Category Archives: lifestyle

A Visit to Dinosaur World Live

We were delighted to be offered the chance to visit Dinosaur World Live for free, courtesy of Let’s Go with the Children.

Dinosaur World Live

Dinosaur World Live

We attended this show at G Live in Guildford. There were free stickers for all the children plus a range of dinosaur merchandise available to purchase. Son2 had come prepared with 3 of his cuddly dinosaurs, but he still managed to persuade us to buy another for his menagerie, this time a triceratops.

Dinosaur World Live

Dinosaur World Live

Leading lady Miranda played by Elizabeth Mary Williams is supported by a team of puppeteers who skilfully control the dinosaurs. These range from small handheld puppets to the huge 10m long T-rex. Miranda draws in the audience right from the start when she places a dinosaur egg at the corner of the stage, asking everyone to call her name if it looks like hatching. Of course there are plenty of false hatching alerts throughout the performance. Miranda weaves her magic, telling us about the dinosaurs she grew up with who have come from a far-off island, introducing each one in turn.

Dinosaur World Live

The large triceratops was son1’s favourite whilst the huge T-rex was his Dad’s favourite. We did get to meet baby versions of both of these earlier.

T-rex at Dinosaur World Live

A few children are invited up onto stage to participate in activities like feeding or tickling a dinosaur. It was nice to see that they weren’t all from the front row. We all got the chance to roar. And at the end of the show, there was the opportunity for all children to meet and touch some of the dinosaurs – a large one on stage and 2 small ones in the foyer.

Dinosaur World Live

It was a fantastic interactive performance and dinosaurs looked so realistic, that you almost forgot the puppeteers standing there. Miranda had the whole audience mesmerised, even the youngest children were watching in awe.

The audience were actively encouraged to take photographs during the performance, although mine were shared afterwards as I had already discovered before the start that there didn’t seem to be any internet connection in the venue.

Suitable for all ages from 3+ and just under an hour long. Not too scary or loud, although I did notice some small children in front of us wearing headphones. With some lighting effects and smoke.

This show is touring round the country and I do highly recommend that you take your children to see it.

Son2’s favourite part was when the dinosaur egg finally hatched just before the end and then its mum turned up. He loved the tiny voice of the baby as the two communicated together. In fact, the puppeteers all had marvellous ventriloquist skills with different sounds for each species.

Dinosaur World Live

And G-Live is a very nice modern venue, with a large tiered auditorium. It does have it’s own carpark, but there were only a few spaces left when we arrived half an hour early, so do allow plenty of time before the performance. It also has its own cafe which we didn’t sample as well as a bar. We checked that drinks could be taken into the show.

Let's Go with the Children

I’d love to hear what is your favourite dinosaur. Mine is the brontosaurus.

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This review also appears on https://letsgowiththechildren.co.uk

Disclosure. This post is a review of a show which we saw for free.  All opinions are my own.

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WonderKid subscription boxes and giveaway

When WonderKid approached me and asked if I would like to review one of their kids educational subscription boxes, the boys and I took a look at their website. The current theme was dinosaurs but son2 immediately spotted that the previous box had been on space, which is one of his favourites interests. So we asked if it would be possible to review that one instead.

Son2 kept asking when it would arrive, as it took longer than usual, since WonderKid had to go back to the manufacturer to source the old edition. So he was delighted when we got back from holiday to find not one, but two large boxes waiting next-door for us.

Wonderkid Space subscription box

We had been sent both the WonderKid Space Bumper Pack and the WonderKid Junior Space version for free. They were very well packed.

I was very pleased to see that all items included were of high quality including the WonderKid magazine, books, games and activities. The boys have dipped into the contents but all this is going to keep them happy and occupied for many hours.

Wonderkid Space subscription box

Son2 shares all the contents with you in this video.

There are two ways to subscribe. You can either pay for just one box or you can subscribe for a year at a discounted rate. Boxes are sent out quarterly. Current pricing is £43.97 per quarter or £34.99 for the junior version for younger children. Please note that pricing does fluctuate in GBP sterling, as it is based in Euros.

The previous editions can still be purchased via the WonderKid website. The WonderKid Space Bumper Pack is currently retailing at £70.88 and is targeted at children age 7-12. Meanwhile the WonderKid Junior Space is currently retailing at £34.99 and is targeted at children age 3-6.

Wonderkid Space junior subscription box

The  mission of WonderKid is to inspire and encourage children to actively explore their curiosity, so that they engage in learning and discovery at an early age. They believe that introducing children to a broad range of ideas and concepts, through science, history, philosophy and literature, allows them to grow and learn as people, and in turn form and cultivate their own ideas, and their intellectual and creative genius; to become WonderKids! And I myself wholeheartedly support this ethos.

Wonderkid Space subscription box

Other previous topics have included Dinosaurs, Robots, Ancient Greece, Insects, Bugs and Creepy Crawlies. The next edition will be on Oceans.

We even had 2 packets of Astronaut’s neapolitan ice-cream (one in each box). Not a patch on real ice-cream but still a tasty little treat. Must be very strange having all their food freeze-dried like that.

Astronaut's freeze-dried neapolitan ice-cream

My boys are having so much fun. This is the best educational kids subscription box I have come across in my opinion. I highly recommend WonderKid.

The only small negative point I have to make is that I couldn’t get any of the FAQ answers to display on their website. Possibly a browser issue, but hopefully something that gets resolved asap.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a WonderKid Space box to one lucky winner. What a fabulous prize. The winner will be able to choose between the Space Bumper pack and the Junior Space pack, according to which is more appropriate to the age of the child who it is intended for.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

Plus I have a special offer to share with my readers. 20% off your first box when you use the code BLOGGINGMUMMY20 at checkout. The code is valid for the first 10 people who take up the offer and is limited to one per person.

I’d love to hear about your ideas for themes to feature in future boxes.

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Disclosure. This post is a review of products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

Who is The Pretender plus giveaway?

We love playing games together as a family, so were delighted to be offered the chance to review a new game The Pretender for free. This is manufactured by Gamely who also came up with Randomise that we reviewed a couple of years ago.

The Pretender game

Just like Randomise, this is a nice compact size, which always gets the thumbs up for me. The boys possessions are overflowing the storage space in our house, which is not helped by most games coming in half empty, huge boxes.

This is a game of mini charades, bluffing and suspicion. Basically one player is the Pretender and the aim of the game is for the other players to discover who the Pretender is, whilst the Pretender must fake their way through the game, escaping detection and trying to work out what on earth everyone else is miming!

The Pretender

The rules suggest that it is for 4-6 players and suitable for age 12+, but son2 at a younger age was in his element playing this, even if he didn’t quite know what a word meant. And we found that you definitely do need at least 4 players, 3 wouldn’t really be enough, particularly as we soon twigged  that whoever chose the item number for a round wasn’t the Pretender.

The Pretender

After the charades, come the accusations. I seemed to get accused a lot more times than when I actually was the Pretender, so looks like I need to brush up on my charades skills. Most embarrassingly, when I was miming knitting, as I’m the only one of us who actually knows how to knit. And jaws dropped when at least a couple of times, they thought they had caught me out, but I escaped by successfully identifying the item.

There are 10 items in each category and 36 different categories in total, 2 categories per card so it will continue to feel fresh and new after many games have been played. Scoring is optional, so we didn’t bother.

The Pretender game currently retails at £11.99 on Amazon and John Lewis. Very good value in my opinion for all the fun we had. I can highly recommend this game. We’ve now got our eye out for the other new game from Gamely, which is Soundiculous.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway The Pretender game to one lucky winner. What a fun prize.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your idea for a new game.

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Family Fever

Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Guest post: Coconut Oil – Miracle House Hold Remedy

Coconut oil has several uses that make it a super household item that you must always keep it in your home. It can be used in food for better health, in skin and hair care products and as a natural treatment for certain diseases in certain medicines. If you are unaware of benefits coconut oil, this blog is dedicated to you.

Coconut Oil and Weight Loss:

Coconut oil has magnificent health benefits for you. Coconut oil contains High-density lipoprotein cholesterol that is healthy cholesterol which helps in elimination of fat lipids from the body by carrying them to the liver. In addition to this, coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that fight against harmful microbes in your body and maintain the balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria. This keeps your gut flora healthy and as a result, your digestive system improves. Similarly, there are two reasons behind weight gain either it is the weak immune system or weak digestive system. Taking coconut oil resolves both of these issues. In addition to this, the saturated fatty acid in coconut oil reduces your appetite naturally and helps to maintain sugar level. All these benefits aid in weight loss. You can cook your meal in coconut oil or just eat a tablespoon of coconut oil in the morning.

Coconut Oil and Hair Care:

Shampooing and conditioning are not all that your hair requires for thickness and shine. You owe to show some extra love to your hairs by taking advantage of nature’s gifts to keep your hairs healthy. One of these is coconut oil. Do you know why people living in Tropical coastal areas have thick and shiny hairs? The most suitable answer is that they use naturally extracted coconut oil on their hairs. Coconut oil contains a chain of fatty acids such as capric acid and lauric acid that behaves as an antifungal and anti-bacterial that kills the bacteria and detoxifies the scalp. In addition to this, Coconut oil also contains vitamin E that helps to protect the skin cells on the scalp, reduces oxidative stress in the scalp and improves blood flow which results in better hair health. According to Home Remedies for Life, Coconut oil is among best oils that can be used for better hair growth. However, using extra virgin coconut oil is a better option as compared to other commercially available coconut oil as they also contain mineral oils that reduce its efficiency.

Coconut Oil for Skin Care:

Coconut oil is one of the perfect moisturizers you can apply to your skin. As mentioned previously coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, not only this it is also a natural coolant. Therefore, if coconut oil is applied to the skin it can help in reducing sunburn, itching or burning. In addition to this, the mono-saturated fats present in coconut oil promote collagen growth that makes the cell wall stronger and Vitamin K aids new cell production that helps in reducing stretch marks. Coconut oil can be used to get rid of skin conditions such as rashes or eczema as it fights against bacteria and nourishes your skin.

You can also use coconut oil to prevent bacteria enter your dead skin. Coconut oil also contains healing properties. You can apply it on wounds and the Multi-Chain fatty acids will boost up the healing process.

DIY Coconut Oil and Sugar Scrub:

Coconut oil is used in various skin care products however these products are filled with harsh chemicals. Therefore, we are sharing a recipe to make exfoliator at home. You will require:

  1. ½ cup of Sugar
  2. ½ cup of coconut oil
  3. Few drops of essential oil or Lemon juice.

Mix all the three ingredients and use once a week. Sugar granules will remove the dead skin that will help coconut oil penetrate in the skin easily which will nourish your skin. You can use this scrub on dark patches on your body to reduce them.

Coconut oil for Dental Health:

Oil pulling is a method used for dental health as coconut oil has antimicrobial properties performing oil pulling with coconut oil can help in preventing tooth decay and tooth loss. However, on the other hand, multi-chain fatty acids will make gum stronger that will result in less gum bleeding.

Coconut Oil as Makeup Remover:

You can use coconut oil as a makeup remover; it will also hydrate your skin and will keep it moisturized without any side effects.

Author Bio:

Jane Scott is currently working as a nutritionist at a renowned firm. With an experience of more than a decade, she is considered as a go-to person in her field of work. She also writes blogs for her website Home Remedies for Life.

Guest post by Jane Scott

Father’s Day gift idea – hamper review plus giveaway

Guess what lovely item I have received free to review?

Prestige hamper unboxing

Prestige hamper unboxing

Yes it is a gorgeous hamper. When I unpacked it, I discovered all the following goodies, carefully packed in an attractive tray. Not even a single cracker was broken, which shows how much care was taken. I was also impressed to read the leaflet detailing their environmental packaging policy. And delivery was super speedy too.

Prestige hamper unboxing

The contents were:-
Primera Luz Chile Sauvignon Blanc Wine 75cl
Simply Cornish Clotted Cream, Apple & Blackberry Shortbread 200g
Crunch Craving Fruit & Nut Mix
Grate Britain Cheddar Crackers 45g
Linden Lady Handmade Luxury Florentines
Oloves Basil & Garlic Natural Green Pitted Olives 30g

Shortbread from Prestige Hampers

Plus the Shortbread, Crackers and Florentines are all handmade and utterly delicious. Just the sort of thing you never buy for yourself but are always delighted to receive.

Crackers from Prestige Hampers

Florentines from Prestige Hampers

This hamper is from Prestige Hampers who offer a wide range of gifts from letterbox size right through to huge wicker picnic baskets, full of tempting treats. And they have something suitable for every occasion.

So with Father’s Day just round the corner, how about taking a look. Certainly the Dad in our household gave the thumbs up to all the treats in our hamper.

You may see their Father’s Day range here.
https://www.prestigehampers.co.uk/fathers-day

There are hampers with sweet treats, cheese, fruit, wine, beer and various spirits to name but a few. And you can add a personal message.

The hamper I received was from their luxury range and is called a Tray of Delights. It currently retails for £34.99 and can be ordered for next day delivery.

Although this particular hamper includes products containing nuts, some of the range are nut-free. And they do cater for a range of other dietary requirements including gluten free, diabetic and vegan.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a gorgeous hamper just like the one I received, courtesy of Prestige Hampers to 1 lucky winner.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your ideas of goodies to include in a hamper.

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Disclosure. This post includes a review of a product that I received for free. All opinions are my own.

Guest post: Benefits of Portion Control

Overeating is a common habit these days. People don’t realize that they are overeating. Larger portions have more calories obviously and make you eat more. It causes problems like obesity, diabetes, etc. So, if you are looking for a healthy lifestyle, portion control should be a priority for you.

Practicing portion control can help you to be satisfied by eating less food, which is beneficial for you, both physically and financially.

Here are a few benefits of portions control that can encourage you.

  1. Digestion Improvement:
    Portion Control can help you improve your digestion and metabolism by not overeating with lots of food in every meal. It will assist in weight-loss as well because your portions will be smaller and the ingestion will be able to take place smoothly.
  2. Helps in Managing Calorie Intake:
    To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. When you are practicing portion control, you would want to eat something that would keep you full for some time since the portions are small.
    Bulking your meals with vegetables, oats, and fruits is one of the easiest ways to manage portion control because they fill you up and are calorie free!
    A proper amount of healthy food will supply your body with essential elements without eating extra.
    Practicing portion control will help in managing calorie intake and it also helps in maintaining blood glucose control. It is well-noted fact that increase in our waist size is directly proportional to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is closely related to diabetes.
  3. Money Saving:
    It’s pretty evident that when you eat smaller portions, you tend to spend less money. You also save money that you spend on junk food because when you practice portion control, you plan to eat healthy food to keep you full instead of junk food, that makes you crave for more and adds to binge-eating.
  4. Increase in Your Satiety:
    It might sound strange but it is a fact, eating less makes you feel full. When you eat less, your stomach shrinks with time, and the feeling of satiety comes quick. Thus you prevent overeating.
  5. Increased Energy:
    Research says that eating smaller portions boosts people’s energy and productivity. Eating irregular meals can lead to problematic issues like a feeling of depleted energy and irregular eating habits. Having increased strength will also help you engage in physical activity, which is essential for good health.
  6. Helps Fight Illness:
    Smaller meals that are taken throughout the day help fight certain illnesses. Eating smaller portions with healthy ingredients give a better regulation of blood glucose levels and is linked to reducing cholesterol and chances of diabetes.

AUTHOR BIO:
Michelle Hannan is a nutritionist, and she’s on a mission to give you all the information you need to lose weight successfully. She also blogs regularly at https://www.hcgdietinfo.net/

Michelle Hannan

Guest post by Michelle Hannon

Guest post: How Yoga, Meditation benefit the Mind and Body

We as humans have come a long way and if you will ask me that whether we are happy about it or not, I will have a mixed answer. The modernity has brought us ease and comfort, but it has also brought the fierce competition with it that do not let us relax entirely. The thought of what will come next is almost destroying the inner peace of one’s self.

To say that a car ride is not what we want would be absolutely wrong but a small walk to the nearby mart or the bar with the company you like or even alone can do wonders to you internally and externally both. But somehow, in all the luxuries and races we have forced ourselves in; we are forgetting that the inner peace is more than you need for a better life.

One of the most significant and brightest person that ever lived once said that.
A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the constant pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness. – Albert Einstein

For many of us the comfort lies in the luxuries, that the future will bring with the efforts we will put today, but what will happen to the peace we need today, ever thought about that? I have so many things that can be a suitable answer to this question, but yoga or meditation has been proven to be the best solution up till now.

According to several types of research, taking out some time for yourself and shutting down the world has proven to be effective for you not just mentally but physically too.

  • BENEFITS TO THE BODY

Yoga has been in practice since a human cannot imagine but with every passing time, the popularity of this method of relaxation and reducing weight is being known to everyone. Celebrities around the world are going crazy over yoga as it does so much in so little time.

Following are the benefits that yoga, meditation holds for our body.

  1. Better health
  2. Flexibility
  3. Better diet
  4. Reduces back pain
  5. Cures the hangover
  6. Better cardiovascular health
  7. Improves digestion
  • BENEFITS TO THE MIND

According to a research conducted by Dr. Cahn, if people allow themselves a session of yoga on a daily basis, they can rid of the anxiety and depression they are going through, and for better results, a vegetarian diet can be opted.

Many psychiatrists even ask their patients to meditate every day even if it is in the comfort of their bedroom and not with a professional.

Meditation is considered as a religious act in some religions. Like, in Christianity, the practice is not common in every school of thought but the tradition of desert fathers from the early times who use to isolate themselves individually or in groups, used to pray (spoken or sung) in synchronized breathing, is now a practice of some schools. In Islam, Muslims consider their daily prayer as a form of meditation as they spend that time alone with their God. In Hinduism and Buddhism, the pundits and Buddhists meditate for years for spirituality.

Following are the benefits that yoga, meditation holds for the mind.

  1. Stress management
  2. Emotional health
  3. Better sleep
  4. Mood booster
  5. Clears your mind

Author bio: Michelle Hannan is a nutritionist, and she’s on a mission to give you all the information you need to lose weight successfully. She also blogs regularly at https://www.hcgdietinfo.net/

Michelle Hannan

Guest post by Michelle Hannon

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Self care for pain relief plus giveaway

Between work and family, I have a busy lifestyle with not much “me” time squeezed in, so I was pleased to be offered a free self-care package from Combogesic.

The package included the following goodies aimed at helping me to relax, unwind, and relieve stress – the perfect combination for a much needed self-care routine from my hectic schedule.

Spa at Home Candle (cedarwood & vetivert)
Bath Bomb
Tea Tree moisturising Korean face mask
Boots £10 gift card

Self care from Combogesic

Whether you struggle to overcome back pain, headaches, period pain or muscular pain, here is some expert advice from GP Dr Dawn Harper on effective pain relief and self-care techniques to help ease the symptoms:

BACK PAIN:It might seem obvious but poor posture is one of the most common causes of back pain. That said, most of us don’t know what good posture is or how to correct bad posture. Over time bad posture generates an increasing amount of pressure on your back which can lead to persistent aches and pains. The trick is to try and not stay in the same position for too long.  Whether you’re sat in a chair at home or at your desk in the office, it’s important to keep re-positioning yourself, taking frequent breaks and moving around to prevent your back becoming stiff.”

HEADACHES:Dehydration is a common trigger for migraines.  With busy lives, it can be difficult to remember to keep drinking fluids, so try drinking a glass after every bathroom break as a regular prompt.  Drinking between two and two and half litres a day might help reduce the frequency, severity and duration of your migraine attacks.

PERIOD PAIN:A light, circular massage around your lower abdomen can help reduce pain.  Alternatively, try some stretches aimed at easing the pain.  For instance, lie on your back with your legs straight out, bend one knee and pull it up to your chin. Hug your knee with both hands and hold the position, then repeat on the other side.”

MUSCULAR PAIN:Use a foam roller, you often see these at the gym, but they can easily be used at home and are very affordable. A foam roller is what can only be described as a padded log. You use it by laying the roller underneath the sore or tender muscle and you simply roll on top of it, allowing the pad to press against the sore or tender muscle. The rolling movement is good for local blood circulation and applies pressure, helping reduce muscle stiffness.

I do always try to drink plenty of water, but I don’t think I manage as much as 2 litres. I had better try harder, as I’ve always suffered from lots of headaches. And I know I’m guilty as regards posture, since after a day at work mainly on screens, my favourite form of relaxation is sitting with my laptop, writing a blog post.

But a foam roller is something I must get myself. I’ve been having physio recently, due to tearing a muscle in my foot and it is something that my physiotherapist has particularly recommended. Pity there wasn’t one included in my self care package along with the other goodies.

I really must focus more on taking time to look after myself, from the inside, out!

Combogesic pain relief

And if you do need some pain relief, then Combogesic is an innovative pain relief product that combines paracetamol and ibuprofen into one convenient tablet, to deliver over 30% more pain relief than taking either ingredient on their own.

Furthermore, its double action formula works faster than the maximum dose of over the counter ibuprofen alone. Combogesic has a much simpler dosing routine, requiring consumers to take 1-2 tablets up to 3 times a day. Visit www.combogesic.co.uk to find out more.

Combogesic comes in packs of 16s (RRP £3.99) and is available to purchase at the pharmacy counter in Boots.

You may see a review here from my other half, when he tried Combogesic last year.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a self care goody bundle to one lucky winner. It will be fairly similar to the goodies that I received, although the face mask and candle may possibly be different brands. What a nice pampering prize.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d be interested to hear your top tips for self care and pain relief.

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

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A Perfect Bedtime Routine

Up until the end of last year, I was working shifts including a block of 7 nights every 6 weeks, so my body clock tended to be all over the place. Since then, even though I’ve been trying to maintain a reasonably regular bedtime routine, I’ve struggled to get to sleep and frequently wake at least once during the night. Then come morning, I’m grumpy because I still feel tired. So I was very pleased to be offered a free sleep goody pack from Nytol.

#SayGoodnytol goodie bundle

I received the following products.
Lifebee Wake Up Light alarm clock
50ml Nytol Anti-Snoring throat spray
Boots £10 gift card (to purchase Nytol Herbal Simply Sleep One-a-Night tablets)
Eye mask

So I popped along to Boots to buy a packet of the Nytol Herbal Simply Sleep One-a-Night. This consisted of 21 tablets, currently at an RRP of £5.99, for which the recommended dose is one tablet, 30 – 60 minutes before bedtime. The tablets contain Valerian root extract, traditionally used for decades to induce sleep and promote calmness. The packet does warn you that as the effects may not occur immediately, the tablets should be taken continuously for 2-4 weeks. I decided to take the full packet before telling you what I thought of them.

Nytol Herbal Simply Sleep One-A-Night

I hadn’t heard of Valerian root and my initial reaction on opening the packet was that I didn’t particular like the smell of the tablets. But no problem, swallow it quickly. The first two nights that I took them coincided with particularly bad headaches and unfortunately they didn’t help me to sleep better. But after that, things improved significantly and I found I was soon sleeping through the night without waking. What a bonus. However I don’t want to take sleeping tablets on a regular basis, so I was pleased to note that Nytol products are aimed at relieving temporary sleep disturbances and helping you get back into a healthy sleeping rhythm.

One of the other things that can bug me when I’m struggling to sleep, is if my partner is snoring away. It just makes it so much harder for me to get to sleep. Luckily he doesn’t snore every night. So when I saw the Anti-Snoring throat spray, I asked him to test it out, but sadly he refused, so I can’t comment on how effective that is. However a 50ml pack is available from pharmacies and grocery stores with an RRP of £12.99 currently.

Both these Nytol products are only suitable for those aged over 18 years.

Lifebee Wake Up Light alarm clock

And finally I must tell you about the Lifebee Wake Up Light alarm clock. I was surprised that I had to install batteries (not included) but apparently this is just for a backup power source in case the electricity is down. However what was slightly more disappointing  was that its power adaptor was missing. Luckily it also came with a USB cable, so I have been using that instead. The Lifebee has both a sunrise wake up light simulation and a sunset light, with a choice of 6 different nature sounds or radio for the alarm. It also has a full spectrum of colour choices for the light. I tried them all, but settled on the basic white as my preferred choice. I do like these type of products. We already have a Lumie Bodyclock which I mentioned on my blog last year, so this one will now be going in my son’s room.


6 things to do in the 30 minutes before bed to help get a better night’s sleep.

With a constant bombardment of emails, texts and social media alerts via our mobile devices keeping us plugged in for longer, the Nytol sleep study (carried out in December 2017) reveals that nearly half of us admit that we now have no bedtime routine at all, or that our current routines could be improved significantly.

As a result, many of us have inadequate psychological recovery and go to bed with racing, muddled minds. Statistics show that 38% of people say they lie awake at night fretting about their worries and almost a third confess that a lack of sleep has caused them to fall asleep at work the next day.

With almost 1 in 5 people admitting they feel tired everyday due to a lack of sleep, Dr Neil Stanley shares the six things you should do in the 30 minutes before bed to help you re-establish a good sleep routine:

  • 30 minutes. Use that last half hour to prepare for sleep and start by completing any final tasks for the day. Send that last email, pay that gas bill you’ve been meaning to pay all day and try and put aside any cares and concerns you have. Write down your worries and your to do list for tomorrow and then that’s it. Research conducted by Baylor University in Texas discovered that people who took 5 minutes to write down their to do lists before bed found it easier to drop off to sleep.
  • 25 minutes. Reduce your exposure to blue light – blue light is known to suppress the release of melatonin, which is the body’s signal that it is time for sleep. Therefore, using screens before bed will disrupt sleep. Research shows that nearly 1 in 5 of us check social media before going to be so try and put your phone, laptop or tablet down, and if you need to use your phone for your morning alarm then turn it over, or pop it in your bedside drawer to avoid being disturbed. However, it is not just blue light that can affect our sleep, it has been shown that even ‘paper white’ screens can also be disturbing, so avoid light levels above a normal lightbulb.
  • 20 minutes. Do brush your teeth and remove your make-up well in advance of getting in to bed, so that you are not left feeling alert at the time you want to be relaxing into bed. This can also act as a cue that the body should be preparing itself for sleep.
  • 15 minutes. Take a 5-minute hot shower. Not only is this relaxing, but by heating the periphery of our body it actually helps us cool down. This is important because in order to get good sleep we need to lose about 1oC of body temperature. Only 12% of people have a bath or a shower before they go to sleep so give it a go and see if it makes a difference.
  • 10 minutes. Conclude any activities you need to do before getting in to bed, such as visiting the bathroom so that you’re not having to get in and out of bed to run to the toilet. A staggering 42% of people say they don’t get enough sleep because they need the toilet in the night so make this one of the last things you do before bed.
  • 5 minutes. Bed means sleep and at the end of the 30 minutes it is time for bed – no more chatting to your partner or scrolling through Facebook! The bed should be for sleeping only and so when you get into it, it should be with the sole purpose of going to sleep and nothing else.

Dr Neil Stanley is an independent freelance sleep expert and has been involved in sleep research for more than 35 years. He started his career at the Neurosciences Division of the R.A.F. Institute of Aviation Medicine then moved to the Human Psychopharmacology Research Unit (HPRU), part of the University of Surrey, and in 1993 was the Director of Sleep Research and created and ran a 24 bed sleep laboratory designed for clinical trials. In 2004 he received a PhD from the University of Surrey on the basis of my published works and has published 38 peer-review papers on various aspects of sleep research and psychopharmacology. He does not endorse any brands.

I shall have to try these suggestions, as I’m particularly guilty of using screens before bedtime. Do let me know if you give them a go too. And I’d love to hear your sleep tips.

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

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Naipo Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating

Regular followers of my blog may remember that last year I reviewed a Naipo Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager. Well Naipo have now sent me another of their products free to review.

Naipo Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating

This time I received a Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating. It did have someone’s return slip inside, but all perfect as far as I could see. Not quite the Shiatsu Neck and Full Back Massage Seat Cushion from my Naipo Christmas wish list but never mind.

Naipo Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating

This product is very versatile as to where it can be used, coming with both a car adaptor and an ordinary 3-pin plug. I tried it in the car, on an office chair and on a lounge chair. It has 2 elastic straps on the back to secure in place if required. The mains cable is less than 2 metres long, so depending on the arrangement of your furniture, you may possibly need to plug into an extension cable.

Naipo Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating

It has 2 adjacent buttons on the side of the seat for heating and cooling. So firstly the heating functionality – press the red heating button once for the stronger setting, a second time for the weaker setting and a third time to switch off. Or it will automatically turn off after 30 minutes, but I found that I could switch it straight back on again. Not sure how easy it would be to do this whilst actually driving. It takes about 3 minutes to fully heat and then you can get nice and toasty warm in cold weather, with the heat coming out of both seat and back mesh areas between the leather sides. I loved this cosy feeling, especially as I’ve never owned a car with heated seats.

Naipo Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating

And the blue cooling button works on the same principle of once for the stronger setting, twice for the weaker setting and three times to switch off. It is noisier in cooling mode than for heating, but not unduly so. The cooling fan is situated underneath the front of the seat and I did find this slightly uncomfortable on my legs in the car, but fine on all the chairs I tried indoors. There is also a pocket at the front, but in my opinion, this is only useful to store the cable and adaptors when the seat is not in use, as I found it got rather in the way when sitting down.

Another potential issue that I noticed in the car is that the cable only comes out of the right-hand side of the seat. Therefore as a driver in the UK, I had to carefully run the cable under the cushion towards the centrally situated cigarette lighter socket, to avoid the possibility of getting feet tangled in it whilst driving. Perhaps they could tweak the design slightly to have a cable hole at both sides that the user could choose between.

Naipo Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating

And if you really want to take it off the chair and put away whilst not in use, then it simply folds in two.

Naipo Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating

Less easy to test how effective the cooling mode is wicking sweat away at this time of year, so I shall need to give you an update in the summer. However the user manual does warn you that it may fade or breakdown if left exposed to sunlight, so I wouldn’t recommend keeping it in-situ on the car seat.

In particular, I plan to test it wearing shorts to see how comfortable it is next to skin. Luckily I have fabric seats in my car, as I know how red-hot some car seats can get when parked in the sun.

The manual also warns the following people to consult their doctor before use.
– Women who are pregnant
– Patients with osteoporosis
– Patients with sensory disturbance
– Patients with anaemia

This seat cushion is available on Amazon currently retailing at £49.99. Good value for a very useful product in my opinion.

Here is son1 feeling a bit camera-shy whilst testing it out. He liked it too.

Naipo Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating

Plus I have a special offer to share with my readers. 10% off a Naipo Seat Cushion with Cooling and Heating when you use the code FTVYNB8A at checkout. Code expires 15/04/18.

You can take a look at the full product range on Naipo website here: https://www.naipocare.com/. I’d love to hear which products take your fancy.

And where do you think I’ve been sitting whilst writing this blog post? Getting all warm and cosy on my Naipo cushion of course.

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Disclosure. This post is a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

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