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#MySummerHaven with Lighthouse

2020's lockdown and the on-going restrictions have seen most of us spending a lot more time at home. For me, the change wasn't too drastic. I work from home as a copywriter, so I'm used to spending a lot of time here. However, with my little boy unable to attend nursery and see his friends, I needed to find ways to keep him entertained and engaged. My partner suggested starting a vegetable patch - something fun we could do together as a family that also had educational value for Arthur (...well actually, us all!)
A few months on and I have to say, I never thought I'd find growing vegetables so enjoyable. It's not only therapeutic to spend time in nature but also incredibly rewarding. A couple of weeks back, we did our first proper harvest of vegetables and the look on my little boy's face was priceless. He was amazed that from those tiny little seeds, we'd grown something we could eat for dinner that night. Myself and Josh were equally as thrilled, not just to have been successful with our vegetables but to have discovered a new hobby we share.
Like for many others, our garden has become of great importance during lockdown, not only as a form of entertainment but also a place to relax and 'step away' from the screens we sit behind. So when Lighthouse got in touch about their #MySummerHaven campaign, all about finding adventure and solace in our own back gardens, I knew it was a perfect match. They kindly sent us some gorgeous clothing to wear in the garden and further afield now we're able to venture out.
A beautiful striped cotton sun dress for me (with practical pockets), an adorable combine harvester embroidered top for Arthur and a lightweight waterproof jacket for Josh - because let's face it, British weather can be rather unpredictable, even in the summer! I'm delighted with each new addition to our wardrobes, the quality is excellent and the designs offer the perfect balance between style and practicality.

Lighthouse as a brand is all about appreciating, celebrating and finding joy in the simple things in life. While the current pandemic has bought sadness to many families (of which my heart goes out to), as someone who tries to find the positives in situations, I'm very much appreciative of the time we gained as a family. It's bought us closer, made us thankful for what we have and it's motivated us to try something new, with wonderful results.
#MySummerHaven is our patch. A place for a moment’s peace. A place for new discoveries. A place for happy memories, made with the people I love the most.

This non-paid post features gifted products. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

GLO32 Teeth Whitening Review

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The GLO32 Teeth Whitening Kit promises a happy white smile, without painful teeth or gums that occur with most traditional whitening methods. Instead of using peroxide (which I think we can all agree is pretty harsh on the gums), GLO32 is made with Coconut Oil - a much more natural and gentle whitening solution.

The advanced whitening system (£30) contains 28 strips, designed to be used over 14 days. The strips are very easy to apply on the top and bottom teeth and can be worn comfortably for the 20-30 mins required. Unlike other teeth whitening strips I've used in the past (that have had me almost wanting to retch), these didn't taste disgusting! As long as you like the taste of coconut oil, you'll find them quite pleasant.

The GLO32 teeth whitening strips are also very easy to remove. You can slide them off without any stickiness and either rinse your mouth out or brush any remaining gel away with your toothbrush. In the past I've found other strips difficult, and often painful, to remove but that hasn't been the case at all with GLO32.

In terms of results, I have to say that after just a couple of strips I think my teeth looked whiter. I still need to complete the full course and I'll update this post once I have. But so far, so good! I'm also happy to report that I've not experienced any sensitivity.

The GLO32 Home Teeth Whitening Kit also comes with a stilo pen. This can be used to 'top up' your teeth whitening and is super easy to use. All you need to do is twist the end to dispense the gel and brush it directly onto your teeth. Leave it on for 10-20 minutes and then rinse it away. It says to apply it 2-3 times a day for optimum results but after just 1 application I'm sure I noticed a difference in the colour of my teeth. I've got a feeling this is going to be my favourite product out of the two but I'll report back once I've had longer to try it out.

If you are looking for a home teeth whitening treatment that won't harm your teeth or gums, this is the one to try. As well as being peroxide-free, it's also a cruelty-free, vegan formula, giving it extra bonus points from me!

Product review featuring a gifted product. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Kids Stuff Crazy Foaming Soap Review

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Kids Stuff Crazy Foaming Soaps make bath time far less boring for my four year old and my job of getting him clean a whole lot easier!

The crazy foam is a lot like a thick shaving foam in consistency and comes in several different colours including white, pink, blue and purple. It's super easy to use, so kids can have lots of fun squirting, shaping and bouncing it around the bathtub. Squirt out lots of foam and it'll change the colour of the water too!

Now parents, I know you'll be thinking about the potential for mess and stains on the tub. Well, you'll be pleased to hear that the bath foam is mess and stain-free! As soon as it hits the water it melts down and doesn't leave any stains whatsoever (making it far better than some of the colourful bath bombs you can buy.) If your little one gets any around the side of the tub or on the tiles, a quick rinse will wash it straight down the plug hole.
It's great!

The Kids Stuff Crazy Foaming Soaps are also a fun addition to the paddling pool. They're great for messy and sensory play, encouraging kids to use their imaginations and get creative. Arthur's favourite thing to do is make 'cakes' by layering up the different colours of foam. He also likes squirting the foam out like snow and rolling it into balls.

You could also spray the foam onto a tray and get your little one to practice drawing letters and numbers with their finger. Or grab a toy car and make tracks through the foam. The possibilities for play are endless!

The foaming soaps are very mild, with a hypoallergenic, PH balanced formula, to gently cleanse and moisturise your little one's skin. They're also free from nasty chemicals like SLES (sodium lauryl ether sulphate) and Parabens, giving you total peace of mind that they're safe for your little one to use and play with.

Priced around the £2 mark, they're fairly cheap and cheerful so you can let your little one go wild with the foam without worrying how long its got to last!

Kids Stuff Crazy Foaming Soap is available to purchase from Superdrug and other high street retailers.

It's a fantastic product for kids, great for injecting the fun back into bath time or enjoying messy play outdoors.

Product review featuring a gifted product. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

Starting a vegetable patch

Thanks to Josh's hard work and a new found love for gardening (cricket appears to be out of the question this year...) we're now proud owners of a vegetable patch.

Yes that section of our rather wild and wonderful paddock is now home to several vegetables, including potatoes, broad beans, peas, carrots, parsnips and beetroot. The potato plants are looking good, despite a rather unexpected frost and we've got bean and pea shoots up too. We've also spotted what we think are beetroot leaves. No sign of parsnips yet. Frankly, it'll be a miracle if we get any carrots seeing as we're not quite sure where Arthur scattered them. But hey, it's all part of the fun!

I've been getting my hands dirty too. Admittedly, avoiding the hard part i.e the digging of the vegetable patch. I wasn't so handy with the rotavator either. But I'm enjoying the sowing and watering parts. It's somewhat therapeutic going down to the patch in the evening to water the plants. It's also so exciting when you spot something new...even if it turns out to be a weed.

Back in the kitchen and living room, we've got several other plants taking over the window sills. First up, tomato and sweet pepper plants, grown from seeds we harvested from an actual tomato and sweet pepper. Who knows what they'll turn out like but they're growing!

Here we've got 2 rapidly growing runner bean plants (watch out Jack!) and 4 healthy-looking courgette plants, grown to replace our originals killed off by the aforementioned frost. I was genuinely gutted when we found them flopped over in the vegetable patch but we're new to this - it's a learning curve.

And recently planted in the pots are sweetcorn, pumpkin, chillis, more runner beans and two different types of marrow.

Apparently, we don't do things by halves! Fingers crossed they all grow.

Update: We've now turned an old egg incubator into a cold frame so we can put some of the window sill plants out each day. They're loving it! The runner beans have been planted out too. Josh cut an old barrel in half to make two big pots and they look fantastic.

Anyone else started a vegetable patch during lockdown? What have you been planting in your garden?

Life in lockdown

It's been a while but as we muddle through the 4th week of lockdown in the UK, I thought, what better time to write a blog post?

Everything's a little strange right now. There's a lot of uncertainty and we don't know when things will go back to normal, or whatever the new normal will be.

I wouldn't be human if I wasn't worrying about the virus and all of the people it's hurting. I'm heartbroken for those who have lost their lives or people they love. I'm anxious for my brother, a key worker and my best friend, a nurse. I'm nervous about when this all ends and Josh goes back to work and Arthur goes back to nursery. I'm uncertain whether Arthur will even go back to nursery, or whether instead, he'll be going to school. I'm saddened that I was doing so well with my work, and that for the most part, I've had to hit the pause button. I'm gutted it'll be even longer before we get our dream home.

But despite the worries and weirdness, I'm at peace with this way of living for the time being. I'm so grateful we get to stay safe at home. I'm so thankful that the people I love are, so far, okay. 

I'm happy we've been able to do fun things like paint rainbows, plant seeds and play in the garden. I love that we've been blessed with sunshine. I'm grateful we've enjoyed homecooked food every night. 

I feel like it's making us appreciate the little things in life. And I think that once this is all over, we'll appreciate all the things we've missed out on a little more too. 

Let's hope so anyway.

What I'm Wearing: Pinafore Dresses

Pinafores are my favourite thing to wear right now. Comfortable and cute, they're perfect for everyday wear, with a long sleeved top and ankle boots. If it's a little cooler, I like to pop a jumper underneath for extra warmth and I've been known to wear them with my wellies too - we've had a lot of welly weather as of late, haven't we?

Although a quick Google search for 'pinafore dresses' will bring up trillions of results from almost every women's fashion store out there, my go-to place for a good pinafore is Tu!

They have some really gorgeous pinafore dresses (I own three) in various cuts and styles. I find they are true to size (I wear a size 10) and vary slightly in length, depending on the style you go for. Thankfully, none of the pinafores I've bought have been ridiculously short, a problem I've often had with pinafores from other stores.

I also love that they have pockets (practical) and are very reasonably priced. This black corduroy spotty pinafore was only £11! It's out of stock now unfortunately but there are plenty of other lovely choices under £20.

These days it's rare that I find a dress that I absolutely love but pinafores tick all of the boxes for me and I think I'll be wearing them for the foreseeable. Certainly until it gets hot enough to dig out my summer dresses anyway!

Are you a fan of the pinafore?

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Kids Sandpits

[Partnered Post]

Whether they're scooping it, sifting it, building castles with it, making mudpies or digging through it - playing in the sand allows children to use their imaginations and hone their socialisation skills.

Living close to a number of beautiful beaches is never lost on us as a family, and the fact that we have the mother of all sandpits on our doorstep is something we never take for granted. But if you live inland or don’t like the idea of all that sand, you can bring the beach home to you, with kids sandpits.