Blackspade noir Olivia spotted nightgown, UK Lingerie

From time to time, sleep eludes me and recently, I’ve been making a concerted effort to rectify this. Most nights, I fall to sleep quite readily but there are times when my busy mind precludes this. Along with that, I’m a naturally light sleeper, something I’ve been aware of for as long as I can remember. I wake at the slightest noise or movement and find it difficult to fall back to sleep. This, coupled with my tendency to over-think everything, means there are some nights when I lie awake for hours. 

Detail of Blackspade noir Olivia spotted nightgown, at UK Lingerie

I’ve been giving it some thought, and have done some research and have separated it into two distinct categories: the physical and the psychological, (or, in my case perhaps emotional), aspects of sleep and what I have been doing to help. I’ve presented them in a series of tips along with my thoughts and what works for me.

Tips for a better night’s sleep: physical


1. Make sure you have comfortable nightclothes.

I have never been a pyjamas kind of girl, I find that the legs on the bottoms get twisted round so I prefer a nightie. Natural fibres work better for most people and I opt for either cotton jersey or silk, (rather than satin). The nightdress in these photographs is cool, soft, comfortable and looks pretty too. It’s from UK Lingerie an online company selling a wide variety of nightwear and lingerie. This gorgeously girly Mimi Holliday set is from there too.

Mimi Holliday mint green bra and knickers

2. Open the window.

Apart from during the very depths of winter, I open my window to allow fresh air to circulate. If not, I wake up feeling rather stifled. If it gets chilly, I have a throw at the bottom of my bed to pull up. 

3. Tie your hair back.

Although my hair isn’t long, it does get caught around my neck, (I sleep on my front or side), so I tie it back. If you sleep on your back, a side plait would be more comfortable.

4. Make sure the bed is cool and is made before getting in.

I love climbing into a neat, cold bed. I pull the duvet back first thing for an hour or so to let the bed cool, before making it. I change my bedding about every five days because clean sheets are heaven on earth. 

5. Make sure the room is dark enough.

It sounds so obvious but is something I’ve only recently addressed. I have a semi-sheer roller blind which means that in summer, my room is almost fully light by 4am, (a full moon has the same effect). I added a blackout roller blind which has made a huge difference. Because of how it fits, it doesn’t block out the light completely but it’s made a noticeable difference and it’s been easier for me to get back to sleep if I wake in the early hours. In that situation, I now put on a silk sleep mask. This one of mine is by StephieAnn and is lavender scented, which of course, helps to induce sleep and relaxation. It’s beautifully soft and comfortable too.

Lavender scented silk sllep mask by StephieAnn

6. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day.

I tend to wake naturally quite early no matter what time I go to bed and regardless of whether or not I have slept well. Generally, I go up to bed at the same time most nights, unless I’m on a night out. 

7. Try to sleep for a duration that’s a multiple of 90 minutes.

This is something I discovered very recently from my GP. She said that humans have a sleep cycle of 90 minutes. If we wake at the end of a 90 minute cycle, we feel refreshed, whereas if we wake part way through, we don’t. This makes complete sense to me because I’ve never been able to take a power nap without feeling groggy and significantly worse afterwards. Without question, I could drift off for a snooze on the sofa if I let myself, but the occasional time I have, I have felt rotten upon waking. Even when I was up frequently doing night feeds when my children were babies, I never napped during the day. For the same reason, I don’t snooze when travelling. I do know that some people swear by a power nap though and awake feeling refreshed, but it doesn’t work for me. 

8. Make sure you won’t wake up feeling hungry.

This is another recent revelation. If you tend to wake between 2am and 5am it can be a sign of low blood sugar. This in turn releases stress hormones which can make the mind race and the heart pound, so interrupting sleep. Eating a protein snack before bed will help. I wake up ready for breakfast every day and have a good appetite. Although I don’t necessarily wake in the small hours feeling hungry, I sometimes wake with a racing mind, so I try to have a small handful of almonds and sometimes a few pieces of cheese (it won’t give you bad dreams, I promise), about half an hour before going to bed and it does seem to help. Unfortunately, alcohol before bedtime has the same effect on the blood sugar so the advice is not to have it too late at night. 

9. Exercise regularly
This helps to regulate blood sugar, creates a body full of feel good hormones and is of course a known stress-buster. Without question, I sleep better when I’ve been to the gym or taken a long walk.

10. Tense and relax the muscles.
As you lie in bed, tense then relax each part of the body. Start at the feet. Tense and hold for a count of five, or longer if you can. Then relax.  Do the same with the calves, followed by the thighs and so on, up to and including the face and scalp. I get tension in my lower back so pay particular attention to the back, pelvis and buttocks. The tingling sensation immediately afterwards is one of relaxation and is a very welcome feeling and an immediate way of feeling more ready for sleep.

Blackspade noir Olivia spotted nightgown, from UK Lingerie

Blackspade noir Olivia spotted long nightgown, at UK Lingerie

Tips for a better night’s sleep: Emotional/psychological

Insomnia comes in many guises including difficulty falling asleep, poor quality sleep and waking up too early. I experience all of these from time to time. A common cause is chronic stress. It reduces the ability to relax because those hormones intended to help deal with stress interfere with sleep. Of course, switching off from stress is easier said than done but here are a few tips that might help.

1. Write a “to-do” list each day with the aim of completing it.

My work is multi-faceted. I write for two magazines, I write my blog and I run a small online business. I’m a lone parent to two teenagers and have a home and garden to run. In common with so many, I have a lot of tabs open in my mind. Every morning, I write a realistic list of what needs doing which includes work, emails, calls, house work, admin and so on. I have a paper diary so I can see exactly where I am and can tick things off as I do them. I’m self-employed and work from home which means it’s easy to carry on into the evening. One the one hand, I tell myself I should stop work and relax whereas on the other, I’d rather tick everything off because I feel more stressed if I don’t. I’m working on finding a balance. If I get to bed and realise I have forgotten to do something, I’d rather get up and do it than have it hanging over me until morning. I have pen and paper in my bedroom should I remember something additional during the night. An old tip, but it works for me.

2. Don’t go to bed on an argument.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I had an argument with anybody but I’m going to apply the same principle here. My natural openness and honesty lead me to speak and act from the heart, sometimes before my brain has had a chance to catch up. I subsequently berate myself for this and ask “why did I say that?” I then second-guess the responses and thoughts of others, mull over conversations and analyse things that probably don’t need analysing. Over-thinking keeps me awake more than anything else. It isn’t that I’ve said something unkind or heartless because that simply isn’t me, it’s more that I’ve questioned something or said something that has left me open and slightly vulnerable; I wear my heart on my sleeve.  

I try now to be more considered. I try and rationalise my feelings and emotions before voicing them. I ask myself if it will be just as important tomorrow. If not, then it’s probably better to keep quiet about whatever it is on my mind. If it will be just as important, then I try to work out a solution or a way of presenting it such that it will stop me over-thinking. This has helped hugely with being able to better “switch-off” at night. What helps too is knowing that those close to me understand my emotional, sensitive personality and love me for it. 

Talk and set things out so everything is clear. Don’t leave room for misinterpretation. My mind needs to be at rest before my body can rest, so this is a vitally important ongoing process for me.

3. Cut negativity out of your life.

This is a tricky one but where possible, remove any negative influences. If a person or situation is bringing you unhappiness or uncertainty, can that person or that situation be removed from your life? I’m not suggesting you hire a hit man, but don’t be afraid to say if something doesn’t work for you. This comes down to being honest and open and to having the confidence to speak up. If something is playing on your mind, or doesn’t feel right, it’s better to address it than to lie awake worrying. Get things off your chest, (in a considered way), and trust your gut instinct. In the past I’ve tried to quash what mine was telling me, but on every single occasion, it was right right. I now actively ask myself what my gut is telling me and it’s served me very well indeed of late! Be brave, listen to it and take appropriate actions. It can only help with calming the mind.

4. Remind yourself that you deserve to, and need to rest.

As I said above, I have a busy life and it’s too easy to keep on working late to further build my blog and my business so to benefit both myself and my children. However, because I’m self-employed, there is no sick pay and no fall back if I get unwell. The temptation to keep going is always there but quality sleep is vital to stay healthy and for me to function to the best of my ability. I work hard so I deserve to rest. I need to rest so I can work hard. 

Blackspade noir Olivia spotted full length nightgown, at UK Lingerie

Blackspade noir Olivia spotted nightgown

These photographs were taken by Ian in the gorgeous Manor suite suite at Stirk House when we stayed earlier this month and about which I’m writing a comprehensive review. Ian and I don’t live together but we chat on the phone most nights before bed. It’s a chance to unwind and to relax and he is brilliant at telling me to go to sleep and at putting my mind at rest about all sorts. It induces feelings of love and calm and is a reminder about what is truly important. Perhaps, talking to a loved one at bedtime is the best thing tip of all. 


Love Lizzy x

I’m wearing:
*Blackspade Noir Olivia Dotted Gown, £33, UK Lingerie
*Midnight silk lavender eye mask, £23, StephieAnn
*Mimi Holliday Tilt a Whirl Bra, £39 UK Lingerie
*Mimi Holliday Tilt a Whirl Sexy Knicker £24, UK Lingerie
Sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts at Lizzy O.

I’m linking up with:
I Will Wear What I LikeBrilliant Blog Posts/The Saturday Share

Disclosure:
*These items were gifted. My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support What Lizzy Loves.

For more of What Lizzy Loves, please follow on Instagram and Facebook

Danon jewellery, wrap bracelets, pendants and scarves
Sign up to my newsletter and receive an exclusive discount for Lizzy O every month

I have always, always, always loved a striped breton-style top and I have more than I can remember. To me, they’re a style classic that will never go out of fashion. One of mine has fluted sleeves, one has a small embroidered  logo on a pocket and one has a lace insert at the neckline; all variations on a theme and all equally useful for both smart and casual, town and country wardrobes. This is my only pink one though and two things set it apart: its weight, (more sweatshirt than tee shirt), and its back zip. The slightly heavier weight cotton is perfect for this time of year and as with all clothing by this brand Tulchan, it is excellent quality.

These photographs were taken two weekends ago when we stayed at Beck Hall in Malham, (read my review of dinner, bed and breakfast here– the bathroom is not to be missed), so I styled the top on this occasion very much for the country with skinny jeans and my silver Superga pumps. Sadly, the Morgan isn’t mine. We just happened to park next to it and it was too gorgeous not to be photographed.   

pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps, standing with vintage Morgan

pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps, seated at an outdoor table

pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps, outdoors

Half-length image of pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps

What Lizzy Loves wearing pink and white striped Tulchan top with Kirkby Lonsdale scarf

The back zip is a small detail that makes a big difference.

Back view of pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps

Back view including the zip on pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps

Full length image of What Lizzy Loves wearing pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps

What Lizzy Loves wearing pink and white striped Tulchan top, photographed in Malham

Close up shot of pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps

Close up shop of What Lizzy Loves wearing pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps

details of pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps

We went walking in Malham after breakfast, so my jewellery needed to be comfortable and lightweight. My crystal-set wrap bracelets are from Lizzy O and look beautiful alone as well as when mixed and matched. They come in a more colours including both neutrals and brights and really are perfect for every occasion, day or night. I’m sure you’ll recognise my Swarovski crystal set bee ring by now too because it appears in a lot of my outfit posts and quite frequently on Instagram. It is also from Lizzy O and with matching bracelet, earrings, necklace and bangle available. (Sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts at Lizzy O)

Bee ring and diamante set bracelets worn with pink and white striped breton top by Tulchan with skinny jeans and silver Superga pumps, diamante bracelets and bee ring

You may remember that I wore the same architectural print scarf recently with a sky blue cable jumper, also from Tulchan. The cable jumper also comes in pink and the striped top also comes in navy, both of which would be equally complimented by the scarf.  

Tulchan pink and white striped top, sky blue cable jumper and Kirkby Lonsdale scarf. Capsule weekend wardrobe

It’s what I love so much about this brand, along with it being very local to me; the fact the colour palette is cohesive which allows for effortless mixing and matching. Ideal for building a capsule weekend wardrobe.

Love Lizzy x


I’m wearing:

*Pink striped sweat top with back zip, £40 Tulchan
*Kirkby scarf, £12.99, Tulchan

Swarovski crystal set silver bee ring, £32

Crystal set magnetic wrap bracelets in white, grey and pink, £12.50, Lizzy O (Sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts at Lizzy O)
*Silver Superga 2750 Cotmetu pumps, £55, Aspire Style
Skinny jeans, Next, past season

I’m linking up with:
I Will Wear What I LikeBrilliant Blog Posts/The Saturday Share

Disclosure:
*These items were gifted. My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support What Lizzy Loves.

For more of What Lizzy Loves, please follow on Instagram and Facebook

Photographs: Ian

Danon jewellery, wrap bracelets, pendants and scarves
Sign up to my newsletter and receive an exclusive discount for Lizzy O every month

If you read my previous post, (A review of Beck Hall Hotel and Bistro in Malham, North Yorkshire), you might have noticed that this is the dress I was wearing for dinner. I posted a picture on Instagram and it received a lot of lovely compliments so I thought I’d share some full-length and detailed shots of it. I wore it in December, styled for a winter night out with opaque tights and high-heeled black suede ankle boots. but in actual fact, I have worn it on several other occasions too. Embroidery is huge this season, with embroidered detail featuring on both clothing and on accessories and footwear, but regardless of that, I love it and would wear it whether or not it is “on-trend”; this dress is so pretty, I wear it as often as I can.

Black mesh floral embroidered dress and high-heeled bow shoes, over 40 fashion and style

Black mesh floral embroidered dress and high-heeled bow shoes, over 40 fashion and style

Black mesh floral embroidered dress and high-heeled bow shoes, over 40 fashion and style

Black mesh floral embroidered dress and high-heeled bow shoes, over 40 fashion and style

Black mesh floral embroidered dress and high-heeled bow shoes, over 40 fashion and style

My gold honey bee ring is from my own jewellery and accessories website, Lizzy O. It’s by Danon and comes with matching earrings, necklaces and bracelets and is also available in silver. Do sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts at Lizzy O. I send it out on the first of the month and always include a discount code to use.

Fiona cross body quilted bag, Ilex London. Gold honey bee ring

Black mesh floral embroidered dress and high-heeled bow shoes, over 40 fashion and style

Black mesh floral embroidered dress and high-heeled bow shoes, over 40 fashion and style

Black mesh floral embroidered dress and high-heeled bow shoes, over 40 fashion and style

Danon gold honey bee ring

My shoes are also oft-worn and although I shared this photograph in my previous post and on Instagram too, I can’t help but think this beautiful tiled bathroom wall at Beck Hall is the perfect foil for them and I can’t resist sharing it again. 

High heeled bow shoes by Boden, tiled wall at Beck Hall hotel, Malham

At the time of writing the dress is available in the clearance section on the Next website. It was originally £95 and is now £45 (and just £40 in the “tall” version). I’m just under 5’9″ and I’m wearing a UK size 12 tall. Huge thanks to @sleepdeprivedstyle who saw my Instagram picture and let me know the dress was still available.

Love Lizzy x

I’m wearing:

*Black mesh and floral embroidered dress, Next, past season was £95

Black high-heeled bow shoes, Boden, past season.

Honey bee ring in gold, £24 by Danon at Lizzy O (Sign up to my monthly newsletter here for exclusive subscriber discounts at Lizzy O).

*Fiona red leather quilted cross body bag, £199 Ilex London.

I’m linking up with:
I Will Wear What I LikeBrilliant Blog Posts/The Saturday Share

Disclosure:
*These items were gifted. My opinions are always 100% honest and the content is always my own. Thank you for supporting those brands that support What Lizzy Loves.

For more of What Lizzy Loves, please follow on Instagram and Facebook

Danon jewellery, wrap bracelets, pendants and scarves
Sign up to my newsletter and receive an exclusive discount for Lizzy O every month