Dog days of summer: A dog staycation at the Mere Hotel in Winnipeg

Staycation at the Mere Hotel, pet-friendly hotel in Winnipeg If you have been a follower of mine for awhile, you’ll know that I travel with my dog often.

My dog, Ziggy, a standard American Eskimo dog, is my everything. He’s my best friend, my soulmate, and my favourite travel buddy. Travelling with your dog is a really special experience. It allows you to really see your destination and explore areas that you maybe wouldn’t have. It also gets you out and about more often, since you need to take your dog for a walk and although some Ubers and cabs allow dogs, it’s easier to just walk them to and fro.

Ziggy and I have travelled to New York City and Montreal numerous times, and he’s also accompanied me to Quebec City, Toronto, Mont Tremblant, the Eastern Townships, and Ottawa. I feel like, in general, a lot of places are getting more dog friendly and embracing pet tourism more. Lots of hotels allow dogs now and it’s getting easier to travel with your pets to these destinations.

Now as a Winnipegger, travelling to all these places, which are extremely dog friendly, always made me have a longing for dog-friendly places here at home. I do have to say though that in the last few years lots of local businesses have been embracing our furry besties and allowing them to come inside (or outside) and enjoy their time with their owners.

This past weekend I actually got to do a little staycation with Ziggy in Winnipeg’s Exchange District and visit places in the surrounding areas that allow dogs.

Dog in the Mere Hotel in Winnipeg Dogs at the Mere Hotel in Winnipeg

Where to stay

Winnipeg has a ton of pet-friendly hotels but the one we stayed at is the Mere Hotel, located at 333 Waterfront Drive in the city’s Exchange District. The Mere is the perfect location for partaking in various dog-friendly activities, such as green spaces, tourism destinations, and food and beverage.

The Mere Hotel is a boutique hotel home to guest rooms, a fitness centre, and conference rooms.  The two-storey hotel offers complimentary WiFi, a walk-in rain shower, Nespresso premium coffee machines, plush bathrobes, and more. We stayed in a king-size bed room (there are also double queen options available), and since I had Zig with me, I got a room on the main floor with a river view.

The hotel itself is incredibly beautiful and modern and is a beautiful addition to the neighbourhood thanks to its aesthetic look of vertical coloured pipes that is a combination of both style and personality.

After we checked in at the Mere, we wanted to go out and explore the area. We walked through Stephen Juba Park, which is directly beside the hotel and leads into The Forks.  Since we were hungry, we crossed over the Esplanade Riel Footbridge into St. Boniface, Winnipeg’s French quartier and the largest Franco-Canadian community west of Quebec.  We walked for about 40 minutes to Dug & Betty’s Ice Creamery & Cafe, which has a pet-friendly patio and pet-friendly treats for dogs.

Dug & Betty's Ice Creamery in Winnipeg Sandwich at Dug & Betty's in Winnipeg

Dug & Betty’s (309 Des Meurons Street) was actually named after the founder, Fern Kirouac’s two dogs, includes delicious sandwiches, soups, salads, hot dogs, and more, but the real treat is the ice-cream selection. Go to the walk-up window and take a look at their small-batch ice-cream, as well as delicious sundaes, milkshakes, soft serve, and other treats. Make sure to get your dog a pup cone, which comes in a mini cone with vanilla ice-cream and a dog treat on top.

After Dug & Betty’s we walked back to The Forks to hop on the Splash Dash River Boat Tour. The Splash Dash Tour at The Forks has been a mainstay in the area since 1992 and gives visitors scenic and historically-informative 30-minute tours on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. Best part is that dogs an also join you on the boat for the tour, which shows you many Winnipeg landmarks all on the city’s famous waterways. Admission is only $12.50 for adults (dogs ride free), with seniors and youth $10.50.

Splash Dash Water Tour at The Forks

Once the boat tour was over we walked back to the Mere Hotel to rest up a bit before the evening, which was much needed since we had done a ton of walking in the day.  I instantly changed into my pjs and just chilled on the bed with Ziggy and watched tv in the room.  It was really nice to be able to do some fun downtown activities and then have somewhere to rest before our evening started.

Cocktails at Patent 5 in Winnipeg Cocktails and dogs at the Patent 5 Patio in Winnipeg

Around 5:30 pm Ziggy and I went to Patent 5 Distillery and Tasting Room, which is steps away from the hotel at 108 Alexander Avenue.  Patent 5 distills small-batch premium spirits, which are also used in delicious cocktails in their tasting room. During the summer they have a pet-friendly patio which you can enjoy with your dog.

After cocktails, I dropped Ziggy back in the room and then went to Cibo Waterfront Cafe with some friends, which is located right behind the Mere Hotel in a repurposed pump house on the Red River. The Mediterranean-inspired cafe has a delicious menu of pizzas, sandwiches and burgers (their fries are delicious), salads, pastas, and more. Complete your meal with a cocktail or some wine for a delicious experience.

Once we were done at Cibo, I went back to the room to grab Ziggy and walk to ManyFest, which is an annual festival that takes place every year in September and is downtown Winnipeg’s biggest street festival. The festival is filled with food trucks, carnival rides, an artisan market, live music, and much more. Located at Memorial Blvd and Broadway, near the Legislative Building, it was about a 15-minute walk from the hotel.

This year, ManyFest featured a Pup Patio, which was an off-leash area for dogs, so my friends and I got to take in some rides, walk around, and Ziggy got to play and make some new friends as well.

It was a pretty long day, so after about two hours at ManyFest we walked back to the hotel and went to bed (Ziggy was beyond tired and happy to pass out on the king-size bed).

Dog at the Mere Hotel in Winnipeg Dog at the Mere Hotel in Winnipeg

The next morning we woke up around 8:30 a.m. and went for a nice walk in Stephen Juba Park to Harrisons Coffee Co., which is a local chain with a few locations around the city.  The specialty coffee shop is named after the owners’ late dog and allows dogs in all their locations.  I grabbed a pumpkin latte and then we walked back to the hotel making a pit stop first on the docks on the river to take in the beautiful morning.

Once we got back we packed up our bags and then checked out and headed home.

It was such a nice little staycation for Ziggy and I and truthfully I never realized how many fun things there were to do with your dog in the area. I would say that if you are staying with your dog in Winnipeg, I would recommend the Mere Hotel since it’s located in the Exchange District and a stone’s throw from The Forks and St. Boniface, which are all filled with pet-friendly activities.

Makes sure to check out the Mere Hotel online to book your stay and let me know what your favourite pet-friendly activity is in Winnipeg!

Special thanks to Travel Manitoba and the Mere Hotel for this fun staycation. All opinions are my own.

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High-performance skincare: Top products to try from Darphin Paris

Darphin Paris Skincare Products I always love trying out new skincare brands.

Darphin Paris has been around for a long time now, however, I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out until recently. The brand was founded by Pierre Darphin, who did research on the preservation of skin health through the precise release of potent botanical actives.  Based on that, the brand today builds on Mr. Darphin’s pioneering research to lead the field in high-performing, botanical-based skincare solutions.

Now you may have seen these items at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart, and after having a few weeks of trying the line, I do have to say that the products really deliver. The brand sent over five items to explore the line and it’s been nice rotating them into my usual routine and seeing how they make my skin look and feel.

Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm

Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm

To start off your skincare routine, grab a dollop of the Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm (C$66), which is suitable to use morning and night.

This balm gives you an at-home spa experience thanks to the pleasant scent of rosewood essential oils and the formulation of marula oil, sage, and ylang ylang. It has a honey-like texture that transforms with water into a silky milk.

This balm entraps impurities, nourishes skin, relieves tightness, and leaves skin supply, smooth, and radiant.  It is great for reducing dryness and dehydration, as well as removing makeup and gently cleansing the skin.

Darphin Intral De-Puffing Anti-Oxidant Eye Cream

Darphin Intral De-Puffing Anti-Oxidant Eye Cream

After your are done cleansing and moisturizing, follow up with an eye cream. The Darphin Intral De-Puffing Anti-Oxidant Eye Cream (C$84) helps to visibly reduce puffiness and dark circles and provide moisture to the delicate eye area.

This eye cream has a gel-like texture and is formulate with 74 per cent natural origin ingredients, such as chamomile, hawthorn, and peony, all powerful anti-oxidants, which produce the skin from irritation and environmental aggressors.

This eye cream is great to use if you suffer from dark circles or puffiness, as well as dryness. It is also ideal for both morning and night.

Darphin Intral Inner Youth Rescue Serum

Darphin Intral Inner Youth Rescue Serum

This next one is one of their most iconic products.

The Darphin Intral Inner Youth Rescue Serum (C$122 for 30 ml) is a daily skincare essential that helps to preserve youthful skin by helping to correct and prevent skin sensitivity that can lead to the breakdown of collagen and elastin.

This serum helps to reduce redness, plump up fine lines, provide hydration, and give you a more strengthened skin barrier. After application, your skin will feel more hydrated, look more radiant, and leave you with a smoother, more refined texture.

I like to add two pumps of this to my face morning and night before my usual serum and pat it it into my skin. It has a wonderful sweet candy fragrance which is a real treat for the senses. I would say, if there is one product to pick up from the line, it would be this serum.

Darphin Hydraskin Rich Moisturizer

Darphin Hydraskin Rich Moisturizer

For moisturizer, give the Darphin Hydraskin Rich (C$86 for 50 ml) a shot.

This moisturizer has a creamy texture and is perfect for dry skin.  It includes shea butter, salicornia herbacea, butterfly lavender, and the brand’s Hydra-Structure Technology to help waken the skin’s moisture mechanisms and defend skin’s critical moisture reservoir.

This is great for Canadian winters since it helps to keep skin hydrated for 24 hours, as well as maintain hydration day after day.  It also leaves you with a luminous glowing complexion.

Darphin Intral Environmental Lightweight Shield Broad Spectrum 

As the last step in your daytime skincare routine, you should apply some SPF to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

The Darphin Intral Environmental Lightweight Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (C$81) has a blend of 100 per cent mineral UVA/UVB filters to protect skin from the skin and pollution (it’s also good to use on sensitive skin).

Shake up the bottle and apply a small amount to skin.  The formula disappears on skin, leaving it smooth, luminous, and protected. It can be used alone or as a makeup base as well. I also want to add that at $81, it is expensive for a sunscreen (especially when you see how tiny the bottle is), but you don’t need a lot for a good application, so it should last you a long time (you’ll want to use it up before it expires of course).

Darphin has a ton of other products in their line up as well, but these five are great starters to really get an idea of what the brand is all about.

Have you tried any Darphin products?

Please note, products provided by PR. All opinions are my own.

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Blonde + beautiful: Four products you need to try from Schwarzkopf for blonde hair

I’ve had blonde in my hair ever since I was 12 years old.

I was blonde as a little girl, but as I got older that blonde faded away into a mousy brown and basically since I turned 12 I have been throwing blonde in there ever since.

Although my hair right now isn’t as blonde as it once was (it’s more brunette with some highlights thrown in), I still like to use blonde shampoo and conditioner at least once a week to keep my blonde looking fresh and not dull.

I have used many different blonde haircare lines but one of my favourites is by Schwarzkopf. The BlondMe line is catered to all types of blondes and is designed to be used with their other products in the line to deliver beautiful results with your most vibrant colour yet.

I’ve used various BlondMe products over the years but Schwarzkopf recently sent me some of their all-star items for blonde hair to incorporate anatomy routine.

Schwarzkopf BlondMe Neutralizing Shampoo for Cool Blondes

Schwarzkopf BlondMe Neutralizing Shampoo for Cool Blondes

The BlondMe Neutralizing Shampoo for Cool Blondes (C$24) is a neutralizing shampoo that contains purple pigment. This shampoo has a gentle formula, meaning it’s safe to use on both delicate lightened and coloured hair.

The formula contains a bonding technology that creates new bonds within the hair fibre and will gently neutralize any yellow tones without changing your hair colour.

Apply this to wet hair and leave on for two minutes let it do it’s thing.  Afterwards, rinse out for soft and silky strands.

BlondMe All Blonds Rich Mask

Follow up with the BlondMe All Blonds Rich Mask (C$34). This mask, which is great to use once a week, helps to smooth and seal the surface of porous blonde hair to repair it and leave it feeling and looking silky smooth.

The formula contains marula oil to provide a brilliant shine, as well as hydrolyzed keratin to improve strength and elasticity in the hair. Apply this mask in your hair, focusing the product from the mid-shaft to the ends and then leave it in for at least 10 minutes before rinsing.  You’ll find your hair is softer, stronger, and more elastic.

BlondMe Cool Blondes Neutralizing Spray Conditioner

BlondMe Cool Blondes Neutralizing Spray Conditioner

Once you’re out of the shower it’s always recommended to use a couple styling products. The BlondMe Cool Blondes Neutralizing Spray Conditioner (C$22) helps to detangle hair and deliver cool pigments to neutralize any yellow in the hair.

Spray this on damp hair to provide strength and moisture, leaving hair healthy-looking and shiny. It has panthenol in it to moisturize hair and balance the natural water content of the hair structure. It also delivers cool pigments to maintain, refresh, and enrich blonde tones in the hair.

OSIS+ Freeze Strong Hold Hairspray

OSIS+ Freeze Strong Hold Hairspray

If you are styling your hair then you’ll need a good hairspray and I’ve always loved the OSIS line.  The OSIS+ Freeze Strong Hold Hairspray (C$20.50) delivers instant strong hold to the hair that lasts for days.  It’s also fast drying and protects hair from external aggressors.

This hairspray is really nice since it doesn’t leave hair feeling crunchy. Hair is left manageable and soft, while your style is set in place.

Schwarzkopf Professional is a salon-quality brand so with that comes salon-quality haircare (although to be fair, I have used a lot of different haircare brands and even the drugstore ones have been fab lately).  If you have blonde hair then I would look into picking up some of these items. If you are going to invest in going blonde (which, if you are blonde, you know how pricey it is to maintain), then I would invest in some great haircare products to maintain the colour as well.

Have you tried the Schwarzkopf BlondMe line?

Please note, products sent by PR. All opinions are my honest own.

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