March 9th, 2017

March Book of the Month

 

What She Knew by Gilly MacMillan
Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry – until Ben vanishes.
Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.
As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.
Where is Ben? The clock is ticking…

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.

What She Knew is available at London Drugs along with many other great titles and is on sale for the month of March.



March 7th, 2017

Fun Family Activities For March Break

A Canadian winter rarely feels over until about mid-May. So for some, the first day of spring on March 20 provides mainly encouragement. But for school kids, as well as teachers and parents, it means so much more.

It’s time for spring break!

Depending on your school district, the break tends to fall between mid-March and very early April. No matter when it lands, however, the kids love it. Still, after some time spent relaxing, they’re usually eager to get out and do something fun.

Don’t worry, we can help.

March Break Family Fun options in Western Canada:

PlayDome


Location: BC Place Stadium – Vancouver, BC
Date(s): March 22 – 26
Description: Imagine a huge, full-scale carnival, including all your favourite rides and games, with tons of delicious food options. Now picture it all under one giant roof. That’s right, this carnival takes place indoors at field-level of the truly massive BC Place stadium. Even better, unlike most carnivals, endless rides are included with the price of admission.

Pacific Rim Whale Festival

Location: Pacific Rim National Park & Area – Ucuelet, BC
Date(s): March 11 – 26
Description: We may not get to see them as much as we’d like to, but wild animals are our neighbors on this earth. So why not come out and say hello to the annual migration of grey whales that pass by the BC coast each year near Ucuelet. There are also dozens of events planned during the festival for the whole family. Even better, Pacific Rim National Park admission is free this year!

Spring Rally in the Alley

Location: Gasoline Alley Museum @ Heritage Park – Calgary, AB
Date(s): March 24 – April 2
Description: Ever wanted to be a race car driver? How about a mechanic who builds, fixes, and races their own cars? Well, if you also happen to be a kid, this is your chance to dress and act just like a classic racing enthusiast. You can also play games and make crafts while you’re at it. With that much fun stuff to do, your time at Gasoline Alley Museum is sure to zoom past.

Fort Edmonton Park Day Camps

Location: Fort Edmonton Park – Edmonton, AB
Date(s): March 27 – 31
Description: This spring break in Edmonton, while you’re at work, your kids can have some old-fashioned fun with their friends (and we’re talking pioneer days-levels of old fashioned). That means outdoor adventures and games, cooking over open fires, building homemade toys, and more. These day camps run from 8:30 to 4:30 with separate groups for 6-to-8 and 9-to-12 year-olds.

The Royal Manitoba Winter Fair

Location: Various Venues – Brandon, MB
Date(s): March 27 – April 1
Description: Leave it to Manitoba to hold a winter festival entirely during the spring. But they obviously know what they’re doing, since this beloved annual festival has been running for over a century. It includes horse events, concerts, food, children’s play areas, an agricultural trade show, a hypnotist, and even a unicorn show. No wonder it attracted 110,000 visitors last year!

Festival of Fools


Location: The Forks – Winnipeg, MB
Date(s): March 25-31
Description: All of us like to clown around sometimes. But the performers at the Festival of Fools take clowning to the next level. These expert acrobats, jugglers, magicians, and yes, clowns, will amuse, amaze, inspire, and entertain your entire family, especially the little ones. There is also face painting, clowning classes, and even a “Boogie Woogie Hootchy Kootchy Dance Extravaganza.”

Enjoy the break!

 



March 6th, 2017

LD Experts: Smart Tech for the Connected Home

Become more tech savvy (and increase your security!) by connecting your basic home features to your WiFi, smartphone, tablet or wearable tech.

London Drugs Tech Expert Kyle Toms talks to CTV Morning Live Saskatoon all about the connected home including sensors, cameras, lighting and video streaming. Watch the full feature here.

Control the ambiance of your home with the Elgato Avea Smart LED Bulb and Elgato Avea Flare to add dynamic mood lighting and custom colours to any atmosphere. London Drugs also carries the Nest line of products with intelligent learning-style thermostats to give you a 100% real-time view of your temperature while providing energy efficiency.

Cameras are a smart surveillance accessory for any connected home, allowing you to see who is at the door or keep an eye on pets while away. The Enhanced Wireless Camera from D-Link and the Netgear Arlo Camera both have a built-in infrared LED and night vision so you can see what’s happening even in the dark.

Streaming video is no longer just for the young folk. An increasing number of consumers are moving away from cable and choosing online streaming services instead. Roku Premiere , as one example, offers 4k HD resolution for watching content and plugs straight into your HDMI port.

For streaming content you’ll need a strong WiFi signal. Read: How to Power Up the WiFi in Your Home for all the information you need!

Still curious? Visit your local London Drugs and ask an LD Expert for advice on the right tech to use in your connected home.



March 3rd, 2017

Spring Clean Your Computer Inside and Out

 

computer spring cleaning

It’s spring cleaning time again. Here at LD, we love that there’s a designated season to tidy our cupboards, closets, dressers, drawers and more. Without it, we aren’t quite certain we’d ever tackle the mess.

While you’re at it this year, why not also clean something you likely use almost daily: your computer? We’re talking inside and out, including both those cluttered files and that physical grime.

We offer these tips to get you started.

Spring Cleaning Inside Your Computer

 

computer spring cleaning

We mean ‘inside’ in the digital sense, of course. All those little ones and zeros sure can become a tangled mess.

1. Delete, Back-up & Update Files: The first step in digital spring cleaning is going through all your software and data files, keeping only what you need and use. Remember Marie Kondo’s wisdom from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: unless you love it, lose it.

[Need help knowing what you can do without? Ask an LD expert in store.]

One option for tidying away large but important files, like family photos, is to store them on an external hard drive. You can also back files up on “the cloud,” which is really just a hard drive in another location. For this, consider using iCloud, Google Drive, or a similar service.

Finally, many too often ignore operating system and software update requests. But spring cleaning season provides a great opportunity to start fresh. Oh yeah, and don’t forget empty the trash. On your desktop, that is.

2. Clear Cookies, Caches & Spyware: Slightly trickier than removing unnecessary or excess files you’ve added yourself, is eliminating those added by others. This includes tracking software like cookies and spyware. Don’t worry, there are easy ways to clear it all. Possibly the best approach is to run top-notch security software that monitors your computer for unwanted files. There are also free security programs that work in a pinch, like SpyBot.

Clearing your browser history is also a fresh idea for spring. Sure, some cached website data may actually improve your web experience, but too many from sites you rarely visit will slow you down. So it’s good to return to a blank slate. No matter your browser, you’ll find ‘history clearing’ options in the settings.

3. Run A System Optimizer: Let’s face it, we aren’t all tech savvy or patient enough to keep our computers running ship shape. Luckily, for those who prefer to resolve errors, crashes, and freezing automatically, while also speeding up their computers, there is system optimizing software available.

Spring Clean Outside Your Computer

computer spring cleaning

A dirty computer is unsanitary and just plain icky. So cleaning your computer’s exterior is a must. 

1. A Squeaky Clean Screen: It’s important to keep your computer monitor clean, but using regular glass cleaner or wet cloth is not recommended. Show your monitor some due respect by using specially-designed cleaning cloths and fluids. But also, don’t forget to give your computer’s entire exterior a good, old-fashioned soapy wipe down.

2. De-Crumb Your Keyboard: Especially if you’re the type to snack at or near your computer, your keyboard probably has more than a few crumbs stuck inside. These may seem harmless, but over time they can wear out your keys. To remove them, you can start by simply tipping your keyboard upside down and shaking, or by vacuuming if that’s easier. Afterward, wipe it down and consider adding an invisible keyboard shield.

3. Blow Away Internal Dust: This “outside” technique requires getting a bit deeper in your computer. If you have a desktop tower, it should be relatively easy to open with a screwdriver. For laptops, consider watching how-to videos or speaking to an LD Expert first. Once you’re inside, the best tool for getting dust out is usually a can of air. Don’t want to open your computer up? Blowing air into the cooling fans helps, too.

For clarification or more tips on spring cleaning your computer, speak to an LD Expert today. To make a purchase, shop London Drugs in-store or online.

Happy spring cleaning, everyone. 

ALSO: DEALING WITH ONLINE “PHISHING” SCAMS



March 1st, 2017

LD Picks: 13 Tips for Growing Your Garden in Canada

Whether you’re a green thumb veteran or a novice with limited lawn space, we’ve assembled the following gardening tips to give you a head start for growing your ideal garden this Spring.

Gardening Tips for Beginners

If you’re just starting out this year and have a blank slate to work with, or you’re returning to your yard with new ideas, it’s your time to get creative. Before you begin, make sure you carefully plan and design for your space.

  1. Take a walk around to get a feel for the size, soil, light and any pre-existing plants. Tread lightly during your initial inspection — especially if your city had a recent rainfall or has just begun to defrost. Make notes of what you would like to keep or change, and map out a design plan of what you envision your garden to look like.
  1. Take inventory and replenish any tools you may be missing or that need updating. This may include a tractor for efficiency over large spaces, pruning shears, a shovel or rake, pots, gloves, hoses or a bin for your compost.
  1. Know your cool-weather crops and mix up perennials and annuals to make sure your garden will last year-round. Be diverse: mix up seeds and starter plants for the same reason (and to shorten waiting times), and look for edible plants that you enjoy eating.
  1. Check out more tips and how-tos to get started.

Cold Climate Gardening


In Canada, the growing season varies across regions. It’s important to know your 
frost dates before you begin planting — especially for crops that need longer seasons. However, if you want to get a head start and the weather outside is still chilly, don’t worry. There are many guides for cold climate gardening in Canada, with lists of which fruits, vegetables and flowers you can start planting in your region, even before Spring arrives.

  1. To guard your outdoor plants against freezing during the coldest winter months, consider investing in a greenhouse, using raised beds or employing old comforters to insulate containers. You can also plant a winter garden in late summer or early autumn with dormant plants that will have time to take root.
  1. Pick which plants best suit your climate. Winter-happy herbs include: chives, parsley, thyme and mint. Some vegetable possibilities are: asparagus, green onions, garlic and rhubarb. Lavender, figs, strawberries and sage are hardy perennial and biennial options to last the whole year, as well as are some domesticated wildflowers. Find a more extensive list of available options here.

Winter Lawn Care

To achieve the garden of your dreams, first make sure your lawn is in top shape. After a rough season, it may seem disheartening when you’re left with the aftermath of a storm. But taking the time for some upkeep is essential in maintaining a beautiful (and fruitful) yard.

  1. If your lawn is recovering after a cold snap, grab a recyclable lawn bag and collect any debris. If the ground is firm and there is some thaw, rake up dead leaves (this contributes to snow mold) — and be careful of disturbing any growth. Check for winter damage and make repairs to supporting structures or fences as needed. In the future, ensure there is minimal walking or driving over the lawn, since this can cause bare spots.
  1. Learn first aid for your lawn. This includes everything from year-round maintenance like weeding, treating any insect infestations and other plant diseases.
  1. Replace mower blades and shears the instant they become dull. Look for any bends or cracks ahead of time. As the weather changes, take the time to adjust the cutting height of the blades to slightly higher than usual to allow for growth over the winter.
  2. Spot-treat any areas the dog may have soiled, or where weeds have come up. Learning just a few lawn care tricks can make all the difference. Know how to prepare for next winter to avoid any difficulties you may have found.

Indoor Gardening

Not everyone has access to a community garden or backyard — but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow plants indoors or on your balcony.

  1. Container gardening has become increasingly popular for those who live in smaller spaces or are brand-new to growing their own flowers and vegetables. And for good reason: container gardening is a great way to bring greenery and joy into your home with minimal stress and mess. Follow these steps to cover the basics, which include: knowing how to pick pots and containers; sterilization; fertilization; rotating and watering; and choosing the best potting mix.
  1. Start an indoor vegetable garden. Ideally, your plants will have ample access to sunlight — six to eight hours on average — to promote growth. If this isn’t possible, you may want to invest in supplemental light fixtures. Make sure you also determine what kinds of veggies you want to grow. Some require a cooler climate, while others grow faster at higher temperatures (so adjust the thermostat accordingly). Keep your pots lightweight in case you have to move them around to achieve the perfect climate.
  1. Not looking for a big project, but love the idea of growing your own food in the house? Indoor herb gardens are a beginner staple for the kitchen. Not only are herbs incredibly useful when cooking (and more affordable to grow than purchase), but their fragrance creates a fresh reminder of Spring and don’t take up much space. Consider ginger root, oregano and cilantro. Basil is also a popular option as it grows quickly and can be revived fairly easily. Like with all your plants — indoor and outside — make sure you watch the amount of sunlight and water each one requires, nurture their environment and tend to them carefully.

 



February 24th, 2017

LD Picks: 12 Best Ever Homemade Soup Recipes

Snowstorms and endlessly rainy winter days call for wool socks and warm, hearty meals. We say embrace it all — and indulge in these satisfying and comforting soup recipes.

1. Canadian Style French Onion Soup

Sweetened with maple syrup, this update on a savoury classic will inspire soup lovers everywhere. Get the recipe from Simple Bites.

2. Goulash Soup

This tangy, meaty dish is filled with rich flavours and only takes 30 minutes to prepare. Get the recipe from Eat Live Travel Write.

3. Tomato Tortellini Soup with Kale

A healthy take on a pasta dinner, this tasty tomato soup is guaranteed to warm you up. Get the recipe from Living Lou.

4. Sweet Corn Soup

Reminisce about the summer months with these two creamy and customizable corn soup recipes that will brighten up your day. Get the recipe from 80 Twenty.

5. Roasted Garlic and Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot and ginger soup is ideal for spicing up the winter blues and soothing the sniffles during a cold snap. Get the recipe from Spice and Sprout.

6. Mulligatawny Soup

This fun-to-say soup may have been a comfort food growing up, and is creamy and decadent enough to satisfy you all day. Get the recipe from Crumb.

7. Beet Borscht

Make a big batch of this cozy soup to last you through a snowed-in weekend. Easily freeze any leftovers for a quick meal. Get the recipe from Canadian Living.

8. French-Canadian Vegetarian Pea Soup

Celebrate the Manitoban Festival du Voyageur with this vegetarian ode to French-Canadian heritage. Get the recipe from the Fig Tree Blog.

9. Homemade Vegetable Stock

Whether it’s used as an all-natural vegan base to any soup recipe or on its own, put your veggie scraps to use and make your own stock. Get the recipe from The Kitchn.

10. Chorizo and Lentil Soup

Add spice to your soup this season with the heat of chorizo sausage mixed with the heartiness of lentils. Get the recipe from Seven Spoons.

11. Chanterelle Mushroom Chowder

If you’re a lover of mushroom soup, look no further. This luxurious and creamy chowder will make it difficult to share. Get the recipe from Dinner with Julie.

12. Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup

A long-standing favourite for many, now vegans can also enjoy a bowl of creamy broccoli soup. Get the recipe from Oh She Glows.



February 22nd, 2017

The Basics Every Aspiring Yogi Should Know

Are you an aspiring yogi? Or perhaps you’re just interested in learning a little more about this ancient practice that’s become widely popular. Either way, with World Yoga Day on February 22nd, there’s no better time to learn the basics — and we can start you off right with this quick overview of styles, benefits and supplies.

Some Common Yoga Styles

Ashtanga

An active and athletic form of yoga. Its literal translation from Sanskrit means “eight-limbed yoga,” but you don’t have to be a giant spider monster to enjoy it. This style is often associated with vinyasa or power flow classes.

Great when: you feel energized, want to move your body, and challenge your mind.

Hatha

Almost every kind of yoga taught in North America is some form of hatha yoga. It’s an all-encompassing word for any physical yoga practice, but in the form of a class is usually something that is a gentle, basic approach to yoga and the yogic breathing exercises, often with no ‘flow’ (or linked movements) between poses.

Great when: you’re a beginner, or you’re looking to strengthen your foundational knowledge of yoga and the poses.

Yin

A quiet, meditative, and gentle form of yoga. This practice is generally close to the ground, might involves blankets and pillows (yes, really), and can be held in a heated room. Each pose can be held for up to two minutes, so it’s a great patience practice as well.

Great when: you’ve got some seriously sore muscles that need some love and attention, and/or you’re looking for a thoughtful and restorative practice.

Hot

A term often used interchangeably with Bikram yoga, although there are many forms of hot yoga today including Moksha and Baptiste). This is quite literally, yoga done in a hot (and we mean hot—up to 105°F or 40°C) room, so prepare to sweat buckets and bring a towel.

Great when: you’re ready to get hot and sweaty with your yoga practice.

Some Health Benefits of Yoga:

Improved Strength & Flexibility: You might not be able to touch your toes or hold a plank position on day one, but with patience and consistency you will be able to gradually tone and loosen up tight muscles.

Stress Release & Mental Clarity: Because yoga is so focused on connecting movement with breath, yoga has been linked to relieving chronic stress patterns and relaxing the mind.

Better Sleep: Regular yoga practice has been linked to a more restful sleep in people with insomnia.

Mindful Eating: Research has also linked the meditative qualities of yoga to help strengthen the mind-body connection and increase the physical and emotional sensations of eating.

Lessened Chronic Pain: A regular yoga practice has been shown to have some pain-relieving effects on the brain.

5 Terms Every Yogi Should Know

Before you saunter on into a yoga studio, brush up on a few of the basic Sanskrit words you’ll hear in most yoga classes:

Asana: Used interchangeably with the word ‘pose.’ Each yoga pose is a different asana. For example, Uttanasana is a standing forward fold.

Namaste: It means something similar to ‘the divine light in me honours the divine light in you.’ It’s a way of feeling and sharing that divine yoga love.

Om: A meditative sound, pronounced ‘ohm’ and while the true meaning has been lost to the mists of time, it’s connected to universal energy.

Shanti: Its literal translation means ‘peace.’ Often used as a mantra (for example: ‘om shanti, shanti, shanti’) as an invocation of peace.

Yoga: Union. Because yoga is all about that mind-body connection.

Helpful Yogi Supplies

Ready to sign up for your first class? You can also try an at-home practice before stepping into the studio. Here are some tools to help you get started:

  1. Yoga Mat: There are lots of different kinds with varying thicknesses and lengths. Find one that works for you!
  2. Mat Towel: Great for slippery hands, and even better for hot yoga classes to prevent your mat from turning into a Slip N’ Slide.
  3. Mat spray: Especially if you’re taking a more athletic practice like ashtanga, mat spray can help keep your mat squeaky clean.
  4. Yoga blocks: These are a smart choice if you’re wanting to build your flexibility and need a little extra stability.
  5. Yoga DVD: If you’re not quite ready to practice around others, or splurge on a studio membership, creating an at-home practice could be just the thing.

With these tools, you’ll be able to confidently start building your own practice, and have a mindful 2017. Namaste!



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