Affordable Hair & Body Range from Kind Natured

For a good few months I've been trying out some of the hair and body products from the Kind Natured range, available at Boots and I thought it was about time they got a blog feature! I've long been a fan of more natural hair and body ranges but I really feel like Kind Natured is a step up from some of the others I've used in the past and what's more, it's extremely well priced.

Kind Natured is dedicated to offering high quality products, with at least 97% of the ingredients of natural origin. They are free from all the nasties like parabens, sulphates and silicones and they use 100% recyclable packaging. Oh and what gets them an even bigger thumbs up is that they're made in the UK and not tested on animals!

I know when I've tried some of the more 'natural' brands before, the quality hasn't been quite as good - body washes haven't lathered up like they should or shampoos have left my hair feeling lifeless but I can honestly say this hasn't been the case with Kind Natured. The body washes have amazing scents - I'm currently using Amber & Pink Pepper (£4.99) and Sea Salt & Bergamot (£4.99) and they're both lovely. They lather up well, leave you feeling clean and they're also perfect for bubble baths - though Kind Natured do have a range of bath soaks, which I'm yet to try!

I've also previously used the Creamy Shea and Macadamia Body Scrub (£5.99), which worked wonders on my skin. I'd describe it as a fairly gentle exfoliator but it certainly did the job, leaving my skin feeling renewed and nourished.

More recently I've been using the Ylang Ylang & Sage Shampoo (£4.99) and like with the rest of the Kind Natured products I've tried so far, it's made a positive impression. Maybe it doesn't have the same lasting benefits as some of the more 'high end' shampoos out there but it smells great, cleans my hair and doesn't leave any residue like some other shampoos I've tried. I've also got my mum using the Argan & Kukio Oil Shampoo (£4.99) which she loves because it makes her hair feel soft and nourished and I've been using the Kids' Jam Doughnut shampoo (£2.99) on Arthur's hair, which smells absolutely delicious. I love that it's made from natural ingredients, which are kind and gentle on his delicate skin.

As you can see, I've shared the prices of the Kind Natured products throughout this post and they're all under £6, making them very affordable. So if you don't want to splash out on hair and body products but still want to benefit from high quality, natural ingredients, Kind Natured is a real must-buy. Their range is available both from the Kind Natured website and Boots (who currently have some offers on Kind Natured products!)

Have you tried anything from Kind Natured? What did you think?

Megan x
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Introducing Children's Meditation at Bed Time

I'm sure I'm not the first mother to say that getting a toddler to bed isn't always the easiest task. You can have the best intentions in the world of implementing the perfect bedtime routine but if they're not playing ball, it can all go down hill pretty quickly. Bedtime with Arthur varies. Some days he'll go off like an absolute dream and other times he'll take hours to get off to sleep. It can be frustrating on those more difficult evenings (especially when you're exhausted yourself) but I try to take a calm approach to it all and just think, it's not going to be forever!

I've always been quite good at reading to Arthur before bed time but I'm especially conscious of doing it now he's a little older. He has a selection of favourite stories, with one being a lovely story called 'Night Bear' but more recently, I've also been reading a book called 'The Children's Meditations In My Heart' by Danish author Gitte Winter Graugaard. The idea is that using bedtime meditation can help children fall to sleep easier, whilst also teaching them the importance of self-esteem and self-love. The book encourages parents to share their feelings of unconditional love for their child, with their child at bedtime and provides children with mind tools they can use to draw on that love, when they're perhaps feeling a little anxious or unsure.

The book features four meditations for parents to read to their children, which Graugaard created using her own positive experience of heart meditations with her daughters. Each story becomes a little longer and more complex as the book goes on but all are easy for parents to read and understand. I think they're very well written and I find it easy to form the images in my head as I read them to Arthur, which too helps me get into a calm and relaxed state. I love Graugarrd's imagery of the mountain, where your heart lives and how she explains it has a volume button, which you can use to turn up the intensity of love. It's something I imagine children (a little older than Arthur) would find easy to picture. I also really love her cloud imagery, which she explains can be filled with love by others for when you need it or sent to others who may need a little extra love themselves. It really is such a lovely idea.

As you can see from the front cover, the illustrations are extremely beautiful and relate to the stories perfectly.

I've got to be honest and say that Arthur is perhaps a little too young to fully appreciate this children's meditations book at the age of two. His speech and understanding of words is excellent for his age, however I believe children would need to be a little older than this to be able to fully understand the meditation stories and put them into practice. Having said this, I do not think this should deter parents from trying the meditations with younger children. I think The Children's Meditations In My Heart really helps to set a calm tone at bedtime and encourages parents and children to share their love for one another, which is possible and important whatever their age.

Although we may not be using the book to it's full potential yet, I am really glad to have introduced children's meditation at bed time and it's something I hope we'll continue to use as Arthur grows and develops.

The Children's Meditations In My Heart is available from Amazon (hardback or Kindle) or alternatively a PDF copy can be purchasedfrom Room For Reflection.

Megan x
I received a copy of The Children's Meditations In My Heart in exchange for an honest review.
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Unique Christmas Gifts from UncommonGoods


I don't know about you but I feel like finding the perfect gifts for loved ones gets a little harder every Christmas. Maybe it's that I don't like buying the same old thing every year. I try to find more unique Christmas gifts; gifts that my family and close friends will find useful and perhaps things that they'd truly love but maybe wouldn't spend money on themselves. UncommonGifts offers all that and more, so when they approached me asking to share some of my favourite picks from their website, I couldn't resist!

I've long been a fan of companies that support independent sellers and go the extra mile to offer customers not only unique and interesting gifts but those that are also handmade, sustainable and created in a socially responsible way. UncommonGoods ticks all the boxes, whilst also doing their bit for charity. Their 'Better to Give' programme allows every customers to choose a non-profit organisation at the checkout in which UncommonGoods will donate $1 dollar to. Yes, UncommonGoods is based in the US but the good news is they ship to the UK!



Mama Bear Necklace | As a mum myself, I really love gifts related to that part of my identity. This silver and bronze handmade bear necklace is beautifully crafted and signifies a mother's protective nature. I love that you can personalise it by choosing the number of cubs, dependent on how many children the recipient has.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Toy House | Doll houses always make wonderful gifts for children and I particularly love the design of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears Toy House. Gender neutral in design, kids will have hours of fun building the three bears' house and re-enacting scenes from the accompanying storybook.

100 Books Scratch Off Poster | Perfect for the avid reader, the 100 Books Scratch Off Poster is a great way to get them through the bucket list of classics. Use a coin to scratch off the title once read and it will reveal beautiful literary artwork underneath.

Coffee and Donut Earrings | With a cute and quirky design, these mis-match earrings are sure to put a smile on someone's face and will make a fantastic stocking filler.

Personalised Family Mugs | If you're looking for more personalised gifting options, how about this lovely set of family mugs? Each mug can be personalised with your family member's name, along with a sketch to represent them. Choose from different clothing colours, skin tones and hair colours. We love a good mug of tea in my family and I imagine a gift like this would be a real winner!

Confetti and Sweet Peach Dessert Bowls | Who doesn't love a good old pudding over the festive season? These gorgeous bowls are sure to make dessert that little more special. And what's more, each bowl is handmade from clay and molten glass, making every design completely unique.

Design Your Own Doll Kit | This DIY craft kit is great for bringing out kids' creative side. Inside you will find an organic cotton doll, handmade by a women's collective group in India, along with the materials to make three changes of clothing. The thing I like most about this gift is that for every doll created, one is sent to an orphan or vulnerable child - what better way to get into the spirit of giving during the festive season?

So there we have my top Christmas gift picks from UncommonGoods. I hope it's provided you with a little inspiration if you're looking for a more unusual or handmade gift this Christmas!

Megan x
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George Home Deluxe Kitchen Review

Arthur turned 2 a few days ago and as his main birthday present I bought him the Home Deluxe Kitchen from George. I had been searching for the perfect play kitchen for a good few months and for me, this one ticked all of the boxes.

I don't know why (maybe it's a little snobby) but I really wanted to buy Arthur a wooden play kitchen. I think they just look cuter and this one from George has certainly been finished to a high standard. It has a lovely red and cream cherry print design and comes with a microwave, sink, hob, drawer, oven and cupboard - everything your little one needs for imaginative kitchen play!

Another advantage of the George Home Deluxe Kitchen is that it doesn't take up a lot of space. At 89cm x 56cm it is relatively small in size but big enough for your child to be able to play at it properly. It says that it takes an hour for 2 people to build and Arthur's grandad did it alone in 1hr 5 minutes, which I think is pretty good going. As an ex-kitchen fitter, I couldn't think of a better person for the job haha!

In terms of functionality, the microwave, oven, cupboard and drawer all open, allowing your little one to put food and utensils inside them. The hobs turn to show blue or red and the dials and clock hands also turn too. Arthur has already had so much fun playing with his kitchen and I love that it gives him the opportunity to use his imagination.

Having done a little research, I definitely think the George Home Deluxe Kitchen is one of the best priced out there. I think £40 is very reasonable and I was also happy to pay the extra £12 wooden cooking set. I can't seem to find the red cherry print cooking set on the George website at the moment but they do have the same pan set in a different colour-way on sale for just £9.60. There are so many different accessories and food you can buy to go with children's play kitchens. I decided to just buy some plastic cutting food on eBay and we also found some lovely play kitchen accessories like toasters, coffee makers and baking sets at the Early Learning Centre too.

The reason I wanted to share my review of the George Home Deluxe Kitchen is that I think it'd make a fantastic Christmas present for toddlers. I think Arthur is the perfect age for his play kitchen but I imagine he'll still get enjoyment out of it for another couple of years and with any luck it'll be something I can keep or pass along.

Megan x
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Why Becoming a Teaching Assistant Is Perfect for First-Time Mums

If you are a first-time mum, you may want to consider taking a teaching assistant courses from NCC Home Learning. We give reasons why the role as a mum and role as a teaching assistant work well together below.

You’ll find your own reasons as to why becoming a teaching assistant is perfect if you’re a first-time mum. However, the most common and popular reasons are as follows:

More Time with Your Children
As a first-time mum, you’ll want to spend every waking hour with your child. Unfortunately, this is not possible for most mums. By working as a teaching assistant, you’ll be able to have more time in the evenings and holidays with your child. Although you may be required to work late on some days, you’ll generally have a set schedule every day.

You may have read how tiring the hours are for teachers. One of the advantages of being a teaching assistant is that you’ll have less responsibility than teachers. This means you'll have more freedom and more spare time on your day off, resulting in more time to spend with your son or daughter.

Helps You Juggle Life
Your daily life as a teaching assistant will be made up juggling just about anything and everything. You’ll be trying to help one child stop crying as you talk to the class teacher and help another student find their lunchbox. You’ll become superwoman! If you manage to tackle all of this in the classroom, imagine what kind of skills you’ll have with one baby at home?!


You’ll Keep Updated on How Schools Run
Education is constantly changing and if you’ve just had your first baby, the chances are that by the time he or she is ready for school, the way schools do things will have changed. How nice will it be to really know how the industry works, to really know what to expect for your child so that you know they’re getting the education that they deserve?

Become a teaching assistant and you’ll be able to get to know which schools in your area are thriving and which schools to avoid.

Bond with Children
Although you’re a first-time mum, you may or may not have a natural bond with children. Becoming a teaching assistant will allow you to naturally interact and bond with children. You’ll be able to have fun reading stories and playing together; something that you’ll enjoy doing with your own child.

Motherly Instinct
Children need someone around them who are going to care about them. Being a first-time mum will help you in your career here. Little ones will love and respect you for being someone to look up to and rely on when their own parents are not there. Older students don’t need smothering, but still need someone to turn to from time to time. Having that maternal instinct will often aid you in the workplace in situations like these.

Talking with Parents
Sometimes you’ll have to liaise with parents as a teaching assistant. First time mums will do well at this because they understand what parents want for their children. If a child or a parent has an issue, with your natural motherly ways, you’ll want to resolve this to benefit all involved.

If you can help communicate between the school and parents, you’ll become a well-loved member of the staff by your employer and the parents of the children you work with. This will make you feel like you’re progressing and accomplishing something good, which in turn will make you a happy employee.

You Won’t Mind Helping Doing out of Classroom Activities and Tasks
If you work in a primary or secondary school, you may end up on school trips that other adults dread. As a first-time mum, you’ll be used to it. This may even give you the opportunity to find good places to take your own child!

Young primary school children may also have a few accidents that nobody really wants to clean up… Mums to the rescue!

Although we have spoken about first time mums, more and more dads are deciding to take up careers in teaching and teaching assistants. If you’re a dad for the first time, or a dad for the fifth time and want to qualify as a teaching assistant, do it!

All parents are great at being teaching assistants; are you a parent who decided to go down this career path? What has your experience been? Have you got any tips to share?

If you’re a first time mum and have been thinking about becoming a teaching assistant, check out NCC Home Learning.

Megan x

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Happy Halloween!

Although we didn't get round to pumpkin picking in a field and getting all those Instagram-worthy shots (we just made do with Sainsbury's finest), we did have great fun spending our Sunday afternoon pumpkin carving. I've got to admit, I'm pretty proud of our efforts! I had every faith in my other half and his pumpkin carving skills (how amazing is the cannibal pumpkin he free-handed?!) but I really surprised myself! I think it was all down to having a good stencil, so spending a fiver on a pumpkin carving kit and stencils on eBay was totally worth it...even if I did see a similar set in Pound World for you guessed it...a pound...oops.

As well as carving pumpkins we decided to have a go at making a pumpkin pie with the leftovers and that turned out pretty well too! I'm not really into cinnamon, cloves and all those sort of spices but even I thought it tasted quite pleasant. The other half absolutely loved it so it was definitely worth the effort of picking out all the seeds (which we also toasted). I'm hoping to make some sort of curried pumpkin soup with the little portion I have left - that'll definitely be more up my street! Waste not want not and all that.

Of course, like most mums out there I wanted to dress Arthur up in an adorable Halloween costume and take loads of pictures but it didn't quite go to plan. Why? Well, Arthur hates his costume. Thankfully I bought it in age 3-4 years so fingers crossed it'll fit him next year when he'll hopefully think dressing up like a little devil and posing for lots of pictures is much more fun. One can hope...

However you're celebrating (or in some cases not celebrating) Halloween, I hope you have a lovely day!

Megan xx
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How to make your conservatory the most relaxing room in the house


Your conservatory could easily be the most pleasant space in your home thanks to its spectacular garden views, sunny disposition and peaceful, tranquil feel. From introducing comfortable furnishings made from quality suppliers such as Rattan Direct to adding some cosy accessories, here are some tips for making your conservatory relaxing.



Simply by choosing the right colours, furniture and accessories, you'll find that your underused conservatory can be transformed into a peaceful and luxurious heaven where you can take refuge at the end of a long and stressful day.

Tranquil Colours for a Peaceful Refuge
Make the wrong colour choice and you'll find that your conservatory can appear rather clinical and cold, however just by adding a touch of colour you'll find that instantly your room is changed into a welcoming and warm environment. Paint solid walls with pastel tones as this will soften its lines and create a feel of light and airiness. Most colours work well in conservatories thanks to the natural light, so don't be afraid to experiment.

Choose the Right Furniture
Even if your furniture looks beautiful, if it doesn't feel comfortable to sit on you won't get much use out of it. The key is to choose sofas and chairs which are pleasant to sit in and which invite you to sit down, relax and put your feet up.

Classic rattan upholstered sofas such as those from Rattan Direct are a perfect choice since they will never go out of style and will last for a long time. You could even pair them with a matching coffee table with a glass top that will look beautiful in any kind of conservatory, but which will be durable and practical too.

Choose Beautiful Blinds
Although the large windows in a conservatory are the primary benefit of the space thanks to the lovely views of the garden that they offer, they can also be one of the more problematic elements of this space. Large windows mean that the space can be far too hot during the summer months but also that the room can become unbearably cold during the winter.

You can resolve this problem by using energy saving blinds, which will filter out the direct sunlight during the summer months, helping to keep the space cool enough to enjoy, but which will also help to keep the room cosy during the cold weather so that you can maximise your use of this convenient part of your home all year round.

Energy saving blinds are stylish, yet incredibly practical since they can protect your furnishings and fabrics from changing colour due to fading from the strong sunlight which comes shining through the windows. Make sure to get your blinds professionally fitted for the best possible results. Made to measure conservatory blinds are the best idea since they will be customised to your individual windows and will transform the space into a relaxing oasis of calm.

Welcome Your Garden Inside
Blur the lines between your conservatory and the garden outside its window by creating a more tropical feel for your space. By adding lots of pot plants, indoor hanging baskets and vases of flowers, you can enjoy a more natural feel in your space.

Embrace exotic ferns, citrus fruit trees or bird of paradise flowers to bring the feeling of being on holiday right into your home, or even create an amazing talking point with a stunning living wall.

Accessorising Your Room
Once your conservatory has been beautifully decorated and furnished, it's time to put a few luxurious finishing touches to the space to create the perfect sanctuary. Personalise your room with memorable and special items – maybe some art that you've created yourself, a hand-made cushion or a unique souvenir that you've brought back from a special holiday.

Accessorise with stylish statement pieces like colourful cushions, a bright area rug or a spectacular and decorative mirror to reflect the light even more. A planter with an unusual shape or design would be the perfect addition and upholstery fabrics in eye-catching designs will transform your conservatory into an inviting and relaxing space to be enjoyed all year round.

Are you ready to create the perfect tranquil and relaxing oasis in your conservatory? Then visit Rattan Direct and discover a stunning range of stylish rattan furniture that will complement your space and décor, making it even more inviting, both in winter and in summer.

Megan x

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White Chocolate Chunk Cookies Recipe


Ingredients:
125g of unsalted butter
100g light brown soft sugar
125g caster sugar
1 egg
225g of self raising flour
1/2 tsp of salt
White chocolate bar (Milkybar tastes best - you'll use about 4 / 5 strips)




Method:
Cookies are one of my favourite things to bake because they're quick, easy and there's no decorating involved! For these, I followed my Chewy Chocolate Button Cookie recipe and just changed it up a little. As a quick reminder:

- Preheat to 180°C and leave the unsalted butter out to soften
- Cream the butter with the light brown and caster sugars
- Lightly beat the egg and mix in
- Mix in the flour and salt
- Break off 4 / 5 strips of chocolate (depending on how much you like your chocolate), cut into small chunks and mix in
- Line your tray/s with baking paper
- Roll into walnut sized balls (you can go bigger or smaller if you like but you may need to alter the baking time) and place on baking tray
- Bake for around 10 minutes until the edges are slightly golden
- Take out the oven and leave to harden on the tray
- After a few minutes transfer them onto a wire rack to cool

Enjoy!

Megan x
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Best Technological Devices for New Parents


Technology is advancing all of the time, often providing us with new devices that can simplify our daily tasks. Together with Babythingz, retailers of cosytoes (carefully designed cocoons for your little ones), we have shortlisted the latest nifty gadgets which can provide a helping hand to new parents. If you’re stuck for a Christmas gift for a new parent, read on for some tips:

Parent and baby smartband
We are all familiar with the smartbands that have been created to monitor health and fitness. The parent and baby smartband goes one step further and has been specially designed for new parents. It can be used during pregnancy to track foetal movements, exercise progress and doctors’ appointments. The parent’s fitness is tracked through steps, calories burned, distance travelled and hydration levels. After birth, the technology can be used to track feedings, pump sessions, vitamin intake, nappy changes and many other reminders to help you day-to-day. As with most technological devices these days, there is a corresponding app so that you can link the data from the band to your phone. These products have received positive reviews, with many new parents claiming that it has helped them through both pregnancy and with monitoring their new-born.

Portable white noise machine
As research revealed that the noises that a baby hears in the womb can be replicated after birth, white noise machines have been developed. They have been found to help your baby get to sleep as they find the noise soothing. Technological advancements have led to the release of the portable white noise machine. This gadget is discreet meaning that only your baby can hear the soothing sounds and it will not disturb others. The gadgets can play a variety of tracks such as heartbeat, ocean waves and raindrops. They have been developed to turn off after a certain amount of time too. So, if your baby does drift off, the sounds won’t be playing all night long.

Pacifier thermometer
As new parents will know too well, trying to take a baby’s temperature can be difficult as they wiggle and squirm out of your grasp. At the same time, it is important to monitor your baby’s temperature as it can be an indicator of a cold or perhaps they’re too hot under the blankets. The recent invention of the pacifier thermometer has addressed this issue. In the shape of a pacifier or ‘dummy’, this thermometer will fit nicely into your little one’s mouth and they won’t even know what you’re up to. A perfect alternative to the traditional thermometers which can cause your baby to become a little agitated.


Video monitors
Baby monitors have always been an essential purchase for new parents. It allows them to sleep that little bit easier, knowing that if their baby stirs they will hear it through the monitor. Through the rise of tablets and smartphones, the new monitor includes video feature. This allows you to see the baby from a different room. It also works across the internet too so you can watch your baby from work whilst the other half is babysitting.

Self-warming bottles
Many parents are reluctant to go out when they know that it will be feeding time. Often at a restaurant, it can be a worry that there won’t be a facility to warm your baby’s milk or what if they overheat it? Mimicking the design of self-warming hand warmers, self-warming bottles have been designed. There’s no need for a microwave or kettle when you have one of these handy gadgets. With one press of the button, the system heats itself up and warms the milk to the natural temperature of breast milk. You can use it as many times as you like too, simply recharge it in the microwave or pan and it is ready to be used again.

Megan x
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