Four Steps To Stronger Nails

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1. Paint on Nail Magic, a clear polish, which contains a combination of ingredients to strengthen weak tissue and stimulate healthy new growth. Use it as a base or top coat, or on its own. £9.95 from Victoria Health.

2. Massage in a nail treatment oil every night. Beauty Bible testers found Nails Inc Vitamin E Oil Pen was way the most effective: one commented ‘fantastic for strengthening my dry brittle nails’. Nails Inc Vitamin E Oil Pen, £12, nailsinc.com

3. Eat protein – nails need nourishing protein just like skin and hair, and they do seem to be at the end of the food chain. Oily fish is particularly good, combining protein and omega-3 essential fatty acids.

4. Supplement with Silica 2500 by Kordels, £15.68 for 90 tablets (one daily) from Victoria Health.

Help! We Have To Sleep in Separate Beds

Q I work hard and need my kip, but have never slept well, and it’s becoming worse as I get older. Because I am so easily disturbed, I have decided that the best solution is to sleep separately from my husband, although I feel guilty about this. What do you suggest?

A The question of sleeping apart can bring up ‘huge rejection issues in either or both partners’, says Marni Eisenberg, a psychotherapist and counsellor. ‘People worry it spells the end of intimacy.’ But lack of sleep can profoundly affect your physical and mental health so, firstly, it’s sensible to ‘unpack the issues’ and see if there are practical solutions, advises psychotherapist Gillian Greenwood.

Talk about it, for as long as it takes: and listen to what your partner says to you.

If you sleep lightly: a snoring partner can drive you to distraction. The simplest option is ear-plugs – one friend swears by the squishy foam ones. Also suggest he goes to the doctor (and maybe loses weight…).

One of you gets hot, the other cold: a friend with night sweats who used to throw off the double duvet leaving her husband freezing and cross found the answer was single duvets of different weights.

Restless legs: magnesium before bed may help twitching threshing lower limbs. Try DynoMins Magnesium, £14.60 for 90 tablets, or spray on Magnesium Oil – GoodNight Spray by Better YOU, £12.30 for 100ml, both from Victoria Health.

Not enough space: the standard double bed is only 4ft 6 ins wide, so you each have less space than a child would in a single bed. Try 3 foot singles zipped together.

Negotiate nights on and off: one option is to agree to sleep in separate rooms during the working week and share a bed at the weekend. (You could have an afternoon nap if you’re tired.)

Try a non-addictive sleeping product: a reader has just emailed: ‘last night I took Valerian & Ashwagandha and had the best sleep I’ve had for years – I can’t remember the last time I slept until the alarm went off’. Valerian & Ashwagandha by Pukka Herbs £15.95 for 90 capsules, from Victoria Health.

Relax before bed: taking a stroll together, reading a book (perhaps aloud) rather than watching violent news programmes, then a milky drink could help.

If you wake: don’t fret or get furious: try lying flat on your back and breathing deeply and slowly – you might nod off again.

If the problem is really your relationship: try couples counselling, Relate.org.uk

Rest For The Wicked

A reader says: ‘The Wicked Wedge inflatable lounger, which has an optional waterproof mat attached, is incredibly useful and adaptable. It makes an extra seat, inside or out, and a good back support for watching TV in bed. One friend finds it invaluable for relaxing comfortably while breast-feeding.’ £14.95 plus P&P from wickedwedge.co.uk.

Take It To The Maximus

With the party season coming up and many of us in a state of terminal envy over Pippa Middleton’s derriere, what better time to embark on acquiring the perfect bum?

Leading pilates instructor and personal trainer Doug Robertson claims he has the technology in the shape of the Perfect Bum App. There are 12 episodes – the firs two are free, then they cost 99p each, or £4.99 if you buy all ten. Available from iTunes and bodyinbalance.tv. The programme is also available as a DVD, £12.99 from bodyinbalance.tv.

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