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Win tickets to the Vancouver Modern Home Tour

Win tickets to the Vancouver Modern Home Tour

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I love walking around my neighbourhood in the early twilight, when people have turned their lights on but not yet closed their blinds. It’s the small glimpse into their homes that makes me happy – what do they have on their walls, how big is that front room – that kind of thing. I don’t quite have the gall to show up at open houses and gawk when I have no intention of buying, however house tours give me license to wander and stare all I like.

The heritage house tours are fascinating and I love the laneway house tours for ingenious ideas in (very) small spaces, but it’s hard to beat modern house tours for sheer drama.

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This year, the Vancouver Modern Home Tour has been curated by Western Living magazine editor-in-chief Anicka Quin, and there are some beauties on the list. I’ve already earmarked two I’ve seen from the street that I’ve always been curious about (like the house in the photo at the top of the post), so I’m quite excited to see how all those corners work from the inside. There are newly built structures as well as incredible projects that started as older houses, smaller spaces and sprawling mansions.

Garden.

This is a self-guided tour, so you will need transportation between the homes, a few of which are in West Vancouver. You have from 11am-5pm on Saturday 20 September to visit the homes. Tickets are $30 in advance, and $40 on the day, kids under 12 are free.

I’m a bit of a house tour nerd, so let me share what I’ve learned:

– Wear comfortable slip-on shoes of some sort, as you have to remove them at every house, and bring a bag to carry them in as you’ll be ferrying them around
– Leave the big backpack behind, a small cross-body bag is best – you don’t want to knock anything over in the tight spaces
– Don’t bring a big camera, these are peoples’ homes and photography is usually not allowed
– Plan your route ahead of time, including a lunch and/or coffee stop
– Agree with your touring partner if there are one or two homes you’re okay to miss and plan the route accordingly, often time gets tight at the end of the day, so it’s good to see the ones you’re really keen on first

The nice people at Modern Home Tours have have given me sets of two passes for my readers. Go forth and enter!
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All photos courtesy Modern Home Tours

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Whistler Children’s Festival + Giveaway

Whistler Children’s Festival + Giveaway

Whistler is probably not top of mind for a summer holiday destination, but I can tell you from experience, it should be.

Stunningly beautiful lake beaches, paved bike paths, and a great playground surrounded by pedestrianized paths and many coffee shops. And on the 12th and 13th of July, there’s also the Whistler Children’s Festival.

The Children’s Festival is returning to the Whistler Olympic Plaza, right in the heart of Whistler Village, with performances by Will Stroet, Charlotte Diamond, Fresh Groove, and the Vancouver Circus School to name a few. There’s face-painting, a toddler free play tent, Vancouver Aquarium touch tanks, and balloon creatures. Keep an eye out for giveaways from Lovechild Organics and Yumm Brownies, as well popsicles and fruit leathers.

One of my favourite aspects of this festival are their creative workshops. Register online ahead of time, and your little one can make soap-stone carvings, bear-paw t-shirts, birdhouses, cereal box jet-packs, or learn circus skills. The creative workshops are all under $20 each, and many less than $10 – that’s impressive, as supplies are included.

And because I’d love for you to get a chance to go, enter the giveaway below to win this incredible package:

– 2 nights’ stay (nights of July 11 & 12) at Whistler Hilton hotel
– VIP family entrance pass to Whistler Children’s Festival
– $200 gift certificate to The Keg restaurant in Whistler
– Family trip for 4 on the River of Golden Dreams
– 4 hours of babysitting in Whistler for 1 to 2 kids
– $50 gift certificate to 21 Steps restaurant
– Pizza delivered to the Hilton for one meal

Now that would be fun, wouldn’t it?

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Gus on the Go giveaway

Gus on the Go giveaway

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You lucky people! After seeing how much we loved their language app, the generous developers behind Gus on the Go have offered 5 apps to give away to my readers. You can pick which language you’d like too. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, US and UK, and you can pick iOS or Android.

Go forth and enter!

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Win tickets for the BC Home + Garden Show 2014

Win tickets for the BC Home + Garden Show 2014

bhgs garden

It’s that time of year again – time to wander around planning the most incredible kitchen or how you’d completely re-do your back garden. One of my favourite thing about the BC Home + Garden Show is wandering around a large indoor space while warm and dry, sitting in garden space mock-ups. This winter hasn’t been as bad as some, but by late February we’re all a bit waterlogged and sick of rain and cold. Looking at all the garden examples reminds me that one day, it will be warm again. I will actually go outside without a coat. And a hat. And wellies.

This year, the Urban Fare Cooking stage looks interesting – lots of local chefs will be up there. Re-Up BBQ on Southern cooking, Jackie Ellis from Beaucoup Bakery on dinner party desserts, Vikram Vij on modern Indian cooking, Cam McGowan from CRAFT Beer Market on cooking with beer… the full schedule is on the event site. The Vancouver Sun Gardener’s School has some good sessions too, even for apartment dwellers like us: ‘Incredible Edibles for Small Gardens’, ‘Herbs at Your Fingertips’, ‘Success for the Urban Fruit and Vegetable Gardener’.

BCHGS

The BC Home + Garden Show is at BC Place, Wed 19 Feb until Sun 23 Feb. Wednesday-Saturday they’re open until 9pm.

Feel like going along to check it out? You’re in luck, I have a pair of tickets to give away.

Go forth and enter!

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Santa photos complete with scheduled snow [and a giveaway]

Santa photos complete with scheduled snow [and a giveaway]

elliot santa

We had never managed the mall Santa photo with our son until this year. The queues always look long, the children miserable, the elves a bit dazed. But I had heard good things about the Lougheed Town Centre set-up last year. A bit quieter, but well done.

Arriving right as the Santa village opened on a weekday was good. We even witnessed one of the indoor snowfalls! Considering we probably won’t see any snow until our drive into the Interior to visit relatives, it was a pretty moment. Our friends in pretty much any other area of Canada are laughing at us right now…

The Santa was jolly and lovely, and there were no tears for the actual photo. The resulting photo was handed to me on a hilarious snowman-shaped USB stick. Of course, when my son saw it, headless, sticking out the side of my laptop, there were some questions.

The Confederation Park mini train circled the Santa hut, so of course we had to take a ride right after. I wish we had managed that during one of the snowfalls.

The whole experience was incredibly calm and straight forward. They have a paging system, so you can put your name down on the list and then go for a wander while waiting for your turn (no wailing children waiting in the queue). If you can make it on a Monday, the Santa photos are free! I definitely recommend it if you don’t have a favourite place to go already.

The generous people at Lougheed Town Centre have offered a $50 mall gift card to my readers. Now, I have to tell you, there is a shiatsu massage kiosk. It’s run by the same people who have the one in Lonsdale Quay, and all the people who work there come from one massage school. They are brilliant. It may feel weird to lie down in the middle of the mall, but I promise you within 2 minutes you won’t care. Who doesn’t need a massage after the month of December is over?

Go forth and enter…

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