Life without Comic Sans

We’ve all been there, when it comes to writing up an essay, creating a poster, organising some party invitations or adding labels to food it’s easy to open up Microsoft word and choose one of the pre-Installed fonts. It always seems like Times New Roman is too formal and Ariel is too boring so it’s easy to opt for comic sans as it’s the most “fun” but in reality comic sans makes me and many others cringe. Back when I was at school I even conducted lots of experiments with word art – thank goodness that hard drive was corrupted! Eventually I studied graphic design at university and I’m a self confessed typography geek.

Comic sans is just too simple and lacks any style. Back in the nineties when there was no other option there was a place for it but now almost thirty years later when it comes to crafting new designs there are hundreds and thousands of options available and you can add flair to your work which will make out stand out from the crowd in the right way. Once you have downloaded and installed a new font it’s just as effortless to use in most desktop software programmes.

Heres some inspiration for projects using fonts from Font Bundles which is a digital design market place. Check out a selection of awesome summer fonts here.

Personalised tee shirts

Using a decorative font such as “let’s go camping” and then adding some colour and texture to the letters you can create a unique style of your own which brightens up any day. This whimsical font featuring caravans and shapes cut in to the letters is ideal for the summer of Staycations. I used a sublimation technique to apply the design to the t shirt.

Nursery decor

When you’re looking for the ideal finishing touches to a nursery or child’s bedroom then adding a print is a great option. I used to trawl through Etsy looking for the perfect prints but now instead I create my own. Here I used “squishy” which gives me mermaid vibes. Again filling the letters with a lilac and pink swirled texture and printing out on to high quality paper before popping it in to a frame for display.

Food and drink labels

When you’re back planning a summer soirée its always a great idea to label the table. I find this saves me time as a host having to repeat myself, you can find editable templates online which can be printed out on to sheets of cardboard and then get creative with your own text. I label drinks which contain alcohol as I often make up cocktail pitchers and mock tails for the kids and then I highlight dishes which are vegetarian or vegan. I’ve used animatic which features in several summer font bundle packages to create this lemonade label design.

Party invitations

Organising a party, planning a theme, an outfit, the food, decorations and the entertainment can be fun and stressful too. It’s important to let your guests know all the details. An RSVP is great to have guests confirm their attendance and this is your one opportunity to let guests know the time/place/dress code and any other important details. It’s too easy these days to send everyone a group chat message or Facebook invite but there’s nothing quite like having an invitation, especially for children and you can incorporate the theme in to your design and use fonts to highlight the most important details. In this example it’s the time and date. I often like to play with using two fonts in design and when you choose a bundle deal there’s always complimenting options to choose from. You can send these digitally or get them printed out – I like to design a 6×4 image and then order print outs from a photo printing app. I like to think that the design would look nice stuck on a fridge or notice board in the kitchens of my guests.

Thank you notes

Continuing with the party theme I love sitting down with Arlo and “writing” thank you notes. Experimenting with colour and curved texts creates a fun and whimsical effect and it’s so much nicer than comic sans. Arlo’s still getting to grips with a pencil even though he likes to get involved his mark making so creating a little template for him with space to add his creative flair is perfect, the art of letter writing is something which I do not want to see disappear even though I am an advocate for digital design. Sometimes doing things the old fashioned way is just as fun. I enjoy stamping and posting out letters just as much as I enjoy using digital fonts.

Bonus Idea – kids resources

I like to craft learning resources and printables for Arlo and this little egg box is his treasure box for scavenger hunts. With a laminated label featuring a simple rainbow graphic and words in one of my favourite fonts, this has lasted us well over a year (even when the original egg box disintegrated).

Things to look out for when renting a property

If you find yourself in a position where you are looking to rent a home for the first time then you probably have lots of questions. Working out what your budget is and then managing your expectations accordingly is a sharp learning curve but these days there are regulations in place so you shouldn’t be left high and dry (unlike me).

I first moved out when I was a fresh eighteen year old and my first experience was in student halls of residence. The less said about that the better to be honest, I couldn’t wait to leave after the first year and get myself in to a private rental. As a second year Uni student I shared a flat which was owned by a friend of a friend. I can’t be sure of the exact details of the relationship there but from what I remember the property was their first experience of renting. We paid the rent on time, had no issues with the property and I would have stayed on for another year and extended the tenancy. However after the first year the landlord decided that they wanted the property back and communicated this with my friend informally but didn’t actually give any notice and so I ended up having to leave and rush in to finding elsewhere quickly which wasn’t fun.

Lesson learnt, always have a contract with a formal notice period outlined for both parties and don’t make allowances for personal relationships. I preferred dealing with agencies and having more experienced landlords from this point forwards. I found myself renting a room in a shared house for a short time after this – a landlord approved by the university which on paper sounded great but in reality – not so great. My bedroom was decorated in the sickliest shade of purple. I would have covered the cost of painting it magnolia (even though I hate beige) but I wasn’t allowed. In my contract it was also stated that I couldn’t use Blu-tax to put up posters. Second note to self – ask about redecorating. Sometimes landlords add rules to contracts based on their past experiences with bad tenants too and so you can end up with contracts and rules which are far too restrictive.

I have moved around a lot since my Student days and loved the freedom of renting, being able to have a fixed term in one place and then the freedom to be able to move if needed – and I have always been footloose and fancy free as long as I’ve known that I have my family home in Birmingham to go back to when needed. I think all in all I’ve lived in over twenty properties – some better than others so here’s my too tips of things to consider when renting.

First of all planning your budget is always important. Yes the monthly rent might be affordable but check your council tax band online and then try to figure out your utility bills too. You can ask former tenants if you manage to meet them when viewing, or ask neighbours about their suppliers and monthly bills if their properties are similar – you might be able to find they’ll give you a referral discount or offer which benefits you both.

You can also use price comparison websites to give you a quote. Think about water rates, electricity, gas, broadband and tv packages. These costs add up and you usually have to fund all of these yourself as a renter (check the details of your contract). There may also be service charges and no doubt a tv licence and your contents insurance. Landlords should always have property insurance or their own and you can ask about the details of their insurance to make sure you know what’s expected in an emergency. Compare landlord insurance here to find out more. Never be afraid to ask questions to find out who’s accountable for what – lost keys can be a very expensive cost (again talking from experience).

So when you’ve crunched the numbers (making allowances for estimates) and figured out your realistic monthly budget it’s time to go and view some properties. Having learnt from experience theres ten things I always check when viewing a rental.

  • turn on all the taps and shower to check temperature and water pressure. I’ve always found that these problems are not a priority for a landlord but are really irritating to live with. Look at how quickly the water drains too. The last thing you want is to have to take hours aside to wash your hair and unplug a drain which smells like it has never ever been cleaned.
  • Ask to turn the heating on and see how quickly the place warms up – check every radiator to make sure they work. I lived in one shared house where the thermostat was locked in a box and we couldn’t adjust the heating ourselves – never again. It was always far too hot or cold.
  • Look at the white goods – the oven, washing machine and fridge/freezer. Clarify if these are included and make sure they’re working and in good order. I moved in to one place and the previous tenant had taken everything when the landlord just assumed it was going to be left behind. I eventually negotiated a discounted rent to cover the cost of having to buy all new things myself but this was a huge financial hit.
  • Look at the boiler – there’s usually a sticker with the last service / inspection date. Same for all the fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These are basic legal requirements for landlords to fulfil and if these aren’t in order then it raises questions about integrity for me.
  • Check every light switch works – I had one landlord who tried to hold my deposit back for a faulty light at the end of a tenancy when it had never worked. I’ve taken bulbs from other sockets in properties I’m viewing just to test them all out.
  • Same goes for plug sockets – take your phone charger and test it in every single socket when viewing or doing a walkthrough. When you’re planning your furniture layout and do all your IKEA flat pack for your home office only to discover there’s one working socket in that space to run all your electricals it’s not great fun.
  • Try all the windows. Have a good look around for signs of moisture / damp. That’s a big no-no for me. Make sure they’re all safe and don’t open too wide, but open enough to allow fresh air in and not be claustrophobic. Make sure that they can be locked – especially if you have kids.
  • Same with the doors. Open and close every interior and exterior door to make sure they all are okay and then also check locks and make sure all keys are available. Ask about their key policy at this stage. The last thing you want is a landlord walking in without notice because they have a key.
  • Take photographs and videos of everything. The condition of walls and carpet. The meter readings. The upkeep of the garden etc.
  • Check the phoneline and make sure that you can get access to the internet you need. I’d be lost without decent WiFi in every room of my house and so moving in to an area with dodgy internet would be a dealbreaker for me.

This list isn’t conclusive, I check lots of other things but hopefully these are things you haven’t come across before.

I’ve always dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s after one nightmare experience. I moved in to a studio apartment in London, above a retail premises which I thought was fabulous. It was tiny but I thought it was great value for money and was in an excellent location. All bills included. Things started to go wrong when I realised there was one electric meter for myself and my neighbour who had just moved in too. We had a power cut and the landlord didn’t seem to want to fix it in a rush so I was showering at work. Happened to speak to a random colleague about my situation who asked to come and see my studio.

It turns out that I had a rogue landlord who was on the watch list with the local council. He didn’t have planning permission to convert the apartment above the shop in to two studios and so EHO came out to basically force him to convert everything back to the way it was and I had to leave immediately. That wasn’t a fun time, I’d spent all my savings at the time on my deposit, rent in advance and then furnished it too. It was scary to find out how many different regulations he had ignored – my bedroom for example had no fire escape.

Despite all of these awful anecdotes I have had some wonderful experiences too. When things go wrong it’s always great to have a landlord you can rely on to fix things in a timely manner and not be scared to approach. I’ve had water leaks in two homes and those caused no end of trouble. My landlords on both occasions had everything covered with their insurance. I’ve called them in the middle of the night with a problem and had them send out a contractor within an hour to fix my boiler and then decide to replace the whole thing as their insurance covered it for them.

Luckily now a lot more regulations are in place compared to my student days such as deposit schemes and limits to how much rent in advance you have to pay. Ad long as you’re thorough and check that everything is in order, and you’re comfortable with signing a contract then there’s no reason for things to go quickly South, as long as a you’re a good tenant and don’t ruin walls with blu tac that is.

Curl up with a book this summer

(Books provided by Nosy Crow for the purposes of review)

We have had a wonderful couple of weeks filled with glorious sunshine, and it’s been great to enjoy the weather, I often write about our adventures when we get out and about but sometimes you need a day at home, especially on days like today when there’s a storm blowing outside. It’s always a great idea to have some indoor activities up your sleeve and there’s nothing better than curling up in the book corner for a moment of calm. These new books are available from Nosy Crow now.

We received this bundle of four stories from Nosy Crow and have been enjoying these at bedtime for the past week or so, reading them over and over again because that’s what Arlo likes to do, so that eventually he picks up the story for himself and likes to sit and read independently to the cat or his variety of teddies.

Ruffles and the teeny tiny kittens £9.99

Mousey our new kitten arrived suddenly one day, we had a call that some building contractors had found her in an empty house and she was totally alone, so of course we took her in and Arlo has had to adapt to life with a kitten very quickly. He’s very gentle with animals but our adult cats steer clear of this four year old whirlwind and so having a teeny tiny kitten wanting to follow him around the house and play all day, is a learning curve. This story by David Melling from the Ruffles series arrived at just the right time and together we’re figuring out how to get along.

The cat the rat and the hat £6.99

This paperback book is a delight for helping with word recognition and phonics – we have nailed the “at” sound now with so many repetitions. Arlo has been in hysterics with this one as I read it as fast as I possibly can getting tongue tied in the process. From Em Lynas and Matt Hunt, just like all Nosy Crow paperbacks this comes along with a stories aloud recording – a simple scan of the QR code and I can play the audio book out loud for Arlo to enjoy independently. I love how vibrant and eclectic the illustrations are in this book too.

When a dragon meets Baby £6.99

This story from Caryl Hart and Rosalind Beardshaw is all about a dragon who meets his newborn sibling for the first time, so I would highly recommend this to parents currently expecting and trying to figure out how to adjust their older child to the idea of a new baby in the House – especially if they think dragons are the best thing since sliced bread. I don’t have any plans here for another one but we’re going to be able to finally meet a lot of our friends and their new babies this summer for the first time and it’s great to prepare Arlo on how to set a good example, be helpful and to get excited about being around babies.

This is not a Unicorn £6.99

Our last book in this collection to review is by Barry Timms and Ged Adamson. Unicorns seem to be more than a craze and they’re simply everywhere – Arlo loves them but more often than not they’re gender stereotyped to pink and glittery products so it’s fabulous to see a unicorn in a book who can do all manner of things, but most of all this (not a) unicorn teaches us about friendship. The illustrations in this story are full of detail to explore and every page tells its own story provoking lots of discussion so this is a great read.

Hosting an Epic Water Fight this summer

(The toys featured in this blog were provided by Zuru for the purposes of review)

I have been working with Zuru toys over on social media and they have sent us across some epic PR packages. Arlo was delighted to receive the Bunch O Balloons box which was packed full to the brim with all sorts of surprises. Everyone loves a water balloon battle when there’s a heatwave but no one likes inflating the balloons – until now!

The unique feature of Bunch O Balloons has been designed to enable you to inflate water balloons in seconds. Each bunch comes with dozens of Ballons and a screw cap which you attach to your hosepipe. Simply turn the water on and watch them expand before your very eyes.

Bunch O Balloons are available to purchase from supermarkets, toy shops and on Amazon in a variety of different formats and colour options. The best thing about these is they are made from 100% recycled plastic and are also recyclable too.

We had so much fun setting up our battle stations, filling up buckets with water balloons ready for a big splash – our Top Tip is to add a little bit of water to the container you use which helps the balloons to inflate and drop off their stems smoothly. Of course it’s optional for you to sit in the bucket too.

I’m not quite sure who won round one, in the end I stopped taking pictures, kicked off my flip flops and joined in with the kids, which was utter chaos but so much fun. I’d hidden washing up bowls full of balloons behind the shed and bench to surprise them and the kids were also able to top up their own stashes, until we eventually called a truce.

Luckily this heatwave has been sticking around and so we had the chance to up our game with these water blasters which are just as fabulous, and the play lasts even longer because these blasters refill with water in seconds and so as long as you have a water source you can play until it’s bedtime!

Zuru sent us out a box featuring six blasters, including three different kinds and so I invited the cousins and nanny along to the park for a battle to end all battles and it’s safe to say that there’s a blaster in this range for everyone.

The intuitive refill system took us no time at all to figure out, each blaster has a button/switch which you press to release a watertight cap and then submerge the hole in water to refill instantaneously. The entire process takes a second, as claimed on the packaging and this delighted the little ones who usually have to ask for help with water refills on fiddly toys.

We had an hour of running around in the park and running back and forth to the stream to refill. We swapped and shared the blasters to try out the different sizes and surprisingly Paloma and Arlo seemed to really get along with the water warfare blaster which was the biggest in the box. The older boys kindly conceded them the first choice of weapon which I think they later regretted because Paloma was fearsome!

I think she liked this best because it had the longest range, water was blasting over 30ft away so she was a safe distance away from the boys and managed to avoid getting soaked in return until she decided to run a campaign through the stream with Arlo. I think they worked really well together as a team, inventing their own tactics before turning the water on to me!

Nanny was also a fan of the warfare blaster and employed some great tactics attempting to defend the stream water source but when the kids decided it was four against one she stood no chance and was surrounded from all sides. Paloma and Arlo were also just as happy to test out the Smaller X shot fast fill which also had an over 30ft range – and we launched streams of water across the stream to put this claim to the test.

In the end it was every man and woman for themselves, and once everyone got soaked we called a truce and head across the park to nanny’s house for supper – what a way to finish the weekend! The kids are already planning summer holiday trips to local parks with streams for another epic battle.

For your chance to win an awesome Xshot blaster set including six blasters from Zuru Toys then enter our giveaway here or click the image below. Competition closes at midnight on 14th August.

Terms and conditions apply – click here for full details

Thai in the city – Rosa’s Thai Birmingham review

Rosa’s Thai kindly invited me along to sample their menu and so I asked my mum to join me so that we could be “ladies who lunch” and we took ourselves in to the city centre. Rosa’s Thai is situated in Chamberlain Square, and I have to admit it’s been a while since I ventured in to the city and so I was slightly disorientated at first. If you’re a Brummie then you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s located where the old library used to be. This redeveloped location is thriving and Rosa’s was experiencing a busy lunch time service, which is no surprise given their express lunch two course offer and the quality of the food.

We were warmly welcomed and offered a choice of tables, eventually opting for a booth, and then spent some time pouring over the menu. We ordered Thai iced teas and the pumpkin crackers to enjoy whilst we decided. If you’ve been reading my recent food blogs you’ll know I’m a huge fan of small plates and starters and so we really went to town with these. Summer rolls, sweetcorn cakes and Satay Chicken all sounded mouthwatering and so we ordered them all and were delighted with the portion size, having four on each plate meant we could share everything.

The sweetcorn cakes were the favourite – absolutely bursting with flavour, subtly seasoned with kaffir lime leaves and red curry paste. Not too spicy and incredibly moorish. The chicken skewers were tender and the summer rolls as fresh as you can get. Each starter came with generous amounts of dipping sauces too and these were a sheet delight to experience. I want to come back if only to try the other starters on the menu.

The team at Rosa’s created a relaxing dining environment, extremely friendly and proud to share information about all of the dishes on the menu, I always ask for advice because I have so much difficulty choosing when everything on the menu sounds amazing, and because I’m trying to be healthy at the moment I eventually opted for a salad and added the pork skewers whilst mum opted for the butternut squash curry. It’s great to see so many vegetarian and vegan options on the menu which have been given just as much thought as the meat dishes.

Mum ordered steamed coconut rice to try with the curry and this worked well, packed full to the brim with chunky vegetables all cooked to perfection and with a great balance with the addition of chilli – you can ask to tone this down if you’re not a fan of the heat.

My salad packed a real punch when it came to the heat, and I’m obsessed with the cashew nuts. These need to be packaged for sale as a snack because they were so delicious. This dish was served with sticky rice which had a nutty flavour which was moorish too. I have to say the Tamarind dipping sauce which accompanied the pork was my favourite thing about this plate, I had to pour the entire bowl over my skewers and savour every mouthful. I adore coriander and this made my day.

Thank you to Chef Saiphin, affectionally known as Rosa, the founder of Rosa’s Thai – born in Thailand and raised in the East End this brand was established on the site of a popular east end “caff” and out of respect for its previous owner (and not being able to afford a new sign) they kept the brand name and made it what it is today. The passion for food shines through every single mouthful of food we had the opportunity to taste today and I’m delighted to be able to explore the website to find out how to attempt to cook Thai food myself at home with Rosa’s recipes . There’s absolutely no substitute for this authentic cuisine and I highly recommend a visit – perhaps we will see you there?

To book click here

Create your own sunshine – craft projects with sunflower SVG’s.

Our favourite local sunflower field is due to open very soon at Becketts Farm. I’m so excited to revisit that I wanted to share some creative projects using sunflowers as inspiration with you. Of course the first thing I always get to work on for any special up occasion is a custom tee shirt for Arlo so that he is always dressed for the occasion – this funky “hello little sunshine” tee was designed using Sunflower SVG’s.

This was actually really simple to create, by layering an SVG over a paint swatch texture. This is my signature style as I love the textured effect of the paint behind the black outline of the flower, which creates a great contrast and a unique design. I use editing software to adjust the colours, using a dropper tool to sample colours from photographs of real flowers, then taking another paint swatch shape for the centre flower. I went lighter with this to make sure the flower outline wasn’t lost. Wrapping a quote around the lower edge of image in a script font completed the design. I then used a sublimation printing technique to apply this design to the t shirt.

There’s just something about sunflowers which makes everyone happy, and inspire lots of creative ideas which you can try out at home this summer when crafting or maybe even consider adding to your own small business repertoire as Design Bundles downloads are also licensed for commercial use.

I love getting Arlo involved in creative projects and so this little messy play activity was great fun – we had our sunflowers for observational drawing and decided to use toilet roll tubes squished to form petal shapes and stamped them in paint to create sunflower mandalas together. These sunflowers were grown by us from seed over lockdown in the garden and we’re hoping that we have even more success this year with our plants. I’ve been using SVG’s as printables and using them as colouring in sheets for Arlo, and myself too – colouring in mandalas is so relaxing.

It’s easy to add a little touch of sunshine to craft projects – this layered gift tag is a great way to add a splash of colour, using a simple SVG to cut textured paper, yellow for the petals and then a brown for the circle representing the seeds and simply glue them in to place on a swing tag. I often cut my own swing tags out too using another SVG. Adding a ribbon bow or using raffia can create a rustic look. This is a great first project for the Cricut or Silhouette to try out at home and once you get started you’ll be looking for items you can customise all over.

If you fancy being a little extra (and you know we are all about that in this house) then you can use an SVG to cut out a 3D sunflower with all of its petals. If you have the patience you can resize a sunflower SVG – make them tiny to add as card or tag embellishments or you can go big. Try sizing up the SVG’s to as big as your machine can handle and make a huge flower, adding a splash of colour to your home, maybe a in a nursery, or create your own eye catching decorations. Putting lots of these together can create an eye catching backdrop for a birthday party.

My small business – SnotRagz

Setting up a small business is no mean feat. I started during my maternity leave as I needed something to do which could be worked on from home and occupy my time, as I was finding myself up at all hours unable to sleep, and it seemed that this midnight hour was also the time a lot of mums were online and available to talk to so I ended up finding a fabulous online community which led to forming friendships and more lucrative opportunities.

My business was originally all about finding clothes for Arlo as I was really disappointed with the clothing on the high street. The boys sections in particular seemed to be awash with navy, denim and cartoon character t shirts, none of which helped express his personality. With a background in graphic design and my illustrator mum to help I started creating my own designs and sharing them on my Instagram business page, and so my business evolved to become what it is today.

I’ll never forget the day I asked Arlo what he wanted on his t shirt for the day and he insisted on having a giant ant with all its body parts labelled, I was horrified at first but thought that it was very suited to him and it became an instant hit because so many little ones love hunting for bugs and creatures. Opening up custom order slots or surprise /mystery parcels was one of my favourite things to do as it gave me full creative licence.

After lots of trial and error I think I’ve nailed the sublimation process which is how I print my designs on to white t shirts – I’ll write about that in more detail over the summer but I do also love working with heat transfer vinyl because there’s more versatility with texture and I can use different coloured t shirts.

I’ve paused my small business recently as I have decided now to venture in to pastures new, and will be training next year to become a design and technology teacher. I’ll be sharing lots of creative craft projects and small business hints and tips whilst I have the summer off and I’m going to re-open my small business for a short time. To celebrate I’m offering one competition winner a free personalised t shirt. (Terms and conditions apply)

Click here or the picture below to enter

Looking after your teeth during pregnancy

I’ve written before about my horrific pregnancy experience. I suffered with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is basically extreme sickness throughout the entire nine months, and not limited to just mornings either. I was so weak and dehydrated that I was hospitalised several times. It wasn’t a great time for me.

Of course during this period I was extremely anxious and worried about a multitude of things, mainly concerning the baby growing inside me, and how feeling so unwell was affecting my ability to do my job but also spent a lot of time feeling anxious about my own health and well-being. My hair started to become brittle and weak and my teeth became something of a fixation.

Oral health needs particular attention during pregnancy. Teeth and gums are especially vulnerable to problems during this time. The reason again is hormonal: during pregnancy, women experience a significant boost in female sex hormones. In fact, women produce more estrogen during a single pregnancy than throughout the rest of their lives.

This surge in hormones is designed to help ligaments relax and to improve the formation of blood vessels, all of which allows a baby to grow and thrive in the womb. It’s good for the baby, of course, but not for the gums, which are at increased risk of periodontal disease as a result. The problem is compounded by the fact that during pregnancy we have a reduced flow of saliva, whose natural antimicrobial and antiviral properties would normally help to protect the teeth and gums. To make matters worse, women often crave high-energy, sweet foods that pose additional threats to the teeth.

“Maintaining good oral health during the prenatal period improves the oral health outcomes of the mother and the baby and may potentially improve pregnancy outcomes.” – Applied Nursing Research 2010

As well as this I was also concerned about the impact increased vomiting and excessive saliva was having inside my mouth, and I felt the need to brush my teeth much more often, but being extremely sensitive to taste and smell this act in itself made me wretch. There are some obvious and less-obvious solutions to hormone-induced oral health issues.


First, maintain a thorough home-cleaning and hygiene regime: brush your teeth regularly and use floss and interdental brushes.


Second, visit your dentist. This has become more difficult during the period of the pandemic, but dentists are best placed to advise on, and alleviate, any oral issues caused by hormonal changes. During pregnancy and twelve months post part in you are entitled to free NHS dental care which is a bonus.


Third, and perhaps less intuitively, chew sugar-free chewing gum. Research by the Department of Dentistry at King’s College London in 2019 found that people who chew sugar-free gum develop 28% fewer cavities than those who do not. The equivalent figure for fluoride toothpastes and other supplements was 24%.

Sugar-free chewing gum alleviates inflamed gums and dry mouth by stimulating saliva production by up 10 to 12 times the normal amount. This saliva neutralizes acid, soothes inflammation and rids the mouth of bacteria and plaque.


Multiple studies show that good oral health means a healthy oral microbiome, which in turn translates into good overall health. This is even more pronounced during periods of stimulated hormonal change in women. This is normal and there are effective preventative measures to hand, such as home-care and sugar-free gum. These can alleviate symptoms and prevent to onset of more serious problems.

As a woman it’s important to take note and maintain good oral hygiene as fluctuating hormones throughout our lives can also have an impact, from puberty and menstruation right through to the menopause – If you’ve ever noticed swollen or bleeding gums during your period, or ulcers, or swollen salivary glands, hormones may be to blame.

Fun to Learn Hey Duggee Magazine Review

(Magazine provided for the purposes of review)

This Fun to Learn Hey Duggee Magazine is an interactive magazine for boys and girls aged 3-5 so perfect for Arlo. We’re facing a long hot summer before he starts in reception and so I’m very conscious of the need to keep him active and engaged. He’s started to recognise characters from popular kids shows and sometimes asks for them, so these magazines are a great compromise, and bring the shows to life.

This edition’s theme is based upon a treasure hunt and so we really bought this to life, I took the coins, gemstones, dog bone and Duggee badge and hid them in long grass and sent him off with the map to find them all – with the promise of a Duggee badge if he completed the task. I did help by giving him “hot and cold” clues. This was a great little activity for a summer evening and equally could be played indoors on a rainy day.

Arlo flicked through the magazine himself and pointed out characters and images of interest, quickly finding the sticker sheet and awarding himself a Duggee hug. I noticed literacy and numeracy tasks, some of which he could play independently and others which required some collaboration, all of which are clearly signposted. Plus lots of creative tasks to save for another day.

This page for example following the families treasure theme was a simple find and count the objects – using the stickers to answer. There’s something about stickers and the concept of Duggee badges which Arlo seems to really connect with and so these are ideal to keep him engaged – the “finished” sticker for each activity/page was a fabulous extra touch too. There’s thirty six pages all in all so this magazine is something we can continuously come back to, and when he eventually completes it there’s also a certificate.

These magazines are available to purchase from all main supermarkets and newsagents at £3.99, which I feel represents good play value for the money. There’s been some real thought gone in to the development of the content and I’m a fan of any screen free alternatives which help facilitate positive interactions.

For more information head across to the Redan Website where subscriptions offers are available.