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?  




Cherry Sundae

Cherry Sundae

This week has been a good week.  Despite all the rain and wind and generally terrible weather I’ve seen a lot of the positive in most things (not all, the middle of the week was a bit pants, but you can’t win them all).

Cherry Sundae

1) Gammon, mushroom and pea pie, with onion sauce.  Best use of gammon leftovers ever.  I blogged it, and you can find the recipe here.  The sauce was perfectly seasoned and the consistency was spot on.  There was enough gammon left over from our Sunday lunch that the pie was substantial.  The puff pastry was crispy and crumbly and golden and yummy.  All in all a perfect pie, and let me tell you, Internets, it was not just me who had a smile on their face on Monday night. 

2) I’ve started reading Ruby and Elliot Karlson on the Roof.  A book from the 1950’s, there are translations used that might not be used if it was translated today.  The paragraph above had me laughing hard like the juvenile I really am.  The world’s best cock painter eh?! très amusant!  If you haven’t read Karlson on the Roof, then you really ought to.  The whole book is funny and a lovely lovely piece of children’s literature. 

3) I have also written about this earlier in the week.  I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my trips to the gym of late.  I thought I’d hate it, I begged for a gym buddy on facebook, but really, as it turns out, all I need is a pair of headphones and some banging tunes and I can run like Mo Farah. 

Well, not quite, but 5.6km is nothing to be sniffed at, and I think Mo would agree.  My total last week was over 12km, which I am mighty pleased with.  I am looking forward to more runs to nowhere this week like you wouldn’t believe. 

4) Finally, a trip to 7 Bone with one of my oldest and dearest friends.  I’ve known Katherine since we were 10, and we’ve had some badass times over the last 20 years.  You know you have a great friend when you don’t see each other for months (or in our case, sometimes over a year) and when you do finally hang out, it’s just like you saw each other yesterday.  Friendship like that is rare and something to be cherished.  We had an afternoon game of Monopoly with Ross and the kids at the pub, then scooted on down to our local Dirty Burger Bar, 7 Bone, for a nosh up.  7Bone was featured on BBC2 the other week and now it’s nigh on impossible to get a table without a wait at the pub over the road unless you go at lunchtime on a Wednesday.  But we got a table and had an epic dinner.  Chicken burgers and dirty fries, incase you were interested. 

Lovely lovely! 


Cherry Sundae

Cherry Sundae 2

After a really busy day in London yesterday, I had a home day today, and kind of regretted it.  I wish I’d gone out because now I feel like I haven’t achieved anything and it’s Sunday night and, well, blah.  

Ahh hindsight. 

Anyway, this is what has put a smile on my face this week.

Cherry Sundae 2

1) I’ve been listening to this song a lot recently.  And by a lot, I mean, all the time.  I’m not usually into One Republic much, but Counting Stars is banging! I’ve listened to it at the gym, whilst I’ve been cooking, on the way to collect Elliot from preschool.  It’s really cheered me up. 

2) Eggs Royale at Bottega Wapping.  A perfectly poached egg on smoked salmon is enough to make anybody smile, right?!  Dee and I went took advantage of the South West Trains winter sale and took a day trip to London for a tenner.  We met my sister at her flat and had brunch at Bottega.  Delicious, delicious, delicious. 

3) After our brunch, we went into town, and mooched around Covent Garden.  I haven’t been to Covent Garden for ages.  I picked up some Supergas, and a beautiful blazer from H&M.  We had a pint in the Punch and Judy, listened to the people standing next to us moan about the street performer (mean-spirited grumps), and then had a mooch around the Moomin shop, where I got entirely too excited.  But come on, can you blame me? MOOMINS!  I bought Finn Family Moomintroll for Roo. 

4) Finally, dinner at The Diner.  I had wanted to go to Five Guys, but they had a) a huge queue, and b) no hard shakes.  At The Diner we ate burgers and fries and drank boozy milkshakes.  Mine was a chocolate shake with rum and loads of chocolate chips.  Too good.  

Halfway through our meal I noticed I was being stared at and getting some serious side-eye.  I could feel her eyes boring into the side of my head and she was kind of sniggery.  At what?  My ability to pack away a burger and fries? My awesome friends?  I did not like it.  Fuelled by booze and laughter and burgers, these juvenile (yet amusing) tweets may have been sent.

Eyes on the Fries

After our dinner it was time to come home, so we walked to Waterloo in the dark.

London is pretty in the dark.  I miss London. 


Linking up to..

All the Small Things - MummyNeverSleeps

Well hi, there, 2014.

I’ve neglected this blog for ages, only posting the odd recipe or cheeky infographic now and then.  I just got a bit caught up with bits and bobs before Christmas that have kept me away.

I’m working a bit these days.  Doing some freelance social media management for a gelateria near where I live.  I enjoy it.  I’d forgotten how much I like working, and working for myself and being able to set my own hours has been a nice way to ease myself back  into it.  Elliot likes it, too.  He comes with me most of the time, gets played with and is given ice cream to eat.  I am not certain it gets much better for a little chap. 

I’m fairly disgusted with my figure at the moment.  I go to a legs, bums and tums class, and I do a fair bit of walking, but I still look in the mirror and see the “winter coat” I’ve put on since November and it makes me want to cry a little.  Admittedly I have stopped 5:2, and my diet is terrible at the moment.  Too much coffee and biscuits, and not enough movement.  I keep telling myself I’ll do better, but I never do.  What I really need to do is go to the gym and eat better.  What I would love is someone to come with me for motivational purposes. 

I told myself this post wouldn’t turn into a body shaming rant, but it has, because I feel disgusting and ugly, and that kind of leads me on to the other reason I’ve been quiet. 

This year I’ve really suffered with SAD and have not been in a good place mentally. I used to think SAD was a cop-out, but it’s definitely 100% not.  This has been the worst I’ve felt for months – since I stopped taking the happy pills.  I hated pretty much every day of the Christmas holidays.  I slept in til after midday most days, finding no reason to even get out of bed.  I was exhausted all the time, and irritable – I found pretty much no joy in anything.  I looked in the mirror and saw properly dead eyes, my light had gone out.  I couldn’t even muster up the energy to cry, until I could, and then I couldn’t stop.  

And I did what I always do when I am depressed; I shut people out and I yelled at my children and my husband and I curled up into a ball on my sofa and raged at everything whilst leaving everything because when you feel low, even putting on a load of washing or unloading the dishwasher feels like a gargantuan task that you don’t even know how to begin to do.  I ended up calling my mother and sobbing hysterically at her that I couldn’t cope and she came over and helped out and bought me a SAD lamp, and then the sun came out again (literally, that ain’t no metaphor) and things began to feel better.  I have the lamp on when I am working.  It’s so bright you can’t really look directly at it without risking retinal damage, but it definitely helps.  I really need light. 

I’m not totally better, but I’m getting there.  And I never again will scoff at people feeling low in the winter, because having SAD is absolutely fucking hideous.

So it’s been a bit of a mixed bag lately.  

I’ll be back again soon.  I think I just needed to kick myself into gear and actually write.  Bite the bullet, so to speak.  Perhaps I’ll bite another one and go to the gym soon.  


What I Wore Wednesday: FrOctober Week 1


This month, I am taking part in FrOctober, wearing a dress every day in October and generally making a noise about it, all to raise awareness of post natal illnesses.

If you’re a regular reader of this here blog, you’ll know that after my son was born, I was diagnosed with post natal depression.  Instead of sorting it out when I knew the so-called baby blues weren’t going away, I tried to deal with it on my own.  I didn’t tell anyone how I felt, and after a while it got the better of me and I was a huge bitch to everyone, including, to my shame and guilt, my three year old daughter.  Although my baby boy is now a pudgy little toddler who runs about and pulls my hair, my PND never really went away, and now it’s just plain old D.  I am now fairly certain I’ll have bouts of it for the foreseeable, and I won’t be coming off the happy pills any time soon.

Anyway, in short, PNIs SUCK! They really are the last thing new parents need on their plates, what with the brand new screeching human, the leaky boobs, the month-long period no one really tells you about, and the lack of sleep.

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Getting My Groove Back – New Hair

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As regular readers will know, last year, I spent a lot of time battling a nasty spell of PND.  I was snappy with everyone, ghastly and vile to my sister when she came to visit, impatient with my children, grumpy with my husband.  I cried all the time (mostly in secret).  I hid myself away from everyone.  I drank far too much wine.  I ignored everything I needed to do and just existed bleakly in that horrible state for weeks and weeks and weeks.  I tried to put a brave face on it, but the facade crumbled away pretty quickly.

I completely lost any groove I may have had.

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