Epionce Renewal Enriched Body Lotion Review

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I'll hold my hands up and say I've always been pretty rubbish at remembering to moisturise my skin. Well actually, I can't really blame it on poor memory, as I remember to moisturise my face daily. It really it comes down to just being a little too lazy to moisturise the rest of my body! Having said this, since having my rasul mud treatment a few weeks back, I've been making a conscious effort to pay my skin a little more attention. After all, I'm not getting any younger and if I want my skin to look good in the future, I need to be taking care of it now.

Testing the Epionce Renewal Body Lotion

Funnily, just as I was turning this new leaf in body care, Epionce sent over their Renewal Enriched Body Lotion for me to try out. With key ingredients including avocado oil, shea butter and rose hip oil, it is formulated to protect the skin against dryness and dehydration, whilst also repairing and strengthening its barrier.

I was a little dubious as to how effective it would be, probably because I've never really had a body lotion that's impressed me before but I have to say I've been pleasantly surprised. The first thing I noticed was the fresh citrus scent. It's obvious on application but doesn't linger too long (which I personally prefer.) The second thing, just how quickly the product sinks into the skin. Some body lotions can feel tacky and like you can't get dressed straight after application but this isn't the case with the Epionce body lotion. The lovely lightweight cream blends into the skin and leaves it feeling silky in seconds. No stickiness at all!

Long-lasting, noticeable results

What I've been most happy about is the long-lasting results. I can apply it in the morning and at the end of the day, when I'm getting ready for bed, my skin feels completely different. It's much softer to touch and feels as if the product is still there working its magic.

With the Epionce Renewal Body Lotion, I can really notice a difference. I don't know whether it's because I've never persevered with other body lotions before or my skin just really likes the ingredients in this one but it's made me want to rave about it on my blog and that's a sure sign I like it!

A wonderful body lotion - just a little pricey!

I guess the only downside to the product is the expensive price tag. £40.50 is not a price I can afford to spend on a body lotion, no matter how amazing it is. Having said this, you get 230ml so it's likely to last a good while and there are of course plenty of people out there who can afford luxury skincare (and just to be clear, there's no judgement here!)

It's a very lovely body lotion and I will certainly use it all up (and reap all of the wonderful skincare benefits) but unfortunately, I'll be looking for a cheaper alternative afterwards. As a mum on a tight budget, I'm probably not the target market for Epionce, however I really wanted to share my experience using the product as it's been such a positive one and has helped convince me to keep working daily moisturising into my routine.

Meg x
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JulieMay Luxury Shapewear Review

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It's funny, I never imagined I'd be writing another lingerie post so soon but when JulieMay got in touch to share their beautiful collection of luxury shapewear, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up on. You see, I'm a real advocate of comfortable underwear. I've been known to wear Bridget Jones pants, you know, the ones that hold everything in and I wore the large sized knickers I bought during my pregnancy with Arthur for many, many months afterwards, just because they were comfortable.

I'm also a big fan of beautiful lingerie but let's face it, it's not always that pleasant to wear! It may look attractive but how can something really make you feel your best, if it's digging into your shoulders or putting pressure on your ribs? The truth is, it can't.
But that's where JulieMay comes in. Their collections of lingerie, shapewear and postpartum wear offer the best of both worlds - beauty and comfort. They're designed to make you look but most importantly feel your best. And I think most women will agree that they feel so much more confident in their outfits when they're wearing good supporting, comfortable underwear!
I was very lucky to receive such a beautiful piece of JulieMay lingerie to try. This is the Flowery-Infrared Slim Silk Bodysuit Shaper and it's probably the most luxury piece of lingerie I've ever owned. It arrived in the prettiest presentation box (so pretty I had to share it on my Instagram stories) and I was immediately taken by the beautiful floral pattern.

But, like I said before, JulieMay lingerie has so much more to offer than an aesthetically pleasing design. The bodysuit is so comfortable to wear and it's no surprise, seeing as the inner layer of the bra and crotch are made of 100% pure silk (I told you it was luxury!) The non-slip shoulder straps are adjustable and wide so they don't dig into the skin and the lower waist cross-compression provides excellent support. There was no squeezing, bulging or irritation. It simply firmed-up my natural body shape, with everything feeling completely smoothed and supported.

The Infrared Slim™technology is also designed to improve your blood circulation and adjust body temperature so the bodysuit is comfortable to wear no matter the season.
Do you want to know one of the best bits about this gorgeous silk bodysuit? It's practical. You can actually go to the loo without having to take the whole thing off, simply using the (adjustable) poppers on the crotch. I know that's not the most glamorous thing to say but to a woman, it makes a huge difference!
Taking these photo wasn't easy. There were a lot of nervous giggles and awkward face outtakes. And admittedly, as great as this bodysuit makes me feel, I wasn't sure I really wanted to share how my body looks on my blog. But then I thought, hey, if I were buying such a beautiful piece of lingerie, it'd be useful to see what it looks like on someone that looks like me. A mum. Someone with curves, wobbles and stretch marks. A non-air brushed, imperfect body. So here you go!

I may not be 100% body confident. Like most people, there are things I'd change but I have to say since becoming a mum I've become a whole lot more comfortable in my own skin. My body carried, birthed and fed a baby. It's no surprise that it doesn't look the same as it once did. But that doesn't mean it should be neglected. In fact, it's a reason to take more care of it and I think that's the message that JulieMay relays with it's beautiful postpartum and shapewear designs. They show you that you don't have to compromise on beauty and luxury just because you need a little extra support.

You deserve to feel your very best!

Visit the JulieMay website for a closer look at their lingerie collections.

Meg x
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Get Muddy at The Cleve Hotel, Somerset [Review]

The other weekend, we treated ourselves to a 'Get Muddy' spa day at The Cleve Country House Hotel & Spa in Somerset, with vouchers Josh received for his birthday. In all honesty, we had no idea what to expect from the mud treatment but couldn't wait for an afternoon of relaxation and some quality time together as a couple.

The Cleve Country House Hotel was very easy to find, just a stone's throw away from Wellington's historic town centre. The Victorian Country House looked impressive from the outside and with beautiful views of the Blackdown Hills and stunning Somerset countryside, it couldn't have been situated in a more picturesque place.
Inside, the hotel was equally as attractive. The staff were extremely welcoming and we felt completely at ease. After filling in a couple of forms, we were given a tour of the spa facilities and I could feel myself starting to relax. Unlike when we visited Thermae Bath Spa back in November, it was far less busy and for me, fewer people is always a winner! We went off to get changed into our swimwear and fluffy robes (who doesn't love a fluffy robe,) before heading back to the Spa Den to wait for our treatment. The lounging area had plenty of comfy chairs and as part of the 'Get Muddy' spa package, we could help ourselves to complimentary drinks, including fruit water, fruit juices and various hot drinks from the machines.

Rasul Mud Treatment at The Cleve Hotel & Spa, Somerset

The Rasul Mud Treatment was a little different from the treatments you would usually expect at a spa, as it's DIY, so there isn't a therapist to do it for you. We were taken into the treatment room and talked through each of the products we'd be using, how and when to apply them and all the benefits we'd feel. Once we'd had the full run down, we were left to head into the steam chamber, armed with our tray of exfoliators and Rasul muds, ready for application!

I actually really liked the fact it was just me and Josh in the steam chamber. I was able to relax so much more and it was a fun treatment to do together as a couple. Both the exfoliating and Rasul mud products were very easy to apply and you could really feel them working on the skin. The heat and steam inside the chamber felt quite intense at times but I really enjoyed it and knew it'd be opening up all my pores and helping the mud work it's magic. At the end of the 45 minute treatment, you simply had to shower off the mud. There were two showers conveniently located in the steam temple and the mud was so easy to wash off.

Did we feel the benefits?
Something else I really loved about the Rasul Mud treatment is that you could feel the benefits to your skin immediately. We both commented on how fresh we felt after stepping out of the treatment room and our skin was much, much softer.

The Rasul Mud is designed to detoxify the body, draw out impurities and get rid of dead skin cells. It leaves the skin feeling noticeable cleaner, plumped and super soft. My skin hasn't felt so good in ages and since having the treatment, I've been trying to make a conscious effort to keep exfoliating and moisturising, in order to prolong the benefits.

If your skin is in need of a little TLC, Rasul Mud is the perfect treatment to have. I'd also recommend it to new spa goers or those less keen on treatments like massages. As this is one you can do yourself, you're in full control. It's fun to do with a partner and a great way to relax while completely nourishing your body.

You can find more information about The Cleve Hotel's Rasul Mud treatment and it's benefits here.

A lovely lunch with bubbles!

After our 45 minute Rasul Mud treatment, we had a little time to relax in the Spa Den, before heading for our lunch platter and Prosecco, which is included in the price of the Get Muddy package. I really liked the fact the dining area was situated near the spa facilities, so you could eat in your robe and didn't have to bother getting dressed (it's the little things!)

We had the dining room completely to ourselves, which was lovely and the lunch platter (complete with a homemade soup) was absolutely delicious!

Spa Facilities at The Cleve Hotel, Somerset

Once lunch was over, we went for a lie down in the silent room. It was fairly peaceful in there (although not particularly silent with doors being constantly opened and closed) and the beds were very comfortable. The idea of going for a quick snooze may sound a bit weird but as a parent, it's something you never ever get to do, so it was really enjoyable!

We also visited the pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, all of which were clean and available to use as and when we wanted to. The spa facilities were great and although we didn't use the gym, it looked to be equipped with everything you'd need too.

Would I recommend The Cleve Country House Hotel & Spa?

I have no hesitation in recommending The Cleve Country House Hotel & Spa! I really enjoyed the Get Muddy spa day and at £75 each, including the 45 minute Rasul Mud treatment, lunch, prosecco, complimentary drinks and full use of the gym and spa facilities, I think it is good value for money. Whether you live in Somerset or are visiting for a weekend away, it's a lovely way to spend an afternoon with your partner or with friends.

Meg x
Images courtesy of The Cleve Country House Hotel & Spa.
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Hunkemöller Lingerie for Valentine's Day

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Let's start this post by saying, isn't that a beautiful looking bra? Hunkemöller kindly let me pick a piece from their Valentine's Day collection and I think I made the perfect choice with the Jaida Padded Push-Up bra. It's such a pretty colour and I love everything about it from the lace and crystal detailing to the long-line style and extra straps that give it a somewhat sexy feel. It's true to my usual size, fits like a dream and quite frankly, I feel great wearing it! 
One of the reasons I think it's important to treat yourself to new lingerie for Valentine's Day (or whenever you feel like it) is because it makes YOU feel good. I find that new lingerie always gives me a confidence boost. It makes me forget about some of my body 'hang ups' and my outfits always feel better on (even though it's tucked away underneath!) I really don't think it matters whether or not you have a partner or someone else who'll enjoy it too. It's all about how it makes you feel.
There are so many beautiful Valentine's Day lingerie collections but Hunkemöller stands out as a brand that caters for every taste. So whether you're after something super sexy or a pretty pyjama set, they've got you covered. Go treat yourself and have a Happy Valentine's Day!
Meg x
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Tasty Butternut Squash Side Dish [Easy Recipe]

Butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables so I've been making more of a conscious effort to include it in my home cooked recipes. It's really versatile and can be used in all sorts of recipes from simple soups to tasty tarts and coconut-based curries! Today though, I wanted to share a very quick and easy butternut squash side dish that you can serve with anything from a traditional roast to a basic jacket potato!
Ingredients for 2 people:
Half a large butternut squash (chopped into small cubes)
6 x mushrooms
1 x small red onion
Olive oil for frying
Sage (fresh or dried)
1 teaspoon of Very Lazy Chopped Garlic (or 1 clove of garlic if you're not lazy like me)
Method:
To make this tasty butternut squash side dish, add a dash of olive oil to a hot pan and start frying off your butternut squash to soften it a little. After a couple of minutes, throw in your mushrooms and onions, along with a teaspoon of Very Lazy Garlic (or your garlic clove.) Lightly fry your vegetables, before sprinkling over either fresh or dried sage. At this stage your butternut squash will still feel a little hard but that's absolutely fine!
This isn't an AD for Very Lazy Garlic by the way - I just love the stuff! It's so convenient.
Next, transfer your ingredients to an oven-proof dish and roast for around 20-30 minutes. You'll know it's ready when the butternut squash is completely cooked (your fork should go in without difficulty.)
And there you'll have a tasty vegan-friendly butternut squash side dish! See, I told you it was simple.

What I like about this recipe (aside from the delicious taste) is that you can do the frying part earlier on, leave it to cool and then warm it up / roast the vegetables in the oven later for dinner. Obviously roasting time will depend on your oven and the temperature but 20-30 mins should do it. I'd go for 180℃ on a fan oven. We have a Rayburn so it's often guess work but basically, we make sure it's on 'bake.'

Let me know if you try this simple butternut squash side dish and what you think!

Meg x
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Book Gifts for Valentine's Day

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Valentine's Day isn't everyone's cup of tea - some think it's over-commercialised, others think you should show your love and appreciation for those special to you every day. I agree with both of those sentiments but at the same time, I don't think there's anything wrong with celebrating on the 14th and if you want to buy a card or gift for your loved one then go for it!

Flowers and chocolates are popular gifts for Valentine's Day but if you're looking for something a little different (and something that'll last longer), why not treat your loved one to a book?

'It Had To Be You' is a journal that you can fill in as a couple, to document your very own love story. The beautifully designed book features prompts on each page, encouraging you to share special memories you've made, as well as the things you love most about each other. There's also the opportunity to write little love letters and poems, if that's your sort of thing. It's a really cute idea and would make a lovely keepsake for years to come.

It Had To Be You is available from Amazon.
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Another book I wanted to share as a potential Valentine's Day gift idea is 'Being Beautiful' by Helen Gordon. This anthology features a collection of poems, quotes and musings by famous philosophers, writers and celebrities, all on what it means to be beautiful. The writings are split into sections such as 'Finding Beauty,' 'Living Beautifully' and 'Inner Beauty,' with quirky, colouful drawings scattered amongst the text, adding to the beauty of the book itself.

What I like about 'Being Beautiful' is that it's a book you can pick up as and when you wish. I enjoy turning to a random page and having a little read. I've found some quotes have really struck a chord with me, 'I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that' (Lauren Bacall) being one and love being reunited with some of the poems I haven't read since school. The book itself is a thing of beauty and would make a unique gift for Valentine's Day.

Being Beautiful is available from Amazon.

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Do you have any books you'd recommend as Valentine's Gifts? Feel free to share them in the comments or tweet me @meganjane03.

Meg x
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Fun Family Activity: Campfire & Marshmallows

If you read my recent post 'An honest account of a family walk with a three year old,' you'll know that sometimes Arthur can be a little monkey (well that's the polite way of putting it) but at the same time, he can also be the cutest child ever.

Last week he came down with a rather nasty cold and after deciding to keep him off nursery for a couple of mornings to get better, I asked him what he'd like to do at the weekend to cheer him up. "Can we do campfire and marshmallows, with Arthur, Mummy and Daddy? My family!" he asked excitedly. My heart melted. It sounded like the cutest idea and the answer was a resounding YES.
I did wonder where he'd got the idea from, after all it's not really your average request from a three year old. Turns out he'd seen them doing it on an episode of Blaze and the Monster Machines. I think we'd probably watched that episode about five times in a row...so really, I should have guessed!
Love that Arthur gets involved with his toy chainsaw!
Sunday is family day, so after heading out to the beach for a quick stroll (it was beautiful but far too windy to stay there long) we picked up a bag of marshmallows for toasting and went into the paddock to find the perfect log. You see, Josh had spent time planning the type of campfire we were going to make and decided on a Swedish fire log. It's one of the things I love most about him. He'll do anything for that little boy and put his all into it.
Images by smithy.1990
Anyway, back to the Swedish fire log - it's meant to be one of the most efficient camp fires you can make because it is compact, self-contained and self-feeding. You only need a single log but make sure it's as dry as possible. The next step is to make slots in the top of it, which Josh did super quickly with his chainsaw (and Arthur 'helped' with his toy version!) There's a full tutorial on making and lighting a Swedish fire log on Fresh Off The Grid, which you may find useful if you want to have a go.
Admittedly, it took us a while to light but was totally worth the wait (and freezing cold hands!) Arthur's little face was beaming when he got to taste his toasted marshmallow and although a little scared of the fire (it never hurts to be cautious) he braved having a go with help. I tried my first ever toasted marshmallow (no I didn't have a sheltered childhood, I'm just fussy) and although I don't really like the texture, toasted they're quite tasty!
We were out there for over an hour and it was just such a lovely end to our weekend. Arthur went to bed a very happy boy and we warmed up with a bowl of my Mum's homemade Moussaka for tea. Often the simplest of times can feel the most special and I feel so lucky I get to make so many wonderful memories with my boys.

Did you have a weekend well spent? I'd love to hear about it!


Meg x
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3 ways to Save Money on Furnishing & Decorating your Home

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Photo by Eneida Nieves
We all know just how hard it is to buy a house these days and I have to admit, if it wasn't for my partner, it would still be completely out of the question for our family. Property prices in our local area are very high, so we've been exploring our options and looking into other, less traditional possibilities, such as self-build homes, which are often more affordable and made from sustainable materials.

It's not just the expense of buying or building a property that you have to consider though. The decorating and furnishing of your property needs to be factored into your budget too. After all, it's these personal touches that will turn a place from 'house' to 'home.'

The good news is, if you're willing to think a little outside the box and embrace sustainability, there are plenty of ways you can save money on styling your home...
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

Upcycle Furniture

There's nothing wrong with collecting ideas from homeware magazines and browsing the latest furniture collections online but consider this - not everything you buy for your home needs to be new. In fact, you can save a lot of money by upcycling old furniture and giving it a new lease of life. 

Both myself and my partner share a love for vintage and rustic furniture. We find it more homely and plan to upcycle as much as possible. We've been lucky enough to receive a few pieces of furniture from family that we'll be able to do up for our future home. Most pieces just need a little TLC but we also plan to reupholster a lovely armchair we've been given, so it's more to our taste. Sure, it'll take time but it'll be worth it.

Buy Secondhand

Facebook Marketplace is the go-to site for picking up good quality, secondhand furniture, for next to nothing. It's also a great place for purchasing white goods like fridges and freezers too. There's no buying or selling fees involved and you can narrow down your search to your local area, so you won't spend a fortune on fuel either!

Did you know you can also avoid buying new and save a lot of money on bigger purchases like your kitchen? Ex Display Kitchens are a fantastic way of getting an almost new kitchen but for a more affordable price. There are companies out there that specialise in second hand kitchens and other things like bathroom suites, so it's definitely worth doing a little research. It's an ethical choice that makes financial sense too.
Photo by rawpixel.com

DIY Projects

You can save a lot of money when doing up your home by doing as much as you can yourself (or y'know roping in your family and friends to help!) I am extremely lucky that both my partner and my dad love making things and are really good at it too. Josh has so many unique ideas for furniture he wants to make for our home and I love that they'll give it a really personal touch. My dad also used to have a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom fitting business, so I'm hoping to call in a favour (or fifty) when the time comes!

Although I'm not so handy with a hammer and saw, I'm not too shabby when it comes to painting. My mum and I made a wonderful job of the tearoom we owned a couple of years ago. It was hard work but we saved ourselves so much money on a painter and decorator! I plan to do the same with our future house.

Have you got any more tips to help save money on decorating and furnishing your home? I'd love to hear them so share below or tweet me @meganjane03.

Meg x

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The Pawfection Pack Treat Box Review

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Blogger mail usually has my name on it, sometimes Arthur's but last week a brown paper wrapped parcel arrived for our lovely dog, Oby. The Pawfection Pack had kindly sent over their January Treat Box and I don't know who was more excited, Arthur or the dog!

The January Treat Box contained four full size products including a Doggy's Cuppa Detoxing Brew, Coconut, Chia & Turmeric Treats from The Dog Treat Company, a Trio of Biscuits from The Little Blue Pupcakery and Yup You Stink Hemp Treats from HOWND.

Can you guess what grabbed our attention? The Little Blue Pupcakery treats of course! The dainty Bourbon, Custard Cream and Jammy Dodger homemade dog biscuits could have easily been mistaken for the real deal. They're all made with low fat, human grade ingredients that are free from artificial colourings and additives. The biccies are such a cute idea for dog presents and I'm pleased to report Oby loved every single one!

Oby's also been enjoying the treat pots from both The Dog Treat Company and HOWND.

The Dog Treat Company Coconut, Chia & Turmeric biscuits are handbaked in Devon and said to be great for supporting dogs' immunity, aiding growth and encouraging brain and eye development. Turmeric also boasts anti-inflammatory properties. What stood out to me was the packaging, particularly the quirky dog illustration, it's brilliant!

I'd be lying if I said Oby didn't have a little bad breath from time to time so the Yup You Stink! Hemp Wellness Treats from HOWND were essentially a treat for us all. The healthy dog snacks contain dried mint and parsley (both known for their breath freshening properties), as well as organic Hemp, which is rich in healthy fats and minerals and offers a variety of natural health benefits for dogs. We love seeing him lie down next to his little treat pile, so he can take his time and enjoy them properly. He's a sweet thing.

I was really excited to see that The Pawfection Pack Treat Box also featured a Detoxing Brew from Doggy's Cuppa and I took great pleasure in making one for Oby; boiling the kettle, carefully spooning in the herbal tea, letting it steep for five minutes and then adding a splash of cold water. As you can imagine, I was somewhat disappointed when he then turned his nose up at it. Unfortunately, it just wasn't his cup of tea!

It's a shame because the Detoxing Brew is meant to be great for stimulating dogs' immune systems and promoting urinary health. I'm going to try sprinkling a little onto his dinner to see if he prefers it that way but if all else fails, it'll be sent off to my partner's parent's dogs, Narla and Tinker, to see if they fancy a cuppa instead!

All in all, I think The Pawfection Pack Treat Box was a success and contained some lovely products for Oby to enjoy. If you have money spare to treat your pet, it's a really nice idea and I like that it introduces you to new pet brands and products. The Treat Box is available monthly (from £10) and the company also offers various other subscription boxes for both dogs and cats on their website.

The Pawfection Pack have clearly put a lot of effort into sourcing quality products and taken great care in presenting their boxes. As a new business, I think this helps them stand out to pet owners like myself and I wish them all the success with their venture.

Fancy treating your dog? Get 10% off your first box using the code SCRIBBLES10 (valid until 22nd March.)

Meg x
PS - I've come to realise that when shooting blog pictures with Oby, there's very little hope of getting the exact photo you want. What's that saying? 'Never work with children and animals!'
Just kidding.

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