Saturday, July 16, 2016

House Cleaning with Mad Maids: Review & Giveaway!

You may have noticed it's been a little quiet around here for the past few months, but there's good reason for it. I purchased my first home in March and it's been non-stop busy ever since! Between work, furniture shopping, and spending time with family, it feels like I haven't had much time for anything else. It's been a great learning experience and I wouldn't change a thing. My boyfriend and I are happy with where we are, but the one thing I would love to change is the amount of cleaning I do!

Shortly after I moved into my home Mad Maids got in touch with me to schedule a deep cleaning of my house. The timing could not have been more perfect - the house was dusty from renovations and despite all the wiping and cleaning I had already done, I kept finding dirty spots here and there.

Mad Maids is a home cleaning company based out of Calgary, which recently expanded their services to Edmonton. Their company operates by a flat-rate basis which is determined by the number of rooms in your home. Using their system, the number of rooms correlates with the amount of living space in your home which needs to be cleaned.

Three different cleaning services (Routine/Deep Clean/Move in & Move Out) are offered by the teams at Mad Maids, where the deep clean (+$50) and Move In/Move Out (+$60) have an additional cost. If you don't need your whole house cleaned, there is the option for cleaning at an hourly rate of $45.

For each scheduled cleaning a team of two maids comes to your home. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical letting strangers into my home to clean, but Mad Maids employs people who pass a thorough background check, and the company is fully bonded and insured to protect customers in the case of accidental damages or theft. The two people on the team work well together, with the advantage that the job done quickly and efficiently.

I scheduled my cleaning on a Saturday afternoon while I was home as I was curious and wanted to see how my home would be cleaned. The great thing about Mad Maids is that scheduling is done easily online, so their hours can accommodate your schedule. Whether you want cleaning done during the day, evening, or on the weekend, they will find a team that can work for you.

My stove top is SPOTLESS!

I live in a bungalow so there's a ton of living space that needs to be cleaned. For a deep clean of my four bedroom house, it took Mad Maids 3.5 hours, which would technically equate to 7 hours of cleaning for one person! My team didn't take any breaks and worked straight through to clean my house from top to bottom. That's the beauty of the flat rate pricing - you don't pay any additional fees no matter how long the cleaning takes. I was impressed with the cleaning done by Mad Maids. Their extensive cleaning checklist ensured that no spots were left dirty, and no fine details were missed. I was actually surprised about some of the spots they cleaned (the exterior of my front door, the cracks under my sliding windows) and appreciated their attention to detail.

We had a great experience using Mad Maids and my boyfriend and I are considering getting regular cleanings done every few months to supplement what we do on a weekly basis. Mad Maids also offers the option of cleaning when you aren't home, and I think it would be amazing to go to work and come home to a clean house! Does your house need a little bit of help from Mad Maids? Use my code LMA20 for $20 off a house cleaning from Mad Maids, or enter to win a $200 gift card to use towards a cleaning! A second gift card of $50 is also up for grabs. Check out all the details below!



$200 Towards a Mad Maids Cleaning
($50 for the runner up)

Mandatory Entry: comment below telling me why you do/don't like to clean.
If you enjoy it, leave me some tips to help make my cleaning easier!

Note: leaving a comment is mandatory to enter this giveaway - additional entries
will improve your chances of winning, but will not count unless you leave a comment

  • Follow me via Twitter (@littlmissandrea) (+1)
  • Follow Mad Maids via Twitter (@MadMaids) (+1)
  • Tweet about the giveaway: "Hey @MadMaids, my house needs a good cleaning! Hope I win the $200 GC from @littlmissandrea! #yeg" and link back to this post (+2)
  • Follow me via Instagram (@littlmissandrea) (+1)
  • Visit the Mad Maids Facebook page (+1)
  • Visit my Facebook page, and share the giveaway post (+3)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to anyone 18+ years of age in Edmonton. You have until July 30th to enter and the winner will be selected by random and be contacted via email. Good luck!

*Disclosure: I was provided with a house cleaning from Mad Maids free of charge. Views expressed in this post are solely mine. This post is 100% my opinion, and as always, my priority is to you, the reader, to present an unbiased, thorough review.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Taste of Central & Southern Italy: Uccellino

It's been a long time coming, but one of Edmonton's highly anticipated restaurant openings of 2016 is here. After two highly successful restaurant openings, Chef Daniel Costa's third restaurant quietly opened it's doors to the public this past Friday.

Uccellino - 10349 Jasper Avenue - Edmonton AB

Uccellino, which translates to 'little bird' in Italian, is located to the west of its two older sisters Corso 32 and Bar Bricco. The space is quite different from Corso and Bricco, as Uccellino is lit by natural light through a big front window and is more spacious with high ceilings and larger square footage. The dining space features neutral tones and minimalist decor, giving it a great modern, casual vibe from the moment you walk in.

Given the larger space, Uccellino can seat roughly 70-80 guests, and the top floor hosts a space for private dining. Reservations at Corso 32 are difficult to score without advance booking, and Bar Bricco can have long wait times, so you'll be glad to hear that half the seats at Uccellino will remain unreserved for every dinner service. How great is that?

Uccellino's menu features traditional dishes you would find in Central and Southern Italy. The menu is separated by multiple courses, in true Italian style: Fritti & Crostini, Antipasti, Primi, Secondi, Formaggi & Dolci. Among the multiple dishes there truly is something for everyone as the menu features some vegan and vegetarian options too. I didn't have trouble finding something I liked - my issue was trying to narrow it down to a few dishes as I was tempted by the whole menu!

After ordering, every table gets a dish of olives for snacking. I'm not a huge fan of olives, but these green olives were brined beautifully with hints of orange and caraway, which complemented the buttery flesh and mild flavour.

First to our table was the Potato Croquette ($10/5) made with parmigiano, lemon and nutmeg. The golden brown exterior had a nice crunch, like that of the delicious arancini at Corso 32. Breaking into the middle revealed a velvety mix of potato and fragrant parmigiano - a flavourful combination that makes these croquettes little umami bombs.

Our next plate was the rustic Chicken Liver & Balsamico Crostini ($11/3), where the pate was spread across three large, lightly toasted crostini. The chicken liver itself was smooth and well seasoned, and I enjoyed the contrasting sweetness from the balsamic drizzled overtop.

As we waited for our main courses to arrive, the kitchen sent out a plate of beautiful Gnudi Verde ($18). The six spinach and ricotta dumplings took up the flavour of the fragrant sage butter they were cooked in, and they were delicious. The light dusting of parmigiano was the perfect finishing touch to give them a bit more flavour without overpowering the delicate gnudi.

Unlike Corso 32 & Bar Bricco, Uccellino is utilizing dry pasta from Italy, so we had to try them out for our mains. The dry pasta from Pasta Setaro and La Pasta dei Martellii is exclusive to the restaurant in Edmonton, and diners can actually purchase packages to take home and cook.

For myself I couldn't pass up the Mezza Maniche Cacio e Pepe ($17) with Sardinian pecorino and fresh ground black pepper. Although simple, cacio e pepe is one of my favourite ways to eat pasta, and this dish hit the spot. The pasta was al dente with a great bite, the pepper carried a bit of heat, and the sauce was rich and clung to every bit of pasta.

We also ordered the Maccheroni ($19) cooked in a pigs head and prosciutto ragu bianco, and finished with a dusting of parmigiano. The dish had a nice proportion of meat to it and it was another great pasta with balanced flavours.

The Dolci portion of the menu offers four desserts, but I was particularly drawn to the Amedei Chocolate Budino. A budino is a dessert similar to a custard or pudding, so I was surprised to see the budino presented in the form of a slice of cake. On the first bite I fell in love - the texture was similar to that of a dense mousse, and it just melts in your mouth. The dark chocolate had just the right hint of sweetness, and the dallop of creme fraiche on the plate had a bit of tang that complemented the chocolate incredibly well. If you enjoy the Amedei chocolate truffles at Bar Bricco, you'll love this dessert. I thought that Corso 32's Chocolate Torta and Panna Cotta were my top desserts in Edmonton, but this budino is making me reconsider!

As mentioned, Uccellino is stocked with pastas for patrons to take home, priced at $8 and $14 depending on the brand. The restaurant will soon be stocked with books and cookbooks for purchase as well.

Our visit was on the third opening day at Uccellino and we had a fantastic meal with exceptional service. I love that the restaurant is more casual compared to Chef Costa's other establishments, and the menu has a bit of a lower price point as well. The menu is fairly extensive and may possibly change from time to time due to seasonality, but there will be something for everyone. The bigger space will allow for more patrons and hopefully shorter wait times, which I'm sure many Edmontonians will be happy about. And with half the seats unreserved, that will allow for more spontaneous visits to the restaurant. The doors are now open, so make sure to stop by for dinner service from 5-11 PM Wednesday through Sunday!

Uccellino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato