Does the idea of spring cleaning fill you with painful memories of being trapped in your bathtub with a bottle of tile cleaner while you scrub tile grout, choking on bleach fumes?
This year, we suggest a fresh, sustainable approach. You may be surprised to know that you can clean your home effectively and thoroughly with many natural ingredients and environmentally friendly items you may already have in your kitchen.
Using microfiber towels or old cut-up towels as your cleaning rags instead of shop or paper towels can help you reduce waste as you clean. To sanitize them afterwards, either put them in a bucket full of boiling water for 15 minutes, or toss them in the washing machine on the hottest setting with tea tree and grapefruit essential oils.
You can make your own all-purpose household cleaning spray with a few simple ingredients: vinegar, water, and essential oils. Use it on countertops, kitchen surfaces, and it can even be used on glass. Cleaning with essential oils is a fantastic natural way to add some fresh fragrances to the space you’re working on. You can choose your own scent combinations and make your home smell naturally clean.
Switching to a biodegradable dish soap instead of synthetically produced ones can be gentler on your skin, and on the environment.
Do you keep fitness equipment or a yoga mat at home? You can make your own cleaner for those too! Try this yoga mat cleaner made from distilled water, witch hazel, and a combination of some essential oils to keep your gym equipment clean and smelling fresh.
Laundry detergents can be notoriously expensive, but you can save money by making your own. This homemade laundry soap is a great way to help transition into using more natural cleaning products, and only uses three ingredients: Borax, washing soda, and an unscented bar of soap!
If you’re a fan of dryer or fabric softener sheets, you can also save money over time on dryer sheets by replacing them with dryer balls, which can be used again and again to help reduce static in your laundry. You can even create your own with essential oils!
If spring cleaning also means going on a decluttering rampage, you can reduce garbage by recycling unwanted items instead of simply tossing them out. If you’ve got a bunch of old electronics that don’t work anymore just sitting in a dusty pile behind your TV, you can recycle them at LD! Whether it’s old batteries or a VCR you haven’t used in a decade, LD will responsibly recycle it for you.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the idea of making the shift to natural cleaning, don’t worry! Just choose one of these ideas and start there. Any small change can help you to reduce the number of cleaning chemicals you use in your home, and will hopefully make your spring cleaning adventures all the more enjoyable.
With spring break fast approaching, you may be forming your escape plan to emerge from your winter hibernation and take the family on an adventure. But if the idea of having to organize kids, suitcases, accommodation, toys, snacks, and everything in between makes you want to take a break from spring break, have no fear. Having a solid plan is key, and whether you’re journeying across the world/country/province, here are a few helpful tips for ensuring you’re as prepared as you can be on your holiday.
Once you decide on a destination, dedicate some time — before you get there — to get to know it, so that you can make the most of your time. A good travel guide is always a good plan—they’ll often include information that only locals would know, money-saving tips, and lots of hidden treasures to explore. They also tend to include recommended destination-specific packing lists that can make your preparation that much easier.
If you’re travelling internationally, check your passport to see if it’s expiring soon. Passport renewal can take a few weeks, so factoring the time to get a new passport photo, fill out the paperwork, and make the trip to the passport office will help to minimize the stress of these necessary preparations.
Lists are highly underrated — especially when it comes to deciding what to pack. But thinking it through, and writing it down beforehand, will help to keep your suitcases from overflowing with things you’ll never use (and ensure that the necessities are in there). After you do your research, consider also creating a ‘packing essentials’ list for the whole family to help them prioritize what necessities to bring. You can also keep it on hand for the next trip!
Another fun idea is to start a shared list of the kinds of things each family member wants to do while you’re away. Stick the list to the fridge and have everybody contribute their picks of activities or tourist attractions, helping everyone to feel a part of the planning and to get a little more excited about what’s in store.
If you’re going on a road trip, a snack list can help to ensure that everyone gets a say in what kinds of treats they want to munch and sip on. Some fun choices are fruit snacks, trail mix, and these litterless juice boxes that everyone can fill with their favourite juice.
Hopping on a jet plane? Many airlines have their own specifications on baggage weights and dimensions, especially for carry-on items. Knowing ahead of time how you need to pack will save you from any day-of surprises and prevent you from being one of those forlorn-looking travellers at the airport check-in, struggling with three open suitcases trying to evenly distribute the weight between them.
There’s a certain philosophy that some travellers swear by, and it’s the ‘Buy It There’ principle. If there are things that you’re not sure you need, and you want to keep your bags as light as possible, remember that in the worst-case scenario, you can always purchase them when you arrive at your destination.
If you’re traveling internationally, even if it’s just for a weekend, you should absolutely consider purchasing travel insurance. It may seem like overkill, but if a series of unfortunate events should land you or a family member in the emergency room, you’ll rest easy knowing your holiday won’t cost you thousands of dollars more than you budgeted.
If you have the capacity, dedicating one carry-on bag for backup clothes and toiletries is a great security measure. If your luggage gets delayed or lost, you’ll still have a few days’ worth of clothing and be able to manage until your belongings find their way back to you.
Planning an epic road trip? It’s a snap to get the right auto insurance so that you can be on your way.
Even the most meticulous planning can’t account for spontaneous mishaps. The weather might turn, you might get lost, or an attraction may be closed. Just remember: you’re on an adventure–ups and downs included–with the people you love.
Stay smiling, remember that you’re making memories, and enjoy the ride!
Puzzled Jewelry returns to London Drugs stores across British Columbia and Alberta for the second year in a row. Puzzled Jewelry is a brand with a cause, offering unique and trendy jewelry designs. With a new design every campaign, Puzzled Jewelry creates a unique puzzle piece of jewelry to build awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that impacts typical brain growth. As a spectrum disorder, ASD has a wide variation in how it affects each person. Common characteristics include difficulties with communication and social interactions, repetitive interests and activities, and stereotypic motor behaviours.
Puzzled Jewelry was created by three mothers, Patricia James, Debbie Su and Keri Kennett, who were joined together by an Autism diagnosis affecting each of their little boys. In 2016 their campaign raised over $34,000 through the sale of Puzzled Jewelry necklaces at select London Drugs locations in British Columbia and Alberta. This year, they have created 925 sterling silver puzzle earrings to support their continued fundraising efforts.
At a cost of $20.00 plus tax, partial proceeds from the earrings will go towards the Pacific Autism Family Centre (PAFC). The core purpose of the PAFC is to become a knowledge centre while addressing and providing the support and services required by individuals with ASD and their families. The Centre is the hub for research, and collaboration, providing individuals and their families with resources for their lifespan and is the first of its kind in North America. The Centre of knowledge and innovation will involve the development of physical “hub and spoke/satellite” centres located in communities across the province, in collaboration with local community partners.
Puzzled Jewelry earrings will be available from now until March 31st at most London Drugs British Columbia locations and all stores in Alberta. Show your support in a photo wearing your earrings and share it on social media with #PacificAutism.
The kitchen is often the most frequented and loved space in a household. Consequently, it can also become the dirtiest — very quickly. We’ve assembled the following tips to help you keep your kitchen as spotless as possible, in the shortest amount of time.
If you want to avoid getting stuck with a week’s worth of dishes to wash or hours of scrubbing countertops, you might consider making several to-do cleaning lists that can be broken down over days, weeks and months. We’ve included a few examples below.
A quick tip to get you through every-day cleaning? Speed clean for as long as it takes to brew a pot of coffee and start your day hassle-free.
Everyone has their favourite cleaning products. But if you’re just setting up — or if you’re looking for a reminder of what might be missing in your cleaning arsenal — we suggest keeping the following essential cleaning products on hand to ensure you’re prepared for any kitchen mess.
Sometimes it may seem easier to leave a stain on the surface of your appliances — at least until you can dedicate some serious elbow grease to get it off. Thankfully, achieving a sparkling kitchen isn’t as difficult as it appears.
Stainless Steel Appliances
Simple organization in your kitchen can allow for smoother cooking experiences and less hectic clean up.
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…
Overall, I enjoyed reading What She Knew. It was a suspenseful, page-turning mystery about a mother searching for her eight year old son, Benedict Finch, after he disappears during a walk in the woods. The story is told by his mother, Rachel Jenner and the torment she endures trying to find him but it also uses multiple character perspectives as well as news articles, and social media. I thought the presence of social media throughout the story made it more relatable as it is how society in 2017 engage with the current events happening daily. It is a reminder of how easily information can not only be spread, but distorted from the truth. This is contrasted with the perspectives from Detective Jim Clemo and Rachel and allowed the reader to gain insight on their true feelings as the story unfolded. – Review by Samantha
Gripping story that has you reading from chapter to chapter alternating from 2 different people’s points of view, Rachel the mother who’s son goes missing and the detective in charge of the case plus comments on a vicious blog. There are many potential suspects including the mother that may have motive so you want to keep reading to find out what happened to the young boy. There’s also a secret that Rachel finds out about her past that leaves her wondering who she really is. Although I enjoyed reading the story, there were a few questions at the end that I wished had been answered. – Review by Janice
I found this book to be a pretty good read. The author keeps you guessing throughout the book as to who may be the guilty person. The character development is good and while the subject matter is terrifying, overall I found it an interesting read. I would recommend this book. – Review by Shelley
This book was a real page-turner. I couldn’t stop reading until I found out who had taken the young boy and if he was ok. There were some twists and turns that had me guessing throughout. Overall I enjoyed the book and the journey it took me on. – Review by Kelly
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.