#apovgiftswap – Part 2

First off, a belated Merry Christmas to you all! I have been enjoying the festive season to the max, spending time with friends and family, eating(!) as well as decorating my first real tree. It’s been nice to have a few days to catch up with myself and to reflect on the year too – something which I explored back in my Achievements and Resolutions post for 2016/17 which you can read here. Back to this one though and I recently wrote about the #APOV Gift Swap. We were each swapped with fabulous bloggers, we shared an idea for budget and a few things on our wish list before hitting the shops. I had a fantastic time choosing for my blogger, The Trendy Orange, and had a great time reading her fashion and lifestyle blog too. In turn she sent be a box of gorgeous goodies which I was so excited to open on Christmas morning!

So what was in my box of goodies? I opened it up to find the cutest little card from Ashley with a gorgeous glitter Merry Christmas. Underneath I spotted the Pusheen Cosmetic Bag straight away. I love anything Pusheen – the cutest cat – so I was so excited to see this. Pusheen has plenty of room for storing all my make up and is so furry. His little face is gorgeous and can brighten anyone’s day!

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Next up, I spotted bright pink flamingo paper clips. I love cute stationery especially when it involves animals or fun things. I’ve just created a new desk space to enable blog and writing for 2017 so these will definitely brighten up the space!

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The next gift I could smell as soon as I opened the box – a gorgeous Lush bath bomb in the shape of a parcel. I must admit I went in Lush just before Christmas just to smell all the beautiful bath bombs! I also jumped in on the online queue for the sales on Boxing Day and spent my day waiting from 75,000th in the queue! By the time I got onto the website there was nothing exciting left! Do let me know if you grabbed a bargain though!

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My final gift was the most gorgeous candle I’ve ever seen. It’s a little pine cone with snow decorating the base inside a pretty glass jar. The most perfect Christmas decoration which I am planning to save until next year as it is far too pretty to light!

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To complete the box Ashley included a number of yummy chocolates which I can’t wait to indulge in! You can never have too much chocolate at Christmas – Yum! Thank you Ashley so much for all of my fabulous gifts – even though we have never met the gifts you bought were so special and truly wonderful.

My advice to those who are thinking about a bloggers gift swap is totally do it! It’s such a lovely way to meet new blogging friends, learn about others’ interests and in turn it’s so fun to go out and choose unique gifts for someone.

Happy Christmas and wishing you all a wonderful New Year!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

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30. Sweet Cheesus

My featured business this week is…Sweet Cheesus!

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I came across this fabulous mini cheesecake company at a bloggers event just before Christmas and they should literally come with a warning as they are probably the most delicious shop bought sweet treats that I have enjoyed in some time!

Flavours include Vanilla, Cookies & Cream, Apple Crumble, Salted Caramel & Pecan (my personal absolute fave!), White Chocolate & Summer Fruits and Salted Caramel (Gluten Free). Each are handmade and are the perfect size for a mini dessert or for a luxurious treat. I can highly recommend trying out all the different flavours. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the Salted Caramel and Pecan and it ended up being my personal favourite! Why not get your friends over for dinner and buy a selection to share? Or snuggle down in front of a movie on a Sunday night with your favourite to indulge in?

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They are currently available in Selfridges and in various stockists around London with a view to branching into supermarket chains in the near future so keep your eyes peeled! Once customers get a taste for how good these are they will be flying off the shelves! Visit their website by clicking here and make sure you follow them on Twitter @SweetCheesusUK

If you could have any flavour cheesecake what would it be? Leave your answer in the comments!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

All images from the Sweet Cheesus website.

New Year, New You – Focusing on myself one breath at a time in 2016

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 
So we’re approaching the end of January, and it’s gone so fast! With that, how are you getting on with your resolutions? I’m keeping on top of mine quite well, although healthy eating went out the window one morning when I decided to indulge in a packet of Mini Eggs for breakfast with the only valid reasoning of their limited supply on the supermarket shelves… 
Today Pouria is sharing his resolutions with us which I hope will provide some more inspiration on how to be more aware of our mind and social awareness in 2016! Let me know about your inspiration in the comments!
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Spending less time on social media and more on myself
I spend most of my day browsing Facebook status updates, posts, tweets and images. I follow friends, celebrities, influencers and every now and again random people on social media. I research them every day; I know them better than I know myself. That is not ok!
Fear of judgment and stigma prevented me from expressing myself and reaching out
I had a lot of ups and downs this year: personal, family and work. One pattern became obvious to me: I was scared of people judging me so I kept everything to myself. I never express things fully to my parents for obvious reasons! and I didn’t feel that close to my friends to share what was bothering me because they had judged me in the past. I opened up to my girl friend once and later on she used it against me! don’t see myself doing that again. 
In 2016, I would like to get closer to my friends and to also make new friends. I also like to share without the fear, even if they end up judging me. 

I now use Paralign to journal my thoughts, express myself, feel supported and support others.

I will meditate more

2015 I was pretty mindful but I could definitely be more. There were times where what happened on the outside, influenced my inner peace and clarity. I often dwelled on the past and things that were outside of my control made me anxious and sad. in 2016, I would like to learn more from this and let it happen less and less. in 2016, I will spend more time on my inner peace and harmony. I will try to listen more to my body and I will try to practice how to be more present. I will set aside 30 minute meditation time before going to bed and after waking up. Before going to bed to observe my day and assess what I learned. After waking up so I can start my day with a clear mind.
I tend to think just focusing on the breath can give us so much power; It is a simple phenomena yet it is so significant.
I will give back more
In 2015 I did a few volunteer work, donated money here and there and stood up for different causes. But I think I did that to mostly show off. I wasn’t authentic and I didn’t try hard to change some else’s life for the better.
In 2016, I would really like to dedicate good amount of my time to help others. Help high school students wanting to go to college. Helping lower income families make better decisions and helping unprivileged people live happier.
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Pouria has spent 8 years in health care, starting his career at UCSF and VA medical center helping advance predictions of Alzheimer’s, parkinson and epilepsy diseases through MRI and imaging technologies.  He built Paralign (http://paralign.me) based on his own journey and how he started to improve his life one thought at a time. He usually writes about powers of the mind and holistic approaches towards health.

My Christmas Wishlist for 2015!

So it’s the middle of December and after gorging on the first of many sweet treats to come over the festive season (if unlike me you have resisted the temptation to eat them all!) it’s time to create the wishlist of all wishlists! I love a wishlist.. and to be honest my wishlist is ongoing! That’s enough of saying wishlist for now!….wishlist.

I recently went on a major spending spree in Waterstones coming away with £50+ worth of gorgeous new hardback books from my favourite bloggers, vloggers and fashionistas, a review of which will be coming soon! I still love curling up with a good book and a couple on my wishlist this Christmas include:

Fleur de Force – The Glam Guide (I’m obsessed with blogger/vlogger books at the mo!)

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Dita Von Teese – Your Beauty Mask (She is my ultimate beauty icon! Even her front cover is stunning!)

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Alexander McQueen – Claire Wilcox (After seeing the exhibition, I felt intrigued to learn more about the designer)

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Lisa Eldridge – Face Paint, The Story of Make Up (Just look at the front cover!!)

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Secret Garden: 20 Postcards (Time to get colouring for friends and family)

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The World According to Karl (Full of wonderful, inspirational quotes. The perfect gift for any fashionista!)

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Miles of MAC (No one can ever have too much MAC)

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I am majorly getting into Charlotte Tilbury make up. Not only are the products looking super cute, the names of the different products are so unique and I’m super excited as we now have our very own branch in London!

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Mini Lipstick Charms – £29

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Nocturnal Cat Eyes To Hypnotise, Silver Leopard & Black Magic Eyeshadow – £29

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Lip Cheat, Pillowtalk – £16

Keeping with beauty and I think it’s time to admit that yes, I’m a Naked addict. By that I mean the gorgeous eyeshadow palettes from Urban Decay that have literally taken the blogging community by storm. I’m not going to bore you with yet another review of these fantastic eyeshadows – everyone knows they’re amazing by now. However, I am going to pop a couple on my wishlist and hope to inspire you to do the same. Once you do, there’s just no going back. (For those of you who are interested I am going to be doing a W7 palette review, which in my opinion are just as fabulous on a budget buy!)

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My absolute fave palette, Naked 2 – £38

How cute is this Fujifilm pink camera?! I adore it! Or if you’re a massive Hello Kitty fan check this one out too! I was debating getting one last Christmas but never got round to it.

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I love having photos around of memories and special occasions and I’ve found a few gorgeous frames from Paperchase that I absolutely love this Christmas.

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Mystic Rose Frame – £10

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Vision Peacock Frame – £15

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Flamingo Frame – £18

My computer is literally so old it’s practically running Windows 98 (which is saying something as it’s a Macbook!!) so it’s definitely in need for an upgrade. I have been looking at getting a netbook for a while now – something that I can pop in my handbag so I can set myself up in a coffee shop over lunch and get on top of my blogging. I love this ACER from Currys, which is sleek and versatile, perfect for working on the move!

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In 2016 I want to get mega organised with my blog and in order to do so I am looking to get a Blogger Planner. These Blogger Planners are perfect for keeping organised, planning content and brainstorming new ideas. They also have such lovely quotes and are seasonal, offering beautiful pastel shades in the Summer and blacks, greys and whites in Winter. Available from The Bloggers Planner.

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In 2016 I want to fill my home and life with everything rose gold. I can’t describe how much I love this colour. A slightly pinker version of a copper colour, it looks most fabulous with rich dark purples and white.

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Lantern from New Look – Now £5.99

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Tealight Holders from eBay – £7.99

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Bellini Rose Gold Coloured Furniture from Kaleidoscope – From £92

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Cushion from Ted Baker – £50

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Fairy Lights from Christmas Time UK – £34

When I was last in Debenhams (One of my fave department stores with excellent sales!) I spotted these gorgeous Ted Baker PJ’s. All of Ted Baker’s sleepwear and lingerie range is so beautifully silky and soft and so perfect for curling up in on a Winter’s evening. It’s a shorts and vest set too meaning you won’t get too overly toasty curled up under layers of duvets and blankets!

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I am totally besotted with the new Michael Kors Rose Gold perfume. Not only is it such a stunning colour but it smells so yummy that I kept the sample in my bag for weeks! Definitely check it out if you haven’t already. I hope you love it as much as I do.

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What are on your Christmas wishlists? If you’ve posted them on your blog make sure you send me your link in the comments!!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#BloggersXmas

On Saturday 5th December 2015 I ventured over to Finch’s Pub in Moorgate to attend the Bloggers Xmas Party hosted by Soeurs De Luxe.

On arrival we were given a beautiful personalised keyring each from Aloha Lola Cards which had a fun caricature and our own Twitter handle on the back. We were also given a fabulous guide to all of the wonderful brands exhibiting on the day.

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Finch’s Pub was a beautiful setting with cosy armchairs, with twinkly Christmas lights and the smell of freshly cooked chips and mulled cider. It was the perfect location to chat with friends and the brands available on the day.

I met with a variety of brands offering everything from lashes from Lash Perfect, jewellery from Miglio Jewellery, hats from Katherine Elizabeth Millinery, through to green teas from t plus drinks, cheesecake from Sweet Cheesus and even men’s pants from Penny Dreadful! Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the next few weeks as I will be featuring some of the fantastic brands I met on the Pretty & Petit blog! This was all accompanied by nail art, nibbles and a Christmas selfie wall.

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I also managed to get my hands on a fantastic magazine called Blogosphere Magazine. I definitely recommend it for anyone thinking of starting up a blog or looking for new blogs to follow. It’s so insightful to read other bloggers work and so inspiring!

At the end of the event we headed home with a fantastic goody bag and lots of new friends and brand contacts. Thank you @SoeursdeLuxe for a fantastic #BloggersXmas event!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#BigBloggerConference

Yesterday I attended the #BigBloggerConference! The event was organised by @LDNMeetUp and was held in Hotel Russell, a beautiful hotel in Russell Square, London. Chandeliers adorned the hallways with beautiful decorative mirrors and gorgeous hanging baskets lined the fence to the grand entrance of the hotel.

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Front of the Hotel Russell, London

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The beautiful chandeliers throughout the building.

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Desperate for one of these mirrors for the hallway!

We were provided with some cute gifts from Ohh Deer and Jelly Belly and started the day with a number of really insightful workshops, starting with ‘Pinterest 101’ in which Elizabeth Sellers, Pinterest UK Ambassador gave loads of fantastic tips on how to use Pinterest with blogging. This was great as I have been using my personal Pinterest account more and more lately. I love looking through the beautiful pictures, gaining inspiration and creating wishlists! It’s fantastic for my blog too as it features a lot of smaller businesses and Etsy shops which I have not come across yet. I’m always excited about what I may find on there. So make sure you keep an eye out for Pretty & Petit on Pinterest soon!

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Check out these cute gifts from Ohh Deer and Jelly Belly!

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The lovely Elizabeth navigating us through Pinterest.

Next up we had a workshop from Jasmin Charlotte, Lifestyle Blogger in SEO. I have to admit, whenever I hear ‘SEO’ I seem to cower a little. I absolutely love social media and marketing – I do it as my full time job! but when it comes to SEO something about it makes me want to run into a corner and hide. It’s just not an area that I have an interest in. Jasmin however changed that yesterday. Through providing fantastic tips and advice she informed us of the best ways in which to aid SEO through our blogs. She noted that content is key and provided useful stats about the optimum number of words to include in blog posts and so on. It was very insightful and it was a fun approach to looking at SEO from a bloggers perspective.

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The lovely Jasmin providing us with an insight into the world of SEO.

Finally we had a workshop with Sarah Moody of The Prosecco Diaries in how to monetize our blogs. It was so nice to hear a bloggers perspective on how to do this. It is rare to hear of how much a blogger may be earning but with the rise in blogger and vlogger ‘celebrities’ it just goes to show that if you can put the hard work in you will definitely reep the rewards. I’m excited to take on board some of her advice through consultancy and developing my blog brand. It’ll be exciting to see what the future holds for my little blog!

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The lovely Sarah sharing her top tips on monetizing our blogs!

We headed out to have some (really delicious) cake! before heading out for lunch in the park opposite the hotel. As you might recall it was a beautiful 29 degrees in London yesterday and it was so nice to see everyone enjoying the hot weather. I definitely recommend heading over to Russell Square if you are ever in London. It’s close to the British Museum and is such a lovely place to stop and have a picnic. They also have a cute little cafe there that sells sandwiches, cake, ice cream and even prosecco!

We headed back to the hotel for the second part of the day which incorporated an exhibition. This interactive exhibition provided us with the opportunity to meet with brands and see their products first hand! I handed out my lovely new business cards and collated information of the amazing brands that were exhibiting. Brands included:

  • Shoeaholics
  • Scoliosis UK
  • Made by Jade
  • The Gifting Lounge
  • Look Fantastic, Beauty Expert and HQ Hair
  • Designed by Henna
  • The Parlour
  • Comb
  • Beau Bronze
  • Suti Skincare
  • SASS
  • House of Fraser
  • Heaven
  • Jewellerybox.co.uk
  • My Protein
  • Bee Good

(Sorry if I have missed anyone!)

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The amazing Shoeaholics stand. I absolutely loved their cute cupcakes and check out the leopard shoes on the right! Stunning!

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Made By Jade stand. Loved the cute leather bracelets!

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The Gifting Lounge stand. So bright and colourful! Such a cute range.

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The Look Fantastic stand, full of beautiful boxes of beauty gifts.

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Beautiful packaging on the SASS stand.

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A sneak A/W preview from House of Fraser!

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JewelleryBox.co.uk has the cutest range of jewellery. So many dinosaurs!

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The Heaven skincare stand. Loved the packaging of their gorgeous products.

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Bee Good with their bee inspired products and cute sweet and savoury biscuits!

There were also ‘tweeting’ challenges throughout the afternoon in which we had to provide tips and our favourite products to the brands we had come across throughout the afternoon. Make sure you look out for some reviews of these fantastic brands in the coming weeks!

The Parlour were offering cute braiding on their stand and how could I resist? These cute braids literally lasted all day and I really didn’t want to take it out at the end of the day. Their salon isn’t too far from me so I’m so excited to go and try them out – especially after reading all the amazing reviews they have received!

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Beautiful braids from The Parlour

At the end of the day a raffle was held with proceeds going to the Scoliosis UK charity. I never say no to a raffle and was absolutely delighted when I didn’t only win one prize but two! The first was a lovely gift set from Paul Mitchell and the second was an amazing beauty bundle from W7. I couldn’t wait to get home and try everything out so be prepared for some upcoming reviews soon!

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My beauty bundle from W7

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Collection of goodies from Paul Mitchell

Overall it was a fantastic day and I wish I could do it all over again! Thank you so much to the organisers from @LDNmeetup, including  and . You put in so much hard work for us all and it truly paid off. I can’t wait until the next event!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#MyChocBloggers Event

On Sunday 26th April I attended my first blogger event in London. As I have never been to a bloggers event before I was a bit unsure as to what to expect but everyone was so lovely and friendly and there were plenty of other newbies there too!

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The event was held at MyChocolate, a chocolate making events company located in a beautiful, light venue with floor to ceiling windows looking out over a canal near Shoreditch in London. After arriving, we all sat at workbenches and chatted about our different blogs and interests before we got started.

Hannah, who set up MyChocolate eight years ago introduced the business and described what we would be doing throughout the session. It would be a highlights session incorporating some of the best elements from various classes. We were introduced to Davis who would be talking us through the various techniques before we got onto the chocolate making!

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We started off by trying various types of chocolate, tasting the difference between a luxury chocolate and an ‘advent calendar’ chocolate. The chocolate smelt and tasted amazing (regardless of the type!) and it was definitely a good way to start! We also tried some more exotic flavours of chocolate, guessing which ingredients were included in creating them. I rarely try other types of chocolate (even being a bit wary of mixed boxes of chocolates!) however I really enjoyed guessing the different flavours and I will definitely be a bit more adventurous in future!

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We then got onto the chocolate making, starting by working in pairs to make some delicious looking truffles. We had to work quickly to ensure the chocolate didn’t set. Davis then introduced us to a number of various techniques to decorate various sweet treats including chocolate fudge, marshmallows and the truffles we had produced! There was a lot of dipping in milk and dark chocolate, using flakes and nuts to smother the chocolates and various instruments to create pretty patterns on the chocolate. This was definitely the messy part of the session but everything smelt amazing!

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As our chocolates set Hannah told us more about The Chocolate Hedgehog, a business selling gift sets to recreate the workshop in your own home. I thought this was such a fab idea and I look forward to creating some more chocolatey mess in my kitchen! Click here to find out more!

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Overall, the event was a fantastic way to meet other bloggers and I had an amazing time! I’m really looking forward to the next one! I really enjoyed the experience at MyChocolate and would definitely recommend visiting the workshops as a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon or even as a corporate or hen party event! Click here to find out further information on future events at MyChocolate.

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Click here to read a blog post about the event from MyChocolate.

I’d love to hear from you! Have you attended any blogger events? What has been your favourite activity? Let me know in the comments below.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

Images are my own or have been taken from the MyChocolate website.