At this time of year our thoughts inevitably turn to the year that is ending. We think back to the events – good and bad – that stand out, and also remember the quieter moments that make up the everyday. This year has seen some troubling political developments and horrific events across the world, but there has also been much to be thankful for. On a smaller scale, we thought we would give you a round up of Linenbeauty’s 2017, and some ideas on how to make 2018 a great year.
So what happened at Linenbeauty in 2017?
A Simple Path launch
This year saw the launch of our new interview series, A Simple Path, in which we speak to creatives, entrepreneurs and social media influencers about what makes them tick. We are honoured to have featured some fantastic guests and learned so much about what inspires them, what slow living means to them, and how we can all strive to make our world a better place. If you missed any of the interviews, go here, here, or here for a taste of our slow living journey.
Slow Living Guide
Inspired by these interviews, and by the issues around authenticity and social media bubbles, we collected together the wisdom we have gleaned over the course of 2017 and created our own guide to slow living. In it we address ideas like: what is slow living, how realistic is it to try to live a simple life and how can we balance the practical requirements of everyday life with a need for something fulfilling and nurturing? If you haven’t read it already, you can find it here.
Our love for linen
Underpinning our philosophy of sustainable and mindful living is our love for linen. This year we explored various topics with linen at the heart. We were lucky to interview Emma O’Connor from Sussex Past who gave us fascinating insights into cleaning linen in the past (including some rather surprising things!), and are hoping to follow this up with more on the history of linen next year.
We also discovered natural ways to clean your house, explored the lure of wild swimming, dug around for great books that will help you simplify your life, considered how to create a seasonal capsule wardrobe and gathered some simple, festive holiday traditions from across the globe.
How you can make 2018 your best year yet
This book is a great place to start. Based around realistic goal-setting and workshop-style activities, this book will help you start the new year feeling positive and focused. You could even buy a few copies for friends and work on the activities together, providing support and encouragement.
Visualisation and mood-boarding is also a powerful way to think about what you would like to achieve over the coming months. Find old magazines and newspapers and create a collage of images that inspire and represent your goals for the year. These don’t need to be material things, like a new car etc, though they can be if you choose. But you can think about what kind of life you want to live and find images that encapsulate the qualities and feelings associated with it, like freedom, mindfulness, a slower pace, for example.
January is the perfect time for a Spring clean, however strange that may sound. By the time Spring comes there will be gardening to tend to and your days will increasingly be spent outside, whereas the dark, cold winter months force us to put our attention onto the inside of our houses. Your home is central to your wellbeing, so spend time walking around each room and thinking of easy ways you could make changes that will enhance the look and function. It might mean a simple re-organisation of the furniture, washing or replacing the curtains, or hanging some new pictures. Or it could mean a wholesale redecoration and revamp. The result will be that you start the year with a considered home that will help you live as happily and effectively as you can.
On New Year’s Eve we have a tradition where we all gather around the kitchen table, light a candle and then write down resolutions for the year ahead. We start with listing things we are grateful for from the year that is ending, and then write down our hopes and goals for the new year. With kids it can be useful to give them some pointers (otherwise it can turn into a bit of a shopping wish list!), like ‘Things I would like to achieve’ or ‘Things I would like to learn’. We then store our lists in a jar and don’t get them out until the following New Year’s Eve, when we review what we managed to achieve.
However you spend your New Year’s Eve and start off 2018, we would like to wish you a very happy, peaceful and fulfilling year ahead. Thank you for reading, and for joining us on these pages. If you have any suggestions for ways to make the coming year even better, do share them in the comments. We would love to hear them.
If you thought doing laundry was a chore, we’ve got some fascinating historical facts about how people cared for linen before modern washing machines and Persil made an appearance. Linenbeauty.com met with textile historian and museums officer Emma O’Connor, of Sussex Past, a charity which runs several historic sites in Sussex, England, and learned some pretty eye-opening things about cleaning linen the old-school way. Here’s what she told us:
Browsing for linen and baffled by words like ‘huckaback’ and ‘thread count’? Don’t know your stonewash from your garment wash? Never fear, Linenbeauty is here to set you straight and guide you through the sometimes complicated business of choosing linen products. Here are the key terms you might come across, and what you need to know to make the right choice.
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? How is linen made?
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 is linen made :
You can read more about the history of linen here.
(Images via: irishgenealogy.com,tristan forward,Skoch3, arts-brighton.ac.uk, linenme.com)
Until the turn of the twentieth century, the only fabrics available were natural fabrics made from fibres which came from animal and vegetable sources. Later on synthetic fabrics became popular and clothing manufacturers started making clothes from synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, spandex and nylon.
We talk and write about linen fabric and linen items made of it a lot. Let’s now take a look to the origins of this beloved fabric of mine, let’s look at the history of linen fabric! Ancestors of linen bed linen, linen tablecloths and linen clothes come from very early days of humanity.
Linen fiber together with wool fiber is one of the oldest used by humans. Linen fibers are produced from the stems of the flax plan. Linen was an important textile before cotton and other fibers as it is very versatile and can serve many purposes. The best thing about flax plant is that all its parts can be used for something – so no part of it is wasted. For quality linen fabric only best stems are used, but the left over parts –like linseeds, oil, straw, lower-quality stems – are turned into many products: lino, soap, healthy nutritious oil, paper, even cattle feed and lots more.