David Charles Childrenswear: Party Dress Review

11 is an interesting age, isn’t it?  As tweens, our daughters are often a capricious mix of tweenager and little girl so it is great to find a range of gorgeous party and occasion dresses which allow them to feel grown up whilst still looking like the spirited young girls they truly are.  David Charles Childrenswear is just such a range and we were recently gifted the gorgeous Red Ruffle Party Gown from the David Charles Spring / Summer collection for Caitlin to try.

An iconic British brand, David Charles Childrenswear has been making luxury party dresses, occasionwear and accessories for girls aged 2-16 since the 1970s.

You’ll find their designer dresses in stores such as Harrods and Saks 5th Avenue and their clientele include celebrities and even royalty.

Caitlin’s dress arrived beautifully packaged and the fit was perfect. We chose a dress in size age 12.  I was particularly impressed by how well made the dress is, as you might expect for a designer price tag.

The Red Ruffle Party Gown is an off-the-shoulder dress in a vibrant red with Bardot shoulder details for added chic in an on-trend A-line cut.

The elasticated straps are wide enough to stay on comfortably and the concealed back zip is sturdy.  The attention to detail is excellent.

As well as girls’ party dresses, you’ll find dresses for all occasions, such as prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses and outfits for flower girls.  It’s often difficult to find these on the high street and the designs you’ll find at David Charles are really pretty and unique enough to let your little girl really stand out.

Caitlin is always happy to pose but only if she really likes what she’s wearing – and she certainly loved her new dress.

Then it was off to Cote Brasserie for some lunch (under strict instructions that she remember her serviette!).

Then it was off to Wales Millennium Centre which has a great open area and a stage where Caitlin will be singing to the public with her school in a couple of weeks’ time. You’ll also find a couple of good coffee shops and a gift shop, as well as, of course, a ticket office to book for all the forthcoming fabulous shows.

We were really impressed with our dress from David Charles Childrenswear.  At £199 the Red Ruffle Party Gown has a higher price point than you would expect to pay on the high street but, in my opinion, the price is reasonable given the quality and tailoring – and the element of exclusivity you wouldn’t get if you bought from Next for example.

I always assess value on a cost per wear basis and this is a dress that Caitlin will easily get a year’s wear out of.  It works as well with a pair of sparkly sandals and a shrug as it does with Caitlin’s beloved Converse and a biker jacket.

If you are watching the pennies, it’s worth noting that David Charles offers items on sale where you can bag a bargain with reductions of up to 80% on girls designer dresses at the end of the season.

If you have a special party or event coming up,  I really recommend a visit to David Charles Childrenswear.

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Share Your Money Saving Tips To Win A £20 Nando’s Gift Card

It’s just a couple of weeks until the dawn of 2019 and, as usual, I am busy compiling a list of New Year’s resolutions that I might not keep much past the first week of January.  Still, the thought’s there, isn’t it?

Generally, all of my resolutions either involve getting healthier or saving money – and there’s nothing like January’s credit card bills to focus your mind on your expenditure and income (or lack of). Yes, that Christmas debt hangover can be hard to shake off.

Plus there’s that extra long wait until January’s payday if you were paid a week or so early in December. No wonder the second Monday in January is known as Blue Monday!

So, I’m asking you to share your best ideas for saving money in the New Year and there’s a £20 Nando’s gift card up for grabs too.

Will you cut up all your cards and just use cash?  Thinking about it I rarely use cash these days!

Or will you stop your occasional spending on large takeaway coffees?  Or save at the supermarket by buying own brands?

Will you be ditching takeaways and cooking from scratch?  Or perhaps you’ll be selling all your old clobber in boot sales or online market places.

Whatever it is, I’d love to hear and I’ll use the best suggestions in a roundup post later in January.

Nando’s Gift Card Giveaway

So with an eye on your budget, I have a £20 Nando’s gift card to give away to one lucky winner.

You could try their new Fresco Burger – PERi-PERi chicken breast, smashed avocado and tangy pickled cucumber, topped with rocket.  Then there’s the Butterfly Burger – two succulent chicken breasts joined by crispy skin, packed in a Portuguese roll and topped with tomato and lettuce.

There is a selection of veggie options to including the Supergrain Salad – a fresh mix of grains, greens and beans with avocado chunks and an avocado & buttermilk dressing, served on mixed salad leaves. Or what about the Veggie Cataplana?  Chickpeas, chargrilled veg and beans in a spicy tomato and coconut sauce are served on spicy rice and sprinkled with toasted coconut shavings.

Entry to the Nando’s gift card giveaway is via the GLEAM widget and the usual terms and conditions apply which you can find on my giveaways page.

No cash alternative and 1 entry per household. Winner selected at random.

The giveaway is open to UK entrants only and ends at 11:59 pm on Friday 11 January 2019.

I can’t wait to hear your boredom busting ideas and the best ones will be published in a post in a few weeks’ time.

£20 Nando’s Gift Card

Good luck!

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Review: iKnow Family Quiz By Tactic Games

There’s always one, isn’t there.  The player in any family game who knows all the answers – or thinks they do.  If you’ve ever played Trivial Pursuit against someone who is fiercely competitive, you’ll know that they can practically implode if they don’t get a chance to answer.

iKnow Family Quiz by Tactic Games box

Which is why Tactic Games have come up iKnow Family Quiz – a brilliant way to, um, diffuse the situation with a quiz game where you bet on the likelihood of your nearest and dearest knowing the right answer to win ‘chips’ or points.

There are four categories of question to choose from: – Sport, Entertainment, Science & Nature and The 2000s and the questions are multiple choice – A, B, C or D so even if you don’t know the answer you can have a good guess – handy for the younger players.

iKnow Family Quiz by Tactic Games box contents

Load the question cards up in the iKnow box, allocate 3 chips to everyone (up to 6 players) to get going and then take turns to choose a category and answer the question.

It’s particularly good because, unlike Trivial Pursuit which can go on for hours, you can have a ‘normal game’ or simply choose fewer cards for a short game which could last around 15-20 minutes.

You need to answer your questions correctly, bet on whether the others know the answers to theirs and steal points by outsmarting them.  The player with the most point wins.  It’s an ideal after-dinner game for Christmas!

To give you a couple of examples of the questions:-

What did people collect money for by performing the ‘ice bucket challenge’?

A ALS research
B Child poverty
C Victims of Hurricane Harvey
D Cancer Research


Which country has won the most gold medals in sailing in the Olympics?

A United States
B Great Britain
C Norway
D Spain

Answers at the end of this post!

iKnow Family Quiz is suitable for players age 12+ and can be found on Amazon.  We love it because everyone can join in and it makes a refreshing change from the kids’ gadgets and gizmos.

It would also be great fun for the grown-ups with a festive tipple of something once the kids have finally gone to bed.


  • The ice bucket challenge was for the victims of Hurricane Harvey
  • Spain has the most Olympic medals for sailing

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Win A Bespoke HARIBO Supermix Snuggle Pod Worth £250

HARIBO has unveiled an even creamier, soft, smooth and squishy HARIBO Supermix!

To celebrate the variety of comforting moments that come from eating the Jelly Men, Milk Bottle, Ice-Cream and Sheep pieces that are available in the mix, HARIBO is offering one lucky fan the chance to win their very own limited edition Supermix Snuggle Pod worth £250!

Haribo Supermix snugglepod

Just like Supermix, the snuggle pod brings to life the comforting feeling that the new, creamier treats provide and offers the perfect opportunity for a #SupermixMoment of comfort on this 160cm long beanbag.

Supermix now boasts vibrant colours and creamier flavours; experience the new lemon meringue and peach flavoured Little Jelly Men and delicious vanilla in the Sheep and Ice-Cream treats. You can also enjoy popular raspberry, blackcurrant and apple flavours, in vibrant pink, purple and green colours.

For more details about HARIBO Supermix and the rest of the range, please visit www.haribo.co.uk.

The Giveaway

Entry is via the Gleam widget and the usual terms and conditions apply which you can find on my giveaways page.

The prize is one HARIBO Supermix Snugglepod worth £250.

The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on 10th December. UK entrants only.

Every attempt will be made to get the prize to the winner before Christmas, however, this is not guaranteed.

HARIBO Supermix Snugglepod worth £250

Good luck!



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How To Boost Your Energy For The Festive Season

If, like me, you are facing the festive season with something like mild dread at the thought of everything you have to do, you might find your energy levels seriously depleted. It may be time to consider boosting your diet with an energy supplement such as Pharmaton.

Those of us who juggle the needs of kids, elderly parents and our own health challenges may well be excused for wanting to lie down under a duvet and wait until January 1st.

Readers of this blog will know that I am constantly searching for natural ways to boost my energy levels and deal with my ailments because, as a tinnitus sufferer, I have to be careful about what I take or I risk a tinnitus spike.  It’s too easy to reach for medication or to self-medicate in various unhealthy ways, isn’t it?

I have recently been sent a multivitamin and mineral supplement called Pharmaton Vitality which is an energy supplement containing Ginseng G115, vitamins A, B group, C, D, E, Folic Acid, Biotin and minerals Iron, Calcium, Copper, Magnesium, Zinc and Selenium.

Pharmaton Vitality Capsules are designed to provide a temporary energy boost to get you through challenging periods where your immune system might not be functioning at its best.  Coping with fatigue on a daily basis is enough to suck the pleasure out of most things and makes enjoying life very difficult in my experience.

You simply take one Pharmaton Vitality Capsule a day with food for the first 4 weeks.  Then if you are feeling better, you can continue to take them for up to 12 weeks.  If you are not feeling better after 4 weeks or if you still aren’t 100% after 12 weeks then you should see your GP.

The Ginseng G115 combines with the other vitamins and minerals to enhance mental and physical performance to give you the extra oomph you need to get you through to bedtime.

I’ve been trying Pharmaton Vitality capsules for the last 4 weeks and have to say that I do feel much perkier for it.  That dragging tired feeling has definitely lifted.

It is important to remember, of course, that you need to improve your overall standard of nutrition and your water take, as well as prioritising sleep and self-care during periods of stress and fatigue.

You may well know what is causing your daily fatigue.  It’s no surprise that mums and dads wrestling with little ones’ sleeping habits, those who work antisocial hours and those burning the midnight oil to study will be feeling tired.

Sometimes though, fatigue creeps up on us and this could be due to low iron levels or the cumulative effect of poor food choices, too much alcohol or even stress due to heavy workloads or a relationship crisis.

Taking an energy supplement such as Pharmaton Vitality is a good way to redress the balance of vitamins and minerals in your body whilst you implement a ‘feel better fast’ plan and put your self-care first.

It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but if you are feeling under the weather you are more likely to fall prey to more serious illnesses so it makes sense to carve out some time for you.

Your feel better fast plan

Get an early night (or two)

We tell our kids this all the time – you’re tired and stroppy and you need an early night.  But how often do we put ourselves to bed before midnight?  Netflix will still be there in the morning.

Track your water intake

How many days a week do you drink the required amount of water for an adult?  You should be drinking 8 eight-ounce glasses of water a day.  Set alarms on your phone if you need to, to remind you it’s time to rehydrate.

Cut the booze

Alcohol dehydrates and destroys important vitamins in the body, particularly the B-complex vitamins and we all know that we are supposed to be drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol a week (for example 7 175ml glasses of wine a week).

Your doctor won’t recommend this but, personally, in times of stress, I find a glass of wine with dinner to be perfectly manageable.  The trick is stopping at one.

Get more fruit and veg in you

This is all stuff your mother probably told you but it doesn’t matter how many times I tell my kids they ignore me so, on that basis …..

Try just adding 2 pieces of fruit a day – one for breakfast, one as a snack.  See where you can add in extra veg to a meal.  Or, do what the French do and make yourself a small side salad as a starter.

If you have a blender why not whisk up some simple smoothies (banana, strawberry and milk is a favourite with the kids) or some green juice which you can take to work with you if you’re rushed.

And you don’t need me to tell you that a baked potato with beans is far better for you than the 2000 calories lurking in a takeaway fish supper.

Go for a 30-minute walk a day

I think the trick with exercise is to pick something you know you can do without it adding to your list of things to do and making you more stressed.  A 30-minute walk at lunchtime to get some valuable fresh air and to boost your vitamin D levels with some sun will really help.

Am I going to tell you to ‘hit the gym’? My readers know me better than that!

Meet up with a friend

Loneliness can be a killer and we all know that a trouble shared is, hopefully, a trouble halved.  Talking to a good friend is very therapeutic and if you pick the right person to talk to, you’ll get an objective overview of your situation and the type of advice you really need to hear (and have probably been ignoring from everyone else).

Get it all down on paper

Journalling is enormously popular but it requires discipline and consistency.  That said, it’s easy enough to get a nice notebook and just write down everything that is bothering you.

You’ll soon notice recurring themes, situations or people and that clarity will help you to step back a bit and work out how to solve the problem.

Do you need professional advice?  A new job?  A relationship counsellor?  More help around the house?  All of the above!

Prioritise the help you need

When you’ve done that make a list of the immediate next steps you are going to put in place, together with the people you need to make that happen.

Diarise these action steps and commit to carrying them out.  Make them small enough to not add to your stress but to make you feel relieved that you’ve finally carried them out.

It might be something as simple as clearing out the spare room or booking the car in for a service.  I’ve been meaning to take the kids for passport photos and to get them re-registered since I married after having them.  Let too many of these accumulate and they’ll soon start to weigh you down!

So there you have it.  You’ve nothing to lose by giving these things a go and, in the meantime, why not give Pharmaton Vitality Capsules a try?

What are the things that contribute most to your daily fatigue?  Let me know in the comments below.

Review: Star Wars illumi-mates Lights From Spearmark

If you and your family love Star Wars as much as we do, you’ll love Spearmark’s extensive range of Star Wars illumi-mates lighting for fans of The Force.

They are colour changing, cool to touch lights in a range of hit characters from the iconic movies, adding a moody glow across the bedroom. Best of all they are child safe too.

Ieuan loved his Storm Trooper illumi-mates light and was thrilled to receive another three Star Wars favourites to add to his collection – Darth Vader, the Millennium Falcon and the Death Star.  (Chewbacca and Kylo-Ren are available too).

Each light is battery operated, with batteries supplied. RRP: £7.99 from a variety of stockists including Amazon, ASDA, B&Q, Debenhams, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Wilkinson.

What a fabulous Christmas present for any Star Wars fan!

Super Ski Jump Tabletop Game From Drumond Park Giveaway

When I was young, we’d gather around the TV every Sunday night and watch Ski Sunday.  I was always fascinated by the bravery of those attempting the ski jump – remember Eddie The Eagle?  Needless to say, I’m not brave enough to attempt it but this version I might.  Drumond Park has launched their Super Ski Jump tabletop game (rrp £19.99, age 8+).

Super Ski Jump Tabletop Game from Drumond Park box

Super Ski Jump is a game for 2-4 players over 3 thrilling rounds – and the aim of the game is to send your skiing character flying down the sizeable ski ramp to score the most points by doing tricks and nailing the perfect landing!

super ski jump tabletop game from Drumond Park box contents

Players take it in turns to jump once in each round, choosing which of the four characters and the playing piece (Sledge, Bath Tub, Snowboard, Skis) they would like to use. Once you’ve assembled and set up the ski jump ramp, you’re ready to go – although if you’re a competitive soul, you’ll want to have a practice session first.

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The youngest player goes first – placing his or her character at the top of the ramp, and adjusting the height of the ski ramp to one of the three different levels.  To start your jump, turn the wheel to send your character whizzing down the ramp.  Now for the skilful part … press down on the lever to raise the lower part of the ramp and send your character off into the air!

Make sure you watch your jump closely to count the number of flips and the style of landing.  When you’ve finished your jump, count the points based on which playing piece you chose, how many flips you managed and how you landed.  Mark your points on the scorecard and it’s on to the next player.

Family playing Super Ski Jump Tabletop Game From Drumond Park

Repeat the process for all players over the three rounds to complete the game.  At the end of the final round, the players are ranked based on their single highest scoring jump, and of course, the winner is the player with the highest score!

If any two players have the same highest score, they must enter into a nail-biting ‘Jump Off’ competition against each other – with a single jump to determine who is the overall Champion this time round!

There are some nifty hints and tips included in the instruction sheet, with additional scorecards available to download online at www.drumondpark.com/superskijump

For example – why not try capturing your amazing, acrobatic ski jump feats on your phone (maybe even in slo-mo!)… and while you’re at it, you can also upload videos to social media using #superskijump!

Super Ski Jump is the ultimate trick challenge that’s set to have everyone hitting the slopes this Autumn – jumping, flipping and landing as skilfully as they can.

Perfecting your technique and gaining points is fabulous, addictive fun – and guaranteed to keep everyone entertained for hours!

For more information and stockists please visit www.drumondpark.com or get in touch on Facebook facebook.com/drumondpark or Twitter twitter.com/drumondpark.

The giveaway

I have 1 Super Ski Jump tabletop game to give away.  Entry is via the Gleam widget and the usual terms and conditions apply which can be found on my giveaways page.

The giveaway is open to UK entrants only and ends at 11:59 pm on Friday 7th December.

Super Ski Jump Tabletop Game From Drumond Park

Good luck!


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Review: Add Some Bloom Magic With Flowers For Autumn

Much as I love autumn and the gorgeous hues that nature chooses to display outdoors at every turn,  it’s often a challenge to bring the same warmth and colour indoors.

Bloom Magic Parisian Hatbox Flowers

At the moment, of course, devotees of viral Instagram cleaning sensation Mrs Hinch are all busy creating restful interiors in shades of grey (far more tasteful than 50 shades though…), which is lovely but a little too calming for those of us who need colour and light to perk us up.

I love the Hygge ethos too – the Danish concept of adding cosiness at every turn and as well as candles, soft lighting and faux fur cushions and throws, I always find that a beautiful bouquet of flowers gives that extra special touch.

Bloom Magic flowers in pink hatbox

Bloom Magic is the online flower delivery company from Dublin who are now sending their gorgeous bouquets across the UK and I was lucky enough to receive one such arrangement of flowers called La Vue Du Sacre Coeur, from the Parisian Hatbox Collection.

Bloom Magic close up of roses

All named after landmarks in the City of Light, or romantic French phrases, this is a gorgeous collection of flowers all of which mix the beauty of roses with complementary blooms.

Bloom Magic flowers - close up of Gerbera

Mine features Roses, Carnations, Bouvardia, Hypericum and Gerbera and the flowers are chosen by Bloom Magic’s designers to ensure the highest quality.

The hatbox is a really unusual way of displaying flowers because you can simply remove the packaging, add water and the supplied plant food to the waterproof inlay of the hatbox, snip the stems slightly and display the flowers within.

Then all you need to do is replace the water every three days or so and trim the stems again.

If you are giving Hatbox Flowers, there’s the added benefit that you don’t have to worry about your recipient having a vase but, being a more traditional girl, I prefer to use one for extra height so my bouquet was popped straight into one and put in pride of place in our lounge where they have been casting shades of pink, cream, red and purple for the past 7 days.

You can choose from 3 sizes of floral display, Standard, Premium or Deluxe and there are four pretty shades of hatbox to choose from – Blush Pink, Powder Blue, Sparkling White and, of course, Charcoal Grey. (My bouquet is the Deluxe size and the hatbox is Blush Pink).

You need to order by 6 pm for free next-day flower delivery and there’s free delivery at weekends too.

You can select the date of delivery and book a delivery weeks in advance which is very handy if you are organising Christmas flowers either for your table or as gifts.

I promise myself every single year that I am going to have all my Christmas shopping sorted by the 1st December and I’ve never done it yet but flowers are such a welcome gift that at least I can get a couple of presents under my belt.

These are really chic flowers which add a special elegance to a room – and a welcome reminder that sunny days will be back, eventually.

Find out more at www.bloommagic.co.uk.

ZURU SMASHERS Series 2 have just got GROSS!

GIFTED: Kids love collectables, don’t they?  And having survived the onslaught of Shopkins and Cupcake Surprises, we recently discovered that we’d missed out on the first season of  Zuru SMASHERS from the award-winning toy company.

We were sent some Zuru SMASHERS from the second series, each of which contains a disgusting surprise inside…. various revolting creatures! These SMASHERS come in the shape of an eyeball, just right for Halloween.

There are over 100 characters to collect and this series also features select Smashball Eyeballs with creepy mini-beasts covered in slime!

Ghastly creations include a selection from ‘Odd Bodies’, ‘Icky Insects’, ‘Ooze Dudes’, ‘Awful Animals’, ‘Filthy Food’, ‘Toilet Humour’, and ‘Smash Trash’, with rare, ultra-rare see-thru characters and playset exclusive characters to collect.

Suitable for ages 5+, the SMASHERS Series 2 collection is available in one, three, and eight packs – all full of horrifically foul surprises!

You can store your revolting creatures in a disgustingly gross Collectors Tin which can hold 50 SMASHERS and comes with a grungy Limited Edition Smasher inside!

You can even take your SMASHERS on the road with the Sludge Bus.  Unveil two exclusive characters and unfold the playset to uncover the rank restroom where you can shoot your SMASHERS into the toilet!  Lovely.

To discover your creature, smash the eyeball on the ground (I wouldn’t advise doing it on laminate flooring) and see what is living inside.  Caitlin and Ieuan enjoyed the smashing and the collectables inside are all rather cute, with the possible exception of Poopy and Poo Paper.

You could, if you had the time and energy, reassemble the plastic pieces to recreate the eyeball but my two found the inhabitants far more interesting.

SMASHERS Series 2 are suitable for ages 5+ and available nationwide.  Prices start from £1.99 through to £19.99.

If those aren’t scary enough for you, how about Zuru’s Robo Alive Spider?  I’m not kidding when I say if you don’t like spiders you definitely won’t want one of these scooting around your floor.

It is rather lifelike and, happily, comes with a battery supplied.  Needless to say, the kids are planning to ‘surprise’ the grandparents with it!

And it wouldn’t be Halloween without some slime, would it?  Oosh’s Non-Stick Slime is suitably gross and, um, dangly.


You can find Zuru toys, including the new Gross Smashers at Smyths, Argos and Tesco (in-store only).

Find out more about Zuru Toys at www.zuru.com, or connect with them on Facebook @ZURUToysCompany, or Twitter @ZURUToys.

Review: Getting Creative With Hunkydory Crafts

This amazing carry roll contains 48 pencils, each with their own different 3mm coloured lead at the centre. There is just about every colour you can think of and they can be blended to create any number of colours in any tone or shade you could possibly want.

I have no previous experience of using watercolour pencils but, as Caitlin told me, you can create different effects by activating your pencils with water. It’s fascinating to see the colour almost come alive when you ‘wash’ over it with a brush.  Obviously, the more water you add, the less intense the colour will be, but there’s a lovely rainbow of colours here to play with.

When you’re using watercolour pencils you’ll find the new Premier Craft Tools Waterbrushes from Hunkydory pretty handy as they are designed for use with watercolour pencils.

There are three craft water brushes with a small, medium and large brush which you can use for the different watercolour techniques such as washing the colour more broadly or concentrating on intricate detail.

Rather cleverly, the brushes contain a reservoir for water which is released when you squeeze the brush.  No more cups of dirty water that usually get knocked over!  You can even ‘wash’ the colour out of your brush by just squeezing it.

Caitlin had no problem using these so they are definitely suitable for a slightly older child to use.

To go with the pencils and brushes, we received a pad of watercolour card.

The pad contains 30 sheets of A5 professional watercolour card (280gsm) which is heavy enough not to buckle or warp when water is applied to it.

You could easily use the pad to make cards and each sheet can be torn out separately.  The card is also suitable for die-cutting.

Caitlin’s first attempt isn’t bad at all and we’re looking forward to going a little wilder with the colour palette and creating some larger scale watercolour drawings to impress grandfather John with.

We were surprised how reasonably priced these items were with the pencils being £24,99, the brushes £7.99 and the pad of card £9.99.

Find out more at Hunkydory Crafts online. You can also join Club Hunkydory for free project ideas, competitions and there’s even Club Hunkydory TV.

Review: Night Sleep Supplement from Link Nutrition

It’s true, I think that people are either owls or larks when it comes to waking up in the morning.  I have never been a lark but the Husband is up and with it as soon as he opens his eyes.  I need caffeine, carbohydrates and solitude – the latter being in very short supply.

Food based sleep supplement from Link Nutrition - Night Complex - promises a better night's sleep without drowsiness

I have always needed a lot of sleep but now I am in my menopausal years I find I need even more rest. I know full well that a poor diet, too much caffeine and lack of exercise aren’t helping my sleep patterns – let alone the stress that parenting tweens tends to heap upon you.

Many parents, of course, are equally as knackered and sleep deprived, particularly in the early years of parenthood when your children are themselves learning to sleep through the night and expressing loud displeasure at anything that annoys them no matter what the hour.

But most of us bumble along, telling ourselves that we will have a nap or go to bed earlier.  It rarely happens I find.  Having a lie-in is reserved for Mother’s Day or my birthday – and even then I’m lucky if it lasts past 9 am.

Sleep hygiene is a big trend at the moment. We know that lack of sleep affects cognitive function as well as our overall health and happiness.  In fact, by not getting the right amount of sleep we may actually be decreasing our lifespan.

There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning in bed every night watching the clock tick ever closer to morning.  But, personally, sleeping tablets have never appealed, whereas I have tried herbal alternatives such as Valerian in the past with limited success.

I was recently sent a new kind of sleep supplement to try.  Night by Link Nutrition is a food-based supplement which contains magnesium, glycine, lemon balm, Montmorency cherry and Reishi mushroom.  Suitable for vegetarians, you simply take two capsules 30 minutes before retiring.

Link Nutrition Night supplement, food based complex to help deeper sleep

The Night supplement offers a natural, non-drowsy support designed to make falling asleep easier and to help you enjoy deeper, less interrupted sleep.  The formulation also means you won’t wake up groggy which is something I personally hate about medicinal sleeping tablets.

Each of the ingredients in this sleep formula has a specific function:-

  • Glycine improves sleep quality and reduces fatigue
  • Lemon balm induces calmness & improves cognition
  • Magnesium reduces tiredness and fatigue and improves energy levels
  • Montmorency cherries are a source of melatonin
This October, Link Nutrition, who produce all-natural food based vitamin and mineral supplements to help people feel their best, is running a “Sleep Well Naturally” campaign. I was asked to try the Night supplement for a period of two weeks to see if it made any difference.

My current sleep pattern involves going to bed around 11 pm and getting up at 7 am but I take a long time to fall asleep and the slightest creak of a floorboard or car driving past my window can wake me.  I can often have a couple of middle-of-the-night bathroom visits too.

Whilst taking the supplement I found that I fell asleep quicker and was less prone to waking around 1 or 2 am.  The quality of my sleep feels a little better too.

The Night complex is not, however, a sleeping pill.  It is a way of supporting your body to get a better night sleep – and there are plenty of other things you can do to help yourself to a good nights rest.

Here are some simple things you can try:-

Go to bed at a sensible hour

Most research seems to show that 8 hours of sleep is the magic number for most people, although too much sleep can be as bad as too little.

Get up at the same time every day

Yes, even on weekends and days off.  No, I’ve never managed that one either.

Limit caffeine consumption

Depending on who you read, it is recommended that you limit or even stop caffeine consumption after 4 pm or even 2 pm.

Limit alcohol consumption

Aside from the dehydration, alcohol interferes with the quality of our sleep so although you may drop off as soon as your head hits the pillow, you are likely to wake up in the early hours feeling regretful and in need of aspirin.

Limit blue light

The blue light from our phones and iPads can interfere with our sleep patterns.  Difficult as it can be to do, turning off all your gadgets is advisable unless you use your phone as an alarm.

Don’t go to bed on a full stomach

Your body will be too busy digesting your meal to give you a good night’s sleep.  Again, the advice I have read says to limit food a couple of hours before retiring but personally, I cannot sleep if I am hungry so I’ll have a glad of milk or some cheese to settle my stomach.

Make your bedroom cool and as dark as possible

The ideal temperature for your bedroom is somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit according to The National Sleep Foundation in the US.  When we sleep our body temperature actually drops so if we are too hot we may prevent ourselves from falling asleep.

A cool bed is very important too, for any woman going through the menopause and cotton or bamboo bedding is best for wicking away any excess moisture.

Of course, there are the old standby remedies of a warm bath and a hot milky drink which work for many of us but I have found that the Link Nutrition Night Complex has made a difference to the quality of my sleep.

Link Nutrition Night complex costs £22.95 for 60 capsules (one month’s supply) and you can save 10% if you subscribe on the website.

I also have a discount code for 20% off Night complex until 31st October 2018 which is MDNIGHT20

*collaborative post

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Win Wally The Washer Tabletop Game From Drumond Park

The darker autumn evenings are here and what better time to gather the family together and play a game or two? I have something a bit different to give away from Drumond Park, a tabletop game which really brings things to life. Wally The Washer (rrp £24.99, age 4+).

Wally The Washer Tabletop game with a toy washing machine

Wally is a whacky new toy washing machine, who every child will love!

Young children just love watching the clothes spinning round in their washing machine at home – and now they can have their own toy version!  Wally spins just like the real thing, then spills out his washing – as young players race to collect their coloured clothes – and be the first to fill their washing line.

toy washing machine - Wally The Washer Tabletop game box

Watch out for the dirty old sock!  If it tumbles out with the washing on your turn, you must put all the clothes back and wear the giant clothes peg on your nose, until the next time the dirty sock appears.

So simple – so much fun!

This irresistible game is easy to set up and play.  You load all the clothes and the dirty sock into the toy washing machine drum and close the door.  Each player decides what colour of clothes they are going to collect and takes a washing line and a pair of poles of the colour they have selected.  Then Wally is placed within easy reach of everyone, his switch is turned on and his drum starts spinning away.

Each child in turn then has a go at stopping Wally whirling – and as the contents of his drum tumble out, one of the following things will happen:

  • Only clothes fall out of Wally: Each player picks up their own coloured clothes and quickly hangs them up on their washing line.
  •  Clothes and the DIRTY SOCK fall out: Any clothes that fell out at the same time as the sock must be put back into Wally’s drum.  The player who stopped Wally spinning then takes the giant clothes peg from the player who is currently wearing it and puts it on their own nose – and keeps wearing it until the next time the dirty sock pops out!
  • Nothing falls out of Wally: The player’s turn is finished.

Each game ends when one of the players has hung all their coloured clothing on their washing line – and is declared THE WINNER!

toy washing machine - kids playing Wally The Washer tabletop game

The engagingly characterful Wally the Washer toy washing machine will draw the little ones back again and again for loads of active fun and laughter, while also helping them to learn simple colours and basic counting.

Parents and carers will also be delighted to discover that most small children will be able to play with Wally as a toy washing machine, on their own. And we all know that’s always a bonus!

Note: the game requires 3 x AA (LR6) batteries not supplied.

For more information and stockists please visit www.drumondpark.com or get in touch on Facebook facebook.com/drumondpark or Twitter twitter.com/drumondpark.

The giveaway

I have 1 Wally The Washer tabletop game to give away.  Entry is via the Gleam widget and the usual terms and conditions apply which can be found on my giveaways page.

The giveaway is open to UK entrants only and ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday 4th November.

Wally The Washer Tabletop Game From Drumond Park

Good luck!