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.

Summer Bedroom with Soak&Sleep

I love bed linen possibly more than I should. Or is normal. It makes me unfeasibly happy to look at lovely linen and to touch and sleep in good quality bedding makes me even happier.

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

There's nothing quite like getting into a bed with fresh sheets. If I could be bothered, (or lived in a hotel like, you know, Coco Chanel) I would have fresh sheets every single day. Just as well that I can't be bothered, or afford to live in a hotel a-la Chanel, because it's not very environmentally friendly is it?

Let's talk about creating the ultimate summer bedroom. Do you change anything in your bedroom for the warmer months?

I don't change the cushions in the living room or anything else in the house seasonally, but there are a few little tweaks I make in the bedroom for the warmer weather...

I like to swap to my summer weight duvet, but usually keep the bedspread nearby for the nights when it's still a bit chilly. Let's face it, that can happen here in the UK even at the height of 'summer'. The extra faux-fur throw that lives on the end of the bed in the colder months, has now been put away until it's needed again.

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

I also lighten up colour wise, and for summer you can't beat white linen. White goes with absolutely everything, and I like to mix it up a bit with pillowcases - white, black, grey, pink, taupe - it's all good, and it breaks up the white to stop it from being boring.

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

Pure linen is my absolute favourite (don't get me started about poly-cotton - I'm a total linen snob!). Nothing says laid back luxe to me more than crumpled linen bedding. I'm not someone that enjoys ironing, and I rarely do it - there is no 'ironing pile' in this house! So having beautiful linen bedding that actually looks better un-ironed is just perfect. The 100% Pure French Colour Border Linen bedding from Soak&Sleep is absolutely beautiful quality, and it's so reasonably priced, as is their entire product range. The french grey border is more interesting that plain white all over, and again goes with everything. This design also comes with a pretty blue border. I can really feel the difference in quality between this and some cheap high street linen I have - I love it and this will definitely be on the bed more than not!

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

The duvet cover fastens with ties which I love. Not only do those bows look pretty, but you don't have to worry about lost buttons or unpopped poppers!

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

Fresh flowers in a vase on my bedside table always makes me so happy, and popping in just one or two stems of your favourite summer bloom is all that's needed for a luxurious feel that costs very little. Or nothing at all if you have something growing in the garden. A few sprigs of Lavender popped in an empty candle jar looks lovely, so you really don't have to spend anything, but it makes such a difference. For a more tropical look, you can cut a Monstera frond or two from a plant. They last literally weeks, and even months if you remember to regularly change the water.

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

I also like to swap to a more summery citrus scent for the house in warmer months, and I've bought myself an early birthday present in the form of a new Diptyque candle in the Oyedo scent. I haven't had this one for years, and it's so fresh and delicious. Grapefruit and mandarin - sweet but sharp.

I love plants in every room, and the bedroom is no exception. Bring a touch of the tropics in with a lovely Kentia or Parlour palm or a Fiddle Leaf Fig. If your bedroom doesn't get much natural light, both Snake and ZZ plants do very well in low light, look striking, and are not at all demanding.

And once you've created your ultimate summer bedroom, don't forget to enjoy it! I absolutely love stealing a bit of time over the weekend to lie on my bed and read a magazine. Or the ultimate treat - having breakfast in bed presented to you so you can spend a bit of extra time lounging in beautiful bed linen. Total bliss!

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

Soak & Sleep French For Pineapple Blog

This post is in collaboration with Soak&Sleep.