Archive of ‘Lifestyle’ category

Iris Flower: In The Garden With Lucy

Although we may be in lock down, it is still important to be in touch with nature. Whether it is an orchid flower on your window or a daffodil in your garden, lets appreciate their beauty. This week in the garden with Lucy, we are showing our love for the Iris flower.

Dwarf bearded Iris flower
Plum Wine Iris Flower

This little stunner is a dwarf bearded iris called ‘Plum Wine’ and when it has its moment it is amazing. It is so velvety and rich and its shape is very elegant and exotic.

Irises have often inspired artists, from early Japanese art to van Gogh to Sir Cedric Morris (who also bred many beautiful irises). Little wonder when they turn up looking like the best dressed girl at the party, oozing otherworldly glamour.

Watercolour Iris flower painting
Watercolour Iris painting

Heather’s beautiful painting captures this elegance and grace wonderfully, along with their irresistible colour and sinuous foliage.

Get creative with Christy and have a go at painting your own watercolour Iris flower. Art is a get activity to relax and take a breather! See our Senior Designers video of painting the plum wine Iris below.

Which flowers do you love? Comment below and let us know which flowers you would like to see being painted into a beautiful watercolour piece by heather. Or send us some pictures of the nature you are enjoying at your home during lock down!

Every month we will be having a giveaway to win one of the original watercolour flower paintings. To be the first in the know, make sure you sign up for our newsletter! You can see all our latest ‘Get creative with Christy’ videos on our Youtube channel here.

 

Meet the Christy Team: Heather Bilyk

Get to know our Christy Product Developer, Heather B, in this weeks meet the Christy team!

Meet the Christy Product Developer, Heather B
Meet the Christy team: Product Developer, Heather B

What is your background?

Originally I graduated as a surface pattern designer from Liverpool John Moores University but I soon fell in love with product development. I have been working in buying/product development roles for the past 10 years and have worked on a wide range of products from baby toys, to cookware and even the exciting world of DJ equipment! I have been at Christy for over 3 years now which has flown by.

What is your role at Christy?

My role is product developer across Christy England bed linen and filled product.

Tell us about a typical day for you at Christy?

Most days involve a lot of communication with suppliers. We have suppliers all over the world from Pakistan, India, Turkey, Portugal, China and here in the UK. You have to be quite well organised in product development so there are a lot of spreadsheets such as range plans and critical paths. I also like a list – its helps me to keep on top of my daily jobs. There is always a lot to manage from negotiating costs, to creating production specifications to checking samples/labels/packaging. We get involved in all aspects of the products journey and plan the timelines accordingly.

What’s the best thing about working at Christy?

The best thing about working at Christy is the people. I am so lucky to work with such a fantastic team, we have such a laugh together and there is always someone there to support you if you need it. The designers are so talented and it’s always very exciting to see their creations come to life. My favourite part of the job is managing a product through its lifecycle from concept all the way through production and into stores and online.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

I always feel a big sense of achievement when we exhibit at Heimtextil in Frankfurt. It’s the biggest international trade fair for home and contract textiles. We have a massive 2 story stand – basically the size of a large 3/4 bedroom house! It’s always a proud moment to see everyone’s hard work come together and presented in such an amazing way for everyone to see. It makes me proud to work for Christy. Especially the show in January this year as our stand was very impressive and had a lot of people talking and taking pictures.

What is your favourite Christy product and why?

I love the Agnes throw, we have it in charcoal and we use it to snuggle under when we’re watching a film all together at home. Treacle our Labrador is always trying to steal it away from me!

My other favourite was our Gatsby bed linen in navy. It’s stunning – I love anything art deco and was so excited developing this range. It’s a gorgeous jacquard from Portugal with a cotton sateen reverse – very soft and luxurious.

What is your favourite quote/book/podcast?

To be honest my love is music, so my favourite books are usually music based. I love to read about the Manchester music scene in the 80s/90s and also autobiographies. I’m currently reading Elton John’s. My favourite quotes are song lyrics. I have framed song lyrics all around my house.

What is your hidden talent?

I can make a chicken out of tea towel!! Haha! Other than that I think cooking. I love to cook and my partner Lee is a very talented home cook – he’s been teaching me and now I’m getting pretty good at making healthy home cooked meals for us. During lockdown we’ve been trying to perfect our baking and I have to say our chocolate orange brownies and carrot cake are pretty special!!

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

I live in a little village in West Yorkshire which is surrounded by fabulous countryside and wildlife. Most weekends are spent exploring on long walks with the dog and then usually followed by a drink in the local pub!

Who inspires you?

At the moment there are a lot of people who are incredible as well as inspirational. In the current situation we find ourselves in there are a lot of people going above and beyond to help others and keep us all safe.

Someone like Captain Tom Moore is also a huge inspiration showing positivity, determination and strength to do something to help others. I think he has made us all stop and think.

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

Something I could play music on, a bottle of gin and a Christy superior soft touch pillow!

What’s your favourite desk snack/drink?

It’s got to be a good old builder’s brew! I’m known to be quite fussy about my tea. I like it strong and not too milky. I have a stash of extra tea bags in my drawer in case someone makes me a weak cup of tea!

Are you a morning person or night owl?

Definitely not a morning person! It takes at least 3 hours and 2 cups of tea for me to come round in a morning!!

Who would you like to get to know more about in our next meet the Christy team?

 

The Foam Flower

Our lovely Lucy and Heather have been at it again this week! Bringing you this gorgeous spring bloom. With its delicate pink flowers and luscious green foliage what is not to love about the Foam flower? 

Foam flower
Tiarella cordifolia

This delicate beauty is the foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia) and at the moment it is flowering its tiny head off. I’m absolutely enchanted by it, especially its intricate detail and miniature stature. It has a shape similar to a much bigger spire like a delphinium or a hollyhock but in such tiny scale that it is fairy-like. Its colour is delicate too: palest pink with just a flush of a deeper pink. As if that wasn’t enough it has beautiful leaves too which long outlast its pretty flowers.

How to paint a watercolour foam flower

Watch as Heather paints this gorgeous flower with watercolour paints. Be inspired to get creative with Christy! See the finished master piece below.

foam flower watercolour painting
Foam flower watercolour painting

If pretty pinks could be your thing check out our Jaipur velvet accessories in Dusky Pink. Blush in our Brixton towel and Pearl in our Luxe towel are both lovely delicate shades and the towels both have bit more of a contemporary feel, great for a Spring refresh.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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