Spring at The Fine Cotton Company

Brooklyn Bed Linen

Brooklyn Summer Bed Linen

Spring is the perfect time to enjoy new beginnings. It gives the best avenue for you to participate in the rebirth of the Earth. It’s as if everything that has been happening for the past year is being cleansed, and the whole world is being given a fresh new start. New flowers blossom to reinvigorate nature’s colours, and the trees all grow a little greener. The environment tries to pick itself up from any issues in the past, and no matter how dark and dusty a place usually is, spring gives it that one little annual boost.

Invite spring into your home sweet home

Don’t leave spring outside where it can only be enjoyed far from home. Invite it into your own home, so that the freshness you can expect from outside would enter your house, too. Let the cleanliness reflect within your home so that you can enjoy your very own new beginning. Imitate the events outside your door and copy them within your walls to let yourself enjoy the spring brightness even within the coolness and comfort of your very own home.

Creating a blank slate to work with

Before buying any products, your first step would be to clear out your old linen. If you have any bedding and sheets that are close to falling apart, get rid of them and try to find new sheets. Look for sheets, bedding, pillowcases and throws that will represent the brightness of spring and the freshness of new beginnings. This is your opportunity to splurge on new things: if you want some new furnishings, buy them and enjoy their novelty.

The Fine Cotton Company’s top buys to make your home just like spring

Make sure that all of your buys are of light, airy colours. Don’t use really deep colours that may dampen the light feeling of spring. Put enough colour to make the room interesting but not too much to make it overwhelming.

Crisp white bed linen, colourful throws, plush new towels and a light bathrobe can be the first items to build into your new furnishings.

Spring is all about new days. You have every opportunity now to create a whole new room, to make something different from what you had last year. Take this chance to give your room a makeover from something old and reminiscent of last year to something exciting and ready for this year.

Find the perfect match for spring with our collection at The Fine Cotton Company.

Five Natural Ways To A Good Night’s Sleep

Are you one of those people that toss and turn for hours every night, only falling into a deep sleep when the alarm goes off? Well you are not alone, as the NHS reports that one in three of us Britons go through periods when we have trouble sleeping and that one in ten of us regularly takes some type of sleeping medication. Shockingly, around 15.3 million prescriptions for sleeping tablets were handed out to patients suffering from insomnia during the last year according to the Economic and Social Research Council. While having a few nights of disrupted sleep causes nothing more than a bit of tiredness, poorer performance at work and irritability for a few days, scientists have conducted many studies that prove that being sleep deprived over a long period can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, weight gain, strokes, heart attacks and high blood pressure. Chronic insomnia is even believed to be a contributing factor to developing cancer and that if you don’t get enough hours you can expect to have a shorter life.

The stressful, busy life that many of us lead in this modern world is one of the major reasons why we are finding it so hard to sleep. And although sleeping tablets can be very effective for helping with a short term bout of sleeplessness, they are not a long term solution for chronic insomnia. So if you are fed up with feeling weary all the time and dragging your way through the day, don’t despair as luckily there are many natural ways in which you can help yourself get a satisfying night’s sleep. So what can you do to get that quality sleep time that you so richly deserve and wake up in the morning feeling vibrant, optimistic and energetic?

1. Your Bedroom Is Just For Sleep

Your bedroom is where you sleep and spend the greater part of each night, so it has to be just that – a bedroom. Your bedroom should only be used for sleep and lovemaking and nothing else. If you have created a work station in your bedroom, use it to watch TV or do one of your hobbies, stop this right now and move the equipment out into another room if at all possible. If you are really short of space and can’t move these activities elsewhere in your home, try and use screens to create a discrete space for your bed. To sleep well you need a space that spells sleep and rest for you; a space where you can put mentally put the day’s activities away and relax.

2. Creating The Right Environment For Sleep

Have you ever had a good look around your bedroom and assessed whether or not it is optimised for helping you sleep? If you are having trouble sleeping, you may need to make some changes in your bedroom, so that you can enjoy your eight hours of blissful slumber every night. Starting with the bed, check that the mattress you are sleeping on is the right one for you and supports your body properly. What about your bed linen? If yours is old, worn and mismatched, maybe now is the time to invest in some new sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers. We humans are very visual creatures, so if you come into a bedroom that is tidy, well-coordinated and visually pleasing, you are going to find it much easier to relax and drift off to sleep. It also helps to make sure that your bedroom smells nice for when you want to try to go to sleep. Try burning something soothing like lavender oil before you lie down for the night, or put a few drops of essential oil on a cotton wool ball and pop it under your pillow. Ensure that you choose organic cotton bed linen, as commercially grown cotton contains strong chemicals that can irritate your skin as you are sleeping and can even affect your breathing. Also make sure that your bedroom is always properly aired, as this will also help you to sleep well. Leave a window open and turn the heating off even on a cold, winter night, as it is hard to sleep properly in stuffy, hot rooms.   If you suffer from the cold invest in a quality, high tog duvet and a hot water bottle to keep you cosy.

 

 3. Keep Your Bedroom Dark

Have you ever thought of how dark your bedroom really is at night? We live in a world full of electrical light sources, so you may think that you are sleeping in a darkened room but actually you may have light coming in from outside, while inside there may be screens glowing or standby lights on electrical appliances burning. These lights, however dim, get mistaken for daylight by our brains, which then confuses our body clocks. Our brains produce a hormone called melatonin which helps to regulate our sleep patterns, but if there is too much light in the room while we are asleep, the brain won’t produce the amounts of melatonin we need. Even though our eyes are closed during the night, our brains can still detect any light in the room through our eyelids.   We evolved in a world where we would go to sleep when darkness fell and there were no electric lights, and would wake naturally as the sun rose. So your bedroom is not the place for electrical appliances with flashing lights or screens. Remove as many as is feasible, and if you must keep some then switch them completely off at night, so the standby light is not on. Similarly, if you really must have a computer or tablet in your bedroom, shut it right down before you start to nod off, so there is no glow from the screen. If light is coming in your bedroom window from street lights outside, it is time to invest in some heavy duty curtains or blinds, or sew some blackout linings onto your existing curtains. As you are winding down for the night, gradually dim the lights in your bedroom, so that you brain is naturally led towards the sleep state and you will find that you drop off really quickly when you switch off that one remaining lamp.

 

 4. Create a regular Sleeping Routine

One of the great things about growing up and becoming an adult is that we can now do what we want when we want. Unfortunately, however, having an erratic schedule could be one of the major contributors to your insomnia. Many of us have lives where we get up early for work during the week, stay out late partying and then sleep in at the weekends to catch up. But sleep experts are now saying that one of the best ways to ensure that you get a good night’s rest is to have a regular sleep schedule that you keep to even at weekends. So it is recommended that you get into bed and go to sleep at roughly the same time every night and then aim to wake up at the same time every morning. And you may even be surprised to find that getting up at seven o’clock on a Sunday morning isn’t so bad after all? If dropping off still proves to be a problem, then implement a regular winding down schedule. Stop doing any tasks that require a great deal of thought and concentration a couple of hours before you plan to go to bed, switching off computers and TVs. Listen to some soothing music, take a gentle walk in the fresh air or have a long hot bath. Read a book or magazine and make yourself a hot, caffeine-free drink to sip. Whatever you choose, try and do the same things in sequence every night, so that your mind begins to associate your activities with preparing for sleep. Likewise, if you are one of those people who just lays in bed worrying and fretting instead of sleeping, decide that you are going to put your worries away for the night and leave them outside of your bedroom. While you are cleaning your teeth in the bathroom every night, just visualise or imagine that you have a box on top of the bathroom cabinet for your stresses and worries. Identify what is on your mind and mentally put that worry away in the box for the night. There is nothing you can change in the middle of the night, so what is the point of fretting about it? If sleep is still elusive, try some reverse psychology. Most people lie there telling themselves that they can’t sleep or will never get to sleep, which is a self fulfilling prophecy. Instead, try telling yourself that you intend to stay awake all night, and see how fast you drop off! You can always decide to pick your worries up the next morning if you really have to, but wouldn’t it be much better for you if you decided to pack them away for good?

5. Drink and Eat Yourself Into Sleeping Naturally

We are what we eat and drink, so it stands to reason that what we put into our bodies can either help or hinder our sleep. Many people have a few glasses of wine or beer in the evening in the mistaken belief that it is helping them sleep. In fact, although they may fall asleep faster, they will generally have a night of broken, disrupted sleep and will not go into the deep sleep part of the cycle that our bodies need to become truly rested and refreshed. Traditionally warm milk or a hot milky drink like cocoa has been the bedtime drink of choice for insomniacs. Hot milky drinks help us sleep because they are rich in calcium which relaxes us. They also contains tryptophan, a substance that the body can convert into serotonin in the brain, making us feel contented, relaxed and drowsy. The trouble is that a lot of us don’t like the taste of hot milk, but if you still want to get your dose of tryptophan, why not try snacking on a turkey sandwich during the evening? Turkey is a good source of protein and tryptophan, and the carbohydrate in the bread will make it easier for the brain to use the tryptophan. Another drink that recent studies have shown to be good for promoting a great night’s sleep is tart cherry juice. Packed with antioxidants, Montmorency or tart cherries are rarely eaten as fruit because they lack sweetness, but are often made into a potent cherry juice concentrate, that is now sold in a lot of health food shops. Dilute the cherry concentrate with water to make a refreshing, fruity drink or add to a healthy, milky smoothie and sip during the evening before bedtime. The reason why drinking tart cherry juice can help you to sleep is that is packed full of melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate our sleeping patterns. There are also some herbs that can be drunk as teas or taken as tinctures that can naturally help you to sleep. One of these is valerian, a flowering plant that has been utilised as a medicinal herb since antiquity. It is taken to reduce anxiety, relieve muscle tension and help you drift into a deep sleep. Valerian is truly one of nature’s natural tranquillisers, and its efficacy is thought to be down to helping increase the levels of gamma amino butyric acid or GABA in the brain, which is believed to boost relaxation levels and reduce anxiety. Having a mug of camomile tea before bedtime is also another natural way of helping you sleep, as it is very calming and will help your body rest. For a stronger infusion pour hot water over dried camomile flowers, and add some honey and lemon for taste. For a relaxing bath, just hold some camomile teabags under the hot water taps as you are running it and then just get in and luxuriate. One of the more unusual natural foods I came across that promotes sleep is lettuce. Apparently, including lettuce in your evening snack gives you a supply of a substance called lactucarium, a natural opiate found in the white, milky sap at the base of the lettuce heart and leaves that soothes and sedates your nervous system.

So, as you can see, if you have trouble sleeping there are many natural ways of aiding sleep that you can try. Everyone is different, so you may find some things work for you better than others, but I’m sure that very soon you will be enjoying a great natural night’s sleep!

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the information given in this article about natural aids to sleeping should in no way be used to replace advice given to you by your doctor or health professional. If you suffer from a serious medical condition or are at all concerned, then you should always consult your doctor before changing your diet or starting to take any form of dietary supplement or natural remedy.

Getting Your Bed ready for Autumn

There’s a bit of a chill in the air and it seems to be getting darker slightly earlier – Autumn is on its way.

We’ve been rather spoiled this summer with great weather for most of us. It’s now time to prepare your bed for Autumn.

It’s always good to start at the base and work up.

  1. Take off your sheets and valance and if possible vacuum the mattress and divan base. You may want to look at our TuckTop Valance – in tests it took less than 1 minute to put it in place and 17 seconds to remove! And that’s without lifting the mattress at all
  2. Check your mattress topper (if you have one). Summer was all about keeping cool; Autumn is about keeping at the right temperature – not too hot but not too cold.
    There are different options – Silk is great for all year round; Wool and Alpaca are brilliant for temperature control; Duck Down and Goose Down can make you feel like you’re cocooned in a state of bliss!
  3. Are your sheets the best for you? Our crisp cotton percale sheets are beautiful but some people love the warmer feel of the sateen or brushed cotton flannelette. Make sure you choose an extra deep fitting sheet at there’s nothing worse than your bottom sheet pinging off in the night. Think about a duvet cover in the fabric you love so you’ll feel nice and cosy when you get into bed.
  4. Do you need to change your duvet? You may have been using a 4.5 Tog duvet through the summer. Generally a 9.0 Tog duvet is a better option for the Autumn.
  5. Layering! To finish off your bed, it’s a good idea to layer with a throw or blanket. If you’re too hot, the blanket can be put to one side.

Snuggly bed linen for Autumn nights

The Luxury Sands Hotel in Margate

If you’re looking for a lovely hotel in the UK, Sands Hotel in Margate may just fit the bill.

sands hotel

sands hotel

Overlooking the beautiful Margate bay, Sands creates a special environment where you go to relax and enjoy time spent in a beautifully restored building, with stunning views out to sea.

In the design and decor the magnificent seascape was used as inspiration.

Where possible all natural materials have been used, silk pocket-sprung mattresses, sumptuous but hypoallergenic silk duvets and pillows combined with top quality Egyptian cotton linens.

The Fine Cotton Company was delighted to supply the luxurious bed linens to Sands Hotel.

 

The Luxurious Fontevraud Abbey Hotel opens in the Loire Valley

After years of work, the luxurious Fontevraud Abbey Hotel has opened it’s doors to the public.

The Fine Cotton Company was delighted to supply all the bespoke luxury organic bedlinen to the hotel in time for their opening.

Fontevraud Abbey Hotel

Fontevraud Abbey Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Royal Abbey of Fontevraud nestles in the heart of the Loire Valley between Touraine and Anjou.

A few kilometres from the towns of Saumur and Chinon, Fontevraud Abbey is a major historical monument amongst the Loire Valley Châteaux. Founded in the 12th century, it was a monastery for over 700 years until it was transformed into a prison.

Today, Fontevraud is home to an ambitious arts and cultural program around the theme of a contemporary city.

 

Tips for Making a Comfortable Bed

There’s nothing like the feeling of getting into a comfortable bed.

If you’ve just taken the BED MOT or if your bed has seen better days, it may be time to think about investing in a new one.

If you want to improve the comfort of your current bed, here are a few tips for doing just that.

Start with a deep filled mattress enhancer – brilliant for a comfortable night’s sleep. Try to use a natural, breathable one to prevent overheating.

Next put on the mattress protector in 100% cotton. This fits over the topper and should be changed regularly.

Then put on a good quality bottom sheet – if you’re using a fitted sheet, make sure it’s extra deep so it doesn’t ping off in the night. If you use a flat sheet, ensure that it’s tucked in properly so it doesn’t become wrinkled as you are sleeping.

As you spend between a quarter and a third of your life sleeping, it is important that you are as comfortable as possible.   Invest in a natural duvet to ensure it is breathable to prevent you overheating. There are many types including silk, goose down, alpaca and wool. Pick the correct Tog rating to suit you and the heat in your home.

Pillows need to be comfortable and breathable – pick a pillow that suits the way you sleep.

Cover your duvet and pillows with good quality, breathable natural duvet cover and pillowcases.

Have a light throw or blanket in a luxurious lambswool angora or cashmere to add an extra layer.

It’s National Bed Month

March is National Bed Month and Lisa Artis from the Sleep Council is urging everyone to take the Bed MOT

Is Your Bed Up To Scratch This Bed Month?

By Lisa Artis, the Sleep Council

Did you know that it’s National Bed Month from March 1st?

And no, that doesn’t mean you can stay in bed for a month! But it does mean that it’s a great time to think about the little love in your life – because let’s face it, who doesn’t love their bed?

So this Bed Month, I am urging you to take to our BED MOT and find out if your bed is up to scratch. If it’s not, now’s the perfect opportunity to buy that new bed!

You may not realise but an uncomfortable, unsupportive bed makes a huge difference to how well you sleep.  Our own research a few years back found that when replacing an uncomfortable bed, a new bed was associated with an increase of 42 minutes sleep – who wouldn’t want that?

Go on, take the TEST – you may be surprised!

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