During the summer months, West Vancouver converts its Ice Arena into a Ride&Slide PlayZone! Running 4 days a week until August 17, 2012, the PlayZone features a 20′ slide, a toddler play zone, a bouncy castle, an inflated obstacle course, a plasma car racetrack as well as other sports equipment available to play with.
Since Aiden is always super hesitant with bouncy castles, I really didn’t think he’d go for this. Wow, I was wrong. Initially he kind of balked at the idea of any of the bouncy castles, but after playing in the plasma car racetrack for a while, his adrenaline was up – and so was his courage! Before I knew it, he was in the obstacle course (going up ladders, down slides, over and through things), the toddler zone (with bouncing and slides) and finally on the giant slide! I thought for sure he would freak out half way up the ladder and want to come down… but he went up! And then down!
He had a look of “oh crap” coming down the slide that first time, but Aiden loves slides and split into a huge grin, clapping and shouting “yay” for his own achievement. Each and every time he went down (which he did over and over and over again!)
Aiden had almost no interest in the sports equipment at the PlayZone. He was able to go in all the bouncy castles except the standard one with the slide inside (the ladder in that one was less firm / harder to climb).
For toddlers, the PlayZone opens at 9:30 – after 10:30, older kids are invited in and the place gets much busier. We stayed and played until close to 12 – what a day! We go back tomorrow :)
Ianiv & I were married on April 1, 2006, having begun dating in 2000 while we were both in University. This year we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary at Fraîche in West Vancouver. I’d heard many great things about Fraîche, though oddly enough I had no idea it was in West Vancouver. Upon the recommendation of Raul, we drove over to the restaurant in the beautiful British Properties. With a breathtaking view of Vancouver from up high, we dined on several courses of amazing food.
To start off with, I have to applaud Fraîche for having a series of amazing non-alcoholic cocktails on the menu. Being pregnant has left me with very few drink choices when we go out and it was nice to have a change of pace. The drink menu would definitely cater to those of us who don’t choose to drink as well as the many families I saw dining while we were there.
The food was amazing, both in flavour and in presentation. I had a lobster squash bisque that was amazing and subtle followed by a mushroom risotto that was the best I’d ever had. Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of all exotic mushrooms, so I was taking a risk with this one. However, none of the mushrooms were chewy (my usual complaint) and the flavour was perfectly balanced – and amazingly enhanced by the tomatoes. Such a surprising combination. Ianiv ate the grilled octopus followed by the daily special, a braised yak that was so perfectly done it just melted in your mouth. For dessert, I had the sticky toffee pudding (one of my favourite desserts) and Ianiv had the vahlrona chocolate cardamom cremeux. Both were amazing, though I think the cardamom was a little under-played on Ianiv’s dessert.
The service we received at Fraîche was beyond reproach. Ianiv had the bad luck to order beer that was unavailable that day, twice!, and as compensation the waitress offered him a glass of wine on the house. In addition to this nice gesture, they did up a special platter for one of our desserts to celebrate our anniversary. Really special.
We will be going back to Fraîche for sure – I can’t wait to try the menu without my pregnancy food aversions and with the ability to have a glass of wine!
See all our photos from our dinner here.
As a boy with longer hair, Aiden has had several hair cuts already in order to keep his lovely hair from becoming a scruffy mess. It took forever for Aiden to grow hair, so I love to keep it long. In the effort to find the best haircut, we have sadly run into a few crappy ones. Here is my review of 3 local hair salons that cater to kids.
Sparky’s Kutz for Kids at Lonsdale Quay
We had Aiden’s first 3 haircuts at Sparky’s (first haircut / second haircut). In the beginning, Aiden had very little hair, so I wasn’t as concerned with style – I just wanted it to be kept clean-looking. However, as his hair grew out, I fell in love with the longer haired look, which is apparently hard for some people to trim. After a couple his third trim, which I felt was too short and too typical of all boys, I decided not to come back to Sparky’s. I had given specific instructions to keep his hair longer, which was disregarded.
Pros: great character chairs for kids to sit on, videos for distraction, toy as reward
Cons: seem to have standard “cut” styles they have trouble deviating from, do basic trim without styling / feathering, do not listen well to instructions.
Mops on Bellevue
Aiden’s 4th haircut was at Mops in West Vancouver, based on a positive review from a friend whose little boy also has long hair. Although the salon is small, it was an amazing haircut. We absolutely loved it. The stylist took the time to understand the style we wanted for Aiden and then spent a longer-amount of time trimming his hair and feathering it so it had a soft-looking appearance while still looking full. The stylist also understood how to keep his hair longer-looking while it was still rather thin in areas.
I would have happily returned here, but the one time I called, the salon was closed for a week. Being in West Vancouver, it was also more inconvenient for his latest haircut (with a newborn in the house).
Pros: videos for distraction, toy as reward, very skilled stylist
Cons: smaller salon
‘Fin’tastic’s Cuts for Kids
Aiden’s most recent haircut was at ‘Fin’tastic, thanks to a deal from Living Social. This is the only haircut where I have not been personally present, so I’m not sure how much of our experience was skewed by that.
I sent Ianiv and Aiden off to this salon with a photo of his last cut and instructions to keep his hair long. Although the photo only showed the front of his hair, the stylist did not even follow that instruction. As you can see from the photo set above, his bangs are a full inch too short, with even more around the sides – who curves the bangs up at the sides?? They also layered his bangs, instead of feathering them, making them appear way too short.
The entire cut was badly done with uneven layers. As with Sparky’s, it is probable that they lacked the skills to do a cut other than your standard short-haired-boy haircut. Very disappointed.
Pros: character chairs to sit on, videos for distraction
Cons: toys to purchase were distracting for Aiden, stylist was not skilled, did not follow instructions well
We made a very quick pitstop at the Park Royal Family Carnival yesterday. We had plans to take family portraits that afternoon, so we didn’t have long to spend at the Carnival. We were there long enough for Aiden to win a little dolphins stuffed animal and to have two rides – first on the train, then (sort of) on the helicopter.
Although Aiden talks fondly of the train ride, he looked like he was freaking out for most of it, and he definitely freaked out in the helicopter. After 3 times around, and a little up and down, he was crying to come out. It was “too fast”, he said.
Aiden is a sensitive little guy, easily started or upset by loud noises or things he deems scary. At times, that list seems to grow to include things that he was previously ok with. He’s a tentative little guy in some ways and very brave in others. We had several conversations later that day telling Aiden how brave he was to try the ride, even if he didn’t like it.
We try to re-enforce Aiden’s willingness to try things, even if they do scare him. I’m also personally trying to be more careful in labelling him as cautious or clumsy or anything like that when he’s in listening distance – he does hear everything!!
So, we had fun at the carnival. Even though we were there only a short time, it was probably enough time given that the remainder of the rides were even faster than the 2 he tried. A little exposure is sometimes enough! We’re hoping to head to Playland this year – more options there for things that are “not scary” ;)
Ambleside is one of the more well-known and well-loved beaches in Vancouver. Situated in West Vancouver, the beach spans a huge area from Lions Gate Bridge all along to about 13th St where you can continue along the waterfront path to many shops and restaurants, to John Lawson Park, or the beautiful seawall walk to Dundarave. The park itself features huge grassy fields for kite flying, a concession, a duck pond, and a playground.
The beach itself is one of the more ‘sandy’ beaches on this side of the water, though it doesn’t compare to beaches in Kits or Second Beach. Being exposed to the ocean traffic as it is, the waves can be quite large here (I have a memory from my own childhood of being pulled under from a large wave).
Depending on the tide, you will either enter the water from the sandy-ish beach or will have to pass through the seaweed / rock belt. Very low tide offers the best sand at waters edge. This is a beach that requires water shoes or sandals no matter the tide. The tidal pools in low tide are fun to search for shells and crabs and for collecting seaweed. Aiden is a little hesitant about the ocean at the moment, and finds the waves here particularly overwhelming, but I’m sure that will fade with time.
The playground isn’t huge, but it does offer some great activities for the really little ones. The ‘water park’ is essentially two fire hydrants with a controlled flow, so Aiden was completely in his element there. There are a couple of slides, some swings, and a playhouse to round out the toys.