is part of the fun! You might even meet some fellow vinyl collectors with similar tastes. Regardless, the very act of going out to buy a record — and the anticipation as you get it home — makes the joy of listening to it that much better.

Choosing A Record Player

Old vs. New

Similar to the vintage vs. modern records debate, there are merits on both sides. An older machine might be cheaper and its classic appeal could be satisfying if you like that sort of thing. Trouble is, it can be difficult to know how well an older turntable works until you get it home. Even then, it could break down pretty easily. New players, meanwhile, come in a range of styles and price points and typically offer a manufacturer’s warranty.

Preamps

A preamp is a small device connected between your record player and speakers. It amplifies the signal that the vinyl transfers to the record player’s needle so that your speakers can pick it up. Some record players, especially newer models, have built-in preamps. This decreases some of the challenges of setting up your system. Still, most audiophiles prefer an external pre-amp that can be swapped out or upgraded as needed.

Other Tips

Storage

Records should be stored on one edge, inside their dust sleeves and boxes. They should never be stacked or left on the floor where their own weight or a passerby can damage them. The thing is, LPs are really heavy when enough of them are collected in one place. So it’s best to place them on a very sturdy shelf, or in a record crate. Another known vinyl killer is humidity, so try to keep your records as dry as possible.

Cleaning

No matter how careful you are, you’ll need to clean fingerprints and smudges off your vinyl at some point. This is important to do right since any substance between your needle and the vinyl will negatively affect the sound and because scratches can cause permanent damage. For these reasons, it’s best to use products designed especially for cleaning records.

Not sure what to listen to first? Why not pick up an album by a 2017 Juno-nominated Canadian artist, like the ones below?



March 22nd, 2017

LD Picks: 10 Fresh Smoothies to Blend Up Now

Smoothies are the perfect way to start the morning, boost energy during the day and replenish your body after a workout. For a little taste of spring, use your favourite seasonal fruits, pick up a personal blender, and prepare these delicious and nutritious smoothies that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Also, check out our solution to charging up your smoothies in a pinch (perfect with any of these recipes)!

1. Grapefruit Breakfast Smoothie Bowl

Substitute the usual bland grapefruit breakfast with this creamy and tangy smoothie bowl. With only five ingredients as your base, this smoothie is easy on the waistline and the wallet, and can be customized in any way you’d like.

[Find the recipe at Frugal Mom Eh!]

2. Pineapple Apple and Orange Super Green Smoothie

Green smoothies don’t have to taste overly, well, green. With this recipe, you’ll get all the vitamin and fibre benefits possible from your kale and spinach, with all the sweetness of pineapples, apple and citrus. Yum.

[Find the recipe at Carmyy]

3. Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

It almost sounds like dessert, doesn’t it? Sweetened with dates and thickened with rolled oats and banana, this decadent smoothie doubles as an on-the-go breakfast or protein-packed shake after the gym.

[Find the recipe at Food Network Canada]

4. Raspberry Cheesecake Smoothie

To satiate even the most active sweet tooth, this cheesecake copycat can, in fact, double as a guilt-free dessert — with a surprising secret ingredient.

[Find the recipe at Mommy Moment]

5. Carrot Ginger Turmeric Smoothie

Battling the tail end of a winter cold, and can’t wait to get into the springtime mood? Sip on this flu-fighting turmeric, ginger and lemon juice smoothie that’s as bright as it is tasty.

[Find the recipe at Minimalist Baker]

6. Fitness Smoothie

Whether you’ve started a new workout routine or want to switch up your protein shake repertoire, this antioxidant-rich and protein-filled smoothie is a great addition to any fitness plan. The combination of muesli and yogurt with give you an energy boost to last through your day.

[Find the recipe at Best Health Mag]

7. Chocolate Tahini Avocado Smoothie Bowl

A perfect treat after a yoga session or long work day, this chocolatey, mousse-like smoothie is made with tahini, cocoa powder, almond butter and avocado.

[Find the recipe at Will Frolic for Food]

8. Gazpacho Smoothie

If you’re more a fan of savoury snacks than sweet treats, this smoothie option is for you. Reminiscent of an alcohol-free Caesar, you can turn this into a soup or a cocktail.

[Find the recipe at Canadian Living]

9. Protein S’mores Smoothie

Here’s another great post-workout shake with an indulgent twist. Chocolate protein powder, almond milk and traditional S’more ingredients make a drool-worthy dupe for a campfire favourite.

[Find the recipe at Moni Meals]

10. Mint and Green Tea Smoothie

Yes, it’s another green smoothie, but again not too green for your tastebuds. Infused with organic jasmine tea, this drink combines leafy greens with your favourite tea staples—ginger and honey—for a fresh springtime taste.

[Find the recipe at Kitchen Konfidence]



March 18th, 2017

LD Picks: 5 Ways to Brew Amazing Coffee at Home

 

These days, coffee is about more than taking breaks or boosting energy. Increasingly, it’s considered a complete experience unto itself. There are even gourmet coffee tastings  – called “cuppings.”

No surprise, then, that we’ve become determined to brew the best cups possible at home. Partly, that means trying new brewing methods. Which is best? That depends on your needs and tastes.

Our beginner’s guide to at-home coffee brewing:

READ MORE



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