The Land of Nod.

I spend a lot of money on sleep, which is weird because I think it’s meant to be a free activity. But I’m proud to say, I think I’m an excellent sleeper and 90% of the time I do bounce up on a morning. However, it hasn’t always been like this, I really struggled to sleep through University (apart from hungover naps) and at times of anxiousness and big change, mainly in the months after travelling, it’s like the adrenaline stayed and kept me going even when I was home and settled down. So I guess it’s through these times that I really began to invest in good quality sleep and down time and picked up good habits and products to help which I now struggle to sleep without. I do spend a lot of the day thinking about bed time and the down time before and find it’s so important to keep me feeling balanced and focused and in control of things. Even on nights I’m out till late I’ll still take some time when I get home going through my pre-sleep routine as without it my sleep really isn’t as good and I feel it the next day. I think I’m essentially a high-maintenance toddler with expensive taste.

SO here’s my list of tips for a good nights sleep:

Products:

This Works, Deep Sleep Spray: There’s 3 people in my relationship. Me, Max and my Sleep Spray. I stock-pile it and have travel size bottles for holiday. It really is the product I use the most religiously and can’t live without. I spray into onto my pillows just before putting my head down and it helps to put me into a good quality sleep really quickly. I also have the roll-on version that I put onto my wrists but I do find the pillow spray more effective.

Neom, Scent to Sleep, Scent to Calm and Scent to Destress Range: I count myself as one of Neom’s biggest fans. I use their products throughout the day and use the different scents for different situations, but it’s always the Scent to Sleep, Scent to Destress and Scent to Calm products that are always on my bedside table. I currently have the Destress hand cream, Sleep body oil and the Calm candle on the go. I really swear by them to relax, and although quite spenny they last a while and are worth their money in gold if they work for you and change your mood!

Aromatherapy Diffuser and Essential Oils: This is a new product I’ve thrown into my bedtime ritual but now don’t think I’d be without it! I bought the VicTsing 150ml Diffuser from Amazon for less than £20 and have been very impressed with it! I use a mix of lavender and camomile and clary sage oils on an evening and it makes our room smell like a Spa, it’s a dream! This diffuser has a sleep timer so I leave it going as I fall asleep, its really quiet and releases a cool mist of aroma. This diffuser also has a changing colour light which really adds to the ambience of our bedroom on an evening. (I do always get an eye roll from Max when he walks into our room mid my bedtime ritual- honestly men don’t understand).

Camomile Tea: For a long time I bought very expensive Sleep teabags from expensive brands- I still occasionally do if I’m feeling fancy- but plain old cheap as chips camomile tea does have the save effect. I can’t explain the science behind it but it really works. I think this is the first tip I tried when my mum bought me a box when I was struggling to sleep in my final year of uni and my sleepy tea quickly became s joke in my student house.

Space Masks: Back last autumn when I was going through the anxiety of job applications and interviews I got a little addicted to Spacemasks. I can’t even tell you how amazing they feel and it’s the nicest way to fall to sleep. Spacemasks are single-use eye masks that heat up on your face and release a subtle scent of jasmine, so so lovely. They’re an expensive habit but amazing as a treat, a gift or for people going through a period of insomnia.

Good Habits:

Avoid screen time in the half hour before: This is an obvious one that’s gets repeated so much but It’s true, of course I’m guilty of falling asleep in front of a screen showing netflix but it feels so much better to fall asleep right after reading for half an hour or listening to an audiobook.

Water or Camomile Tea Only: With the exception of weekends I do only drink water or camomile tea in the evening, that way there’s no sugar or caffeine in my system when it’s time to settle down and go to sleep. It seems a bit patronising to even type it but I’ve heard so many people complain of restless sleeping after having a proper brew right before bed.

Positive Thinking and Writing it Down: This might sound a bit too cheesy for some people but honestly give it a go. I have done various forms of this for years and really enjoy doing it right before bed. I have journals I fill out with positive thoughts, I tend to use focus journals with questions for me to answer or bullet points to write lists. It’s just a nice reflective thing to do at the end of the day and leave it on a good note.

Bed for Bed Time: When I was at uni I feel like my life just resolved around my bed, it’s where I spent the day typing assignments, watching netflix and eating snacks and was then struggling to sleep in there on a night. It really was my pit and the centre of my world. It’s gross now to think about it. Now I don’t go to bed, or really even the bedroom, until it’s bed time and feel so much better and sleep so much better because of it. I spend all day looking forward to the moment I get in to bed. Distance really does make the heart grow stronger.

Hunger Games: It’s never good to go to sleep really full and full of carbs, it can make you feel so restless. I try to always eat atleast a couple of hours before I plan to go to sleep so that I am a little bit hungry a bed time. I have occasionally taken it too far and gone to bed starving to the point I don’t sleep at all and end up getting up in the early hours for some cereal, I wouldn’t recommend that. But it is good to wake up in the morning hungry for breakfast and restart your metabolism. (I did study nutrition but this is obviously not official medical advice, just based on things I’ve read and my own experiences!)

Wash that Linen: There’s nothing better in the world than fresh sheets, I tend to do the whole lot every 3 weeks but do wash the pillow cases every weekend (I love the Dream Unstoppables to add to a wash for a lovely lavender scent boost!). I changed our linens around a lot too, we have cotton for spring/summer and heavy brushed cotton for autumn/winter. Sometimes I think how good our bed sheets are is a bad thing, it can make it so hard to get out!

I hope these products and tips prove useful for anyone struggling to settle down on an evening and join the land of nod! Life is hard enough as it without being tired.

Katie.
x

Birch Box- May

Here’s my monthly review of the contents of my Birch Box,

Have to admit, I was a little disappointed with the May box, I don’t think there’s anything I’m going to immediately be buying full sized versions of. But luckily my June tin (?!) has arrived and has more than made up for it.

So here’s the lowdown on my May products:

Benefit Hoola Bronzer: This is a product I already use a lot when doing full make up. It’s the first bronzer I’ve ever had so don’t have much to compare to but I do like it. It’s easy to apply, stays put and really makes a difference to my face. I much prefer the powder to the cream version and will continue to use this in the future.

Spectrum Collections, the Bomb Shell Make-up Brush: I’m not really into the whole brush thing. The products I use that require a brush come with their own which I use. So initially I thought this obviously great quality brush was wasted on me. I have however been using this to apply my blusher and it does work very well and makes it easy to apply evenly. I’m not sure I’m going to start buying whole brush sets but I do appreciate this one and may purchase again in the future.

Luseta Beauty Keratin Smooth Conditioner: I really like the Luseta hair products and this one is no exception. It left my hair really smooth and shiny but is a bit too heavy for frequent use. To get your hair looking good for a special occasion however, it is definitely worth a go.

Doucce Luscious Lip Stain, Steaming Red: We had a choice of colour for the lip stain , so, true to form, I opted for the Steaming Red. However, when it came it’s not what I would really describe as ‘Flaming Red’. When compared to my friends, who chose the pinkier more natural option, they were actually very similar. It’s a very matte colour which I’m not used to and initially did feel quite strange and dry on my lips. However the colour did last a while and I did get used to it. Was also good to try a different colour as I am so loyal to my Mac ‘Last Minute’ stain and need to start experimenting with different colours.

Greenfrog Botanic Botanical Bodywash- Geranium and Peppermint: I do love a natural, environmentally friendly product. This smelt fresh and clean and did the job shower gels are meant to do. I wouldn’t rush to buy it again but its certainly not bad.

Katie x

Birch Box- April

The Cath Kidston one! I was very excited about this one and it didn’t disappoint! The box is just so pretty, a lovely addition to my bathroom!

Marcelle BB Cream Golden Glow Illuminator– This is fab! As I really don’t like foundation I now use this as a light base when getting really done up. It works well with my skin when I’m fake tanned and does make my skin look great. I’m a big fan!

Whish Shave Crave Acai and Grapefruit Shaving Cream- I am really guilty of not using shaving cream in the shower and when my legs are sore and dry afterwards I feel pretty guilty about it. In the bath I use a bath cream conditioner from homemade beauty product company Bath Bake Love (look them up on Insta, they’re fab!) So I was pleased when this came in the box to keep in our shower room to avoid the post shower-shave sting! It did make a difference to make skin afterwards and gave a really nice finish however the smell was quite subtle and a little chemically!

Model Co Baked Blush (Moonshine)- I love all the different tones on this blush and that it has a highlighting element that gives a really bright glowy look! It’s very pretty and simple to apply and I really liked how it looked on! This is a real winner if you’re looking for a blush that’s a bit extra!

Beautaniq Beauty Fill + Tame Brow Gel (Brunette)- I am such a big fan of this! I thinkkkk thinkk it might just beat my Benefit Ka-Brow. The colour is a perfect for my brows, goes on easily and evenly and makes a real difference without being too much! I’ll be buying this again fo sho’.

Cath Kidston Hand Cream- Such a pretty edition to my handbag, the scent is a lot more florally than I would usually go for but it does the job! And I adore Cath soo this is probably quite a bias review…

I’m so late with this post my May box has already arrived!
I’ll review that in the next few weeks!

Katie x

Birch Box- March.

This boxes theme was ‘Be Present, Not Perfect’ which is something I know I definitely need to work on! I worry so much about how I look and come across when I should be focusing more on enjoying the situations and what I can learn from them.

I love, love the design of the box and here’s what I think about the products inside:

This Works- Deep Sleep Pillow Spray.

I’ve been using this religiously since I got a sample sized in a set I got form Christmas and have since purchased a full size bottle. But a new travel size spray is definitely useful for upcoming holidays. I really couldn’t big up this product enough, it really works. Since I started using it I have noticed a real improvement in the quality of my sleep and now never settle down for the night without it. It maybe is a bit of a mood killer when I break Max’s hug to grab the spray from the bedside table to spray the pillow, but hey ho.

Beauty Protector- Protect and Volume Spray.

My hair doesn’t really struggle with volume if I’m honest so this is a product I’d usually bypass on a shelf. But as I had it I thought I would give it a go. I used it to create a full ponytail look for a night out and feel it did really help to give it a bit of boof and hold! I’m going to keep trying with it and update you on how it goes!

LAQA and Co, B’Lighter Blush + Highlighter- Peacher’s Daughter.

(Yet to try as currently drowning in blusher)

Benefit BADgal BANG! Volumising Mascara.

I am a massive Benefit fan girl. 90% of the make-up products I religiously use are Benefit so I was very excited when I found out we were receiving their new mascara in the March box. But here is a shock horror comment: it’s not my fave. I read great reviews before I tried it myself and was optimistic for a future of crazy good lashes and ditches the stick-on ones. Buttt, I found it a bit heavy and smudgy.  I’m going to keep using it however as I’d really like to be convinced but once the sample has finished I’ll probably never back to They’re real which a find gives a much better effect and stays put!

BLAQ-Hydrogel Eye Mask

I was really excited to try this one. I seem to spend a lot on products to try and reduce the eye bags and make me look less tired as they’re the main thing I notice when I look at myself in the mirror. I like the masks, like this one, that you place under the eyes, feel like then it’s really getting to the route of the problem. I did notice a difference the day after I used this mask but obviously it is quite hard to tell after one go. But it did feel refreshing so I would definitely give it a go again!

The April box is with Cath Kidston which I’m very excited about! Couldn’t have wished for a more perfect Birch Box collab to celebrate my birthday month!

Katie x

Birch Box- January.

One way to get through January is definitely just to treat yourself. My thinking is if you’re getting up in the freezing dark every morning to get yourself to work, without Christmas on the horizon, then you definitely deserve it. So I decided to treat myself to a Birch Box subscription. I’ve been admiring them in social media for a while and decided it’s time I got in on the action. And I love a subscription, it’s like a surprise present in the post every month. The plan is I’ll post a mini review of each box on here every month and the products I really really love I’ll big up on insta.

So here’s what I think about my testers in from the January box:

Rituals the Ritual of Ayurveda Foaming Shower Gel: I had forgotten foam is really fun. Is that a really lame thing to say? It is though isn’t it. It’s so soft and smells amazing. I am in a very long term relationship with Body Shop shower gels but I would buy this product as a lovely treat.

amika Perk-up Dry Shampoo: I try not to use dry shampoo too often. My hair is so dark it often leaves very visible grey powdery patches which aren’t great. But on quite a desperate work morning I thought I’d give this one a go. There were no patches and it really perked my hair up. I’m impressed with this one and may be converted to the dry shampoo life.

Lord and Berry Concealer Stick: I wasn’t so sure about this one at first. My usual concealer (Benefit Boing Brightening) is very soft and creamy and the hard pencil just seemed a bit hard and industrial. But I decided to give it a go over my primer one weekend on the troublesome patches. Once on it did blend well and provided good coverage and in the pencil form was easy to target certain areas. I’ll definitely finish this tester off but but stay faithful to my Benefit.

Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner (Charcoal): I love this charcoal colour, not too heavy but no too subtle either. It was easy to put on, quite soft and not too scratchy. It lasted all day with no smudging despite a few tears while watching a film at the cinema so I can confirm it is definitely waterproof! I’d buy this again. Best new pencil eyeliner I’ve tried in a while (but have to admit I am very far from the pencil eyeliner expert!)

Afterspa make-up remover: This can only be called magic. Ever since I was about 11 and and was allowed to start wearing make-up on Saturdays my mum has warned me about pulling my eyes to take off make up and how it can age you. So I’ve always been quite cautious about it and tried to go for a cotton wool dab with a nourishing make-up remover or Vaseline rather than a hard pull with a wipe. In recent months I’ve become a big fan of Micellar water but I don’t think I’ll be needing it now I have this! No idea how it works but it does and I love it. Just wet it, dab eyes with it and tah-dah! It goes through the washing machine too. I couldn’t recommend this enough.

Pop Eyeshadow Palette (this month’s free gift with new subscription): Not too much to say about this one really, does what it says on the tin. Really like the two-tone natural colours and goes on nicely. But once again I’m very faithful to my Benefit ‘They’re real’ eye palette and it would have to be something very very special to convert me.

Can’t wait for the February box!

Katie x

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