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
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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
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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
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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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