Meet The Christy Team: Helena Mead

Meet Helena Mead
Meet Helena Mead

Welcome to meet the Christy team! This week, we are introducing our Head of Product Development and Category Management, Helena Mead.

What is your background?

I’ve been at Christy for 10 years now and have worked across a variety of different product areas which has meant I’ve had the opportunity to experience lots of different aspects of the business from developing product for top high street names, to working on our iconic Wimbledon towel to being part of the in-house teams working on our three brands – Christy England, Living by Christy and Kingsley. Before I started in product development I worked in homewares buying at Bhs but I always wanted to be involved in the actual product development so I was very fortunate when the opportunity at Christy came along. And even longer ago than that I studied textile design and design history at university so I have always been lucky enough to work in my chosen field.

What is your role at Christy?

Head of Product Development and Category Management.

Tell us about a typical day for you at Christy?

Because my role works across so many areas very few days are the same. Not only do I work with the design and product development teams, but I also work closely with sourcing, marketing, merchandising, supply and our sales teams. A typical day could involve anything from a development meeting with the design and pd teams, phone calls and meetings with suppliers, a strategy meeting with the sales team, tradeshow preparation with the marketing team and a collection sign off with all departments.

What’s the best thing about working at Christy?

The people, the product and the heritage. I’m part of a brilliant team who support each other through good times and tough times, and make each other laugh pretty much every day. We get to develop great product ranges across all our brands, and through careful product sourcing we can be confident that not only are we developing great quality product but it is sourced responsibly ensuring the environment and the people making the product are respected and protected at all times. Lastly, it’s great to work with a brand with so much history. It’s our 170 year anniversary this year and it’s satisfying to know we are still producing homewares to be proud of in the same city that it started in all those years ago.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

It is always rewarding to see our product in the press, on-line or even in TV shows such as home make over programs and even Downton Abbey, and it is always good to see any collection signed off and launched after all the hardwork that goes into designing and developing the range by the team.

What is your favourite Christy product and why?

That’s a tricky one – I can’t choose just one! Our Jaipur accessories are really soft and cosy and come in a gorgeous range of colours. And I love the colours and textures of our Brixton and Carnaby Stripe towels and Fina mats – all of which have I have at home.

What is your favourite quote/book/podcast?

I enjoy the Mary Portas and Desert Island Discs podcasts. Mary Portas and Lauren Laverne are inspirational in their own right and they interview really interesting and inspiring people across the business and cultural sectors. I read a lot but am hopeless at remembering names and authors. At the moment, having moved fairly recently most of what I read is to do with garden planning and decorating.

What is your hidden talent?

Er, I don’t think I’ve discovered it yet? Perhaps, that I used to be grade 8 cello and piano when I was younger and can just about remember the Elgar cello concerto, although I’m a bit rusty these days.

When you are not at Christy, what is your favourite thing to do?

At the moment, whilst we’re on lock down, it is spending time with my family when I’ve finished working – walking, film nights, trying to home school with my daughter. I also like to garden, run and do yoga to relax. In normal times I enjoy pretty much the same things – just without getting my head round how to teach phonics – plus going to the cinema, galleries and out for food and drink with friends and family.

Who inspires you?

From a work and business point of view, Mary Portas. Her book, “Work Like A Woman” is really inspiring and she talks a lot of sense when it comes to the world of work and to communicating and working with those around us. Also anyone who has the confidence to stand up and make a stand for the environment and for human rights. For such young women, Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai aren’t held back by worrying about what others will think and have had a huge impact in their respective areas. Oh and David Attenborough, who is simply a living legend.

If you were stranded on a desert island what would be your 3 luxury items?

Anything I can listen to listen to music on. Sunglasses and sunhat – are they a luxury or an essential? An outdoor survival book, and if the sunglasses and sunhat aren’t a luxury a Christy Cabana beach towel.

What’s your favourite desk snack/drink?

My team would say flap jacks and cookies from the canteen, obviously chocolate, and I’m known for grazing throughout the day so I also normally have fruit and nuts squirreled away too, plus water and several cups of tea.

Are you a morning person or night owl?

I think I am a late morning person these days! It takes me a while to wake up in the morning but equally I am definitely not a night owl!

Join us for our Meet the Christy Team Q&A next week where we will be introducing Amanda King, the Christy Visual Merchandiser.

 
 

Confused about filled bedding?

Are you confused about filled bedding? With so many options out there when it comes to bedding, it can be easy to get confused. From mattress protectors to mattress toppers, even the best of us can wonder what the difference is. Fear not, there is no need to be confused about filled bedding any longer, let us help you to get it right!

Are you confused by different types of filled bedding?

Mattress protectors

Protecting your mattress and your health.

Mattress protectors are important for two major reasons; for keeping mattress free of stains and preventing exposure to dust mites, microbes and other potential allergens.

At Christy we have mattress protectors available in four sizes that fit over your mattress and secure with an elasticated edge. Plus, with a soft quilted face they are not only practical but also super comfortable.

Mattress toppers

A mattress topper is often overlooked but they can work wonders on ensuring that you get a great nights rest. They offer an added layer of plush comfort, making your bed a relaxing haven.

Our luxury mattress topper is pure bliss to sleep on. With elastic corners for added security and a well padded face, you won’t want to get out of bed!

Duvets

Too hot? Too cold?

Considering we spend so much time in bed, you would think that we had the art of sleeping and the perfect duvet sorted. But which is the perfect duvet for you?

At Christy, our duvets come in three different togs and two different fillings to suit your sleeping style. To help you get your duvet choice down to a T, we have created a full duvet buying guide here!

Although the variety of options can be daunting, it creates the perfect opportunity to build a sleep space perfect for you! You can pick and choose what you want out of each item, whether it is to give you extra comfort whilst you snooze or to prolong the life of your mattress. Or perhaps both!

 
 

In The Garden With Lucy

One of the positives to have come out of the current situation is that those of us lucky enough to have a garden or access to a green space are really appreciating the benefits of a bit of “nature therapy”. It has a very calming effect on me and makes me smile to see the flowers still blooming and the new shoots of Spring continuing to come through. In the garden with Lucy is inspired by some of the little gems that Mother Nature is sharing with us, with a little Christy magic along the way.​

I’m not bad at growing things and Heather our Senior Designer is brilliant at painting things, so together we are bringing you the best of what is blooming in my garden this week. ​​

The beautiful Pasque flower
The beautiful Pasque flower

This amazing chap is the Pasque flower, so named because it flowers around Easter, ‘pasque’ comes from the word ‘paschal’ meaning ‘of Easter’. This year it was bang on time! Its stunning rich purple petals and bright yellow centre make it a joy to see, especially when bathed in the glorious sunshine we’ve been having. Heather has picked up on its exuberant colours and its beautiful feathery foliage.​​

Heathers fantastic watercolour Pasque flower painting
Heathers fantastic watercolour Pasque flower painting

If you would like to be in with a chance to WIN this beautiful, original watercolour painting you can head over to our competition here. All you have to do is tell us your favourite flower!

If, like me, you’re inspired by this luscious colour check out Crushed Grape in our Prism towels. Or for a slightly softer take on the colour try Berry in the Renaissance towel and Orchid in the Supreme towel.

 
 

Meet The Christy Team: Senior Designer Heather Hackett

If you saw our ‘Meet The Christy Team’ blog post with our Head of Design, Lucy Ackroyd, last week you will already know that we have an amazing team. This week, we are introducing Heather Hackett, our incredibly talented Senior Designer in our ‘Meet the Christy Team’ Q&A.

Heather Hackett: Christy Senior Designer
Meet Heather Hackett: Christy Senior Designer

What is your background?

I have been working as a textile designer for the past ten years designing for a number of different brands before joining Christy almost a year ago now. Hand painted watercolours are my speciality and I have been lucky enough to use these skills throughout my career. I studied textile design at university here in Manchester and have travelled around the UK since for different jobs.

What is your role at Christy?

My role at Christy is Senior Designer.

Tell us about a typical day for you at Christy?

I work in the design department with other designers and product development. Every day is different from initial design concepts, research to painting and drawing the designs. We can be in the studio, out on research trips or exhibitions which can take us all over the world.

What’s the best thing about working at Christy?

It’s an inspiring place to be. The people I work make me laugh and smile almost everyday. There are always some kind of sweet treats in the office which can mean extra trips to the gym are needed. I have learnt a lot since working there one of the most important things – how to make a proper cup of tea (apparently you need to squeeze the teabag).

What is your biggest achievement so far?

The launch of the first designs I had done for Christy this year felt like a big achievement. Seeing my work displayed at our first show put butterflies in my stomach. It felt like a new milestone in my career and something I couldn’t have done without the lovely team around me.

What is your favourite Christy product and why?

I love the Brixton towel range. With the deep jewel colours and fluffiest soft feel they are the snuggliest thing to have after a long day.

What is your favourite quote/book/podcast?

My favourite book is “everything I know about love” by dolly. She writes in such a beautiful way it made me laugh out loud and cry out loud, couldnt put it down.

What is your hidden talent?

I can bake to an extent. I make some killer cupcakes, they are nowhere as good as my mums but I would say above average.

When you are not at Christy, what is your favourite thing to do?

I love exploring new places, walking, running, eating (especially eating). I also love a good glass of wine!

Who inspires you?

I am pretty obsessed by Instagram. and follow a number of amazing watercolour artists including a favourite helen dealtry. I love all things textiles including embroidery, so the amazing beading and embroidery of dolce and gabanna and ralph and russo. I’m a bit geeky and like to work out which technique they have use to create the effects, I blame my mum for this. I recently visited a May Morris (daughter of William morris) in Edinburgh, the hand embroidery was absolutely mesmerising I don’t think I could have been much more embroidery geek there! 

If you were stranded on a desert island what would be your 3 luxury items?

Is a phone allowed? So I could call my family, watch yoga videos and repeats of friends . Otherwise a puppy as a friend, a lovely bottle of wine and my sewing machine.

What’s your favourite desk snack/drink?

Any kind of chocolate.

Are you a morning person or night owl?

I would have always said a night owl! But during lockdown I have been getting up early to run, the parks are so peaceful and tranquil at that time so maybe I have changed haha!

Feeling inspired by our Senior Designer?

Watch Heather’s timelapse video below and follow along as she paints the beautiful Prairie design. Why not pull your paints out and get creative?!

Heather paints the beautiful Prairie design.

Next time on ‘Meet the Christy team’, we will chat with Helena, Head of Product Development.

 
 

What Your Sleeping Position Says About You

With us spending more time at home, some of us we may be getting just a few extra zzzzzzz in the morning! We all sleep differently, but have you ever wondered what your sleeping position says about you?

What Your Sleeping Position Says About You
What Your Sleeping Position Says About You

A. Skydiver

Sleep on their stomachs, head to one side, with their arms wrapped behind a pillow. Skydiver sleepers have open, playful, and downright fun personalities. They are usually to-the-point, but this can sometimes come off as brash. They tend to be risk takers and seem free spirited, but skydiver sleepers can be anxious and crave control of a situation.

B. Stargazee

Sleep on their back with arms behind their head or resting on them.. These type of sleepers are more positive and helpful. They have an easy going, positive outlook, much like side sleepers. They will do anything to help friends and family, and are extremely loyal to those that they hold dear to them.

C. Starfish

Sprawls out all over the place they don’t really have a set position. These sleepers are eager to give friends support. The’re outgoing and positive but don’t want to be the center of attention. They are more carefree and tend to go with the flow. They are great people to be around, people-pleasers and natural leaders.​

D. Pillow huggers

Sleep with their arms wrapped around a pillow. They show more affection and rather cuddle up next to someone than be alone. Like “stargazers” they care  about their personal relationships. They are more family orientated. Personal bonds in their life are often the most important things to them. They are very loyal to their significant others, friends, and family.

E. Fetal position

This position has a few different traits. They  like the sense of safety the position offers as they doze off. In general, they are more sensitive people. Although more sensitive, they can often exhibit a tougher exterior. They can come off as shy, but they are more personable then others. Studies show this is the most common sleeping position.​

F. Stomach sleepers

Have much bolder personalities on the exterior. They are also far more sociable on the outside, but they are not as confident on the inside. Stomach sleepers don’t take criticism well and problems don’t roll off their back as easily as with others. They don’t handle stressful situations well as they tend not to have a thick skin. ​

G. The Hugger

The hugger position is like the fetal position, however it involves hugging a pillow. This is a sign of an affectionate cuddler. These people like to feel safe, warm and protected, but they can also be strong. These people value strong and long-lasting friendships, are close to their family and they are nurturing to their partners. This position is also associated with absent-mindedness. They love to daydream, think of new possibilities and are good problem-solvers.​

H. The Yeaner

The ‘yeaners’ sleep on their side with their arms out. They are less gullible, however they tend to take a long time to make up their minds. Once they have their mind set, you can’t change it. They can  also be more cynical.

What does your sleeping position say about you? ​

 
 

Meet The Christy Team: Head of Design Lucy Ackroyd

The Christy team is made up of a multitude of wonderfully talented people that we are incredibly proud to work with. We have put together a ‘meet the Christy’ team Q&A series, so that you can also meet the team and the faces behind Christy. First up, meet Lucy, our Head of Design.

Lucy sketching Christy designs
Meet the team: Lucy sketching Christy designs

What is your background?

I have been at Christy for 17 years now and have had great opportunities to design for just about every part of our business, so there have been plenty of fresh challenges over the years. Before that I worked for another textiles business which was part of Coats Viyella Home Furnishing. I studied Textile Design at college so it is great to have been lucky enough to work in my chosen field all these years.

What is your role at Christy?

Head of Design

Tell us about a typical day for you at Christy?

Happily for me every day is different and the job is really varied. Because we work with so many other functions in the business: Sales, Retail, Marketing, Product Development etc the work that comes in to the team is nicely mixed. There is usually a nice mix of creative stuff along with working on strategy and day to day admin. A real bonus is that we get along so well in our extended department, we work extremely closely with Product Development and we are one big happy family. We have a lot of fun and a lot of brew rounds but the rest of the team would tell you I’m not very good at getting the rounds in myself! Luckily the team are very generous and put up with me!

What’s the best thing about working at Christy?

It is genuinely the people I work with, I bet there’s not a day that goes by when we don’t make each other laugh, during lockdown we’re still doing it, it’s just that it’s now through WhatsApp and email. The second best thing is that we get to develop such lovely product, it is great quality that we would be proud to have in our own homes and that gives us all an extra degree of job satisfaction.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

Honestly, probably seeing my designs in amazing homes on the tv! I’m a huge fan of Grand Designs and George Clarke’s various programmes and my products have found their way into the properties a few times and it’s sad: I’ll be leaping off the sofa and shouting at the screen. I guess it just makes me very happy that someone has chosen something I helped to bring about.

What is your favourite Christy product and why?

I think that has to be Jaipur, our cotton velvet throws and cushions. What makes ours so special are the colours we develop, we can be really on-trend and quite brave with what we put in and the shades look amazing on the gorgeous pure cotton velvet.

What is your favourite quote/book/podcast?

I read a lot of gardening books these days and anything by the late, great Beth Chatto is a massive treat. It feels like listening to an old friend who is very kind, and patient and at the same time really inspiring.

What is your hidden talent?

It’s really geeky: knowing the botanical names of plants: Aesculus hippocastanum is a favourite (Horse chestnut) and Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion)

When you are not at Christy, what is your favourite thing to do?

Gardening, or visiting other gardens for inspiration. Or in the hours of darkness reading about gardens. And if I can’t sleep at night: thinking about gardens.

Who inspires you?

I’m really inspired by people who are doing what they can in their world to help the environment. It seems so overwhelming and such a huge issue that as individuals we feel powerless to effect any change and it’s also easy to sit back and blame politicians or world-powers for the problems we face. But then along comes a community group who have done something amazing like eradicating single use plastic in their town and you realise that we can make huge changes if we all play our part. We just have to look at what we CAN do, rather than feel defeated by what we can’t do.

If you were stranded on a desert island what would be your 3 luxury items?

A book full of gorgeous gardens, a bottle of chilled white wine and a Christy beach towel, of course!

What’s your favourite desk snack/drink?

A cup of tea and a chocy biccie, obviously – anyone who says an apple or something equally healthy is just lying ha ha.

Are you a morning person or night owl?

Well I always used to think I was a night owl, mainly because I’m definitely NOT a morning person. But nowadays I’m lucky to be up after 10pm, I think I may be a mid-afternoon person.

Join us for our Meet the Christy Team Q&A next week where we will be introducing Heather Hackett, the Christy Senior Designer.

 
 

Top 5 Towel Hygiene Tips

Now more than ever, we are hearing about the importance of washing our hands to help protect from harmful microbes. As towel hygiene plays a key role in overall hand hygiene, we have put together our top 5 towel hygiene tips.

Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water helps to prevent the spread of unwanted and harmful germs. It is worth noting that the final step of washing your hands, drying them with a towel, is just as important in the cleaning process. Complete hand hygiene starts with washing your hands, but is incomplete without drying your hands with a clean, hygienic towel.

Ensure that each family member has their own towel.
Ensure that each family member has their own towel.

You may think that your towels are clean, after all, you are drying your freshly washed hands! Although this is true, it is not always the case.

‘Some scientists have gone so far as to call towels the most germ-infected object in your home, and it’s likely you aren’t washing them nearly enough.’ Medical Daily.

Towels pick up bacteria from the human body, and combined with the addition of moisture, towels can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Using a towel that is used, unwashed and damp can spread bacteria throughout the household.

With this knowledge at hand, we have put together our 5 top towel hygiene tips that you can follow:

  • Wash towels after 2 days of use. Regularly washing towels will expel bacteria on the towel.
  • Wash towels in hot water so that all the microorganisms are removed.
  • After every use, allow towels to completely dry out. Rotate your towels to give wet towels time to dry.
  • Don’t share your towels with family members. Everybody should have a separate towel to discourage the spread of bacteria between people.
  • Avoid hanging towels to dry on the same hook/bar. Spread them out separately so that as much surface area exposed as possible.

Following these top 5 towel hygiene tips will help to keep you and your family safe by keeping your hands clean. What are your towel hygiene tips?

 
 

How to Bring Spring Into Your Home

Spring is right round the corner, but with the warmer temperatures not yet reaching the UK yet, it’s time to bring spring indoors. We’ve put together our top tips on how to bring this bright season into your home.

Colourful Accessories

Brighten up your bed with a colourful cushion to add comfort and vibrancy this spring. Why not try a matching or contrasting cosy throw to keep warm on the cooler spring nights? Our Jaipur range of cushions and throws mix and match perfectly to complement your own style.

Flowers From the Garden

Make use of your garden and take some flowers from outside and give them new life indoors. From Daffodils to Bluebells and fresh green leaves, spring flowers are here even if the weather isn’t and they’ll instantly add a mood boosting brightness to your room. Get creative and add your fresh pickings to glass bottles to create an eye catching feature.

Freshen Up Your Bedroom

Why not opt for a fresh set of new bed linen to bring spring indoors? Our SS20 range of hand painted designs will lighten up your morning and have you reaching to let the spring breeze into your room. Leaf Fronds, Nara and Malverly, are all beautiful options to bring the sunshine in.


How are you bringing the spring indoors this year? Let us know in the comments below.

 
 

Replace Your Commute With These Activities

Your daily trip to and from work my have just gotten a whole lost shorter. With a large proportion of the UK now working from the comfort of home, making your way from the bedroom to your newly fashioned desk may not take as long as your usual commute. Many of us now have a couple of extra hours in our day where we would usually be on the move, so why not utilise that hour or so to learn something new, or improve a skill.

yoga and exercise
Fancy a new form of exercise? We love yoga!

Here are our top tips on how you can enjoy the extra time you may now have.

Exercise

With a reduction in time we have to spend outside, make the most of the extra time you have indoors. There are a plethora of free resources online to find free exercise routines. Why not try something you’ve never tried before, such as shadow boxing, barre or pilates.

Get Creative

Time to get those paints out you bought ages ago that have never been opened. Let the creative juices flow and see how much more relaxed you feel.

Listen to a Podcast

Enjoy this time to really focus on your favourite podcast or try listening to a new one.

Read a Book

That book you never get a chance to read because you can’t get a seat on the train or you drive to work, now is your time. Why not join an online book club to keep you motivated and download the books to your device.

Make a To Do List

Start each day with a list of what you aim to achieve. With a lack of routine, things can get lost throughout the day, so stay on track and refer back to your list that you made earlier. Don’t beat yourself up if you missed something on the list, just add to to the top of tomorrows list.

Organise

The under stairs cupboard you never sort, the little room that was supposed to be cleared months ago, the kitchen shelves. All those little odd jobs you never seem to usually have time for, well now is that time. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can tackle these and how clearer your head space will feel afterwards.


What are your top tips for using your commute time? Share in the comments below.

 
 

How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep With Christy

We interrupt this blog post with some BREAKING NEWS.

“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory, makes you more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?”

Taken from the best selling author, scientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker’s book, Why We Sleep. The treatment is, you guessed it, sleep.

sleep tips

We all know we need sleep to function. We’ve naturally done it since we were born, so why do we struggle to understand it’s importance and do it well when we’re adults?

It can come down to many reasons, but here at Christy, we have a few tips on how you can get some serious shut eye and sleep well from tonight.

Your Duvet

Being to hot or too cold can seriously impact your sleep, but keeping your body temperature at the perfect point can be tricky, especially if someone is constantly stealing the duvet.

Make sure you have the right duvet for the season. A lighter tog of 4.5 is perfect for summer, 10.5 is great for all year round and 13.5 is best suited to the winter months. In fact we’ve written all about the different types we offer in the Christy Duvet Buying Guide.

You may also want to size up your duvet, to avoid any middle of the night, bed related arguments. If your bed is a King Size, size up your duvet to Super King and see how soundly you sleep.

The Perfect Pillow

Be as picky as Goldilocks when it comes to finding the just right pillow and settle for nothing less than perfect. Finding the right one could also prevent you or your significant other from snoring , which is a sure fire way to ensure a better night sleep immediately.

Our range of pillows are the perfect addition to your bedroom, from King Size to anti-allergy, we have the one for you.

Routine

Sticking to a routine is crucial to keeping your sleep on track. That means winding down for bed at least an hour before you intend to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, yes even at weekends!

Try to avoid heavy exercise, alcohol, sugary foods, caffeine and heavy meals in the evening, as all of the above can disrupt your valuable shut eye.

Sleep Spray

If you’re struggling to wind down and sleep, try a calming spray designed to be used in your bedroom. Sleep sprays formulated with lavender and chamomile oils will give you a relaxing and rejuvenating deep sleep. Inhale deeply and exhale all of your worries.

Quality Mattress

You wouldn’t continue to sit in a chair for eight hours a day if you were uncomfortable or not supported and the same should go for your mattress. If you’re struggling to drift of, waking up in the night or not feeling rejuvenated in the morning, your mattress could be to blame.

Invest in a quality mattress and consider both yours and your partners needs. If you both prefer different levels of firmness, consider getting a mattress that suits you both by getting a half and half one.

Not in the position to purchase a new mattress? No problem, there are a wealth of mattress toppers out there that can upgrade your quality of sleep overnight.

Meditation

Sometimes, as hard as it is, clearing the mind and concentrating on your breathing really can make all the difference to your sleep.

Try to do this during the day with an app on your phone such as Headspace or Calm and use your new found skills when it’s time to snooze.

No Devices

Keep your bedroom as device free as you can. No mobiles, tablets and definitely no work laptops. Blue light from these electronics can negatively impact your quality of sleep and keep you up for longer from aimlessly scrolling.

If you use your phone as an alarm clock, consider going old school and wake up with a clock or wake up light.


Have you got any tips on how to get a good nights sleep? Please feel free to drop them in the comments below.

 
 

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