How To Tie A Tie

The time has come where a school tie just doesn’t cut it anymore. Need to know how to do it properly, ASAP? Don’t sweat it, your mum or significant other needn’t know your tie handicap! Watch our video guides and perfect a Full Windsor, Half Windsor, Four in Hand or a Bow Tie like a pro – we’ve got you.

HOW TO TIE A BOW TIE

Place the bow tie around your collar with the left side sitting 1.5 inches longer than the right.

Cross the longer end over the shorter end and pinch the crossing point.

Pull the longer end up behind the crossing point.

Fold the shorter end in two to make ‘half a bow’ and keep holding.

Bring the longer end down over the top so that it is hanging down – don’t let go of the crossing point!

With your free hand, fold the longer strand back on itself and pass through the loop at the back of the bow tie.

Pull it to tighten and tweak to make an even bow. You can relax now!

HOW TO TIE A FOUR IN HAND KNOT

Place the tie around your collar with the wider end on the left, sitting about 10 inches longer than the narrow end.

Cross the wider end over the narrow end.

Bring the longer end back around behind the shorter end and hold it horizontally.

Bring it back over the top, in front of the narrow end.

Pull the wider end up behind the loop, towards your neck.

Holding the narrow end with your left hand, bring the wide end down through the loop with your right hand.

That’s it! Simply tighten, pushing it up until it is in place and you’re done!

HOW TO TIE A FULL WINDSOR KNOT

Place the tie around your collar with the wider end on the left, sitting about 10 inches longer than the narrow end.

Cross the wider end over the narrow end.

Pull the wider end up behind the narrow end, towards your neck.

Bring the wider end back down and loop it behind the narrow end to the left.

Bring the wider end up in front of the loop towards your neck.!

Loop it behind the narrow end to your left so the wider end is inside out.

Bring the wide end back across the front and pull it up behind the loop.

Bring the wide end back down through the knot.

Tighten and tweak until it’s neat. Tah-dah!

HOW TO TIE A HALF WINDSOR KNOT

Place the tie around your collar with the wider end on the left, sitting about 10 inches longer than the narrow end.

Cross the wider end over the narrow end.

Bring it back round behind the narrow end to the right.

Bring the wide end up in front of the loop towards your neck.

Bring it back down behind and to the right.

Bring the wider end across the front from the right to the left and pull it back up behind the knot.

Bring it back down, tucking it through the loop at the front.

Tighten, pushing it up until it’s in place – it’s done!

Sunglasses Buying Guide

As the days get warmer and the sun starts to shine, it's time to find a great pair of shades to see you through the summer and beyond. Whatever your taste or face shape, our collection is bound to have something you’ll love. But how do you know which sunnies suit you? This guide is just what you need. We’ll help you to determine whether you have a round, long, oval, square or heart-shaped face. Once you’ve established the shape, you can start choosing which types of sunglasses will flatter your features –¬ with our top tips you’ll be able to find the perfect pair in no time.

MEASURING YOUR FACE
Face Measurements

The best way to figure out your face shape is to measure it. To do this you’ll need:


  • a tape measure

  • a mirror

  • a pen and some paper.

Step 1

Find the top of your cheekbone. Start from the outside corner of your mouth and measure all the way to your earlobe. Do this on both sides of your face.


Step 2

Your jawbone is next. Measure from one end to the other, meeting in the middle at the bottom of your face.


Step 3

Next, measure from the centre of your hairline straight down over your nose to the bottom of your chin.


Step 4

Finally, measure the width of your forehead from one side of your hairline to the other. Top tip: make sure the tape measure is exactly half way between the top of your hairline and your eyebrows.


You can now use these measurements to determine what face shape you have.

TYPES OF FACE SHAPE
Heart Face

Heart-shaped face

Heart-shaped faces tend to be widest at the forehead and narrower towards the chin, so go for a pair of sunglasses with a curvier shape to elongate your features.


Complementary styles: classic styles like cat's-eyes or aviators are fitting sunglasses for heart-shaped faces, or you could go for something quirkier with a rimless or butterfly shape.

Round Face

Round face

The widest point of a round face is across the cheekbones, so the most flattering sunglasses for this shape should have angular lines to help make the face appear slimmer.


Complementary styles: oversized sunnies look great on a round face – go for rectangular rims to define your facial structure and bring balance to soft features.

Square Face

Square face

A square face is characterised by a strong jawline, wide cheekbones and a prominent forehead. Curvier frames are a great choice, as they juxtapose the angular lines and flatter the face.


Complementary styles: round, oval, and semi-rimless styles will help accentuate your eyes, while butterfly and cat's-eye frames will add a flattering balance to a defined jawline.

Oval Face

Oval face

With its gently rounded and even features, the oval is considered the most versatile of face shapes. If you’re an oval, you'll have symmetrical features with a chin slightly narrower than the forehead.


Complementary styles: from sporty wraparounds to retro circular frames, round or square styles are an ideal choice of glasses for this face shape. Be sure to keep things in proportion if you have smaller features to make sure that your frames don't overwhelm your face.

Long Face

Long face

A long face, often referred to as an oblong, is longer than it is wide and generally has a straight cheek line.


Complementary styles: a long face works especially well with oversized sunglasses, as they sharpen otherwise soft features and create a bold focal point. Avoid small frames as this will underwhelm your facial features, and instead opt for tall or deep lens styles such as the classic wayfarer.

TOP TIPS
Different type of sunglasses

Consider your skin tone

Using sunglasses to inject colour can be a fantastic way to incorporate some individuality to your style. However, like clothing, particular colours can work against your complexion. As a general rule, cool skin tones look great in blue-based colours, while warm tones should look out for frames in yellow-based hues. Ultimately, experimenting is the only way to ensure you find the most flattering shade for your skin tone.


Keep the classics in mind

Classic frames (think wayfarers, aviators and clubmasters) are well-loved for a reason – they work for a variety of different face shapes and have played their part in decades of iconic outfits. Don’t discount these styles simply because of their popularity. Keep an eye out for limited edition versions or modern updates of timeless styles to put your own individual twist on the look.


Invest wisely

A great pair of sunglasses is worth the investment. Not only can a good set last you for many years, but quality frames and lenses are more durable, with a better overall fit. Quality sunglasses also provide full UVA and UVB protection, helpful in blocking horizontal glare and damaging sun rays.

Christmas Presents For Family

Do your kids wake you up early on Christmas morning, clamouring to open their stockings? Or do you wait for a leisurely gathering after dinner when everyone is full of turkey? Either way, coming together around the tree to hand out those brightly wrapped packages is a highlight of any family Christmas. We've put together a guide brimming with Christmas gift ideas for you and yours to make it extra memorable.

CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR MUM
7 perfume bottles

Whether you're shopping for your own mum, a new parent or a mother-in-law, you'll need an extra special gift for the head of the family. From beauty gifts to unforgettable experiences and one-of-a-kind treats, there's an abundance of goodies you can treat her to.


CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR MUM

Perfume

Beautifully packaged and presented, perfume makes a thoughtful gift for the woman who's always putting others above herself. A good scent is an indulgence she might not treat herself to, so it’s up to you to do it for her. For fragrance fanatics, choose from future classics by Charlotte Tilbury, favourites from Chanel and the elegant creations of Dior .


SHOP PERFUME

Picture frames

An eye-catching frame with a memorable moment you shared together ticks all the boxes in terms of being personalised, well thought out and from the heart. It's a top choice for the house proud mum – she’s proud of her family too, of course.


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CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR DAD
Silver watch with blue face product image

Notoriously difficult, dads often act like they don’t need anything. You don’t want to settle for buying him a tie again this year, so have a look at options that may surprise him.


SHOP CHRISTMAS PRESENTS FOR DAD

Watches

It’s not every year dad is lucky enough to get a new watch for Christmas. Upgrade his wrist candy with a minimalist design from Skagen or a versatile piece from Daniel Wellington.


SHOP MEN’S WATCHES

Technology

Tune in to what his heart really desires and plump for a shiny new piece of tech. For music devotees, try a swish pair of headphones or high-tech speakers. Budding fitness fanatics will really appreciate a push in the right direction with a fitness tracker.


SHOP GADGETS
GIFTS FOR GRANDPARENTS
Biba leopard lamp against grey wall

Gifts for grandparents need to come from the heart. Brighten their Christmas with one of these thoughtful gifts.


SHOP CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR GRANDPARENTS

Home comforts

Tell gran and granddad that you’re thinking of them with a gift to make their day a little more luxurious. A plush pair of slippers or a dressing gown is perfect for retirees who can get away with wearing them around the house all day.


SHOP MEN’S NIGHTWEAR AND LOUNGEWEAR

SHOP WOMEN’S NIGHTWEAR AND SLIPPERS


Decor

Buying for your children's grandparents can make things even more daunting. Impress by showing you know your in-laws’ tastes with a standout mirror, vase or lantern from our home accessories range.


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CHILDREN'S CHRISTMAS GIFTS
Knitted red slippers with white fur lining

From the must-have electronic toy of the year to timeless books you read when you were a child, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to picking out gifts for the little ones in your family. Whether you've got a dinosaur-obsessed, lightsaber-swinging Spiderman devotee or an imagination-fuelled dreamer, there are plenty of stocking fillers to light up their Christmas.


SHOP KIDS' AND BABY TOYS

SHOP CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR KIDS
Star wars character toys

For builders

Lego and other building block toys are even more popular than they were when you were little thanks to their ever-expanding range of sets. Now you can find Disney, Batman, Star Wars and other franchises alongside the classic castle and pirate ship models.


SHOP BUILDING BLOCKS AND CONSTRUCTION TOYS


For adventurers

Amidst all the new-fangled technology, there's still nothing that beats a bike for Christmas. Whether your little one is ready for their first or they've outgrown their old one, choosing their dream bike will stay firmly in their memory for a long time to come. Choose a balance bike or a pedal bike for those three and up, tie a bow around the handle bars and await the biggest smile you've ever seen.


SHOP CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR BOYS
Girls silver sequin tulle party dress

For bookworms

Spark joy with a magical story for the eager little reader in your family. Introduce them to classics from Julia Donaldson and Beatrix Potter or get them giggling with cheeky tales from David Walliams. For an extra touch, choose a special edition with an unusual cover.


For style icons

Kids will love unwrapping their new clothes in the morning and putting together a Christmas outfit. A glamorous skirt and sparkly shoes will look just as good at dinner as they will playing dress-up the rest of the year, and a smart waistcoat and trainers will be sure they're ready for any occasion. Alternatively, go for a new coat or a cosy pyjama set for a classic seasonal gift.



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SHOP CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR GIRLS

Christmas Gifts For Every Budget

You might have ambitious Christmas gift ideas but, it can be a challenge to stay within budget, especially when you have a large list of people to purchase for. With a little planning and forward thinking, you can find plenty of inexpensive Christmas gifts to delight your loved ones. This affordable Christmas gifts guide will help you find wonderful presents for your friends, family and your partner - with money left over for turkey dinner trimmings.

GIFTS FOR HER UNDER £30
Opened gift with wrapping

Thirty pounds can go a surprisingly long way when searching for that extra-special gift.


It’s not always about the price tag, sometimes it’s the thought that matters the most. With that in mind, give your much-loved family member or special someone a framed photo of the two of you. We’ve got everything from stylish clip frames to wall galleries, as well as simple picture frames, so there’s something for everyone.


If she takes pride in her home and loves a night in for a spot of 'me time', a scented candle or two is a sure way to warm her heart. For scents that feel cosy in the winter months, we suggest looking for candles with woody notes, such as amber or sandalwood, to set the festive mood.


Does she love trying the latest makeup? Gift her with a new go-to lipstick or explore our highlighters that will accentuate her cheek and brow bones. We do plenty of beauty gift sets from a wide-range of brands, including the affordable mini-sized makeup, for beauty on-the-go.


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GIFTS FOR HIM UNDER £30
Winter couple with surprise gift

Help him look and feel his best. Men's accessories such as cufflinks and belts can really help to pull his outfit together. Well thought-out additions to his wardrobe will help him impress during those important Monday morning meetings and special occasions.


Novelty gifts are another great option - it's affordable and can be extremely fun. Whether that’s something usual, a joke gift or a cool gadget, novelty items are sure to put a smile on his face.


The one gift that will never go out of style is underwear and socks. A man can never have too many of his favourite boxers. From Calvin Klein to Hugo Boss, we have a wide range of styles for all preferences.


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GIFTS FOR HER UNDER £50
Display of 3 handbags

Looking to spend a little more? You’re sure to find a luxury gift that will make her feel loved and cherished.


From Urban Decay palettes to Charlotte Tilbury, for this budget you can purchase the latest best-sellers in beauty. If she loves eye shadows, the Urban Decay Naked Cherry Palette is a hot item this year, featuring 12 shades that are 100% cruelty free.


For the glamorous jetsetter who loves her weekends away, a new passport and luggage tag set, or even a cute travel mug, is sure to make her smile.


Does she love jewellery? Give her an extra special gift this Christmas with a gorgeous ring, necklace or bracelet. Sterling silver is a great choice if you’re looking for something long-lasting yet affordable - if it’s well looked after, sterling silver jewellery can be treasured for years to come.


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GIFTS FOR HIM UNDER £50
Crisp pile of pressed shirts

Men's Christmas gift options really widen with a little extra funding to play with.


Men's shirts are a classic Christmas gift idea, he can never have too many in his wardrobe. From casual for the day to formal shirts for the evening or work, there’s lots to choose from. To add a little personal touch, pick a shirt in his favourite colour, or if you are not too sure, a timeless white or blue is a great option.


If he’s a keen foodie or home connoisseur, treat him to a food gadget he never knew he needed, like a slow cooker for those tasty homemade casseroles and soups.


If the man in your life takes pride in a well looked after beard or a well-groomed appearance, gift him with some extra special products he wished he thought of himself. From shaving oils to anti-pollution skincare, we’ve got a range of products from top brands that he will love.


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LUXURY BEAUTY GIFTS
Nude eye shadow palette

If you’re looking to splash the cash, there’s plenty of luxury gifts available for him and her.


A stylish watch or piece jewellery can be a very meaningful gift. With a little time spent selecting his or her favourite styles, colour or material, it can be really special and personal.


Alternatively, gift her or him with the bag they have always wanted. For her, this could be a new everyday bag or clutch for the evenings. For him, the latest backpack, laptop bag or holdall for the gym or weekends away.


For something they will use everyday, treat him or her to a new signature scent. From Creed to the ever popular Jo Malone and Chanel, there’s a wide range of brands to choose from. Not sure where to start? We've selected some of our top winter fragrances for him and top winter perfumes for her.


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Duvet, Pillow & Mattress Protector Buying Guide

 

 

There's more to a decent night's sleep than a comfortable mattress. Pick bedding that's perfectly suited to your sleep style.

 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT DUVET
Buying Guide Choose the Right Duvet

 

Before purchasing your duvet, there are two main points to consider - the duvet filling and the tog rating.

Tog ratings refer to a duvet's ability to trap warm air. The higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet.

Your choice of tog rating really depends upon your personal preferences and the temperature of your home. This tog rating chart will help you purchase the perfect duvet.

BG-Duvets Right Duvet
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WHICH DUVET FILLING?
Buying Guide Duvet Filling

 

There are two types of duvet fillings, natural and synthetic. Each of these has different qualities, so it really depends upon what is most important to you.

Natural*

Duvets with natural fillings are soft, comfortable and lightweight. A natural duvet is breathable, absorbing body moisture produced during your sleep and releasing it when you air the duvet. With its ability to trap warm air, it’s also known to keep the warmth more effectively than a synthetically filled duvet.

All House of Fraser natural duvets are filled with goose down or duck down and have 100% cotton cambric casing. This means they can last up to 10 years longer than synthetic filled duvets. However, these duvets require special care, as they tend not to be machine washable

* All feathers contained in House of Fraser products have been humanely sourced and are a by product of the food cycle.

Hungarian goose down
  • Finest natural filling
  • Soft and luxurious
  • Incredibly lightweight yet great comfort and warmth
  • Longer life span than other natural filled duvets
Goose down
  • Bigger clusters that trap more air and keep you warm
  • Lightweight
  • Great comfort
Duck down and feather
  • Provides warmth and great resilience
  • Excellent value for money


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Synthetic

From hollow fibre to spundown duvets, House of Fraser offers a great range of synthetic duvets. Synthetic duvets are easy to care for and are machine washable.

Spundown
  • Finest fibres which make the duvet lightweight
  • Provides same great warmth as other conventional duvets
  • Soft and luxurious
  • Excellent insulation properties
Microfibre and Microdown
  • Silky touch and lighter than duvets with down filling
  • Non-allergenic properties which makes it the ideal choice for the allergy sufferers
  • Great comfort
  • Durable

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PICK YOUR PILLOW SIZE
Buying Guide Pillow Size

 

Pillows can affect your posture and quality of sleep, as well as your allergies or asthma. Therefore, choosing the correct pillow is key to a good night sleep. Most of House of Fraser’s pillows have a outer cover casing and have a natural or a synthetic filling.

Top tip: extend the life of your pillows and ensure they keep their shape with regularly plumping.

Pillows come in different shapes and sizes. Here’s a chart of the wide range of pillows offered online and in store:

BG-Duvet pillow size
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WHICH PILLOW FILLING
Buying Guide Pillow Filling

 

Natural Pillow Fillings

Pillows made from duck and down mould snugly round the head and shoulders to ensure maximum comfort and support whilst sleeping.

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Synthetic Pillow Fillings

Made with synthetic fibres, these pillows are ideal for allergy sufferers. House of Fraser has a great range of hollow fibres, permafresh and spundown pillows to choose from.

Shop Synthetic Pillow Fillings
YOUR SLEEPING STYLE
Buying Guide Your Sleeping Style

 

Choosing your pillows can be a little more complicated. There are now many specialist pillows on the market that cater to different sleeping styles.

Soft pillow

Best suited if you sleep on your stomach.

Medium firm pillow

Ideal if you sleep on your back.

Firm pillow

Recommended if you sleep on your side, as this type of pillow supports your neck.

ADD MATTRESS AND PILLOW PROTECTORS
Buying Guide Mattress and Pillow Protectors

 

House of Fraser can help to keep your mattress and pillows fresh. Extend their life by protecting them from general soiling.

From waterproof mattress protectors to anti-allergy pillow protectors, discover our range of discreet, practical and affordable protectors.

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Bakeware Guide

There’s something magical about the process of baking. With just eggs, flour and butter you can create a delicious cake or scrumptious quiche. Of course, your ingredients are only one of part of your baking success; your bakeware is equally important.


We’ve created this bakeware guide to help you narrow down the best kit for your kitchen. We’ve also included a few baking and cake decorating tips to inspire your creativity.

MATERIAL MATTERS
Small heart ceramic bowls with cake inside

Why do some recipes ask for a cake tin while others require a dish? The material your bakeware is made from has a big impact on how your food turns out. So whether you're making delicate meringues or dense loaves, pick a container to suit.


Ceramic: The best choice for anything that requires steady cooking for several hours, like hearty casseroles or puddings. Ceramics are hardy and scratch resistant, so a good set of crockery will last you a lifetime.


Aluminium: One of the most popular materials for trays and tins, and a top choice for baking cakes, biscuits or tray bakes. As most modern aluminium comes with a non-stick coating, cleaning up is a breeze too.


Silicone: The new kid on the block. Lightweight and flexible but deceptively tough, silicone comes in many shapes and sizes, making it perfect for creating children’s cakes. A silicone muffin tray can be bent and flexed, so you'll easily pop out your finished cupcakes instead of trying to jam them out with a knife.

SELECT THE BEST BAKING TINS
Lemon drizzle loaf

Now that you have a better idea of what each material offers, it’s time to select the best bakeware for your creation:


Trays: A flat oven tray is one of the simplest yet most versatile tools you can have in your kitchen. Whip up a batch of cookies, meringues or flapjacks, or get ambitious with tricky treats like macarons. Look for a size to comfortably fit your oven’s dimensions.


Cake tins: Unsurprisingly, a cake tin is a must if you want to bake cakes. Simple round or square tins only need a little parchment paper in the bottom before they’re ready to use. Springform tins make baking a piece of cake (excuse the pun) by letting you loosen the sides after they're finished in the oven for that picture-perfect finish.


Muffin trays: Great for muffins and cupcakes, of course, but with a little inventiveness you can create serving-sized portions of everything from frittatas to pies.


Loaf and pie tins: These do just what they say on the tin. If you want to bake up a banana bread loaf you’ll need a deep tin for the job. Likewise, pies and tarts need shallow, dish-shaped tins to hold their shape.


Baking dishes and bowls: Made of ceramic or glass, these will give puddings a good, even finish without burning them. You can also use a casserole dish in a pinch.


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KEEP YOUR BAKING ACCESSORIES TO HAND
Measuring flour with measuring spoons

As well as your bowls and trays, you’ll need a few baking accessories to take your ingredients from raw materials to delicious dishes. Here are a few you should consider:


  • Plastic measuring cups and jugs for measuring out liquids and dry ingredients.

  • Mixers to take the hard work out of baking. Either a stand mixer or hand mixer will combine ingredients quickly and thoroughly.

  • Cake tins to keep your creations fresh and transportable.
BAKING TIPS AND TRICKS
Flat baking tray with fruit biscuits

Always read your recipe in full before starting. This might seem obvious, but some recipes require the ingredients to be prepared in a certain way or kept back to be used at different stages. Reading your recipe carefully ensures you won’t run into trouble halfway through.


Keep your ingredients at room temperature unless otherwise specified for your combinations to mix smoothly. There are some exceptions, like rubbing flour into cold butter for a pastry base.


Pick up an internal thermometer so you have an exact idea of your oven’s temperature. Ovens can be unpredictable, but one of these gadgets will stop your soufflés flopping and brownies burning.

DECORATE AS A FINAL TOUCH
Selection of small cakes on a plate

Add unique finishing touches to any baking masterpiece with some cake decorating tools. The following tips should come in handy:


  • Some types of icing will sweat moisture when stored in a cold place. Don’t attempt to blot it. Instead, leave your cake at room temperature until the moisture evaporates.

  • If you’re decorating your cake with buttercream, remember that you can always use flavoured extracts to create a complementary taste to the sponge. Try cocoa powder, espresso or lemon juice.

  • When you're icing a multi-tiered cake, it helps to freeze it beforehand for easier handling.

  • Want to draw on a design but don’t have time to make a stencil? Cookie cutters work just as well.

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Smartwatch Buying Guide

Your wrist is due an upgrade. Smartwatches are capable of so much more than just telling the time; they'll alert you to new messages, and some are compatible with a variety of apps, just like your smartphone. From fitness trackers to understated hybrids, this guide will help you find the most suitable smartwatch for your lifestyle and current tech setup.

TYPES OF SMARTWATCHES
Types of smartwatches

First, you'll want to think about which of the three basic forms of smartwatch you're most interested in.


Smartwatch

Straightforward smartwatches are notification centres on your wrist. While many have a high-tech design, other designer smartwatches look just like traditional analogue watches from a distance. Up close, however, you’ll see that their display is really a screen which shows pop-up messages from your phone.


Hybrid smartwatch

A hybrid smartwatch is a classic analogue watch with a twist. While they don’t have a screen, they do connect to your phone via Bluetooth. You'll receive alerts through the watch’s vibration and alarms. It’s even possible to programme them to point their hands to different numbers when you get messages from certain contacts, so you know to check your phone if it's someone important. If your watch suddenly points to six o’clock, it might mean your boss is on the line; half past four and your spouse is calling. Hybrids combine analogue style with tech sophistication.


Fitness tracker

Fitness trackers have much of the functionality of smartwatches – they all tell the time, for one thing – but their main focus is on keeping you healthy by tracking your activity and pushing you to achieve your goals. We’ll talk more about them later.

HOW TO USE A SMARTWATCH
Man resting arms whilst on bike wearing a fitbit.

Using a smartwatch is simple; you can have yours up and running in moments. Here are the basic set-up steps that most models follow.


  • Charge your new smartwatch and turn it on.

  • Connect it to your phone via Bluetooth.

  • Download the apps and features you want to use, just as you would on a smartphone.

  • If it’s a hybrid, programme the watch to notify you about new messages.

  • Keep your smartwatch battery topped up by charging it overnight.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT WATCH FOR YOU
Two women talking about a smartwatch

It can be a tad overwhelming deciding which smartwatch you want. Before you jump on board the tech train, consider these factors to find the gadget that’s right for you.


Find a compatible device

The first thing to do is find out which watches your smartphone is compatible with – you don’t want to buy a new wearable only to find you can’t sync to it. Whether it’s iOS, Android or another kind of operating system, look for a watch to suit your phone’s software. You should also make sure your phone is sufficiently up to date to work with your new kit.


Check battery life

The many invaluable functions of smartwatches eat battery faster than a normal wristwatch. This is especially the case if you’re using your watch’s LCD display to view photos, read messages and respond to notifications. Some smartwatches require charging overnight, while hybrid models may last longer.


Shop for specific features

Nearly all smartwatches are designed to alert you to any notifications, diary appointments, calls and texts you may receive with a small noise or vibration. This can help you be more discreet about checking your messages without looking at your phone. Others offer extra functions, so shop around for the features you want.


Find your style

Watches have always been a subtle way to improve the look of an outfit. The size, colour and style of the piece is still just as important as the improved functionality. Luckily, smartwatches are as varied as standard watches, from ultra-modern digital displays to sleek metal and rugged leather.


Look for replaceable straps

To stand out from the crowd, look for models which allow you to change the strap. Stick to one which makes a personal statement, or swap it up depending on your mood.

USING FITNESS TRACKERS
Athletic woman running outdoors wearing a smartwatch

The majority of smartwatches include basic fitness features like pedometers and step target notifications. But if staying healthy is your main priority, you might want a dedicated fitness tracker. These specialised bits of kit include heart-rate monitors, calorie counters and much more. They can track a range of different activities based on your motion throughout the day and help you meet your goals.


The most well-known fitness tracker is the Fitbit. These devices are designed to help you exercise, eat, sleep and live better. They'll track your heart rate constantly throughout the day, observe your sleeping patterns, count your steps and tally up how many calories you've burned. You can monitor your progress on your watch, phone or online through the Fitbit dashboard. Then, compare your stats with friends and family, and create group challenges to inspire each other to get active together.


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How to Make Jam

Are you considering trying your hand at making your own preserves or jams? There’s never been a better time to do so. Learning how to make jam can be undertaken at leisure as a relaxing and productive activity. With our guide (and the right utensils and gadgets) you’ll be able to concoct mouth-watering creations that will rival any shop-bought version. From the tastiest ingredients to how to sterilise jars, we’ve got you covered.

WHAT CAN YOU MAKE WITH YOUR EQUIPMENT?
Orange, raspberry and apricot labelled jam jars

Before you start looking for that perfect strawberry jam recipe, it helps to be clear what outcome you are aiming for so that you select the right technique and ingredients. The typical process of boiling sugar and crushed fruit produces jam, but if you’d like to end up with whole pieces of fruit suspended in syrup, then you need to find a recipe for preserves.

On the savoury side, fruits and vegetables that are seasoned always produce chutneys, while pickles are created when larger pieces have been preserved in a salt and vinegar solution.

WHAT KIND OF PRODUCE SHOULD I USE?
Birds-eye view shot of fresh fruit

Almost all types of fruit and vegetables can be used to make jam or preserves. It’s a great way to use extra produce that might otherwise end up languishing in the fridge. Where possible, working with what’s in season will ensure that you will always have an abundant supply to get started with.

There are a few guidelines that you can follow to increase your chances of success. When creating jams, opt for naturally sweet, slightly under-ripe fruits such as berries for a deliciously tart result. When preserving, fruits with a low water content – such as apples, cherries and pears – tend to achieve the best results.

WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
Cream stoneware pot on stove with kitchen utensils nearby

You will probably find that you already have knives and peelers for preparing your ingredients, as well as saucepans for the actual cooking. Depending on how much jam you plan to make, you’ll also need a selection of jars and a thermometer for measuring when your jam is ready to set.


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HOW CAN I PREPARE MY JARS?
Set of 3 retro floral print glass jars

As jams and preserves need to be poured into freshly sterilised jars, it’s a good idea to proceed with this step when you’re just about ready to begin. Sterilising your jars and lids is very important as it ensures that whatever you place in them won’t come into contact with bacteria and spoil quickly.

Not sure how to sterilise jars? Simply pop them in your dishwasher for a long, hot cycle, or place them in the oven for half an hour. Heat-sensitive parts can be boiled in water on your stove for a similar amount of time.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE JAM MAKING AND PRESERVING PROCESS?
Set of 3 clear glass Kilner jars

With your fruits prepared and your glass storage jars sterilised, you’re ready to begin making jam. While the exact process you follow will depend on your recipe, most people start by adding fruit to a saucepan along with granulated sugar, and any herbs and spices you want to add. This step is usually followed by mashing everything together to achieve the desired texture.

Next, you will heat the mixture until it sets. Once your thermometer has indicated that the correct temperature has been reached and maintained, you’ll be able to remove the mixture. After skimming any foam off the surface, you can pour it into your jars, before securing the lids tightly.

The process of preserving is similar. You'll likely blanch your ingredients in hot water to preserve their colour, before adding them to a sterilised jar along with a vinegar-and-brine or sugar solution and leaving a gap before sealing.


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HOW CAN I FIX ANY JAM-MAKING MISHAPS?
Various glass Kilner jars filled with preserves

It’s not uncommon for even seasoned cooks to run into challenges when making jam. Knowing about common pitfalls will help you to rectify them beforehand.

If your jam isn’t setting, you might not have used the correct amount of sugar. This problem is easy enough to remedy, as all you need to do is to return the mixture to heat and gradually add shop-bought pectin (the naturally occurring sugar that allows the jam to set) until the mixture begins to thicken.

If you can still see sugar granules, it means that the mixture didn’t boil long enough for them to dissolve. Does your jam look too cloudy? This usually indicates that the fruit used wasn’t ripe enough or needed to be strained to remove excess pulp. Again, returning it to the heat should sort both of these problems.

Now that you know the basics of how to make jam and preserves, you can begin creating delicious varieties. Whether you choose to keep the result or gift it to others, it’s sure to fly off your shelves.

Everyday Handbag Guide

When shopping for a new everyday handbag, we all want to find 'the one'. It should fit in seamlessly with your lifestyle – not to mention the rest of your wardrobe – and be practical as well as polished. Most importantly, your perfect bag for everyday should be something that you will cherish for years to come.


Taking into account style, colour, material and size, there's a lot to think about before you invest. Consider our guide a starting point in choosing the best everyday handbag for you.

CROSSBODY BAGS
Red Kate Spade cross body bag

The crossbody bag is ideal for keeping essentials at hand while multi-tasking on the go. This lightweight style has a long strap that can be adjusted to fit, sitting close to the body for added security. A hands-free design, it makes an excellent partner for busy days and long nights.


Crossbody bags tend to be on the smaller side, so check the dimensions beforehand to make sure it's large enough for you. Choose a simple square or rectangular shape that is structured to hold everything you need to go about your day. A zip-around style will allow easy access and achieve a more minimalist look, while fold-over designs give you the option of elegant hardware.


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TOTE BAGS
Blue Mulberry tote bag

For those days with a never-ending to-do list, a tote bag is the answer – and a stylish one at that. Large enough to be a work handbag, it can carry your laptop, commuter trainers and much more. Leather is an excellent option as it will hold up well against heavier contents. Choose a vibrant block shade with polished gold hardware for an eye-catching day-to-night look.


Check the interior of the handbag before purchasing to make sure you're happy with the amount of storage inside. If you're in need of more organisation, you could opt for a design with a removable pouch to help keep important items to hand.


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SHOULDER BAGS
Red small Calvin Klein shoulder bag

Stylish and spacious, the classic shoulder bag is one of the best everyday handbags for throwing bits and bobs into. With plenty of room for your keys, phone and purse, it’s easy to grab things when you need them. The over-the-shoulder straps tend to have a generous drop, too, so you can stay comfortable on the go. The liberal opening means you can quickly add whatever you accumulate throughout your day.


Consider a muted shade such as taupe or black for easy everyday styling; you can always attach a silk scarf or fluffy pom pom to the handles when you're in need of a pop of colour. Choosing a hardwearing leather such as Saffiano will ensure the bag is durable, scratch-resistant and water-repellent.


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BACKPACKS
Nude pink Michael Kors backpack

The most obvious benefit of the much-loved backpack is its hands-free capabilities. It sits neatly on the back to distribute its weight evenly, allowing you to go about your day in comfort without compromising on style.


The spacious interior and smart storage capacity mean this design will see you through family picnics, the commute, on adventurous holidays and beyond. Browse smooth leather designs in neutral shades for an understated finish, or go bold with contrasting colours and playful prints. Handy design features include top handles, easy-access zipped pockets, padded straps and wipe-clean interiors (especially convenient for those with little ones).


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GRAB BAGS
Turquoise handheld bag

It's all in the name: this chic bag is usually handheld, but can also be slung over the shoulder – choose one with a removable strap if you want to mix it up. The roomy construction allows plenty of room for your sunglasses, makeup and anything else you might need while showing off this polished design.


The sleek, squared-off silhouette of the grab bag has stayed timeless through decades of changing fashion. Jewel tones work especially well with its ladylike structure; you could opt for an eye-catching colour-blocked style in turquoise or ruby red. Try a textured leather to add a subtly luxurious twist.


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SATCHEL BAGS
Pale pink Mulberry satchel bag

The ultimate work handbag, a versatile satchel bag offers a sophisticated approach to functional design. One of the most appealing features is the amount of organisation available, with plenty of interior space alongside convenient slip pockets and a padded area for your laptop.


Get the most out of your investment and choose a style with an additional crossbody strap. This is ideal for when you need your hands free, navigating days in the office or collecting the kids from school. You could also opt for a vibrant print to counterbalance the simple design – and add some colour to your Monday mornings.


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Anchored on the belief that we all deserve a functional yet attractive handbag for everyday, our edit will help you find the style that's worthy of your investment. Whether it's a deceptively roomy tote you can throw over your shoulder or a sleek work handbag with an easy-access fastening, we've got all your bases covered at House of Fraser.

How To Clean & Care For Suede And Leather

Leather and suede clothing and accessories are truly timeless in style, and will age beautifully over the years if properly cared for. Leather's hard-wearing properties meant the material shot to popularity in the 1930s and 40s, along with the motorcycle trade.


While leather jackets, shoes and handbags are never going to look off-trend, you don't want them to wear out, get damaged by the rain or lose their colour. By following these simple tips you can ensure your suede and leather stays pristine for years to come.

HOW TO LOOK AFTER LEATHER SHOES AND BOOTS
Brown leather Chelsea boots

Taking care of leather footwear will help to ensure its longevity. Leather shoes need regular treatment with a good quality wax polish. This not only protects the material from moisture and stains but also adds a wonderful shine and looks smart. Use a stiff brush to remove any dirt and buff away scuff marks, then apply the polish with an old cloth using circular motions. Finally, add shine with a clean brush or rag.

Grey suede Chelsea boots

A shoe-tree will help hold the shape of your brogues or Chelsea boots, and stretches the leather slightly – ideal if you've just purchased a new pair and need to break them in. It's also wise to use a shoe horn when putting on and taking off leather shoes to maintain the heel's shape and structure for longer.


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HOW TO CARE FOR A LEATHER JACKET
Red women’s biker jacket

Leather jackets are more exposed to the elements and are subjected to a greater range of movement and stress than shoes. First, use a leather protecting spray to keep moisture away. If your jacket ever gets really wet, make sure you hang it to dry in natural air (not next to a radiator or other heat source, as this can bleach the leather).

Black men’s leather jacket

To restore the natural oils and shine, apply a leather conditioner. Simply rub it in with a cloth to prevent cracking or dryness and keep your jacket soft and supple. In winter months when it is particularly damp, you may notice small salt deposits forming on your jackets, but they'll be removed by wiping with a damp cloth. A great tip is to use a rubber to get rid of any small scuffs or stains.


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LOOKING AFTER SUEDE SHOES
Men’s blue suede brogues

Suede has a napped finish, which means it has a textured surface with small, raised bobbles. It is incredibly sensitive to moisture, so avoid wearing suede shoes in the rain as it may damage them quite severely. If you do get caught short, try using a suede eraser once the material has dried out to reduce the appearance of the watermark.

Red suede heels

Be sure to waterproof any suede shoes as soon as you buy them. Head to a well-ventilated area and apply a quick coat of the water stopper, holding the spray about four inches from the shoe. Apply between four and six coats to really protect your shoes, but be sure to leave it to dry in between and wait at least 30 minutes after the final coat before heading out into the drizzle.


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KEEP YOUR SUEDE OR LEATHER BAG LOOKING SHARP
Pink frilly suede bag

The steps for caring for suede and leather bags are much the same as looking after shoes or jackets. However, because bags are often adorned with clasps, straps and other embellishments, you should be more careful if you want to avoid damaging any other materials, such as metal.


When you decide to give your beloved accessory a spruce, be sure to check which other materials it is made up of. Sterling silver, for example, will tarnish easily so avoid harsh cleaning products. It's still a good idea to use waterproofing spray, so cover any embellishments with a cloth or masking tape before you begin. It's then easy to wipe any extra bits clean with a damp cloth for the finishing touch.


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HOW TO: CARE FOR SUEDE

Here are a few general tips for ensuring your suede clothing and accessories stay in top condition for as long as possible:

Illustration of how to care for suede shoes

1. Never clean suede with water as it will stain the material, leaving a watermark and ruining the look entirely. This will also reduce the texture of the napping, so be sure to use non water-based products. Instead, try sprays and shoe shampoo made especially for suede.

Illustration of how to care for suede shoes

2. If your suede begins to look tired or flat you can give it a soft scrub with a toothbrush to reinvigorate the texture. There's no need to get it wet, just use the head and brush in small motions, following the pattern of the napping. Don't use it to brush your teeth after, though.

Illustration of how to care for suede shoes

3. Try scrubbing small stains with a suede eraser. Larger stains pose a bit more of a problem, but aren't the end of the world. Simply blot a cloth with a small amount of white vinegar and then scrub the material gently.

Illustration of how to care for suede shoes

4. For liquid spills you should apply a covering of cornmeal or talcum powder when the accident happens. Let it set overnight and brush it with a suede brush to remove the covering. It should absorb moisture from the liquid spill away from the suede.

Don't be tempted to leave your suede and leather items for too long if they need a spruce up. Be proactive with your care to keep them looking great for many seasons to come.

Small Bathroom Designs and Ideas

 

Living in a small space shouldn’t mean having to cramp your style. If your bathroom layout offers little in the way of extra room, there’s still plenty that you can do using its dimensions. Whether you’re making the most of a temporary rental or renovating your new forever home, our small bathroom ideas guide will show you how to use colour, décor and accessories to make even the most petite room look chic – with or without hammers, nails and DIY renovations.

 

CONSIDER YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Hanging light silver ball

 

Before you start brainstorming bathroom décor ideas, get a better sense of your what you have to work with by removing all of the items from your room. This will give you a clearer idea of your bathroom's shape, free from any obstructions. You'll be able to visualise how to maximise every inch of the precious space that you have – a must when you have a compact room. Don't forget to snap some handy pictures before you put your belongings back in. You can take these along with you when you're décor shopping to help you think about colour and space.


Lighting – both natural and artificial – is instrumental when working with a small bathroom. Harsh bright lights or low-hanging pendants will make the space feel smaller, while soft ceiling lights in pale colours are unobtrusive and elegant. If your bathroom gets a lot of natural light, choose minimalist lighting for the ceiling.


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CHOOSE YOUR WALLPAPER OR PAINT
White bath tub next to a hexagon marbled patterned wallpaper

 

You'll have heard that lighter colours tend to make a space seem bigger, but this doesn't mean that bold colour is out of the question. In fact, you can integrate bright bathroom colours by singling out a statement wall to be painted or covered with wallpaper. This also allows you to introduce a colour or pattern into your bathroom without overwhelming the entire space.


Wallpaper works especially well when you're dealing with awkwardly-shaped sections of wall, as it's a fantastic way to draw attention to characterful features of your room. You could opt for all-white tiling and highlight this section of the wall using an ornately patterned wallpaper. Don’t forget that your painted wall or wallpaper will need to be treated against water damage to preserve its appearance.


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SIZE YOUR STORAGE AND FIXTURES
Glass standing cabinet

 

The size, style and functionality of your bathroom elements can transform your room. For example, freestanding, floating or wall-mounted basins take up less space to the eye than built-in ones. Similarly, items with glass and mirrored finishes help to increase the perception of spaciousness by reflecting light.


Where possible, choose double duty storage items that have concealed sections for holding toiletries, washing and laundry baskets – in other words, items you’d like on hand but not necessarily in plain view. That way, your clutter is hidden away, leaving only the necessary items on show and ensuring that space isn't swallowed up by unattractive practical items.


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CONSIDER YOUR BATHROOM ACCESSORIES
Black glittered bathroom accessories

 

Once the larger elements are in place, it's time to accessorise. Take your cue from the colours, textures and patterns you've chosen for paint, wallpaper, tiling and bathroom fittings, and consider whether you want your accessories to complement or contrast. Done right, small spaces can carry off bold styling; if you've gone for quite a neutral palette so far, think about adding interest with brightly coloured accessories.


Making the best possible use of a small room's natural light will work in your favour. An ideal way to do this that doesn't take up space is to have light or neutral-coloured curtains or blinds custom-fitted to any windows in the room. This thoughtful extra step can make a massive difference. Again, remember to take into consideration whether your window coverings can withstand a warm and humid atmosphere.


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When the painting, tiling and styling is done, all that's left is for you to sit back and enjoy your handiwork – easy to do if your room design includes a bath! Whether you've gone for minimalist spa chic or the colourful, eclectic look, simply remember to keep clutter to a minimum and welcome in plenty of light to bring life to your small bathroom.

 

BBQ Buying Guide

We Brits love a barbecue – and we're rather good at them. Classic bangers and burgers are joined at the table by grilled veg, halloumi kebabs, superfood salads and sizzling seafood. There's no reason why you can’t make memorable meals every time you fire up the best barbecue around. This guide will help you find the BBQ to suit you.


Barbecues come in many sizes and designs, but the first thing to decide is which kind of fuel you want to use.

CHARCOAL BBQ
Stone BBQ

There are those who swear by charcoal barbecue and won’t use any other kind of fuel. They say that it gives food a smoky flavour which can’t be attained in the kitchen or over gas. It's also the more traditional option if you’re seeking the classic barbecue experience.


Using charcoal does mean that you’ll have to light the flames around 40 minutes before you start cooking to allow it to reach the right temperature. When the coals are white hot, you're ready to grill. You can adjust the temperature by raising and lowering the grill, or by fanning the fire and allowing it to cool.


Try experimenting with different types of charcoal to get the tastiest finish:


  • Lumpwood charcoal: This variety is exactly what it says on the tin; lumps of wood which have been fired in a kiln. It burns at a high temperature perfect for getting that sear on your steak. Some lumpwood is made purely from one type of tree for unique flavours of smoke. Popular wood for smoking includes cherry, maple and hickory. Instant-lighting lumpwood comes coated in lighter fluid for speedy ignition.

  • Briquettes: These are made by breaking down charcoal and binding it together with starch in even little chunks. They burn longer and more steadily than lumpwood thanks to their composition, so they’re the most reliable option to ensure your chicken is evenly cooked. Even at the end of the evening they’ll still be smouldering, so you can toast marshmallows as the sun sets.
GAS BBQ
Gas BBQ with food cooking

If there’s one major advantage gas barbecues have over charcoal, it’s their speed. Firing up a gas barbecue takes no time at all and has the added benefit of giving the chef complete control over temperature, just like your kitchen hob. Larger gas models even have multiple temperature control points, so you can slow cook in one zone while you char-grill on another. You'll also find ones with side burners and warming racks, ideal for any extras you've prepared.


Gas barbecues tend to be less portable than charcoal as they need a gas canister attached, but there are models with wheels to help you move around the garden. You can pick up a refillable gas canister and top it up as many times as needed. Safety valves mean that you can use and store your canister without worrying about leaks. If you’re ever done with your barbecue, just return the canister and get your deposit back.

CLEANING A BBQ
Stone BBQ

  • Wait for the barbecue to cool down after use.

  • If you use charcoal, remove the ashes after every cooking session.

  • Scrub the grill using a wire brush to get rid of any fats and residue.

  • Clean the grill in the sink with a metal scourer and soapy water.

  • Occasionally you might want to give the barbecue itself a good scrub with an oven cleaner, but this isn't essential every time.
BBQ TIPS
Black outback cover on BBQ

Keep your range protected with a cover over the summer. A waterproof cover will protect against rust and keep your kit in top condition. In winter it’s better to store your barbecue in the garage or shed.


The intense heat involved in barbecuing means that ordinary kitchen tools won’t be much use – you don’t want to try flipping your burgers with an ordinary kitchen spatula. Pick up key cooking utensils like tongs, a griddle, a frying dish and a long-handled metal spatula.


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BBQ SAFETY
Cobb portable BBQ

Here are a few ways to ensure you enjoy your meal without any mishaps:


  • Never light a barbecue indoors. The gas or charcoal can give off odourless carbon monoxide, which is extremely harmful. Cooking outdoors eliminates the risk from this gas.

  • Don't move your barbecue once it's lit and always wait for it to cool down before cleaning and storing.

  • Only use specially made firelighters to start your charcoal barbecue. Fuels like petrol and white spirit can cause dangerously large fires, and cooking over their fumes can make you ill.

Confident in your barbecuing equipment and technique, you can turn your attention to creating a beautiful space for entertaining. Adorn your garden with lanterns and ornaments and add an outdoor heater for the perfect backdrop for long evenings spent with friends and family.


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The Best Eyeshadow For Your Eye Colour

From Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ to Elton John’s ‘Blue Eyes’, eye colour has long been the source of inspiration for love songs, poems and sweet nothings. Whichever shade you were born with (or whichever coloured contact lenses you enjoy experimenting with), our simple guide will show you how to amplify your irises with different types of eyeshadow.

UNDERSTANDING WARM AND COOL TONES
Tom Ford eye shadow palette

Eyeshadow is available in every finish and texture imaginable. To narrow down your choices it helps to keep in mind not just your eye colour, but also skin tone.


Regardless of your actual skin colour, your tone will either be cool or warm. Warmer skin has gold or yellow undertones while cool skin has blue or pink undertones. So how does this affect your eyeshadow picks? It’s simple. Warm skins are flattered by warm shades (think chestnut, coral or ivory) while cool skin tones are flattered by cool shades (think grey, pastels, teal or turquoise).


Not sure which you are? You can get a clue by looking at your jewellery collection. We tend to be drawn to the pieces we look best in, so you’re likely to have subconsciously developed an attraction to either gold (warm) or silver (cool).

CREATING A CLEAN CANVAS
Lancome ombre hypnose stylo eyeshadow stick in turquoise

Investing in an eyeshadow base or primer is your first step towards effortless application. It creates a clean, smooth canvas to work on which will make your application easier, and any product applied will appear more vivid and last longer.


The fortunate thing about putting on eyeshadow primer is that unlike, say, winged eye liner, it doesn't require precision. All you need is a finger to apply a light layer from your lash line all the way up to under your eyebrow to brighten and even out the area, ready for the next exciting step of ocular enhancement.


SHOP BASE & PRIMERS
SELECTING YOUR MAKEUP KIT
Eye shadow palette

Eyeshadow makeup brushes can produce a professional looking wash of pigment or seamless blends between tones. If you intend to combine multiple shades together, keep a few brushes on hand and use one for each tone to prevent colours transferring over. There are many different types available, but you could start with the following :

  • Fluffy brush: These are large with a rounded top and can be used to add colour to large areas of the lid.
  • Blending brush: These have tightly packed, rounded edges. They’re perfect for blurring out blocks for a natural line of diffused colour.
  • Tapered brush: Need to apply a concentrated pop of colour to a specific area without product fallout or smudging? Then choose this brush.
  • Smudging brush: Create a smoky or soft line of colour with this small, curved tool.

With that sorted, all you need is an eyebrow kit and a high quality mascara in black or deep brown. These will frame your face and enhance your features against strong eyeshadows.


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THE BEST EYESHADOW FOR DIFFERENT EYE COLOURS
Givenchy dark purple eyeshadow pot

Now that you have a better idea of which shades best suit your complexion and how to apply the eyeshadow, it will be easier to narrow down the perfect match for your irises


What colour eyeshadow for green eyes?

Green eyes are naturally bright and require just a dash of pigment to bring out their full potential. Shades that look best with green eyes are purples and reds – think wine, rose and berry. You can tone it down with muted hues or ramp it up with vibrant ones to make a bold statement. If your green eyes have gold or brown specks, intensify them with complimentary shimmers to match.

What colour eyeshadow for brown eyes?

Brown is a toasty, neutral shade that pairs well with contrasting blue and green to balance it out. Of course, neutrals such as gold and bronzes will also look divine. If your eyes are a darker brown, try a deep, rich purple (with a hint of blue for contrast) in metallic or gunmetal variations for a simmering evening look.


What colour eyeshadow for blue eyes?

As a naturally cool colour, blue eyes are thawed with orange, bronze and terracotta. For more formal occasions, use these same shades with added golden or silver shimmer to flatter your skin tone. You can even opt for jewel hues that provide a hint of contrast, such as emerald, to accentuate the sapphire in your eyes.


What colour eyeshadow for hazel eyes?

Uniting both brown and green, people with hazel eyes can opt to draw attention to either the warm or cool aspects of their eyes. Autumnal and soft forest greens will bring out the green in hazel eyes, while flushed golds can emphasise any flecks of brown or gold. Alternatively, go for royal purples for an attractive contrast.


What colour eyeshadow for grey eyes?

One of the rarer colours, grey eyes can be made up of various degrees of blue, green and even yellow, so your options depend on your own special blend. To bring out the blue in your grey eyes go with intense oranges, and to highlight the green opt for berry shades. Make the most of your unusual colour with a dramatic eye mask of smoky greys and blacks.

Foundation Buying Guide

Whether you've spent hours on your hair and makeup or you're just doing the school run in your pyjamas, a flawless foundation can give you the confidence of a catwalk model. This guide will explain how to choose the right foundation for your skin type and desired coverage. We’ll also explain how to apply foundation for a natural look that will leave you feeling ravishing.

TYPES OF FOUNDATION
Foundation Types

The various foundation formulas favour different skin types; later, we'll come back to exactly which one is best for your complexion.


Liquid foundation

An easy-to-blend consistency and smooth appearance makes liquid foundation one of the most popular options out there. There are formulas to suit all needs and skin types, like oil-free, waterproof and 24-hour. You can build up fuller coverage by applying multiple layers.


Cream foundation

Cream foundations are a handy on-the-go option, with compact or stick forms ideal for touch-ups during the day. Newer cream-to-powder foundations achieve a matte finish, which is wonderful for oily skin.


Mineral foundation

A true mineral foundation is made of completely natural ingredients that won’t clog the pores, so you can banish breakouts. It can be as buildable as a liquid foundation and gives a natural finish.


Powder foundation

Pressed powder foundations have excellent oil-absorbing properties to help lessen shine throughout the day. This evens out the skin tone smoothly, creating effective but barely-there coverage.

LIGHTER ALTERNATIVES TO FOUNDATION
Foundation Alternatives

If full coverage foundation isn't your thing, one of these milder options may be for you.


Tinted moisturiser

Moisturisers with a touch of toning pigment are lightweight in texture and will smooth your skin tone for a dewy, no makeup look.


BB cream

Blemish balms, or BB creams as they're more commonly known, moisturise, protect and correct imperfections. Many have bonus sun protection and antioxidants in their formula.


CC cream

CC creams, or colour correct creams, offer hydration, sun protection and a semi-sheer coverage to help improve uneven skin tone. Try one if you just want something to give your face a moisturising pick-me-up.

CHOOSING THE BEST FOUNDATION FOR YOUR SKIN TYPE
Foundation Skin

Different skin types have different requirements when it comes to finding the most complementary finish, so it's important to get the right match.


Dry skin

The best foundation for dry skin will hydrate without being greasy. Avoid a matte finish as this can exaggerate flaky dry patches.


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Oily skin

Choose a foundation for oily skin to help control shine, cover any blemishes and absorb excess oil.


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Combination skin

Recommended foundations for combination skin will be oil-free and rich in hydrating ingredients to moisturise dryer areas of the skin. Choosing one that's easily buildable will ensure that dryer areas of skin get full coverage while oilier areas can breathe.


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Mature skin

Mature skin tends to be drier, so opt for an anti-ageing foundation with moisturising properties. Mineral foundation is particularly flattering for older skin as it has a luminous finish that won't settle in fine lines.


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FIND MY FOUNDATION SHADE
Foundation Shade

Here are a few quick tips for getting the best match for your skin tone the first time:


  • Check the colour of your veins on your wrist. If the veins are olive, you have a warm undertone. Purple means you have a cool undertone, and a combination of blue-green means you have a neutral undertone.
  • Test three swatches of foundations you think may have potential by applying them to your jawline. Choose the match that most appears to disappear into the skin.
  • Remember to test in natural light where possible.
BEST FOUNDATION FOR COVERAGE
Foundation Coverage

The amount of coverage you need will depend on your skin type, personal preferences and even the time of the year.


Sheer coverage

If you have naturally clear skin or prefer lighter coverage, you'll appreciate a sheer finish. Tinted moisturisers and BB creams are sound choices when you want just a little help to achieve that natural glow.


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Medium coverage

Medium coverage formulas are best if you're looking to cover imperfections, but also leave the skin with breathing room to feel hydrated and looking radiant.


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Full coverage

If you want your foundation to leave you with zero blemishes, dark spots, scarring, shadows or redness, look for a full coverage finish to create a flawless base.


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HOW TO APPLY FOUNDATION
Foundation Apply

  • Step 1: Add a small amount of your chosen formula onto the best tool for the job. A damp sponge or beauty blender works well with cream foundations. Other types of foundation can be applied with a flat brush.
  • Step 2: Apply to the centre of the face and blend outwards in circular motions in order to achieve the most natural finish.
  • Step 3: Use any leftover foundation to top up problem areas like the under-eye or blemishes.

Bedding Buying Guide

 

 

You spend a third of your life in it, so your bed deserves the best. Whether you’re puzzled about percale or thread counts get you thoroughly confused, make the most of your lie in with our ultimate guide to buying the best bedding. Covering fabrics, weaves and care tips as well as a handy sizing guide for sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases, make sure your great night’s sleep starts tonight.

 

MATERIALS
Bed Linen Materials

 

Choosing between manmade or natural fibres is a great place to start in your search for the best bedding. Both have their benefits, so it’s worth making an informed choice.

Manmade Fibres

The most common man-made fibres are synthetic polymers, like acrylic or polyester.

Polyesteris a great synthetic hassle-free option. It’s often combined with cotton to improve ease of care and colour fastness, which means colours are less likely to fade. Sheets with a percentage of polyester fibre tend to be faster drying and easier to iron – they might not require ironing at all – but are likely to be less cool than natural options.

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Natural Fibres

These are made up of plant fibres such as flax, hemp, sisal and cotton, and animal fibres like silk, fine hairs and wool. They can be washed at higher temperatures and tend to be beautifully soft.

Cotton

is a natural fibre, valued for its smooth, cool and breathable characteristics. When used for sheets, it’s often combed first to remove excess fibres which reduces any linting or shedding. We offer our cotton bed linen in both a sateen and percale finish.

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Egyptian Cotton

is recognised as the gold standard in luxurious bed linen, having extra-long stable fibres which make it particularly durable and soft to the touch. Our Egyptian range is available in various qualities, from 200 - 800 thread count.

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Supima

is a premium and exclusive type of licensed Pima cotton grown specifically in the US and recognised for its silky yarn, tactile hand feel and durable nature. Supremely soft and lustrous, Supima is an investment in luxury.

Shop Supima Cotton

Linen

is a particularly breathable fabric that keeps you cool in summer and traps your body heat to keep you cosy in winter too. It’s eco-friendly and offers a smooth finish, although it can wrinkle more easily than other fabrics.

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Silk

is an indulgent option that offers a beautiful smooth feel. Known for its beauty benefits, it’s naturally breathable and leaves you cool. For that touch of opulence and attractive sheen, silk bedding is a great investment.

Shop Silk
THREAD COUNTS
Bed Linen Thread Count

 

What is thread count?

Quite simply, thread count refers to the number of threads – both vertical and horizontal - in a square inch of fabric. Broadly, the higher the thread count, the more durable and luxurious the sheet.

Thread counts are a measure of quality, but not the only one, as fibre type and weave are also important. Our sheets have a wide range of thread counts for different priorities. If you’re after real luxury, our 1200 thread count cotton sateen linen is your ultimate buy. However, a printed or patterned duvet cover is better off with a lower thread count, and those who like a particularly light sheet might want to avoid thread counts over 800.

FABRIC FINISHES
Bed Linen Finishes and Embellishments

 

Jacquard

Jacquard refers to the name of the loom that weaves complex patterns directly into the fabric. This means the pattern is enhanced by the texture of the weave with a discreet sheen.

Dobby

Dobby also refers to the name of the loom which weaves simple, single colour textures and designs into the fabric, such as stripes and spots.

Prints

Whether drawn in house or created in our factories’ design studios, print and pattern can add colour and interest to the bedroom. These are then printed on panel or rotary machines; now we can produce subtler colours and textures through digital printing.

Waffle and Honeycomb

This is a textured effect forming little squares within the weave to resemble honeycomb. As well as the being visually attractive, this weave makes bed linen highly breathable.

Flannel

The fabric is gently brushed by machines until it reaches the softest and fluffiest finish to the skin – it’s a particularly cosy choice.

Stonewash

A stonewash finish on a cotton or linen fabric creates a soft and casually pre-loved texture.

Embroidery

Embroidery can add a beautiful finishing touch to bed linen. Our designers use techniques from all over the world, such as French knots, chain stitches, and satin or cross stitches.

Application

Our designers think up beautiful detailing to embellish a product, by sewing on either lace, crochet, sequins, or pieces of fabric with different textures.

Ladder Stitch

This elegant technique refers back to ancestral textiles know-how. A delicate embroidery technique creating an open border detailing in a ladder pattern.

PILLOWCASES
Bed Linen Pillowcases

 

Whether you’re looking for a classic Housewife pillowcase or an elegant Oxford design, we have a wide range of pillowcases available to fit standard UK measurements. It doesn’t have to be complicated - a Housewife pillowcase actually just describes a standard shape with a sewn edge, whereas an Oxford has an attractive fabric border stitched around the edge. And then there’s square pillowcases and rectangular boudoir cushions - layering up your bed has never been easier.

Standard/Housewife pillowcase

50cm x 75cm

This will fit any standard pillow

Shop Standard Pillowcase

Oxford Pillowcase

50cm x 75cm (+Flange approx 5cm)

This will fit any standard pillow

Shop Oxford Pillowcases

Square Pillowcase

65cm x 65cm

This will require a 65cm x 65cm filler cushion

Shop Square Pillowcases
WEAVES
Bed Linen Fabric Weaves

 

The type of weave used in your bedding will affect its look and feel. Some of the most popular weaves are percale and sateen.

What is Percale

A percale weave is a type of a plain weave, achieved by threads being woven in a criss-cross pattern and usually used in thread counts of 180 and above. Percale sheets are lightweight, highly breathable, matte in texture and crisp to the touch.

What is Sateen

A sateen weave comprises of more vertical threads than horizontal threads, which gives a silky finish to sateen bedding. Usually used in thread counts of 300 and above, the extra surface threads mean fabric is silky to the touch with an attractive sheen.

SIZE UP YOUR SHEETS

 

No need to get stressed about sizing – whether you’re buying for a single or the ultimate super king size, our handy guide to bed dimensions will ensure your new bedding will be a perfect fit.


BG-Bed Linen Fitted Sheets Table
Shop Fitted Sheets

BG-Bed Linen Flat Sheets Table
Shop Flat Sheets

Bed Linen Duvet Covers Table
Shop Duvet Covers


International Sizing

You may find that non-UK bedding refers to alternative sizes. The equivalents are approximately as follows.


BG-Bed Linen International Table
HOW TO DRESS YOUR BED
Bed Linen Fabric Finishes

 

Taking the time to dress your bed properly will seem totally worth it come evening. Whether you want to layer up throws and cushions in tonal shades or find out the easiest way to put on a double duvet solo, follow our handy step by step and you’ll have a hotel-worthy boudoir in no time.

Step 1

Consider starting with a mattress topper for some extra comfort and warmth if desired. You might also want to add a valance, which is added between the mattress and bed frame to cover the bottom of the bed.

Step 2

It’s time to fit the sheet. You’re looking to ensure it’s as tight as possible, so you might opt for a fitted sheet. If not, start by laying the sheet on the bed and tucking the bottom end between mattress and bed frame, before repeating at the head of the bed, smoothing the sheet so it’s as taut as possible. Move to the sides, making ‘hospital corners’ for the tightest fit.

Step 3

With the duvet inside out and your hands in the two far corners of one width (so that the duvet is bunched around your arms), take the two matching corners of the duvet. Lift your arms up and out so that the sheet easily falls around the duvet. Shake from the opposite end and fasten any buttons.

Step 4

Lay the duvet on the bed. It’s up to you whether you tuck it in for a real hotel ‘turn down’ – if not, just make sure it’s centered so equal amounts of the duvet hangs down each side. Partial roll down. If you like, you can roll down around a foot of the duvet at the head of the bed, which is particularly effective for duvet covers with a different pattern on the reverse.

Step 5

Slide your pillows into your pillowcases, making sure the interior fold is over the top. Add to the bed. If using Oxford pillowcases, make sure the flanges (that’s the outer edge) are ironed.

Step 6

Layer your pillows as you like. You might add two housewife pillowcases, then two squares pillowcases and a final boudoir cushion as a finishing touch. Go for all white for ultimate luxe, layer neutrals or offset prints with colour block cushions in an accent tone. Don’t hesitate to add a scatter of cushions for an extra-plush look.

Step7

Add a throw to the foot of the bed, centering and folding so that it covers almost half of the bed. Try faux fur for the ultimate cosy winter bed, or a tone to the rest of your bedding with an interesting texture or detail.

Step 8

Then it's time polish up your turndown ritual – we're thinking relaxing home fragrances and lights down to slowly unwind in the comfort of your beautifully dressed bed.


Shop Cushion

Shop Home Fragrance

Shop Bedspreads, Throws & Blankets
GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR BEDDING
Bed Linen Get the most from your gedding

 

Although all bed linen will come with care instructions, there are a few handy hints that will make sure you get the best from your new bed linen.

1. Change your bed linen once a week to keep it fresh.

2. Keep coloured bed linen vibrant by washing with a colour care detergent.

3. Always wash your bedding separately to stop it becoming discoloured from contact with clothes

4. Consider a sheet with some polyester content if you hate ironing but like a smooth and tidy bed.

5. Prep your bed linen - turn patterned fabric inside out and fasten up the buttons before washing.

How To Contour

If you've seen the incredible before-and-after pictures posted by contouring enthusiasts on social media, you're no doubt interested in trying it yourself. With an overload of contouring information, products and methods out there on the web, we’ve decided to simplify things with this step-by-step guide on the essentials of how to contour your face. After all, simple is often better when it comes to makeup, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to creating a sophisticated but striking contoured look.

WHAT IS CONTOURING?
Contour What

Contouring is a makeup technique that enhances the light and shadows on your face’s natural structure, sculpting your features in a flattering way. This is accomplished by strategic application of dark and pale pigments to certain areas of the face. It shouldn't result in harsh lines of colour or painted-on features that aren’t there in the first place, so don't worry about it looking too obvious. Blending will effectively smooth down the two tones into an understated look.

WHAT KIT DO YOU NEED?
Contour Kit

You’ll want to start off with makeup application tools on standby. While you can apply foundation with your fingers, tools allow for easier application and seamless blending. The key things you’ll need are a couple of makeup sponges, a flat-ended brush and a soft brush for dusting.


Your main concern is probably which foundation to use for the actual contouring. Beginners should opt for powder over liquid, as it's easier to apply with precision. Choose one matte foundation that’s two shades lighter than your normal tone and one that’s two shades darker. Alternatively, pick up a contouring makeup palette for a range of shades specially selected for this task.


Shop Makeup Tools
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO A GOOD CONTOUR?
Contour Good

Step 1: Lay the foundation

Find a day when you have time to spare so you’re not rushing to perfect your look. Start by applying your usual base of face makeup – a simple covering of foundation will do fine. Make sure you’re working in natural light to get an accurate idea of what you’ll look like when you go out.


Step 2: Deepen the shadows

Take your dark-toned foundation and add a small amount onto an applicator sponge. Suck in your cheeks to create a hollow and brush makeup from your ears down into it. Next, apply along your hairline and under your jaw. You can also do the sides of your nose if you want to make it appear smaller.


Remember that you can always build up the colour with repeated applications, but it’s much harder to tone it down if you use too much.


Step 3: Brighten the lights

Now take a shade a few tones lighter than your foundation and dab it onto a flat brush. Draw thin lines from between your eyebrows to an inch or so up your forehead. Draw more lines down the bridge of your nose and at the tip of your chin.


The largest area to highlight is above the cheekbone. Draw a curved triangle down from the edges of your eyes to above the hollow of your cheeks and fill it in with pale foundation. The exact size will depend on your natural face shape, but the light and dark patches of makeup should be separated by a couple of centimetres.


Step 4: Blend it smooth

At this point you’ll have rather severe lines and shapes drawn on your face in various colours, which might look a little concerning. Don’t worry, though. This is the part where you blend it all down to look natural and flattering.


Blend the dark colours in first with a clean sponge, working from the centre of your face out, until you’re left with a warm shadow. Next do the same for the light colours. The two tones should never blend together, only with your base foundation. A final dusting of neutral loose powder will help pull the whole look together. Voila!

HOW SHOULD YOU CONTOUR FOR YOUR FACE SHAPE?
Contour Face Oval

  • Oblong or oval face shape: Your face is longer than it is wide. You can alter these proportions by emphasising the contour along your hairline. Follow the whole outline of your face from forehead to jaw with a bold block of dark foundation for a more balanced appearance.
Contour Face Heart

  • Heart or diamond face shape: Your chin is pointed and your cheekbones are the widest part of your face. Make the most of those cheekbones by building up strong blocks of dark tones and light tones on the sides of your face before blending. This is one face shape where you might also want to add a little dark tone to your chin to soften its point.
Contour Face Round

  • Round or square face shape: Your face is broad and even in dimensions. To make it appear narrower and longer you can contour the sides of your forehead and jaw to create an elegant profile.