If, like us, you are not quite ready for the Fall yet, here are some ideas to spin out the mellow, sunshine-filled days of summer just a little bit longer.
Look up! If you can escape light pollution and spend an evening stargazing you might be rewarded with a view of a comet or two. If you don’t spot any of these balls of dust, ice and gas you may see some equally magical shooting stars. Just don’t look away or you’ll miss them. Wrap yourself in a cosy woolen throw, light some candles and bring along a bottle to share as you drink in the beauty of the sky.
There is something special about swimming outdoors, whether you are floating in a secret lake or clocking up laps in your local lido. Let the cool water invigorate and restore you – just make sure you pack a pullover and flask of hot chocolate, as well as your favourite towel to warm you up afterwards. Look out for Wild Swimming groups where you live and take the plunge before it gets too cold!
Cook over a fire
Recreate the fun of a campfire by lighting up a firepit in your garden or bringing a bucket BBQ to the beach for an evening cook-up. There is something very relaxing about gently turning a toasting haloumi kebab or browning sausage, or stoking the flames with some dry tinder. Food tastes better like this, don’t you think?
There’s a bounty of berries and fruits out there, free for the taking! Walk along a hedgerow or around some brambly wasteland and you’ll spot clouds of plump blackberries, and pass trees laden with ripening pears and apples almost ready for picking. Arm yourself with tupperware and a decent apron (to prevent staining your clothes) and forage yourself a feast. Make homemade chutneys and jellies to preserve the fruit. You can also collect seeds from vegetables and flowers once they have finished, and save them to plant next year. The promise of new life at the end of the coming winter is very reassuring.
Take a hike
Sometimes we realise we haven’t really seen places that we pass every day. Take some time out to explore where you live on foot, or find a map and strike out on a hiking adventure. Be curious, let your mind wander, take advantage of not having to be anywhere in particular, and connect to the place where you are walking.
Whatever you choose to do for these last precious weeks of summer, we hope your days are joyful.
Sleep is essential to our wellbeing, yet many of us struggle with insomnia or disrupted sleep. Whether unable to fall asleep or waking in the early hours, bad nights can wreak havoc with our health and happiness. So, we’ve got some tips that will help you tackle the issues head on, and hopefully get some proper, restorative ZZZZZZs.
First, the science bit. When we are asleep our brain activity changes, our heart rate drops and our core body temperature reduces. Our circadian rhythm, or body clock, is what controls our sleep patterns and is regulated by hormones, tryptophan and melatonin. If all is well, we go through three stages of non-REM sleep and then fall into one stage of deeper REM sleep (which is when we dream). A full cycle of these stages lasts about 1.5 hours and we need to complete a cycle to benefit properly from the sleep. Ideally, we should have 5 or 6 of these cycles in a night.
Disruption to this pattern – by small children, travel, shift work or insomnia – can have a serious impact on our health. Studies have revealed connections between poor sleep and cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression. But don’t despair, here’s what you can do to help yourself get a good night’s sleep:
Your bedroom reflects the state of your mind, so keep it tidy, free from clutter and quiet. Avoid having screens in your bedroom if possible – the display lights suppress melatonin and disrupt your sleep. So no more peeking at your phone under the covers. Blackout blinds and sleep masks can help keep out even the smallest chink of light, and try to avoid disruptive lights from clocks. Open the window as far as is safe and comfortable to keep the room ventilated and the temperature cool.
Say goodbye to long lazy lie-ins! Although they seem tempting, they can actually have an adverse effect on your sleep in the following days. Remember the ‘Monday hangover’? – too much sleep at the weekend. Keep sleeping hours regular. Try to establish a bedtime routine: a bath, a foot rub and a good book perhaps. Whatever helps you relax and slow down.
We spend a huge portion of our lives in bed, so it’s vital that yours is as comfortable as possible. Choose a good quality mattress that gives support but also molds to the shape of your body. A mattress made from natural fibres will stop you getting too hot, and Smart Fibres have been developed to prevent dust mite allergies. Don’t scrimp on bedlinen either – natural fibres here will also regulate your body temperature, and linen in particular is amazing for staying cosy in winter and cool in summer. Make your bed feel like an oasis of luxury and peace with some sumptuous sheets and duvet covers. Regular (once a week is ideal) washing at the highest temperature possible (check the care instructions) will keep your linen clean and free from dust mites.
4. Food & Drink
Despite the fact that alcohol can help us nod off, it is actually a hindrance to a good night’s sleep. The quality of our sleep is often disrupted, and we get dehydrated. Food and drink containing caffeine should also be kept for the early part of the day and avoided in the evening. Whilst it is preferable to leave a few hours between eating and going to bed, some foods can increase our levels of tryptophan and therefore help us sleep. Replicate that post-Christmas or Thanksgiving stupour by having a turkey sandwich, or snack on a bowl of pumpkin seeds and yoghurt – what’s important is the combination of tryptophan-rich proteins and carbs.
Not only does regular exercise keep us healthy, it can help us feel less anxious and also reduces our body temperature, which signals that it’s time for sleep. Make sure you exercise at least 3 hours before bed to benefit from the drop in body temperature.
6. Coping with stress
The nighttime can be the time when all our concerns and fears crowd to the fore, leaving us sleepless and stressed. Anxiety can seriously affect our sleep patterns, and often the worry about not sleeping become self-fulfilling. Break this cycle by trying to deal with any concerns during the day – speak to a friend (or a professional if you need more help), write a list of things that are worrying you, tackle problems head on rather than pushing them to one side. You could allot a certain time, say 6-6.30pm as ‘worry time’ to make sure things don’t spill over into the night. Try meditation apps or relaxation CDs to develop new techniques to help you unwind and get to sleep. If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes of trying, get out of bed and sit quietly in another, darkened, room until you feel drowsy. Return to your bed, and see if sleep comes more easily.
Here’s wishing you hours of peaceful slumber and tranquil sleep. If you don’t mind just switching off the light after you go? Thanks.
If, like us, you are trying to eke out these last few weeks of summer by spending as much time as possible outdoors, here are some handy hints to help you picnic in style. Whether you are planning a big get-together, an impromptu open-air meal a deux or escaping from your desk with a lunchbox and blanket, we’ve got picnicking covered.
Admittedly, the view below is just about the best spot we’ve ever seen for a picnic, but wherever you are, you can have fun. Ensure you have sufficient space, and are close to amenities like toilets or parking if any of your party might need them.
Try not to overthink this – you don’t want to be lugging half your kitchen cabinet across the fields with you. By taking these essential items you can make sure your picnic goes smoothly, and avoid over-packing. You will need something to sit on: a tablecloth, rug, quilt or beach towel would be ideal. For those who need more comfort take some folding camping chairs. Also important is something with which to carry your picnic. A backpack is perfect if you are hiking or on bikes, but if you only have a short way to go or are in a car you can pack a proper picnic basket. A chic market basket or trusty tote will do just as well.
Other essentials are: a knife with a guard (like this one), a bottle opener (did we mention bubbly is an essential?), a grocery or garbage bag, sunscreen, cling film or containers to transport leftovers home, some gorgeous napkins, and ice-packs or a cooler for meat or food that needs to be kept chilled (use a frozen bottle of water – you can drink it later). Useful extras could include a frisbee or ball, a chopping board and reusable sandwich bags. A clever cheat is to use a cheap shower curtain under your rug in case the ground is damp.
Simplicity is your friend here. A free-for-all pick-and-mix style affair is fun and always looks bountiful, so you can throw together some basic items and still create a beautiful picnic. Grab some good cheeses, cured meats, salads, top quality bread, fruit (watermelon, strawberries or figs are winners), and a desert that won’t melt all over everything. Gooey chocolate puddings are best left at home. Keep your sandwiches from falling apart by wrapping in greaseproof paper and securing with string (like these beauties). A wooden chopping board makes the perfect serving dish to arrange your food on, and accessorised with some pretty linens you will have an Insta-ready feast! If you fancy making something more involved, this picnic loaf looks incredible.
Use Mason jars to store salads or squashable fruits – you can eat straight from the jar, saving on washing up and extra plates. Ensure that you layer the ‘wet’ ingredients at the bottom, otherwise your salad will be soggy and sad. Tupperware containers are great for transporting food and taking leftovers home if you can carry them, but if not make sure you pack heavier things at the bottom of your basket or bag to avoid them crushing the rest of your picnic. Bottles and glass jars can be wrapped in your picnic rug or napkins for protection.
Somehow picnics always seem better with some bubbly, so if you are catering for adults take along some chilled fizz. For non-drinkers, this alternative looks deliciously refreshing. Just pour some good quality lemonade into bottles and top up with some chopped strawberries, sprigs of fresh mint and slices of lemon. Make sure you have plenty of water, of course. Frozen bottles will stay lovely and cold for ages.
There you have it: the recipe for a perfect picnic. We might just keep on picnicking right through to winter – imagine a snow-dusted feast in the frosty twilight!
If you’d like some ideas on making you outdoor space more delightful, click here.
Linen makes the ideal choice for clothing and bedding in summer. It’s magically quick to dry, wicks moisture away from your skin, is breathable and lightweight, and perfect for travel (more on packing for a trip here). To keep your linen happy and looking beautiful this summer, follow these simple tips.
We at LinenBeauty are hereby proclaiming the linen tunic as a hero of our wardrobe. Linen is renowned for its moisture-wicking properties, its airy comfort and being quick drying, which makes it the perfect fabric to wear in summer. We all need those garments that we can rely on to make us look and feel great, whatever the occasion. To show you how versatile a tunic can be we have put together 5 different outfits that will see you from the office to the beach and happily into autumn.
With the advent of summer comes the joy of eating, drinking and generally relaxing outdoors. It’s time, then, for some easy ways you can make your outdoor space more inviting and beautiful. Here’s our 5 top tips:
Add softness and comfort to the outdoors by scattering some cushions. This will instantly brighten up your chairs and benches, and pull together your colourscheme. You can even drape blankets or sheets from trees and fill the space beneath with rugs and cushions for a boho-style tipi. If simple is more your thing, stick to a neutral palette to create a serene feel to your outdoor space.
Ok, so maybe the humble tea towel alone can’t reverse global warming, but did you know about the mind-blowing eco-friendly properties of linen?
By buying linen products or fabric you are helping minimise our environmental impact on the planet, whilst also bringing some beauty into your home. Here’s why we think linen is a super-fabric:
Ever wondered how your sumptuously soft linen sheets started out? Or where your favourite summer linen shirt began its journey?
The story starts with the delicate flax flower that has been grown for thousands of years and whose by-products have been put to a diverse range of uses, from bank notes to cattle feed and dyes to cosmetics. So, how does the humble flax turn into a fitted sheet?
We’ll show you how:
You can read more about the history of linen here.
(Images via: irishgenealogy.com,tristan forward,Skoch3, arts-brighton.ac.uk, linenme.com)
Miami has risen like a sleekly designed, brightly coloured phoenix from the ashes of economic decline to become a city that is at the centre of cutting edge design and architecture in the USA. Once a manufacturing base and a vacation destination for rich travelers in the 1920s and 30s, Miami has infused its industrial heritage with a rich Cuban cultural influence and now attracts a wealth of industry leaders in the worlds of art, fashion, design, architecture and food.
Recently, Miami hosted the prestigious Maison & Objet Americas exhibition, which showcases leading innovators in interior and product design from across the globe. From Lithuanian linen to exquisite Czech glass collections, exhibitors came to this vibrant city to display their products and be part of this buzzing creative community.