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James Ward

Valentine’s Day

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, February 04, 2016

Valentine’s Day is loved by many, loathed by some, but for those who are falling head over heels this Valentine’s Day, we thought we could help you create the perfect bedroom setting for one of the most romantic days of the year.

Your bedroom should be your sanctuary all year round, although Valentine’s Day provides the perfect excuse to spruce up the most important room in the house. The most obvious and quickest route down this path has to be bed linen. Indeed, fresh sheets and clean covers make going to bed pure luxury; you’ll soon be counting down the hours until it’s time to pull back your duvet and hop into bed.

Bed Linen

Our favourite for Valentine’s Day has to be Lara. Available in either Charcoal or Dusky Pink, our beautiful 100% cotton jacquard Lara Floral linen sets can complement any bedroom style. Alternatively, pick Evelyn to add some undoubted elegance especially when paired with understated pale or light-coloured cushions.

Evelyn

If Jacquards aren’t your thing, our Luca range could light your fire with its superior 300 thread count and smart double lined embroidered pattern. Or perhaps you’d like your crisp, new linen to feel like hotel luxury for Valentine’s? Then why not try Vienna – its super soft feel simply guarantees you'll always be sleeping in ultimate luxury.

Accessorise your bedroom look

Introduce some mood lighting for Valentine’s to help you achieve the desired ambiance for your bedroom. It's essential to have a good balance in lighting and bedside table lamps will certainly help create a homely utopia. With a beautiful silk shade and a delicately cut crystal base, our Obelisk Lamp can transform your bedroom’s atmosphere into a sophisticated Valentine’s haven.

Be My Valentine Pinterest

Snuggling up on the sofa never felt so good with our Velvet throws. Mixing style with warmth, these throws are perfect if you want to shut away the cold and cuddle up with a film for the evening.

What are you planning for Valentine’s Day? Let us know on our social channels and if you need some extra inspiration, then head over to our Be My Valentine Pinterest board.

Feather & Black.

James Ward

National Breakfast Week

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, January 28, 2016

This week (24-30th January 2016) is National Breakfast Week and to mark the occasion, we’d thought we’d get on board by describing our perfect breakfast! Breakfast, experts argue, is the most important meal of the day but despite this, many people skip the first meal of the day as they hurriedly get ready for work in the morning with research revealing this week that 1 in 4 of us consider breakfast a necessity rather than something to enjoy.

Did you also know that if you’re a regular skipper of breakfast, you’re less likely to overeat throughout the rest of the day? Missing out on your cornflakes can also simply result in being in a bad mood too. So there you have it, eating breakfast should be an important part of your morning routine; miss out and you’re risking a bad day at the office…

Breakfast

Porridge or a Full English?

I’ve always sat on the side of a Full English breakfast being the best way to start the day, particularly at the weekend, but having one of these cholesterol-fuelled meals every day certainly shouldn’t be recommended. Many others prefer a lighter option, such as porridge because of its healthy and wholesome nature.

For breakfast, I’m a lover of all things juice to drink, whether that be orange, apple, raspberries or a tasty exotic blend, the fruity mixture always seems to help wake me up in the mornings! From a personal point-of-view, hot drinks aren’t a part of my perfect breakfast, but I can understand all those who just have to start their day with a warm cup of tea.

Porridge

The modern way of life however means that our perfect breakfasts are few and far between, with early morning work commitments meaning that breakfast has now turned into a quick and easy meals for many. Yoghurts, energy bars and fruit are now commonplace breakfast items because of their ability to be eaten ‘on the go’.

Breakfast club

Why not join in the conversation on our social networking space and let us know how you follow-up your perfect bedtime? Do you prefer a cooked breakfast or a lighter bite? We’d love to hear from you.

Feather & Black.

James Ward

Upholstered Dreams

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, January 20, 2016

We know that there’s so much choice in the upholstery market that finding your perfect match is a difficult task. Indeed, style preferences differ from person to person and while we all have our own design views, narrowing down the options is a tough task! So, we’re here to help you decide on your upholstered style, whether that be more of a dark and shadowy sort of sanctuary or a light and breezy themed interior.

Grey Bedrooms

We’re seeing grey become the on-trend option for 2016 and our ever-popular Pinterest board means we can assume that a cool yet sophisticated grey palette is certainly here to stay. Bear in mind though, grey works best with a pop of colour, such as a well-placed brightly coloured cushion or two.

Cameron Bedstead

Neutral finishing touches, like a lightly coloured wooden chest of drawers, would also work well in a grey bedroom if you prefer a Scandinavian styled bedroom. The weather certainly feels as cold as a chilly Nordic outpost at the moment, so a grey upholstered style would definitely help you create a warming sanctuary.

Fabric Samples

Moving away from grey, perhaps a shade or two lighter, is our most requested fabric sample – Silver Mist. Its popularity has rocketed since we introduced the fabric to our range of swatches and our Juliette bedstead just looks gorgeous in a Silver Mist shade (take a look at the evidence below!). Try pairing a Silver Mist bedstead with other elegant colour tones for the most chic bedroom look.

Juliette Bedstead

On the other hand, our favourite lighter swatch options include shades of Sand, Eggshell or Linen. Bear in mind lighter bedsteads can really open up the space in your bedroom too. Don’t forget that implementing your new upholstered style doesn’t necessarily mean replacing your bedstead; you can also purchase a luxury upholstered chair or bench.

Think you’re set on an upholstered style? Order some free fabric samples or request a brochure to help you decide. Once you’re ready, visit our Build a Bed feature and start creating the bedroom of your dreams.

James.

James Ward

What type of sleeper are you?

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Did you know we spend around one third of our entire lifetime sleeping? However, some of us find it easier than others to drop off at night with the effects of a poor night’s sleep including irritability, low energy and ‘brain fog’.

A healthy amount of sleep can vary from person to person. But what type of sleeper are you? We’ve tried to divide you all into sleeper categories, so keep reading and see which one you belong to.

  1. Super Sixers

Getting under six hours of sleep per night means you belong to our opening category. About a third of those getting less sleep than they need tend to struggle to fall asleep in the first place. These people usually have what’s described as a ‘24/7 lifestyle’; specifically exposure to blue light from mobile phones and other gadgets, which suppresses the secretion of the sleep hormone, melatonin.

Bedding

  1. Nappers

The Spanish swear by their siestas, but they’re not for everybody. Most experts agree that regular naps can have cognitive benefits, but daytime naps should be kept to less than 20 minutes if you’re to avoid this sleep pattern becoming a sleep cycle. Napping for more than the allotted time will mean your body could become reliant on it, so make sure you’re diligent with an alarm clock if you are a self-certified napper.

  1. Disturbed sleeper

Disturbed sleepers are people who get to sleep without any difficulty but then find themselves waking up in the middle of the night; usually concerned with work problems or other life stresses. The more anxious you are about getting back to sleep, the less likely it will happen, while some say that’s it’s better to get up if you’re still awake after 30 minutes. Starting a puzzle, for example, in the middle of the night may sound crazy, but focusing on an activity prevents your mind from racing as you stare at the ceiling!

Jacquards

  1. Couch potatoes

If you’re falling asleep in front of the TV at night, this means you’re disturbing your body clock and may have trouble falling asleep in bed later on. Either try to stay awake or if you’re that sleepy, go to bed.

  1. The Weekenders

Catching up on sleep at the weekend is a common after-thought of a busy week at the office. Indeed, sleeping until noon on a Saturday or Sunday could help you feel refreshed but again, this is risking changes to your body clock.

Which type of sleeper do you think you are? Get in touch with us on social and let us know!

James Ward

Redecorate your bedroom

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, January 07, 2016

With Christmas now over and the New Year well underway, it must be appealing to give your bedroom a refresh now all the Xmas decorations have been boxed away for another year. If you’re on the lookout for either a complete design change or just some new furniture pieces, you’ve come to the right place!

In terms of bedroom décor trends, 2016 promises to award style to those who opt for simplified colour schemes, black and white shades with pops of bright colour, impressive centrepieces and oversized lighting features. Mixing contemporary technology with traditional furnishings is very much on-trend too, with many putting a modern twist on basic bedroom designs.

2016 bedrooms

We’d recommend pairing dark shades with copper accessories this year, just like our stunning Manhattan in Navy fabric. If you’re really going all out to get the look, why not finish off with some perfect white linens? They’ll add instant sophistication and stand out against such a dark bedstead.

Manhattan

If that’s not your cup of tea, try indulging your bedroom in some super rich textures. This can be easily done by adding a few well-placed accessories, like our Natural Linen Cushions or Velvet Throws. With an eye-catching mix of bold colours, our hand knotted Edmond Rug can also be thrown into the mix too.

However, there aren't too many things more eye-catching than our Hand Painted Stools; we think the Orange Mother of Pearl’s warming shades (especially handy for winter!) would perfectly complement a rich interior style.

On the other hand, 2016's Pantone Colour of the Year is a blending of 2 shades; Rose Quartz and Serenity, which represent calm and relaxation. The colour selections are said to aid general well-being, as well as provide an antidote to modern day stresses. So perhaps a new lick of Rose Quartz or Serenity paint in your bedroom will go a long way to reduce any anxiety levels! 

Cushions and Throws

Social Media

This year, we want to see your redecorated bedrooms! So feel free to send them in to either our Twitter account or Facebook page, you can find us by simply searching Feather and Black. Also don’t forget to let us know if you’ve treated yourself to anything nice in our Winter Sale!

James.

James Ward

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Every year I find it more difficult to come up with an attainable New Year’s Resolution, so much so that over the past few years I have deliberately not set any. A New Year’s Resolution is supposed to make your year better than the previous one, but deciding on an achievable goal can be quite tough. The most common resolutions usually surround health, like losing weight or quitting smoking or some of the more quirky can involve learning new party tricks, breaking records or trying new foods.

Whatever your resolution may be, I know it’s going to be a hard slog sticking to them, so I’ve collected a few of the best ideas from around the web to help you be more disciplined.

2016

Advice

First, tell others about your goals for the year and encourage others to join you on your New Year’s resolution quest! Setting a joint target with a friend can be effective because you’ll support one another throughout the year. Also, try printing out your resolutions and pin them to your noticeboard either at home or at work. This helps your resolution always be at the forefront of your mind.

Then create a schedule. For example, if the goal is losing weight, be sure that you have researched a healthy amount of time to lose a certain amount of weight, and write down your exercise schedule and the changes you will make in your diet for each day. Planning ahead will make you feel very organised.

1st January

Start your resolution as soon as possible, ideally on the 1st January. Don't wait for inspiration to strike. The best thing to do is start on the first day of the New Year and start tracking any progress. Phrases such as ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ or ‘Next week would be better’ are not very helpful at all here and you’d have broken your resolution before you can say Happy New Year…

Another useful tip is to always focus on progress rather than the end goal. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you shouldn’t yourself to achieve your goals quickly. The only way you'll get to where you want to go is to complete every small step along the way, checking it off with pride as you accomplish each step.

Have you got a New Year’s Resolution? We’d love to hear about it on our social networks!

James.

James Ward

Merry Christmas

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Season’s greetings! Christmas is one of my favourite times of year; and we’d like to wish all of our customers, friends and families a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. The presents are wrapped, the food bought and my Christmas jumper is ready for another year of festive celebrations.

To help you get in the Christmas mood (the big day is only 2 days away!) I’ve come up with the top 10 ways to get in the Christmas spirit; there’s simply no room for any ‘bah humbugs’ this year…

1. Top of the tree is Christmas music, let the festive spirit fill your house or car with some classic Xmas tunes. Whether that be Mariah Carey, Slade, The Pogues – the choice is yours.

2. Get crafty and make some Christmas ornaments. Your children will get excited when they see their handmade decorations hanging on the tree; a great option for those on low budgets too.

Santa Claus

3. Say hello to Santa Claus. Nothing says ‘Christmas is coming’ like Santa Claus, he’s most likely to be found at your nearest shopping centre in the run up to Christmas Day.

4. Putting up your Christmas lights is a sure-fire way to spread the festive cheer for your neighbourhood. Everyone loves a bit of sparkle.

Christmas decorations

5. Elf would have to be my favourite Christmas film and watching a marathon of Xmas films would certainly raise a smile and make you feel all warm inside. Honourable mentions must go to Home Alone, The Grinch and The Muppet’s Christmas Carol too; plenty of options here to fill an evening or two in front of the tele.

6. Making some Christmas food will make you feel Christmassy; an early mince pie (or three) always goes down well in the run-up to Christmas Day.

Christmas Jumper cookies

Christmas Jumpers

7. Going for a crisp, winter’s day walk with family or friends is a tradition for some because it’s a nice way to get everyone together and who knows, you could stumble across a public house on your back (a Christmas tradition of another kind…)

8. Wear your Christmas jumper with pride; be fashionable and festive at the same time. If you want to really stand out, wear a fluffy Christmas hat indoors too.

9. Hot drinks and warm fires in front of a fully decorated Christmas tree is a favourite Christmas memory from years gone by.

10. Christmas is the season of silly games and family fun; so playing a light-hearted board game or putting your knowledge to the test in a Christmas Quiz is well worth a place in our top ten.

James.

James Ward

Sleep tips for the party season

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, December 17, 2015

The festive period is well and truly upon us and that means late nights, Christmas parties and family get-togethers. A packed social calendar looks great but it also means that you’ll be spending less time in bed. So, with that in mind, we’ve prepared some handy sleep tips to help you get through what can be a very tiring month!

Without meaning to sound so obvious, you should first make sure your room is as dark as possible when you go to sleep. This is because it encourages production of a hormone called melatonin, which helps restful sleep. Any amount of light (even if it’s from a mobile phone or coming from lights in the hallway) can reduce the chances of a good night’s sleep.

Mattress

Keeping your bedroom cool is also another way to improve your sleep patterns. Our bodies are at their coolest early in the morning, so beware of cranking up your heating too high in the evenings.

Get comfortable

Getting home in the early hours means you have to maximise your time spent asleep when you get into bed, and the best way to do just that is to make sure your bed is clean and comfortable. Laying awake after a late night isn’t very fun, especially when you have to get up early for work the next morning. Invest in some new bed linen or better still a new mattress to help improve your sleep patterns. Even a new comfy pillow can be the low cost solution that you’re looking for!

Jacquard Linen

Reading is also said to train your brain into relaxing before going to sleep so have a go at flicking through a few pages of your book one night; although you might find this one difficult if you’ve had one too many glasses of wine…

What are you up to this Christmas? Let us know on our social networks, we’d love to hear from you!

James

James Ward

Headington Live Event

Posted by James Ward, Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Feather & Black Oxford hosted a fantastic live dance performance last weekend in their local branch. The Lunas Dance Project performed to a packed audience as part of the Headington Live Event, an initiative which showcases and celebrates the talents of its wider community, delivering 24 performances in 24 venues across just 24 days.

Lunas Dance Project

With the Headington Live Event being organised during traditional Advent calendar dates, a small part of the Christmas story is read before each act performs. In addition to the entertainment at Feather & Black, the Headington Live Event’s busy schedule also includes performances at some of the community’s schools, banks and cafés. 

Eleonara Aldegheri is Lunas Dance Project’s Artistic Director and Choreographer and she’s performed at Carnegie Hall, New York; the most prestigious concert hall in the United States. Following her studies and training in Broadway dance, Eleonara has taught Ballet, Jazz and Latin dance in many venues throughout Oxford.

Feather & Black Oxford

Feather & Black Oxford are also hosting another live performance on Sunday 20th December from Afro Fusion Rhythm; a high energy drumming and dance session – another performance not to be missed if you’re in the Oxford area!

James.

James Ward

Portuguese Linens

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, December 10, 2015

This week’s blog is going to be a little different because it’s been written by our Linens & Accessories Buyer, Katie, here at Feather & Black HQ after her recent trip to Portugal, where she sampled some new linens in preparation for AW16. Take it away, Katie…

Last month, the company MD and I jetted off to the warmer climes of Porto, northern Portugal to take a closer look at some new linens, cushions and throws for our AW16 planning. The weather was gorgeous and a far cry away from the grey skies of home! But our packed schedule (we had meetings with 7 different suppliers during our one-night stay) meant that there was little time to bask in some winter sunshine.

Rise and shine, Porto

Instead we were busy visiting factories, production lines and sample areas of some of the most well-skilled artisans in Portugal. In buying, we plan at least 6 months ahead, often 12, so that’s why we were looking for products so far in advance.

While we were away, we saw some exciting new style trends first-hand, including a beautiful design which I saw decorating tiles on the architecture around Porto which intricately mixed blue and white and adorned the sophisticated local architecture. I took a few quick snaps which once back at the office were email across to our supplier as a starting point for a new design in our luxury Jacquard bed linen range. I can’t wait to see the first samples of this new range inspired by Portugal – and lovingly made in Portugal!

Embroidery machine

Another trend which caught the eye was a Nordic styled grey and white colour combination. Neutral tones and soft textures are on-trend and these linens will be no different. A key move on which we saw was the use of brushed cotton in bed linen. Following a dip in popularity it seems the warm and super soft flannel style cotton is back ready for AW16. We already see a lot of pyjamas and men’s shirts with a brushed cotton finish but we’re now seeing the transition to linens and other bedding accessories too.

All in all, the trip proved a big success; not only did we bring home lots of new samples but meeting the manufacturing managers was incredibly useful because they gave such an in-depth insight into the manufacturing processes and company specialisms. A bespoke service is now very much the norm, with plenty of completely unique products on show.

Fabric book

The fruits of our labour will be on show next Autumn, so make sure you keep an eye on our website for these new products, but we’re going to have to keep them under wraps until then.

Katie.

James Ward

Teenage Bedroom

Posted by James Ward, Friday, December 04, 2015

Today's blog comes from Katie, our lovely PR consultant, who is blogging about her daughter's bedroom makeover...

First a confession, Tilly has only just turned 12 so is actually just short of the teenage zone. However, she is growing about three feet a week and her bedroom usually looks like a squat so I think she is close enough for me to comment. I devised a rather elaborate way of getting her to tidy her room. I suggested we work together to give it a decorative and functional overhaul. Sure, this is a long way round the problem, but I thought I might also learn something more about her, since I currently only know she doesn’t respond to shouting or threats.

Bedroom refresh

Last year I did upgrade what was essentially an oversize cot, for a small, Amelie double bed. Judging from the increasing amount of time she spends in it, this has been a good investment.  My one regret is that I didn’t buy a storage bed, which could have absorbed and concealed some of the vast acreage of ‘stuff’ she accumulates from one day to the next. I am simple in that if I can’t see it, I am happy. Initially sceptical of putting a child in a double bed, I can report it has been a triumph. Sleepovers are less aggravating without wrestling with trundle beds and when we have fantastic mother daughter moments of closeness, I can lie next to her in her world and tuck her in at the end.

Teenage Bedroom

Moving on from the bed, the cheap and cheerful cushions that I bought in a discount shop lasted like a bunch of petrol station flowers and went in the bin. The bed therefore became a blank canvas for us to work together layering textures and splashes of colour. Fine, there would have been quicker and cheaper ways of doing it, but teaching her a bit about colours and design whilst having fun is worth much. I managed to harness the “what does Tilly want for Christmas” to our practical end and we got a heavily subsidised but more than fabulous fur bed blanket, that she has taken to wrapping herself up in theatrically.  I adore an abundance of plump cushions on a bed to make it look inviting and luxurious. On that I am however seemingly alone. Pushing hard, I got approval for a modest number and the combination of silver chevron, paisley and linen coral more than makes up for any shortfall.

Makeover

Finishing touches

The fabric in her curtains that had been so elegant in a baby’s room - a delicate pink toile – felt like it had been rather overtaken by events. The first events were that she was something of a Tom Boy when young and Thomas the Tank Engine would have been more appropriate. The second event was a coffee spillage of industrial proportions. I remembered a pair of Malabar fabric curtains from our bedroom in a previous house which were perfect in terms of fit and colour, and also retro in an unexpectedly engaging way.  Phew, that gave me a headline grabbing saving to lead with when reporting to my husband on the project.

At twelve and in year seven, the homework is just getting serious. The old desk was a vintage junk shop find, painted and distressed. It looked great. The kitchen table bore the brunt of its unsuitability with a slick of books and constant yelling at siblings to be quiet. I wanted to reclaim it so much. A new desk was needed for the bedroom that could leave no room for excuses. We settled on the Noah Desk which fitted the space perfectly and, combined with the desk tidy, had room to spread and drawers to hide clutter.

Makeover

Tilly’s bedside light had The Nursery Window signature “Rabbits” shade and it was going to take something very special to trump it. The Lennon Lamp would be perfect, with the removable top Tilly’s optimistic suggestion was to fill it with sweets. The Rabbits shade now sits on her desk which makes me happy thinking perhaps she has not grown up so much after all.

With the room looking fresh and organised, we could both see the carpet was looking as tired as we were. Sadly the redecorating budget did not stretch that far, but something was definitely needed. A rug was the answer. We chose a chevron design offering a funky look without dominating and the pattern looks like it will hide marks well so we can get away with a more neutral colour option.

Whilst this was an expensive overhaul, I think most of the elements will provide a good backdrop for her over the coming years without dating. We both also really enjoyed doing it together.

Katie.

James Ward

Black Friday 2015

Posted by James Ward, Friday, November 27, 2015

Are you a bargain hunter? Then Friday 27th November should be an important date on your calendars because today marks Black Friday, the annual shopping bonanza where customers can take advantage of some heavily discounted products for 24 hours only!

Black Friday, although originating in America, is now a huge hit in the UK and has seen shoppers cause websites to crash and supermarket aisles to be awash with knock-down prices and deals.

Amelie

An estimated £810 million was spent on Black Friday last year; an unbelievable figure given that Black Friday has only exploded over the past five years in the UK. This year promises to be another record breaker though as spending could top the £1bn mark! Waiting for the Boxing Day sales almost feels very old-fashioned!

Where did Black Friday get its name?

Our US friends across the pond coined ‘Black Friday’ more than 50 years ago after Philadelphia police officers described the chaotic day after Thanksgiving when the city was overrun with the traffic of consumers flocking to the pre-Christmas sales. Some American retailers didn’t like the name and so tried – but ultimately failed – to re-name the day ‘Big Friday’ but the re-worked name just didn’t catch on.

Another idea suggests that Black Friday stuck because it was the day when many retailers’ finance statements moved from the red and into the black.

Highgrove

Cyber Monday

As the internet grew more dominant in the world of retail, Cyber Monday was another major shopping day which started in the US and is slowly filtering through to the UK. The day makes reference to the first day back at work after the Thanksgiving weekend, when people would continue their shopping online on their office computers.

Make sure you hop on to our website and take a peek at our amazing Black Friday offers! Don’t forget to let us know on social if you take advantage of our discounts too!

James

James Ward

Get your guest room ready for Christmas

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, November 19, 2015

Guest rooms can often go unnoticed for most of the year, but now is the time of year when your spare bedroom comes into play – Christmas! With family and friends looking for a place to stay over the festive period, your guest room can quickly become the centre of attention. The room which may have become a makeshift store cupboard over the past few months now needs a refresh and that’s where we can help!

Christmas time is a stressful enough time of year without the added pressure of getting your guest room in order, so we have a few suggestions to help you along the way…

The perfect guest room

The perfect guest room has a good amount of living space. Nothing too large scale, because then it wouldn’t feel as homely or cosy, but it must make you feel comfortable. Feeling cooped up or too enclosed isn’t a very nice feeling as a guest, so I would always want enough room to spread my things out – it’s never a good sign if your guests are having to prop suitcases up against walls because there’s not enough space to have the case fully open.

Paloma Linen

Other vital features of an ideal guest room are cleanliness and comfort. A bad night’s sleep is the worst feeling, especially when your surroundings might not be what you are used to at home. So if your guest room could do with a linen refresh, you’ll want to check our Clearance linens – these are just perfect for guest rooms!

Let’s not forget that the most comfortable of finishing touches is quality linen with a high thread count, so I’d recommend our Paloma as a good option because of its 470 thread count. But there are plenty of other fab options in our Clearance linen ranges, so take a peek and find a style that suits your room.

Bedding bundles

If your linen is already nice and new, then perhaps you may need a duvet? Or perhaps your only spare duvet has a low tog that just won’t do for Winter’s colder temperatures. Let me point you in the direction of our Bedding Bundles which not only include a duvet, but pillows and a mattress protector as well! They also come with either Natural fillings or a Synthetic filling, ideal for a guest you may be an allergy sufferer.

Duvet

Do you think your guest room could do with a quick spruce up? Let us know on our social media channels. Also be sure to check our Guest Room Chic Pinterest board for some nice finishing touches!

James.

James Ward

Darker evenings

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, November 12, 2015

It’s nearly that time of year when we go to work in the dark and then come home in the dark. In fact, depending on what time you leave for work in the mornings, this may already have happened!! For most of us, daylight is in short supply, only available through the medium of a workplace window. Darkness has now swamped the sky post-5pm, so that means our interiors need a quick solution or two to keep the light/dark status-quo in balance.

And that’s where we come in. Lamps are no longer an option, rather a necessity to brighten up your room. We have the lamp to suit any bedroom style and we’re going to prove it…

Lamps

Copper is on trend this season and we’ve definitely got plenty of copper to satisfy your décor needs! Our Bergen lamp range, which can come as a larger floor lamp or desk lamp complements neutral palettes perfectly with a contemporary chrome base and easily adjustable copper shade. There’s also a Bergen 2 Shade Floor Lamp equally promises to flourish in a modern setting.

Lamps

Or if copper’s not your thing, perhaps you’d prefer a more minimalist approach, as reflected in our Blyton Table Lamp. Its soft tones and simplistic appearance means that this lamp would make a lovely addition to your bedside table!

Our favourite lamp though is still our Chloe Lamp, with its striking pineapple shaped motif and polished finish sure to add an extra sense of sophistication to your bedroom.

Throws

Unfortunately, what often comes with seasonal darkness is cold temperatures! Spending a long time outside means we all need some warm and snuggly to come home to; so when the dog isn’t up for a quick cuddle, our throws make a perfect alternative! Made in the finest 100% cotton velvet and delicately quilted, our new Velvet Throws are the ultimate choice here and are available in four different colours.

Throws

Alternatively one of our Faux Fur Throws will look equally as gorgeous adorned on your bedstead or draped over your sofa. So smooth and silky, you’ll wonder why you lasted this long without such a soft throw!

Let us know how you’re keeping out the cold on social!

James.

James Ward

Take care of your mattress

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, November 05, 2015

Do you think your bed is clean? I came across an interesting article this week, which talked about the results of a mattress study and how your bedding may contain some health risks that could be making you feel unwell. The study went on to reveal that our beds are filled with a variety of bacteria or moulds that trigger coughs and colds!

This blog will help minimise your bed’s mite threat so make sure you read on if you’re planning to snuggle under your duvet as the winter nights draw closer…

Replacing your mattress

Every 8 years you should be replacing your mattress. The study revealed that a large amount of bacteria build up over time, with mould and other yeasts also appearing after mattresses become warm during the night. These kinds of irritants thrive in humid conditions, so airing your bed before you make it in the mornings is a good idea. Pull back your sheets and open some windows to do this effectively! Turning your mattress regularly will also help to keep your mattress clean.

Mattresses

The report also suggests that if you suffer from acne, replacing your pillows every 3-4 nights is important as oils and sweat can transfer to your skin from dirty pillows. Anyone with sensitive skin should use pillowcases made of natural fibres too, as these tend to 'breathe' better and transfer less dirt and oil than synthetic fabrics.

Pet problems

While snuggling up with your pet feels great after a long day, this can put you at risk of contracting a range of health problems too. The study made reference to a couple who routinely caught viruses because they slept with their dog every night and let them lick their faces (eew!) So although serious illnesses are very uncommon, a nice basket next to the bed is always healthier than letting pets onto or under the duvet!

Pillows

Other researchers claim that dust mites potentially make you feel unwell in the mornings as estimates show that, after using a pillow for 2 years, as much as 10% of your pillow’s overall weight can be made up of microscopic dust mite droppings and skin!! (I’m definitely washing mine tonight!) A 60 degree wash minimises dust mites, although it's almost impossible to get rid of dust mites – unfortunately!

Do you think you may be suffering because your bedding isn’t as clean as it could be? Let us know on social media, we can always help you refresh your bedding; whether that be linens, mattress toppers, pillows or a perhaps a brand new mattress!

James.

James Ward

Bonfire Night

Posted by James Ward, Friday, October 30, 2015

Remember, remember the 5th of November. This nice little rhyme means the day of Guy Fawkes’s failed Gunpowder Plot way back in 1605 will never be forgotten. Indeed, over 400 years ago, explosives expert Fawkes was part of a team of 13 (unlucky for some…) Catholics brought together to carry out the Plot, which intended to blow up King James I and his government whilst they were in the famous Houses of Parliament.

However, Fawkes was foiled in his plans and was guilty of treason and sentenced to hang. History has it that his body was hacked into quarters and his remains sent to "the four corners of the kingdom" as a warning to others!

Guy Fawkes

Fireworks

Nowadays, the day is marked with an eruption of firework displays, burning effigies and children writing their name with a lit sparkler. If you’re planning a bonfire night celebration with friends or family, you’ll need to be wary of the potential safety pitfalls for young children and your pets.

First off, ask your children to put their gloves on whenever they’re handling a sparkler and also make sure that there’s a bucket of water ready for the used sparklers to be dropped into. These little things can stay deceptively very hot after burning out! Another good idea is to not dress your children in loose clothing with flowing sleeves – a compact jacket or coat without large sleeves would be best.

Sparkler

Teaching your children to hold them far away from the body, without going near anybody else, would be a worthwhile exercise too. No matter how keen your children are to light their own firework, always leave these types of jobs with an adult!

Pet safety

Keeping your cat indoors and away from any loud noise is a good idea; but don’t try and put your pet somewhere it plainly doesn’t want to be if they seem resistant. If you usually walk your dog during the evening, try to do this a little earlier than usual; trying to avoid peak firework times! Fireworks can never be described as animal-friendly but trying your best to minimalise the disturbance levels is advisable.

Fireworks

What are you up to on Bonfire Night? Let us know on social media! Or share your favourite fireworks pictures, we’d love to see them!

James.

James Ward

Halloween 2015

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, October 22, 2015

It is almost time for the annual sugar and additives amnesty that marks Halloween. Whilst it has yet to reach the full height that it has in the US, Halloween is very much here to stay. Grabbing a nylon cape and a bag of themed Haribo as you pass through the supermarket checkout is no longer enough to meet your children's aspirations.

You get out of Halloween what you put in.  With such a wide range of ideas out there, there is always a way to let you balance marking the occasion against your own standards of taste and decency.  As to taste especially, there are now some brilliant and easy recipes that will let both you and your children sleep easier than the usual luminescent goo. They are also increasingly pumpkin free!

 

Gummy Worms

The only thing gross about one of our favourite, 'Jello Worms', is how it looks – it’s not quite one of your five a day, but it’s not far off! Draculas Dentures are another proven hit with children and parents alike. For some actively healthy options, Deliciously Ella has some great recipes including Ella's Chocolatey Ghouls, Chocolate Milkshake and Salted Almond Butter Cups. 

If you have some extra time, getting the children to help with the cooking is always fun. Especially so if you get into character too and create a whole 'witches at the cauldron' vibe in the kitchen. 

Draculas Dentures

Since Halloween involves children playing in the dark, fancy dress outfits, wigs and candles, it can be inherently a safety nightmare. By engaging closely with children it can be a good opportunity teach them about fire safety and responsibility. For your part, in buying or making new outfits, make sure you always take the time to read the labels for fire retardancy and put safety first. 

Hallowe'en Costumes

Have a very happy Halloween!!

(Plus don’t forget to make a visit to our Halloween Pinterest board for some crafty Halloween ideas for children, pumpkin carving and home decor inspiration!)

James Ward

Pre-Christmas Delivery Dates

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, October 15, 2015

While it may be a little too early to pull out your Christmas jumper or settle down on a chilly day to watch your favourite Christmas film; now is a key time in the year to tell you all about our pre-Christmas delivery deadlines! These important dates for your diary vary depending on which of our products you’d like to buy, so make sure you bookmark this handy blog to help you get organised.

Imagine the worst case scenario where you think you’ve ordered a new mattress for your spare room for family who are staying over during the festive period. Then you realise your mattress isn’t being delivered until after Christmas…These are the types of headache that we want to help you avoid!

New Upholstered Furniture

If you’d like a new upholstered furniture piece for your bedroom delivered this side of Christmas, you’ll have to get your skates on and order before this Sunday (25th October). Maybe our beautiful Henrietta Bench would make an eye-catching new addition to your interior this Christmas, or our equally gorgeous Belgravia Chair. Perhaps these upholstered pieces will look best in AW15’s most popular trendsetter, denim?

Henrietta Bench

You’ve got an extra week’s breathing space if your heart’s set on an upholstered bed though, with this pre-Christmas deadline on Sunday 25th October. Visit our online Build a Bed feature and start creating your dream upholstered bed as soon as you can though; there’s such a wide range of choice that it will take you a good deal of time to decide your favourite style!

Mattresses

If you’d like Santa to bring you a new luxury pocket sprung mattress for Christmas this year, then make sure you post your letter to the North Pole (or place an order online!) before Sunday 8th November. However, don’t forget that our Kipling and Milton Everyday Mattresses, which will provide your guest or children’s room with a more affordable alternative, have a slightly later Pre-Xmas cut-off date of Sunday 29th November. Our collection of Tempur Mattresses also have the same late-November deadline, as well as our Lewis, Jupiter and Strata mattresses.

Luxury Mattress

Bedroom Furniture

Finally, Sunday 15th November is another notable date for your calendars, with this being the cut-off date for a pre-christmas delivery slot for the following bedroom ranges: Pimlico, Provence, Lille, Swift and Shoreditch (a new sofabed would be ideal for Christmas, wouldn’t it?). Our Archie kids collection also has the same cut-off date.

Provence

And there you have it, folks, you now have a complete definitive delivery guide for your pre-Xmas order! By all means let us know on our social networking channels if you have any other delivery questions, we’d be happy to help!

James

James Ward

Denim in Decor

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, October 08, 2015

If ‘jeans represent democracy in fashion’ as Armani said, the spill over of denim this year from clothing to interiors will not be a passing fad. The migration ‘from catwalk to couch’ may not yet have reached the ‘denim on denim’ peak that it has in fashion, but using denim colours and fabric to bring informal cool to interiors is about to take-off big time!

It is no coincidence that Farrow & Ball launched Stiffkey Blue last year which went straight on to becoming one of the key sellers of 2015. Although it also retains a traditional feel, Stiffkey incorporates denim’s signature strong blue hues which ensure it looks good with contemporary interiors in much the same way that denim looks good on a catwalk.

Denim Inspiration

With blue and white colour schemes already one of the most popular combinations for interiors, denim’s cool look has had a very warm reception.  As an interior colour and fabric, it’s definitely here to stay. Happily for anyone scared of committing, a big part of its attraction has always been the easy way it combines with other colours and styles.

Denim Rug

So you don’t have to let it take over your sitting room or bedroom, just combine it with a safe colour and use denim accents to import its relaxed informality and style to your home. Denim cushions and throws work very well with other block colours or greys, and the fact that it can be used to soften the formality of interior schemes, means that you could even afford to be bolder in other elements of your design.

Arundel Chair in Denim Fabric

If you’d like to see some of our favourite denim inspiration, don’t forget to visit our Pinterest page! See anything you like? Then tell us about it on our social networks. We’d love to see how you’re embracing this season’s most popular trend.

James.

James Ward

Amazing Bedroom Views

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What’s your view like outside your bedroom window? Decorating inside your home makes your interior look great, but if you’re lucky enough to have a stunning exterior as well, then you’ve hit the jackpot! The view from your bedroom can be a real dealbreaker if you’re in the middle of searching for your next property, so I’ve taken some inspiration from around the web (Pinterest is a wonderful tool, if you’ve got a few minutes to spare!) and compiled some of the most incredible bedroom views from around the globe.

Winter Wonderland

Waking up to such a gorgeous view must feel amazing; I think my dream setting would be having a very light and airy bedroom with surrounding beachside views. With blue skies and shimmering seas greeting me every morning, life could be worse, couldn’t it!? But the ultimate coastline view isn’t for everybody, perhaps you prefer the polar opposite and would opt for a breath-taking view of a giant icy landscape; maybe found in a remote retreat in the Swiss Alps?

Room with a view

If your heart belongs to city life, you don’t have to sacrifice your bedroom view to belong in the heart of a busy, thriving area. In fact, modern apartments can sometimes offer the best views of a city skyline or a well-positioned lofty patio might give you a different view of a well-known landmark or tourist attraction. Seeing the sun set behind a set of buildings set back far away in the distance looks beautiful on a warm evening – an ideal setting to entertain guests too!

City skyline

Life in the country

If your perfect bedroom view isn’t any of the above, then you’re most likely a fan of the most idyllic of countryside backdrops. Quiet, secluded and isolated fields mean you’re never going to be woken up by the sound of traffic which must help to relax your mind. Trying to spot pockets of wildlife from your bedroom window sounds like a great way to spend a typical lazy Sunday morning.

Countryside

Do you have a dream bedroom view that you’d like to share with us? Then pop it on our Facebook wall or tag us on Twitter, we’d love to see your piccies!

James.

Laura Jackson

Autumn Season

Posted by Laura Jackson, Thursday, September 24, 2015

Autumn Season

Those long summer evenings seem to be getting shorter, there’s an increasing chill in the air most mornings and leaves are starting to appear under our feet. Yes, Autumn is here and we’re embracing it with a range of new and exciting products that we’d like to share with you!

Autumn season is about rich textures and vintage treasures; and the Autumn Brochure cover star – our Juliette Bedstead in Boysenberry fabric – is right on trend. If you love the lavish upholstery style as much as we do, it may be worth your while visiting your nearest F&B store and taking a look through our bespoke fabric books; there are thousands of fabrics to cast your eyes over.

Juliette Boysenberry
We’ve also got a new wooden bed to welcome to the F&B family; our Annecy Bedstead. With soft curves and a weathered oak finish, Annecy is perfectly paired with our Emporium, Blenheim or Sienna furniture to create the ultimate French classical bedroom look.

Furniture

Our collection of glass furniture is also new for Autumn and will make a really sleek statement in your home. Each piece has UV-bonded tempered glass which helps give the collection its ultra-streamlined appearance and give your bedroom an extra sense of spaciousness and modernity. Our favourite has to be the console table; a stunning choice for use as your new dressing table!

Glass furniture

Or, if you’re in the market for a new bedside table, you’re in luck as we have plenty of new ones for you to choose from this Autumn season! For those who love an enchanted bedroom look, our Montpellier is the perfect fit or, if you’ve got your heart set on something a bit more distinctive, take a peek at our eye-catching Spiral Bedside which combines a contrasting set of neutral colours with a rotating design to give the bedside a completely unique feel.

Accessories

Accessories provide your bedroom with the subtle finishing touches that turn your house into a home. New for Autumn are our gorgeous Chevron rugs, whose zig-zag patterns will be sure to make a striking addition to your bedroom floor.

Chevron rugs

If Chevron isn’t your thing, we’d recommend our Edmund or Fenton rugs as excellent alternatives for rooms in desperate need of a new focal point. Keeping the cold out though are our wonderfully cosy Silver Faux Fur Cushion and Throw; essentials for those who just love to hibernate at this time of year.

Happy shopping everyone!

Laura!

James Ward

University checklist

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, September 17, 2015

So you’ve had your final college exams, been accepted at your university of choice, sorted out your first year’s stay at halls of residence and you can see Fresher’s Ball on the horizon…but before you get there, you need to pack! Sifting through all of your stuff and deciding what to take with you can be difficult; as is remembering to buy everything you need before you go. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a quick essentials checklist for you to run through!

But don’t worry, wherever you’re going to uni, there will always be a local supermarket nearby so if you do forget anything important, you can always buy extra supplies when you get there.

Bedding

One of the most important things to take is your own, clean bedding. This includes duvets (bringing two is preferable, with lower and higher togs for changing temperatures, you just don’t know how warm or cold your new room is going to be!) pillowcases and bottom sheets. Duvets especially can take up a lot of room in the car but you’ll definitely appreciate the option of having more than one. But, if you do have room for one only, I’d take the higher tog because you’ll most likely be spending most of your summer at home anyway.

Bedding

Clothes

Sounds obvious, yes, but there are a few clothing items which could easily be left behind. Make sure you bring your hat, scarf and gloves and don’t just pack for September when it’s still reasonably warm! November will soon come rattling around and you’ll be thankful that you remembered your thick woolly hat. Also bring smart clothes suitable for job interviews and part-time work. If you’re not taking a car, waterproofs are also an essential item. Relying on the weather can be foolish, and there’s nothing worse than walking to your morning lecture in the torrential rain!

I would say bringing trainers are also useful, even if you think you’re not the sporty type. Sports are a big part of uni life and you may want to get involved in something new. A warm blanket will also come in handy during cold evenings, having the heating on is an expensive luxury that many students try and go without! Having a warm blanket draped over your bed will help keep the cold at bay.

Throws

Stationary

Many students recommend travelling light in terms of stationary and then buying what you need once you are settled in and have started your course. However, that might be a risky game to play and if you specialise in trying to be extra-organised, arriving without your favourite folder or coloured highlighters will make you feel uneasy. But what you’ll certainly need is a good-sized bag to put all of your things in when carrying your stuff around campus. Go for practical options here, it will feel like a long year if you buy one which is stylish, but has uncomfortable shoulder straps!

Going to university also means you’ll have to do your own cooking and washing, so make sure you don’t forget the necessary pots and pans; plus all of your washing detergents. If you are going to university this September, tell us if there’s anything else we should add to our blog on our social networking accounts!

James.

James Ward

National Make Your Bed Day

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, September 09, 2015

This Friday, September 11th, some of us will be celebrating one of the more quirky national days of the year: National Make Your Bed Day. So if you’re one of those people who usually leave their bed to air out during the day, or are just too lazy to make your bed in the mornings; why not join thousands of others in turning over a new leaf this week?

Making your bed shouldn’t be a chore, far from it, and in fact can have many benefits. If you’re a habitual non-bed maker, read on below and see if we can change your mind!

Lara

Making your bed benefits

After spending some time researching making your bed advantages, there were so many that we couldn’t possibly include them all in this blog, so here are some of the best…

Leaving your bed cluttered and messy can lead to unproductivity later in the day. Experts have claimed that with your mind starting the day in this way, it’s sometimes difficult to break the habit and often leads to you muddling through the day until it’s time to fall back into bed again. (This one is from the Feng Shui school of thought!)

Also, making your bed helps if you’re an unfortunate allergy sufferer, like me! This tip is quite well-known with a quick spruce up often helping to keep the dust mites at bay. When the covers are pulled up during the day, less dust and allergens can get between your sheets.

Loire Low End Bedstead

Relax and unwind

Making your bed at the start of each day does seem like an irritating household job, but once you’re in bed again at the end of a long day, you’ll definitely appreciate your early morning efforts. Plus, making your bed does have correlation with a better night’s sleep, according to online polls and surveys.

Preventing embarrassment is another key stakeholder around the making your bed table; having an unexpected guest find your bed unmade doesn’t make a good impression. So, make your bed and avoid the humiliation at all costs!

If you’re taking part in National Make Your Bed Day, share some pics with us on social media and let us know how you get on! In the meantime, be sure to check out our current 10% off softs promotion and maybe treat yourself to some lovely new bed linens!

James.

James Ward

Back to School

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, September 03, 2015

As we wave goodbye to August and the summer holidays, September sees the return of packed lunches, new shoes and busy roads – yes, you’ve guessed it, your little ones are back to school! That’s rolled around quickly hasn’t it? The time of year can be additionally stressful, especially if you have children who are making big transitions, such as starting a new middle school.

So with that in mind, we thought it might be a good idea to try and make your weekdays a little easier with a few straightforward back-to-school tips from some of the best online school. First stop, homework…

Is it possible that parents may actually dread homework more than our kids? We are here to help make this year different! Just focus on these five quick tips and you’ll see that you can do it (and so can your child) without having to fall into the homework abyss.

Kids Bedroom

Homework Help

  1. Be positive about homework

Homework is there to help, not hinder! Encourage your child to do their homework, maybe with the help of positive reinforcement; for example, maybe finishing homework early means an extra 15 minutes of TV time? Dangle the carrot and they just might bite.

 2. Have a designated homework time and workspace at home

Having a desk in their room is often a good start, if not, make sure they do their homework in a room without many distractions in there; perhaps a separate study room would work well?

  1. Encourage and motivate, but don’t do the actual work

Hints and tips are fine, doing the entire work for them isn’t helpful and they just won’t learn to stand on their own two feet. Be careful not to be too obliging!

  1. Keep a homework folder or box at home to stay organized

Organisation is key but your little one may not have developed many organisation skills, so this is the part you might have to manage for them. Try to keep sheets filed neatly, you never know when you might need them again.

  1. Know how to contact the teacher for clarification on assignments

Maybe a quick conversation in the playground would be useful if you’re getting mixed messages from your child about what homework needs to be done. Writing a message in your child’s school planner is also a good way of doing this; teachers see these all the time and can respond quickly and easily.

Redecorate

While your child’s at school, take full advantage of full bedroom access Monday-Friday and start planning some essential bedroom updates, there really is no better time! Start setting up your tools early in the morning and try to finish your day’s work before they return home from school.

Noah Wardrobe

Why not share your redecorating plans with us on social media? We’d love to see how your child’s room is shaping up!

James.

James Ward

Storage Solutions

Posted by James Ward, Tuesday, August 18, 2015

We all like our home to look nice and tidy all the time but the problem is we often have a lot of larger things to fit into not-so-large spaces. Or perhaps you are on the other end of the scale, with too many smaller possessions that are cluttering up your living space? Some belongings are really hard to find a suitable storage space for, I know!

The feeling when you’ve run out of drawer or wardrobe space is such a frustrating one, so I think having a clever storage solution is really important for any home. These don’t have to be expensive to make, after all, the best and most effective solutions are ones which are homemade – because you can tailor your design to your own needs. A few spare pieces of wood, a sharp blade and a good, clearly thought out idea are all you really need to get started.

Re-arranging your interior with the help of an extra storage solution gives you so much more space to play with; small rooms need not to be a headache any longer. We found lots of fab examples on Pinterest which, if you’re struggling for some much-needed extra bedroom space, will really help to turn your room into a well-organised, spotless and ship-shape haven.

Storage Solution

Making Space

One of the most efficient storage solutions involves making proper use of your staircase (if you have one!) The room underneath your stairs are what some call ‘dead space’ – so make sure you fully take advantage and install some pull-out drawers. Shoes, coats, bags, hats and gloves would all fit nicely in here; it’s a real storage winner! A similar sort of idea would work just fine with platform beds which could also accommodate additional drawers. Another intelligent use of your vacant ‘dead space’.

Think welcoming? Think storage? Then think about baskets. Baskets are nice little additions which can be dotted around the home to keep a range of odd bits-and-bobs nicely tucked away. In fact, they could be ideal for parents wanting a more stylised accessory for their living room to neatly house your little one’s toys.

Storage Solution

Social Media

The key thing to remember about finding your own storage solution though is the homemade aspect; almost all of the best solutions I have seen are designed to precisely fit into a certain space – put it this way, you’ll be fortunate to find the storage solution of your dreams readily available over the counter!

If you have any of your own storage solutions, get in touch with us on social media and share them with us! Don’t keep them in hiding; let us know instead! Plus remember to visit our Pinterest page for to take a peek at some of our other favourite storage solutions.

James.

James Ward

The Great British Bake Off

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday evenings will never be the same again for the next two months or so; because The Great British Bake Off returned to our screens last week! Did watching the contestants battle it out in front of Mel & Sue inspire you to rummage through your kitchen cupboards for your best cake tin? Although, if you’re an inexperienced baker like me, you’ll probably need a few handy tips to help you make the perfect biscuit, bread or sponge.

So make sure you pour yourself a brew before reading our top tips and before you know it you’ll be well on your way to being British Baking’s next big thing. After all, Mary Berry always says to read the recipe at least twice before starting to bake!

Pink Macaroons

Baking Tips

A good bake always has to start with accurate measuring units. Weighing isn’t as straightforward as it sounds sometimes, especially if you’re having to use conversions. For instance, if you’re unsure of how many teaspoons are in one tablespoon (it’s 3, in case you’re wondering) then take the time to double check your maths before continuing. Converting grams to ounces can also be tricky, so make use of your google search engine or a calculator to ensure measurements are correct.

Any high-quality baker nowadays not only has an array of natural baking skills and knowledge but they can also rely upon the use of a variety of machines and gadgets to make the job easier. Embracing technology instead of shunning is important. A processor can often create a better finished product than doing things by hand.

Take your time

Making cakes takes time, so you’re much better off going slowly than mixing quickly. If you’re rushing against the clock, try doing it another day when you have more time. Not only is time important but, apparently, so is a high fat content in the butter or margarine which you’re using. I wouldn’t have known this, so I thought this tip will be a really useful one for all of the other first-timers out there!

Lower fat butters have a higher water content, which evaporates and causes layers to bind together, so it’s worth remembering to keep your spread’s fat content to over 75% (gulp!)

Princess Torte Cake

Now that we’ve covered off all the basics, you’re now ready to start. Ready, steady, BAKE!

James.

James Ward

Tropical Summer Theme

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, August 05, 2015

I couldn’t possibly let Summer pass without talking about the most popular season trend which continues to lead the way – tropical! Eye-catching, trendy and stylish, a well-positioned tropical addition to your home can transform an underperforming interior into a swashbuckling Summer retreat. A splash of colour can really go a long way to re-introducing a holiday theme to your room; perfect for the ultimate relaxing space! After all, when are you more relaxed than when you’re on holiday?!

Tropical Interior

Tropical really works well when set against a neutral background and is about so much more than palm trees and pineapples. Instead, tropical is a wide-ranging bedroom theme design which embraces an easy-going lifestyle, coupled with welcoming hospitality and floral-inspired finishing touches.

The Tropic Trail

If you’re yet to get on board the tropical bandwagon, allow me to introduce you to a selection of our tropical products and let yourself be inspired by our Summer travels around the globe!

Tropical Inspiration

There’s only one place to start, and that’s our beautiful hand-painted stools. We have five stools for you to choose from, but you may want to take a closer at our aptly named Tropical Stool for starters. If that one doesn’t quite take your fancy, I’m sure you can find a place for one of the other, differently decorated stools!

Chevron Pouffes

Our favourite accessory though are our Chevron Pouffes, which come in a variety of striking colours to help you mix and match your way to a subtly fashionable tropical interior. If you looked up tropical in the F&B dictionary, you’d also come across our Chloe Table Lamp, complete with a unique pineapple motif. And if that’s not enough, then see also: Geometric Cushions and Black Mother of Pearl Console Table.

To help harness our love of all things bright and colourful, we created a Pinterest board to showcase the web’s most popular tropical items, so make sure you take a look if you get the chance.

James

James Ward

Summer Holiday Ideas

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When I was at school, which seems a long while ago now, my favourite time of year that I would look forward to most would be the end of July because that means school was closed for Summer Holidays! Without homework to do or classes to go to, I would look forward to the next six weeks with real excitement. After all, the only downside were the irritating ‘Back to School’ TV adverts which appeared with increasing regularity as we edged closer to September…

As an adult now though, I can understand that Summer breaks must be a nightmare for parents. For some, potential childcare issues could cause unwanted headaches, but for others who usually have the house to themselves Monday-Friday, their little ones may start sounding like a broken record when they ask ‘what are we doing today, mummy?’

Children's Bedroom

Rainy Days

For children, answers are sought like gold dust, especially from personal experience because I was the type of child who would get bored easily – sorry mum! Sunny days were easier to plan of course, with rainy days being the most problematic ones. There’s only so many times you re-watch your favourite DVDs, right?

So to lend a helping hand to parents without a plan when it’s raining which, let’s be honest, is reasonably likely, I’d thought I’d collect a small to-do list – activities perfect for those drizzly midweek afternoons for children of all ages:

Children's Bedroom

What to do today?

  1. Bake cakes

Get your oven gloves out of the cupboard, dust off your cake making books and let your kids make their own cakes. This is a great low-cost activity for all children and can occupy them for hours and watching them getting their hands (or faces!) dirty can make a great Summer Holiday scrapbook picture.

  1. Knowledge is power

Museums are a terrific idea for a rainy day as most of them are free of charge and are excellent ways to keep your children learning even though they are not in the classroom – sneaky huh?! Their teacher will be so impressed…

  1. Treasure hunts

Children love playing games but try making it a special game from the norm, like a treasure hunt. Put together your own clues for them to piece together along the way and maybe a small prize at the end. Chocolate coins are cheap to buy, or perhaps some new pens or pencils; ready for September!

  1. Reading challenges

Your local library will probably have some sort of reading challenge organised to help pass away the days. Certificates are readily available as a reading incentive and are a good way to bump into their fellow school friends – very handy for organising future group activities.

Let us know if you have any other good ideas on social media, we’d love to hear about them!

James.

James Ward

Win our upholstered Soho bedstead

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, July 22, 2015

You lucky things… we have another new competition to tell you about! This time the prize is our beautifully upholstered Soho bedstead in Romo’s Dauphine Rocoto fabric, as pictured on the front cover of our Summer Sale 2015 brochure. This king size bed is worth £1,499, which makes it our most expensive giveaway yet, so make sure you enter our competition now!

Taking home this gorgeous bed would surely mean your dream bedroom would be well on the way to completion. The striking nature of the fabric will definitely set tongues wagging as your interior leads the style stakes this Summer. If you wish your bedroom had flair, chic sophistication and real personality, this upholstered Soho bedstead really does tick all the boxes.

Soho Bedstead

Dream bedrooms

Writing this blog got me thinking about what other elements make up a dream bedroom and while there were the obvious things like luxurious comfort, gorgeous open spaces or even the most soft of linens, my mind wondered onto some of the more incredible interiors that currently have a home on our Pinterest account.

If you do have a spare couple of minutes, some of these jaw-dropping bedrooms are well worth a look on your lunch break! My personal favourite has to be the below sea level bedroom escape, although you might struggle getting any signal for your mobile phone I suppose…

Life under the sea

If you do decide to enter our competition, let us know on our social media accounts – we’d love to hear from you! Or maybe if you find another truly breath-taking bedroom setting on Pinterest, give us a shout and we’ll add it to our board.

James.

Competition Terms & Conditions

The prize giveaway, worth £1,499, is the exact bed shown on our summer sale brochure front cover. This does not include the mattress, bedding, bed linen or any additional products which feature in alongside it.

By signing up and entering this competition you agree for Feather & Black to contact you about new products, promotions and offers by email and post. You can unsubscribe at any time. Occasionally we may pass your details on to like-minded companies in whom we feel you may be interested in. If you would prefer us not to share your details, please tick this box.

This competition is open to UK residences aged 18 and above provided they are not employees or family members of Feather & Black. This competition runs from Monday 20th July through to Wednesday 30th September 2015. Only one entry per person.

James Ward

Sleep Survey

Posted by James Ward, Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Not so long ago, you may remember us asking you about your bedroom habits as we requested that you fill in our Sleep Survey 2015. Well… we can now reveal that the results are in!

For those of you who might have forgotten, we asked you a range of questions including how well you think you sleep at night, what you do before going to sleep and which factors keep you awake at night.

We also asked you to consider your favourite bedroom style and which bedroom features were most important for your perfect bedroom.

Infographic

Find out how your region measured up on the infographic below. Plus, don’t forget to keep a look out for the accompanying Sleep Survey eBook, which we’re busy working on at the moment. We’d love to hear what you think of our infographic, so please do let us know on our social media networks :) 

James.

 

Sleep Survey

James Ward

Sleep Survey

Posted by James Ward, Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Not so long ago, you may remember us asking you about your bedroom habits as we requested that you fill in our Sleep Survey 2015. Well… we can now reveal that the results are in!

For those of you who might have forgotten, we asked you a range of questions including how well you think you sleep at night, what you do before going to sleep and which factors keep you awake at night.

We also asked you to consider your favourite bedroom style and which bedroom features were most important for your perfect bedroom.

Infographic

Find out how your region measured up on the infographic below. Plus, don’t forget to keep a look out for the accompanying Sleep Survey eBook, which we’re busy working on at the moment. We’d love to hear what you think of our infographic, so please do let us know on our social media networks :) 

James.

 

Sleep Survey

James Ward

Is it time for a new mattress?

Posted by James Ward, Friday, July 03, 2015

If you’re trying to ignore the tell-tale signs of mattress wear and tear; it’s no use, you need to bite the bullet and invest in a new mattress. Mattresses are designed to last around 7-8 years, which makes buying a new one quite an important decision (no pressure!)

But we understand your caution, so that’s why we thought we’d put together this useful blog post and help you through the process of replacing your mattress. It can be a little confusing reading over different mattress specifications and trying to make sense of complicated technical details.

Feather & Black mattress

Spotting the signs

There are a few easy signs to spot if you need a new mattress. You don’t have to be an expert to notice any of those listed below…

  1. Does your mattress feel lumpy and uncomfortable?
  2. Is it stained in colour?
  3. Do you wake up with a few aches and pains?
  4. Do you and your partner roll towards one another at night?

Taking a lie down on a potential new mattress is important if you’re to make the right purchase. You have to be sure on which tension suits you and your partner best; whether that be firm or soft. Testing a new mattress in store is an especially useful exercise if you’ve got a history of back problems and need the perfect fit to suit your body. After all, everyone is different and what’s ideal for one person may be completely different for another.

Types of mattress

If you’re shopping for your main bedroom, our Luxury Pocket Sprung mattresses are perfect for regular use because they provide unrivalled 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. So you can definitely be rest assured that you’re getting the most lavish of mattresses to help you get the best night’s sleep! These mattresses also come with a 10 year mattress guarantee.

Zip & Link mattress

Or, if you’re in the market for a reliable guest room mattress, our Open Coil or Everyday Pocket Sprung mattresses could be just what you’re looking for. When you come round to buying your new mattress, don’t forget that we also offer a 100 night mattress trial to make sure you’ve picked your perfect mattress. If you’re not entirely satisfied, we can exchange it for another mattress.

If you need any further help when shopping for a new mattress, just contact us on our social network channels or visit our Sleep Experts in your nearest F&B store!

James.

James Ward

How to create a Summer bedroom

Posted by James Ward, Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer is in full swing so there’s no better time to introduce a new seasonal theme to your interior! The season of relaxing in the garden and spending time cleaning off the cobwebs on your BBQ is well and truly here and that means your bedroom will need some new summertime additions. Warm weather outside means that your living space inside could do with a fresh update; neutral colours and relaxing surroundings are vital if you want to bring a cooling atmosphere into your home.

Bringing the ultimate relaxing element to your home is our Amelie collection. Naturally elegant and sophisticated, its carved detailing and distressed white appearance makes the range one of best summer options, given its beautiful light and airy look.

Amelie 5 Drawer Chest

White linens

Our Hotel Collection sheets in white are perfect for Summer, helping you re-create that luxury hotel experience in your home – making you feel like you’re always on holiday! White linens set against a natural background or accompanying pastel colours will help you set the scene this season. The last thing you need after a day at the office is a dark and dreary bedroom, so these Hotel Collection sheets will definitely help your bedroom seem light and breezy! White linens also look beautiful when the sun illuminates your bedroom during those gorgeous sunny days.

Hotel Collection

Accessories

The finishing touches to the most idyllic of summer bedrooms are difficult to find, but we think we’ve got the perfect solutions, starting with our Chloe Lamp. Its tropical appearance, with a polished pineapple motif, makes this lamp a summer must-have! We’re sure you’ll love the summery tone that this lamp will bring. 

Another ideal summer bedroom addition are one of our favourite products, the hand-painted footstools. We think these stunning footstools, available in five different patterns, will add instant personality and a pop of colour to your interior. From royal blues to citrus greens, the footstools combine well with neutral bedrooms and will no doubt add fresh refreshing charms to any interior. 

 

Hand Painted Footstools

If you like the look of anything in particular this Summer, let us know on our social networking accounts. Don’t forget that you can still get up to 50% off in our Summer Sale too, so happy shopping!

James

James Ward

Keep cool in bed this Summer

Posted by James Ward, Friday, June 19, 2015

With warmer temperatures looking like they are here to stay, we thought it would be a good time to remind you of a few handy tips on how to keep yourself cool at night.

After a long day at the office, laying awake in bed at night too warm to sleep is the last thing you need. Kicking the covers off seems to be only a temporary solution, but the best answer may only be a few paragraphs away…

Summer duvets

Many will tell you to invest in a summer duvet, and they’d be right. A 4.5 tog is the one to look out for, which will help your bedding feel a lot lighter. Wriggling around with a higher tog duvet is something which I hate so I’d definitely recommend purchasing one if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Feather & Black duvet

Alternatively, try going to sleep under just a bed sheet or throw when a duvet seems too much. Or another recommendation that I know people have tried is putting your pillow or pillow case in the fridge for a couple of minutes before heading to the land of slumber. A little quirky maybe, but it could have the desired effect and help you nod off.

Too hot to sleep

Keeping your room well ventilated is also another tip and you can easily do this by opening as many windows as you can, or leaving the bedroom door open. Try to get cold before getting into bed too as once you’re in bed under a duvet, you’re body temperature is only going to increase.

 

Feather & Black pillows

 

Or if not cold, then try going to bed with your hair damp, as if you’ve just got out of the shower. The extra moisture will help keep you cool for a little while longer.

If you have any other useful tips on how you keep cool at night, let us know on our social networks, we’re always on the lookout for some new ideas!

James

James Ward

Win a Sleep Beauty Hero Set

Posted by James Ward, Friday, June 12, 2015

We’ve teamed up with This Works for our latest competition which, if you’re lucky enough to win, will see you collect the prize of a Sleep Beauty Hero Set worth £55. This Works is an award-winning skincare brand.

The set includes a Sleep Plus Pillow spray 75ml, clinically proven to help you have a good night’s sleep, and an In-Transit Camera Close-Up 40ml - a mask, moisturiser and primer all in one. The pillow spray is also a fast acting natural remedy to help restore healthy sleep patterns for restless sleepers.

Preventing sleepless nights is the Holy Grail for some, so we’re sure this competition will be very popular! But this also got me thinking about some of the other, more natural sleep remedies; so I’ve listed some of the best (and weird) ones below.

This Works

Sleep Remedies

  1. Have you tried Feng Shui?

The Chinese philosophy of thinking isn’t just limited to your living room; try rearranging your bedroom too for a good night’s sleep. For example, some of the most popular tips involve making sure your bed is accessible from all sides and opening windows to keep the air pure and making fresh energies.

  1. Have a Valarian cuppa

Valarian is a plant whose roots are sedative and can aid sleep. Its calming effect can reduce levels of anxiety when you sleep and you can add a teaspoon of the plant’s root to your brew to help you nod off.

  1. Psychology and milk

A strange combination maybe, but although there isn’t any concrete evidence that milk does improve sleep, one warm glass of milk is said to be very soothing before going to bed, both physically and mentally.

  1. Magnificent Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the important minerals and if you’re lacking in it, you might be having a tough time drifting off in bed. Magnesium calms your nervous system which helps prepare your body for night time, so try some magnesium supplements if you think your unbalanced diet leaves you short of supply.

Other sleep tips

Other sleep tips can be found all over the internet, so take a quick search of the web if you’ve already tried the tips I mentioned above. The Sleep Beauty Hero Set competition runs from Friday 5th June 2015 through to Sunday 19th July 2015. You can either enter online or next time you visit one of our Feather & Black stores, just fill in a small competition card. Good luck everyone!

James.

James Ward

Win a Sleep Beauty Hero Set

Posted by James Ward, Friday, June 12, 2015

We’ve teamed up with This Works for our latest competition which, if you’re lucky enough to win, will see you collect the prize of a Sleep Beauty Hero Set worth £55. This Works is an award-winning skincare brand.

The set includes a Sleep Plus Pillow spray 75ml, clinically proven to help you have a good night’s sleep, and an In-Transit Camera Close-Up 40ml - a mask, moisturiser and primer all in one. The pillow spray is also a fast acting natural remedy to help restore healthy sleep patterns for restless sleepers.

Preventing sleepless nights is the Holy Grail for some, so we’re sure this competition will be very popular! But this also got me thinking about some of the other, more natural sleep remedies; so I’ve listed some of the best (and weird) ones below.

This Works

Sleep Remedies

  1. Have you tried Feng Shui?

The Chinese philosophy of thinking isn’t just limited to your living room; try rearranging your bedroom too for a good night’s sleep. For example, some of the most popular tips involve making sure your bed is accessible from all sides and opening windows to keep the air pure and making fresh energies.

  1. Have a Valarian cuppa

Valarian is a plant whose roots are sedative and can aid sleep. Its calming effect can reduce levels of anxiety when you sleep and you can add a teaspoon of the plant’s root to your brew to help you nod off.

  1. Psychology and milk

A strange combination maybe, but although there isn’t any concrete evidence that milk does improve sleep, one warm glass of milk is said to be very soothing before going to bed, both physically and mentally.

  1. Magnificent Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the important minerals and if you’re lacking in it, you might be having a tough time drifting off in bed. Magnesium calms your nervous system which helps prepare your body for night time, so try some magnesium supplements if you think your unbalanced diet leaves you short of supply.

Other sleep tips

Other sleep tips can be found all over the internet, so take a quick search of the web if you’ve already tried the tips I mentioned above. The Sleep Beauty Hero Set competition runs from Friday 5th June 2015 through to Sunday 19th July 2015. You can either enter online or next time you visit one of our Feather & Black stores, just fill in a small competition card. Good luck everyone!

James.

James Ward

Shop our Summer Sale

Posted by James Ward, Friday, June 05, 2015

Although it doesn’t feel too warm at the moment, we launched our Summer Sale today and it promises to be the best yet! We are offering up to 50% off throughout our Summer season, plus you can also take advantage of an extra 15% off until Sunday 21st June too.

This season is all about the power of pattern, and our newly upholstered Soho Romo bedstead fits right on trend. Pair this bold bedstead with some nicely accessorised white linens to create the ultimate look. Exotic themes are also very fashionable this season so make sure you keep up to date with our hand painted stools, which are available in four different designs.

Satin Stripe Bed Linen

New Products

With every new season there are always new and exciting products – and Summer 2015 is of course no different! While our Malvern collection is our standout new product range, we also have so many other products to show you.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which of our new mirrors is the fairest of them all? Well, picking a favourite from this super luxurious bunch is a tough task. Six new mirrors make up this stunning group; allow me to introduce you to Chilson, Stowe, Ellesmere, Vasto, Burwell and Trevose. Each of these beautiful mirrors can make an eye-catching statement piece in your bedroom.

Mirrors

If you love carved detailing as much as we do, our Stowe mirror would be the perfect match for you. This satin gloss finished mirror, which is available in 2 colours, displays real timeless qualities and its neutral appearance allows it to fit in with any interior style.

It’s Summer Time

We also have some new clocks to show off this Summer. Both of them have an old-fashioned or slightly retro feel, but our New Covent Garden Alarm Clock even has a small hammer and bell fitted, which will give your bedside table a touch of classic British style. If that’s not what you are looking for then maybe our Dormitory Wall Clock could be more your thing; we love the Mint Ice Cream colour – the perfect colour to brighten up your bedroom.

Dormitory Wall Clock

So what have you got your eye on this Summer?

James

James Ward

What's your upholstered style?

Posted by James Ward, Friday, May 29, 2015

Whatever your inspiration, we always have our own individual preferences when it comes to bedroom style. There are so many looks to choose from, favourite styles can be hard to narrow down and, as we now offer over 300 different styles for your home in our Build an Upholstered Bed online feature, the choice definitely just got tougher!

If you weren’t already aware, we have 10 new house fabrics and a selection of 12 headboards and 3 base options for you to style your dream bed. So all you need to do now is discover your upholstered style to match your bedroom desires. We’re sure you’ll love experimenting with our Build an Upholstered Bed feature, which lets you mix and match at your own pace. It’s a real designer’s delight!

Simply Stylish

Upholstery choices

The main part of deciding your upholstered style will be opting for the colour of your bedstead, so what could be more helpful than a quick run through of our new house fabrics? If you like bold colours which stand out, choose Aubergine or Citrine to give your bedroom a refreshed feel. If you prefer a rustic appeal, perhaps Lion or Russet could be more your thing?

However, understated charm can be a popular choice, so we think our Graphite or Gunmetal may work best here. Don’t forget to pair these darker fabrics with white linens for the ultimate look. On the other end of the superiority scale is light and airy, and our Oatmeal fabric helps fit this description best with its neutral feel.

Understated Charm

Other calming and unobtrusive options include Natural, Pebble and Grey whose mellow appearance would suit any interior. Don’t be disheartened if your perfect match doesn’t jump out, because we also have over 1,000 designer fabrics you can choose from in store.

Making your perfect bed

Whether your upholstered style is classic glamour, simply stylish or bold and beautiful, our Build an Upholstered Bed feature offers variety like nobody else. Visit our website and try it out today and let us know #YourUpholsteredStyle on our social networks, we’d love to know your favourite look!

James.

James Ward

Introducing Malvern

Posted by James Ward, Friday, May 15, 2015

Exciting news everyone, we have a new bedroom furniture range to share with you! Our Malvern range, which was photographed at Feather & Black HQ last month, launched last week so we thought the least we could do was tell you more about it!

The collection includes both an adults and a childrens bedstead, with its simple structures being inspired by Nordic cultural influences. Made from solid pine, our Malvern collection also has a wardrobe, chest of drawers and a bedside table to complete the bedroom look.

Malvern

For children, this bedstead would ideally suit a teenager who’s quickly growing out of their current bed. A larger bed will provide them with the space that they may now need; perfect for spreading out to do their homework!

Malvern Bedside

New bed linen

Because of its very neutral feel and light-coloured finish, we think that Malvern is one of our most versatile pieces, allowing it to fit in with any interior. If you like the Scandinavian look, you’d be best marrying this bedstead with plain coloured linens to create the ultimate effect. With its beautifully smooth appearance, the range has been expertly crafted to offer both practicality and style to your bedroom.

While we’re on the subject of bed linen, remember that we are currently offering 20% off bedding & bed linen too, so there really is no better time to create a whole new bedroom look. Summer time is almost here and this means creating a lighter bedroom feel to help you feel comfortable in warmer temperatures. Perhaps now is the perfect time to buy that new 4.5 tog duvet that you forgot to buy last summer too?

Duvet

Social media

If you like the look of our new Malvern range, let us on our social networks! We’d love to know what you think, or if you’ve got any product questions for us. Plus, don’t forget that our 10% off free delivery promotion comes to an end on Sunday (19th May) so make sure you don’t miss out!

James.

James Ward

Build your dream bed

Posted by James Ward, Friday, May 08, 2015

Have you always wanted the bed of your dreams?

A bed made up of individual preferences or favourites, designed to look just how you always imagined it? Then Feather & Black’s new Build an Upholstered Bed online feature could be your ideal tool to help make your bedroom dreams turn into reality.

So, to help you navigate around our brand new feature, we thought it would be helpful to give you a super quick tour! It’s really easy and straightforward to use and we’re sure you’ll love seeing your designs come to life.

Choosing a new bed

First of all, you choose a size for your new bed; followed by a choice of base options. These clickable options allow you to select a double, king or super king size in a bedstead, divan or ottoman. Simple!

Simply Stylish

When you’re selecting your bed preferences, our tool also displays useful product information such as pricing and size dimensions to help you make the best choice. Once you are happy with these selections, you’re then asked to select a fabric for your design. This really helps you visualise how your bed is shaping up!

We’ve got a collection of 10 new house fabrics or, if they don’t take your fancy, we also have six other, more luxurious Grade A fabrics.

Bold and Beautiful

Request free fabric samples

As we’re in Spring, I would pick out Citrine as one of our most on-trend colourway options given its refreshed, zesty feel. It’s on this page where you can select to receive fabric samples, a free service we offer to all customers who aren’t quite sure which fabric to go for.

There’s no limit on how many of our samples you can request whether it be only 2 or 3, or if you’d like one of each!

Understated Charm

Added extras

After choosing your fabric, you can then add on additional extras, such as a new mattress, before reviewing your order on the checkout screen.

If you know exactly what you’re after, you can have your perfect bed ordered before your cup of tea cools down but if you get caught in two minds, fear not, you can save your design at any stage. This makes it easy for you re-visit your design, maybe once your fabric samples have been delivered! 

Contact us on our social media pages if you do try out our Build an Upholstered Bed tool, and let us know what you think. I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as we do.

James.

James Ward

Behind the scenes photoshoot

Posted by James Ward, Friday, May 01, 2015

We’ve been especially busy this month at Feather & Black HQ while we worked on some exciting new photography! We’ve got lots of fantastic images that we can’t wait to share with you over the next few months but, for now, you’ll just have to be happy with a few behind the scenes snaps…

Our photoshoot ran over the course of 5 days and involved photographing our brand new solid pine bedroom range, lots of beautiful mirrors and a collection of other bedroom accessories too. Over the course of the 5 days, we welcomed a number of photographers and stylists to work with us on our very own custom made set in the F&B warehouse. 

 

Behind the scenes

Our new solid pine range, Malvern, was inspired by a Scandinavian influences featuring a geometric wall of pastel shades, while our two brand new bed linens were also the subject of much attention. These are called Satin Stripe White and Alena, which is a garment washed linen in sand, pewter & white. If you like the sound of our new products, you’ll have to keep an eye on our website and social media networks because they will be launching very soon!

 

Behind the scenes

Summer Launch

The final day of shooting took us to an offsite location in Kent, where we shot our brochure front cover and adverts in a top-secret barn location. We’re keeping these photos very close to our chest, so if you want to take a peek at these, your first opportunity will be in June, when our Summer brochure launches.

Behind the scenes

Bank Holiday Special

But let’s focus on Spring for now, and we’ve just started our Bank Holiday Special where you can grab an extra 20% off over the course of the extended weekend (1st May-4th May 2015). Is there anything you’ve got your eye on at the moment? If there is, our Bank Holiday Special could be the perfect time to buy.

Why not send us in a picture of your Bank Holiday purchases to our Feather & Black social media networks, we’d love to see what you’ve been up to!

James.

James Ward

Kids bedroom ideas

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, April 22, 2015

If you’ve got little ones, you would already know that children can shoot up so quickly and outgrow their bed quicker than they can say ‘mummy, I think I need a new bed’.

With our current 10% off kids beds and furniture promotion, now may be the perfect time to buy your child a new bed, especially given that they are now back at school after the Easter break. That means you will have the time and space to decorate their bedroom while they’re at school.

Childrens beds

Our favourite children’s bed has to be our Archie Cabin Bed, which is perfect for growing children. They will love the cool look to this bed and they’ll really like climbing up to bed at night! Our Archie range also has lots of other neutral furniture pieces to go with the bed, like the bookshelf, which provides a great storage solution for your child’s bedtime story collection. If you’re tired of their clutter making their bedroom very messy, storage units can be a life-saver.

Archie Cabin Bed

If our Archie doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps our fresh and bright Olivia Childrens bed – made exclusively for Feather & Black – will be the perfect fit? Ideal for little girls and boys alike, the light-coloured tone of our Olivia means it goes well with a variety of other bedroom colours.

For teenagers, maybe they’d prefer the Olivia double bed instead of the single. After all, a double bed will provide that bit of extra room for a sleepover or to help them spread out and do their homework.

Olivia Single Bed

Decorating bedrooms

Remember that changing the style of your child’s bedroom opens up several new design opportunities, even for the smallest of spaces. If you find some inspiration from the internet – check out Pinterest if you haven’t already! – or maybe from one of your child’s friends, it’s worth noting down these ideas or making a few quick sketches if they help you remember the perfect finishing touch!  

So please do let us know if you’ve used our KIDS15 promo on our social networks or if you’ve spotted any trendy kids bedroom ideas :) 

James.

James Ward

Spruce up your guest room

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, April 15, 2015

So the Easter holidays are now over for most of us, did you all have a nice break? One of the most common things to get up to over the long Easter weekend – apart from eating lots of Easter eggs – was to catch up with friends and family, which was certainly true for me! 

That means a lot of us must have hosted large family get togethers and that usually means that your guest room is all of a sudden very busy again. Easter isn’t quite on the same hectic scale as Christmas, but I would say it’s certainly a close second in terms of pre-planning and arranging which family members are staying where. 

The perfect guest room

One of the most important features of a guest room I think is giving your guests a good amount of living space. A small room would make me feel enclosed or cooped up, so having enough room for manoeuvre is at the top of my list if I was staying round somebody else’s house.

Chicago Bedside Trunk

To make a room seem bigger than it is, clever storage solutions are probably the way forward, so maybe our selection of trunks can act as problem-solvers?

Cleanliness is another box to be ticked from a personal point of view, as is comfort – a bad night’s sleep is the worst feeling, especially when your surroundings might not be what you are used to at home. So if your guest room could do with a refresh, check out our luxury mattresses, your future guests will thank you for it! The most comfortable of finishing touches can be provided by quality bed linen, a high thread count will mean your guests are guaranteed to be comfortable.

Bed Linen

Entertaining guests

Trying to be the perfect host can be tough to master and some of you will have had a stab over the past few weeks. I hope it went well, but if there is room for improvement, we’ve collected a few tips below to help you out next time the in-laws are visiting.

A lot of people say that a good host prepares as much as they can in advance, so that they can take part in evening’s fun and games as much as possible! Another popular idea that stood out was the preparation of individual gifts for each guest. While maybe a tad too expensive for large dinner parties, perhaps this would be a good idea for those smaller family occasions?

If you have hosted guests over Easter, let us know on our social networks and tell us how you prepared for their visit? Did you plump up their pillows or just sweep everything under the carpet…

Take a look on our Pinterest account for some great guest room chic ideas too!

James.

James Ward

Enjoy a 2 night stay at The Crown Inn, Elton

Posted by James Ward, Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Feather & Black have teamed up with The Crown Inn to offer you an exciting, exclusive offer…

For just £295, two people can enjoy 2 nights at the AA 5-star B&B based in the village of Elton, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire with a bottle of fizz in your room on arrival.

You’ll be very well looked after during your stay, as this fantastic offer also includes dinner on both evenings with a bottle of house wine and breakfast on both mornings!

A relaxing weekend away

With its thatched roof, wooden beams and roaring open fire, The Crown Inn provides a picturesque countryside setting for a well-earned, relaxing weekend break. If you do decide to stay in one of the B&B’s eight rooms, there’s a chance you’ll be sleeping on one of our Tosca bedsteads too! Each room is also fully equipped with a flat screen TV, Wifi access and luxury en-suite facilities.

Marcus Lamb, The Crown Inn’s Chef-Owner, commented: “At The Crown Inn, we strive to give our customers the perfect blend of quality, style and comfort - with a dash of flair - in everything we give them.

“From the locally sourced food on their plate, the table they eat at and the bedroom they sleep in.  We find Feather & Black products, with their match of quality and style, fit perfectly with this philosophy.”

The B&B’s surrounding area looks to have a lot to offer too, with the River Nene flowing right through the village, thought to have been the inspiration for the children’s book The Wind in the Willows. Or if you enjoy a round of golf, make sure you bring your clubs and play 18 holes at the nearby Elton Furze Golf Club.

Feather & Black offer

To take advantage of this offer, contact The Crown Inn on 01832 280232 and quote reference Feather & Black. If you’d like to see more information about The Crown Inn, Elton, visit their website at www.thecrowninn.org. If you do book a break at The Crown Inn, remember to let us know on our social networks!

Full terms and conditions can be found below.

 

Crown Inn

 

 

T’s & C’s: This offer is open to UK residents aged 18 or above provided they are not employees or family members of Feather & Black. This offer will run from Wednesday 1st April 2015 through to Sunday 28th June 2015. This offer is based on two people sharing one room for two consecutive night's stay at the Crown Inn, with a cost value of £295. This offer is only available through advance booking.  Feather and Black must be quoted at the time of booking.

Natalie Williams

Ideal Home Show 2015

Posted by Natalie Williams, Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Last Friday, Candice and I went to explore the Ideal Home Show in Kensington Olympia, London. As neither of us had been before we were expecting great things; and we weren’t disappointed!

Ideal Home Show 15

Firstly we browsed around the garden section and were very tempted to spend the rest of our day in the Jacuzzi’s. We made our way round to the show homes, one of our favourites being The Gap House. Styled to suit urban townhouses, themes from Abigail Ahern’s new collection were evident with moody blues and charcoal walls. Focused on utilising small spaces as the UK population grows, The Gap House was only a little over 3 metres wide, and designed to squeeze into even the smallest of spaces whilst remaining stylish and functional enough for the modern city dweller. The whole first floor layout is completely open plan to help maximise the distribution of light, complimented by a stunning James Grace glass staircase which really sets the floorplan off.

The Gap House

We especially loved this relaxing bedroom in the interiors section, which used a palette of coral, pale blue and lemon and complimentary copper accessories. I couldn’t help but think our Chunky Weave Baskets would suit this room and give it an additional cosy feel. There were lots of pink accessories at the show; from statement walls to pretty curtains. I was so fond of these paper decorations I am tempted to find them on Pinterest and make some myself! I think they’d look lovely in mismatched shades of pink and purple for a fun look in preparation for SS15.

Ideal Home Show 2015

Another show home we were particularly taken by was the Future Proof Home. Decorated with a simple palette of grey and monochromatic tones, this house presented a spacious and relaxing interior, perfect for a seaside holiday home. Just imagine opening the patio doors and watching waves lapping back and forth, one can only dream! The Future Proof Home draws inspiration from Scandinavian style, in line with the beautiful clean lines of its Swedish architecture. With an open plan kitchen and dining area and an eco-conscious flooring system, Dulux’s Absolute White sets the tone for the rest of the house and helps to open up the space.

Future Proof House

With geometric shapes popular at the show, we noticed lots of fur being carried forward from AW 14/15. We also spotted this colourful kitchen with complimenting mismatched chairs and lime green candles, right on trend with tropical inspiration this season. After a quick pit stop to the champagne bar (can you blame us when it looked this good?!) we browsed round the trading stalls and enjoyed looking at some of the more individual home lighting solutions, such as this hashtag decoration.

Ideal Home Show 2015

Whether you’ve already been, or are planning to go, the Ideal Home Show is on until 6th April 2015. Let us know if you’ve been inspired this year by the new spring summer trends :)

James Ward

Clocks go forward 2015

Posted by James Ward, Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We all love our Sunday morning lie-ins but those who love to snooze on the traditional day of rest will lose an hour’s sleep on Sunday 29th March, as the clocks go forward one hour to signal the beginning of my favourite time of year – British Summer Time (BST)!

There’s nothing better than waking up with a bit of sunlight streaming through your bedroom’s window which, for me, is much better than hearing the lashing of rain on your windows during the colder Winter months.

World Time Paris Clock

While most of our smartphones and tablets will automatically update (woohoo!), some of us will be unhooking clocks from our kitchen or lounge walls and asking – as we all do every year no doubt – why daylight savings were introduced in the first place?

Well, the idea behind the move was to provide a way to save energy by moving an additional hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. This first took place in the UK in May 1916.

Summer nights

Lighter evenings and late night barbecues in cool temperatures are back on the agenda, and that also means it’s time to dig out your summer duvet which you packed away back in September. If you haven’t got a summer duvet, why not take a quick look at our Goose Down duvets, available with a 4.5 tog. A lower thread count will help you feel cooler during those warmer evenings in bed.

Feather & Black Duvets

However, extra daylight hours might also mean your children struggle to settle down at night time because their bedroom surroundings are still quite light. If this sounds familiar, have you tried buying some blackout blinds or curtains to help darken the room? Having very active little ones getting up even earlier can be tiresome, especially if you’ve got a lie in planned for the weekend!

Sleep Survey 2015

Fancy winning one of ten pairs of luxurious duck feather and down pillows? Just fill in our Sleep Survey 2015 and you could be lucky enough to be taking these lovely pillows home! Be quick though, competition ends on Sunday 29th March 2015.

For now though, tell us if you think Daylight Savings are a good idea, or would you prefer to stick to one time, all year round instead? Let us know on our social media networks.

James Ward

Dreaming

Posted by James Ward, Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ever wondered where your mind drifts to at night? If you have, you’re definitely not the first. Dreaming is one of those things that just happens, and despite so much scientific research around the topic, dreaming can still be very mysterious and quite often unexplainable.

One of the most common dreams is the sensation of being lost or trapped, which can be tracked back to a person’s real life feelings. For example, you may feel stuck in your job and unsure of what the future holds. The most likely source of your dreams are what you think about just before going to sleep.

Common dreams

You may think this makes sense, but it isn’t always the case. Dreams can be formed by past memories or experiences locked away in your brain from a long time ago. The fact is though that we all dream, whether we remember them in the morning or not. In fact, studies have revealed that we lose memory of what we dream about almost instantly after we wake up.

Occasionally, our dream world goes into overdrive and we can dream as many as 6-7 times during one night, mostly because our brain is much more active at night than during the day.

Dreaming

Why do we dream?

The study of dreaming is called Oneirology. One of the more well-known theories about dreaming comes from Sigmund Freud, who researched dreaming and its effects. He suggested that dreams are all connected to wish fulfilments and – no matter how frightening they can sometimes be – can be looked at as a way of getting something you want. Did you also know that the term ‘Freudian slip’ was named after the same Sigmund Freud, after he proved the idea using his own examples?

Another less popular theory states that our dreams act as rubbish filters, clearing our minds of useless thoughts and making way for better ones. While I’m not too sure about this one, maybe this makes more sense with your dreams.

I’ve also never had a recurring dream which plays over and over again, have you? I’d be interested to know what it was about, and did it just fade away or are you still having the same dream?

National Bed Month

As it is National Bed Month, which takes place throughout the month of March, we thought you might like to share your dreaming experiences with us on our social media accounts. So please do let us know what you’re dreaming about!

Don’t forget to take part in our Sleep Survey 2015, in which you could win 2 luxurious Duck Feather & Down pillows to make going to sleep that little bit more special.

James Ward

Win Peter Rabbit

Posted by James Ward, Friday, March 13, 2015

Beatrix Potter’s famous children’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit has sold millions of copies worldwide and so what better gift to giveaway this Easter time than a Peter Rabbit cuddly toy?

Altogether, we have six cuddly toys to give away to six lucky winners. Five of them are being displayed in selected Feather & Black stores – Oxford, Cheltenham, Fulham, Chiswick and Henley to be precise! So if these stores are nearby to you, drop in and say hello to Peter Rabbit and enter the competition here to take him home.

However, if these stores aren’t within a stone’s throw, fear not as you can also enter the competition online. All entrants have to do is submit their contact details before the competition closes on Sunday 12th April 2015. It’s as easy as that!

Peter Rabbit

All you need to know about Peter Rabbit

So as we’re running the competition, I thought I would brush up on my Peter Rabbit knowledge and do some quick background reading. I can remember having a copy of The Tale of Peter Rabbit book which shot Peter Rabbit to stardom on my bookshelf when I was younger, but I can’t remember a lot about the character now.

For instance, did you know that Peter Rabbit was based on a real rabbit kept by Beatrix Potter called Peter Piper? She wrote that he was very good at tricks and that his temper was unfailingly sweet! Also, Peter Rabbit's favourite food is radishes instead of the more traditional bunny rabbit delicacy, carrots.

Peter Rabbit on the big screen

I found out that Beatrix Potter originally wrote the story of Peter Rabbit in a letter which included some sketches illustrating the story before it was published. There was also a film – called Miss Potter (2006) – which centred around how the famous books were first developed and featured Hollywood stars Ewan McGregor and Renée Zellweger.

So would your child like to have a Peter Rabbit cuddly toy to play with? Or maybe they’d like to snuggle up to him at night? Just follow the link here to enter.

Don’t forget to connect with us on our social networks if you think he would have pride of place in your child’s room, and send us a picture if you win!

Natalie Williams

Spring Trends 15

Posted by Natalie Williams, Tuesday, March 10, 2015

As the mornings gradually become lighter and spring approaches, I took a trip to London to suss out the latest trends emerging for the upcoming season. Browsing around Regent Street, Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, I visited Liberty, Anthropologie, Dwell and Lombok to name but a few.

An evident trend was the running theme of neon’s and bright colours; something I personally think everyone should try at least once in their home because, well, why not? With hints of 50’s interior inspiration from old fashioned fixtures to pastel dial up phones, the mixture of bold colours and soft tones works well to create a modern and contemporary look. From Aztec prints to tropical plant motifs, the look is finished with delicate glassware and crisp white linens to create a contrasting palette of colours. I was especially fond of these light up bunnies spotted in Liberty; how about that for a sideboard accessory!

Neon Inspiration

Our new spring collection is a vision of bright colours and attractive patterns; promoting the use of colour whenever and wherever possible. New in this spring are our Hand Painted Stools, which are right on trend boasting beautifully intricate patterns to suit many interior schemes. Inspired by our travels across the globe, these stools are crafted in Southeast Asia meaning no stool is the same. Also new this spring is our Black Mother of Pearl collection, consisting of a console table and footstool. Each tiny piece of the beautiful shell is cut to size and carefully inlaid onto the resin base, creating an instant talking point in any home and adding a pretty, feminine touch.

Handpainted Stools

Amongst the vibrant colours, rustic and distressed furniture is still an evident trend, which no doubt compliments the abstract nature of the accessories. I just love this heart-shaped mirror; it really creates a homely feel amongst some of the bold designs. I also spotted these attractive cabinets, pairing complimenting colours to create an over the top distressed effect that is effortlessly modern.

Distressed Inspired Accessories

This spring, we upholstered our Soho bed in two new bespoke fabrics which really reflect the freshness of the season. The paisley fabric was made by G.P & D. Baker and is called Latika Teal. We dressed this bed with our pretty Ladder Lace linen for a botanical feel, and accessorised with our metallic Sanford Table Lamps. Following through with the tropical trend, we paired vibrant house plants with rich, wooden tones such as our Mala furniture, creating a relaxing yet fun bedroom environment with plenty of space for additional elements of colour.

Soho Bedstead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re on a budget but still want to create a tropical inspired theme, we recommend investing in statement items and accessories such as house plants or colourful footstools. Adding modern lampshades quickly eliminates old-fashioned elements of a room, and creates a contemporary feel. The finishing touch must be a bright cushion to set the look off perfectly. Are you thinking about giving your room a spruce up for spring? Check out our Pinterest board full of quirky ideas, from printed wallpapers to upcycling inspiration.

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!