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10 Ways to Improve Your Sleep

 It's really important to get a good night's sleep but, did you know that many Brits aren't getting the recommended 6-9 hours of sleep a night.
Sleep benefits us in so many ways, physically sleep helps with healing and repairing of the body especially, to our heart and blood vessels. It also helps with growth and mental development, people who don't have enough sleep can increase the risk of developing health issues such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and even a stroke.

At night we use sleep to shut down fix and essential reboot, if you don't get enough sleep for your body it will affect the way you perform and that can be things like slower reaction times - which may be an issue if you are working in a hazardous environment or operating heavy machinery.  It can also affect your mood which may affect you at home, with friends or even colleagues at work.

Below I am sharing my top 10 tips on how you can have a well rested night sleep and awake feeling refreshed, happy and energised for the day ahead.

1. Turn off your electronics 

Watching Tv or anything with a screen before bed can be bad, as it can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone produced slowly over the evening to naturally make you tired. Watching tv or playing on electronic devices can actually stop the production of Melatonin. 

2. Decent mattress

Having a good mattress will enhance a better night sleep, old mattresses over time will soften and lose its shape and not supporting you in the way it should be.  Adjustable beds  has a selection of beds to give you the perfect night sleep so you can wake up feeling refreshed and energised for the morning ahead.

3. Read a book

Swap the electronics for a goof old fashioned book, reading makes me tired at night so I know if I spend half an hour reading I'm more likely to fall asleep quicker and easier.
4. Dim the lights

Turning off the lights can help you feel sleepier, bright lights over stimulate your brain meaning it can't switch off for sleep so try and keep the mood calm and tranquil before you go to bed.

5. Herbal Tea 

If you like a tea or hot drinks then add a nice herbal tea to your evening routine. Stay away from all caffeine as it will keep you awake.

6. Massage 

Ask your partner to give you a 10 minute massage before bed, focusing especially on the shoulders and neck area as these areas will hold the most tension.

7. Hot bubble bath

You can't go wrong with a hot bubble bath, dim the lights, add some candles, aromatherapy oils or your favourite bubble bath, treat yourself, just sink in and let all your worries wash away.

8. Jot it down or talk it out

I always write any important information down before bed, it's one way to remember but also to clear my mind before bed. I won't be worrying and focusing which means I can sleep much easier.
If you especially worry about things start a worry journal to help combat the anxiety for a better nights sleep. Sometimes talking out loud the worry can almost half the worry. I know this all very well as an anxiety sufferer myself.

9. Set a bedtime

Set yourself a time to go to bed every night, over time you will notice how your body automatically falls asleep and wakes up at the same time every day.  I always try and get into bed before my bedtime so I can unwind with a book.

10. Exercise 

Light exercise before bed can be a good thing, yoga or Pilates is especially good before bed. It clears the mind and relaxes the body which is exactly what you want before sleep.  

I would love to know if you have any other #sleepexpert tips, leave them in the comments below. 

* collaborative post, all opinions and words are my own unless stated. 

10 Tips To Keep Cool This Summer

It's very rare that we get such lovely hot weather, however, as glorious as it has been the heat can be a struggle for some so today I wanted to post my top 10 tips for keeping cool. 

1. Keep windows and curtains closed 

As much as I would love to have all my windows and curtains wide open to suck in that beautiful sun,  it's actually going to make my home hotter. I always open my windows in the morning, as I feel during the night the air in the home goes stale and I like to keep my home smelling fresh. So I have been opening my windows at 5 am and leaving them open until 6 and then closing them, it really does help. Yesterday the house was relatively cool and we had somewhere to hide when outside got too hot. The dogs also found it a blessing as they were suffering too! 

2. Fans / Ice bottles 

 I know so many people that don't have fans, you can pick them up super cheap! To create really cold air, place a frozen bottle of water in a bowl of water in front of the fan. The fan will pick up the coldness from the bottle and blow ice cold air in your direction. 

3. Cool Drinks 

Pre-make drinks and put them in the fridge, last night I put in a whole case of water and several drinks made up for myself and the kids. It means you have a day of premade ice cold drinks made.

4. Cold Flannels 

When the heat gets too much soak a flannel and put it on your forehead or on the back of your neck it will instantly cool you down. 

5. Cold Water Bottle 

For the nights when you are just too hot, fill your water bottle up with cold water and freeze! Instant ice pack that will last most of the night. 

6. Frozen Sheet 

Freeze your bedsheets 5 minutes before bedtime, put your sheet in a bag and then pop it in the freezer it will be lovely when you climb into bed. 

7. Keep Hydrated 

Make sure you drink lots, especially throughout the day and before bed! Sun Stroke is not fun and water will naturally help bring your core temperature down. 

8.  Frozen Fruit and Fruit Cubes 

Slice up fruit and place into ice cube trays that way you can put them in your drink to stay cool, you can also freeze fruits to eat, myself and the boys love frozen grapes! 

9.  Spray Bottle 

You can buy yourself a cheap spray bottle from boots or the Poundshop to fill up with water. When it gets too hot just give yourself a little spritz. The kids can use it on themselves, great for taking in the car as well. 

10.  Car Shades

Cars get so hot in the sun so make sure you cover any glass areas, my car has a complete glass roof so I have to remember to pull the cover over it to keep it from becoming a greenhouse. You can also by car shades and reflectors to keep the heat out. Don't forget to take cool mists and handheld fans if you're going on long journeys as well as some drinks in a cool box! 

11. Bonus Tip

My bonus tip is to sit in a pool, relax, have fun and enjoy the weather,  we all know being in the UK means it's not hot here for long! 

Please don't forget to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours, heat can kill. 
Also never leave children or pets in a car! 

See my tips on how to keep your pets cool this summer.

6 Tips To Keep Your Pets Cool This Summer

Some of my readers will know that we have a small fur family. Our fur family currently consists of a mini heard of 5 guinea pigs, our 8 year old Chihuahua Daisy, 1 year old Sprocker Honey and now 3 Chickens.  Over the last week, I have been busy finding different ways in which to keep them cool and comfortable during the hot weather. 

1. Give your pets a haircut/trim

Trim any long/overgrown fur, do not completely shave off all your pets as their fur is a form of protection from getting sunburnt. If you want to shave your pet and not sure on how to do it or how short to go make sure you take them to a qualified groomer.

2. Ice cubes and Freezing items

There are many things that you can freeze, from water bottles, plastic containers- these are great for making big ice cubes and fruit cubes! You can also freeze ceramic tiles to place in enclosures, you little pets will thank you for something cool to drink and sit on. 

During the hottest part of the day, I haven been putting ice cubes in water bowls/ dishes to allow my pets to have ice cold drinks. Make sure your pets have plenty of water about and that there are no restrictions as they can't ask you for a drink! 

Lastly, freeze toys! Make sure you put them in a bag first, so your freezer doesn't smell of pets.

3. Buy a paddling pool 

We have a paddling pool for the dogs to swim in. Daisy isn't a massive fan, but Honey seems to enjoy it more and it keeps them lovely and cool.  You don't need to go crazy and spend lots of money, you can buy plenty of cheap ones from Poundland style stores. You can even use bowls, plastic storage boxes and gardening trays depending on the size of your pet and what you have already in and around the house. 

4. Shade 

Keep your pets in shaded areas if you can. If not, you can create shade with a cover over the hutch/pen.  Try putting off walks until it's cooler and avoid walking at the hottest part of the day. If you have to go out make sure that you walk in the shade as much as possible.  Check to see if you can hold your hand on the pavement for at least 5-10 seconds, then you will know if it is safe enough for your dogs to walk on, you don't want to burn your dogs feet.
Also, take a bottle of water for them to have the odd drink especially if it's a long walk your going on.   

5. Mud 

Mud is relatively cooling, there are lots of animals that use mud baths to cool themselves down in and so this week for our piggies I dug a small hole to bury one of their tunnels in so they can go underground to stay cooler, so far they have really enjoyed it. 

6.  Fans 

Like in my previous post, fans are a quick way for some relief from the heat. If your pet is designated to one area or room use a fan to help keep them cool, especially on really humid nights. 
You can also purchase a cooling pet mat from pet stores and Amazon. 

*Please never leave a dog in a car, especially if it's hot! Dogs die in hot cars! 

What have you been doing to keep your pets cool during the heat?  Leave me a comment below. 

15 Facts You Didn't Know About Disney

(image sourced from Google)

As a massive Disney fan, I always love to read up about my favourite films and characters as well as the history of Disney. So for those who are like me,  I have created this post on 15 Facts you may or may not know about Disney. 

1. Early Disney films have no mothers in, films such as The Jungle Book, Bambi and Pinocchio. It's      been suggested that this was because of the death of Walter's mother in 1938. She died from carbon    monoxide poisoning from a faulty heating system in the house, the house that Walter brought for        his  parents. To this day there are still many Disney films where the is only one parent or tragic            strikes and leaves the lead character (s) orphaned.  E.g Frozen, Tarzan and Big Hero 6 to name a          few.  

2. Wall-E is named after Mr Disney himself, Walter Elias Disney 

3. For several years Disney held the patent for Technicolor making him the only animator allowed to       produce films in colour. 

4. Walter built an apartment for his family above the 'Fire Department' on main street in Disneyland,
    California. A lamp was used in the window to signal to staff he was in residence. This is now               always lit in his honour. 

5.  Disney has a secret cocktail club called club 33. It's hidden above the Blue Bayou in New                    Orleans Square, with a strict members list of 487 members and a waiting list of 14 years! 

6. Steve Martin ( Father of the Bride Actor )  used to work in the magic shop at Disneyland.                             
7. The actors that play Minnie and Mickey mouse married in real life, now thats a fairytale!   

8. Boo's real name is Mary, you can find it on a drawing in her room. 

9. Mickey Mouse has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

10. The ideas for Monsters Inc, Wall-E and Finding Nemo were brainstormed in 1994! So some of            these 'New' Disney films may not be so new. 

11. The Jungle Book was the last film overseen by Walt Disney. 

12. Walt Disney actually played Peter Pan in his school play!

13. Pumba was the first Disney character to pass wind. 

14.  Aladdin's face was modelled after Tom Cruise. 

15. Did you know that Ariel and Hercules are cousins! Triton's father Poseidon is brothers with                 Zeus, Hercules's Father.

I hope you liked my 15 facts, if you have any leave them in the comments below! :) 

Snail Moisturiser by Skin Chemists London

When you think of moisturiser you don't necessarily think of snails ... but hear me out.
Snail moisturiser is actually a thing and it's pretty good for your skin! I'm always up for trying new skincare products especially if they are going to help, so after reviewing the Bee Venom serum I thought I may as well try out the Snail Moisturiser.

Snail moisturisers are really nothing new it's actually been used for years in skin products and recently in the last 5-10 years, it has become very popular in South Korea.

Skin Chemists London has launched their very own snail moisturiser, their Advanced Skin Duo Moisturiser.
The moisturiser uses snail excretion, which may I first jump in and explain that it has been filtered many times to only use the good stuff! However as weird as it may sound it is packed full of vitamins, proteins and Proteolytic Enzymes, which all does wonders for our skin!

These key ingredients aim to delay the appearance of ageing and to provide protection from free radical damage such as the sun's UV rays.
As well as to protect and rejuvenate our skin, it is full of moisturising properties to nourish our skin. I don't know about you, but my skin has been ever so dry with the cold weather,  I can honestly say that since using this my skin has become incredibly soft and re-hydrated.

 So let's  have a look at the key ingredients to see what you're actually putting on your skin. I always like to check what I'm

using on my skin, I like it to be cruelty-free and with as many natural ingredients as possible.

Key Ingredients 

Snail Secretion -  Aims to delay premature ageing of the skin, whilst reducing visible age spots and providing protection from free radical damage.

Tiare Flower Extract - works to hydrate, repair, soothe and purify the skin.

Vitamin E Acetate - aims to moisturise the skin whilst providing protection against skin damage from the sun and its UV rays.

Creatine - Imitates an amino acid found naturally within the skin, its job is to revitalise cell energy metabolism, whilst hydrating and protecting the skin.

I can also say that the snails are not harmed during the process of the secretion extraction and once used they are returned to their home. Just like with the Bee venom their methods of extraction is entirely humane.

So after testing out the snail moisturiser, I can say that I have a much more hydrated and softer skin, my complexion is also much more smoothed out there isn't any redness and I haven't really had any spots as of yet.
I would definitely recommend using this product and just for my readers, I have a code where you can get your very own snail Duo Moisturiser for an offer of just £19.99 when you use the code: ANDREA1 on the Skin Chemist London website, normal retail price is £99.90.

*I was kindly sent this product in exchange for an honest review.

Semi-Permanent Tattooing at LA Perfection

Having good brows is a must in my beauty regime. Good brows can shape and frame the face, but bad brows can do the complete opposite.

I was recently given the opportunity by LA Perfection, an advanced Oxfordshire Skin clinic specialising in cosmetic tattooing and skin rejuvenation, to have my very own treatment of micropigmentation or more commonly, semi-permanent tattooing.

I had thought about having my eyebrows tattooed for a while and then when the chance came up I knew it was something I wanted to do. I don't think my brows were too bad, to begin with, I just needed help defining them. Also having them tattooed gives me one less job in the morning, as a busy mum of two spending hours in the morning applying makeup is just not possible.

I was slightly apprehensive before my treatment but I needn't had to be, Lyndsey is highly qualified after being taught by some of the industries most renowned experts. Not only that but Lyndsey is so thorough and friendly I was instantly put at ease.

First I had a mini consultation, this is where Lyndsey explained the procedure, asked me what type of brows I like, and the style I do my own in.  Then she explained all the details of the aftercare, and once I had signed the consent form it was time to get tattooing!

Before tattooing, Lyndsey applied a topical numbing cream to reduce the feeling of the tattooing. I personally felt no pain during my sessions, I was actually so relaxed I almost fell asleep! And  I'm terrified of needles and pain! The only thing I felt was when Lyndsey had to pluck some of my hair.

Once the numbing cream was on Lyndsey then used a ruler to symmetrically draw the outlines of my new brows, once we were both happy the tattooing began.
Lyndsey uses a popular ink called Li these inks do not have orange or blue ndertones like some others do so colour will be natural and fade nicely.

Micropigmentation is slightly different to microblading, the main difference is the tool used. In micropigmentation a machine that is similar to a tattoo gun is used, the fine needles are used to place the pigment into the skin.  However, for microblading, a hand tool is used. Microblading doesn't last as long as micropigmentation because it only goes on the top few layers of skin whereas micropigmentation goes deeper.

With my first session done I was sent home with my instructions of aftercare, I was provided with some cream to put on my brows to help keep them moisturised.  I was also told not to get them wet for at least a week, and to keep them out of direct strong sunlight.  You also don't want to be pulling at the scabs either as these will pull pigment out from your skin and leave you patchy, you want to let your skin naturally heal no matter how tempting it is!

Once your brows are healed you are then booked in for another appointment, which is your top up at about 6 weeks.

Why is a touch up needed? A touch up is needed due to a number of reasons, one is that not every skin holds pigment the same, there maybe some pigmentation loss or some modifications needed. A second treatment will also boost the colour.

In all I have been more than satisfied with my brows, Lyndsey has done an amazing job and the pain was next to nothing for me, it just felt like I was having an electric toothbrush over my brows.
The healing time was relatively quick and the colour has stayed in extremely well. I actually didn't get my brows wet for almost a month, I think paying the extra attention to them really helped with the overall look at the end.  My brows look natural and I can easily rock a 'no makeup' brow and if I want to up my brow game then I can add some powder on the top.

I will need to book in for a top up every 12 -18 months but for the price and service I received, I would be more than happy to continue treatments.

Treatment costs £375 and that covers the cost of both sessions, 1st session and 6 weeks top up session.

Lyndsey is literally the brow queen and if you're lucky to be in the area I would definitely book in for treatment. You can see all of Lyndsey's and the team at LA Perfections work on their facebook page.

* I was kindly gifted this experience in exchange for an honest review. 

My Top 10 Money Saving Tips For Decorating The Garden

I'm so excited for spring and summer but my garden is far from ready!

My aim for the garden is three things, stylish, low cost and family friendly. As much as I would love to splash out on my garden, there are so many things I want to do this year with the kids which means that our budget for the garden isn't huge. But in reality, you don't need to splash out.  I'm going to show you just how I plan to makeover our garden on a small budget with these 10 tips.

1. Design

Planning ahead can make you spend less money as you will know exactly what you need and how much you need. It also makes it easier for you to shop, meaning you're more likely to find deals and bargains. 

2. Budget 

Work out your budget and stick to it! Put money aside in a pot and only use that for your garden, you can do some much without spending a fortune, trust me. 

3. Ask Family & Friends 

I have been given a lovely couple of bits already for my garden without spending a penny and that was from family and friends. 
My grandad gave me a chiminea that is pretty much brand new.  He didn't use it and asked us if we wanted it and I have always wanted a chiminea, to sit around in the summer toasting marshmallows with the kids. 

So checked to see if you anyone you know is getting rid of any useful items first. 

4. Preloved Sites 

Check on sites like Gumtree and Preloved to see if anyone has any useful tools, plants or furniture for free, you can find some excellent bargains. 

5. Homemade & Upcycle

Save money by homemaking or evening upcycling items - see what you have and see if you can actually fix and upcycle it before hand. If you have an old wooden table for example sand it down and repaint it, you could easily save a £100 or more. 

6.  Shop Around 

Don't just buy the first item you see, look around in other stores or online to see if you can get the same item cheaper. Also, make sure you use stores or websites where you can receive cash back as it's always handy to earn money back on your items. I love using Swagbucks and have a lovely little amount of cashback that will go towards Christmas. So think ahead and earn money whilst saving money. 

7. Facebook 

Look on Facebook for cheap gardening bits or even free items. You can also find people offering a skill at a cheaper price. handy if you don't want to spend a fortune on landscaping or maintenance. 

8. Wooden Pallets 

If you or someone you know is handy with the D.I.Y  then wood pallets can be a cheap but fantastic way to kit out your garden. From making your own decking, playhouses, planters and furniture wooden palettes are normally extremely cheap or even free! 

9. Learn a Skill 

This year I have learned a valuable skill which will help me save time and money. As I will show in another post I have made a mini palace for my herd of guinea pigs. In order to do this, I had to learn some skills. The biggest one was how to lay a mini patio. Now I feel confident enough to re-level our old patio meaning we save a hell of a lot of money and time. 

10.  Pinterest 

If your needing help for ideas Pinterest is amazing, there are thousands upon thousands of ideas, hacks and tutorials to look through to give you plenty of ideas for your own garden. I have already started my own album on Pinterest for inspiration. 

If you have any more money saving tips please let me know in the comments below or leave me a comment telling me one thing you love about your garden. 

Car Maintenance Checklist

When I learnt to drive it hadn't occurred to be that I would also be the one in charge of my cars health.
I'd always thought I'd have someone else to do that for me but over the years I have had to learn for myself the importance of looking after my car. Today's post I wanted to share my own tips on how to keep your car in good health. It's really simple and anyone can do it, all you need is a checklist and your cars manual for guidance.

The first thing I do is make a list on my calendar and in my diaries when my car needs its servicing and MOT.  As its a legal requirement I make sure that I have the end dates noted down and I set a reminder on my phone with plenty of time to book a suitable appointment.

Next, I make a list of all the things I need to do to my car on a monthly or weekly basis an example of these are;

                                                               -Cleaning my car out                                                                  - Coolant and Antifreeze levels 
                                           -Checking air pressure in my tyres                                           
  - Wiper blades 
                                                                         -Oil Levels                                                                             - Screenwash 
                                                                  -Tyres & tread depth                                                                    - Lights 

These little checks can be the first signs in detecting problems that could potentially lead to bigger issues and a huge bill from your garage!

One area that often gets forgotten or ignored about and that I have now added to my checklist is the exhaust.  The exhaust is a vital part of our car because the exhaust provides a range of jobs from improving the fuel consumption and engine's performance to redirecting the fumes away from passengers and also helping with noise reduction.

If you think your car exhaust may have a fault then there are many garages that can help for example DAT Tyres provides trouble free car exhaust repairs in and around London and Hertfordshire.

When driving listen to see if you can hear any unusual noises as these can be an indication there is a problem. As well as just listen have a good look at your exhaust check for any cracks, rusting and holes getting to know what your car looks and sounds like can help you detect problems earlier.

As well as keeping an eye on your exhaust it's also vital to check your tyres on a weekly basis, checking for any punctures, changes in physical appearance and especially the tread depth will help keep your car road legal, running efficiently and as safe as possible.
If you need to change your tyre don't always go for the cheapest you get what you pay for and especially in Winter you want reliable tyres, I personally use Dunlop tyres. They are mid range tyres with excellent grip and performance in all weather, I have yet to have any issues. 

Checking your car regularly can help save you hundreds of pounds, in the long run, so download my car checklist to help you with your car maintenance.

Do you check your car regularly? 

* This is a sponsored post all words and opinions are that of my own.

Disney Bounding An Introduction

As a little girl, I use to love dressing up as my favourite Disney characters. My sister and I had a couple of Princess outfits and I was so gutted when I became too big for them, the joys of having to grow up!  Since then I have followed the world of cosplay but dressing up in full character every day isn't always going to be the most practical of things to do, could you imagine me on the school run in Cinderella's ball gown! Actually, that would be pretty amazing!

Recently I have been looking at the growing trend of Disney Bounding, basically dressing up subtly for adults.
You can create your favourite characters by picking a colour scheme or specific item and tailoring it to that character. You also don't have to spend a fortune as you can put many outfits together from the item you have in your wardrobe, and if not hit the charity shops as you can normally find some great pieces.  You see a lot of Disney bounding in the Disney parks, adults aren't allowed to dress up like young children are allowed to, so this is a perfect way to still be able to join in the fun, be creative and explore your Disney side!

Below are some examples of how you can dress up like your favourite Disney character. 

I love the idea of bounding and hope to experiment over the summer with many Disney bounds, I may even get the kids to join in too! 

                     Have you tried Disney bounding? Let me know what Character would you bound as?

Bee Venom Review - Skin Chemists

Now that I am approaching the big 30! oh gosh! that is the first time I've said that out loud! 
I feel it's more than ever important for me to make sure I'm taking care of my skin.
I don't want to have too many wrinkles if I don't have too and would like to keep my skin looking and feeling youthful.  I am lucky that all the females on both sides of my family have very good skin and they have all age beautifully. However, I am not going to just rely on my family's genetics. Every day I cleanse, tone & moisturise and recently I've upped my game and added Bee venom to my daily skincare routine. 

 Bee venom and how does it work in skincare?

Using bee venom in skincare has now become a very popular skin care regime with the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Yorkshire firm users of the Bee Venom serum. When I saw this I knew I  had to give it a try for myself.

As we age collagen and skin elasticity decreases which can lead to sagging skin and deep wrinkles. By stimulating the collagen you strength the tissue on your face and improve the skin's elasticity leaving you with firmer and youthful skin.

So how does the bee venom work? Well in simple terms it makes the skin believe that it has been stung by a bee, more correctly the toxin melittin. Blood then rushes to the area stimulating the production of collagen, leaving you with firmer and younger looking skin.

The first thing I would say is to check that you are not allergic to bees. I wasn't sure if I was or not as I've never been stung and so I decided to test a small amount on my hands and luckily I was fine.

The serum comes in a small easy to carry bottle perfect to take with me in my handbag if needed. The serum is soft and fast absorbing and you only need a small amount, the size of a pea is recommended.

Now I don't have many wrinkles if any, but the one thing I have seen is my skin looks so much fresher and lighter. I would normally wake up with a dull, grey looking skin but recently I have noticed a slight glow to my skin and I have done many school drop off's makeup free which normally I wouldn't do.

As I don't really have any wrinkles I couldn't say what the results would be but It's something that I will definitely be continuing with and hopeful it will help keep those wrinkles at bay.

Gift for my readers....

Now here is something a little treat for all my readers I have a discount code that means you can try the Bee Venom for yourself at a fraction of the price.

All you have to do is enter the code ANDREABLOG  on the Skin Chemists website where you can get the bee venom for £19.99! This offer is until the end of March only so be quick as the usual retail price is £135.

*I was sent this product to review all opinions are that of my own.