Pur Envi Eco Spa – Ottawa, ON

Pur Envi Eco Spa – Ottawa, ON

Pur Envi Eco Spa – Ottawa, ON

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911 Richmond Rd, Ottawa, ON K2A 0G8
Phone: (613) 715-9503
https://purenvi.ca

info@purenvi.ca

I was invited to Pur Envi Eco-Spa by owner, Anna. It was a great opportunity to check out a Salon & Spa in Ottawa as I’m there so frequently. This spa is all eco friendly. They don’t use harsh chemicals or even ammonia based hair dye. Upon entering, you don’t get that harsh ammonia smell that most salons have. It was the perfect start to the appointment, because with my chronic migraines, the smell from the hair dyes would more than likely trigger one.

Anna and I realized quickly into the appointment that we have a lot more in common than initially expected. Anna informed me that she also struggles from Rheumatoid Arthritis, like myself. After discussing medications and trial & error situations, we found there was a specific reason why I was in the spa with Anna. I’m a huge believer in the universe and it working behind the scenes when you don’t even realize it. This was another one of those moments where the universe clicked for me and I immediately understood the WHY of this visit. Finding people who go through similar situations that you can bounce ideas off of, ask questions, etc. is really special. For me, being diagnosed so young, I always wind up with questions. The fact that Anna was an open book was helpful and I admire her ability to be strong and forthcoming about her situation. I understand the difficulty of it, so needless to say, I was grateful for her sharing her mind with me

Anna has been in the beauty industry her whole life, but had started out in the hairstyling industry.  However she had to switch to esthetics as she had severe allergies to perms and colors. Once her health took forefront in priorities Anna decided to start working from home in order to eliminate a lot of triggers which are bad for anyone with Auto- Immune diseases

So off to a great start, I sat down in the beautiful and comfy pedicure chairs and got to pick my colour. They use Artistic Nail Design polishes and I selected the colour “Uptown” for my toes as it has been my chosen colour lately. It is a Mauve tone, and really great for the winter I think. I have been wearing a sweater from American Eagle lately and it is the same shade.

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The pedicure ($65-75)  was super relaxing, especially because Anna focuses on having an all natural spa, so all the scrubs and lotions smell amazing like lavender and mint We got to connect and bond over our Auto-Immune disease struggles and get pampered at the same time. She was fantastic at making sure her movements were not detrimental to my usually sore feet, and she made sure to be extremely gentle. The pedicure was finished off with some BCL Lavender lotion (Be, Care, Love) which is an all natural based lotion, organically based and packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins for healthy skin. The Lavender Mint combo is so relaxing and smells really wonderful.

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Next up I had an eye-brow wax  ($30) using Nu-Free which is a soy-based wax that tends to be less than painful than typical waxing, and slows down the regrowth of hair. When used in conjunction with the Finipil (antiseptic cooling lotion) it can reduce ingrown and irritation,  and can help slow the production of hair. The wax was absolutely painless and my brows have looked great since.

While I didn’t have a hair service, I did look into the products they use and the Calura hair dye is all Gluten Free, suitable for vegans, ammonia free, and overall seem to be great hair colouring products. I really appreciate the fact that Anna went to all these measures to create a really health based salon and spa for everyone to enjoy no matter their limits. I am definitely going to get a hair service next time I return. They are keratin based and have absolutely no gluten containing ingredients fo those who have DH and need GF products.

The experience was fantastic, and I have definitely found the salon for me when I am in Ottawa. They take pampering to another level and I was able to feel like a Princess for the afternoon.  Be sure to mention my review if you’re booking, and I’d love to hear your positive experiences!

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xo, Erin

*The salon and spa services were provided to me for the nature of this blog post, but opinions are all my own*

Couples Resort

Couples Resort

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139 Galeairy Lake Rd,(End of)
Whitney – Algonquin Park, On, K0J 2M0.
Toll Free: 1-866-202-1179
info@couplesresort.ca

**To book- please call the front desk, and mention glutenfreedurhamregion.com to get the best rates available**

THE RESORT —
I was invited by Couples Resort to come for Valentines Day weekend with my sweetheart. This resort is about a 3 hour drive from Whitby. It is a beautiful drive with absolutely no traffic. Lots of trees, and such a stunning landscape to experience. It’s certainly not one of those bothersome drives that becomes painful, as it is just taking in the beauty that our province provides us.
Upon entering the resort, we checked in at the front desk. Mary met us with a friendly smile, and gave us all the information we need to explore the resort (and surrounding areas). There is so much to do while staying here, but the great part is just staying put in your room is just as satisfying. We were able to get a great balance of exploring the outdoors, and enjoying the comfort of our room.

On site is a spa where you can receive a variety of treatments (RMT Massage, Mani/Pedi, Body treatments), there is a solarium with a nice small gym and dry sauna, some shorter walking trails, as well as the Gallery.

We got ourselves checked in, checked out the dining room (I didn’t even have to tell them – they already had “Celiac” noted! Huge boost of confidence there!), and then went to unpack and see our room. 

THE ROOM–

The room is beyond any expectation I had imagined. In your washroom you have a European Shower which has a sauna in it. A large closet to hang your jackets, dresses, and store your luggage. There is a small kitchen with a Keurig to brew coffee in the morning, a sink, as well as a microwave and mini fridge. One really great thing is the drinking water is right from Algonqiun— very clean and refreshing. I made sure to drink tons of water while here, there is something about water right from your backyard that fills my hippie soul with happiness! A wood fireplace awaits, and is situated directly in front of the King Size bed. A TV which includes Shaw Satellite TV service as well as Netlflix. A comfy large couch, and your own balcony which has a personal hot tub for your and your honey to enjoy in private. Oh, and did I mention the gigantic whirlpool bath tub right beside the King Size bed? Oh yes. It is pure luxury and bliss. I have never felt like such a princess and so relaxed than staying at Couples Resort. We stayed in the Reubens room, which boasts 10ft ceilings, and is just about 1000 sq ft. With all that this room has to offer, you may never want to leave it! There is really no negatives to this place! The few suggestions I would have as a Celiac Diner is that for room service, It would be nice to have a little “GF” sticker, or marker, on the lids as our first night we ordered room service but had trouble identifying whose was whose as we ordered a few of the same items. Same with breakfast, a little difficult to decipher, and some of us who require a Gluten Free diet sometimes need that extra bit of confidence. I also found that after using the Sauna I wanted something a little more than water to drink, but there was no vending machine, or access to any juice or anything outside of dining hours.  The rooms are beautiful decorated and the renovations they have done are top notch. The decor is outstanding and really adds to the amazing vibe this room has. All of the furniture is carefully hand crafted, and the wallpaper to match.

THE FOOD–

When it comes to dining, this place has it down pat. Everyone is fully understanding of what “Celiac Disease” is, means, and what it requires. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you will not be looked at funny or asked “is this gluten?” while staying here. You just advise while booking any dietary restrictions and they know about it the entire time you are staying.

For breakfast I had a Gluten Free Waffle, Omelette, and the Couples Retreat breakfast (eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns). Let me tell you it has been a long time since I have had a waffle and these puppies were fluffy, sweet, and so filling. Perfect meal before venturing out into the cold to enjoy all this resort has to offer. Each morning it was a good variety of protein, carbs, and fresh fruit to enjoy.
For dinner the first night I had the 10oz New York Strip Steak, which came with fresh, crunchy green beans, and Double Smoke Bacon Confit potatoes. The steak was grilled exactly as I asked and it was seasoned wonderfully. All of the flavours and sauces complimented each portion that made up the meal. For starters I had Citrus Prawns, and Pork Belly the first night, and an Artisan Duck Salad, with Honey Tomato soup the next night. Again, everything is so fresh tasting, extremely colourful, and packed with flavour. It has been a long time since I have had Tomato soup so that was a real treat for me! I had a delicious Buccatini Carbonara, with Gluten Free Penne instead of the Spaghetti. It was served with a thick, creamy Black Pepper, Egg & Creamy Parmesan Sauce, as well as packed with Double Smoked Bacon. My taste buds were on overload! Normally I don’t allow myself much dairy, but it was well worth it on this vacation to indulge and enjoy all that this menu has to offer! They have Vegetarian options as well, for those of you that eat Vegetarian. They offer multiple desserts- I had the Gluten Free Chocolate Cake, the Creme Brûlée, and the Chocolate Ganache Tower. All so tasty and filling. For someone like me who tends to skip dessert, I was all in at Couples Resort! I indulged and it was worth it.
Over all I was super impressed with this vacation. It is the perfect place to visit for a getaway where you need some quality time. The whole package is here— and you won’t leave feeling disappointed, or hungry.  It is a beautiful drive, in a beautiful part of Ontario. I will absolutely be returning, and would highly suggest this spot to anyone who wants to have some alone time to relax and be romanced! 

#VisitKingston

#VisitKingston

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Last weekend I went to visit some family in Kingston, so I figured why not do a couple of reviews while I’m in town. It worked out really well, and I got to see a bunch of the city and enjoy some delicious eats at the same time.

A bit of background for those of you who are new to following me, I was born and raised in Kingston, and moved out to Whitby about 13 or so years ago. My family is out there, and my parents recently retired and made the move back. This city is a tourist spot for so many reasons. Not only is there always fun events going on downtown, but there is so much food to eat, and so many Gluten Free options.

I hope to cover them all here for you, as well as a few tourist things that are options. When it comes to Travelling, it is so important to find somewhere with plenty of entertainment and things to do, as well as have a variety of dining choices so no one gets bored. Kingston really delivers on the food front, when I started doing my research I found so many options, and was super impressed with the amount of places that knew what the word Celiac means, as well as understood it to the fullest extent.

One thing I do sadly regret is not stopping at The Big Apple located in Colborne, on my drive… I heard they have excellent pies and crumbles. Next time, thats for sure!
So fast forward the two hour drive from Whitby, to Kingston.
First stop was to head for brunch at Windmills Cafe & Catering.

WINDMILLS CAFE
Right downtown on Princess Street they even offer an outdoor patio to eat and watch the hustle and bustle of tourists and Kingstonian’s venture through the downtown core. I have eaten at Windmills last summer, and they are super careful with Cross Contamination. I suggest calling ahead, asking to speak to the manager in charge and advising of your requirements for eating. Making a reservation is good, as they are a very busy brunch spot. I ordered the French Toast and Eggs Benedict. The French Toast is actually a Cranberry/Raisin bread, which is made specifically for Windmills by a local bakery The Silly Yak (more on that bakery soon…..). I truly love that they all work together because its even more hometown friendly in my opinion. They use all separate toasters, pots & pans, etc. All of their sauces are Gluten Free, and their menu is very clearly marked with all kinds of options for Gluten Free. Overall this place is certainly Celiac Safe, just ensure to tell them your needs so they can properly take care of you.

THE SILLY YAK
Oh my goodness. The Silly Yak is the only 100% GF Bakery in Kingston. I popped in as its actually close to my parents house, which is great and super convenient. Located just off the 401 on Midland Ave, this small bakery boasts some of the best treats I’ve ever had. I got a Brownie with Vanilla Icing, probably one of the most moist (say that three times fast!) brownies I’ve ever had. It was so delicious, I definitely regret not buying more. I got a Nanaimo bar as well; something I love about this one is there is a small amount of coconut in the base, which is my kind of taste. I hate shredded coconut, but when it goes with a dish as long as it is in moderation I love it. So that was great. I also got some delicious peach tarts, and a regular butter tart. It was a great stop- worthwhile for anyone who is even travelling through to make a quick stop as it is in a convenient location.

AQUA TERRA
Last stop on this trip was Aqua Terra. It is located in the Delta Hotel right downtown overlooking Confederation Park, and all the beautiful sights that Kingston offers. This place is a bit hard to find because it is right inside Delta Hotel so we had a bit of a hard time actually locating it, but after walking around we figured it out eventually.
I had pre-booked this one, and spoken to Rose ahead of time to notify of what I was hoping to do, and to give any information ahead of time. Upon getting there, there was a slight mixup in the reservation but that was quickly sorted out. Next up the chef came out, we spoke to him to figure out what was GF and not. I have to say most of the menu is safe, just inform them ahead of time of if you’re celiac or not. They do NOT have a dedicated fryer so keep that in mind my Celiac Friends. We were essentially brought out small tasters of the entire menu, all of which were phenomenal. Everything is so fresh, and you can taste just how high quality these ingredients are. The main course was a delicious Fresh Fish of the Day— Halibut with a Cabbage side. This was 100% the best fish I have ever eaten. I generally only like my fish in tuna form, or in sushi. But this piece was literally melt in your mouth, can’t get enough. It was so filling, nutritious, and that really was the cherry on top. It did not have a “fishy” taste, but yet just buttery, light, and airy. My cousin, who is NOT GF in any way, but is on the Weight Watchers plan was able to come dine with me, and she said it was mostly within per points. So thats really great as well for those on any diet essentially. The photos do not do this food justice. Scallops, Shrimps, and Duck Confit- this is on a much higher caliber than any of the other main stream Fine Dining experiences available.

Overall this was a fantastic trip. I will be back in a few weeks to try out a few other places (Atomica, Harpers Burger Bar, Chez Piggy, etc) and to take my nephew to Fort Fright for his 10th Birthday. Its always fun to go home and visit with family and take advantage of all that my hometown has to offer!

Info below for contacts at these places if you’d like to make a reservation and get information ahead of booking.

Windmills Cafe & Catering:
184 Princess St
Kingston, ON K7L 1B1
P: 613-544-3948

info@windmills-cafe.com

Aqua Terra:
1 Johnson Street
Kingston, Ontario
P: 613- 549-6243
Reservations: Contact Ani Tuijtel atuijtel@aquaterrakingston.com to advise her of your requirements and she can get you set up

#IinKingston
#VisitKingston

This post was sponsored by Windmills Cafe, and Aqua Terra – All photos & opinions are mine.