January 16th, 2018

The Candy That Will Help You Kick Sugar: Smart Sweets

Smart Sweets founder, Tara Bosch (image via Facebook)

This post marks the first in a series of product profiles that we plan to publish on the London Drugs blog, exploring the talented people producing some of the exciting Canadian products on our shelves. 

22-year-old founder Tara Bosch launched the confectionary company Smart Sweets in 2016, and in doing so, shook up the candy world. If you picked up a bag of her treats at your local London Drugs, you may have wondered in fact whether you were getting candy or a health product.

You’re getting both.

Bosch set out to create a treat that wasn’t loaded with the usual amount of sugar. Where a 56-gram bag of Skittles contains 43 grams of sugar, Smart Sweets contains just 2 grams of sugar per 50-gram pouch (not to mention 24 grams of fibre and 5 grams of protein). It’s a sweet snack that you can feel a little better about enjoying.

An up-and-comer in the business world, Bosch has already been on the popular TV program Dragons’ Den (earning praise from all the judges) and has been honoured in the Pitch for the Purse contest as well as in the most recent BCBusiness 30 under 30 issue.

“It was amazing to see and hear the stories of how people’s lives have been impacted by sugar. There is no better time to be part of the wellness​ industry in Canada as more and more people are realizing the impact that food, specifically sugar, has on our body and are eagerly waiting for options to be innovated so they can make smaller, smarter choices in their daily lives,” says Bosch.

“It was so cool to see people who watched our episode reach out and share their stories about how they are kicking sugar, too. Smart Sweets has the opportunity to make a massive impact in people’s lives. At the end of the day, it’s about being able to feel good about enjoying the foods we love, and life’s too short not to be able to eat candy everyday.”

When asked where Bosch sees Smart Sweets going from here, the entrepreneur doesn’t balk. “Smart Sweets is revolutionizing candy consumption. Tackling one of the largest and most concerning problems hidden in our everyday foods, we are driving innovation through creation of the first candy products that kick sugar naturally … We want to empower people to live their best lives by giving them the choice to kick sugar.”

Bosch’s dream of seeing Smart Sweets take up space on shelves across the world–including shelves at London Drugs, of course–just may become reality. We wish her the best.

Smart Sweets is currently available in stores across Canada, including London Drugs. The product will be launching in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2018.



January 5th, 2018

January Book of the Month

 

In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
Amid the biggest Brooklyn snowstorm in living memory, Richard Bowmaster, a lonely university professor in his sixties, hits the car of Evelyn Ortega, a young undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, and what at first seems an inconvenience takes a more serious turn when Evelyn comes to his house, seeking help. At a loss, the professor asks his tenant, Lucia Maraz, a fellow academic from Chile, for her advice.
As these 3 lives intertwine, each will discover truths about how they have been shaped by the tragedies they witnessed, and Richard and Lucia will find unexpected, long overdue love.

Reviews
An interesting story of 3 people who meet by chance and how they their lives become intertwined when having to deal with a terrible crime. Forced to spend time together to deal with their circumstances, they reveal each other’s tragic backgrounds. It tells the story of corruption and desperation in some South American countries and how immigrants will risks their lives to find work and a better way of life in North America. A contemporary story that is both eye-opening and gripping. – Review by Janice

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. In the Midst of Winter is available at London Drugs along with many other great titles and is on sale for the month of January.



January 3rd, 2018

4 Tips to Clear the Clutter After the Holidays

The most wonderful time of the year is officially over, and if you’re like most of us, more than a few things need to be tidied up, de-cluttered, and put away. But getting your life back to normal doesn’t have to be anywhere near as stressful as last-minute gift shopping.

Our hints below will help you make the transition from holiday season to clean-up without losing the joyful glow cultivated over the last few weeks.

Box It Up

Some say Boxing Day originated in the UK, as the day when the collection boxes for the poor were opened, and distributed. Other origin stories have it that Boxing Day was the day working people collected gratuities or acknowledgements of service for the year past, in the form of ‘Christmas Boxes.’ Either way, you can use the spirit of Boxing Day to take a look around your home and see what can be boxed up and sent to charity. And while you’re in the dark corners of closets you haven’t seen in years, a little organization can’t hurt either. This will make room for all the shiny new goodies from Christmas and give you a fresh start to the New Year while helping out someone in need. A true win-win situation.

Into the Wild

If you have a backyard, why not consider digging a spot for a temporary home for your much appreciated Christmas tree? After the lights are taken down, simply plant your tree in the snow outside. The tree will give small wildlife a nice warm place to nest up among the needles during the winter. Once spring or summer hits, the tree will likely have dried out enough to have a bonfire with it for a fun Christmas in July celebration (festive outfits and eggnog milkshakes encouraged).

Egg-cellent Idea

Make sure to save all the egg cartons from your Christmas baking. If they have long been recycled, throw a post-holiday brunch to get some new cartons to save. The small pockets meant for the eggs make great protective storage for delicate ornaments and can be labeled to plan accordingly for decorating next year.

Start a Relationship With Clips

Get ready to meet your new best friend – binder clips. Yes, you heard that right. These humble little office supplies come in very handy for keeping your entire home tidy, but there are some great tips that you can use right away for post-holiday organization.

  • Freezer overflowing with turkey leftovers? Free up space and bring hard-to see items to the front by clipping bags underneath the wire shelf.
  • Clip the ends of wrapping paper rolls together to keep it from unrolling and getting wrinkled in the cupboard.
  • Create a fun and casual photo display of all of your holiday memories by clipping them together lengthwise in an easy-to-hang chain, string them onto a ribbon for a horizontal display, or use thumbtacks to pin them up in whatever configuration you like.

We hope these hacks save you some stress as you wind down the holiday season. We wish you joy in the New Year from our London Drugs family to yours.



December 28th, 2017

How to Add Cozy Warmth To Your Home Without a Fireplace

We all can agree that a fireplace is the perfect way to stay warm and cozy in a cold Canadian winter. But with more and more people moving to the city and downsizing their homes, a real, wood burning fireplace is becoming a rare thing these days. If you find yourself without a hearth this season but you still crave that #FireplaceFeeling in your home, here are some tips to help you really warm things up.

Fake It

 

Can’t do without a fireplace, but don’t have a chimney? Get yourself a lifelike replica! Electric fireplaces give the glow and the warmth of the real thing, without the mess and hassle of firewood, and come in many different styles and price points.

 

 

Heat It

One of the best benefits of having fireplace is the heat they give off, but it’s not practical to just crank up the thermostat when you want to warm up your old bones. A smarter way to thaw out your frozen toes is a portable heater. You can move it to any room that you’re in, and it will save you a bundle on heating costs.

Better yet, snuggle in under a luxurious heated throw.

Light It

 

Warm, ambient light from a fireplace is a guaranteed cozy-fier, and you can capture the glow of an open flame with creative lighting options.

And don’t forget the candles! The more the better for a cold, winter night. (Safety first, of course.)

 

Scent It

The scent of a crackling wood fire is one of the more difficult effects to replicate in your home without actually lighting something on fire, but you can can come close with some earthy, woodsy aromatherapy scents like balsam, sandalwood and patchouli.

 

 

Atmosphere is the #1 element of the hygge manifesto, and these tips will have you on your way to achieving Hygge Master status. Let’s get cozy!



December 23rd, 2017

6 Warm Holiday Traditions from Around the World That You Can Adopt

Everyone has their own cherished holiday traditions, but if you and your family are looking for a new way to celebrate and connect, get inspired by these fun and cozy traditions from around the world.

Candle in the Window – Ireland

The Irish tradition of lighting a candle in the window is hundreds of years old, and many Irish people will tell you that it signifies lighting the way for Mary and Joseph to help them find the stable in Bethlehem. Historians, on the other hand, will tell you that this tradition started sometime in the 17th century  when the Penal Laws in Ireland suppressed the Catholic religion. Catholic churches were outlawed and priests hid in fear of their lives, and they often visited homes in secrecy to bless a family and to say Mass. A candle in the window signalled to any passing priest that this was a Catholic home, and a priest was welcome to enter silently and join the family in prayer for Christmas. The Irish are renowned the world over for their hospitality, and this tradition is still widely practiced in Ireland and North America as a sign of welcome for anyone, friend or stranger, who might be passing by on Christmas Eve.

How to adopt this tradition: London Drugs has a wide range of beautiful candles for your windowsill. If fire safety is an issue, you can put your hospitality on display with these flameless candles.

“Nollaig Shona Duit”

Get Outside – Australia

Being in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas happens right at the beginning of Australia’s summertime, so it just makes sense that many Australians spend their holidays in the great outdoors. Beach days, camping, barbecues and outdoor festivals are common Aussie holiday traditions.

How to adopt this tradition: Obviously, Canadian Christmas looks a lot different than in Australia, but why not take a cue from the adventurous Aussies and get outside? Bundle up the family and go for an after-dinner walk to look at Christmas lights, ring in the New Year with backyard snowball fight, or try a new winter sport like snowshoeing or ice skating. Stay warm with winter accessories from London Drugs.

“Merry Christmas, Mate!”

Declaration of Christmas Peace – Finland

The Declaration of Christmas Peace is publicly announced in many Finnish cities on Christmas Eve. The oldest and most popular event is in the old  capital of Turku, which is broadcast on the Finnish Broadcasting Company and is viewed by millions of Finns and Swedes. The tradition goes as far back as the 1320s: the reading of the declaration, the wording of which hasn’t changed much since the 19th century, is accompanied by traditional music performed by local choirs and bands, along with a public rendition of the Finnish and Swedish national anthems. Originally used as a reminder for citizens that offenders who committed crimes on religious holidays were given harsher punishments, it is now a reminder for people to keep peace in their lives and treat each other with love and respect.

How to adopt this tradition: Have everyone write their declaration for peace in the coming year, and list all of they ways they will promote peace and respect in their lives, then share them at the family holiday gathering.

“Hyvää Joulua”

Giant Lantern Festival – Philippines

Caryl Joan Estrosas

Photo by Caryl Joan Estrosas

The Giant Lantern Festival signifies the beginning of the Christmas season in the Philippines. Each year on the Saturday before Christmas, revelers gather in the capital of San Fernando to witness the splendid display of colourful electric lanterns, or parol, which symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. The festival evolved from an older tradition called lubenas, where a lantern procession would travel through neighbourhoods to take residents to church on Christmas. But, when electricity was introduced to Philippine cities in the 1930s, all bets were off, and neighbourhoods began competing against one another for the coveted championship. These impressive lanterns can be made of up to 10,000 light bulbs! Here’s a little taste:

How to adopt this tradition: Warm up the dark winter nights with a homemade lantern making competition! Here is a link to some easy and beautiful DIY lanterns.

Maligayang Pasko”

Stir the Christmas Pudding – England

Ever wonder about the “figgy pudding” from “Deck the Halls?” Wonder no more! The old English tradition of “Stir-Up Sunday” had everyone in the house take a turn stirring the Christmas pudding while making a wish for the coming year.

How to adopt this tradition: Now, not everyone is a fan of old-fashioned Christmas pudding (or fruitcake as we call it here in Canada), so if you’d rather sink your teeth into some delicious cookies or pie, get the whole family involved! Make your favourite holiday treats at home, with everyone taking a step in the baking process, while making a wish for the new year. London Drugs has all the gear you need for your next baking project, from the very practical, to the silly fun.

“Happy Christmas!”

Christmas Eve Book Exchange – Iceland

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Along with the usual gifts on Christmas Day, Icelanders also exchange books with family members early on Christmas Eve, then spend the rest of the night in at home, reading and relaxing. Sounds like winter bliss, doesn’t it?

How to adopt this tradition: Easy – give books as gifts to your family or friends! Just make sure to tell them they have to open them on Christmas Eve, and make them promise to settle in for a cozy night at home. Check out London Drugs’ book selection here.

Gleðileg jól”

 

We wish you a memorable holiday with family and friends, whether you’re celebrating time-honoured traditions, or discovering new ones. 

 



December 22nd, 2017

9 Fun Family Game Night Ideas

These days, when nearly everyone seems to have a smart device in their pocket, it can be tough getting the whole family to spend quality time together. But some things never change, and nothing brings families together quite like Games Night!

Happy family playing board games - London Drugs

Need some new ideas for Family Game Night?

Here are nine suggestions in three categories to get you started.

The Classics – with a twist!

 

Monopoly DealA twist on arguably the best known board game of all. Some would say a needed twist. Monopoly, after all, takes a while to play and has lots of pieces to keep track of. Monopoly Deal offers a brand new, streamlined experience. It’s fast, about 20 minutes, but delivers all the financial ups-and-downs and excitement you’d expect.

Star Wars Operation: We all know Operation, the classic game of carefully removing bones from a patient. That zzzz-zap sound still brings back memories, and now you can introduce the fun to a new generation. Star Wars Operation lets you repair Rey’s adorable companion, BB-8.

Ages: 6+ / Players: 1 or more

HedBanz – Act Out!: Charades, arguably the world’s oldest still-popular party game, dates back to at least the 1700s  in France. Your whole family will love this modern twist that sees players acting like the clue cards on each other’s provided headbands. Get ready for LOLs galore, IRL! It’s perfect for birthday parties, too.

Ages: 8+ / Players: 2-6

Board Games: The Next Generation

Ticket to Ride: Released to award-winning acclaim in 2004, this game sold 4 million copies by 2014. So it has laid more than enough track by now to be considered a true modern classic. Players race to establish train routes between major transit hubs, and to connect their own tracks onward in unbroken chains. Strategy. Secrecy. Subterfuge. This game has it all.

Ages: 8+ / Players: 2-5

Pandemic: The family that saves humanity together, games together (or something like that). Released in 2007, this game is spreading virally toward legendary tabletop status. Players assume the roles of globetrotting scientists, medics, and logistics experts, working together to stop not one global pandemic…but four. Finished it? Don’t worry, expansions are available to continue the story and the fun.

Ages: 10+ / Players: 4

Dixit: Want a game to set your imagination soaring and help develop your family’s storytelling skills, look no further than this fantastic game. Designed in France in 2008, it has since won multiple international games awards, and the hearts of players around the world. Basically, players take turns creatively describing a famous story and the others try to guess it using the cards in their hands.

Ages: 8+ / Players: 4-6 

Video Games…Can’t beat ’em? Join ’em

Just Dance 2018: The latest edition in a beloved series, it’s available on seven gaming systems. So if your family likes music, movement, or generally having fun: this one’s for you. It has variable difficulty settings, too. So even those with the freshest moves around can play with the rest of us. It’s also a great way to add some exercise to games night.

Rating: E10+ / System: Ps4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch, WiiU, PS3, XBox 360, Wii  

Splatoon 2: The follow up to the silly-but-serious WiiU stand-out, players race to splatter turf in ink of their team’s colour. Players also don sweet, swaggy street gear and use a variety of inky weapons and marvelous moves. Families can also play together over long distances with online play.

Really, this is just one of several great family games for the Nintendo Switch, probably the best bet overall current console for family game night.

Rating: E10+ / System: Nintendo Switch

 

NHL 2018: Take to the ice as your favourite team (or try out life as a member of the new expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights). Play locally with family, or expand your competition to online play. You might be surprised at how much Mom enjoys throwing a check.

Rating: Pending / Systems: PS4, XBox One



December 20th, 2017

8 Places to See Beautiful Christmas Lights in Canada

There’s something truly magical about Christmas lights during the holidays. Thousands of twinkling lights can make any place feel like you’re walking in a winter wonderland. We’ve rounded up eight of our favourite spots in Canada to take in Christmas light shows, tunnels, and even a train.

1. Grouse Mountain

Christmas lights Grouse Mountain Beautiful Canada - London Drugs

Photo by @vancitywild

After taking the gondola up Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, BC, walk through a tunnel of lights before skating and grabbing hot cocoa. Tip: it’s a great holiday date spot!

2. VanDusen Botanical Garden

Walk among the maze of Christmas lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, BC. For many it’s a yearly tradition to see the Festival of Lights!

3. CP Holiday Train

CP Holiday Train London Drugs

The CP Holiday Train is travelling from province to province collecting donations for North America’s food banks. Find out when the train is coming to a town near you – and see a live holiday show!

4. Leduc County Christmas Lights

Walking in a Christmas wonderland at Leduc County Christmas Lights in Alberta! Remember to bring a donation for the food bank and snap a great picture with these twinkling lights.

5. Vancouver Christmas Market

Stand inside a giant Christmas tree at the Vancouver Christmas Market! Reflective of a traditional German market, shop for classic treats, visit local vendors with handmade goodies, and ride the merry-go-round.

6. Bankers Hall

Bankers Hall Calgary - London Drugs Blog

Photo by @_amohamed

With a huge Christmas tree surrounded by lights, put Bankers Hall in Calgary on your to-visit list for a picture-worthy moment!

7. Prince’s Island Park

Prince's Island Park Calgary - London Drugs Blog

Photo by @anaib

Walk over to Prince’s Island Park near downtown Calgary, AB, for a bridge full of lights and festive Christmas cheer.

8. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Capilano Suspension Bridge - London Drugs Blog

Photo by @vancitywild

All lit up for Christmas, the Canyon Lights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is beautiful over the holidays. It gets busy though, so go early or on weeknights if you can!

Did we miss somewhere? Tell us in the comments! Merry Christmas from all of us at London Drugs.



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