Lumie Arabica Light Box Review

lumie arabica SAD lamp

Just after Christmas I went a bit doolally.  The dark days took their miserable toll and I found myself balled up on the sofa howling because it was too dark, and I couldn’t do anything, and the kids were winding me up and Ross wasn’t around because he was still commuting to London every day, and there was nothing to do, and I wanted to go to the park and the kids wouldn’t put their sodding shoes on, and the pile of laundry was akin to Everest, and the thought of cooking dinner made me want to cry, and everything was just frankly, utterly hideous. 

Then I figured that if I switched on every single light in my house, I might feel better.  

Well, I didn’t feel any better, and my mum was beginning to worry (as you do, about the mentals).  So, she bought me the Lumie Arabica SAD lamp.  

lumie arabica SAD lamp

At 10,000 lux the Lumie Arabica is the brightest light I have ever owned.  It sits on the side in my dining room, and I have it on when I am working, or eating (It also masquerades as a photography light, so if you’ve noticed my food photos are looking brighter and sharper, well you have my SAD to thank for that)

It’s not the most inconspicuous of lamps; it doesn’t, for instance, blend in with the rest of my stuff.  There is no denying it’s a light box, and people have asked me what it is, and when I tell them it’s a SAD lamp, without fail the next question is, “does it work?”

And, well, yes it does.  Whilst typically, it arrived just as we got a few brighter days, they soon reverted back to the dull, heavy grey skies we’ve become accustomed to, the lamp has been used almost every day, and just sitting in front of it for 45 mins a day has certainly helped a lot.  The amount of daylight we get is said to have an effect on our circadian rhythms*, and even though the curtains in my bedroom are flimsy at best, thus waking me up early, when the days are short and dark I really notice a difference in my mood and general wellbeing.   Having the lamp on makes me feel generally happier.  I don’t feel like like sleeping all the time (partial though I am to a nap), I feel more inclined to get out of the house and do things.  Everything that seemed grey and dull and impossible, now feels brighter and lighter and achievable.  I feel capable again, and when you have two small children to care for, feeling capable is very important. 

lumie arabica SAD lamp

(I had to turn the exposure right up on this photo, hence all the noise – but I think it gives you an idea of how bright it really is)

I’m not saying it’s all down to my Lumie Arabica, regular readers will know I’ve started running which eases my stress levels – I never ever come home from the gym feeling low, rather I leave feeling badass.  But then I can’t help wondering if I was feeling as rubbish as I was before I got my Lumie Arabica, would I even be motivated enough to go for a run?  Knowing myself, I think it’s more likely I’d go and curl up somewhere whilst snarfing down a packet of biscuits. 

So if you are considering light therapy for SAD, then I’d wholeheartedly recommend this lamp.  It’s certainly not the cheapest on the market, but Lumie give you the VAT off if you are a SAD sufferer.  When you feel as low as I did, you have to take the perks where you can get them, am I right?

*Surely I can’t be the only person who thinks of Daysleeper by REM when anyone starts talking about circadian rhythms?  




Review: Sleep Angel Pillow

sleep angel pillow

sleep angel pillow

So here’s the thing, I really like to sleep.  Not in a hypersomnia kind of way, you understand.  I can’t kip all day (i’d get all squirmy and then feel guilty about wasting the day).  And I’m pretty good at it, too. I can get shut eye pretty much anywhere: on the beach, in a heaving airport terminal, in the car. It’s quite a talent.  But being the mother of a willful toddler son who likes nothing more than to cosleep, with his hand inside my top, I often don’t manage to fall into the deep, dreamless sleep that I like the very best. Plus, the little urchin poppet steals my pillow, leaving me lying on just the mattress. Thanks kid.

So you can imagine my delight when I was offered the Sleep Angel pillow to review.

Hands off, son, mama’s got a brand new pillow.

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Organix Veg and Oat Bars

Veg and Oat Bars

I am one of those mothers who shamelessly feeds her children whilst going around the supermarket.  Mainly to keep them sweet whilst I ponder over what to buy (because obviously, I’ve forgotten to make a list), and also because I get the inevitable whine about being hungry as soon as we get through the doors.

So often, it’s straight to the kid’s snack aisle for us

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Baby Nose-Clear

I have a sniffly baby. By sniffly I mean, his breathing is not quiet, and on a slightly less light-hearted note, by sniffly, I mean feeds are often interrupted by sad little splutters and cries and a few times in the middle of the night, he’s woken up crying trying to get a decent breath.

In the mornings, you can look up his tiny seven week old nose and see it’s chock full of mucous and snot.

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My Beautiful Beautiful Shoes

I know he can’t see the dress, but is it bad luck for your husband-to-be to see your wedding shoes before the big day?  If it is, well then we are already doomed.  Because I can’t stop talking about my shoes, and I also can’t stop looking at them.  Every couple of days, I have to have a little peek-a-boo at them sitting there, pretty things, in their shoe box.

And the shoe box is not hidden away from Ross.  It’s sitting on a shelf in our bedroom, and even though I know he won’t be nearly as interested in them as I am, and certainly not interested enough to sneak sly little peeks, he was there when I picked them up from the post office, there when I excitedly ripped open the package, and it’s fair to say he’ll definitely be around when I break them in between now and July 24th.

As much as the National Wedding Show showed me exactly what I didn’t want in my wedding (a long fussy gown, a marzipan-slathered fruit cake, a hen night that involves a pink limousine) I did go home with some great ideas and even some concrete decisions made; a french netting veil, cheesecake of glory and shoes from Harriet Wilde.

You know when you see something, and that’s it, mind’s made up, won’t even bother looking at anything else, because how could anything else even come remotely close? Well, thats how I felt when I saw my shoes.  And the netting embellishment in turn helped me to make up my mind about my veil, which then helped me decide on gypsophila flowers in the table settings and my bouquet.  As odd as it may sound to say I’ve planned the look of my wedding around my shoes, it’s true – these beautiful shoes have really helped me out!

I’ve gone for Bella Ivory with the ivory netting, and aren’t they just the cutest shoes you ever did see?  I just adore the little puff of netting on the toe.  So ridiculously dainty.  The moment I slip my feet into them I instantly feel about ten times more girly and feminine.

And I can’t help but smile.

If you want your own pair (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) You can pick up the phone and have a chat with Ruth.  Because the only thing better than ordering pretty shoes, is ordering them from someone as nice as she is.

Anyone for cheesecake?

We have an 8″ vanilla cheesecake that arrived this morning.  It’s a sample of our wedding cake and right now it’s defrosting in my fridge.

English Cheesecake Company
Cheesecake of Glory

I saw the English Cheesecake Company at the National Wedding Show last November and that was it, I was sold. What could possibly be nicer than a vanilla and strawberry cheesecake at a July wedding?  I stopped looking at other cakes there and then and happily ticked it off my gargantuan list of Things To Organise.

So I called and ordered on Thursday, and it arrived this morning.  In dry ice, no less.  And can I just take a moment to remind you of your GCSE Chemistry lessons and that dry ice is cold.  Very very cold.  I’d go out on a limb and say it’s the coldest thing I’ve ever held.  Because in my excitement to get to my cake, I did not heed the warning and I picked up the bag of dry ice with my bare hands.  Ouch!

Always wear oven mitts when handling dry ice.
What I should have done.

It took a few seconds to register that my fingers were, infact, freezing, before I realised what I was doing.  Fortunately, an hour or so later, my hands are fine, pink and warmed up nicely.  And the dry ice has warmed up and dissipated.  That is a mistake I shan’t be making again.

I’ve already tasted my cake and let me tell you it’s melt-in-the-mouth amazing.  Creamy and delicious and a real pleasure to eat.  I know it’s going to go down a storm at my wedding this summer, especially with all those gorgeous strawberries piled up on top.  If you ever fancy a cheesecake, the English Cheesecake Company is without a doubt the place to get it.