Archive of ‘Tips & Tricks’ category

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

 

Valentine’s Day: DIY Love Arrows

With days until Valentine’s Day, our thoughts are turning to our special loved ones. Of course when Valentine’s Day comes around on the calendar, sales for chocolates shaped in love hearts and flowers must soar. However at Christy we think making a gift is much more meaningful and crafting is one of our favourite past times.

With thoughts of cupid in the air, one crafting idea we love for this Valentine’s Day is love arrows.

These cute little arrows are a fun and creative way to spread a little bit of love this February 14th. To create your own personalised love arrows all you need to do is follow these simple steps:

Equipment needed: Straws, paper, glue or sticky tape, feathers and scissors.

Step One:  

Draw your arrow head shape on your chosen paper and cut them out. Add a personal touch and write a little message on the arrow head.

Step Two:

Draw the tail of the arrows as a full shape (cut into the shape later on).

Step Three:

Add sticky tape to the back of your shapes, and then carefully stick them on to your straws.

Step Four:

You then need to use your scissors to cut into the tail of the arrow to create little slits.

Step Five:

Finally add the finishing touches to your arrows by sticking a feather to the tail of the arrow and if you have used colourful sticky tape you can add a small stripe and wrap it round the straw.

Christy can take no responsibility for the recipients falling madly in love with you.  Happy Valentine’s Day from everyone at Christy. X

 

The Christy Essential Linen Cupboard Guide

linen_care

With all festivities and waves of guests dwindling, it’s time to de clutter the linen cupboard and get it organised ready for your next lot of guests to descend on your home. At Christy nothing gets us more excited than a pristine linen cupboard storing gorgeous linens from fluffy towels through to crisp sheets. If you’re anything like us your linen cupboard is over flowing with luxury linens so here’s some tips on organising your linen cupboard.

Closet organisation

Firstly have a good clear out of all your bedding and towels, we separate are linens into the following categories:

  • Towels
  • Bedlinen
  • Favourite linens
  • Guest linens
  • Children’s linens

And most importantly a pile for linens that have seen their best days, do not be afraid to throw away linens – just think of all the new soft fluffy towels and beautiful new bed linen designs you can purchase!

After you are happy with the piles of linens before thinking where they will be homed in your cupboard fold them neatly.  Watch this video for a tutorial from our towel design manager Julia on how to perfectly fold a towel.  Handy tip, fold your pillowcases up together and insert them into the middle of your neatly folded duvet. This will help to keep your linen closet looking in tip top shape and will also allow you to grab the full bed linen set for those last minute emergencies.

Once you have your linens all neatly folded and ready to put back in your closet, it’s time to give the cupboard a quick spruce up with some polish and even put a fresh little sachet of your favourite scent to keep your closet smelling fresh.

Finally place your linens back in remembering the categories you spilt you linens into previously. Colour co-ordinating your linens is also a great way of keeping your linen closet organised.

The Perfect Guest Linens

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We’ve all been there when last minute guests arrive and our spare towels are in the laundry. Here are our useful tips on linens for guests which will make them want to come round again…

  • Have a separate section for your guest linens which are reserved strictly for visitors.
  • A spare robe for guests will make them feel like they’re really at home.
  • A spare pillow and duvet will allow your guest to wrap up warm on the winter nights. In Summer a spare flat sheet may be needed as an alternative to a duvet.
  • Layer up your guest bed with cosy knit throws and an array of cushions and a fresh bale of towels for the perfect finishing touch to your guest room.

tex_paisley_guest

The Perfect Capsule Wardrobe for your Home

One last tip on linens in your household; we would recommend two bath towels and one full spare set of bed linen per person within the household to keep everyone in luxury linens.

Our essential linen guide can be found here and this can be printed and displayed on the back of the door on your closet for easy reference to our tips.

We’d love to hear how you get on organising your linen cupboard send us a message on Facebook and Twitter and tell us how you’ve categorised your linens.

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5 Essential Decluttering Hacks

decluttering(image link)

The art of decluttering seems to be every where at the moment, with Marie Kondo converts keen to learn the art of living in a calm, clutter-free space. Get ahead of the curve this year and start your spring cleaning early with our top 5 essential decluttering hacks. These valuable tips will help you clean, declutter and arrange your home using innovative techniques. Whether you need more space or simply want a fresh new start.

Invest in a label maker

Label makers are the perfect excuse to decant cereals, beverages, flour, sugar, spices, etc. into attractive jars that look great when on display, or stacked in a cupboard. Simply label each jar with it’s contents and place the jars either on a shelf, or neatly tuck them away in your kitchen storage. Not only will you feel organised, but you’ll secretly have loads of fun with playing with the label maker.

Wax the stove top

This fantastic tip not only makes your stove top look brand new, but it also makes cleaning spills and stains easy peasy. To achieve this, all you need is car wax and a cloth. Simply buff the wax into your stove top and wife off any excess. The wax will create a barrier between any spills and you stovetop, meaning you can simply wipe stains away with nothing more than a cloth.

Store bed sheets in pillowcases

Ever find yourself searching through a tangle of bedding, only to discover you’re missing a pillow case? By folding your bed sheets neatly into their matching pillowcase, you’ll never be searching for that missing component again. Not only does this tip keep all your linens together, but it will look great when you can stack each filled pillow case on top of one another, saving time and space.

Try the hangers trick

Keeping clothes we no longer wear takes up precious space, and makes your wardrobe look unorganised and cluttered. This trick is simple. Take all the hangers in your wardrobe and face them all in the same direction. Once you have worn a piece of clothing, store it back in your wardrobe with the hanger facing in the opposite direction. After 3 – 6 months, donate all the clothes that hangers haven’t been turned round to charity. This way, you can declutter and do a good deed at the same time.

Add plants for a finishing touch

Adding plants to your home keeps your home feeling fresh and looking great. Once you’ve completed your spring cleaning this year, pop to your local garden centre and invest in various plants to give your home that extra boost. Cacti and succulents are fantastic for those who want a low maintenance option but still want a stylish finish.

Do you have any essential spring cleaning hanks you want to share? To share your tips, head over to our Facebook and Twitter.

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Burning Calories and Maintaining Your Home!

13129A Christy-53

An optimistic spirit of “new year, new me” motivates many of us to make a New Year’s resolution. Usually the idea of a blank canvas will be the motivation for many to do more or less of something in their day-to-day lives. Getting fitter, exercising on a regular basis and generally improving lifestyle can usually be found at the top of the list along with home improvements.

You’ll be delighted to know that burning calories doesn’t have to start at the gym, or sporting unforgiving yoga pants (unless you really want to wear them). You can get an all over workout and improve your home at the same time! Changing habits and regular household chores, can make your failed resolutions a thing of the past!

Starting with the bathroom…

Scrubbing the bath and grimey tiles for 30 minutes alone burns 95 calories – add in mopping of the floor for 15 minutes to burn an additional 45 calories! Accelerate the workout by getting on your hands and knees and scrubbing down all areas of the floor.

Handy Tip: Alternate chores between rooms upstairs and downstairs. The more times you can climb the stairs, the more you’re toning your gluteus maximus! Walking up and down stairs soon adds up! Taking the stairs can add up to 125 calories burned each day.

Vacuuming for 15 minutes burns more than 40 calories – that’s the same as 5 minutes of continuous burpees.

Back up to the bedroom…

Making and laying your bed for 30 minutes burns 38 calories – The same as jogging along a flat terrain or treadmill for 10 minutes. Ironing your bed linen burns approx 88 calories, it also tones muscles of the upper body. Alternate arms to even the workout.

Cleaning windows for 30 minutes burns 68 calories, that’s the same as 15 minutes power yoga.

Improvements all round

Alter your mindset by not leaving things to pile up at the bottom of the stairs – take individual items upstairs as soon as you need to. This also stays on top of clutter in the home. A clutter-free home is a happy home.

When ironing, keep the laundry basket/pile on the floor (rather than on a raised surface like a table). That way you’ll constantly have to bend and stretch to reach the clothes, you can change your stance into a squat to elevate further.

Get creative in the kitchen – chopping, stirring, peeling and beating all burns more calories than simply taking out a ready meal out of the fridge and heating it up… And if you really want to work up a sweat and get your home smelling delicious, have a go at making your own bread using the below recipe – kneading the dough is hard work and great for your triceps!  

Bake your own Bread – The Taste of Home recipe

Ingredients

• 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
• 2-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 6-1/4 to 6-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

• In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

• Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.

• Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each into a loaf. Place in two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.

• Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each)

baking-LowRes

Recipe Credits | Homemade Bread in The Taste of Home Cookbook 2006, p452
Statistics from calorielab.com

 

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