Make Cleaning your Toddler's Teeth Fun with FOREO

Cleaning Arthur's teeth has always been a bit of a battle and I'm not quite sure who dreads it more, me or him! You see, even though I followed the guidelines and gently introduced a toothbrush as soon as his first tooth appeared, it's always been something he's hated doing. We've had tantrums galore, I've told him his teeth will fall out (c'mon we've all said things like this to our kids at some point) and there's even been a handful of times where I've given in and settled for the quickest of brushes. But as a parent, wanting to ensure her child has good dental hygiene and a healthy smile, I've battled on and although I don't want to speak too soon, I think we've finally done it!

Over the last couple of years, I've tried everything to get him to like brushing his teeth, from standing him in front of a mirror and pulling funny faces, to singing silly songs. I've even let him have a go at brushing my teeth a few times and consequently had a toothbrush jammed into my gums more times than I wish to think about. But it's only recently he's been more willing to clean his teeth properly (without a meltdown) and I think that's partially down to him being a little older but also because he now owns a super cool toothbrush!

Introducing the FOREO ISSA mikro

If you're into your beauty products, it's likely you've come across FOREO before. They're well-known for the best-selling 'Luna' facial cleansing brush and many other hi-tech skincare products but do you know, they also design toothbrushes? Even ones for little people like the ISSA mikro*!

The ISSA mikro is an electric toothbrush, designed for children age 0-5 years. It is the only toothbrush on the market that is made from medical-grade silicone and uses gentle sonic pulsations to clean children's teeth, both safely and effectively. The toothbrush has two modes, a brush mode for cleaning and a massage mode, great for soothing the gums when your little one is teething.

Unlike your average toothbrush, the ISSA mikro has flexible silicone bristles that clean your little one's teeth in a non-abrasive way, keeping both the enamel and gum tissue intact. FOREO also says that the non-drying, non-porous silicone bristles are much more hygienic and carry up to 10,000 times less bacteria than toothbrushes with nylon bristles.

The thing that surprised me most about the ISSA mikro is that the head was completely attached. How was I going to change it? After a quick read on the FOREO website, I found out that the brush does not need replacing, as it's designed to last your child up until the age of five and comes with a 10 year quality guarantee. Arthur has been using the toothbrush for just over a month so far and I'm pleased to say it looks as good as new - the same of which couldn't be said for cheaper toothbrushes we've used in the past! I'm really interested to see if the ISSA mikro does stand the test of time. At £79 it's not cheap but if it lasts as long as FOREO claims, it'll be exceptionally good value for money.

Mr Frown and Mr Smile

The Foreo ISSA mikro comes in five bright colours (Sunflower Yellow, Bubble Blue, Pearl Pink, Fuchsia and Kiwi) making it very appealing to children. But it's best feature for kids, in my opinion, is the Smile Helpers.

The ISSA mikro will show a sad face if your little one has not used their toothbrush for over twelve hours. We've called him 'Mr Frown' and it's Arthur's mission to make him happy again. Once your little one has brushed their teeth for the recommended two minutes, 'Mr Smile' as we like to call him, appears and we have both a happy Arthur and happy Mummy. Two minutes can seem like a lifetime of brushing for a child but I feel like this really helps to make it fun. It turns it into a challenge for the child and as a parent, you can be satisfied that you're brushing your child's teeth long enough.

Charging the ISSA mikro

The ISSA mikro comes with a USB charging cable but not a plug. This wasn't a problem for me, as we have plenty in the house but it's something to consider before purchasing, if you don't have one spare. A one hour charge will give you up to 480 uses of the ISSA mikro, which is pretty incredible, especially compared to my own electric toothbrush from another brand, which needs recharging nearly every day!

Tips for cleaning your toddler's teeth

1. Use gentle, circular brushing motions
Although it's important to brush teeth regularly and properly, it's worth bearing in mind that there is such thing as brushing too aggressively. If you brush your teeth or your child's teeth vigorously, it may cause damage to the enamel. This is why dentists suggest you brush using a gentle circular motion, which cleans both the teeth and gums.

2. Take great care cleaning the molars
A new dental survey from FOREO revealed that 55% of 3-5 year olds already have a filling, which really shocked me. I'm 28 and although my teeth are far from perfect, I've not yet had a filling and want to do my best to make sure Arthur avoids them as long as possible too. According to Harley Street Dentist and FOREO ambassador Dr Mark Hughes 'a good portion of time should be spent on the back molars, as this is an area where cavities often develop.'

3. Let them have a go and do a 'check up clean' yourself afterwards
There's nothing wrong with letting your children have a go at cleaning their own teeth, when they show interest. In fact, it's the only way they'll learn! Of course, they may not do it to your standards for a good while, so you'll need to do what I call a 'check up clean' afterwards. That way you can have the peace of mind that your child's teeth have been cleaned properly but you haven't stopped them showing a little independence either!

Although I've only been using the FOREO ISSA mikro on Arthur's teeth for a month and therefore can't give a definitive long-term recommendation, what I can say is that it has made the teeth cleaning process a lot more attractive and fun to him as a three year old. Challenging him to get 'Mr Smile' seems to have stopped most teeth-cleaning-related-tantrums and the brush seems to be working effectively but please keep in mind I'm speaking as a parent and not a dental expert! I think the brush itself is a great concept and whilst pricey, you may find it's justified by the more positive teeth cleaning experience it offers both you and your child, plus the longevity in design it claims to offer.

Have you got any tips for making cleaning your toddler's teeth fun? Comment below to share!

Meg x
*Press Sample
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What's That Smell? Family Game Review

Family nights in our household usually consist of good food, a bottle or two of Prosecco and a board game. We're a family that has fought over Monopoly, embarrassed ourselves playing Cranium and cheated at Cluedo... okay maybe that last one was just me! So when asked to try out WowWee's latest party game, 'What's That Smell?' over Christmas, it was an offer we couldn't refuse...

What's That Smell* has quickly become one of the most talked about family games and once you've played it, you'll understand why! Basically, the idea is that you have to scratch and sniff the scented cards to identify the smells. Some of the scents are pleasant, some unusual and some are just downright nasty. The winner is the person who scores the most points from correctly identifying the scents, the category they come from and offering up interesting memories associated with a particular smell. Whoever wins gains the title of 'Nose-it-all' and can pick a player to endure three horrific sniffs of a stank card. I'm talking extra old toe cheese, diaper blowout, hot chunky vomit and smothered in B.O. kind of bad. I heaved at the B.O. card and it wasn't even me doing the Whiff of Shame, it was that pungent!

It's funny because even though some of the scents are probably ones you encounter every day, when it comes to actually identifying them in the game, it can become rather difficult. Particularly if you put yourselves under pressure by using the What's That Smell? app to set a time limit for each round! For the most part, we found each scent very different and even when we weren't able to identify them correctly, the hilarious wrong answers made the game even more fun to play.

The What's That Smell? app itself is a great addition to the party game. It's free to download from the App Store and can be used to set time limits for you to scratch, sniff and guess. There's also a camera feature on the app for you to capture the loser taking their 'Whiff of Shame' and you can play it back in slow-mo to see their reaction in all it's glory.

The concept of the game is simple but the technology that has been used to create the cards and accompanying app is really quite clever. I like that it was really easy to set up and you don't have to spend time reading through pages and pages of instructions to understand how to play. In fact, you can actually just download the 'What's That Smell' app and watch the instructional video, which is much quicker!

We, as a family, really enjoyed playing it (even if the B.O stank card did leave a nasty lingering scent in the living room) and it's definitely a game we'll be bringing out again at future gatherings.

What's That Smell is available to buy at:

Have you played What's That Smell before? What did you think?
Is it a game your family would enjoy playing together?

Meg x
*Press Sample
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A beautiful beach walk at Bossington

Something I want to do this year is share more of the places we visit. There's rarely a weekend that goes by where we don't head outdoors for a family walk. Sure, it isn't always as perfect as it looks on Instagram, after all, we have a toddler who doesn't always like to walk. I look back on a post I wrote about getting your kids to enjoy walking a few months ago and laugh...definitely spoke to soon with that one! But that aside, we do always have a good time and come back feeling it was time well spent.

Getting outdoors is good for the soul and I love that there's always new places to explore. I feel so lucky to live in such a wonderful part of the country, with both stunning coastline and the ever-beautiful Exmoor National Park right on our doorstep. There's something lovely about getting to see the places my other half has grown fond of, having lived here all his life and it makes my heart happy knowing our little boy will grow up here too.

Photo by Josh Smith
During the Christmas holidays, we headed to the picture perfect hamlet of Bossington. Part of the National Trust's Holnicote Estate, it is the definition of postcard pretty, with its traditional thatched cottages and peaceful pebbled beach - a place Josh has special memories fishing with his late grandad.

After parking in the National Trust car park, we headed towards Hurlstone Point, taking an easy route, with the mindset that Arthur would probably refuse to walk most of it. But to our surprise, he was all for walking and even ran ahead enthusiastically. We gave each other several puzzled looks and even questioned if someone had swapped him for another child but no, he was our Arthur, just a happier version we hadn't seen on a walk for a good while! Part of the way was spent shouting for what we've decided must be his imaginary friend called 'Tracker.' I think people thought we must have lost our dog but we joined in shouting our made-up dog friend anyway, just glad that we had a happy child and Josh's shoulders were getting a well-deserved rest.

As we neared Hurlstone Point, Arthur was thrilled to find the remains of an old coastguard station, which he claimed as his castle. Josh decided he was a mountain goat and disappeared somewhere up the hillside to take photos and I simply stood back and enjoyed the beauty of the surrounding coastline. Soon after, Arthur's castle was invaded by a very friendly lady from Thailand and we ended up participating in her Facebook Live broadcast - as you do!

Instead of walking back the way we came, we took the path down to the pebbled beach. The boys had a good giggle at me almost falling down the slope - is it just me that struggles with pebbles? We sat and watched the sea for a while (and the very brave man swimming in it), took a few family photos as keepsakes and headed back to Pickle (the name Arthur chose for the Land Rover.)

Photo by Josh Smith
I have to say, it was one of my favourite family walks in ages and I enjoyed it so much I insisted we went back there on Josh's birthday for a cream tea at Kitnors Tearoom! If you happen to be visiting Bossington, I definitely recommend a visit to Kitnors. The cake and scones were absolutely delicious and the people running it are so welcoming. I'm certain we'll be heading there again on our next Bossington walk.


Photo by Josh Smith
The idyllic hamlet is most definitely worth a visit if you happen to find yourself on Exmoor and with the option to extend your walk to the equally beautiful Porlock Weir, it can make for a very lovely day out.

Meg x
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Getting Organised in 2019 with Danilo

One of the things I love most about the New Year is the motivation it brings to do better. I'm not necessarily into resolutions or the whole 'New Year, New Me' thing but I do like the idea of getting organised and setting goals. I have a few things I want to do differently this year, in order to get where I want to be but it's all going to come down to being organised.

For me, getting organised often means writing things down in a diary or planner and thanks to Danilo, I've already got the tools! Just before Christmas, they kindly sent over the official Great British Bake Off 2019 Diary* (which comes complete with recipes to try) and the adorable Pusheen Desk Pad*. I think the latter will be so useful for daily to-do lists and little reminders that will help me stay on track. If you're looking for a new diary, calendar or desk planner for the New Year, I definitely recommend taking a look at their selection. Danilo products are all officially licensed and there are lots of fantastic designs to choose from, whatever you're into!

I feel like all aspects of my life could do with a little more organisation at present but here are just three things I want to do more of in 2019...

Date nights

Something I really want to do this year is have a few more date nights with Josh. As much as we love Arthur (to the moon and back infinite times as I tell him every day), I think it's important to have time as a couple too. Whether it's going for dinner at a country pub or heading to a spa, it's just nice to spend some quality time together.

Meal planning

Another way I'd like to get organised in 2019 is with meal planning. Cooking is something I really enjoy but can find quite time consuming. This year I'd love to learn some new recipes and work them into some sort of rolling menu so we know what we need to order in our weekly shops. I'm lucky that as me and Arthur still live with my parents, I don't have to do all of the cooking but I'd like to make sure I'm doing my fair share. Plus, when we do have our own place with Josh, I imagine I'll be doing more of the cooking, so it'd be good to get organised for then!

Copywriting work

I'm hoping 2019 is the year I get my copywriting business back up and running. Don't get me wrong, I've been getting work but I really want to take things to the next level and try and get back to where I was (at the very least) before I had Arthur and things ground to a halt.

Something I find quite difficult is working from home, when I've also got Arthur to think about and take care of. He is of course (and always has been) my priority but at the same time, I've also got to try and make a living for us. It's helped that he's started nursery a few mornings a week, as I've gained some dedicated work time. I think I've just got to create a schedule for the week days, so that there's time for work and there's time for play. We're hoping that 2019 will be the year we get our first family home, so this is a real motivator for me to get my ass into gear and really make a go of it!

If you have any organisation tips or blog posts, feel free to share them below or tweet me @meganjane03! I'm thinking of picking up a copy of 'An Edited Life' when it comes out. I feel like I could definitely learn a lesson or two from Anna! But if you have any other recommendations, I'd love to hear them.

Meg x
*Press samples.
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2018 - A year of making memories

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a lovely Christmas holiday however you celebrated and saw in the New Year surrounded by people you love. Having Josh off for the Christmas break was a real treat! We got to have some quality time as a family and make even more happy memories before the year was out.

In terms of Christmas celebrations, we were lucky enough to have a few! We kicked off the month with a lovely meal with friends, followed by a pre-Christmas with my brother and his girlfriend, Christmas Day with my parents and Josh's parents and post-Christmas celebrations at Josh's grans. All the food. All the fun. All the family. It's been wonderful!

New Year was much quieter, as we chose to spend it at home but it was lovely in every way. And as midnight struck, I wished Josh a Happy 29th Birthday (because his special day will ALWAYS be more important than New Year to me!) before we fell asleep watching a programme about shark attacks....as you do.

January 2018

Before I begin with this year's content, I wanted to first reflect on what a lovely year 2018 was for us. Although we got off to a pretty bad start with Josh in hospital the first week of January with appendicitis, our planned Cornwall holiday at the end of the month was just perfect, with a lovely stay at Forest Holidays, a trip to The Eden Project and beach walks aplenty!

February, March & April

In February, we celebrated our first year together as a couple and by March the place was covered in snow - I'd never seen Arthur so excited (well, until his 3rd Birthday and Christmas!) April was all about Easter activities, spring walks and family fun. We had a lovely day out on the train with Josh's family and Arthur had his first donkey ride at Weston Super Mare.

May & June

May was hot, hot, HOT, so we spent most of our time outdoors. We bought a paddling pool for Arthur, visited one of my favourite beaches at Woolacombe and had a lovely visit from our friends Liz and Will! June also saw more trips to the beach and sunny walks, exploring the Quantocks and Exmoor.

July

July started with a visit from our friends Hannah and Joe - we'd planned a beach barbecue in the sunshine, only for the heavens to open, just as we'd set up! The weather was a let down but catching up was wonderful. Fun was also had strawberry picking in Somerset (and getting the obligatory cute instagram pics), making ice lollies and paddling wherever possible! I tried clay pigeon shooting for the first time (and failed miserably) but still had fun in the sun with friends.

August

My biggest achievement in August (and probably the whole year) was passing my driving test! For years, it had been something I wanted to do but never thought I could, so I felt really proud of myself for committing to the lessons and achieving my end goal.

September

September started with a trip back to the Midlands to celebrate the wedding of my beautiful friend Abbie and her husband Dan. I hadn't seen Abbie since I moved to the South West at the end of 2016, so it was amazing catching up and re-uniting our children, Arthur and Emme. We also met up with Liz and Will in Matlock Bath and stayed in a beautiful cottage in Bonsall. It was definitely a good start to the month!

Another big event in September was Arthur starting pre-school. He was initially a little unsure but soon got into the swing of things and had a great time. It felt like such a big thing for me, having never really been away from him before but it was the right time and has done us both the world of good!

The month ended with a family visit to Legoland. We had such a fantastic time and were lucky enough to be given Q-BOT tickets by Tesco Mobile so we could queue jump a lot of the rides and really make the most of our day there.

October

October kicked off with mine and mum's birthdays, followed by what felt like an eternity of cleaning, before we moved house. As with every house move there was a lot of stresses but it didn't take long before I fell in love with our new place. We celebrated Arthur's 3rd birthday in the new house and had a lovely family day.

November

In November, Arthur started his new nursery and has settled in beautifully. I felt so guilty that he'd had to change nurseries with our house move but it couldn't have gone better and we both love the place he's at now. Josh and I also had a little romantic trip away to Bath for the Christmas Market and visited Thermae Bath Spa for a much-needed spa session!

December

And finally, December, which was all about Christmas, of course! Aside from the wonderful celebrations, we got to see Arthur in his first nativity play (cutest thing ever) and experience the magic of Christmas with a toddler who believes. He made Christmas truly special and I have to say, it was my favourite Christmas as an adult so far.

Here's to another great year!

2018 bought lots of happiness and I hope for much the same in 2019. We have some big plans and goals as a family, so I'm keeping my fingers well and truly crossed everything works out for us. I hope 2019 is a great year for you too. Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you continue to enjoy my content over the next twelve months.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter & send me a request over on Instagram - my account is set to private (just so I can monitor who follows me) but it's my favourite platform for interaction so let's follow each other on there!

Love Meg x
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Thermae Bath Spa - Worth the wait?

A few weeks' back, I was a spa virgin. Yes, I'd managed to reach the grand old age of twenty eight without ever stepping foot in a spa. Sure, I'd enjoyed the odd jacuzzi and even sweated it out in a sauna but I'd never actually done the whole 'spa day' thing. That was until I was treated to Thermae Bath Spa vouchers for my birthday! Bath is a city I've wanted to visit for a long time and we were keen to explore the Christmas market (which is meant to be one of the best in Britain) so decided to tie it all together and make a weekend of it. Just the two of us (a rarity) and it was lush!

Of course, visiting the spa on the first weekend of the Bath Christmas Market had it's positives and negatives. The positives being that Bath felt vibrant, full of life and utterly magical. The scent of Christmas was in the air. People were cheery. And the place was dolled up in decorations. It was beautiful. But the downside was a 2 HOUR, yes I repeat, 2 HOUR wait to get into Thermae Bath Spa.

Now, you're probably thinking, 2 hours? That's ridiculous! Why did you wait? But the thing is, it was our only real chance to visit the spa before Christmas and we'd set our hearts on it. So we got in line, listened to Christmas carols, enjoyed each other's company and every now and then took a step closer.

But was it worth the wait?

After two hours standing in the queue, I have to admit I entered the spa feeling a little stressed and like I definitely needed a couple of hours relaxation to compensate. But I have to say, once we got into the Wellness Suite, all was forgotten and after a first visit to the Roman Steam Room, I was in full relaxation mode!

The Wellness Suite is made up of six state-of-the-art spa facilities; Roman Steam Room, Georgian Steam Room, Infrared Room, Ice Chamber, Celestial Relaxation Room and Experience Showers.

Infrared Room - Good for your muscles

My favourite part of the Wellness Suite was probably the Infrared Room - a high temperature room, which transmits 'soothing infrared waves of light deep into the muscles and joints.' We sat in front of one of the heater panels and it felt so good on my back - an area where I do get pains, since having a child and carrying him round!

Georgian Steam Room - Super relaxing

The Georgian Steam Room was also really relaxing and I really felt like it was working it's magic on my skin! Although Josh commented that I didn't look relaxed, I actually felt super comfortable and almost sleepy in there!

Celestial Relaxation Room - Not for me

The Celestial Relaxation Room was a little odd in my opinion. We queued a few minutes for it, so I guess I was expecting something revolutionary and was then somewhat disappointed by the heated loungers (which I didn't find particularly warm or comfortable) and planet-themed video. Maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea? It was an interesting concept though, I'll give it that!

Ice Chamber - Fun, refreshing and a great way to cool down

We did however LOVE the Ice Chamber. It was the perfect place to go in between the warmer rooms to cool down. The menthol-infused mist was so refreshing and you could gently rub the ice over your body to exfoliate the skin too. It feels so good when you scoop the ice into your hands and plunge your face into it - just don't accidentally leave your mouth open like I did the first time...you can't take me anywhere! Also be on guard if you're there with your partner. Mine of course had to throw some down my bikini top (cheeky sod) but I got my own back, don't you worry...

Open-air Rooftop Pool

Once we'd enjoyed all of the spa and sensory experiences the Wellness Suite had to offer, we headed up to the Rooftop Pool. As the lift doors opened, you were hit instantly with freezing cold air (not pleasant) but it made the first toe dip in the warm, mineral-rich waters all the more satisfying. The Rooftop Pool was busy - after all, the staff were having to conduct a one-in-one-out type policy for entry to the spa that day, but that didn't matter to us. Everyone was in their own little worlds and we enjoyed taking in the city views while we paddled about. I'd love to visit the spa in the evening next time, as I imagine it's lovely relaxing in the rooftop pool, with the city lights twinkling around you.

Minerva Bath

Our final stop was the Minerva Bath, named after the Roman Goddess of Health and Wisdom. This is the spa's largest thermal bath and has a number of features including massage jets, a whirlpool and a lazy river. Lounge on a float and let it carry you round. It's so relaxing but fun at the same time. It was the perfect way to end our session.

Would I recommend Thermae Bath Spa & visit again?

Definitely! I think the Thermae Welcome Tickets (£40 per person and can be used any day) are very reasonably priced. You get a 2 hour spa session (towel, robe and flip flops included) and have access to the entire Wellness Suite, along with the two thermal baths. You can also use the cafe if you wish to and your time is paused, so you don't miss out on any of your spa time.

If you want a treatment, they do cost extra and need to be booked in advanced. I personally didn't feel like we needed treatments to really benefit from the spa. I left feeling so relaxed and my skin felt great, so our time in the mineral baths and Wellness Suite definitely made a positive difference to me.

After having such a lovely time at Thermae Bath Spa, I don't think it'll be long before we book our next spa day! It's a fun thing to do as a couple and would make a great Christmas present if you are after a romantic gesture or something a little different to traditional gifts.

Have you visited Thermae Bath Spa? What did you think?

Meg x
Image credits: Thermae Bath Spa
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Hasslacher's Hot Chocolate Bar Review

Hot Chocolate is one of my favourite winter drinks but not the fancy kind you get from the well-known coffee chains. No, I'm definitely more of a Plain (Megan) Jane when it comes to hot chocolate, so the product itself has got to taste good!

Recently Hasslacher's got in touch to see if I wanted to try their 'Solid Bar' Colombian drinking chocolate* - an opportunity I definitely wasn't going to pass up on! What makes this gourmet hot chocolate bar unique is the fact it's 100% pure cacao, made in Colombia, where the finest beans are grown. The brand makes the entire product in the same country as the beans (a rarity these days) and buys the cacao beans directly from the farmers, helping to sustain the fair trade system in Colombia. Hasslacher's 'Solid Bar' hot chocolate is also the only food product in the UK that is hand wrapped in 100% sugarcane fibre, an unbleached by-product of the sugarcane industry.

Is it easy to make?

The process of making a Hasslacher's Hot Chocolate could not be simpler! All you need to do is heat your milk up in a pan, add two squares of the Cacao, let them melt in and then whisk until you get a light, creamy drinking chocolate. Because the drinking chocolate bar is made from pure cacao, which does not contain any sugar, you do need to sweeten it. For this, it's recommended that you use Hasslacher’s Single Estate Organic Panela,* (available from Sainsbury's) a sugar substitute that is 100% natural and unrefined and 100% ecologically produced. Simply sweeten to taste!

Does Hasslacher's Hot Chocolate taste good?

100% yes! I was really impressed with the taste of Hasslacher's hot chocolate. It was light, yet luxurious - just how i like it and I found it really easy to get the right amount of sweetness with the Panela. If hot chocolate is your winter drink of choice, I definitely recommend giving it a try! I made mine with semi-skimmed milk but if you wanted it a little more creamy, you could try whole milk or go all out and add a splash of double cream instead...(I'm definitely trying that later!)

Dairy-free & Gluten-free

Hasslacher's 'Solid Bar' Colombian Drinking Chocolate is 100% cacao, contains zero sugar, zero cholesterol and is both dairy-free and gluten-free. It is also suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. Everyone's happy!

Use in home baking

Seeing as you get a generous 32 squares per 250g bar of Hasslacher's drinking chocolate (and only need to use two per cup), I'm thinking of saving some to use in a home baking recipe this Christmas. Perhaps brownies, as they're my other half's favourite! I'll also be using the Panela as a sugar substitute. All being well, I'll share this on the blog at a later date. It'll be my first time baking brownies in the Rayburn at the new house though, so wish me luck!

An ideal stocking filler

If you know someone who loves their hot chocolate, why not treat them to a Hasslacher's drinking chocolate bar this Christmas? Priced around £5, it'd make a lovely stocking filler, along with a festive-themed mug.

Hasslacher's 'Solid Bar' Colombian Drinking Chocolate is available to buy from most large M&S stores, as well as many independent stores across the UK. Both the hot chocolate bar and Panela can also be purchased directly from the Hasslacher's website.

Is Hasslacher's Solid Bar Drinking Chocolate something you'd like to try?

Meg x
*PR Item.
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5 Tips for choosing the Perfect Winter Wedding Guest Outfit

Collaborative content. 
Winter is a magical time of year, perfect for a wedding but with a drop in temperatures, the chance of rain and let's face it, even snow; planning the perfect winter wedding guest outfit can be a tricky task. Luckily for you, I've got a few tips to help you plan a practical winter wedding guest outfit that doesn't compromise on style.

1. Choose warm tones and deeper shades

In the spring and summer, pastel shades are an obvious choice but they don't work as well for winter wedding guest outfits. Instead, opt for warm tones and deeper shades like berry, emerald and plum. If it's a Christmas wedding, you can definitely choose an outfit with a little sparkle - just don't upstage the bride!

Black wedding guest dresses have long been considered a bit of a faux pas but this way of thinking is a little outdated. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with wearing black to a wedding, especially in the winter. Black is a classy, flattering colour that is also very versatile. Choose a black dress with a pattern if you're worried you'll look like you're going to a funeral or style it up with a few coloured accessories instead.
Debenhams Purple Velvet Dress £49.00 // New Look Floral Velvet Dress £25.00 // Ted Baker Pleated Velvet Dress £229.00

2. Select wedding guest dresses in heavier fabrics

Some wedding venues, like large churches, can often be cold, so be sure to select a dress made from a heavy fabric. Velvet is a lovely choice for a winter wedding guest dress. Not only is it a luxurious fabric but also one that will keep you warm. Velvet is on trend for A/W 2018 so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a wedding guest dress in this material, whether you're shopping high street or high end.

3. Consider a trouser wedding guest outfit

When choosing a winter wedding guest outfit, it's important to consider the venue and what will be deemed suitable attire. For example, somewhere like the Shrigley Hall Wedding venue in Cheshire, will require formal dress, whereas a more casual wedding guest outfit would be fine for a wedding venue like a country pub or restaurant.
River Island Velvet Jumpsuit £46.00 // Reiss Jumpsuit £225.00 // Lipsy Wide Leg Jumpsuit £65.00
Trouser suits are a great alternative to dresses in the winter and tick all the boxes, in terms of being smart, classy and formal. Alternatively, you could opt for a jumpsuit - dressing it up with your favourite pair of heels. Jumpsuits are very fashionable right now and come in all sorts of styles so you shouldn't find it hard to source one that is wedding guest appropriate.

4. Don't forget a coat or jacket

Part of planning the perfect winter wedding guest outfit involves picking out a dressy coat or jacket. After all, you don't want to get to the big deal, only to realise you don't have anything warm to wear over your new dress! Try on coats, capes and wraps to see what works best with your dress and what will keep you suitably warm - again think about the venue and how long you'll spend outside (for photographs or moving from the wedding to the reception.)
Miss Selfridge Court Shoes £32.00 // New Look Stiletto Heel Ankle Boots £20.99 // Zalando Heels £25.99

5. Pick winter-wedding-friendly footwear

Although open-toe, strappy sandals look lovely with occasion dresses, they're not the most suitable choice for a winter wedding. At the very least, opt for a close-toe heel to keep your feet warm or if comfort is key, a pair of stylish heeled boots. Heeled ankle boots look stylish with longer wedding guest dresses and jumpsuits, whereas knee-high boots work well with a shorter wedding guest dress. Again, just be sure to research the venue and the amount of walking you will be doing!

I hope you've found my winter wedding guest outfit tips useful. Feel free to comment below if you have any more suggestions.

Meg x
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My Experience of Postpartum Hair Loss

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Today's post is a bit of a throwback to 2016 because I want to talk about my experience of postpartum hair loss. It was a post I meant to write ages ago (I mean, Arthur's now three so the postpartum days are LONG gone) but I never really got round to it. Everyone always talks about body confidence after having a baby (learning to embrace the stretch marks and changes) and more and more people are now raising awareness of serious issues like postnatal depression, which is so important but something I don't hear a lot of mums talk about is postpartum hair loss, despite it being pretty common.

Now, by no means was my hair loss severe. When you think about people who have conditions like alopecia or have to go through intense chemotherapy treatment, my own hair loss was nothing to complain about. But it was noticeable and even though I didn't make a big deal about it, I remember it contributed to me not feeling so great about the way I looked and felt after having my son.

Hair changes in pregnancy

I think part of the reason postpartum hair loss can be a bit of a shock for new mums is that pregnancy hair is amazing for some. I don't think my hair had ever looked so good! I've always had quite fine hair (but a lot of it) and noticed that during pregnancy it felt a lot thicker. This is apparently due to the increased levels of oestrogen and androgen in the body when you're pregnant. They promote healthier-looking hair and prolong the growing stage, so there's less time for the hair to rest and shed.

Hair loss after you've given birth

Of course, after you've given birth and your hormones start to settle down in the months following, the oestrogen levels drop and the hair goes into its resting and shedding stages. I remember noticing that I was losing a fair bit of hair, more than I ever had before and it was particularly noticeable around my hairline, as you can see in the pictures. I think the fact I have quite fine hair anyway made it even more noticeable and although I can't say it made me feel overly self-conscious (after all, as a new mum all your focus is on your baby anyway), I think it was something that just added to the negative feelings I had about the way I looked. I think it's fair to say that as a new single mum, I had written myself off. Which is quite sad really and maybe a little bit dramatic, looking back but the good news is, everything got better!

Re-growth after Postpartum hair loss

As the months went on, I found that new hair was appearing around my hairline but it was different to the rest of the hair on my head. It was very wispy and would stick out at funny angles, which was annoying but at least it was growing back! I think by the time Arthur was 14-15 months it was hardly noticeable and the wispy bits were a little longer and therefore easier to manage!

Three years on and I think my hair looks pretty great. I don't think it grows as fast as it used to (and don't know if that has anything to do with the changes your body goes through after having a child) but there's no sign I ever experienced postpartum hair loss.

So if you're experiencing postpartum hair loss too or you're pregnant and worried about it happening, please know that it doesn't last forever and that it is perfectly normal. And although it feels rubbish at the time, you probably won't even think about it a few years on - unless like me, you look back at some old photos and think hey, I could write a blog post about that!

Postpartum Hair Loss Tips

There are some great tips for coping with hair loss here. I've also listed a few things below you can do (or in some cases not do) to help postpartum hair loss...

Scalp massage and exfoliation: Not something I tried but apparently daily scalp massages using just your fingers can help to boost blood circulation and stimulate the scalp. Exfoliation also removes dead skin cells and any build-up from the hair products you use, to encourage better hair growth.

Eat a balanced diet: What you eat can have an impact on hair health and growth. Protein-rich and iron-rich foods are good for nourishing the hair.

Wear your hair in soft styles: I did probably the worst thing I could do and scraped my hair back into a ponytail all the time. I just wanted it off my face and out the way but this could have done more harm than good and actually made the postpartum hair loss more obvious. Wearing your hair in softer styles (i.e. just wearing it down) means less tension on the strands. You can always use clips to get it off your face if you need to!

Don't avoid haircuts: Although cutting your hair may be the last thing you want to do when it's already falling it out, trimming it regularly can help to keep it healthy and promote growth. I had quite a lot chopped off and I think it was probably the best thing, as even though the wispy bits were obvious, it made the rest of my hair appear thicker.

Use less heat on the hair: We all know heat isn't good for the hair so if you are looking for ways to keep it healthy and promote better growth, it's best to avoid it altogether where possible. I hardly use heat on my hair these days (apart from blowdrying) and have definitely noticed improvements to it's overall condition.

Did you experience postpartum hair loss? Do you have any tips for other mums worried about it?
Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Meg x
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