Fun at Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush!

Hey everyone,

Hope you’re all well and trying to stay positive despite the chilly weather we’ve been having here in Ottawa. Can you believe that we’re going to be getting a dump of snow this weekend? When will it end 😉 I’m hopeful that this will be the last of it and, on a more positive note, we will be very thankful for spring/ summer this year.

The last two weeks have been spent enjoying lots of time with family and trying to enjoy the great outdoors 😉 Today, I’ve decided to share with you our recent visit to Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush.

 

Fun at Fultons Pancake House and Sugar Bush

It’s been years since I’ve visited a sugar shack. Maybe even a decade. My mom called us a couple weeks ago and suggested that we take the kids for breakfast and a tour of the sugar shack. Of course, I thought that this was a fabulous suggestion since we hadn’t been in years, since our littles have never been and since the weather was cooperating so we wouldn’t freeze our butts off.

We made sure to arrive for when they opened at 9am so that we could beat the breakfast rush. So happy that we did since although the restaurant was full, it wasn’t filled to capacity so we were able to sit down and enjoy our cafeteria style breakfast. I don’t know what I was expecting but it was a cafeteria style meal. I have to say that this made it even more special 🙂 plus quick and easy for the kids! We were able to see our food options, choose what we wanted, pay for it and eat it right away.

We ended up trying a little bit of almost everything. Julien and the kids shared some pancakes, apple pie, beans, and breakfast sausage and I had their gluten-free (GF) waffles. Like any new GF dish, I didn’t know what to expect but for my GF readers, I’m happy to report that they were DELICIOUS!!! Seriously, they tasted like the real thing. We also had hot coffee and juice for the kids. Felt like we were eating breakfast at a very casual 😉 ski resort.

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Breakfast!

After filling ourselves up with sweets, we toured around the property. First on our to do list was a tour of the Heritage Maple Path which brought us to a cool teepee shelter, which the kids loved, and a cozy fire where an employee was explaining all of the old tools and techniques that were used to tap maple trees.

 

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We continued along the trail and there was a beautiful display of more of the old harvesting tools:

 

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Did you know that according to Iroquois legend, maple syrup was discovered by accident? To find out more, read the sign below.

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The sugar shack also offered a live demo on how they produce their maple syrup, they had a park for kids and sold delicious treats like cotton candy and maple lollipops. They also had a small shop where you could buy all sorts of maple syrup infused items such as bbq sauces, marinades, sweets and beauty products.

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Maple Shoppe!

I have to be honest here. I saw their beauty products but I wasn’t drawn to them until one of the employees recommended that I give their lotion a try. I’m so glad that I did because not only did it smell delicious, it was also super hydrating.  I was sold! I liked it so much that we ended up picking up a bottle of their lotion and a body scrub for my mother-in-law’s birthday.

Overall, our visit to Fultons was so much fun! The kids had a blast and it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning. If you’re looking for something different to do this weekend, I highly recommend that bring your family and/or friends to Fulton’s for breakfast and to tour their properly.

I know that visiting the sugar bush is an annual tradition for some. If you are one of those people, I would love to hear about your favourite spots so please let me know.

That’s all for now! Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Stay warm 😉 xo

January finds!!!

Hey everyone!

How’s your wardrobe doing? Could it use a pick me up? If so, I hope that you’ve signed up to receive email promos from Reitmans and Banana Republic because they have some pretty awesome deals going on right now :).

Like most parents, I don’t have much time to spend wandering malls. The malls in Ottawa have received major facelifts in the last few years, which I would have loved in my teens, but now that I have little ones, I don’t have the time to wander through them. Instead, I’m a big fan of online shopping or running out to the mall for an hour or so when I need something specific or when I get the occasional email advertising an epic sale.

I don’t know if you’ve seen some of the sales that are going on right now? If not, and if you need a few new pieces, now’s the time to go out and get them. Today, I’m going to share with you some recent purchases that I picked in January for next to nothing.

Recently, I’ve had the desire to wear blazers at work. I love to dress up for work but I’ve never been one to wear blazers but one can always change 😉 Last week, mom offered to pick the kids up with me. Before doing so, we stopped by the mall to pick up a few groceries and ran into Reitmans. Earlier in the day, I received an email advertising that their clearance was an additional 70% off. It couldn’t hurt to pop in and check things out…right! Well, within ten minutes we found just what my wardrobe was missing. Three new blazers :)!!! Check these fun pieces out:

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This blazer is too comfy! It literally feels like I’m wearing a sweater. The cool thing about all three is that none of them feel restrictive. They have some give to them but are still cinched at the waist, so they feel as though they’re tailored but without the price tag. #win!

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This one is black with what looks like polka dots but they’re tiny hearts! Too cute right 🙂 Unfortunately, you can’t tell in this picture but I plan on posting a close up this week on my Instagram account at lovelylife.xo. This one is a little more form-fitting, than the one above, and has a more formal feel to it but the baby hearts keep it stylish and playful.

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This last one is the comfiest of the three and has some pretty cool details. It’s long, cinched at the waist and the arms are 3/4 length and bunchy. Even better,  it’s soft AND the colour is a dark denim #love!.

So, how much did these three blazers, from Reitmans, cost me??? Are you sitting? If not, you should be. I found all three, in the clearance section, and paid $90 for them. Amazing right!? The sale was buy one get two free….YES, I will buy one and get two free lol I’m telling ya, if you need any new pants, skirts or blazers you should definitely stop by Reitmans this weekend.

As for the cute salmon coloured pants, in the pics above, I picked them up this week from the Banana Republic outlet for 40% off! They’re Banana’s Sloan pant. If you haven’t tried them yet, you totally should. They’re the perfect work pant. They’re comfy and come in sooo many different colours and patterns. Here they are below with a pair of shoes that I bought in January for $20 from Zara. A colleague of mine calls them my Cinderella shoes 🙂 love them!

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The same night that I picked these salmon pants up from the outlets, I bought these super fun black pants up from J.Crew at 50% off:

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Whats cool about these is that they zip up along the side and they have an awesome and original pattern at the bottom of the pant.

Last, but not least, are these adorable shoes from Zara:

Julien calls them my care bear shoes lol they’re a light pink and super fuzzy. When I showed them to my sister, she asked me if I got them for free lol. We are polar opposites…What do they know 😉 As soon as I saw these, I needed them. I probably wouldn’t have bought them at full price but for $19 I couldn’t resist them. They’re too original and very fun. I literally can’t wait to wear them this spring/summer.

So, that’s what I’ve found this month. As you can tell, I LOVE a great deal! I almost never purchase anything at full price (unless I need it and don’t have time to wait) and nothing feels better than buying a beautiful piece on sale.

If you need a few and fun pieces for your wardrobe, I highly recommend that you pop by Reitmas, Banana Republic or J. Crew this weekend. If you’re looking for some original and affordable shoes, as usual, I recommend Zara.

Do you enjoy a good deal? Where do you like to shop? Have you found any amazing deals lately? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend! We will be celebrating my mom’s 60th birthday 🙂 So grateful that she is feeling healthy and excited to celebrate HER! Remember friends to be positive, stay kind and smile. Life is great!

Love,

Ash xo

Alpine Social – Fairmont Lake Louise

Happy New Year!!!

I can’t believe that a year has gone by already…Can you!? Before diving into this week’s post, I’d like to wish you all a healthy and happy 2018. You only get to live once so enjoy your time and make 2018 count!

This week I would like to talk to you about our dinner at Alpine Social, a restaurant at the Fairmont Lake Louise that you do not want to miss out on if you’re ever travel out that way. In December 2017, we spent two amazing nights at the Fairmont Lake Lousie and enjoyed all of our meals at the hotel. They were fabulous!!!

The hotel offers six restaurants, a deli, in-room service and afternoon tea. The cool thing about Alpine Social is that a friend of Julien’s started working there a few years back and runs both Alpine Social and Poppy Brasserie so of course, we had to pop in and say hi. We probably hadn’t seen Jamie in over 10 years, since Julien last coached his basketball team, so it was nice to catch up and see him in his element. He created the fabulous menu at Alpine Social which is both delicious and decadent.

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Unfortunately, when we arrived at the Fairmont Lake Louise, Julien had a full-fledged head cold but we made the best of it. We still went out to dinner, although earlier than planned ;). When we arrived at Alpin, we were so pleased with the atmosphere. It has a cool and laid back feel to it but still very beautiful. It also offers touches of the outdoors with its woodsy winter decor and live trees.

Jamie came to see us, as soon as we were seated, and kindly explained his delicious menu. Knowing that we liked meat, he took charge and suggested a few of dishes he knew we’d enjoy.

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Lucky for us, he treated us to the Crispy Pork Ribs which were to die for! Julien is a major rib lover and I think that he’s officially turned me into one as well 😉 these were insane. Crunchy on the outside and super flavourful and tender on the inside. They were served with a delicious coleslaw which paired perfectly with the meat. At the same time, we were served the seared scallops. Check these out. I think they were the best scallops I have EVER eaten:

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They were served on a curried cauliflower puree with a bacon jam, crispy leeks (OMG) charred cauliflower and chicharron! AMAZING!

Next were our mains courses: tenderloin and striploin. Each of the main courses are served with a blend of Canadian grains and a choice of two additional sides. Yep, I said two! We choose the sauteed rapini and maple glazed heirloom carrots:

I was never a huge fan of rapini, when I was younger, but I’ve really grown to love it. For those who haven’t tried it yet, it looks a bit like broccoli but it has a bitter taste. Also, the mashed potatoes that accompanied my beef were literally the best I’ve EVER eaten in my entire life and I like to think that we eat well. Jamie, I have no idea how you achieved the flavour and consistency but it was 100% on point. If you read this, please send me the recipe if you’re willing to share ;).

I’d also like to note that our waitress (whose name I, unfortunately, cannot remember) was fabulous. She was super sweet but also very knowledgeable about the menu and the wines offered at the restaurant. We loved her so much that Julien requested to be seated in her area the following evening. Why mess with a great thing, right!

Of course, our evening had to end with dessert. Unfortunately, Julien wasn’t feeling the hottest by the end of the meal so Jamie had dessert sent to our room. We got ready for bed, made some peppermint tea and our dessert arrived just as we got into our comfies. Jamie prepared a beautiful creme brulee for us. I never had a chance to ask him but I believe that it was prepared with quite a bit of lemon which made it unique. I was also surprised to find out, the next evening, that it was a cheesecake creme brulee. Why is this important, well because I HATE cheesecake…of course, Julien loved this 😉 this just shows you how good it was!

Dining at Alpine Social was a unique and tasty experience. The atmosphere, including a live band, was so relaxing and cozy and the food is exquisite. For those of you who are planning on heading to the Fairmont Lake Louise this year, I highly recommend that you stop by Alpine Social and taste some of the beautiful dishes on Jamie’s menu. You won’t regret it.

Have you stayed at the Fairmont Lake Louise? If so, what did you think? Did you have a favourite restaurant?

That’s all for now. Hope you have a fabulous weekend and for those of you who live in Ottawa, stay warm.

Ciao,

xo

 

 

 

Le Baccara – What a treat!

Hey guys,

Hope you’re having a great week! Can you believe that it’s December already! I don’t know about you but I’m ready and excited for the last month of the year. Along with December, comes Christmas and Christmas outings. The following is just one of many.

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of joining our friends, George and Chels for dinner at Le Baccara, a 5 diamond restaurant located in the Casino Lac-Leamy and what an experience it was. I had been to the Casino several times before but it had been at least 10 years and I definitely didn’t experience it like this.

As soon as we pulled up, I was in awe at how beautifully decorated the hotel and lobby were for the Christmas season. The grandeur of all of the decorations and trees was breathtaking.

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We started our evening at the Bacchus bar equipped with fabulous glass tables, large leather seats and an impressive, to say the least, fireplace. It was the perfect spot to sit and catch up over a cocktail. We sipped on a bottle of Champagne and caught up on our weeks. Not a bad way to end a busy week and kick start the evening right ;).

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Next stop was dinner at Le Baccara. We walked though the casino and past this beautiful tree.

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Isn’t it breathtaking? WOW.

The experience was fabulous from the start. As soon as we arrived, we were promptly escorted to our tables and within a matter of minutes, we were served champagne. We spent the next 45 mins sipping on it, in large comfy chairs knowing that we had a delicious meal ahead of us.

As for the meal, we enjoyed a six course meal. Each course was beautifully presented and paired with the perfect glass of wine. The service was fabulous and our sommelier, Danielle Dupont, was impeccable. She was able to describe our wines beautifully and was extremely knowledgeable which was great for Julien and George who love to ask plenty of questions about what they’re eating and drinking ;).

Our first course was by far my favourite. It was a beef carpaccio that was to die for. It was like no other. As you can see, it offered many elements, including sliced truffles. #yum

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Our second dish was a lobster tail, with tete fromagee (my apologies for the missing accents. I need to figure out how to use them on my new Chromebook).

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What I love about these dinning experiences, is that I get try foods I wouldn’t necessarily try or cook myself. Although I am not a picky eater, I enjoyed the lobster tail but I wasn’t the biggest fan of the tete fromagee (made with pigs feet). Maybe it’s an acquired taste ;)? Although it wasn’t my favourite part of the meal, I have to say that it was beautifully presented and very flavourful.

Next was a foie gras poele. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the actual foie gras lol but it’s because I was so blown away by its presentation as it arrived at the table :).

 

It was served with a glass of Sauterne. As you can see, Chels and I approved ;).

Next on the menu was a seared scallop with octopus. This scallop was cooked to perfection and delicious!!! Although I love scallops, I haven’t been brave enough to cook them myself. I find that there’s a fine line when cooking them. If you sear them too long, they’re chewy but if you don’t cook them enough they’re slimy. As for the octopus, it looked beautiful but I wasn’t a fan. Perhaps it too will grow on me ;).

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Second to last was pheasant with a potato puree and a baked apple stuffed with raisins. This dish was my second favourite. I had never had pheasant before and it was delicious. I highly recommend it for those who haven’t yet tried it. The veggies and potato puree were lovely but the stuffed apple offered a unique touch. It was sweet, almost like a dessert, and paired beautifully with the pheasant. Original and super tasty.

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Last, but not least, was dessert. By then, we were full and I forgot to take a picture. Yep, I’m totally regretting having not taken a picture but I’ve learned from my mistake 😉 and won’t forget next time we’re out. It was a baked apple served on top of a homemade cookie.

Overall, this evening was spectacular from start until finish. Le Baccara is definitely worth the 5 starts that it’s earned and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to celebrate an important milestone such as a birthday or anniversary. On top of all of this, they were very understanding of my gluten allergy and ensured that each of my dishes were GF. Merci Le Baccara!

For those who have been to Le Baccara, what did you think of this restaurant and what was your favourite dish?

That’s all for now! Hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Talk soon xo

A review of my favorite facial products

Happy Friday Everyone!!!

Hope you had a fabulous week and Halloween! Our son absolutely loved every minute of Halloween and like all great parents, we are enjoying the benefits of having all of his chocolate and chips in the house ;).

I once again couldn’t decide on one post for this week so I decided to publish two. I’ m dedicating this post to five of my favourite products that I use on my face and the other post to a recent Oatmeal and raisin GF muffin recipe that I made.

I don’t know about you, but I have struggled my entire life with finding the perfect face wash, makeup remover, lotion and eye cream. Well folks, I’m happy to report that I’ve found a few products that I absolutely love and a couple of them may shock you as they are super affordable.

Since my teens, I’ve always had problem skin. It’s very dry and I continue (and probably will always have) hormonal acne. Damn hormones! I’m sure that some of you can relate to this. ..right? 😉 I thought this would go away with age or maybe after having kids but to be honest it’s only worsened. Not fair!

For those who have similar issues with their skin, I hope that some of my skin care secrets help you out and if you have any tips or product suggestions for me I would love to hear about them.

So here are the products that I’m currently using on my face daily:

1. Face Wash: Nivea’s refreshing foaming cleanser 

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Nivea refreshing foaming cleanser

I always start by washing my face with Nivea’s refreshing foaming cleanser. I’ve used so many products on my face since my teens and only came across this cleanser about a year ago and LOVE IT! It does an excellent job at cleaning my skin and removing my makeup and it also doesn’t dry it out or leave a residue on it. More importantly (and I may regret saying this lol) I’ve NEVER reacted to it.

Even better, it only costs $10. I remember my mom using their products when my sister and I were young and I never really gave them a try until I was older and I’m happy that I did. Like I’ve said before, mom usually knows best ;). For all of these reasons, I give this product a 10/10 and highly recommend that you try it out.

2. Makeup remover: Clean and Clear cleansing makeup wipes

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Clean&Clear Facial Cleansing wipes

Once I’m done washing my face, I wipe away the leftover makeup with these wipes which surprisingly work like a charm. Why surprisingly, well I’ve always associated clean and clear products with back to school adds when I was in elementary and high school lol “clean and clear and under control.” Does anyone else remember those adds lol?

The awesome thing about these is that they actually work. I wipe each eye once or twice and the makeup comes off effortlessly. Another bonus is that this product isn’t oily, it leaves your skin feeling nourished and there’s no need to rinse after use. Finally, an added bonus is that it’s super affordable costing around $10 depending on where you buy it. These Clean and Clear cleansing wipes are an absolute fav and I highly recommend that you try them out as well. Because of these reasons, I give this product a 10/10 as well.

3. Eye creamKiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate 

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Kiehls Powerful-Stregth Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate

After washing my face and removing my makeup, I dab a little bit of Kiehl’s Powerful- Srength Line-Reducing Eye-Brightening Concentrate. I’ve only tried a couple eye creams in the last few years but this one is my favourite so far. I find that after using it for a couple of days I can notice improvements in the skin around my eyes. They become brighter and the dark circles lessen. I’m onto my second bottle of this product now so I would say that I’m pretty happy with it but I would love to hear any recommendations you have regarding any line reducing and eye brightening creams. I would give this product a 7/10.

I’m looking forward to trying others, once this bottle is empty, to see if there’s anything else out there that I’d love more.

4. Lotion #1: Clarin’s HydraQuench Lotion SPF 15 – Normal to combination skin

Finally, once I have washed my face, removed my makeup and applied my eye lotion I apply lotion all over my face (of course, in an upward motion ;)). I’ve always been a lover of products made by Clarins. My mother-in-law started me on them years ago and I’m so grateful for that. Merci Mona 😉 The bad news is that they’re no longer selling my favourite daily moisturizer. I went to buy it this summer and found out that they’ve replaced it with this HydraQuench Lotion with SPF 15. Unfortunately, I’m sad to report that I’m not a fan of this lotion. Although it’s light and hydrating, my skin always breaks out after I use it for two or more days. I was very surprised by this since I had never reacted to their products before. I guess that this new product just isn’t a good match for me. I still use it but I rotate it along with Clarin’s Beauty Flash Balm which is AMAZING!!! I swear by this product. See review below.

I give this lotion a 5/10 because it does go on lightly and you don’t have to use much but unfortunately, I won’t be buying it again since it makes my skin breakout. Below is a picture of it along with the Beauty Balm.

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Clarins HydraQuench Lotion and Clarins Beauty Flash Balm

5. Lotion #2 – MY ABSOLUTE FAV – Clarin’s Beauty Flash Balm (brightens and tightens)

Ok, this product is by far my favourite cream of all time and you have to try it. I was told that it isn’t supposed to be used daily since it’s more of a pick me up cream and is meant to be used “when needed” but if I could I would 🙂 Why? Well, it’s because I actually notice a difference in my skin as soon as I use it. This beauty flash balm is supposed to brighten and tighten and that it does. When I apply it to my skin I feel its effect right away. My skin immediately looks more alive and much brighter. Being the mom of two kids under the age of 4 and having just returned to work both my skin and myself are a little tired once and a while lol and could use a pick me up. This balm goes on thicker than the Hydraquench cream, however, it doesn’t feel thick once applied and more importantly it doesn’t cause my skin to react. Actually, I’ve never reacted to this.

This product runs for $50 and is worth every dollar. For all of the reasons above,  I give this product a 10/10 and look forward to continuing to use it. Oh, I forgot to mention, the only downside (which doesn’t affect my rating, is that it doesn’t contain an SPF).

Well, that’s what I’m using on my face. I would LOVE to hear about your favourite facial cleansers or creams so please take the time to let me know in a comment.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Talk soon,

Ash