Archive of ‘Tips & Tricks’ category

#ChristyLovesWimbledon: Cocktail Making with Lanson, with The Ana Mum Diary

Strawberries and champagne – two Wimbledon must-haves that are the perfect accompaniment for an afternoon of tennis and sun.

Luckily, our lovely friend, Amanda, from The Ana Mum Diary is here to share her perfectly simple yet delicious champagne cocktail recipe that only consists of three ingredients. Where do we sign up?

For this recipe, all you will need is:

  • 1 punnet of strawberries – approximately 400g
  • 2 mint leaves
  • 1 bottle of Champagne

Amanda’s top tip: “if you can buy or grow wild or Alpine strawberries, they taste amazing.”

Firstly, take your punnet of strawberries and pull off the green stems and leaves, then add to a blender with two mint leaves for a fresh kick and blitz these up until they make a puree.  

If you have a particularly sweet tooth or your strawberries aren’t in season, feel free to add a little sugar syrup, but if the strawberries are ripe (which they should be in July), your puree should be sweet enough from the natural sugars in the fruit.

Next, add a three teaspoons of your puree into a champagne flute, and top off with ice cold champagne. Et voila, the perfect summer cocktail to accompany an afternoon of spectatorship.

Amanda says: “This should make enough for one or two bottles of champagne depending on how strong you want the strawberry taste to come though. If you’re feeling daring, a slight variation on the recipe would be to add a teaspoon of brandy to each champagne glass too.”

Enjoy!

 

 

#ChristyLovesWimbledon: Wimbledon Crafts, with Along Came Cherry

Wimbledon is now in full swing which means that in Britain, summer has officially arrived. If you are planning any Wimbledon themed parties or BBQs then our friend, Jess, from Along Came Cherry, is here with some Wimbledon inspired crafts this Summer. We’ve got our scissors at the ready…

First up, is this impressive- looking tennis racket garland that may look complicated, but is actually rather easy to master.

For this garland you will need:

  • A small scrap of cardboard
  • 1x glue gun
  • 1 roll of white yarn
  • 1 metre of felt (Jess has used white and grey but you could use any colour you wish)
  • 1 pair of scissors

To start, take your cardboard and cut the outline of a tennis racket shape out of the cardboard, ensuring to cut a hole in the middle for your racket wire. This should be cut to the size that you want your rackets, but we would recommend 10cm x 5cm.

Next, take your cardboard template and use this to cut out racket shapes in the felt until you have 15 or so rackets to hang on your garland.

Then, cut small strands of yarn to fit inside your rackets. About 4 pieces of yarn per racket should make it look detailed enough. Then (carefully) use your glue gun to attach the yarn to your felt in a lattice fashion.

Finally, cut a piece of yarn to the desired length of your garland, and use the glue gun to attach your completed rackets to the string. Once fully dried, hang up over your fireplace or attach each end to a tree for the perfect Wimbledon decoration.

Now, what would a Wimbledon party be without a celebration of Strawberries? This next garland will ensure that once all your guests have snaffled the strawberries, you’ll still have motifs of the fashionable fruit dotted around your Wimbledon party.

For the strawberry garland, you will need:

  • 1 metre of red felt
  • 1 metre of green felt
  • Needle and thread (in green or red)
  • 1 pair of scissors

Start by cutting a strawberry shape (similar to a heart shape) out of the red felt until you have around 15 strawberries. Next, take the green felt and cut out the foliage to sit on top of the strawberry.

Then take your thread and stitch the foliage to the strawberry. Once you have stitched them together, leave around 10cm of thread and stitch the next strawberry together. Not only will the thread attach you two pieces of felt together, but it will also provide the integral structure for your garland. And you’re finished!

Not only are both garlands really simple to make, but they provide you and your family with a great afternoon of activities and some fabulous handmade decoration for the sporting party of the year.

 

#ChristyLovesWimbledon: Bringing Wimbledon In To Your Home, with Love Chic Living

As you may have already guessed, the team here at Christy HQ can’t get enough of Wimbledon this year, and like a lot of people, we eat, breath and sleep tennis at this time of year.

By why should it just stop at the odd Wimbledon-themed party once a year? Why not take some inspiration from the court and bring it into our homes for the ultimate summer upgrade?

Luckily, our friend, Jen, from Love Chic Living, is also an avid Wimbledon fan and is here to help discover the ultimate in tennis-inspired home décor.

Upcycling Tennis Racquets

Credit: Houzz

This first idea is a nifty DIY project that will transform a vintage tennis racquet (these can be found online or in most charity shops) into a fabulous multi-purpose addition to your hallway.

Jen says: “As above, you can turn them into great wall hooks in the entrance hallway, or use them in a wall collage or display, or even add a few little hooks to them to store your jewellery.”

We think it’s a must for any tennis lover. What would you use yours for?

Tennis Wallpaper

Credit: NOTHS

Next up is this beautifully intricate tennis-motif wallpaper from Cazalet Designs. It features a delicate design on a lush green background which makes the piece simultaneously bold yet subtle. It’s fun without being too quirky and wouldn’t jar with other décor pieces.

Jen adds: “Coordinated as in the picture with bright contemporary décor, it looks cool without being kitsch. This would be ideal as a statement wallpaper or even an all over pattern in a smaller room.”

Towels

Now, how could we mention tennis-inspired decor without including our beautiful range of Wimbledon textiles? Possibly the easiest way to incorporate the sports-luxe look into your home.

Jen’s favourite is the Wimbledon Sports Towel in white. She says: “With just a nod to the tennis scene, this is a bang on-trend way to add some tennis-inspired interiors to your home”.

Vintage Wall Art

Credit: Etsy

If like us, you can’t get enough of the industrial interiors trend that is everywhere at the moment, this next piece from Etsy will be perfect for you.

A fan or the piece, Jen adds: “I just love this piece, it’s so different, stylish and not obvious at all. For the diehard tennis fan, a piece like this is a must. Perfect displayed on its own or as part of a larger wall display, maybe even with the upcycled vintage tennis racquets we mentioned earlier.

 

#ChristyLovesWimbledon: Guide To Wimbledon Etiquette, with William Hanson

Also known as The Championships, Wimbledon is arguably the most prestigious tennis event in the world and has been held in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. This year, the two-week event starts on the 3rd July and to ensure that you’re properly prepared, we spoke to William Hanson, the UK’s leading etiquette coach and expert,  who gives his advice for those attending Wimbledon for the first time. Follow his advice, and in no time you’ll be sipping on Pimms on the Centre Court in no time.

Dress code

William Hanson says: “Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for spectators (they need not wear all white) “It is generally acknowledged that Wimbledon is an ‘occasion’ and should be treated like such and so smarter dress is worn.

“Panama’s for the men and large brimmed sunhats for women are a good idea, as indeed a good pair of sunglasses.”

Advice for spectators

If this is your first time at Wimbledon, there’s a few things to note to avoid any potential scowls from fellow attendees.

  1. If you’re inside a court watching a game, your phone must be switched off
  2. Similarly, chatting is kept to an absolute minimum
  3. No flashlight photography
  4. No selfie sticks

William adds: “For first-timers, it is important to know that you cannot leave or take your seats whilst a game is in play. Wardens control the spectator entrances and exits and sometimes you can wait anything up to fifteen minutes before the game is completed.”

Celebrations and commiserations

When it comes to cheering on your favourite player, William says there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to show your appreciation: “I would suggest that spectators do not make a song and dance about any British sporting prowess or success that Mr Murray may have: flag waving and nice cheering (not during actual play, mind you) is preferred – there’s no need to go overboard.”

Similarly, if the player you’re routing for doesn’t win, keep that classic stiff upper lip that us Brits are famous for. William says: “If Murray does not do as well as hoped, one should remember to be gracious in defeat. Congratulate the victor and do not sulk churlishly or lash out.”

 Get the perfect selfie before heading to Wimbledon and we’ll see you court side.

Love, Christy

 

Feels Like Home: 3 Steps to Eating Well at Home

Feels Like Home: 3 Steps to Eating Well at Home

By Julie Montagu, The Flexi Foodie, http://www.juliemontagu.com

Eating well at home

Eating well at home is a concept that many people over-complicate due to the endless amounts of health and dietary advice in existence. Getting back to basics is undoubtedly the best way to dramatically improve your eating habits and get on track to optimum health and wellbeing.

Maintaining a healthy, happy atmosphere in the home is a brilliant way to motivate yourself and your family to fill the kitchen cupboards with nothing but goodness. This is one of the core concepts of the COTTON USA & Christy ‘Feels Like Home’ Campaign of 2016. Here are my top 3 tips for eating well at home.

1) Go Organic

Shopping organic is a good way to eradicate harmful pesticides from your home and your dinner table. Pesticides are used during the production of many foods but can actually disrupt your hormones and cause ill-health. Growing your own food is arguably the best way to be sure that you are avoiding pesticides, but opting for organically grown produce will also keep these harmful chemicals at bay.

2) Be Natural

Removing all packaged and processed foods from your shopping list is an incredibly positive step towards always eating well at home. These foods can contain incredibly high amounts of fat, calories and additives, and not a lot of the good stuff! Opt instead for a wide variety of plant-based foods and natural whole grain products. In doing so, you will flood your home and your body with healthy, antioxidant rich foods that will boost your overall wellbeing.

3) Get Together

Bringing your family together every night for a meal is a great way to encourage healthy eating habits in the home. Many people find that they have much more motivation to cook a deliciously nutritious meal when they are going to be sharing it with their loved ones. Gathering around the table to eat dinner is also the perfect way for the whole family to unwind after a busy day.

As you can see, eating well at home is simple and effortless when you indulge in a little forward planning. By making slight alterations to your existing routine and choices you can quickly create a healthier, happier home! Christy Supreme Hygro® towels carry the COTTON USA international trademark for quality U.S cotton-rich products. They are a great choice for creating a traditional yet stylish look in your home! You can win your own set of towels by entering this home makeover competition: http://www.christy-towels.com/win-makeover-feelslikehome or take a look at how to fold the perfect towel for your guests in this video.

 

Feels Like Home: How to Clean and Organise your Home

Feels Like Home: How to Clean and Organise your Home

Cleaning and organising the home

By Nicola Burt, Designer and Tutor, http://www.klc.co.uk

We all have such busy lives these days it is easy to become overwhelmed by household tasks, preventing us from seeing our home as a sanctuary, where we can de-stress and unwind after a hard day’s work.

My name is Nicola Burt. I’m an interior designer and tutor at KLC School of Design, and I want to share with you some simple tips for decluttering and organising your home.

These are not big, drastic changes, but small, everyday things you can incorporate into your life to conquer the clutter.

Do you remember your mother always said ‘Carry something with you when you move from room to room. Never leave a room empty-handed’? She was right!

Running to the bathroom? On your way, throw away that chocolate bar wrapper that was left on the coffee table.

Going upstairs? Take your books with you and put them on your bedside table.

Taking a break from folding laundry? Bring the clean kitchen towels with you so you can put them away.

Try the 10 Minutes-A-Day Decluttering Exercise

Choose an area in your home you want to declutter, and set your timer for ten minutes.

Get some bin bags and recycling bags so you can throw things away as you work. Get a container (like a box, for example) for things you plan to get rid of that aren’t rubbish.

Smaller areas are the best, as you’ll be able to see your progress more easily. So select a desk drawer instead of a whole office. During the 10 minutes, focus completely on decluttering that drawer.

Start your timer and start throwing away things that are obviously rubbish. When that’s done, start taking out items from the drawer one by one. Ask yourself each time if the item is something that is really used and/or enjoyed. If it is, put it back in its place. If it’s not, put it in your ‘get rid of it’ box, bin or recycling.

At the end of 10 minutes, stop what you’re doing, and put away anything that’s out of place.

Put your bin bag in the bin, and put your ‘get rid of it’ box in the boot of your car. The next time you drive by a charity shop, you can drop the box off.

Hooray! You’ve made a start on getting rid of clutter in your home. Repeat daily for best results.

Wardrobe: Reverse Clothes-Hanger Test

Turn all the clothes hanging in your wardrobe around so that the hangers face the opposite way.

For the next six months, every time you wear an item of clothing, return it to the wardrobe with the hanger facing the correct way. If you try it on but decide not to wear it, make sure you put it back with the hanger turned backwards—no cheating.

Be prepared for a shock; you are going to find you own lots of clothes you have no use for. You should seriously consider getting rid of anything you don’t wear regularly.

Bathroom: Read the Numbers

All products have an expiry date. Sometimes it is stamped on the product itself, sometimes on the packaging. Regardless, most have a lifespan of 6-18 months.

So check your bathroom products regularly so there are no nasties lurking in the back of the cabinet.  A good rule of thumb is that the closer the product is used to the eyes, the shorter its lifespan. While organising your bathroom you might consider learning the correct way to fold your towels, which can add an instant touch of glamour to the space. Take a look at Christy’s video tutorial on how best to do this.

That only leaves time for a nice hot bath to unwind, and then wrap yourself in some gorgeous Christy Supreme Hygro Towels® for the ultimate de-stress . The Supreme Hygro® carry the COTTON USA international trademark for quality U.S cotton-rich products and you could win your own set as part of Christy’s giveaway, which you can enter here: http://www.christy-towels.com/win-makeover-feelslikehome.

 

Feels Like Home: The Key to Wellbeing in the Home

Feels Like Home: The Key to Wellbeing in the Home

Wellbeing

By Janey Lee Grace, Wellbeing Expert, http://www.imperfectlynatural.com

As a wellbeing expert I am constantly asked is it possible to enjoy a pampering organic spa experience without leaving the house? The answer is yes! As part of Christy’s Feels Like Home campaign with  COTTON USA I’ll be sharing some of my wellbeing tips on how to achieve that spa-fresh feeling from the comfort of your own home.

Firstly it’s important to set the scene for your sumptuous pampering home spa – turn off your phone, light a few candles (ensure that they are natural and made from soy or beeswax) and lay out your soft Christy Supreme Hygro® towels. If your towels are in need of an upgrade, check out this competition: http://www.christy-towels.com/win-makeover-feelslikehome.

Start by dry skin brushing, it’s great for circulation, use a natural bristle brush and work in small circular movements, It should feel tingly but not hurt. You can also treat yourself to some ‘massage’. Use small circular movements or use a long handled ‘back scratcher’ if it feels good!

If you really want to indulge in the spa experience you could practice a little home style hydrotherapy  it can incredibly stimulating. The idea is to kick start your circulation by alternating hot and cold water, get a bowl of each, sit on a stool and put your feet first into the cold water, to make your blood vessels contract, then put them directly into the hot water to dilate the blood vessels and help you to shed toxins.

Apply a natural face mask – how about the aroma of chocolate?   Make a mask using raw cacao powder.

2 tablespoons  raw organic cacao powder

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon live yoghurt

3 teaspoons fine oatmeal (or sea salt for a more exfoliating effect)

Blend all the ingredients together and apply – all the indulgence without the guilt!

Relax in a warm bath scented with essential oil and a swirl of raw organic coconut oil which moisturises your skin as you bathe,  (you can leave your chocolate face mask on) while you relax, think only healing thoughts.

When you step out of the tub, wash off the face mask and apply a plant based facial oil.  Dry off with your Christy towels (Christy Supreme Hygro® towels carry the COTTON USA International trademark for quality U.S cotton-rich products) and apply an all over body moisturiser. Wash your hair using a natural shampoo,  apply coconut oil and if a night of passion isn’t planned (!) wrap your hair in a small Christy towel and head off for a relaxing sleep. You will need to rinse your hair through a couple of times but it should feel silky soft. Hopefully you will feel rejuvenated thanks to your ‘Feels Like Home’  truly organic pampering experience, without needing to venture to the spa. And to get the truly professional look in your bathroom, take a look at Christy’s expert video on how to fold a towel the proper way: https://www.youtube.com/c/Christytowelsworld​.

 

Feels Like Home: Guest Towel Etiquette Lessons from William Hanson

Feels Like Home: Guest Towel Etiquette Lessons from William Hanson

Etiquette in the home

By William Hanson, the UK’s leading expert and coach in etiquette, http://www.williamhanson.co.uk

You can tell a lot about someone from their bathroom.  My own are half bathroom, half temple, in particular the ones for my guests.  There are so many little touches – little luxuries – that hosts can do to make bathrooms even more inviting for their visitors.  The most important touch, in my view, is towels.  As part of Christy’s Feels Like Home campaign, I have decided to share my thoughts with you on the ‘etiquette’ of towels for guests.

Who doesn’t love a clean, fresh, soft towel?  Clearly there are a few who don’t appreciate this little luxury – I returned a few weeks ago from a friend’s house where the towels provided were like sheets of sandpaper.  Quite an achievement to get them to that condition, I must say.

To achieve peak softness you must of course buy good quality towels in the first place.  You needn’t remortgage for this – a quality towel isn’t as dear as you’d think (and the towels you can buy in a certain well-known shop in London for three figures feel really oily and uninviting).  A towel such as Christy’s Supreme Hygro® carry the COTTON USA international trademark for quality U.S cotton-rich products, which means short of drying off in a cloud you cannot get softer.

Having bought good quality towels, you need to launder them properly.  Follow the care guide on the towels but washing somewhere between 40 and 60s degrees C is best, followed by a gentle tumble dry and then finish by air-drying them.  (If you do wash below 60 degrees make sure you use a laundry sanitiser product – bacteria die at 62 degrees so anything lower, without a sanitiser, won’t kill the germs.  It is very bad form to pass bacteria on to your guests).

Once you have your quality towels you should pre-wash before use or else they won’t absorb any water when ‘in use’ (go easy with fabric softener when washing for the first time or in future as this can prevent water absorption as well – just a splash will do).

When getting a bedroom and bathroom ready for guests where should you place the towels?  My pet hate for some years has been hosts plonking towels on the bed when about four paces away, in the en suite bathroom, is a perfectly good towel rail.  Towels should only be placed on the bed if it is not en suite and they will have to carry their towels to a bathroom along the landing. For the correct way to fold your towels, take a look at this video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpEHoS89G6lKSWiIGixYsdg.

What colour should these towels be, however?  You won’t go wrong with white… so long as you keep them white.  Dusky pink or dusky blue are my two other favourite alternatives.

There is a strong case for the flannel or face cloth you provide the guests with to be a darker colour, certainly not brilliant white.  If the guest is wearing makeup they may really worry about using a white cloth to help remove it.  A nice touch I once saw was when a host placed two flannels out for the guest – one that matched the white towels and one that was a deeper blue and had ‘makeup’ embroidered across it.  How thoughtful!

If you would like to upgrade your guest towels, Christy, along with COTTON USA are running a giveaway to win a room makeover including towels, bathrobes and bedlinen, which you can enter here: http://www.christy-towels.com/win-makeover-feelslikehome.

 

Create the perfect #staycation Champagne Cocktail with Flourish&Be.

champagne

With the balmy summer evenings approaching, our thoughts turn to alfresco dining with our family and friends and of course we want to serve the perfect accompaniment – a delicious refreshing champagne cocktail.  Here’s a great recipe from our friend Tom at Flourish and Be on making the perfect cocktail using our favourite Lanson Champagne.

Recipe

To make the cocktail you will need:

  • Lanson White Label Non Vintage Champagne
  • Elderflower cordial/liqueur
  • Strawberries

Method

  1. Before you start pick out your favourite champagne flutes… the fancier the better!
  2. Pour a splash of elderflower cordial/liqueur into each flute.
  3. Grab your bottle of Lanson Champagne from the fridge (make sure it’s suitably chilly!) before topping up each flute with bubbles.
  4. Before serving, place a suitably sized strawberry on the rim of each flute. (Top tip! If you pop the strawberry in with the champagne before drinking you’ll be left with a nice bonus at the bottom of your glass!)
  5. Serve up and enjoy!

We’d love to know what cocktail you would treat yourself to on your #staycation. Let us know in the comments!

 

Snoozology with… Molly and the Princess

Most tips for getting a good night’s sleep focus on what you should do just before or when in bed. But what you do in the day, when wide awake, is just as important in ensuring you get a good night’s sleep.

It’s all about the melatonin.

What’s that you might ask? Well melatonin is a hormone, produced mostly by the pineal gland in the brain, and it plays a very important part in regulating a person’s circadian rhythm, or sleep pattern.

Too little melatonin makes falling asleep harder – you know the feeling when you are actually tired but somehow feel wide awake? Chances are it’s down to a shortage of melatonin.

So it’s important to know about melatonin production, and what you can do to keep levels up.

Melatonin is produced when daylight fades with the setting of the sun (no wonder it is sometimes referred to as ‘the Dracula hormone’!). The change in light signals the pineal gland to start producing the hormone and releasing it into the bloodstream. With melatonin now being delivered to all parts of the body, you feel gradually less alert and sleepy. With the sunrise, melatonin production is ‘switched off’ again and its supplies run low, making you feel awake and alert.

In order to keep melatonin levels high, when they should be high (and low when they should be low), it is vital that a person gets enough daylight in the daytime, and keeps bright light to a minimum in the late evening.

clocks

Top three tips for regulating melatonin, and getting a good night’s sleep

  • Expose yourself to light when you first get up, by opening the curtains and eating breakfast at a table by a window. According to Barbara Matusiak, a professor of architecture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, who studies the effect of light: “It is important that the body be exposed to a great deal of light when you first wake up, so your brain gets the signal to stop melatonin production.”
  • During the day, make sure you get enough exposure to daylight. If you work in an artificially lit office, see if you can situate your desk by a window. Take a walk outdoors at lunchtime, or whenever you can during the day.
  • Reduce exposure to bright light in the evening, especially after 9pm, when you need to be producing melatonin in order to promote good sleep. Blue light, such as that emitted by computer screens, stops the brain producing melatonin. If you simply cannot tear yourself away from the screen in the evening, you can install a programme (called lux) that adapts your screen according to the time of day – brighter in the day, dimmer in the evening – while still maintaining readability.

melatonin_window

Of course there are a lot more factors that affect a good night’s sleep, but if you follow the tips above to regulate your body clock, you have a solid foundation for getting plenty of good quality shut-eye. The body just can’t ignore the go-to-sleep signals being sent when the melatonin in flowing, so make sure you get enough of it – at the right time – and soon you’ll be sleeping like a baby. In Christy bedding I hope!

Written by Molly and The Princess: http://www.mollyandtheprincess.com

 

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