December 17, 2014

For the Gal Who has Everything #sanctuary #contest

I've been told -- on more than one occasion! -- that I'm a difficult person to buy a present for. I don't get it; every time I go shopping I find tons of things that I like, and as I've told my hubby on MANY occasions, you can never go wrong with jewellery. Am I right, ladies? It doesn't have to be diamonds or expensive jewels -- costume jewellery works well, too. Anyhow, I digress.

For the last few years, when someone is strapped to find me a gift, my response is simple: "You can always get me a Sanctuary Gift Card." It's true. Before even becoming a Spa Ambassador, I would visit the spa a few times each year. This simple, practical and thoughtful gift could be put towards a much needed massage, a manicure, a pedicure or any other services in the spa. 

Actually, the boutique at Sanctuary is full of great gift ideas that you can pick up right until Christmas Eve. Nail polishes, lotions and serums, Lampe Berger products, purses and bracelets and beauty care products galore. Ask a spa representative to help select the perfect item for the "tricky" person on your list.

You can also put a basket together with some of the spa's best-selling products, or choose from one of the new Farm House Fresh gifts available this season. Farm House Fresh products are made with up to 99.6% natural and naturally-derived ingredients. All their products are paraben and sulfate free and fragrances are also all natural or phthalate free. 

Sanctuary Day Spas has given a Simply Suppa reader the chance to win this Strawberry Bushel Gift Basket, containing the Strawberry Smash Double Moisturizer and O-List Sweet Cream Fine Grain Sea Salt Body Scrub. To win, enter the Rafflecopter below.

And if you don't win, hey, why not stop by a Sanctuary Day Spa location near you to shop the boutique for a luxurious gift she'll love. Or, you can always get a gift card :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I am a Sanctuary Day Spa Ambassador and receive special perks as part of my affiliation. All opinions expressed on my blog remain my own.

December 16, 2014

Great Gifts for the Kids on Your List #kidsgifts #christmas

There are only 9 days left until Christmas, although the 8 nights of Hanukkah begin tonight! Happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating. 

Despite being super organized at the beginning of the season, I still have a few lingering gifts to purchase, and I only have about a week left! If you need gifts for kids at school, kris kringle exchanges, or stocking stuffers, I've come up with a list of some great, inexpensive toys and games for the kids of all ages. 

For the baby: The Elefun & Friends Shapes 'n Colors Turtle: 

This little guy is portable, small and offers interactive play for babies. You can choose between colours, shapes, music or follow me. The base of the turtle wobbles for even more fun. I'm sure baby girl will enjoy this in a few months and I KNOW she'll have to share with her big sister, who despite being almost 3 years old, will love to press the buttons!
$15 at major toy retailers.

For the toddler: Elmo Bath Adventure Steamboat:

In our home, bathtime is not only important, but it's also fun. Bathtime equals playtime. But we often forget about having new toys in the bath. Bath toys do not need to be expensive, but it helps if they are multi-functional. The Elmo Bath Adventure Steamboat is really 5 toys in one that allows kids to scoop, strain, squirt and paddle. Use the pieces together or separately.
$15 at major toy retailers. 

For the young child: My Little Pony Pop Pinkie Pie Sweet Shoppe Set:

Say that 5 times fast. Put your fingers to work when you put together this little sweet shoppe, which comes with a mini little pony to decorate. Customize your home with different colour doors and windows and glam it up with stickers, stickers and more stickers. Isabelle loves playing with this one, taking it apart and putting it together every day!

$15 at major toy retailers. 

For the FROZEN fans: 

Do you wake up in the morning humming Let it Go, Let it Gooooooo? Chances are you're watching a lot of Frozen in your home. Welcome to the club. My Big LO is pretty enamoured with all things Frozen, but there wasn't much to ask for this season, because, well, we have it all! Not really, but you get the point. Frozen is definitely the rage this holiday season, from the movies to the dolls, to toys and games.

I thought I'd highlight two Frozen items that work for both young and older children. And they don't sing either!

Frozen Pop Up Magic Board Game: Join Anna, Elsa and Olaf on a magical journey around the board. This is an easy beginner board game, designed for kids 3+.
$15-20 at major toy retailers.

Frozen Ravensburger Puzzle: This 73 piece puzzle is a bit more challenging, so perfect for the older child on your list. The final shape is a beautiful snowflake, complete with glitter! This puzzle is even made from recycled material.
$15 at Mastermind Toys. 

Last but not least, For the Sisters on your list, the Kidoozie Play House.

Isabelle loves to play with this little tent at our local library. There's not much to it, but she loves to go inside the play, read stories or hang out.

When I came across this Kidoozie Royal Princess Play House, I knew she would love it, and when Madeline is older, she'll love to play with her big sister. It's super easy to put together and goes away neatly into this carry bag, perfect for travel or hideaway. After the Christmas tree is down, I'll be setting up a reading nook with this tent prominently in the middle. So excited about this one!  Also available: the Pirates Den Playhouse.
$25 at Mastermind Toys.

And there you have it! 6 kid toys, games and activities that won't break the bank but are sure to put smiles on their faces on Christmas morning.

Disclosure: I received these toys in order to write this review. As always, all opinions expressed on my blog remain my own. 

December 15, 2014

The Final Countdown to Christmas - 10 days left!

One of my favourite things about Christmas isn't receiving gifts -- although I really do enjoy giving gifts and watching people open them! To me, Christmas equals family time and celebrating with loved ones; that means dinners and parties, outdoor activities and events. I love turning these experiences into traditions and we are slowly developing our own family tradition with the girls. 

Of course, each year we always take a photo with Santa and we play in the snow, but we've also made a gingerbread house this year and taken the girls to the Santa Parade. Next year, we hope to venture to the Christmas Market in the Distillery District, as the baby's still a bit young this year. 

Donny's family has a tradition of baking Christmas cookies each year. Now, I do appreciate a homemade treat, but as I've disclosed here in the past, I'm anything but a baker. For the first time, I joined in on the baking fun and we made HUNDREDS of cookies for the holidays.

Everyone had a job, from mixing to rolling, moulding and cutting. Don't ask me for any recipes -- I was a beginner this year and stayed away from the jobs where I could make drastic errors! Ha! 

All joking aside, the baking was not difficult at all, but it was a lot of fun. We spent the day in our yoga pants, talked, laughed and even stopped to sample the fruits of our labour. I'm glad that I was able to join the tradition this year, and hope to continue with the girls when they're older. 

By the end of the day, I was able to make care packages for my mom and grandmother, and I have some left for visitors during the holidays and for Donny, Isabelle and I to snack on every day. It really is nice and special to be able to present and share homemade goodness. 

The holiday season is so much more than presents under the tree, or a big man in red. Christmas is about making memories with those you love.

What family traditions do you have during the holidays?

December 12, 2014

13 Days Til Xmas: Holiday Parties & R.I.D.E #ridechecks

We are less than 2 weeks until Christmas, but between now and then, there will be many reasons to celebrate, including family gatherings, work parties, holiday festivities, etc. Undoubtedly, there will likely be tens of thousands of people celebrating this weekend; my husband and I will be getting dolled up for a function, too, and I'm thrilled to have a night out!

This time of year is a perfect time to remind everyone how uncool Drinking and Driving is. I mean, I feel like we've been talking about this FOREVER yet I'm amazed and disgusted at how so many people still get behind the wheel intoxicated. It seems like common sense and yet we hear stories all the time about lives being torn apart due to a drunk driver. 

Have fun at the Christmas party, but don't drink and drive. It's pretty simple. Come up with an alternate driver, take a cab, rent a room, heck, get your parents to drive you (I've done all of the aforementioned!), but DON'T get behind the wheel. 

Between now and January, local police forces will be conducting R.I.D.E. spot checks throughout the GTA to randomly screen motorists for driving impaired. Police will also be rewarding responsible drivers with a R.I.D.E. CHECKS Rewards booklet for obeying the laws.

In 2013, there were 2002 spot checks conducted, which resulted in more than 1800 impairment charges and 670 suspensions. While I'm incredibly grateful for these findings, I'm heartbroken nearly 2000 people put their lives, their passengers lives and the lives of others on the road in danger. Innocent people -- mothers, fathers, children, friends, neighbours.

Have fun at your holiday party. Dance the night away, and dare I say, even enjoy a cocktail. But if you drink, don't drive. It's so not worth it.

December 11, 2014

14 Days to Go: SNOW DAY!

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear
but un-ploughed roads and snow mountains to clear!

If you're in the GTA, you are likely experiencing the first SNOW DAY of the season! While it is very pretty to look at, I do NOT like driving on days like today. Luckily, being on maternity leave means I didn't have to drive to work, but I did have to venture out this morning. Be safe out there, folks. It's messy.

Rumour has it this won't be the last snow day this winter. And if you're stuck at home with kids, you'll likely need some fun activities to keep them busy (other than playing in the snow, of course!) Well, look no further because I've got just the thing. 

This Make Your Own Holiday Snow Globes is an amazing, clean and easy craft to keep your kids busy when school is out, or when you're trapped indoors. Designed for ages 6+, this kit comes with three globes, coloured clay and three little statues to make your snow scenes. Isabelle and I made a simple snow scene with a mini snowman and added blue glitter. She loves shaking her globe, and I love the fact that it's plastic and won't shatter all over my floor. 

If you're hosting a holiday party in the next few weeks, this is also a simple craft to have out for the kids, and gives them a nice takeaway, too. Available at Mastermind Toys.

Happy Snow Day!

December 10, 2014

In my Xmas Jammies! #CampAndCabinCozy

One of my favourite things about the holidays is spending Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with my cousins. Even as adults, we usually put on a terribly silly concert slash dance show and leave our parents in stitches. We always have so much fun. 

This year, my cousin Kathleen had a brilliant idea: when the kids change into their Christmas jammies, we all should. I laughed at first, and then I came across this --  The Snugabye Camp & Cabin onesie!

Snugabye has been making cozy and comfy sleep and loungewear for babies since 1947 -- that's more than 60 years. It was only about time they made some for moms (and dads!). I love this red plaid style; it's very Canadiana, polar fleece and warm AND you can adjust the fabric to go over your feet or sit at the ankle.

If you want to order your own onesie, now's the perfect time because the Adult Camp & Cabin onesies are $15 OFF with the promo code COZY. But you'll need to order by December 20, 2014 to make sure you get your jammies in time for the holidays.

You can also enter this awesome contest (below) to win 1 of 3 prize packs, including 
  • One (1) x Camp & Cabin Onesie of your choice, and 
  • One (1) x $100 VISA gift card

The contest is open to Canadian and US residents, excluding Quebec, and ends December 15th. You can find the rules and regulations on the contest widget.

I can't wait for Christmas in my Camp & Cabin onesie! Pics to follow!
Camp & Cabin

 Disclosure: I am part of the Snugabye Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

December 09, 2014

Stocking Stuffers for the Goddess on Your List #purminerals

Stocking Stuffers. Just a "little something", these small trinkets can often be more challenging to purchase than one, large gift. But they don't have to be. In fact, in each of my shopping ventures, I find so many unique and affordable gifts that would be perfect stocking stuffers, kris kringle gifts, teacher thank-yous and the like.

Here are some tips when finding the perfect stocking stuffer:
  • Think of "nice to have" items, rather than "need to have items"
  • Take advantage of the recipient's guilty pleasures or obsessions, and 
  • Find something that will actually fit in a stocking!

For me, it's all about beauty items. My stocking is usually filled with nail polish (I LOVE!), but why not go for a really great make-up brush or funky new lip gloss? Make-up is like purses and shoes -- you can never really have too much!

Pur Minerals has taken the guesswork out of stocking stuffers with their 2014 Holiday collections. They've got your face and cheeks, lips and brushes covered with their newest sets.

Let it Glow Limited Edition

These make-up sticks give your face and cheeks a nice healthy dose of colour (for when it's grey outside!). $28 for set of 3.

5 Piece Brush Set

Perfect to stash at work or when you're on the go, you get 5 essential brushes and a foldable travel clutch. $28 for the set.

You Better Not Pout!

My favourite this season. You get 7 pieces -- lip glosses, lip sticks, lip gloss pencils and a moisturizer -- all in one set. Shades vary from shimmer to spice:
  • Vanilla Glaze Lip Gloss
  • Sugar Plum Lip Gloss
  • Spice Cake Lipstick
  • Crème Brûlée Lipstick
  • Sugar Cookie Lip Balm
  • Red Velvet Lip Gloss Pencil
  • Strawberry Shortcake Lip Gloss Pencil
$35 Limited Edition kit. 

The kits are all available at Shoppers Drug Mart, which just adds to the convenience factor! Happy Stocking Stuffer shopping -- I'll have more great ideas later this week!