Sunday 29 November 2020

Press Samples / Unpaid AD - Sleep With Ease With Pukka Herbs*

It's really hard, especially at the moment to overestimate the importance of sleep. We're all feeling a little bit frazzled, stressed out, and a little bit under the weather at the moment, and more often than not life's upsets are reflected in our quality of sleep.

Good sleep plays a huge role in both our physical and mental wellbeing, it's essential for cell regeneration, to recharge our cardiovascular system, and to support our immune system, as well as improving mental clarity, helping with decision making and helping us to cope with stress.

I probably struggle more than most with my sleep. Thanks to my struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / CFS / ME and Fibromyalgia, I alternate between utter exhaustion, I can go without sleep for more than 24 hours, or I can sleep for 18 hours solid and still feel exhausted, there really isn't a lot of middle ground. 

Alongside medical advice and intervention, I'm always looking for new ways to improve my sleep health. I've tried a lot of things from acupuncture, to cognitive behavioural therapy, and various other little things that I'll mention later in this post, but I am always on the look out for new ways to help me sleep.

I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Pukka, and I was invited to take part in their "Sleep With Ease" campaign. If you haven't heard of Pukka, they are a substantial, ethical and organic herbal company that produce a wide range of herbal infusions that aim to benefit the health of people, plants and the planet and they very kindly sent three boxes of caffeine free, herbal blends from their range to help me on my quest for better sleep.

Pukka recognise the importance of sleep for our mental and physical health, and in an attempt to help us improve both our sleep health and our wider health, they have introduced their 7 day Sleep With Ease programme, which is specifically designed to help us create a space, pattern and routine to help us sleep better.

Designed to be used alongside their herbal blends, their website contains a whole load of information and downloads to help you eliminate bad sleeping habits, establish routine, and train both your body and brain to help you sleep better.As I say, I'm up for anything that can send me into the land of nod, so I decided to give the 7 day Sleep With Ease programme a try.  

The website features a downloadable sleep diary that you can fill in, as well as a list of changes that you can can make across the course of a the week to help you improve your sleep.

The idea is that you introduce one new element everyday until all of the tips become a part of your daily sleep routine. Some of the tips as you can see are actually quite simple, and in theory they are, it's just about putting them into practise. 

My biggest issue sleep wise has always been with routine, going to bed late, sleeping late, and then wondering why I can't sleep at night. It makes total sense, go to sleep at roughly the same time of night, and wake up at similar team each morning. It takes a little bit of effort and I'm not going to lie dragging myself out of bed when I'm exhausted is difficult but after a few days it begins to feel normal, and now I can pretty much wake up without having to set an alarm.

Another thing that I have an issue with is technology, I have a tv and a dvd player in my bedroom and whilst I don't usually have my MacBook in my bedroom at night, I do have my phone, and my iPad plugged in, in my room, but the key is to have cut off times, plug things into charge by all means but don't check your phone, or start flicking through Instagram when you're trying to get ready for sleep.

We are all guilty of it, if it's not watching one more episode of a tv show, flicking through Facebook, or getting annoyed with someone on twitter, it's watching the late night news and depressing yourself. Sleep is all about de-stressing, and concentrating on something, or getting stressed and upset just sends your brain into overdrive when you really should be preparing for sleep, so switch off the tv, your computer, and phone for an hour or so before you go to bed and you really will notice a difference in your sleep health.

One of the other tips, that the team from Pukka recommend is to cut down on your caffeine consumption. I'm not a huge tea and coffee drinker compared to lot of people, but my nightly cuppa is definitely a thing, and even though tea usually contains less caffeine than coffee, it is still a stimulant and it could be disrupting your sleep without you realising.

The Pukka Sleep With Ease programme advises that you should try to avoid caffeine after 12pm, so instead of caffeine filled soft drinks, the odd latte, and iced coffees, I've switched to some of Pukka's caffeine free herbal blends including their Elderberry & Echinacea, which has lovely some fresh hedgerow berry, ginger, and liquorice flavours, their Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey blend, and their chamomile, fennel, and ginger flavoured Relax blend.

As part of their sleep programme Pukka recommend that you drink a mug of their 'Night Time' tea every night. So instead of my caffeine laden cuppa, at around 8pm, I've been drinking this blend of lime flower, chamomile and lavender flowers, oat flower tops, liquorice root and valerian root instead

Designed to help you unwind before bed, this particular tea is caffeine free and contains 28% fair wild ingredients, and 33% fair trade ingredients, the bags themselves are plastic free, are fully recyclable and compostable, and they also feature organic cotton strings.

All you do is pop your bag into a mug of boiling water, and then let it infuse for around 15 minutes before drinking. Given then floral ingredients such as lavender and chamomile I was expecting the Night Time blend to have more of a floral taste but instead it had a surprisingly sweet, pleasant, herbal liquorice / aniseed type flavour.

Drinking the tea at night immediately sent me into wind down mode. After drinking it I switched off my blue screen electronics, and usually had a warm (but not too hot) shower with a calming lavender based shower gel before settling into bed, and reading a non stressful book for an hour before using some pillow spray, and settling down with either a guided meditation (there is a nice short one on the Pukka website) or some nature sounds on a timer until I fall asleep.

These are things that work for me but you could also add other things to help you sleep including ear plugs, eye masks, a fan, a white noise machine, or a story app. Everyone is different, there are basic things that should help most people fall asleep but you just need to find out what works for you. 

I've now actually been doing the Pukka Sleep With Ease campaign for more than 7 days now and I can safely say that following some of the suggestions in the plan, keeping a sleep diary, and drinking in particular the Night Time tea has made a difference.

I've managed to establish a proper sleep / wake routine and I've tried to eradicate some of my bad sleep habits. As I say drinking the Night Time tea became a real signal to me that the day was coming to an end and that I should start winding down and preparing myself for rest and sleep.

Unfortunately due to medical reasons I potentially am always going to have issues with my sleep but thanks to Pukka I've been reminded that making small differences and creating a workable routine can really help me to get a better and more restful nights sleep.

If you're struggling with your sleep at the moment I would thoroughly recommend that you try Pukka's 7 day Sleep With Ease programme. You can find out more on their website and of course I would really recommend that you try some of Pukka's herbal blends to help you improve your own sleep, mental, and physical health at this stressful time. Pukka Relax, Pukka Night Time, and the Pukka Herbal Collection retail at around £2.79 - £3 for a box of 20 teabags from various retailers including Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Waitrose and Holland & Barrett.

 *Press Samples / Unpaid Advertisement / Promotion / Non Affiliate Links 

Thursday 26 November 2020

A Late Unboxing Of Glossybox UK - September 2020 - Glossy Spa Edition*

Greetings from LouLouLand, or as I'm currently calling it Fibromyalgia hell! Again this post is super late but I'm in the middle of a pretty full on Fibromyalgia flare, pain, exhaustion, insomnia, jaw spasms, and headaches, you name a fibro symptom and in the last month I've probably experienced it with bells on! Thankfully I'm starting to see a tiny chink of light at the end of the tunnel, I'm controlling my pain a bit better, and I'm sleeping better (more on how to come x), so I'm trying to do a bit of work when I can - I really am the obligatory tortoise, it may take me a while but I'll get there in the end x 

So think back a month or two to September and enjoy my thoughts on the September 2020 edition of Glossybox UK. 

After all of the bows and excitement and bows of the August birthday edition, at least packaging wise, the September edition felt a little flat with a return to the traditional pink and black colour way, both inside and outside the box.

The first thing that you normally see when you open up your Glossybox is the information leaflet, but myself and many other subscribers didn't actually receive one in September's box. Thankfully though it was available on the Glossybox website, so we could find out more about the theme of the box and the products in September's box. The theme was of course 'Glossy Spa' and the box contained 5 indulgent products to give you that spa experience in your own home.

MineTan Body. Skin Exfoliating Coffee Scrub - 30g - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £11

The first product in the box was a body product, and it was a product from Australian owned self tanning brand. MineTan Body Skin. I'm not big on self tanning anymore so I was really pleased to receive a product that I would actually use, a sachet of their Exfoliating Coffee Scrub.

Like all of their products in their range, this scrub is 100% vegan and cruelty free, and it is also paraben, palm oil, mineral oil, and sulphate free. It contains ground coffee, sweet almond oil, walnut shell powder, brown sugar, salt, olive oil, macadamia oil, shea butter, vitamin E, pumice and oatmeal extract.

Designed to smooth and hydrate the skin and target imperfections such as dry and flaky, and uneven skin, and stretch marks, this scrub looks and smells exactly how you would expect it to.

Think slightly, damp coffee grounds, combined with smaller grains of salt, brown sugar, and pumice, that smells exactly like your morning cup of coffee.

All you do it massage it over damp skin, and then you rinse if off. Like all of these types of scrub it's pretty messy, and it produces a bitty coffee, coloured liquid in the bottom of the shower, but if you can get past that though it really does work, my skin felt super soft, and smooth, and after a couple of uses my skin looked more even and smooth.

Whilst the particles are quite small, this scrub was scrubby enough, to pass my 'I can feel it working' test but alas it didn't pass Mummy Lou's clean, no mess, shower test :(

Glossybox quote an estimated retail price of £11 for this 30g deluxe mini size, but based on my research that seems to be a mistake. From what I can gather the full 200ml size retails between £9.95 and £9.99 direct from both MineTan and from Look Fantastic, so a better estimation of the price was probably be around a couple of pounds.

Imperial Leather Foamburst Luxury Gel To Foam Body Wash - Lychee & Lotus Flower - 75ml - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £2

I've said it before but I really miss my bath, especially when I'm having an aches and pains day. Showers are brilliant for getting clean but when it comes to a luxurious and pampering experience, baths will always win out, or will they?

In the four or so years that have passed since I lost my bath, there has been a huge improvement in shower products - from just the humble shower gel, we now have shower steamers, shower creams, shower butters and shower foams, all designed to make the normal shower experience just a little bit more special.

When it comes to shower products one of my favourite type of products has to be shower foams, and one of my brands of choice has to be Imperial Leather.

I've talked about Imperial Leather's Foamburst before (read my thoughts here) but the September edition of Glossybox gave me the chance to try one of their newest editions, Lychee and Lotus Flower.

With a beautiful exotic, fruity, floral scent, this this pink gel transforms instantly into a lovely, creamy shower foam. A tiny bit goes a long way and leaves the skin soft and clean, and you can also use it shaving foam. I love these foams and they really do make the whole showering experience just a little bit more luxurious.

Glossybox put a price of £2 on this 75ml deluxe mini size. The full 200ml size retails at around £3 - £3.15 from various retailers including Superdrug, Boots, and Tesco.

Avant Skincare Supreme Hyaluronic Acid Antioxidising DUO Moisturiser - 50ml - Full Size - Est. RRP £89

The next item in the box was another product from high end skincare brand, Avant. I've tried quite a few of their products now and I've usually been pretty impressed with both the quality and the results.

Now I'm going to hold my hands up and say that I haven't actually opened this one yet. I currently have a couple of day creams on the go so I thought that I would leave this one sealed up until I was ready to use it. 

Fear not though my dear readers, I have actually already reviewed this particular moisturiser before. I received a mini 10ml size in the September 2019 edition of Pink Parcel, and you can read my review here.

Glossybox put an estimated value of £89 on this full 50ml size but again based on my research the same size also in a tube actually seems to have a retail price of £100 on the official Avant website, and it's also available in slightly different packaging also for around £100 from Look Fantastic and Beauty Expert. Either way it's a pretty expensive so I'm really pleased to have received it in September's box.

Ameliorate Intensive Skin Therapy With Alpha Hydroxy Therapy - 30ml - Full Size - RRP £15

The next item in the box was a product from a new brand to me, Ameliorate. Ameliorate produce a range of products specifically for those people with dry, sensitive or problematic skin, catering for every concern from psoriasis, to ingrown hairs.

The September 2020 edition of Glossybox UK, contained a full 30ml sized tube of the Ameliorate Intensive Skin Therapy, which is a petroleum free balm, which is designed to rejuvenate protect and deeply moisturise the skin.

Containing lactic acid, sweet almond oil, shea butter, beeswax, barley seed extract, and lanolin, it is slightly yellow in colour and it has a rich, creamy texture, and a fresh cream scent.

Despite its creaminess and thickness, it's easy to massage in, it doesn't feel overly greasy or oily and it sinks in quite quickly.

I don't have a lot of problems with dry skin, so I've mainly been using it on my hands, feet and my elbows, and I have to say that I am seriously impressed. I could see a difference in the hydration of my skin, and that look and feeling lasted for a good 24 hours or so.

If you have patches of dry skin, I would definitely recommend that you give this product a try. I'm definitely going to be taking a closer look at the entire Ameliorate range in the future. This balm retails at around £15 from various retailers including Look Fantastic, Feel Unique, Cult Beauty, and Space NK. 

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub - 20ml - Deluxe Mini - Est. RRP £9

Although this wasn't the most expensive product in the box, according to most of the subscribers commenting on Glossybox's social media channels, it was the most wanted product in the September box. From Huda Kattan's Wishful skincare range this is a cruelty free, facial exfoliator with a twist.

Containing papaya and pineapple extracts, cellulose, alpha hydroxy acids, and beta hydroxy acids, this paraben free scrub is designed to remove dead skin, and impurities, to help leave the skin smooth, soft and glowing.

Now when you think of facial exfoliators, you immediately think of something rough and grainy - a more physical scrub, but nowadays that isn't necessarily the case. A new generation of facial exfoliators like Ginvera Green Tea Marvel Gel, The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Liquid Peel, and of course this Wishful scrub, are basically enzymatic exfoliators, that don't contain exfoliating particles and instead contain various acids and plant extracts to help smooth and tone the skin.

Containing both pineapple, and papaya, this Wishful exfoliator has a fresh and fruity but slightly astringent scent. 

The product itself us a thin, cloudy / milky white gel. All you do is apply it clean, dry skin and then massage it onto the skin in circular motion. As you begin to massage it onto the skin, the texture starts to change, and it begins to form little balls as it picks up all of the dirt and dead skin. It sounds disgusting but it's actually really satisfying to do!

Then using a muslin cloth or a flannel, and warm water, you just wash the residue away and your skin is left feeling super soft and clean.


Massaged In 

After Rinsing 

I'm not sure how well you can see it in these pictures, but my skin did look a little bit pink after using this product, probably down to the acids, but thankfully it didn't last, and I didn't experience any tingling or discomfort. If you have sensitive skin you can use it like I did once or twice a week, or if your skin is a bit more hardy, you can use it every day.

I'm a huge fan of enzyme scrubs like this, in fact I think I prefer them to more manual, bitty exfoliators. I've just recently bought The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Liquid Peel, but when I've finished I will definitely consider buying this one, well done Huda, this was definitely worth the hype.

This particular size doesn't appear to be a regular retail size but Glossybox quote a recommended retail price of £9. It usually comes in 2 sizes, a 40ml size that retails at anywhere between £15 and £18, and a 100ml size that retails anywhere between £28 and £34. The Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub is available from various retailers including Cult Beauty, Feel Unique, Boots, and of course direct from HUDA Beauty.

Since the box was all about pampering and treating yourself, the majority of subscribers also received an extra treat from the lovely people at Glossybox, and it was the best kind of treat, Chocolate!

Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Bar - 38g - Est. RRP 75 - 85p

When you think about Swiss chocolate brand, Lindt, probably the first things that comes to mind is probably those fabulously spherical Lindor truffles, but did you know that you can now get that same Lindor taste but in a bar?

Well you can, and in my box I was lucky enough to receive a 38g bar of Lindor Milk Chocolate. Instead of the spheres that we are all used to, the bar contains 6 squares of delicious high quality milk chocolate, with the beautiful smooth, creamy melting chocolate centre, that we've come to expect from Lindor - a yummy and gorgeous treat!

The Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate 38g Bar retails at around 75p - 85p each from various retailers including Asda, Tesco, and Sainsbury's.

So that was a super late unboxing of the September 2020 edition of Glossybox UK. On the surface it wasn't the most exciting of boxes but the value was insane, and I loved all of the products inside, including the little chocolate surprise. It was a definite winner from Glossybox and I can definitely see myself repurchasing a few of the products again.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments and don't forget to use my link to find out more about Glossybox UK, and course to subscribe for yourself. Thanks for reading and I will see over the weekend with a little self care post x 

*This Post Contains Automatic Affiliate, Added Affiliate And Non Affiliate Links