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James Ward

The London Collection

Posted by James Ward, Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Have you seen the Grenadier Guards outside Buckingham Palace in their iconic, red uniforms? While you may already know about their long-standing history in Britain, you may not know that our new luxurious London Collection is upholstered in the same striking fabric!

Drawing from beautiful British heritage, our exclusive London Collection stands out as our most lavish of mattresses, offering ultimate comfort with its soft, natural fillings. Its award-winning, patented Revolution Pocket Spring System is unrivalled, helping you get the best night’s sleep.

Side stitching

Shopping in London

Last week, I visited some of our London stores to test the London Collection’s amazing credentials and I was not disappointed. First up for me was our Belgravia, which has 19,500 Revolution HD springs and 5 rows of hand side stitching. I was amazed at just how comfortable it was, as I slowly sunk myself into the bed! The springs supported my whole body extremely well and having travelled on a busy tube line earlier in the morning, the Belgravia provided me with the most luxurious of pit stops.

Grosvenor

Our London Collection also includes the Grosvenor, which has an incredible 23,500 Revolution HD springs, and I also had a quick test of this too. Unlike our Belgravia, the Grosvenor is filled with tree silk and has an extra row of hand side stitching. Again, I could instantly sense the mattress’s extremely cosy feel and the rather regal divan base and headboard was so striking. Sleeping in my bed at home will never be the same again!

If royal colours don’t suit your interior tastes, both the divan and headboard are available in a range of 24 beautiful colourways. A white glove delivery service is also available to all London Collection customers; delivering your mattress in style.

Colourways

Book an appointment

The London Collection is available from our Fulham, East Sheen, St Albans, Tottenham Court Road and Wilmslow stores. To book an appointment with one of our experts, just visit our London Collection page on our website.

In the meantime, remember to connect with us on our social networks and, if you see any of our London tube adverts while you’re hopping around the city, don’t forget to send us a picture!

Natalie Williams

Perfect Pancakes

Posted by Natalie Williams, Monday, February 16, 2015

With Shrove Tuesday just a day away, we are getting ready for a pancake party once we get home from work, and immerse ourselves in sugary goodness. Since 1439, between the months of February and March, people around the globe have been celebrating Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day as it is more commonly known), as it resembles the last minute feast of leftover food before the 40 days of Lent. Shrove Tuesday was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on Lent, and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.

Perfect Pancakes

Now we all know that the traditional English pancake is a thin, flat cake made of batter and fried in a frying pan. However, having a collection of friends who prefer savoury to sweet for various reasons, they tell me that pancakes don’t just peak at the deliciously sweet honey and lemon toppings. Personally, I have a penchant for the sweet things in life, but a quick search on Pinterest is enough to get me interested in adding meats such as ham and chorizo, or vegetables like broccoli and spinach, to my pancake mix this year as a healthier alternative.

One particularly scrummy savoury recipe I found on Pinterest creates a Spinach and Potato pancake mix, which can be re-heated easily enough to have for lunch the next day too. The recipe combines nothing more than a potato, onion, cup of spinach and a couple of other additions such as garlic and almond flour, making it a reasonably priced meal that’s quick and easy to make. These savoury pancakes are perfect to take on the go, and can be eaten warm or cold for a scrummy Shrove-inspired snack (if you have any leftover, that is). You can find this healthy recipe here alongside all the ingredients. To complete the meal, these pancakes could be garnished with a fresh salad, and served with a berry-inspired smoothie for the ultimate health kick.

Spinach and Potato Pancakes

If savoury’s not your style, but you’d still like something a bit more interesting to try this year, what about Whole-wheat Cinnamon and Banana pancakes? Healthy but still delicious; we also found this recipe on Pinterest, and it’s easy enough to get the kids involved with too during half term for a nutritious option. This mixture combines a few more ingredients than before, but totally worth the investment as each batch makes around 14 crepes; ideal to serve lots of little hungry people with the opportunity to personalise toppings too. This recipe combines eggs, dark brown sugar, Greek yoghurt, almond milk and a few more ingredients for its unique taste. Feel free to add your own toppings to this mix, such as bananas, berries or even a few cheeky spoons of ice cream. Speaking as someone who has a nut allergy myself, I do find that a lot of ‘healthy alternatives’ suggest almond milk, however substitutes such as coconut milk or even semi-skimmed milk are just as good.

 Whole-wheat Cinnamon and Banana Pancakes

I hope I’ve inspired you to try something different this Shrove Tuesday, let us know how you get on by sending us a photo on our social networks :)

James Ward

Fall in love this Valentine's Day

Posted by James Ward, Monday, February 09, 2015

Not all of us are fans of Valentine’s Day but for those who are sharing the love, we thought you might like to read about some of the things we’ve fallen in love with at Feather & Black. So why not take a closer look at some of the featured products to help keep that romantic feeling all year round?

We think falling head over heels for our beautiful Amelie bedstead is very easy to do, with its classic looks and elegant curved motifs. Completed with a beautiful natural finish and upholstered headboard, Amelie adds romantic undertones to your bedroom, and compliments simple white bed linen to give your bedroom a modern and refreshing feel.

Brighten up your bedroom

Amelie

With that in mind, why not check out our Kingsley linen bundle deals, available in Mint and Biscuit, to brighten up your bedroom. This amazing white bed linen offer includes one Oxford pillowcase and single duvet cover plus two Oxford pillowcases and Double, King or Super King duvet cover. Hurry though, the deal is only around for a limited time and expires on Sunday 15 February!

Kingsley Bed Linen

Create intimate romance

Fragrance your bedroom with some soft Caroline Gardner Birch and Amber candle scents, or even light one up at the dinner table to create that intimate feeling. These candles are made with soft-smelling oils which will be sure to spark up some romance. If Birch and Amber doesn’t take your fancy, why not try feminine Rose and Geranium, or Fig and Blossom?

When we think about romance, we instantly envision the colour red, but we also adore our silver wall stickers which can add instant charm to your bedroom with easy application. Our wall transfers can add a real personable touch and are great for a quick-fix solution to re-decorating.

Paper Heart Decoration

If you would like some more inspiration ahead of Valentine’s Day, head over to our Pinterest page and take a look at our ‘Be My Valentine’ pins. Plus, remember to connect with us on social media and let us know if you received any Valentine’s Day treats!

James.

James Ward

A good night's sleep

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Getting a “good night’s sleep” is one of the things many of us say before your first day at a new job, on the evening of an important exam or if you’re feeling a little under the weather.

But in reality it’s pretty important to get a good night’s sleep all of the time because it leaves you feeling fit and thinking sharply. If you’re struggling to catch some well-earned rest, cast your eyes over some of the tips below and see if they make a difference. Finding your perfect sleep conditions can often be a trial and error process, so don’t be put off if the first tip doesn’t work straight away!

Feather & Black pillows

Tricks of the trade

  • Research says the healthiest sleeping position is flat on your back. Give this a go if you often sleep on your side or with your legs curled up in the foetal position, which puts too much pressure on your back.
  • Try drinking some cherry juice, which has been known to help insomnia sufferers due to its Melatonin content. Did you know Melatonin activates certain types of chemical receptors in the brain which encourage sleep?
  • Mentally recapping your day in a strict chronological order before going to sleep can help you feel tired. Your brain’s mental efforts can make you feel quite drowsy.
  • Lavender scents are apparently very beneficial in helping you fall asleep quickly as it helps to de-stress your mind and relax your body.

Buying a new mattress

Of course, a few quirky tips can only get you so far, but the real solution may be something far simpler. Mattresses do not last forever so, even if it looks passable, it still might not be giving you enough support.

A mattress’s life span can be affected by a number of variants including a change of lifestyle or the amount of time you assign to taking care of it. If you think you are not sleeping as well as you did last year, it could be time to switch your mattress.

Feather & Black mattress

A mattress should last for around 7-8 years, so buying a new one is a decision not to be taken lightly. With this in mind, make sure when you are testing the mattress that you do it properly! We’re not just talking a quick sit down, we want you to wear something comfortable, kick off your shoes and have a proper lie down. This is the only way you will properly gauge the tension and firmness of the mattress before you buy it. 

If you and your partner prefer different tensions, then why not order one of our bespoke mattresses which can be ordered in different tensions on either side, from 3 being the softest to 9 being the firmest. Don’t forget to book an appointment in-store with one of our sleep experts across the country, to ensure you are looking at the best mattress for you. 

New duvets

If your mattress is all in order, your old duvet might be the problem instead. Head over to our luxury duvets to find your perfect match, or treat yourself to one of our beautiful Caroline Gardner diffusers to help you nod off at night. 

Caroline Gardner diffuser

Don’t forget to connect with us on our social networks, where you can let us know if you’ve treated yourself during our Winter Sale! 

James.

James Ward

DIY for beginners

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, January 22, 2015

DIY can become a nightmare at even the best of times, but not for 17-year-old Charlie Redfern who constructed her own bed from start to finish for her Product Design AS-Level course. 

Charlie borrowed some wooden slats from our Feather & Black store in Oxford to help make her bed, which was crafted from walnut and ash, with the drawers having an apple wood stripe.

Her outstanding work was recognised by her tutors when she was awarded with an overall grade A.

Wooden bed

Charlie said: “I wanted to create something different to what we normally see, in traditional material, but with a modern twist. I feel like I have achieved that, not only in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, but also in a way which allows the product to function as I wanted it to.

“There were times where I really had to push myself through figuring out measurements or sanding ash panels for a seemingly endless time, but I really enjoy design work, and I loved focusing in on every detail to make the bed I pictured in my head.”

Wooden bed

DIY tips for beginners

For all those other budding DIY enthusiasts out there, we thought it would be a good idea to put together some top tips for all those who are planning on redecorating. Useful tips can make a difficult job a lot easier and more enjoyable, so here’s a quick list to get the ball rolling…

  1. If you receive any assembly instructions for a product, it’s a good idea to read them through first before using your tools to piece the items together. Instructions are always there to help you, so don’t forget to have a read of these – even if you just look at the pictures!
  2. You can’t do a good job without the right tools. Make sure you’ve got everything you need to hand too, you don’t want to keeping stopping and starting every couple of minutes.
  3. If you’re decorating your bedroom, be sure to use a good quality brush. You don't need a huge stack of tools to do a good job, but it’s definitely worth spending a little more on your brushes to get something of decent quality which makes painting so much easier and looking more professional.
  4. Ask for help if you need it, it will probably save you time and the cost of any repairs you might need to make if you make a mistake first time around!
  5. This one may sound simple, but it’s quite easily forgotten about. When measuring between two points, make sure you keep the measuring tape horizontal or vertical, never at an angle. This means the length would become too big!

Charlie's wooden bed

Winter Sale

If you are planning a bedroom refresh, don’t forget to take a look at our latest Winter Sale prices and let us know if you decide to purchase one of our products on our social networks.

Or, if you’re still lacking inspiration for the year ahead, why not check out our upcycling Pinterest board.

James.

Natalie Williams

Give your bedroom a New Year makeover

Posted by Natalie Williams, Thursday, January 08, 2015

As we recover from the Christmas season and bringing the New Year in with a bang, it’s tempting to give our bedrooms a shiny new make-over. Whether that’s moving the furniture around and replacing with new products, or just giving your bedroom a good spring clean; re-organising your night-time haven is proven to have positive effects on your sleeping habits, especially after busy seasons in the year.

We have compiled a collection of furniture and accessories with a modern theme to suit any interior, all of which can be found in our current Winter Sale.

If you’re thinking along the lines of New Year equals new furniture, our brand new Napoleon bedstead exudes elegance and Napoleon Bedsteadstyle, boasting a nickel plated finish for the ultimate statement. When choosing a bedstead with a neutral theme, you can afford to play around with the décor to suit your personality. Why not inject some colour with a wall of wallpaper and an eye-catching pattern, or if wallpaper isn’t for you, paint the room with a matte colour and use a gloss finish on a statement wall for ultimate glamour.

Gatsby Floor Standing Mirror

Ever wanted to be as glamorous as those in the Great Gatsby? Our Gatsby Floor Standing Mirror does just that, and adds effortless decoration. Adding a mirror to any room instantly helps to open up the area, especially if you’re working with a smaller floor space. With its vintage wooden finish, pairing the Gatsby range with nickel furniture adds an authentic and vintage feel to any room when over-lapping textures.

Refreshing your bedding can be a great way to give your bedroom a makeover without spending tooZig Zag Collection much. The Isla linen from our Hotel Collection adds a chic and simplistic feel, complimenting existing neutral tones and keeping the room open to pops of colour. Our Zig Zag throw and matching cushion ooze luxury and are perfectly versatile; helpful to keep at the end of your bed for those crisp winter evenings.

Chloe Table LampFinish the look with our Chloe Table Lamp; both elegant and fun with a contemporary pineapple motif, this lamp would look great against deep plum colours or royal reds. The metallic base brings charm and charisma to the room, with a burst of daring fuchsia inside the lampshade.

These are just a few ideas for switching your bedroom around in preparation for the year ahead, but we have lots of varied themes and styles to browse through online to help create your ideal bedroom. Take a look at our website to browse sale prices, and treat your bedroom just in time for the New Year. Don’t forget to connect with us on our social networks, and let us know if you’ve treated yourself from our fabulous Winter Sale :)




James Ward

Stay in bed for longer with Feather & Black

Posted by James Ward, Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Don’t you just love those lazy Sunday mornings cuddled up in bed on a cold winter’s morning? Or hearing the rain lash down on your window while you keep nice and cosy under your duvet? For us, there are few things better than feeling comfortable and relaxed when dozing off to sleep, making getting up each morning even harder.

Tube advertising

This is the idea behind our new advertising campaign, on display in London tubes over the next couple of weeks. The adverts were shot at Feather & Black HQ last month, so feel free to take a peek at some of our exclusive behind the scenes pictures.

The photographer sets up his laptop

Finding an excuse to stay in bed for longer is a common thought process which surely crosses all of our minds, especially with the freezing temperatures that Winter often brings. Giving yourself that ‘extra 5 minutes’ in bed is extremely important to so many of us, so #WhatsYourExcuse?

Searching for the perfect vantage point

Have you used any of the excuses on our checklist below?

  1. It’s too cold to get out of bed today.
  2. My bus is always late, so an extra couple of minutes won’t hurt…
  3. I could really do with catching up on sleep after last night’s party.
  4. Maybe the kids have an inset day?
  5. Skipping breakfast is fine, I’m on a diet anyway.
  6. Surely traffic on the roads won’t be as bad as yesterday…

The set

What's your excuse?

Do any of those sound familiar? I know I’ve used a few before, especially on a Monday morning! If you use a trusty excuse we haven’t thought of, tell us about it on our Twitter page @FeatherandBlack and don’t forget the hashtag #WhatsYourExcuse! Also, if you are based in London, make sure to look out for our adverts and if you’re lucky enough to spot one, take a picture and tweet us using the hashtag.

Lastly, as this is our last post of 2014, we’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year, see you all in 2015 :)

James.

Dan Wade

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Posted by Dan Wade, Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Season’s Greetings everyone!

Christmas is here once again, so I’d like to take a moment to wish all of our customers, friends and families a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

We’ve certainly got a lot to look forward to next year, including our exciting new London Collection, which is now on sale at five Feather & Black stores. These top-of-the-range, luxurious mattresses offer ultimate comfort and are made with softest of fillings to ensure you get the best night's sleep.

Not only are we in our Winter Sale at the moment, but we’re also offering an extra 15% off sale prices starting on Christmas Eve. So why not treat yourself to a better night's sleep in 2015 with Feather & Black?

Best wishes,

Dan.

James Ward

Top tips for men this Christmas

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, December 18, 2014

Speaking from experience, some of us think that the Christmas challenge is well and truly over after you’ve searched the shops and bought all of your Christmas presents. However, you may need to think again because the seasonal challenge is far from finished! After all, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are all on the horizon – not to mention the tricky planning that often comes with New Year’s celebrations.

So, with all these merriments in the pipeline, it can be easy to lose sight of some of the festive season's most important things. But fear not, as we’ve prepared a useful survival checklist to help you through the Christmas season!

Survival checklist

  1. Always plan ahead

Make sure you spend some time planning your festivities ahead of schedule, never leave it until the last minute. Christmas is always about friends and family so ensure your plans fit in with everyone else’s.

  1. Have your toolbox to hand

Building your child’s new toy or doll’s house on Christmas Day morning is a common activity for most dads, so make sure you are available for construction duties if you have children. The first thing kids like to do on Christmas Day is play with their new things that Santa gave them, so make sure you are fully prepared!

  1. Help out in the kitchen

If you’re hosting this Christmas, don’t forget that cooking for large numbers is never a one man job. Teamwork and communication skills are important if you want to give your guests a good Christmas dinner! And, of course, even more important if your guests are your in-laws…

Christmas cookies

  1. All fun and games

After dinner you might play a board game or maybe a game of cards, so make sure you remember that Christmas is all about spending time with your family. Bear in mind that game rules could have to be explained more than once to both the younger or older players!

Last minute gifts

Hopefully this section won’t be needed, but I have to put it in just in case. There’s nothing worse than struggling to find that perfect Christmas gift as you scour the web late at night. As a general rule of thumb if ordering online, make sure the company still offer pre-Christmas delivery. There are few things more worrying than nervously waiting for the postman every morning.

Selecting the gift wrapping option (if available) is also not a bad idea when pushed for time. The time it will save you post-delivery may prove vital – every minute counts when it comes to Christmas!

Christmas gifts

Christmas 2015

If all else fails, Christmas will come round again soon enough. If you think you could have done better this year, then change things around next year. Why not check out our website well in advance for the latest seasonal surprise which might make you a Christmas hero.

If you'd like to take a closer look at some of our other Christmas pictures, just visit our Pinterest page :) 

James Ward

Sleep tips to survive the party season

Posted by James Ward, Monday, December 15, 2014

December has long been considered the peak of party season as numerous Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve get-togethers seem to pile up. Of course, a packed diary means a fantastic social life, but unfortunately it also means one or two late nights and sore heads…

Partying the night away rather than resting up in bed after a long week at work can certainly take its toll so, with that in mind, we’ve prepared some sleep tips to help you through what can be a tiring month!

Sleep tips

Who can afford to spend so much time sleeping, you may ask? Well, the truth is, you can't afford not to. Losing even the smallest amount of sleep can mean losing a lot of energy and generally feeling very lethargic.

A lack of sleep can make you very forgetful, and can also lead to a reduced amount of cognitive brain activity which means you won’t be able to sleep effectively. So we took the time to gather some sleep tips from our friends at the Sleep Council to help you make the most of your mid-party season snooze.

Bedroom surroundings

It may sound obvious, but having your bedroom as dark as possible helps you doze off because it encourages production of a hormone called melatonin, which helps promote restful sleep. Even a fraction of light, from items such as laptops, mobile phones or an alarm clock, will reduce the production of this hormone to lower levels.

Small Electric Chrome Clock

Keeping your bedroom cool is also another way to improve your sleep patterns. Our bodies are at their coolest early in the morning. So if you like your environment to be nice and toasty, beware that anything over 24c is likely to prove disruptive.

Turn down the noise

Noisy surroundings can be one of the most common sleep preventers, which ranges from noisy neighbours to frustratingly loud birds who decide to perch outside your window. However, steady sounds can have the opposite effect – believe it or not – which is why you can buy a ‘white noise’ CD to help you go to sleep. Investing in an old-fashioned, ticking clock could also be a great way to regulate your sleep pattern. Although some may find this trivial, studies show that listening to a steady tick night after night can improve the regularity of your sleep pattern.

Sleeping is also aided by reading, according to the Great British Bedtime Report by the Sleep Council, who reported that 39% of bedtime bookworms said that they slept well after reading.

Comfort is crucial

If you’re heading back from a work office do, there’s nothing worse than finding your bed too uncomfortable when all you want to do is doze off. Everyone wants something different from their bed, whether that’s a bit of extra protection for a troublesome back, or wanting a bit of a space buffer to help distance yourself from your partner’s snoring. If this is a problem for you, investing in a zip & link mattresses means you are able to have the best tension for both you and your partner, without skimping on sleep. Our handcrafted zip & link mattresses are two mattresses of different tensions which can be connected to any other tensioned mattress, available in King and Super King sizes.

Zip & Link Mattress

So, if you stumble home from your next party worrying about catching up on your sleep, remember this checklist and you’ll be waking up to the sound of your alarm clock before you know it!

How to create a winter bedroom

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Create a winter bedroom

Winter has arrived – with red noses, bobble hats and a biting nip in the air. Whilst we’re all out toiling during the day, the one thing that warms the cockles is the thought of heading home to a warm, snug den. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be heading straight to the slippers and throwing on a thick woolly jumper. But nothing will beat a thick, faux fur throw and large cushion to cuddle. No one looks forward to the cold arriving, and it seems us Brits will never get used to our sad lot of weather!

Silvers and greys

We’ve put together some winter looks to inspire you into creating your own winter den to hibernate in. We love grey, silver and neutral palettes when teamed with bold pops of colour. Winter doesn’t have to be dull, add glass to create a gorgeous reflective light in your room. Faux fur is very on trend right now. Whether you love wearing it or adding subtle touches to your room – we’re seeing it everywhere.

Versailles Bedstead

Bohemian

For a light and airy winter bedroom, we love white-washed floors and crisp white linens. Hang rustic photo frames on the wall to create a feature, and opt for our Versailles bed. The Versailles is so versatile and looks great with any of our French furniture. For a wintery look, add darker colours to the room, such as our petrol linen cushion. The more layers you add, the more sumptuous your bed will feel.

Hotel chic

Create a hotel experience at home with our upholstered beds. We love our silver Armani fabric on our Berkeley bed – it’s so chic and so perfect for winter. It looks gorgeous with a faux fur throw, grey layers and crisp white linens. Add metallic lamps for a sophisticated sheen. These gorgeous greys and silvers will work effortlessly with bright colours, such as hot pink or magenta. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the colours.

Provence Range

Winter Sale Preview

When better to give your room a wintery update than during our Winter Sale Preview? We’re offering an extra 20% off sale prices until Sunday 7th December across all our beds, bed linens, furniture and accessories. Make sure you quote the code PREVIEW14 to take advantage of this special pre-Christmas treat! If you don’t have anything in mind, then you may want to browse our stylish new Provence range, which is sure to keep you feeling warm in colder temperatures with its sleek deep cherry finish. Indulging in these cosy surroundings means you can turn your home into an escape from the icy weather.

Also, why not take a look at our online Winter Sale brochure, which you can either download from our website or request a copy to be delivered to your home address.

Have you got your eye on anything in particular this winter? Or, better still, have you got a winter wishlist? Let us know in the comments :) 

James Ward

Black Friday 2014

Posted by James Ward, Friday, November 21, 2014

So next Friday isn’t just your average Friday. Instead, it’s the Friday where people flock to the shops or onto their laptops to try and grab a bargain. Taking a quick scan of the internet, it’s clear to see why Black Friday – which takes place in the UK on Friday 28th November 2014 – is growing in popularity. 

Jaw-dropping discounts, price crashes and flash sales have meant that the American craze eventually travelled all the way across the pond. And the event has even travelled all the way to Chichester, as Head Office and Feather & Black stores across the UK gear up for another busy day of trading!

Metal beds

History of Black Friday

But before then, Black Friday was only known to those who lived in the United States. It has always taken place the day after Thanksgiving, where millions of shoppers headed for the sales still full from their traditional Thanksgiving feasts, trying to make a saving on their Christmas shopping lists.

The Black Friday term was first used in the 1960’s and ever since, lots of American workers have taken the day off to buy lots of discounted items because it’s not an official holiday day!

Internet Shopping

Interestingly, Black Friday has boomed since the internet took over the retail market. More and more, consumers are choosing to shop online because they don’t want to wait outside in the early morning chill alongside the rush of other shoppers. Then, after the invention of mobile-friendly and tablet websites, browsing before you buy couldn’t be simpler. This all means Black Friday 2014 promises to be the biggest yet in the UK.

Shopping for the best online deal on any other day of the year could be a long, unforgiving task but, on Black Friday, you may just be rewarded for your efforts when you find your perfect item on sale for a fraction of your budget. Just think, you could find the perfect item to help complete your new home’s makeover, or you could find a great Christmas present for a loved one! We will be revealing our Black Friday discounts on the 28th, but in the meantime why not take a look at some of our contemporary furniture ranges here.

Gatsby

Cyber Monday

Black Friday’s appeal has now grown so much that, in the United States especially, excitement has spilled over into the creation of Cyber Monday, allowing shoppers yet another day bargain hunting

This doesn’t mean you should wait until Cyber Monday to do your shopping because the best giveaways often fly off the shelves on a first-come-first-served basis. So make sure you prioritise your time next Friday!

Make sure you hop on to the Feather & Black website as soon as you can on Friday 28th November to take a look at our Black Friday products. We will be asking for your opinions via our social media platforms during the run up to Black Friday, so keep an eye out to have your say!

Facebook  Twitter Pinterest  

Until then, why don’t you let us know what’s on your Black Friday wishlist?

James :) 

Natalie Williams

Is it time for a new mattress?

Posted by Natalie Williams, Monday, November 17, 2014

With so many options and differing information out there about mattresses, it can be a confusing topic. How do you know what mattress you need? But don’t worry; we completely understand that you need straight forward information. You don’t want to wade through technical details only to come out the other end even more confused.

Don’t let this overwhelming subject put you off though, as speaking from experience I can promise you that investing in a big, beautiful mattress will make so much difference to not only your sleep, but to your life as well.

Take a look at these tips for checking if you’re due a new one.

  1. Are you sleeping better on a different mattress?
  2. Do you wake up with aches and pains?
  3. Are you being disturbed by your partner?
  4. Is your mattress 7 or 8 years old?
  5. Does it feel lumpy or make noises during the night?
  6. Do you and your partner roll towards one another at night?
  7. Would you want anyone to see it without the covers on?

If you can say ‘yes’ to any of the above, then you need a new mattress. We’re here to help you find the right one.

Mattress Production

When shopping for mattresses, it’s always a good idea to lie on the different mattresses for at least ten minutes, with your partner, and in comfortable clothing. After all, your new mattress could last you up to 8 years.

Open Coil mattresses

These mattresses are great for guest rooms or child beds. They’re made from single springs, held together with one wire. They move as one, so we don’t recommend our open coil mattresses if you’re sharing a bed with someone, as they do tend to wear out a little quicker. But if you need an economical solution for your child’s bed or an infrequently used guest bed – these are perfect. Our open coil mattresses come in a single size; check out the Jupiter for a medium-firm support base.

Everyday Pocket Sprung mattresses

We think these mattresses are a great choice for an older child, teenager or for a guest room. The everyday mattresses come with up to 1800 pocket springs. The pocket springs are individually sewn into fabric pockets, and work independently to respond to your movement. They’re great if you’re sharing a bed with someone, as you’re less likely to be disturbed by their movements.

Milton Mattress

Luxury Pocket Sprung mattresses

These are our most luxurious range of mattresses. From 2,000 individual pocket springs, up to 17,000 – these mattresses are perfect for sharing a bed. The extra pocket springs provide unparalleled comfort and support. Our luxury range of mattresses also use natural, home grown fillings such as wool and silk – designed to create a heavenly soft layer and keep your temperature better regulated. Our luxury range is hand made on our Yorkshire farm, so you can sleep easy knowing you’re getting the best night’s sleep possible. Take a look at our recent visit to Harrison's Farm here!

Harrison's Mattresses

Natalie Williams

Harrison Spinks Mattresses

Posted by Natalie Williams, Thursday, November 13, 2014

Last week we had the exciting opportunity to travel to Leeds for a couple of training days with Harrison Spinks; the brand behind our most exclusive range of luxury mattresses.

Farm life

Taking a look around the farm, it’s clear to see the care in place to ensure that the upmost quality control goes into the making of the mattresses. From lavender fields to hedgerows, the farm is a delight, spread across 300 acres of beautiful Yorkshire dales and abundant with wildlife. The farm boasts environmentally friendly crops to make the Hempure fillings; a key component that makes our mattresses so cosy and soft.

Harrison Spinks Farm

The farm invests in environmentally friendly technically researched crops to make fillings blends, for the most luxurious softness and ultimate quality. By using natural, home grown fillings such as mohair and silk along with the wool from our furry friends, the mattresses are designed to create a heavenly soft layer and keep your temperature better regulated whilst sleeping.

Pocket springs

We also got the opportunity to visit the factory, and saw first-hand the numerous stages that go into putting together a Harrison’s mattress. The factory was abundant with buzzing machines; all working hard to coil and compress the springs ready to be packed into the mattresses. We also tested the springs first hand- for quality control of course!

Harrison Spinks Factory

Our pocket sprung mattresses have individual springs housed in fabric pockets, working independently to support the mattress. Using the revolutionary spring within a spring system, the outer spring supports the lighter areas of the body such as arms and legs, and the inner spring supporting heavier areas such as shoulders and hips. In addition, all luxury pocket sprung mattresses feature the high density spring system which reduce pressure points when sleeping and offer the ultimate night’s sleep.

Mattress fillings

We enjoyed watching the mattresses being hand side-stitched, and even had a go ourselves. This traditional method ensures the mattress has a really secure structure. Next comes the filling; silk, cashmere, lamb’s wool and mohair are just some of the fillings which make the luxury pocket sprung mattresses. We wanted to jump right in whilst watching them being filled, it just goes to show how much sumptuous filling is used to make them super snuggly. After careful hand-tufting and tape edging, the mattresses were ready to be packed up and sent off to the customers. We definitely got stuck in during all stages of the process!

Harrison Spinks Factory

It was great to see first-hand the care and precision that produces such luxurious and premium mattresses. Our Harrisons range of mattresses come in all tensions and firmness levels to ensure a tailored night’s sleep for your needs, take a look here to find your perfect fit.

Also a big thank you to Steve from Bristol who captured some great moments from the training days with these photos!

Natalie Williams

Halloween cake recipe

Posted by Natalie Williams, Wednesday, October 29, 2014

With Halloween just around the corner and half term in full swing, I was inspired to get baking and make some fun little cupcakes during the aftermath of the Great British Bake Off (we were definitely obsessed in the office). The buzz surrounding Halloween year after year just seems to increase, meaning I was pretty spoilt for choice when it came to choosing cake decorations, with nearly every high street shop having something to offer! I found some great cake decorations in Waitrose made from sugar icing that I thought would add just the right level of chic to my cakes. I also found some luminous green food colouring and cupcake holders from John Lewis to finish the look.

Halloween fairy cakes

The recipe I used was really simple and easy to do - a good idea for half term little ones who may be coming to a mid-week halt with activities to do. The whole process only took around an hour and was fairly pain-free, even for an amateur baker like myself! Fairy cake recipes are quick and easy to make, which means saving on vital washing up afterwards that no one really wants to tackle, especially during half term.

The ingredients

8tbsp soft margarine (I used Stork for extra softness)

115g/4oz caster sugar

2 eggs

115g/4oz self-raising flour

1 bowl of icing sugar

Green food colouring

Cake Angel Halloween decorations

Ingredients

Fairy cake method

It was literally as simple as mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl, and whisking. When baking previously I don’t normally use an electric whisk, however it definitely made such a difference to how quickly the cakes rose in the oven. The cake mixture makes around 12 cakes easily, so for larger quantities it can be doubled.

Mixing

With the oven pre-heated to 180 degrees, I doubled up on cupcake holders in order for the bottoms to not become too greasy, and then removed them once they had cooled down. Filling each holder about ¾ of the way full seemed to produce fairly even sized cupcakes.

Cake process

Half term recipe ideas

The rest is cake decorating history. I made the icing fairly thick in order for it to sit neatly on top of the cake, and had fun decorating with the scary Halloween faces. One thing I’ve noticed, this year especially, is the amount of Halloween-inspired recipes there are available out there to really make the most of the holiday. Check out Sainsbury's chocolate apple recipe here, for another half term alternative.

Halloween cakes

Have you baked anything spooky this year? Let us know in the comments :)

Natalie Williams

Clocks go back 2014

Posted by Natalie Williams, Friday, October 24, 2014

It’s that time of year again, where the trees are shaking their leaves off and the evenings are getting darker. The clocks officially go back by one hour at 2am on Sunday 26th October. The clocks go back and forward to make the most of the sunlight. In this instance we’re going to gain an hour, and have lighter evenings and darker mornings. When the clocks go forward in March, we lose an hour and enter British Summer Time (BST). When the clocks go back we enter Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Daylight saving first began in the UK on 21 May 1916. This enables us to be more productive in the evenings, and maybe fit some exercise in. Of course we also end up spending a little less on electricity. For a lot of us it now simply signals the beginning of winter.

Get cosy

When the clocks go back it reminds us of the drawing in of summer, and the impending darkness of winter. Sounds ominous right? Luxury Microfibre DuvetIt doesn’t have to be. I like nothing better than snuggling up under a gorgeously sumptuous throw and reading a good book – and if you’re lucky enough to have an open fire, even better. The clocks going back means it’s time to get the winter duvet out, dig the big cushions and heavy throws out, and really layer up. Take a look at our Luxury Microfibre Duvet for a comfy solution.

Check out our Luxury Microfibre Duvet with a yummy 300 thread count to maintain as much warmth as possible!

Adjusting your children’s bed times

Explaining to children that they can (please) stay in bed for an extra hour is very difficult. It’s sometimes a good idea to give them a bit or warning and make it more of a fun game. Get them excited about it, start a countdown calendar to ‘winter time’. Then they’ll be prepared for it when it comes. It might sound a bit over the top, but it will encourage them to think of staying in bed an extra as fun and exciting rather than annoying. An alternative idea is to slowly shift their bedtimes so they’re going to be a little bit later every day. You shouldn’t need more than one-two weeks to do this if you do it in 15 minute increments. Once they adjust to the first shift, you can move it again by 15 minutes and so on.

Why is it hard to get up early?

Interestingly, we sleep in cycles of 90 minutes. So if we wake up during one of the cycles, it’s much harder to wake up and get going. So get a pen and paper and work out when you’re typically falling asleep, and when you’re waking up. It can be as simple as just adjusting your bedtime by 15 minutes or so. And if all else fails, remember we get an extra hour of sleep on Sunday 26th – so enjoy!

Lightbulb

Natalie Williams

Autumn bedroom furniture sale

Posted by Natalie Williams, Friday, October 10, 2014

Shopping for new bedroom furniture can be a lengthy task, especially with the aid of search engines and bedroom sale comparison sites sifting through hundreds of deals, leaving you with an even bigger decision at the end. Investing in new furniture and bedsteads requires a lot of thought and can’t be taken lightly; the perfect opportunity to announce our autumn sale event!

Starting tomorrow, we’re offering up to 20% off our bedroom furniture, lasting for one week from the 11-19th October. We hope our fantastic discount will allow you to buy some brand new bedroom furniture for your home, for less. We are also now hosting our brand new website design, so have a nosey around and enjoy!

October Event

Bed and mattress discounts

We have a wide range of wooden, iron and upholstered beds to suit all interiors, made even more affordable by our October sale event. Whether it’s a new design or different style of comfort you’re tempted by; our bed sale has both. The Tosca Bedstead comes in a smart black finish with solid brass finials; perfect for an updated autumnal look, and can be accessorised with matching furniture such as the Tosca Bedside and cosy bedding in preparation for winter.

If you can’t remember when you last refreshed your mattress or pillows- it’s probably an ideal time for an update! Our beautiful range of luxury mattresses feature expert spring technology and are filled with super soft natural fillings, step in store to ask an advisor about which mattress firmness will be best for you.

Tosca Bed

Wooden beds

Adding a wooden bed to your home can instantly bring a cosy and homely atmosphere to any room, whether it’s a spare room or master bedroom. Our Swift Bedstead mixes sweeping curves with pretty panelling, and its solid wood foundation makes it a worthwhile investment especially during our bed sale. Matching items such as our Swift Bedside and Dressing Table will also qualify for up to 20% discount, creating the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing evening in after a long week at work.

Swift Bed

Children’s bedroom furniture

With October half term coming up, it can present a great opportunity to refresh your little one’s bedroom with a new lease of life, especially in preparation for the festive season. Our Noah Bunk Bed is a helpful option when space is of the essence, and can be tucked away to leave more room for children’s storage solutions and bedroom accessories. Tidy away toys and activities with our matching storage options, such as the Noah Toy Box or Noah Bookcase, and rest assured about the Christmas chaos that awaits.

As a general rule of thumb, mattresses need changing every 5-10 years. However, bouncing kids, heavy usage, and unequal pressure distribution can all affect the shelf life of a mattress. Why not try our Christie mattress for your little one, providing the perfect firmness for a restless-free night’s sleep.

Mattresses

Do you have your eye on anything in our autumn event? Let us know in the comments :)

Rachael Haydon

AW Trends 2014

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Thursday, October 09, 2014

With autumn on our doorsteps, we thought we’d take a trip to London to see what AW14 trends had emerged into fashion and interiors. We were particularly taken with Regent Street, Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street where we were lucky enough to visit Anthropologie, Zara Home, Heals and Selfridges, to name but a few.

AW14 colours

Anthropologie window and soaprock

For our AW14 photo-shoots we featured rustic shaker-style furniture, sanded floorboards, white-washed walls and strong pops of colour against a back-drop of crisp, white linens. Throughout the stores we visited we saw a similar trend. Anthropologie was heavily styled in deep russets and golden hues. Their white bed linen featured bright autumnal colours of blue, yellow and orange, with eclectic autumnal scenes. Rope-work lamps and orange painted industrial-looking walls made the store look very edgy. Our Versaille collection perfectly captures the AW14 trend. The soft, intricate motifs carved on the bed, with caned headboard is beautiful when teamed with bright, white linens. We love it with a bright cushion and contemporary chevron throw.

AW14 fabrics and materials

versaille


This autumn we’re layering up to create cosy rooms to hibernate in as it gets cold and chilly outside. We love muted greys and soft palettes this season, as they work beautifully with pops of colours. Our Moss Stitch Silver throw is gorgeously heavy and luxurious. Team it with an aubergine cushion and you’ve created a beautiful autumnal look. Faux fur is making a come-back like never before, and looks divine with silvers and subtle additions of copper. Our faux fur throws and cushions are unbelievably soft and warm – a timeless investment. We love these throws in a room with glassware, to add light and soften the look. On visiting Zara Home we saw colourful glassware, from greens to ambers – stunning with white bed linens. This store also had thick faux fur layers, tartan prints, country cottage patterns and animal motif prints.

What we’re seeing as an overall AW14 trend is a bright, bohemian style. Rustic oranges and reds complemented with bright blues, yellows and greens. The look is finished with glassware and crisp white linens, faux fur throws and heavy layers.

 

Updating for autumn on a budget

If you’re on a budget, we recommend investing in accessories and layers. Take a look at our beautiful glassware, and pick your favourites. Add tea-light candles to the glassware. Nothing beats crisp, white bed linen, teamed with heavy luxurious throws. The finishing touch must be a bright cushion to set the look off perfectly.

Rachael Haydon

Bedroom furniture

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Monday, October 06, 2014

You might be thinking of updating your bedroom furniture, and investing in a new bed. But with so many choices available, do you head to a bed store or buy online? Browsing online means you can find the best bed sale, in the best bed shop. You often have access to exclusive online discounts and products that you won’t find in store. Buying online has become one of the safest ways to pay. Not only is it safe, but it’s the most convenient way to shop. The internet doesn’t close at 5.30pm, in fact it never closes. But does this emerging online shopping trend mean we’re losing that human touch?

Bedroom furniture online

In the UK, 39% of people say they shop online every week, and interestingly people are using their mobiles and tablets to browse and buy as well. The ability to browse before you buy is a fantastic way of finding the right beds sale, bed or bedroom furniture for you. Browsing online means you can take your time to find the best bed shop. It allows you to research styles, prices and find your dream bed or bedroom furniture. You might think that purchasing a larger item such as a bed or bedroom furniture needs to happen in store. But we’re finding that more and more people are buying online instead. Our metal beds, such as the Oliver bed, are popular choices online, along with our contemporary wooden beds.

Swift

We’ve even made it easier than ever to buy upholstered beds online. Our standard upholstered beds come in a range of fabric choices, and the best part is you can order a free fabric sample to touch and feel in your own home. Once you’re happy with your choice, simply select your fabric choice online, and add to your basket. It saves you the hassle of going in store, but still allows you to make sure it’s the right choice for you.

Visit your local bed store

But when it comes to really indulging in a bespoke item, such as a bespoke upholstered bed, nothing beats going into a bed store to touch and feel it yourself. We encourage everyone to chat to our sleep experts to find the perfect fabric for you. With over 2,000 to choose from, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re completely happy with your choice. According to PWC’s latest survey, 73% people would go in store to see, touch and try the merchandise. So we think buying online is great – it’s convenient and reliable, but we know how important it is to absolutely love your purchase. We recommend browsing online to find your dream bed and bedroom furniture, and then visiting a bed shop to really get to know your choice. It’s because of this that we’ve created a helpful store locator page. It allows you to quickly and easily find your nearest bed store. Give your local bed shop a call to make an appointment, or just pop in for a chat. Our sleep experts are always ready to help with any query you have. Often our bed stores will have special lines that have been discounted, and these will show on their store pages on the locator page.

Berkeley

The right bedroom furniture

We’re also seeing a trend of people visiting stores to touch and feel the products, chat to our sleep experts and get a really good idea of what they like, before heading online to make the final purchase. This is the perfect way of making sure you love your bedroom furniture or bed and still having the convenience of going home for a cup of tea and then purchasing online.

Choosing the right bedroom furniture, chest of drawers or wardrobe is just as important as buying the right bed. That’s why we’ve made sure all our photography is as good as it can be, showing you all the little details and colours. It’s quicker, easier and reliable when buying online – you can immediately see what stock is available and how long delivery will be. Our lives are busy enough as it is, without trying to find time to hit the shops. But if you want to see your bedroom furniture in person, just head to your local store.

Gatsby

Finding a bed sale

So how do you make the decision to buy online? You need to feel safe, secure and reassured about your purchase. We’ve made sure all our images, dimensions and descriptions are accurate; making it easier for you to choose. You can see when our stock is due, find out about deliveries, check out our great customer reviews and really get to know your new bed or bedroom furniture. You can even browse our inspiration pages or brochure online to get ideas for your home. If that wasn’t enough to get you ready for purchasing online, don’t forget that it’s easier to find out what latest discounts and beds sale we have on. Simply enter your discount code at the checkout to take advantage of the offer. Nothing beats good old fashioned human contact though, so if you want to chat through your ideas or purchase over with someone, just give us a call and we’ll be able to talk you through everything – from dimensions, what we recommend for the season, to tips on choosing your mattress.

Finding the right bedroom furniture is key to achieving your dream bedroom look. If your bedroom furniture needs replacing or you want a whole new style, we have some stunning ranges designed to create inspirational rooms and most importantly, help you get a great night’s sleep.

Talk to us

Over 60% of PWC’s respondents said they used social media to follow, discover and give feedback on retailers. We love to hear why you loved your new bed or bedroom furniture, and if anything hasn’t gone how you’d like it, we want to hear about that as well. Take a look at our social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, let us know what you think and send in your photos!

Do you prefer shopping online or in store? Tell us in the comments!

 

Last Friday we attended the V&A Wedding Dress exhibition, and if we didn’t already love weddings enough, we certainly do now!

The exhibition focuses on wedding dresses from the late 1700’s through to the present day, and features some of the most prestigious and fashionable original garments in history. The elegant work from key fashion designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Vera Wang and Charles Frederick Worth, provides a wide array of approaches to the timeless white dress; making the exhibition a fashionable feast for the eyes.

1700's Wedding Dresses

With soft mood lighting and simplistic interior decoration, the exhibition was a breath of fresh air after the hustle and bustle of Exhibition Road. The downstairs garments begin in 1775, boasting luxurious fabrics and feminine frills worn by notable figures during the era. Something that struck us most was just how tiny the waistlines were, and the sheer capacity of material used on each dress to decorate and accessorise; these dresses can’t have been light garments to wear all day! Wedding dresses during the late 1700’s were all about the excess; the more decoration the better, with large under-skirts and puffed out sleeves.

1700's Wedding Dresses

1800's Wedding Dresses

Wedding dresses during the 1800’s adopted more of a simpler design, dropping to the floor in silky, thin fabrics as opposed to bigger is better. Brides during the 18th century didn’t always wear white, as we soon gathered admiring Harriet Joyce’s wedding attire, decorated with cream frills and pretty cuffs. It is believed Harriet made the choice to go against traditional white, not because she was rebelling, but because at the age of 35 she thought herself too old to wear white. Personal quotes from family and friends involved in the weddings were a thoughtful touch to the exhibition, and helped to provide background and intimacy to the garments, such as Queen Victoria recalling her daughters’ special day.

1800's Wedding Dresses

Royal Weddings

We then moved on to a nostalgic projector playing the Royal Family’s most recent weddings, such as the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ ceremony. The slideshow created a definite air of excitement and pride amongst exhibition visitors; which we were guilty of watching at least twice before carrying on!

Celebrity Culture

Upstairs contained the celebrity garments, such as Dita Von Teese and Gwen Stefani’s wedding dresses from the past couple of decades. We were particularly impressed with Kate Moss’ attire, which stunned with pretty, silver detailing in the train and a long, lacy veil. The upstairs exhibition focuses on the impact celebrity weddings have on society, with online tools such as social networks providing an enormous platform to plan and create conversation on. Celebrity wedding coverage has resulted in a substantial increase of spending within the sector, and has resulted in the industry expanding to be bigger now than ever before.

Celebrity Wedding Dresses

Leading us gracefully throughout the years, the glitz and glamour of the upstairs exhibition was impossible to ignore. The soft, ambient music playing in the background allowed for contemplation on how times really have changed, and for us to tap into the emotional and personal memories held within the beautiful garments.

Which was your favourite era of wedding attire? Let us know in the comments :)

Natalie Williams

The Chevron Trend

Posted by Natalie Williams, Monday, September 08, 2014

From bed linen to wallpaper, curtains to furnishings; the chevron trend is absolutely everywhere- and we love it! This long-standing trend Orange Chevron Pouffehas been emerging for a couple of years now, and isn’t showing signs of slinking away quietly any time soon. Not only have we seen chevron branch out from its traditional and simple two-toned colour, but as the new seasons continuously roll in, the pattern itself is evolving from the traditional zig zag design into something even more original. It only takes a Google search to discover the innovative ways in which some are implementing the trend into their homes, so here are a couple of ideas we have come up with to add a pop of chevron to your home.

Bed Linen

A neutral, zig zag throw is the perfect soft layer to throw over our beds as the temperature outside begins to drop into the autumnal season. The earthy colours allow it to compliment many different home décor themes, and adds a pop of Zig Zag Throw and Cushioncontemporary modernism to your indoor interior. Made from soft and cosy cotton, this throw is ideal for the upcoming wintery months, and also pairs up with our zig zag cushion to create the perfect match.

If you’re not too sure about the chevron trend, or simply aren’t 100% on how it will work in your home, our chevron cushions add a burst of personality without overcomplicating their colourful charm. Coming in shades of white, duck egg and coral, our chevron cushions effortlessly compliment each other, and can also add a pop of colour on their own in a neutrally themed room set.

Chevron Cushions

Entertaining

Our chevron pouffes just ooze of fun and laughter, and are suitable for either inside or outdoor décor. Imagine these fun footstalls positioned on decking in your garden as you entertain guests, or waiting sensibly in your lounge in preparation for excitable little visitors (and no we don’t mean pets, we mean little ones!) Available in a range of vibrant colours, our chevron pouffes make a statement in any home, and are a great method of additional seating with a non-traditional charm.

Take a look at one blogger's review of our ivory and black chevron pouffe here, and how it's fast becoming a handy board game stool for her little one :)

Chevron Pouffes

Top Trend Tip:

The more we see the chevron trend evolve, the more it subconsciously creeps into our lives without us knowing. If you are seduced by the chevron trend and simply need more of it in your life, a great top tip is to create a chevron art piece for your room. To achieve this, simply etch a zig zag pattern into cardboard or freezer paper, and use it as a stencil to spray paint onto a blank canvas using your chosen colours. And voila! A customised and on-trend addition to your décor that is guaranteed to turn heads.

All in all, the chevron trend is here to stay, so why not embrace it with one of our contemporary twists on the idea. We’ve also created a Pinterest board full of unique ideas on how to add the modern trend to your life, tell us in the comments if you’ve already made the chevron move :)

Rachael Haydon

Read a book day

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Friday, September 05, 2014

The King's Curse book review

To celebrate read a book day we’ve reviewed Philipa Gregory’s latest book: ‘The King’s Curse’. Set in turbulent 1500s England, the story opens with a young Margaret Pole. Once a prominent figure in the old Plantagenet royal family; Margaret’s family worry she will be seen as a threat to the Tudor throne, and is married into obscurity to Sir Richard Pole.  This all changes once young Arthur Tudor ascends to the throne with his beautiful new wife Katherine of Aragon. This love story ends sadly, and thus begins the tyrannical reign of younger brother, Henry VII.

The story changes and progresses with tumulus ups and downs as Margaret and her family teeter on the edge of loyalty to the throne and her beloved queen and princess. Margaret has been raised to fear for her life and take sanctuary in an unwavering loyalty to the Tudors. The decisions she makes throughout the book are both frustrating and key to her line’s survival. The King’s Curse – aptly named after the White Queen’s curse to end the Tudor line – plots the course of Henry’s life and his slow descent into absolute tyranny. Margaret must hide her knowledge of her cousin’s curse in order to protect her family. Whilst it’s not clear how accurate the portrayal of historical events are, the story appears to beautifully recreate life at court in the 1500s. It’s easy to get swept away into the romance, tragedy and unthinking violence. You’ll find you not only relate to, but grow close to the characters in the book.

Arundel Chair

For the avid reader, it’s an easy read. But no less a real page-turner – I’ve found myself looking forward to curling up with the book in the evenings, and will be quite at a loss for something to do when I’ve finished it! But luckily for those just starting out with Philip Gregory, she’s written a series of books so you’ll be able to immerse yourself!

Curl up on this snuggly bed or chair and get reading! Let us know if you have a book to recommend in the comments!

Natalie Williams

French bedroom furniture

Posted by Natalie Williams, Friday, August 29, 2014

Introduce French Renaissance to your bedroom with the graceful Versailles bedstead, and relax in the effortlessly romantic atmosphere it brings. Our pretty new collection exudes pure luxury with carved motifs and feminine details; beautifully versatile to suit many interior styles. Here are some ideas on how to style this collection, from Bohemian chic decor to French-inspired elegance.

 

French beds

Heralding from the Baroque-Rococo era, our Versailles bedstead will sit beautifully in any bedroom. Styled with patterns or plain, the Versailles looks perfect in a rustic French bedroom, with Bohemian colours or in a simple white washed space. Add our Audrey Floral bed linen or simple White Waffle.

Versailles Bedstead

Bedroom lamps

Add the Lennon Lamp to any household room for an instant sparkle of personality. We love this lamp as it holds so Lennon Table Lamp
many opportunities to decorate your room by using a statement item. Be it nail varnishes, post cards or potpourri, this lamp can be filled (or left empty) to create intriguing and interesting interior lighting. We also think using battery-powered fairy lights inside would be a great option; ideal for welcoming guests over, or sophisticated dinner parties.

 

Bedside tables

Beautifully simple and effortlessly chic, our new Vizelle Bedside comes with two spacious drawers and a solid oak top. The Vizelle offers a vintage feel in a washed-out duck egg shade, complimenting many bedroom themes. Whether you are using this bedside as a practical storage space, or simply a beautiful statement, this Vizelle piece brings with it a calming tone and a sophisticated shabby chic feel.

Vizelle Bedside

Cushions

Get with the chevron trend this season and indulge in abundant zig zags; we LOVE chevron! 

Chevron CushionsFrom clothing to furniture, there is no doubt that this modern pattern is everywhere, and our Chevron cushions add an inviting burst of contemporary fun. Made from comfy cotton, cosy up to these colourful cushions and enjoy the autumnal evenings in style. The cushions come in a white, coral and duck egg shades, and paired with shabby chic furniture, complement the soft washed out tones of our Blenheim and Versailles collections.

 

Bedroom furniture

If you’re anything like us, a romanticised bedroom decorated with timeless vintage pieces is our idea of a dream. Our Emporium Chest boasts three large drawers, perfect for storing clothes and linens, and does it all in one big sweeping curve. The curves and swirls of the chest provide a feminine touch to your room, and perfectly reflect the French Baroque era.

Emporium Grande Chest

Our new Versailles range is wonderfully versatile and will compliment many other pieces from our different collections. Look to our Sienna and Loire ranges for additional feminine curves, to help create your French-inspired bedroom.

Rachael Haydon

Bank Holiday Bed Sale

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bank Holiday Bedroom Sale

August bank holiday signals the end of the school summer holidays, a much-anticipated break from the 9-5 and of course our amazing bank holiday sale! We’ve got an exclusive 15% off your purchase from 21-31 August, on top of our current sale prices. So there is no better time to be inspired to update your home for less.

Children’s Bedroom Furniture Sale

The August bank holiday sale is the perfect time to get your child’s bedroom ready for back to school. Invest in a beautiful new desk to inspire their creativity. They will be keen to get on with their homework if they have their very own kids desk.If you’re tired of the clutter, clever storage ideas can be a life-saver. The Noah storage units can be as big or as small as you like – both a stylish and handy way to get toys and knick-knacks off the floor!

Noah desk

Children’s Bed Sale

A new bed and mattress for a new term will help your child to feel refreshed and ready to go – and don’t forget, opting for a double bed will mean there’s another space to spread out and do homework, or have friends to stay! If your space is slightly smaller bunk beds and cabin beds can offer you a great space saving option. Have you seen our gorgeous Shoreditch sofa bed? It’s the perfect place to relax or to have as a spare bed for your child’s room, or as a handy pull out bed for an office or guest room.

Noah highsleeper

Bank Holiday Bedroom Furniture Sale

It’s not all about the kids; our bank holiday bedroom furniture sale is also the perfect time to get your guest room spruced up. A guest bed is a brilliant way to save room and create a beautiful environment for friends and family. They pull out into double beds, which are great for sleepovers and great for guests. Layer up with throws and linens to create a sumptuous feel – a home away from home. Create a space for guests to add personal belongings they may have brought with them, such as toiletries and books. Add a bookcase or bedside tables; ensuring you clear space for them.

Olivia day bed

Save on ornaments to dress your home. Adding a new lamp will create a warm atmosphere and highlight any accessories you have. Opt for glass as the light from your lamp will illuminate and reflect beautifully. Take a look at our Julia lamp review from blogger Carrie.

Bed Linen Sale

Not looking to replace any furniture? We also have some great discounts on gorgeous new bed linen. Our Luxury Plain Linen is a popular choice – coming in a range of gorgeous colours – it’s undeniably soft and luxurious. But if you’re looking for something with an exceptionally high thread count, the Hotel Collection Vienna bed linen boasts 600 thread count for an impossibly smooth, soft feel.    

What’s on top of your bank holiday sales wish list?

 

Rachael Haydon

Download our free sleep advice eBook

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Monday, July 28, 2014

You might remember us asking you all about your sleep routine earlier this year in our How Bad is Britain in Bed sleep survey. We then created an infographic of Britain, based on your results, showing locations that slept well or poorly, and why! Find your results on our infographic.

And that’s not all – we’ve been working hard to put together an all singing, all dancing sleep advice eBook! Our free eBook is full of advice and tips on how to sleep better, all based on your survey results. From how to drift off easier, tips on getting children to sleep, to the best bedroom environment for a good night’s sleep.

We’d love to hear what you think; whether you’d like to see something else in the next eBook or you have a question for us about sleep – let us know in the comments.

To download your free sleep eBook simply click below!

sleep ebook

Natalie Williams

How to create a summery bedroom

Posted by Natalie Williams, Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It’s finally arrived; the season of late-night BBQ’s and relaxing in the garden, and we don’t know about you but we are ready for some sun! The summer season sees many home improvement opportunities arise, and when better to give your room a refreshing lick of paint than when there’s umpteen evenings to allow that all-familiar paint smell to disappear. Updating your bedroom surroundings can be a welcoming change, providing a new atmosphere for you to enjoy and relax in after a long day at work. We have put together a vintage-chic inspired theme that we hope will inspire you to dig out your overalls and get creative, accompanied with a selection of complimenting items from our sparkling summer sale.

Amelie Dressing Table

With a soft and natural shade on the walls, this Amelie Dressing Table is perfect to set the scene for your newly decorated bedroom. The elegant addition creates a relaxing and calming tone, and can be accessorised with pastel colours or pretty neutrals to suit your style. Also in our summer sale is the matching Amelie Dressing Table Mirror, complementing the feminine collection with distressed white paint and a beautiful carved detailing.

 

Mini White Hanging Heart

We love vintage or coastal inspired accessories. They add a beautifully personal touch, creating a unique space at minimal cost. Our favourite hanging accessory in the sale is this dainty Mini White Hanging Heart to dangle on the Dressing Table Mirror or from a bed post? We also spotted this clever DIY notice-board by Etsy on Pinterest that a young family member would be able to help out with, adding another natural shade to the palette.

Sienna Armchair

 

If you’re looking for a comfy addition for the corner of your room our Sienna Armchair offers an elegant solution. Beautifully British with Bohemian charm, this armchair provides a comfy alternative for reading a good book or just relaxing in the evenings. Position the Sienna by an open window or bookshelf and sit back and relax, enjoying some well-needed ‘you’ time.

DIY Tip: Why not make your own wall stencil using cardboard to create unique designs personal to you? We also sell glamorous pre-made wall decals that would add an instant personalisation to any bedroom.

Vintage Mirrored Frame

 

And last but not least, we suggest this classic Vintage Mirrored Frame (4x6) for just £12.50 to pop a photo in of your loved ones or treasured moment. This antique frame ties in elements from both the Amelie and Sienna collections, providing the opportunity to merge the two styles and create your unique bedroom setting.

These are just a few ideas for a vintage theme but we have lots more pretty accessories to help create your ideal bedroom on our website. Take a look and if you have any other DIY tips let us know in the comments below!

 

Natalie x

 

Natalie Williams

Sleep tips for mums

Posted by Natalie Williams, Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Debbie, mum of soon-to-be six children, shares her sleep story

First and foremost can I just say that all babies are different.. and I mean all babies! I am currently pregnant with number six and know it’s going to be a whole different ball game again. That’s what makes parenting fun – you never know what’s around the corner!

Ethan

 

The first learning curve

When I had my first son (Benjamin) almost 18 years ago, I was sure I was going to be part of the ‘pop them in their cot and let them cry themselves to sleep’ brigade.  This is where life gets in the way; post natal depression meant I didn’t sleep for almost four months! Oh, little man was fine, he slept all through most nights in his bed but I sat at the bottom of it terrified he would stop breathing and sobbing knowing I had brought this little person into the world and didn’t have a clue what I was doing! Regardless of getting yourself ready, you simply aren’t prepared for the overwhelming responsibility of this little being – even when they are asleep!

Two years later and baby boy (Scott) number two arrived. Wow now this was a shocker!  He slept like a log during the day, I had to feed him while he was asleep, change his nappy while he slept and generally sneak him out of his Moses basket just to grab some cuddles! Night times were somewhat different... I swear he was a vampire! He would wake around eight and think it was play time... I was so tired and soon learned that sleeping when baby slept was the best advice around!  Yes, even grabbing five minutes while both Benjamin and Scott had their nap during the day seemed to recharge my batteries enough to cope with them during the night. Don’t get me wrong, they were never really whiney babies so the night times were never fraught with battling them asleep – and Scott never seemed to wake Benjamin either. Go figure!

 

"I was so tired and soon learned that sleeping when baby slept was the best advice around"

 

Scott, Jake & Ethan

 

Have courage

Four years later Jacob came along and yet again he was a content baby who was happy to sleep through the night apart from waking up for feeds – no problems except I was the one who was getting used to having them sleep between me and hubby! They would wake for feeds and instead of putting him back in his cot I would snuggle with him and fall asleep.  Yes, at first I was worried especially because you heard so many horror stories of parents rolling over on their children. But I was such a light sleeper that I could tell when he moved his head let alone me rolling on him!

Almost two years later Ethan came along. In hospital I asked the nurse to let him sleep with me instead of putting him in his cot, by this point I was confident enough to know what works for us and insisted she allow us!  Hold your ground if you know what’s best and what works for you.

We woke the following morning to mums pacing the floor cooing over us and saying they couldn’t believe we had both slept almost 12 hours – bliss!  It was something I certainly needed after a tough labour and the bond me and little one had was a perfect start to life.

 

"Hold your ground if you know what’s best and what works for you"

 

The latest additions

I had learned that boys like sleep, and the older they get the more they like it too! Try getting a teenager who has nothing better to do than get up before lunch and you will see what I mean!

We now also have a four year-old girl (Evangeline took us all by surprise!) and from the start she has been a true little princess! The boys have sat over her and watched her sleep since birth. I think this has made her feel more secure as she always had a friendly face when she woke, she knew she was never alone so has never had any problems sleeping.  She loves to lie in and loves to ‘snuggle bug’ as she calls it! Most nights she starts in her own bed and ends up in ours, we don’t mind at all – we know it doesn’t last forever.  

 

Benjamin & Evie

 

We are now expecting baby number six, a little girl by all accounts (Amelia Grace) and know it’s going to be different yet again... but we are ready for that. The night time feeds and lack of sleep, the snuggles and sometimes sleeping through the alarm! Take it as it comes because they are only little for a short time and it will all be a memory one day.

Have you found a way to manage your sleeping pattern alongside your little one's routine? Comments and opinions are welcome below, and don't forgot to check out Debbie's lovely blog!

Recent Update: Debbie and her family have now welcomed little Amelia Grace into the world!

 

Debbie Nicholas Profile

 

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Rachael Haydon

How to keep cool at night

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The summer is here (on and off) and with it, comes muggy nights. We wriggle around, toss and turn and just can’t get to sleep. Or if you’re anything like me, you’re waking up every hour kicking the covers off.

So just how do you keep cool at night?

1. Invest in a summer duvet, a 4.5 tog is best – these are much lighter, but still provide a snug covering that a sheet on its own can’t offer. Tackle all the seasons with an All Season Duvet. In the box you’ll get a 4.5 tog and a 9.5 tog that can be fastened together to create a 13.5 tog in the winter. Or if you need a slightly different level of warmth than your partner does, try a partner duvet – with different tog ratings!

partner duvet

2. If you don’t want to invest in a summer duvet, simply sleeping underneath a throw can be a good alternative. 

3. Get hold of a fan. The bigger the better as these move more air quieter. Often the hot air in the room is still a lot cooler than your body heat. So it just helps to circulate the hot air away from your body.

4. Open as many windows as possible to create adequate ventilation. If you’re short on windows, leave the bedroom door open. 

5. Go to bed with your hair damp, t-shirt damp, socks damp or spritz your sheet. This will allow a few hours of undisturbed sleep as the water evaporates and cools you.

6. Opt for a mattress that doesn’t retain body heat, such as a good quality pocket sprung mattress. Some memory foam mattresses are notorious for heating up with your body – not good in the summer!

7. Keep curtains or blinds closed during the day, so you’re not at risk of heating your room up.

8. Cool your pillow in the fridge before you go to bed – it’s blissful, trust me.

9. If you share a bed, make sure it’s big enough for two people! There’s nothing worse than sharing body heat in the summer. Have a look at some great bed options in our summer sale.

10. Sleep in light, natural cotton – this will keep you cool and absorb any perspiration.

 

These are our top tips, but if we’ve missed anything please add them to the comments below so everyone can see them!

Rachael Haydon

Children won't sleep at night

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Friday, June 06, 2014

Mum of two, Tami, shares her challenging experience with sleep and her children

We have always had problems with both of our children’s sleep routines.

Our first child, Little Mr A was not a good sleeper. I suppose we were partly to blame as we would cuddle him to sleep and then he wouldn’t go down in his cot by himself so would stay with us downstairs, sleeping on the sofa until it was time for us to go to bed. About 90% of the time he would end up sleeping with us in the middle of our bed. Whenever we put him in his cot, he would scream. No amount of comforting would settle him.

"About 90% of the time he would end up sleeping with us in the middle of our bed"

We tried all sorts of different routines as he got older. Once he was old enough, we removed the bars from his cot and turned it into a toddler bed.  We would take him up after his story and milk and sit by the side of his bed until he would go to sleep. Some nights this could go on until 9pm, two hours after we had taken him upstairs. We would try creeping out of his room when we thought he was asleep, but the slightest noise of the stair gate or a creaky floorboard would wake him up again. It was a real drain on both my husband and myself and was no good for our relationship at all! We would argue a lot and were both exhausted. After a long day at work it is really important to have some time to yourself as well as together as a couple, and we just weren’t getting that at all.

asleep baby

As that tactic wasn’t working we tried controlled crying. This didn’t last long either! Little Mr A would get himself so upset and neither my husband nor myself could stand to see him like that.

A slow change

As Little Mr A got older he did grow out of it to an extent. We would be able to get him down to bed at a reasonable time, however, as soon as we went up to bed he would hear us and, more often than not, end up sleeping in our bed for the night.

It wasn’t until he was nearly four that he suddenly started sleeping through the night. We didn’t do anything differently; he just seemed to grow out of it!  Once he started school, shortly after his fourth birthday, he was so tired he would happily go upstairs at 7pm, have a story and sleep through until 7am the next morning. It was heaven finally having the bed to ourselves and a proper nights sleep!

"It wasn’t until he was nearly four that he suddenly started sleeping through the night"

Just as we got one child sorted, along came our daughter, Little Miss A. Both my husband and myself were determined that we would try and sort out the sleep routine earlier with her. 

Not much changes

Things got off to a good start. Little Miss A would go down in her Moses basket or crib to sleep without any fuss at all. Once she moved to her own room she would go down at 7pm and not wake until she needed her night feed. We were feeling very happy that things would be different this time!

However, once she started teething, the problems really began. She wouldn’t settle on her own and so we began the cuddling to sleep that we said we wouldn’t do! For (what felt like a long time) we couldn’t put her down as she would just wake up screaming and wouldn’t go back to sleep unless we cuddled her.

moses basket baby

Little Miss A is coming up to 18 months now and we still don’t really have a proper sleep routine, although it is a lot better than Little Mr A. She is still cuddled to sleep after her milk; however, she will go down in her own bed at 7pm.

Most nights she will stay in there until we go to bed, however, no matter how quiet we are, she usually wakes up and ends up coming to sleep in our bed.  This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if she wasn’t such a fidgeter! She kicks, pulls hair, rolls around – all the things that don’t make for a good night’s sleep! We have had the odd occasion where she will stay in her own bed until 4-5am but these nights are few and far between.

When I am tired I often think we should really try and sort Little Miss A’s sleeping out sooner rather than later, however, it is hard to find the motivation or energy to constantly keep putting her in her own bed. I keep telling myself that it won’t last forever – just look at Little Mr A now! He loves his bed and some mornings we have to wake him up for school! I am sure Little Miss A will grow out of it in her own time and when she does, we will probably miss the cuddles.

Would I do anything differently if I had my time again? In all honesty, no. Although it has been incredibly difficult and challenging at times, I have loved every extra cuddle I have had with my two children and wouldn’t change them for the world.

share on facebookIf you've had similar problems, let us know in the comments and share with your friends. It's always nice to know you're not alone. Check out Tami's amazing blog!

Sometimes upgrading to a big boy/girl bedroom can get them really excited about bedtime. Have a look at our range of children's bedrooms before you go.

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Rachael Haydon

How good is Britain in bed?

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Thursday, May 29, 2014

sleep surveyGetting a good night’s sleep isn’t as easy as you’d think. We rush about during the day, rush about in the evening, and so by the time it comes to bed all we want to do is relax. It’s often the way in which we choose to relax before bed that plays an important factor in our ability to sleep. With our fast-paced lives whooshing around us, ensuring your bed and mattress are up to scratch and remembering to stick to Horlicks after 5pm are easy things to overlook. Don’t forget, it’s all about the quality of sleep you’re getting. So if you’re reading this post, thinking you don’t have any sleeping problems, chances are that if you’re guilty of some of our sleep sins you’re unlikely to be getting that deep and luxuriously resting sleep our bodies need. 

Click the image to enlarge

Sleep sins 

  1. I take my phone to bed with me, and I might check Facebook or Twitter before I go to bed
  2. I use a tablet in bed
  3. I catch a bit of missed TV in bed
  4. By the time I’m home, I’m craving a cup of tea, even if it’s after 5pm
  5. Whenever I stay in a different bed, I can’t help but think it’s more comfortable than my own!
  6. I can’t be denied a glass of wine after work
  7. Late to bed, early to rise!

Despite the obvious consequences of not getting enough sleep, it’s still a topic that’s not fully appreciated. It’s for this reason that we conduct our annual sleep survey. Earlier this year, we asked you 15 questions, designed to get to the bottom of your habits! From your TV addiction to your caffeine cravings, we pieced it together and created (we think you’ll agree) a rather charming little infographic that highlights, by location, what sleeping issues you have.

Did you know that only 10% of us think we’re good sleepers? Thought Facebook and Twitter was for kids? Think again! Londoners are guilty of cradling their social apps in bed, which is making it hard for them to get proper, deep sleep. Find your location on the infographic map, and see what you’re guilty of… 

Share it with your friends and family to help spread the word on just how important sleep is.

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Eloise Ritchie

Baroque/ Rococo Interior Inspiration

Posted by Eloise Ritchie, Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lille Collection

This week at Feather & Black we launched our beautiful new Lille Collection.  With its statement double wardrobe and gorgeous lattice effect bedstead this collection is perfect for those looking to create a wonderfully unique interior style. A fusion of the baroque and rococo eras, we’ve put together a small guide on the key furniture characteristics of these periods that have been fused together to create this gorgeous collection.

Baroque

With origins in 17th Century Italy and widely popular throughout Europe under the reign of Louis XIV, the Baroque style is all about portraying power and grandeur. A palette of rich, brooding colours extenuated by flashes of red and deep violet, the baroque aesthetic is far more formal than the later rococo style. 

Palace Of Versailles    

Expressing drama and exuberance the baroque flair encompassed everything from architecture to sculptures and paintings. The Palace of Versailles and Louvre are perfect examples of this dramatic style, where impressive pillars and columns adorned with gilded curves meet intricately painted ceilings.

When it comes to furniture from this era, mirrors were adorned with elaborate symmetrical designs. High-backed winged chairs also appeared upholstered in luxurious silks as well as statement beds with dramatic carvings. While the baroque style may be too much for some there’s no doubt that elements from this gorgeous era can be incorporated into modern interiors.

 

Left: The famous Hall Of Mirrors in the The Palace of Versailles 

 

 

Rococo

Flourishing in Western Europe under the reign of King Louis XV, the rococo style is an expression of frivolity and informality. Where the baroque era had been characterised as generally sombre and formal the rococo aesthetic challenged this with its asymmetrical designs, curved lines and lighter pastel hues. Not for the modest, furniture in this era was extravagant and extreme in design; the epitome of wealth and luxury for French aristocracy. No element was left overlooked with intricate carved motifs and whimsical gilded swirls and scrolls adorning chairs, chaise longues and even mirrors.

Rococo Lille

Unlike the baroque aesthetic the rococo style was never widely seen in architecture with its true expression in interiors namely furniture and lighting. If you’ve been lucky enough to visit The Norfolk House Music Room in the Victoria and Albert Museum, you'll have seen the gorgeous expression of the rococo style. While some may say that this era is gaudy and frivolous there’s no doubt that the rococo period produced some truly breath-taking interiors and wonderfully extravagant pieces.

 

For more inspiration don't forget to check out our special Pinterest board for more baroque/rococo style ideas! 

Rachael Haydon

Italian fashion from 1945

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Last Friday I was lucky enough to attend the V&A’s The Glamour of Italian Fashion exhibition.

italian fashion exhibition


The first thing that struck me was not only the breath-taking dresses, but the beautiful rooms nestled under sweeping, white canopies. The up-lights perfectly set off the detailing in each outfit, and subtle music created a private space to lose yourself in. It’s easy to get lost in another time here, but the serious note of the exhibition brings a sombre respect to every beautiful garment.

Illustrated by a black and white photograph of a bombed Florence in 1946, the reality of an economically struggling country shines through. This exhibition is not only a beautiful space to showcase all the very best in glamorous Italian fashion, but it takes us through Italy’s journey from 1945 to the present day. Like most countries, Italy was looking for a way to revitalise their post-war country. The emergence of Hollywood discovered Italy was a beautiful setting, bringing with it the glamorous and chic. Vying for position with Paris, Italian fashion took on sharp, ready-to-wear glamour; transforming everyday garments with an infusion of chic, glamour and exquisite couture.

italian dress


The exhibition features gorgeous photos of the items being worn by iconic names, from Audrey Hepburn to Maria Callas. These photos bring each item to life, leaving them looking a little listless on the dummies. But the exhibition such as it is, allows you to absorb every detail of the outfit bringing them to life once again.

The exhibit includes fifties ball gowns, cocktail dresses, two-piece outfits, accessories and accompanying film. Some of the shoes displayed really do demand your time, whether you’re captured by the Dolce & Gabbana crystal ankle boots, or Prada’s magnificently coloured heels – you won’t be able to escape their allure.  


italian


Some of the outfits featured are, frankly, bonkers. But this was a prerogative of the seventies – fashion was able to get out-of-the-box creative. Pucci’s top and trousers in a psychedelic design were created as an everyday outfit, and Versace’s cowgirl outfit looks like something straight out of a film set. But if you look closely, the leather fringe detailing, buckles and just magnificent quality shines through. Suddenly it doesn’t seem that mad at all, it demands respect and even a little awe. Through the different years we can see the ever-changing styles, but true to its name, the exhibition’s glamour is consistent and apparent in every single stich.

Have you been to the exhibition or seen another one you'd like to recommend? Let us know in the comments!

Rachael Haydon

Four in a bed

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jessica shares her journey of sleep deprivation with two young children. 

As parents of a two-year old and a six month old baby, my partner and I are often asked how much sleep we get or how early the kids wake up, by people, usually other parents, expecting tales of disturbed nights or hideously early starts. We look at each other sheepishly, almost feeling guilty that most nights our children sleep until after eight.

Sophie, two years-old, can sleep for around 12 hours whilst Lexie is now sleeping through the night, with only one night feed.  

The early days

incubator jessIt wasn’t always this way though. When Lexie was born five weeks early, we were in hospital for a week, struggling to breastfeed and having to wake up every three hours to try and feed her. Then we had to top her up with a bottle feed, express more breast milk for the bottles and so on. We were on a ward with other premature babies who seemed to be on a different feeding time cycle to ours, so we woke up when they did as well. I spent the first few days in a foggy blur of exhaustion. I remember being woken up by the midwife to do the 5am feed and I just couldn’t keep my eyes open, feeling sick with tiredness. She had to take over the feed, making me feel like I was failing my new baby. Lexie was jaundiced so spent most of her early days on a UV light machine and even though she slept a lot, I couldn’t – I just wanted to watch her and make sure she was ok.

Returning home we kept to the three hourly feeding cycle, with Daddy joining in to take on one of the night-time feeds. People often tell you to nap when the baby is napping but with a two year old to look after, a teenager to nag, a business to run and household to manage, there was no hope of fitting in any snooze time. I remember putting Sophie to bed at half seven one night and desperately wishing I could join her! 


"She had to take over the feed, making me feel like I was failing my new baby."  

Coping with exhaustion

siblings jessThen we discovered nipple shields and things began to change. With Lexie able to breastfeed properly we could drop the bottle feeds and also the expressing - freeing up a large part of the night for sleep! 

Looking back those days of total exhaustion are a blur. I do remember that a lot of chocolate was eaten, especially Twirl Bites to combat the tiredness, and just how important it was to get a bit of time when Sophie was asleep, to sit on the sofa, have a cuddle with Lexie and watch some mindless TV. Those days have left me with an addiction to ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ but it’s a small price to pay for a few hours of relaxation and bonding with your baby. Daddy taking over one morning a week and letting me have a lie-in was also a total necessity. Knowing that every Saturday you can have a couple of extra hours of sleep helps you get through the sleep-deprived week!
 

"Looking back those days of total exhaustion are a blur" 


Where we are now

Six months on and Lexie’s piled on the weight, we’ve started weaning her and she’s down to one feed in the night, usually around 5am. Then she’s back to sleep until 8am or until Sophie wakes us all up. Sophie has always been a good sleeper as was her brother (now a teen so it’s impossible to get him to stop sleeping!) We follow a bedtime routine with her: bath, stories and bedtime in her own cot and in her own room. Probably four nights out of seven she’ll wake in the night and she’ll come into our bed, but then she’ll go straight back to sleep and so will we. 

sleeping baby jess

Other parents ask what our secret is and I believe it stems from a relaxed attitude to sharing our bed. My partner and I both appreciate sleep and will do what it takes to get enough rest and if this involves sharing our bed with baby and child then that’s fine. I appreciate this doesn’t work for everyone and I believe people should just trust their own judgement and gut feeling on where their children sleep, but for us four in the bed works. For me, waking up in the morning and having a snuggle in a cosy bed with my daughter and my baby is a total pleasure.

What were your experiences with sleep and babies? Did you like this article by Jessica? Let us know in the comments and share!

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Rachael Haydon

How I got my babies to sleep

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Kate shares her experience of getting her little ones to sleep at night

I am the mother of five lovely children and am now a clinical support worker for people who have children with extra health problems. Trial and error brought me to the steps that I am sharing with you now… 

How to get some sleep 

The last weeks of pregnancy are a good preparation for the first weeks or months of having a child. You are uncomfortable, hot, and need to pee every half hour. Baby is big and awake as soon as you lay down to rest. The good news is, if you can relax about baby being ok after it’s born, it is possible to sleep on a barbed wire fence. Sleep whenever you can. Leave the dusting and the hovering to later. I was always tired but never desperate because I would drop everything for a sleep. I could be found asleep in my car in multi storey car parks, on the floor next to the cot, on the couch, in a chair, or round a friend’s house. When baby settles into a routine you can work around this, mid-morning was a favourite nap time. Necessary housework can be done with babe along for the ride.

 "I was always tired but never desperate because I would drop everything for a sleep"


Baby Bath Time!

How to get baby to sleep

Night time sleeping requires routine, organisation and stealth. These are my three basic steps to new baby sanity.

My routine

Establish a bedtime routine as early as possible, at a time that suits you. Personally, I don’t think that children should be in bed too early. This means they will be up too early also, so I found somewhere between six and nine in the evening worked. This means the working partner can be part of the routine too!

Start with undressing baby and giving them a bath or a strip wash. This can be anywhere, they are very small – kitchen sink, bowl, baby bath or big bath with or without you in it too.

Then get their pyjamas on and dial down the stimulation. Sitting in a dimly lit quiet room is dull but it should pay off. Feed babe, wait for sleep then put them to bed. Any feeds or cuddles are then dealt with in the bedroom until morning. This becomes bed time even before they are aware. When they are aware the rules are already set, so even when changes mean this cannot happen, we can return to it because it is their ‘normal’.

Organisation

Particularly important if baby is bottle fed. Make sure you have everything you need for the night. If babe wakes up enough to start howling it will take

 longer to settle them again. I mixed up a slightly strong night feed, and then when baby woke up I added hot water from a flask by my bed and shook it. I found that if you respond quickly at the first squeaks they're more likely to resettle.

Breast feeding at night was much easier so no gadgets were required.  I had babe in the room with me and just scooped them in and fed lying down. If they needed the other side just roll over! I would usually wake with baby in my arms and I would shift them up a bit onto a terry nappy or blanket that I kept there.

Stealth

Everything should be done quietly and with minimal lighting to prevent fully waking you and the baby. Turning on all the lights and arguing about whose turn it is just wakes everyone up. My husband would quite often sleep through the whole thing waking to a baby next to him in the morning. He would then whisk them off at the weekend just popping them back to feed.

 

Sleeping during the day

Strangely, I found that daytime sleeping can relax baby and help them to sleep better at night. Also this is a good time for you to nap with them. I could often be found asleep on the couch with a baby on my chest. If you need this time to do things, a pram ride or a car trip can usually send them off. This also helps with screaming babies, but that's a different story. White noise such as the TV on low or washing machine helps to keep them asleep so you can hoover or shower. Accept help whenever it is offered as it will not keep coming!

Coping 

Finally I found that being clean and dressed early, perhaps before your partner leaves for work; makes you feel more human and ready for anything including visitors. I learned this with subsequent children. I had to get sorted to get them to school, but then me and babe would come back and have a mid-morning nap. Mmmm lovely. 

Did you have trouble sleeping? What did you do to get through it? Share your own experiences or tips in the comments section.

kate profile

Rachael Haydon

Sleep advice for new parents

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Marissa, mum of two, shares her wonderful story of sleep, or a lack of it… 

Ahhhh, uninterrupted sleep – that blissful state that's cherished by all, but enjoyed by few new parents. Sleep deprivation is considered a violation of one's basic human rights so it's hardly surprising that a lack of sleep drives many a parent into a confused, mumbling, unwashed state of existence only rivalled by other parents of new-borns and extras from The Walking Dead.

baby lucas


Roughly six weeks after having our first son, now a rambunctious three year-old (and that deserves a whole different blog post!) we were convinced that unwavering allegiance to the Queen of controversy – Gina Ford – had rightfully earned us our snoozing bundle of joy and eight straight hours in the land of nod each night. Over the next two years, (and buffered by my newfound wisdom), I'd dutifully listen to long suffering friends recount horror stories of pacing the halls throughout the night, playing womb-like music and miming Twinkle, Twinkle whilst rocking a baby that still refused a night's sleep at 18 months old. At the same time as feeling genuine sympathy, I was also convinced that a smidgen of "tough love" coupled with a solid routine would get their mini insomniac back on track and provide them with some long overdue pillow love. I even committed the cardinal sin of offering our childcare manual to said distressed parents in their time of need *tuts and shakes head at self*

A different story

I'm sure you'll be thrilled to hear that the shattering of our alternate reality and my very rude awakening came in the form of our second son. After I returned from hospital I had psyched myself up for the six week battle with our unwitting trainee, but little did I know this minor battle would manifest into full scale war! Baby L did not take kindly to being coerced into sleeping and feeding according to a manual. He protested loudly and consistently when there was too much/too little sleep, when it was too early/too late for his liking, when he was being put to bed too full/too hungry, when it was too noisy/too quiet to sleep and objected daily for a sum total of six months before hubby and I managed to get a decent night's sleep again, and I'm fully aware that this is considered early for many.

roobs

 

“Little did I know this minor battle would manifest into full scale war” 


Unlike our first son where I could choose to sleep when he slept (although I didn't and wished I had) and ignore household chores in favour of a nice cuppa and an hour's peace (again, didn't and wished I had) I now also had a toddler constantly demanding attention, snacks and regularly notifying me that he didn't in fact need his clothes in the supermarket and it was, quite frankly, exhausting. I remember one morning when I was asked to confirm my postal address and stood in a befuddled silence for the longest 30 seconds of my life before I could actually remember where I lived!

Now that I've made it to the other side, I felt compelled to impart my own personal brand of wisdom upon you so here goes... 

Take comfort – you’re not alone

If you are unlucky enough to be sharing the wee small hours with a sleep stealer and you're wondering why your little one views your gorgeous nursery complete with its comfy new cot akin to a dirty prison cell, please don't despair as you're definitely not alone. I can wholeheartedly recommend a large stockpile of strong coffee and some really good DVD box sets for the long-haul nights, when you've given up trying to get back into bed and the Diamonique sale on QVC at 3am just isn't floating your boat. 

“Please don't despair as you're definitely not alone”


I also advocate the use of earplugs next time your smug, well-rested friend tells you all about their smug, well-rested baby as no two children are the same and what is effective for them won't necessarily work for you. Remain strong in the knowledge that if you're planning any more children your next little nipper may well choose to take up sleeping at night as a competitive sport and if not, there's always the chance that smug well-rested friend's next baby may well become entirely nocturnal ;) 

lucas2

And if you're lucky enough to be reading this after a full night of sleep then please simply offer your friend an hour or two to relax whilst you mind their exhausted, grizzly bundle so they can promptly go and pass out!  

Do you agree with anything in this post? If you have any other tips please share them on our Facebook page or in the comments! Don’t forget, sharing is caring!

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Rachael Haydon

Easter Egg Hunt

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt

It’s nearly Easter, so we’ve got a cracking Easter Egg Hunt running on our website. We’ve hidden seven golden eggs on seven of our pages. All you have to do is find one of our golden eggs to be in with a chance to win! 

Prizes

We have a luxury duck feather and down pillow to give away, plus either our Luxury Plain bed linen set - in a colour of your choice - or our snuggly soft Alien bed linen set or Explorer bed linen set. There are two prize bundles to be won by April 16th, so get hunting!

alien and explorer
Explorer and Alien bed linen

luxury and pillow
Luxury Plain bed linen in Rose, and duck feather and down pillow

Hint

Every day we’ll be giving you clues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to help you find an egg!


Terms and conditions

Choose from our Luxury Plain bed linen, in a colour of your choice or a child’s duvet set. There are two prizes in total to be won. In the unlikely situation that we do not have stock of your item, we will offer you an alternative range of the same value. Prize is not exchangeable for cash or other products.

Remember, sharing is caring! Share this with your friends and family so they have the chance to win as well.

Jen Stanbrook

Sleep deprived and coping

Posted by Jen Stanbrook, Wednesday, April 02, 2014

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Mum of two, Jen, shares her amazing story

At the time when my first daughter was born, I actually didn’t know you needed to ‘help’ a baby get to sleep. It sounds absolutely ridiculous to say it now, but I really was unaware that babies couldn’t get to sleep themselves. After all, if you’re tired, you fall asleep – it’s simple right? Of course it didn’t take long for me to realise that this is not the case when you are a new born baby. It was a harsh realisation and one that would shape my life for many years to come.

Jen and girls

I am a mum to two lovely girls. I would say that wouldn’t I! They are 9 and 7 now so I’d like to think that we’ve come through the sleep difficulties of the early years, but like anything with children, these childhood challenges never really go away. They simply change and develop with the child. 

The early days 

When my eldest daughter, Miss E came home from hospital 9 ½ years ago we were already advocates of the Baby Whisperer. Her methods are probably outdated now but at the time we were keen to establish a sleep routine as soon as we could. Miss E slept in a Moses basket in our bedroom at night, but in the evening we put the basket in the lounge and tried to encourage her to sleep. We were so naïve back then, yet had great faith in what we were doing and a huge amount of hope! She was tiny, but fed regularly and soon established a routine. I know not everyone will like to know that by 10 weeks old she was sleeping from her 11pm Dream Feed through to her 7am Morning Feed. It wasn’t every night of course, there were blips when she had a growth spurt but we’d pretty much cracked it at that point. And at that point we moved her into her own room. It worked well for us and for her.

baby in pram

The sleep deprivation had got to me though. I remember when Miss E was around 8 weeks old, sitting in a park with a friend, becoming very tearful. I wanted to go back to work. Being at home all day, every day with a new born was tougher than I’d imagined and I wanted my old life back. I’m convinced it was the lack of sleep, combined with the shock of my new life, which made me crave some normality. At the time, anything would have felt better than the world I was in. But, and this is key to remember, it passed. 

“The sleep deprivation had got to me”
 

A different story 

Fast forward 3 years and Miss R came along. Her home birth was calm and wonderful and we slept in our own bed the day she was born. Bliss. However, I think that was the last time I slept for months! Miss R was the polar opposite of Miss E when it came to sleeping and we were in for a rough ride.

Suffering with colic and just a general reluctance to sleep, Miss R was a challenge to say the least. I would rock her, I would cuddle her, and I would drive her around and walk the buggy until my legs were aching. But little seemed to help. I found I wasn’t coping very well at all.

Three months in and I was diagnosed with anxiety and was well on my way to post-natal depression. I took Prozac, tried to accept offers of help and lowered my expectations. Life should have been perfect with two healthy children, a lovely home and a great life, but instead things felt like they were falling apart. The way I coped was to talk to others. I found people that I could relate to, the ones who spoke about the reality of having two very young children, who told it as it was and didn’t sugar coat anything. I needed people to be real.

“The way I coped was to talk to others”
 

I also found an amazing Health Visitor who enrolled me on a Mothers Group where we could talk and be honest. It was supported by health professionals and dealt with a lot of the issues we face as new mums. With support I started to alter my preconceptions of what life should be like. It didn’t matter if the washing up wasn’t done, if the girls weren’t perfectly dressed and groomed, if I hadn’t vacuumed, as long as we got through the day in one piece with smiles and love, we’d done it. And gradually the days improved. Miss R still didn’t sleep brilliantly but I had adapted my expectations and we all started to relax a little.

sisters

Further down the line 

I think we all believe once we’re through those early days and months, maybe years, the sleep issues will disappear. I have to say, they do in the majority but there will always be little niggles that appear from time to time. There are the nightmares for example. As their world starts to broaden, their imagination can run riot at times, and this tends to show itself predominantly in nightmares. Miss R gets what we think are growing pains and has horrid leg pain deep in the middle of the night. Soothing her, administering Calpol and gently calming her back to sleep all takes time and seems to hit harder when you are used to a full night’s sleep.

toddler sleeping

Miss E has had a lot of problems with sleep as a school aged child. Mostly this centres on her inability to actually fall asleep. She has a very active brain, is very bright and really finds it hard to switch off. It took a few years but we eventually found she needed some melatonin to help her. Melatonin is the natural hormone we all produce to help us fall asleep. Miss E just doesn’t produce enough so takes extra in medicine form just before bed. It was a miracle. After years of being awake until 10pm, she was suddenly asleep at 7.30pm and she was a changed child as you can imagine. And we were changed parents.

It’s so hard watching your children, at whatever age, trying to get to sleep and not succeeding. As a parent we need to be able to fix this and make it right, so the relief we felt when Miss E finally got to sleep was huge. Finally we could relax. Well for a while at least!

Do your children suffer from nightmares? What sleep tips did you find worked for you? Leave your thoughts on the comments section!

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Mummy and babyFirst-time mum Felicity shares her experience and offers advice

One of the most prominent memories of Eric being a new born baby (alongside the shock of how much life changed and thinking he was the cutest, coolest baby I had ever met!) was the crushing, bewildering, fog of tiredness. 

One of the hardest parenting challenges I faced was the early sleep deprivation – I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how tired I would feel. Yet, at the same time, I had quite a lot of adrenaline – it was exciting, I was a bit worried and a bit scared.

I was warned, but I had never experienced anything like it before.  I was so tired that I felt like I was underwater the whole time.

 

“I was so tired that I felt like I was underwater the whole time”

We took it day by day and we survived. It did get easier. Below is our story.

At home we put Eric to sleep at night in a Moses basket on the floor right next to our bed. If you’re using a cot instead, make sure you buy a good quality, new mattress for baby. Having him right next to our bed made it easier when he woke up in the night.  I wanted to co-sleep but we were nervous, unsure, new parents and we weren’t sure if it was safe or whose advice to trust.

Noah Cot and mattress


“We were nervous, unsure, new parents”


When we first got home and were getting used to being parents, even if we did fall asleep at night the slightest noise, snuffle or squeak he made would wake us up. I often wouldn’t get to sleep for ages constantly checking on Eric just to make sure he was breathing! If I had another baby I’d definitely have the confidence to safely co-sleep.

Daddy and Eric

Shift work

To start with, Eric didn’t differentiate night from day at all and after the first week, when we got home, he started staying awake much more at night than in the day.  We read this was normal for babies, who in utero, typically sleep during the day when rocked and lulled by the movement of their mother. To help us get through the phase of him being so wakeful at nights, Alex and I used to do shifts. Doing shifts at night with Alex got us through, and just constantly reminding ourselves that it would pass and would get better.  

To help set Eric’s body clock we made sure it was dark(ish!) and quiet at night, and for daytime naps we made sure it was light and didn’t worry about making noise, and he gradually got used to sleeping more at night than in the day.

Coping with tiredness

Having Eric right beside the bed helped me sleep better. Not having to get up and go to another room to feed him or look after him when he cried meant I got more sleep, I could just stay in bed and go back to sleep right away. 

Sleeping Eric

Accepting help

I wish I had listened to the advice to rest more, sleep when baby sleeps and accept all offers of help.  If someone asks if there’s something they can do, let them do things to help you! Guests can make themselves (and you!) a cup of tea, or watch baby while you have a bath, or clean the bathroom for you – my best friend scrubbed my loo and I’ve never loved anyone more in my life! 

 

“I wish I had listened to the advice to rest more, sleep when baby sleeps and accept all offers of help”

  


Having had a baby, these are the things I know to offer for people (alongside offering to cook or bringing food!) as I know how much I would have appreciated it, but I was worried it was rude to accept help at the time.  It’s really not; it makes people happy to know they’ve helped you. 

Lessons learnt and advice

The only question anyone seems to ask you when you have a new baby is whether they’re sleeping at night yet or whether they are a ‘good’ sleeper. It’s understandable, as it’s an exhausting time and I’m sure it’s asked out of concern for the new parents, but it’s not especially helpful as it starts to feel like your baby should be sleeping through the night! 

moses basket

I wish I had had little naps during the day and rested more! We cooked batch meals in advance which we had in portions in the freezer to get us through. My Grandma sent me a fruit basket which was just the loveliest most thoughtful thing. I think keeping a focus on the fact that it was normal and that it would get better helped us to cope, as it meant I always had the strength of hope. 

The best piece of new mum sleep advice I was given was to lower my expectations.  

 “In time, babies do start to sleep longer stretches, and it will get easier”


When I lowered my expectations it helped me feel less stressed and worried, and to trust that Eric was fine and normal and that it would get better.  In time, babies do start to sleep longer stretches, but I found regaining sleep as Eric started to sleep longer stretches was gradual and took time. I remember the first night he slept through the night from 11pm to 7am waking up in the morning in a panic wondering if he was ok and why he hadn't woken up! 

My advice

Remember that it is normal for babies not to sleep through the night. Have faith in yourself that you can cope and survive. We are stronger than we think.  Sleep when baby sleeps, rest lots in the day, have the confidence to say no to overwhelming numbers of visitors and take up offers of help from friends and relatives.

The most important thing I can look back on and remember is that it does get easier – it’s why I stand by ‘this too shall pass’.

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Are you a new mum, or did you have a similar experience? Did you find this article helpful? Share this with your friends and followers so together we can raise awareness and support for new parents.

 

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Rachael Haydon

How to get up earlier

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Monday, March 17, 2014

Hands up who likes getting up early? Yeah me neither. I have to be physically dragged from the bed in the morning, forced into some sort of consciousness with cup of tea thrust into my hand. If this ritual doesn’t happen, my getting out of bed also does not happen. But I kind of like the idea of getting up early, rising with the birds and what not. I imagine the birds and I would have a jolly time of it sitting outside with a pot of tea, reading the paper and watching the sun rise. So I’ve done a bit of investigating about it, stumbled across some amazing blogs and ideas – so here goes.

Start gradually

Lower your expectations and make the change gradual. Start off easing the time you get up forward by 15 minutes. That should be little enough that you don’t feel much impact. If you go from a cushdy 8am start to a hair-raising 6am I guarantee you will feel it during the day, and if you continue on that track it will only make you feel worse over the next few days. So take it slow and ease yourself in by setting your alarm earlier by 10-15 minutes every few days. Gradually you’ll start to get used to it, and it won’t be painful anymore – it’s tricky business changing your sleeping patterns.

Get excited

Ok, so you’ve got used to the earlier alarm, but it’s still a mission to physically get out of bed. So why am I generally quite happy to get up reasonably early on a Saturday (by weekend standards of course)? It’s because I have something to look forward to – whether it’s dossing in front of the TV, having a naughty breakfast or going out somewhere fun. So during the week a good idea is to inject a bit of fun into each and every morning; give yourself something to look forward to when the alarm goes off. It can be as simple as setting the coffee maker to come on, getting a new cereal, trying out a yoga routine or going for a run – whatever makes you tick.

Waking up the brain

Try stretching when you’re in bed – it makes the blood rush through and wakes up your muscles. It’s quite an effective way of getting yourself out of the sleepy fog. You could also try putting your alarm at the opposite side of the room so you have to get up to turn it off – cruel to be kind! Don’t forget you’ve spent all night without drinking so you’ll be dehydrated by the morning. Have a glass of water on your bedside, or a freshly made cup of tea, it’ll wake you up. Perhaps keep a dream diary; doing something creative in the morning is a great way to wake you up and a good use of time.

Henrietta bed and Orwell mattress

Getting to sleep

We still all desperately need to get the right amount of sleep – it’s a bandied-about topic but it really is very important to your mental and physical health. So if you’re taking the plunge and getting up earlier, make sure you’re getting to bed earlier as well. We all know having a dreamy mattress and bedding helps you to fall asleep, and just as importantly helps you to feel refreshed and bright-eyed in the morning. You might find doing it gradually helps as well – so when you get up earlier by 15 minutes, get to sleep earlier by 15 minutes. Then nothing’s a big shock to the system.

Did you find this article helpful? Do you have any tips on getting up earlier? Have a look at our mattress buying guide – you might just find your perfect match.

create a cosy bed environment

My child won’t sleep through the night

You just want your child to sleep through the night without waking up and disturbing you? Your friends’ children sleep through, so why doesn’t yours?

I’m afraid to say it’s quite normal. We all sleep differently, adults and children alike. Some children will be excellent sleepers and get through the whole night, others just won’t. There are a few things we can do to understand what the underlying issue is, and what we can do to improve things. The first thing to understand is that sleep is a learnt behaviour. We’re not born with the understanding that we need sleep, or how to sleep – in fact children under the age of five don’t even know when they’re tired.

Self-soothing

It’s absolutely normal to wake up throughout the night as we drift in and out of different sleep phases. But the tricky bit is being able to get back to sleep again without help. Your child will be used to you helping them to sleep at bedtime, so trying to do this on their own is difficult. When we’re very young it’s easy to get spooked when we wake up to a pitch black room on our own, especially if it’s not how we remember going to sleep. So a good thing to try is to start leaving the bedroom after ‘good nights’, exactly as they’ll find it when they wake up during the night. So don’t leave the landing light on if you know it will be off late at night. If you think it would help, turn the light out before you leave the room and give them cuddles with lights out so they don’t have negative associations with the dark. If they wake up during the night let them try to self-soothe.

If they go into your bedroom for comfort, gently lead them back to their own bed. Be prepared to repeat this many times if necessary. If they’ve had a nasty dream of course they’re going to want cuddles, but the more your child associates waking up at night with you-time, the more they’re going to do it until they’re body clock is wired to do so.

Some children get into a pattern of waking up during the night and associating that time with snuggles with you. So make sure they get plenty of cuddle time during the day, and perhaps even schedule special times during the day for snuggling together.

Nightmares and night terrors

These peak around 3-6 years of age, and could be part of the reason your child is struggling to get themselves back to sleep. This is the age that children’s imaginations start to run wild, so during REM they’re more likely to get nightmares. There’s not a lot you can do about this, but do be aware of it and perhaps have a friendly night-light on in their room.

Create positive associations

It’s important that your child has positive associations towards their bedroom and bedtime. Never use their room as a punishment – send them somewhere else for a time out. Make sure you have a gentle, calm routine before bedtime and stick to it. All gadgets and forms of entertainment shouldn’t be allowed in your child’s room – not only do they stimulate the brain – the blue light they emit decreases the levels of melatonin produced which is essential for feeling sleepy.

Rachael Haydon

How to stop snoring

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Tuesday, March 04, 2014

 

If you or your partner suffer from snoring, you’ll be familiar with the sleepless nights, earplugs squished into ears and the hourly hiss of ‘stop snoring deeear’; (yes, it’s usually me doing the hissing!)

We’ve done some research and have pulled together all the best advice and tips.

So why do we snore?

Snoring is the sound we make when we’re struggling to get enough air. This is usually caused when our throat muscles relax, your tongue falls back and the sides of your throat actually vibrate – causing us to snore. Whilst there are reasons for this happening that we can normally correct, you may be particularly prone to snoring if you have anatomical abnormalities of the nose and throat. These can range from an inflammation from allergies to a deviated nasal septum. Your GP will be able to tell you if there’s anything wrong. Below we list the most common reasons for snoring.

old couple asleep

Age

It can be down to a number of reasons, from your age to your mattress. Some things we just can’t help – like our age. As we get older our muscle tone in our throats decreases, and unfortunately that means we’re more prone to snoring.

Weight

Some things however, we can do something about; such as our weight. Obese people will most likely have a snoring problem; particularly men who store fat more around their necks which puts pressure on the throat and causes snoring.

Smoking

If you’re a smoker, or even a passive smoker this can play a big role in whether you snore or not. The smoke irritates the lining of the nasal cavity and throat, causing it to swell. It’s then more difficult to breathe as the airflow is decreased.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol close to your bedtime. Alcohol causes the muscles to relax more than normal, including the throat muscles. This can lead to snoring.

Sleeping on your back

If you’re prone to sleeping on your back, this can mean that your throat muscles will be especially relaxed, blocking part of your airway. This will also cause you to snore. So try sleeping on your side – if you find you keep rolling onto your back during the night try propping yourself into position with pillows, you can even buy special sleep devices that wrap around your middle meaning you can’t roll over.

Elevate your head

Something as simple as elevating your head by four inches can really help you to not snore. It will mean your tongue isn’t falling back into your throat as much. If you’re not used to having an extra pillow, instead try putting wedges of wood under the top of you mattress.

Floppy mattress and pillows

Make sure you have the right pillow and mattress. It’s essential that your neck is supported enough – if your pillow is too soft or flat your neck isn’t supported and so your airways close. The same goes for your mattress – if it’s too old or sagging you won’t be supported all over. You need to ensure your mattress is comfortable, but firm enough to support your head and neck at night.

If you think your mattress or pillows might be causing you problems, have a look at our mattress and pillows.

What do you find helps? Do you or your partner have snoring problems? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook! 

Rachael Haydon

Dreams

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Monday, March 03, 2014

Freud called dreams ‘those poems we tell ourselves at night in order to experience our unconscious wishes as real.’ 

Why do we dream?

Sigmund FreudFreud had quite a literal interpretation of dreams. He maintained that all of our dreams are our unconscious wishes being lived out as reality. I don’t think that meant that if you dream about burning down your neighbour’s house that this is literally what you unconsciously want to do; rather that perhaps there is an issue regarding next door. Perhaps you don’t feel able in waking life to take a firm stance with them. The inferno you’ve inflicted in your dreams if representing your feelings towards the situation – your frustration and anger. But what if you have mild and boring dreams? This surely doesn’t mean you only have mild and boring wishes? So perhaps Freud’s idea is a bit limiting.

There are a number of other theories around why we dream. One states that our fight-or-flight instinct kicks in much more when we dream, in a sense – we’re getting practice in for our survival responses. This theory believes that dreams help us to evolve.

According to the MIT’s Centre for Learning and Memory, during REM we’re in fact remembering all the important parts of our day and squirreling them away long-term, and loosing things we don’t need. Or perhaps the psychotherapy theory will resonate with you more: where our dreams are a place to subconsciously battle out our emotions but in pictures. During this process we confront our feelings about situations that we might otherwise repress.

As with anything related to sleep and dreams, it’s essential to make sure your bedroom and bed are as comfortable and sleep-inducing as possible. If you have an uncomfortable mattress, your sleep is likely to be more disturbed. If you have a beautiful bed and cosy bedroom, you’re likely to drift off to a peacefully undisturbed sleep.bedrooms

Common dreams

Whilst our dreams are personal to us, there are some common themes. Ever dreamt about your teeth falling out? Being naked in the middle of an exam? Let us know what your dream is!

Driving a car

Ever had a dream about driving an out-of-control car? Perhaps the steering has failed, brakes won’t work or you’re careening over a cliff. This is a very common dream that most people have at one point or another. The general meaning is a feeling of powerlessness over something in your life, depending on the car journey. For instance, you may be a passenger feeling as though you have no control.

Feeling lost or trapped

This is another common dream. In the dream you’re usually trying to find your way out of a situation, building or maze-like area. You may feel very scared in these dreams. Depending on your favoured theory of dream interpretation, this one generally relates to feeling trapped in real-life, whether caught trying to make a difficult decision or trying to get out of an uncomfortable position.

Failing a test

You may recognise this dream – failing a test. Do you feel like you’re being tested in some way in real-life, or are unprepared for something? Perhaps something just doesn’t feel right in life.

Teeth falling out

One of the most easily recognised dreams is your teeth falling out. So what does this mean? At a surface level it represents your fear of being found unattractive and how others perceive you. If we dig a little deeper it can depict a feeling of powerlessness, a loss of control.

Being chased

Our final, most frequent and popular dream is being chased. This is a truly terrifying experience, often waking you up to sweaty palms, and a very real fear. Most commonly this dream consists of a monster in some shape or form, or a frightening person chasing you. Often you can’t run away or find you’re moving frustratingly slow. This dream represents something or someone that is making you feel threatened. It could be some part of your life, a recent event or decision, or even an emotion.

If you’re having a recurring dream, how do you confront these dreams and make them go away? I find thinking them through and staring each component out helps; making your subconscious meet your consciousness. Trying to work out what they could relate to, and then thinking it through often does lead to quiet little eureka moments of clarity.

How do you confront your dreams? What is your most recurring dream? Is there a dream you often have that isn’t listed above? Let us know in the comments.

PS. Make sure you take a look at our new spring bed linen ranges to make sure you get a perfect night's sleep.

Eloise Ritchie

Black & White Room Inspiration

Posted by Eloise Ritchie, Tuesday, February 11, 2014

From the catwalk to couches; the timeless trend of black and white is back for spring 2014. Straight from the runways of Erdem and Hemlut Lang this classic design can be effortlessly translated into a chic, sophisticated interior look. Monochrome interiors are striking and as Karl Lagerfeld said “black and white always looks modern, whatever that word means” meaning it will continue to outlast trends that come and go.

The Perfect Pallette 

While many view black as a harsh, cold colour - within a monochrome interior it can make rooms feel larger as it defines floors or walls. If you feel that a palette of black and white may be too strong try using a variation of hues and tones to soften the look. A mix of dusky greys, matte blacks and creamy whites will feel warmer and would be a great alternative to a strong black and white theme.

Clashing Patterns

The simplicity of black and white allows you the freedom to take advantage and get creative. Monochrome may be the only interior scheme that welcomes clashing prints. A patchwork of zigzags, stripes and spots will add depth to an interior scheme that could otherwise feel empty. So why not play around with prints and see what works for you.

Mixing Textures

There is also the opportunity to experiment with textures. Reflective surfaces will reflect light and increase the perception of space. Opulent mirrored furniture like our Gatsby collection and chrome lamps would look sleek in black and white room. If you already have light coloured upholstery contrasting charcoal accessories will create a striking bedroom look.

Choosing Accessories

Painting your room is a serious commitment to an interior trend so why not experiment with other monochromatic elements. Dark bed linens in charcoal and misty greys like our Luxury Plain and Luca range will add drama and make an eye-catching bedspread especially if you team with contrasting fresh white cushions. Or you could even opt for a plush charcoal black upholstered bed for a sophisticated masculine twist on the theme.

Monochrome Trend

                                     Luca Charcoal Bedlinen | Cecilia Lamp | Henrietta Upholstered BedVersailles White Cushion

 

Children’s Bedroom Inspiration - Monochrome style

Splashes of colour will add a modern twist to classic colour schemes and a great way to incorporate a monochrome theme into a child's bedroom is to create a space that’s unique and modern. Bright Bazaar has a great blog post on how to decorate with black and yellow. Creating a strong monochrome interior is all about experimenting with the balance of dark and light. 


Get inspired and take a look around

Take a look at this Gatsby range - it's seriously on trend and perfect for monochrome styled rooms, or dark hues. Experiment with darker shades if you're not quite ready for black - how about a sultry dark blue like this Mala bedroom?

Consider an upholstered bed instead, it's a great way to instil some dark mystery into your room without going overboard on the paint. We love this range of bespoke upholstered beds.

Gatsby & Mala Monochrome Trend



Rachael Haydon

Update your bedroom on a budget

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Wednesday, February 05, 2014

It’s getting close to spring; close to warmer days and greener trees. We’re opening the windows to a new year and a new bedroom. But after an expensive December we’re also thinking about how to create a fresh new bedroom on a budget. So we’ve come up with some ideas.

Step one – how to de-clutter your bedroom

Whether you’re a neat and tidy person or happy to relax in a slightly more cluttered bedroom; there’s always the potential to clear a little more space – and trust us – it’s an instant face-lift to any bedroom. This should be the room that you relax in and look forward to chilling out in. A spring refresh is the perfect time to bag up some unwanted clothes, trinkets or walk around your bedroom collecting everything that would be better placed in another room. Consider buying some storage for your bits and bobs, whether it’s small or large – a basket can hide a wealth of sins and create much needed space.

Step two – how to add colour to your bedroom

Ok, so perhaps a whole new suite of furniture isn’t on the cards, but you can still create a completely new feel by adding a splash of colour. Pull everything into the middle of the room and cover with dust sheets. Depending on the colour of your walls, you might want to give it a once over with a neutral colour first. Otherwise our top tip for redecorating on a budget is to go tester pot shopping. You’d be surprised at how far a little tester pot will go! They’re ideal for highlighting a small feature wall, or being bold and outlining the door, windows and along the skirting boards. If you pick a bright colour it can make a really strong statement.Spring colours

Step three – how to choose new bed linen

If your room is calm and clutter-free, chances are it’s ready for a linen make-over. Your bed is the focal point of the room and where your eye will be drawn to. So give it a bit of love! Invest in some quality bed linen – the higher the thread count the softer and more luxurious it will feel. Depending on your bedroom’s colour scheme, ensure you have linen that will compliment and not clash. If you have simple, plain walls opt for a bed linen with more of a pattern or stronger colours – remembering to keep it calm though – anything too hectic will detract from your quality of sleep. So no Toy Story bed linen or kaleidoscope patterns please. Throws and cushions are another way to update a bed, and if you’re shopping in the sales you’re sure to find top quality bargains. Add a cosy feel to your bedroom with a luxury rug – it will break up the flow of plain carpet and if you choose wisely, will compliment your linen or wall colours.

bed linen

Step four – add accessories to your bedroom

Furniture surfaces aren’t just for books, glasses of water and (if you’re anything like me) an array of beauty products spilling everywhere (refer to step one!) Furniture surfaces are for showcasing your personality. It’s where we really see who you are; through photos, personal knick-knacks, ornaments and flowers. Keep it simple, and make it yours. A good tip to remember is glass and mirrors act as a great way to reflect and channel light. They can help create a light and airy feel to a room, and the mirrors will give an illusion of extra space.

accessories

Step five – best lighting for your bedroom

Possibly the most important thing to remember when you’re giving your bedroom a make-over is the quality of lighting in your room. It’s what will reflect through your beautiful accessories, and showcase all your hard work. Make sure you have adequate and evenly distributed lighting in the bedroom, but don’t necessarily buy the brightest bulb out there – it will feel quite harsh in your bedroom. Don’t forget to have bedside lamps for dimming and calming the bedroom atmosphere ready for bedtime.

I hope you’ll be able to use some or all of our tips, and please comment if you have any other tips or ideas to share!

Eloise Ritchie

Cabin Beds vs Bunk Beds

Posted by Eloise Ritchie, Friday, January 24, 2014

Buying children's bedroom furniture is always slightly headache-inducing. Younger children are easier to buy for but when growth spurts start to happen the whole process can become a lot more difficult. As they grow older and their knick knacks start to double, the simple single bed in their room starts to look smaller and smaller.  Bunk beds and cabin beds could be two options you explore when it comes to looking at other bed options for your kids. When it comes to choosing whether you opt for one over the other you need to think about what your children’s bedroom looks like and also what your child needs.

Cabin Beds

With an elevated bed and facilities like desks and wardrobes in the space underneath, children's cabin beds are perfect for those rooms that are smaller and space is at a premium. As children start to grow up and their possessions seem to double having storage solutions incorporated into furniture is a great way to keep organised.

Cabin beds for children are also great for those who have started school and are looking for a fun study area in their room. With the opportunity to leave the space underneath the bed completely free it also means the area your child has to play in is increased.

Cabin beds come in a variety of styles, materials and heights. Midsleepers like our popular Archie and Noah range aren’t as tall as high sleepers but still maintain the same functionality, and with the desk pulled out rather than incorporated into the frame, it creates a snug nook in the bedroom.

Archie Cabin Bed

Bunk Beds

Bunk beds are another alternative to normal standard beds. Taking up the room of one single bed, bunk beds are great if you have two kids sleeping in one room. They are also great for sleeperovers and mean that you don’t have to pull out a spare mattress if your little one’s friends come to stay. Bunk beds are great if you have a larger room where you can facilitate having extra furniture for storage.

Noah Bunk Bed

In the end the decision is up to you, we'd advise opting for a cabin bed if space is a premium and bunk beds for added space and sleepover facilities! 

Eloise Ritchie

Spring Interior Trends 2014

Posted by Eloise Ritchie, Thursday, January 09, 2014

Ombre Interiors

From hair to the home, the ombre trend was everywhere in 2013 and that looks set to continue into spring 2014. Whether you want to paint a wall ombre or indulge in bedlinens and other accessories that illustrate the trend; there are a variety of ways to incorporate spring's must-have style into your bedroom. Below is a sneak peak of our Houston Chest on a beautifully bright green ombre wall. The mix of the darker leather trunks, botanical accessories and accents of white keep the whole look feeling fresh, which is perfect for spring.

 Ombre Interiors

Houston Chest

 

The ombre trend doesn’t have to be confined to one colour going from lighter to darker, hues of multiple colours can be incorporated. Spring 14 will see soft pastel shades flow into brighter hues. Team this look with white furniture and bedding to give the trend the wow factor.

 

Radiant Orchid

Colour expert Pantone will always be a key influence in what hues and tones will appear throughout the season, in fashion and interiors. 2013 saw emerald reign as colour of the year and this year that honour falls on radiant orchid. They describe the purple hue as expressive, creative and embracing, which supposedly blooms with confidence and magical warmth – we’ll leave you decide whether that’s the truth!

This bright colour is a great way to create focus in a room. Re-energise palettes of grey and beige with accents of radiant orchid or compliment with tones of green or light yellow.

 Radiant Orchid

Dark Rooms

While lighter colours are normally associated with spring, this year dark walls in hues of black and dark blue are making dramatic appearances. Invoking glamour and drama these moody backdrops are perfect for extenuating metallic accessories and glassware. We love how our Gatsby collection perfectly captures this trend. The mirrored accents on a dark wall are bound to make a statement. 

 Dark Rooms

Gatsby 3 Drawer Chest

Pretty Pastels

It wouldn’t be spring unless pastels made an appearance. Tones of baby blue, soft sunshine yellow and misty grey teamed with glassware will create a room that perfectly captures the waning winter light. Our Oliver bed in duck egg teamed with our range of pastel coloured cushions in the photo below perfectly expresses this beautiful pastel trend.

Pretty Pastels

Cotton Velvet Cushions

Eloise

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Rachael Haydon

The double bed trend for children

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Tuesday, December 17, 2013

You may have heard the latest emerging trend… the children are rising up; they want double beds. Around the ages of 7-10 children have big growth spurts, so their single beds tend to look a little small.

A lot of parents are now looking to invest in larger beds; ones that will see their child through to their teen years and beyond. It’s an investment, and one that you shouldn’t have to repeat any time soon. The styles, colours and designs of double beds give you much more flexibility when decorating your child’s room as well.

Phoebe Teen Bed

Olivia children's bed

Now I don’t know about you, but when I was a child I was in a single bed. In fact, I was in a single bed until I moved in with my first long-term boyfriend. But times are changing, and whilst we had sleepovers – they certainly weren’t as frequent as they are today. Children love sleepovers, but if you only have a single bed it means shifting around furniture to make room for some bodies on the floor, or worse – blow up mattresses. The beauty of having a double bed is you can top-tail, or bunk in together. You can comfortably fit a trundle underneath as well so you can simply tidy it away or pull it out for the sleepovers.

Homework zone

Giving your child extra space with a double bed will also create an island for them to relax on. It’s the perfect place for stretching out with their homework or reading; it can actually be great encouragement and the motivation they need to spend some time on their after school studies.

olivia

Olivia day bed

If you don’t have enough room for a double bed, there are lots of varying styles that are designed just for this purpose. You can buy wonderful day beds that sit as a single, and can be pulled out into a double. Perhaps a bunk bed would be better, and you can find these with double beds at the bottom as well. Cabin beds are very popular as they afford you tonnes of space and can provide that much sought-after double bed too.

We chatted to The Sunday Times about the trend - did you spot it? Let us know what you think by commenting or using Twitter #STdoubles

starIt’s that time of year when we’re rushing around frantically collecting last minute gifts, hanging the decorations, writing lists and of course; making sure the little ones are having a holly jolly Christmas time. There’s a big focus on making Christmas day perfect, but the time and energy you’ll save by opting out of a few things will be reflected in the calm and happy atmosphere you’ll be able to create.

Commence operation Christmas countdown: your essential seven-day checklist and tips for ditching unnecessary stress.

You have eight days until it’s all hands to the deck, aka the 19 December. A really good tip I’ve found works every year is to buy a few extra little gifts for those poor unfortunates you may have forgotten, or not budgeted properly for. It won’t do for one great aunt to receive a fancy coffee-maker and the other a pack of hankies! So hit the sales and clearance items to pick some fancy-looking items, chocolates, a bottle of wine – anything that is versatile enough to be given to friends or family in an emergency!

It’s seven days until the big one, aka the 18 December. If you’re a lover of writing Christmas cards, and are found most evenings on the floor surrounded by cards and pens, remember to get them in the post on the 18th if you’re using 2nd class stamps. Of course my advice would be to skip the Christmas cards and instead donate the money to charity, or send an e-card. You’ll be saving pennies, time and lowering the stress factor. It’s a nice idea, but in order to do this stress-free you’d need to start writing them in July.

It’s six days until the glorious morn of Christmas, aka the 19 December. If you’re anything like me, you live for the grocery delivery man turning up with all your precious things. But Christmas is likely to be booked up solid. So elbow your way online, and secure your Christmas shopping delivery date. If however, you like skidding round the aisles with your trolley, clipping heels with your wheels and screeching ‘that’s my turkey!’ whilst diving head-first into the meat counter; my advice is to back away from the trolley and embrace the online – for Christmas at least. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and time.

christmas

It’s five days until your bundles of joy swarm to the Christmas tree, aka the 20 December. It’s also the last day for Christmas card delivery if you’re using 1st class stamps. It’s the hallowed night of Christmas parties, so if you’re going Christmas shopping I’d get it done earlier than later. Now you may be a hardened super-nanny of toddlers who relishes the challenge of taking them around the town Christmas shopping, but I would warn against it. You’ll get much more done if you go alone and blitz it. The alternative is a day of gingerly peeling your toddler off a pile of toys and prising their death grip from the Furbys.

It’s four days until the grand unveiling of the turkey, aka the 21 December. By now you’ll have been bombarded with articles, news stories, and adverts so compounded with toys and sales messages you may well have succumbed to a fit of excitement on the floor. Fear not intrepid shoppers; you’re not alone. Mums around the world are currently pulling out frazzled hair, wondering how they got so carried away yet again (did you know, on average parents spend £300 on each child?) But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel; calmly pull out all your purchases and place in piles for each child. Now picture Christmas morning, and your child’s dilated pupils as they try to frantically take in all the new gifts; do they really need them all? If you can honestly say ‘no, probably not’ then save them for birthdays! Believe me; you’ll be patting yourself on the back when this one comes around.

It’s three days until the magic begins, aka the 22 December. Today’s the day to get all the kids involved in a bit of a clear-out. Give them two special boxes – one for ‘keeps’ and one for ‘giving’. Ask them to go round the playroom or bedroom and fill each box up equally, perhaps time it to make it more fun! You can explain to them that Father Christmas needs room for all the new presents, and if he doesn’t have enough room he won’t be able to leave as much! This way you make room for the new gifts, and have a clear out of the toys that probably aren’t used much. It’s also a great opportunity to get them involved in some Christmas giving – take them to the local charity shop, or find out where a toy collection for Christmas is taking place.

christmas

It’s only two days until the ho-ho-ho fun commences, aka the 23 December. There are lots of carol services and Christmassy songs to be had in churches and town centres, it’s a really magical experience and is essential for getting into the Christmas spirit. But if this is up there with pulling teeth, perhaps a Christmas panto would be better where you can all shout ‘Heeee’s behind yoooou!’ Finish the day off with some hot mince pies and hot chocolate.

It’s one day until Christmas day, aka the 24 December. Probably the most important part of preparing for Christmas is getting the veg, potatoes and anything you can prep in advance; done. Get the kids to chip in – give them a peeler and a bowl of carrots and pop a Christmas film on. Job done. Alternatively, ask family members to bring over something for the meal; designate a vegetable or side dish, desert or drinks to each person. It not only saves hugely on costs, but will free up your time and eases your stress-levels. Now run yourself a bath and pat yourself on the back for a Merry Christmas and a job well done.

Rach

Eloise Ritchie

Dressing Your Christmas Table

Posted by Eloise Ritchie, Friday, December 13, 2013

With most people’s attention on focussed on delivering the most delicious Christmas meal possible, creating a table that compliments your hard work in the kitchen can be overlooked. Ensuring your table is well dressed will not only accentuate the meal but create a festive atmosphere for friends and family to enjoy.  We’ve put together a couple of tips on how to dress your table beauitfully.

Picking a theme

A good place to start is to pick a theme, this will help you narrow down your choice of accessories and make the process of creating a perfect table a lot easier. Choosing a theme for your table is not as hard as it sounds as it’s likely that you’ve already picked one for your Christmas decorations. From a traditional scheme of red, green and gold to a more modern palette of metallic blues, pinks and silvers everyone has a preference on how their house is decorated for Christmas, remember there’s no right or wrong answer!

If you feel that having a distinctive Christmas theme may clash with your decorations there is always the option for a more simplistic approach. A simple theme of red and gold or monochrome will give a subtle nod to the festive season.

Choosing the accessories

DIY candle bauble placeholder

image source

Now that you have an idea for a theme, picking out accessories will hopefully be simple. Christmas is the time to be over the top with your tableware so napkins, table runners, candles and of course crackers are a definite must. A great way to incorporate Christmassy details is in the designs of your napkins and placeholders. Why not check out Pinterest or blogs for some great ideas of simple DIY placeholders that have a festive feel. These candy filled bauble placeholders in the image above look amazing and are easy to make.

Arrangements of holly are a great way to incorporate traditional festivity into a table design while filling a bon bon jar or even our glass hurricane jar with baubles will make a contemporary centre piece. Make sure your table decorations aren’t too high as they may block out some guests and make passing around food difficult.

When it comes to choosing accessories the bottom line is to not make your table too crowded, there needs to be room for glasses, plates and elbows!

Christmas lighting

Candles are a great way to create instant mood lighting. Our antique candlesticks are elegant and would sit perfectly on a Christmas table– remember to have a candle snuffer on hand! Fairy lights don’t just have to be confined to the tree, why not experiment in displaying them around where you’ll be eating; the twinkling effect will add to the Christmassy atmosphere.

12 Layers of Christmas

 

Rachael Haydon

Christmas gifts for children

Posted by Rachael Haydon, Friday, November 29, 2013

When I think about my childhood Christmases, I remember the excitement, the cold winter walks, indulgent food and wholesome activities like chestnut roasting, church services and evenings making paper chains. But that didn’t mean the much-coveted Argos catalogue didn’t make an appearance – the precious book was passed from my siblings to me, and back round again for amendments. We’d lovingly circle in thick black biro each item we wanted, from glow worms to Dictaphones (I was a strange child) with our initials scratched deeply into the paper. Then we would promote the Book’s marked pages by artfully leaving the Book in strategic places, or simply waving it in front of our parents.      

argosIf I were to say ‘back in my day’ we weren’t so present-orientated, I’d be lying. Our Father Christmas lists would be as long as the paper supply would allow! But we did save our pocket money up to buy small shower gel bottles or bars of soap from The Body Shop or clubbed together to buy a mug for a family member!

Fast-forward 15 years and the pressure on parents to buy the right gift or the coolest must-have has escalated exponentially. Any attempts to dial down the present buying are met with small cries of ‘but that’s not fair, you’re sooo mean’! So we’re here to tell you we feel your pain.

We’ve put together a quick guide on buying for children this Christmas.

 

 

 

For the cheeky, mischievous child who likes to experiment

Think camping: indoor tents or camping gear like sleeping bags and torches so they can create their own hideaway indoors or in the garden! Nerf guns: they look mean and hardcore, but they’re just full of foam bullets! Trick sets: that feature much-loved items like the whoopee cushion, fake blood and traps! Big train sets: good for all sorts of ages. Scalextric sets, remote control cars (there are some pretty cool ones out there now that do flips and all sorts), football gear, Monopoly Empire, camcorders or devices such as the new RED-I mini camera: From Argos this is actually blue… you can buy all sorts to fit onto helmets that film their bike/skateboarding stunts, Lego, science kits: great for encouraging intelligent play and experimenting. Spy gadgets: there are so many cool things on the market, from mini cameras and recording pens to walkie-talkies and night vision glasses. A new bike or sporty equipment and of course the tried and tested video games or DVDs!

toys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the reflective, creative child who likes to sit and play

Bean-bag:a really cool addition to a child’s room, funky chair: for those sleepovers or the perfect reading spot; it’s a real statement piece. A cuddly toy: if you get a super soft one that they love it will be taken with them whilst they grow up. Writing set: great for encouraging children to write down their thoughts or get creative. Tamagotchi, moving/remote control pet such as the Join in and Play Tatty Puppy, art kit, Sylvannians, Play Mobil, clothes, Harry Potter memorabilia, the new Kindle Fire HD tablet, InnoTab: for the younger child, a musical instrument or techy alternative such as a drum machine; iPod, funky camera, sleepover kit, cookery kit, the ToucanBox: which is full of specially designed activities to help children develop core skills and has themed monthly adventures, delivered to your door, for ages 3-8 and more. Last but not least – the Furby is set to be huge this year.    

toys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully our ideas will help to make the buying-pain a little easier, and if you have idea please add them in the comments section!

 

Merry Christmas, Rach