It's What's Inside That Counts [Soak & Sleep]

I'm the first to admit that I'm, well, kind of shallow. I care too much about what my house looks like, and I only ever share the pretty bits looking their best. There are a LOT of not so pretty bits in my house - the large hole in the bedroom ceiling, is probably the top of the list - the result of an ongoing mystery leak from the shower above, which we just can't seem to locate to fix properly. But you'll not see that on my Instagram feed anytime soon, no matter how much anyone campaigns to 'keep it real'. The pretty bits are real too, right?

I like escapism, not realism - I've never liked depressing films - give me a bit of Notting Hill over Manchester by the Sea any day. And who says you can't live in a fairytale? Even if it's just a bit, every now and then.

So yeah, I know a lot about things that look pretty. I also find it terribly dull when we have to spend money on things that give no visual pleasure. Heating, gutters, plumbing, electrics - such an annoying way to have to part with money, don't you think?

But recently I was forced to get over myself when I realised that despite our beautiful new-look bedroom, that all was not as it seemed.

My husband was waking every morning, with cold-like allergy symptoms, and snuffling and sneezing his way through the morning routine. On repeat.

It occurred to me that although I'd replaced nearly everything that you could see in our bedroom, that I'd not addressed one of the most important things - I had completely ignored the pillows and duvet. On closer inspection, what was left of our old pillows and duvet, was somewhat disturbing...

The feather filling in the duvet, had all but disappeared - presumably into an allergy inducing pile of feather dust, leaving a fair few of the pockets completely empty. No wonder I'd had to add so many extra blankets during the winter! The pillows were comfy enough, or at least they were what we were used to, but in reality, they were probably more full of dust mites than feathers, and this thought made my skin crawl. I realised that our duvet was more than FIFTEEN YEARS OLD, and our pillows, not much younger. Natural fibres will deteriorate over time, and I'm pretty sure the experts would be horrified at the idea of fourteen year old pillows. As am I, in hindsight.

I could ignore it no longer - our pillows and duvet had to go. It was clear that Ed was actually allergic to our bed. Eww!

My friends at Soak & Sleep came to the rescue and offered all sorts of helpful advice on what we should go for. They suggested a wool duvet, which I really loved the idea of as it's self-adjusting and will naturally adapt for cold-sleepers (me), and hot-sleepers (Ed). But because I'm shallow (and stubborn), I wanted a Duck Feather and Down all season duvet because they're big and puffy and I like big and puffy. I admit I'm still super intrigued by the wool, and they make perfect sense if your partner is the opposite heat-wise to you, so one day I'll probably go down that route. If you're less shallow and stubborn than me, I suggest you give one a go.

That said, I'm super happy with the duvet I chose. The all-season means you get two duvets (a 9 tog, and a 4.5 tog), that button together for the coldest months to keep you super cosy. At the moment we have just the 9 tog on, but I need to swap that now for just the 4.5 tog for the warmer months.

And there's nothing better than your duvet gently sinking around you when you get into bed. I just love that feeling!

As for pillows, Soak & Sleep suggested the Ultimate Hungarian Goose Down Pillows for Ed, because he's predominantly a side sleeper and likes a firmer pillow, and a pair of Duck Feather & Down Pillows for me, as I'm mostly a front sleeper and like a soft pillow. I try to be a side sleeper, but I always end up face down!

Images: Soak & Sleep
Clockwise from top left: Feather & Down All Seasons Duvet, Memory Foam Pillow, Duck Feather & Down Pillows, Ultimate Hungarian Down Pillow

They also suggested a Memory Foam Pillow to try to encourage me to sleep on my side more (I'd love to be a side or back sleeper, so much better for your back and, er, face!).

As for the memory foam pillow, the jury is still out. I think it would be great if I was less of a restless sleeper, but since the arrival of the new pillows I've been taking more notice of how I sleep, and I've realised that when I sleep on my front, I push all pillows away! However, the Duck Feather & Down pillows have definitely made me more comfortable, and they actually encourage me to stay sleeping on my side longer. I think they're a great all-rounder - super comfy and soft and squishy and they're most definitely my favourites.

And I'm happy to report that Ed loves his pillows and has stopped waking with cold-like allergy symptoms every morning. Result.

Image: Soak & Sleep

So, super-comfy, cosy when you want it to be, lofty duvet and pillows are in place, and I'm now another step closer to achieving the boutique hotel bedroom of my dreams. I still have a few more pieces of the puzzle missing, but watch this space because all but one of them are actually in place, or about to be!

The moral of the story is, sometimes, it's important to worry about the practical things, and not just the pretty things, because it's what's inside that counts!

This post is in collaboration with Soak & Sleep.