Wallpaper Buying Guide

If your walls could talk, what would they say? With the right choice of wallpaper, you’re in charge of the message.


Wallpapering a room can change its entire look and feel – no expensive interior decorator required. It’s less messy than painting the walls, making it a suitable DIY project for the hands-on homeowner. There are so many colours, patterns and finishes available that you’ll have complete creative control over the outcome. This step-by-step guide covers how to measure for wallpaper, estimating how much you’ll need and even how to hang lining paper. Follow the instructions to get from beginning to end like a pro.


Ready? Let’s get started

BEFORE YOU BUY
Bedroom with floral wallpaper

You’re keen to get started on your wallpapering project, but some careful consideration is needed first. Review the space in question: what is its primary purpose? If it’s a busy area like a child’s bedroom or playroom, think about the maintenance required. Frequent messes and moving furniture will lead to your wallpaper requiring more maintenance than usual. If the room is small and doesn’t get a lot of natural light, dark colours and big patterns will emphasise this. On the other hand, wallpaper exposed to sunlight for long periods of time is likely to fade. In these cases, papering just one ‘accent wall’ is a good alternative.


Once you’ve settled on what’s right for your home, calculate how much wallpaper you will need.

HOW MANY ROLLS OF WALLPAPER DO I NEED?
Wallpaper dimension illustration

Start by figuring out the area by multiplying wall length by wall height. Then calculate how much wall area is lost to other features such as doors and windows, and won’t require papering. Minus the second sum from the first sum to reach your total wallpapering area. Here’s the same information, broken down:


Wall area

Length x height


Lost area

Window = height x width x number of windows

Door = height x width x number of doors


Wallpapering area

Wall area - lost area


Once you’ve established the wallpapering area, check the total surface area of each roll. Buy enough rolls to cover the wallpapering area x 1.15 – you’ll need the extra 15% to account for accidents or wastage.

PREPARING THE SPACE
Living space with palm tree wallpaper

Get the room ready by emptying it of clutter and covering unmovable furniture with a protective cloth. If you can’t find a protective cloth, old bed sheets will do the trick. Don’t rush this step – the last thing you want is wallpaper glue splattered over mirrors and precious soft furnishings.


Review this checklist for the tools and products you’ll need before beginning:


  • Adhesive paste

  • Sponge roller

  • Spirit level

  • Sponge and bucket of water

  • Tape measure

  • Small putty knife
SEALING THE SOCKETS AND STRIPPING THE WALLS
Step ladder in patterned room

Step 1: Apply masking tape over any plug sockets, switches or other areas that won’t be covered in wallpaper.


Step 2: Remove all existing wallpaper. Depending on the age of the wallpaper and what your walls are made of, this might require soaking for up to 30 minutes. If you’re not sure what lies underneath the wallpaper, spot test a section first.


Step 3: Once the wall has been stripped, make sure it’s clear from residue and dry.

PREPARING THE WALLPAPER
Wallpaper roll

Take your time when preparing the wallpaper for application. Any mistakes made will be painstaking and time-consuming to fix.


If the surface of your wall is bumpy, you’ll need wallpaper lining. Lining provides a smooth, even surface and strengthens your walls. Apply the lining as instructed on the packaging, and let it dry completely.


It’s now time to line up the wallpaper. If you’re using a plain colour without a print you can simply start at one end and work your way around. If you’re using printed wallpaper, start from the room’s focal point – this could be the fireplace – and move outwards in each direction, matching up the pattern as you go.


Once lined up and cut to size, start applying adhesive to your wallpaper. Give it a moment to become tacky to make it easier to work with.

APPLYING THE PAPER
How to wallpaper sockets

Now comes the most rewarding part of putting up wallpaper. To avoid hanging wallpaper askew, draw a vertical line and start from this point, working your way around.


When positioning wallpaper strips of any size, work down and outwards from one corner. Place it on the wall, applying slow and steady pressure with the roller to remove air bubbles. You should have a little extra paper at the bottom that you can trim. Hang on to these trimmings, as they could come in handy when tidying up future nicks.


Here’s what to do when you reach the tricky bits:


  • Doorways: Hang your wallpaper from the top of the wall and smooth it downwards until you meet the top of the door’s mouldings – also called the architrave. Make a diagonal cut and then push the wallpaper against the corner. Press the wallpaper firmly along the architrave and trim any excess paper.

  • Windows: Treat a windowsill as you would a door, making a diagonal cut when you reach corners and press the paper into the angle, trimming any waste at the crease.

  • Light switches and power sockets: Turn your electricity off at the mains so no power is coming through. Hang your wallpaper as normal, but make diagonal cuts from the centre of the switch plate to the corners, leaving an extra half a centimetre. Loosen the switch plate screws so that you can push the edges of the paper underneath. Tighten the screws again and when the paper has dried, restore the power.
THAT'S A WRAP!
Kids’ room with striped wallpaper

Congratulations, you’ve almost completed wallpapering your room. While you’re probably keen to get started on another room – or just to have a cup of tea and a sit down – there’s one more step. Use a brush and roller to apply a specially formulated clear glaze that will protect your wallpaper. Once that’s done, you really can step back and admire your handiwork.


Aftercare

When it comes to cleaning dust and grime from your wallpaper, always test a section to see how it reacts first. In most cases, applying a diluted soapy solution with a moist sponge will get the job done.

Towel Buying Guide

 

 

Bath towel terminology can be confusing, and that’s before adding sizes, fabrics and quality into the mix. So we’re breaking this bath time dilemma down and putting it simply. In this guide you’ll find technical terms, sizes, fabric and care advice, to make shopping as relaxing as the bath you’ll take with your brand new towel.

 

TOWEL SIZES
Buying Guide Towel Sizes

 

BG-Towel Sizes Table
TOWEL TECHNICAL TERMS
Buying Guide Towel Technical Terms

 

GSM (Grams per Square Meter)

GSM is a term used to describe towel weight. As a rule, the higher the GSM of a towel, the heavier weight and the more absorbent your towel will be.

Towel Twists

Fabric fibres are made into thread or yarn and then twisted together – the direction of the spin is called a twist. The important thing to remember is: the lower the twist in a yarn, the more plush, soft and highly absorbent the towel will be. However a higher twist will create a tight and stronger weave which will result in a more durable towel.

Ply

A ply is a layer of two yarns woven together. When two or three yarns are woven together in production; this results in a thicker feeling pile.

Technical Weaves

There are different types of technical weaves on the market: Air Rich or Hygro are one of them; they usually refer to an action during spinning where air is pumped into the yarns to create a lofty and plump finish to the pile.

Jacquard

Two or more colours are woven together in production to form a pattern. The main difference between the jacquard and the plain dye is that jacquards are made from two or more coloured yarns on the loom, whereas a plain dye is made from the yarns in their natural form and then dyed later (piece dyed).

Style Tip: Jacquard Towels are an easy way to add some style to your bathroom. Mix and match with plain dye towels to compliment your scheme.
TOWEL QUALITIES
Buying Guide Towel Quaalities

 

Egyptian Cotton

Grown from the Gossypium barbadense plant, this type of cotton tends to have long, thin fibres and is usually soft to the touch. Highly absorbent and long lasting, Egyptian cotton is the most popular towel quality in the UK.

Combed Cotton

Cotton is combed during production to remove excess fibres and therefore help to reduce any shedding that can occur.

Supima Cotton

Strong, soft and durable, Supima has a silky yarn, with long fibres and a tactile feel.

Modal

Modal is a semi synthetic fibre made by spinning cellulose from beech trees. Often combined with cotton in production, these towels are 50% more absorbent than regular cotton and are silky to the touch.

Tencel

Made from wood pulp from sustainable tree farms, tencel is a natural man made fibre which when combined with cotton creates a highly absorbent, soft and anti bacterial product.

Velour/Sheared Towels

The shiny or velvety feel is created by shaving the loops on one side of the towel.

TOWEL CARE
Buying Guide Towel Care

 

Care labels only go so far. Here are our top tips to keep your towels looking perfect for longer.

1. Tumble drying your towels is great for keeping them fluffy, but alternate between this and air drying for best results

2. Sparingly use fabric softener when washing your towels, as this can reduce the absorbency over time

3. Always wash your towels after purchase; this will remove any finishing product that was used in the factory and excess fibres.

Table Setting Guide

Hosting a dinner with friends is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether it’s an intimate dinner with your other half or a celebratory get-together for ten, nothing says occasion like an expert table setting arrangement. Find out how to select the right type of linen, pick between different types of cutlery and which glasses to place where with our table setting guide.

PLACE SETTING
white plate with silver fork, knife and spoons

Tablecloths and linens form the foundation of your table setup, setting the tone for the decorative scheme and protecting against spills. Picking the right material will preserve your furniture, leaving you to focus on entertaining. Put guests at ease by opting for darker colours that are less likely to magnify stains. Tablecloths and napkins are often available in poly-cotton or cotton variations. When choosing between the two, bear in mind that the latter is more prone to wrinkling and staining.


Provide each guest with a coaster and placemat, and use a heat, stain and moisture resistant table protector underneath your tablecloth to protect the entire surface.


Add a decorative central runner and coordinating napkins at each place, complete with napkin rings. If you have some time to go the extra mile, try learning a folding technique. With practice you’ll be able to transform each place setting into a miniature work of art.


Shop Table Linen & Placemats
LAYING YOUR TABLEWARE
white plates and bowl on a brown wood table

After setting the tablecloth, runner and linens, you can choose to contrast or continue the theme with tableware. Think practically when choosing the best tableware for your needs and consider what food you will be serving.


Porcelain tableware is the traditional choice, but there are many affordable alternatives that are less prone to shattering and scratch marks. It’s best to leave porcelain and glass for special adults-only occasions to avoid any accident-induced stress.


If you’re serving a tapas style menu you’ll need spacious serving plates and platters. A heartier menu, however, works well with heatproof earthenware serving dishes. Place them in the oven until you’re ready to serve your food so that guests enjoy a piping hot meal, but don’t forget that earthenware is more breakable after radical changes in temperature. Add extras such as butter dishes, gravy boats and seasoning shakers as needed.


Shop Serving Dishes and Platters
GLASSWARE
wine glass, champagne glass, cocktail glass and a beer glass

With so many types of drinking glassware to choose from, it’s easy to go overboard. Instead, remember that less can often be more. As a rule, you needn’t use your best drinking glasses for a casual gathering. Be accommodating to guests by pairing your glassware to their chosen beverage. No matter what everyone drinks, ensure you have water jugs and tumblers to hand.


A celebratory dinner isn’t complete without a toast, and what is a toast without a champagne flute? Keep these on hand but off the table. The same goes for post-meal coffee and teacups, and cocktail glasses if the occasion calls for it.


Shop Glassware
THE RIGHT CUTLERY FOR YOUR DINNER TABLE
Illustration of a knives, forks and spoons

Few areas of table setting etiquette cause as much confusion as cutlery. There isn’t a major difference between most forks and knives on offer, but choosing a subtly distinguished set can elevate the overall impression of your meal. Browse our range of serving and dining cutlery, matching a traditional or sleek, modern aesthetic to the mood of the evening.


If you’re not sure how to lay your cutlery, don’t worry – our visual guide will help.


Shop Serving and dining cutlery
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Illustration of how to lay out your table setting

We’ve created an illustrative guide for assembling your formal table setting, piece by piece. These are simply guidelines – you may find you need to add or subtract elements based on your occasion or personal taste.

FINISHING TOUCHES
Glass vases in small, medium and large

Choose from the following final decorations to truly set your dining table apart:


  • Candles or fairy lights

    These are great for romantic evenings. Stick to unscented candles to give centre stage to the aromas of your food.

  • Name settings

    Personalise a larger gathering with handwritten name settings – calligraphy always looks impressive.

  • Flowers

    Create several smaller floral arrangements to place along the table instead of a single large arrangement that could stop guests from seeing each other!

  • Lanterns

    Technically these will not be placed on the table, but if you have limited space for decorations you can make use of lanterns. Line them along your garden path or hang overhead in the dining room.


Shop Home Accessories

Frequent entertainers tend to make bolder choices in linen, tableware, cutlery and glassware. If you’re new to hosting, however, you might prefer to start with a classic matching set of items in neutral colours. That way, even if you only host two dinners a year you’ll be able to use them again. Explore our dining selection for dinnerware, glassware, cutlery, table linens and placemats.


Take your time planning each element of your dinner party, and mull over investment purchases until you’re sure.


When the night finally arrives, remember to have fun! There’s no better ingredient for successful dinner party than a happy, smiling host.

Wall Art Ideas

Inject some life into your home by adding a couple of pieces of inspiring wall art. A blank wall is like a blank canvas – use it to show off your personality and style while completely changing the look and feel of the room.


In this guide, you'll find essential information about the range of pieces on offer and how to hang wall art safely and creatively. Plus, we've got some top tips on how to create a gallery wall.

MATCH THE ROOM
Bright pink coloured room

Before you dive headfirst into the art world it's a good idea to narrow your search terms: think colour, theme and style. Which hues will match your current décor? What themes are already present in the room? What types of motifs would you like to see? You could also think about adding a light feature, or creating a sense of depth with a mirror.

TYPES OF WALL ART
Neutral coloured wall with hanging picture

Whether you prefer traditional portraits or something more abstract, there are a number of options when it comes to wall art. Our range covers it all, from the classic to the kooky.


Framed artwork

A timeless style, these pictures usually come with a wooden frame and a glass cover to protect the artwork inside. Large photos, prints or paintings look great in this style, as the frame defines the picture and makes the work stand out from the wall. Go for this option if you like a reasonably formal look.


Canvases

A canvas is a strong, unbleached cloth made from hemp or yarn, stretched over a frame to create a smooth surface. It's ideal for painting with acrylics and oils. A canvas is relatively lightweight compared to photo frames (and not as breakable).


Other objects

Think lighting displays, mirrors and shelving units – even your old vinyl records. Anything can be art when you use it to brighten up an empty space and make your home look beautiful.

HOW TO HANG YOUR ART
Hanging a picture illustration

Nails

Large picture frames and other objects can be heavy and require a strong wall fixing to make sure they don't fall down. First, establish what kind of wall you’re dealing with. If it's plasterboard (in which case it will sound hollow if you bang it with your fist), consider installing a special plug fixing, also known as an expansion bolt. If it's a brick wall it's better to drill a hole for a wall plug, put a screw in the wall plug and hang the art from there.


Hooks

If DIY isn't your thing, you can use picture-hanging hooks. There are three main types, and which one you choose will depend on the weight of your artwork:


  • single-nail hook – for artwork up to 15kg

  • double-nail hook – for artwork up to 22kg

  • triple-nail hook – for artwork weighing 30-45kg.

To do the best possible job, use two picture hooks per piece to ensure it stays level over a long period of time.


Top tip: Don't forget to use a spirit level to get the perfect hang.


Kits

A wall-hanging kit is usually made up of a strong wire and two clips. This is a quick and easy option for framed pictures, and some even come with them pre-installed. Canvases or wood block artwork usually have a built-in screw hanger that can simply be placed over a secure fitting. You can also get creative – try hanging a series of pictures from the ceiling, or use crocodile clips and string for that gallery-inspired washing line look.


Don't stress too much if you get it wrong. Hanging a picture isn't going to alter the structural integrity of your wall or home so, if you mess up, start again and patch up your mistake. Giving yourself this type of freedom is a great way to let your creativity shine through.

HOW TO CREATE A GALLERY WALL
Wall Collage illustration

Use a feature wall to show off your photography skills and display your favourite memories. A uniform, grid formation looks great in a modern and minimalist room, or you could go for a more freestyle approach.


The ‘salon’ look is very popular, and creates an attractive mosaic effect. It's named after a historical Parisian art exhibit where pictures crowded the walls. Pick a variety of styles, sizes and colours and make a cluster. There are no set rules here, just arrange the artwork as you see fit.


If you do group multiple artworks together, keep the space between each piece around two to three inches – too far apart and the arrangement will look disjointed. It's also much easier to hang the largest piece first, usually as a centre focal point, and then add other pieces around it.

Vacuum Buying Guide

It's not easy to get super excited about the prospect of cleaning the floor of your home but if you have the right tools at your disposal, you'll never put it off again. The spring clean can be one of the most rejuvenating things you can do after hunkering down for the winter. It's the perfect time to breathe some fresh air into your home and start over.

Choosing the right appliance for your needs is no simple feat, especially as there are so many options on the market. This guide aims to explain the best vacuum cleaners for every home and floor type and have you on your way to a fresh, clean abode.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF VACUUM CLEANER
Woman vacuuming navy sofa as cat jumps down

Before you buy the first vacuum cleaner you see, you should consider a few things. For example, where are you going to store it? You might want to choose the largest and most powerful one on the market to help you get the job done quickly, but if you don't have a suitable place to hide it away you'll soon get fed up of it. The size of your house, flat or cottage is also very important. If you live in a smaller apartment a small, cordless model will be the best vacuum cleaner for you and help you quickly whizz round all the rooms in a matter of minutes. For larger homes, you should consider something with a mains power source, so you won't have to keep charging the battery before you've reached the second guest bedroom. A final thing to think about is what type of floors you have. If you have a lot of carpets that need a deep clean, you should consider a carpet or steam cleaner to really get rid of all the dirt. Let's look at the options.

UPRIGHT VACUUM CLEANERS
Upright Dyson vacuum cleaner

The most powerful suction available, these use a mains power source to achieve unlimited hoovering time. The upright design makes them grip exceptionally well on carpeted floors, where you need to stay in close contact with the fibres at all times to clean them effectively. They are a little more cumbersome when it comes to stairs or smaller rooms, but many models have small attachments that you can extend from the main body to clean these hard to reach areas much more easily.

This style is larger and needs a bigger area to store it, but it can also hold more dust, dirt and hair in the chamber, meaning you can clean a larger home without having to repeatedly empty it.


Shop Upright Vacuum Cleaners
CORDLESS VACUUM CLEANERS
Dyson cordless vacuum cleaning wood floor

At the other end of the spectrum, cordless vacuum cleaners are not attached to the mains power by a cable but have a battery pack that is charged up when not in use. This type is great for smaller homes that you can clean in under an hour (otherwise you might run out of power). They are lightweight, easy to manoeuvre and store thanks to the detachable extension tubes and accessories. They do, however, have a lower capacity, which means you'll have to empty them out more often. But, in a smaller home, this shouldn't be too much of an issue.


Shop Cordless Vacuum Cleaners
CYLINDER VACUUM CLEANERS
Cylinder vacuum cleaner product image

Occupying the middle ground of cleaning capabilities, cylinder vacuum cleaners are lighter and easier to manoeuvre than upright models, but more powerful than cordless vacuum cleaners. They don't rely on a battery pack so can carry on hoovering for as long as you can, and are also easier to store away thanks to their compact size.


Shop Cylinder Vacuum Cleaners
ROBOT VACUUM CLEANERS
Robot vacuum cleaning wood floor under cream sofa

The ultimate in auto-cleaning, robot vacuum cleaners move around by themselves to hoover up any dirt without you even noticing. They are not capable of tougher jobs like embedded pet hairs or travelling up and down stairs, but we can all hope for the future!

CARPET OR STEAM CLEANERS
Dyson steam cleaner example carpet cleaning

The final type of vacuum cleaner you should consider is one that utilises water in the form of steam to wash and dry your floors in the same quick motion. These are best used on older carpets that need a refresh during the spring months, or tiled bathrooms or utility areas that see a lot of dirt very frequently. These can also be used on upholstery and even windows, as well as for carpet cleaning.

Once you've deciphered which type of vacuum cleaner is going to do the job for you, it's time to embark on that long-overdue spring clean. Be sure to move all small furniture out of the way before you start so you don't have to keep manoeuvring around it. We've heard that blasting your favourite tunes while you work is a great motivational tactic, too!

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
Shop Duvets
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


Shop Natural Filling Duvets



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

Shop Synthetic Filling Duvets
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
Shop Pillows
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.

Shop Natural Pillow Fillings

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.

Shop Mattress Protectors

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.


Shop Baking Trays & Tins
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.

Shop Cake Decorating

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.


Shop Thermometers
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.


Shop Glass Storage Jars
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.

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.


Shop Ceiling Lights
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.


Shop Wallpaper
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.


Shop Baskets & Boxes

Shop Washing and Laundry
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.


Shop Bathroom Accessories

 

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.


Shop BBQ covers
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.


Shop Outdoor Heaters

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.

Shop Polycotton & Cotton Mix

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.

Shop 100% Cotton

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.

Shop Egyptian Cotton
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.

Shop Linen

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.

Food Preparation Guide

From spiralizers to salad spinners, busy households need time-saving tools – and the kitchen is no exception. We’re big believers that the only thing that beats a home-cooked meal is a home-cooked meal that took 30 minutes to prepare. Investing in the right kitchen tools will make food preparation faster, fuss-free and save you money in the long run: no more disastrous soufflés, lumpy soups or flat meringues. Our guide takes you through the most important food preparation appliances, so you can decide which is best for your home.

WHICH APPLIANCE DO I NEED?
Food Preparation - Which Appliance

Find the answer to your most frequently asked food preparation questions, from whether a food processor purées to if a blender can make smoothies. 

Food processors 

These use blade and disk attachments to chop, mix, and purée food. Processors are great for blitzing chunky vegetable soup or whipping up a batch of summer pesto. 

Food mixers 

A stand mixer works hard to knead dough and mix batter, making it a good option for keen bakers. Hand mixers save space and are great for lighter kneading or whisking jobs. 

 

Juicers 

These extract the liquid part of fruit and vegetables, separating it from the pulp or fibre. They’re ideal for creating light and refreshing juices. 

Blenders 

Small chopping blades quickly blend together ingredients, perfect for soups and smoothies. The compact design suits small kitchens.

FOOD PROCESSORS
Food Preparation - Food Processors

Food processors are a great multi-functional tool; go from whipping together homemade mayonnaise to finely chopping onions in a matter of minutes. Processors can tackle raw vegetables, which makes them a good choice if you’re more a cook than a baker.

Food processors

  • Ideal for family homes
  • Powerful pulse function
  • Attachments to mix, grate, slice, whisk, knead, chop and liquidise
  • Simple push buttons
  • Easy clean

Cooking food processors

  • A choice of heat programmes
  • Automatic settings
  • Slow cooking
  • Digital display

Shop Food Processors
FOOD MIXERS
Food Preparation - Food Mixers

Choosing between a stand mixer and a hand mixer isn’t easy – a stand mixer requires less manual effort and can be programmed in advance, while the traditional hand mixer is compact and lightweight, and requires less of an investment. Use this breakdown to decide which food mixer is right for you:

Stand mixers

  • Large, stable mixing bowl
  • Mixing is automated
  • Best for thick mixtures
  • Programmable settings
  • Sturdy and hardwearing

Shop Stand Mixers

Hand mixers

  • Good value for money
  • Quick and simple setup
  • Small and compact for easy storage
  • Perfect for whipping light mixtures like cream or egg whites
  • Portable
  • Lightweight and ideal for small jobs

Shop Hand Mixers

The best stand mixer accessories


When you’re switching tasks in the kitchen, switch the attachment on your stand mixer to match. Different blades can purée, strip and finely grate produce while rotating attachments do everything from stuffing sausages and spiralizing courgettes to milling grains for home-baked bread. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a recipe that can’t be made faster with the help of a stand mixer.


Shop Stand Mixer Accessories
JUICERS
Food Preparation -  Juicers

Whether you’re a die-hard fruit fan or trying out your first detox, juicers remain a convenient way to produce fresh, nutrient-filled drinks at home. Juice machines are fun and easy to operate, leaving plenty of opportunity to experiment with different ingredient combinations. The two best juicer types are masticating and centrifugal, and each has its own set of pros.

Centrifugal juicers

  • High speed spinning motion makes juicing faster
  • Budget-friendly
  • Sharp blades work their way through produce quickly
  • Works best with soft and hard fruits and vegetables
  • Simple to use – great for beginners

Masticating juicers

  • Grinds and presses produce to keep nutritious value
  • Slow speed produces better tasting juices
  • Works with a broad variety of ingredients including green leaves, cashews and other nuts
  • Quiet to run
  • Few parts and easy to clean

Shop Juicers
BLENDERS
Food Preparations - Blenders

Blenders are often seen as essential kitchen appliances, and not without reason. The best blender makes light work of mixing, chopping, grinding, combining, and purifying. These powerful machines are ideal for making up your own batches of jam, hummus and salsa, as well as milk and yoghurt-based smoothies.

Hand and stick blenders

  • Quick to assemble
  • Budget-friendly
  • Portable for use away from plug sockets
  • Easy to clean
  • Long wand works in large bowls

Shop Hand Blenders

Table blenders

  • High-powered with pulse
  • Pre-set programs and manual speed control
  • Variable speeds and pulse function
  • Keeps fruit and vegetable nutrients by pulping produce whole

Shop Table Blenders

When you discover all the amazing things food preparation machines can do, it’s tempting to cover your kitchen counter with various appliances – but part of the appeal of these devices is their versatility. Blenders can produce perfectly delicious juicers and food processors can make batter just like a stand mixer. Take a closer look at your lifestyle, cooking habits and kitchen space and you’ll be able to choose which machine makes a perfect sous-chef.

Luggage Buying Guide

 

 

Adrift in a sea of suitcases? Fear not, from large expandable suitcases to luggage tags and travel accessories, our luggage guide will help you buy with confidence. We’ve got materials, capacity, security, style and airline allowances covered, so all that’s left to do is get that well-deserved holiday booked.

 

HARD SUITCASES
A hard suitcase is a great option for frequent flyers or for extra peace of mind when travelling. Choose a hard case for a robust option that will protect your precious items from the wear and tear of the plane hold.
Hard Suitcases

 

Polypropylene

A great option for a long-lasting, resilient case. Made from an oil based plastic, it’s extremely strong with a tough surface – car bumpers are usually made from this material. A durable choice for added peace of mind, but a slightly heavier option.

ABS Plastic (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene)

Made from plastic and a rubber substitute, this durable option is also used in crash helmets. It tends to be lighter and easier to manoeuvre than the other materials used for hard cases.

Polycarbonate

Polycarbonate is strong but lightweight, and is often used in premium hard luggage. A water resistant option, it flexes slightly to absorb impact which offers great protection for fragile items.

SOFT SUITCASES
Soft cases are made from durable synthetic materials and are a popular choice with travellers. If you’re looking for a flexible case with some ‘give’, this is a great option – look for a higher denier for a thicker, long-lasting fabric.
Soft Suitcases

 

Nylon

This man-made material is a popular choice for suitcases as it’s lightweight and extremely strong.

Polyester

A hard-wearing man-made fabric with an attractive woven appearance, polyester cases are finished with a matte or shiny exterior.

PVC

Made from vinyl sheeting, PVC is used as a waterproof backer on most fabrics and particularly suitcase trims and straps. Its flexibility means it’s easy to store.

 

LUGGAGE FEATURES
Types of luggages

 

Weight and Capacity

If the weight of your case is a high priority, or you want to adhere to airline weight restrictions, a lightweight suitcase is worth considering. These combine minimal weight with maximum durability and are available in several suitcase sizes.

Expandable options offer at least 10% extra capacity for those who need to prioritise space. Extra zip pockets provide extra storage and retractable handles can help utilise the entire interior.

 

Shop Lightweight Luggage

Shop High Capacity Luggage

 

Manoeuvrability

A telescopic handle means easy adjustability to ensure your suitcase is at the best height for you, and provide a frame for stacking further pieces of luggage, such as laptop bags. These are usually accompanied by a grab handle which means easy and quick lifting up stairs or into vehicles.

A 4 or 8 wheel suitcase is a great option for ease of movement as the 360° spinner wheels ensure weight is spread evenly across four points. There’s no need to tilt and pull as these can be wheeled alongside or in-front of you.

Extra Secure & Stylish Luggages

 

Security

Relaxation is probably your number one priority on holiday, so for reassurance when travelling, consider luggage with extra security features.

Some cases feature tamper proof zips, or multi-pocket TSA cable locks, which means main and outside compartments feature one handling and one TSA fixed lock. Also worth considering is a case with a clip lock system – this means they’re zip free.

Also think about shock absorbent outer shells, corner plates and interior cross ribbons, which all help to keep your precious belongings secure.

Style

Luggage becomes the ultimate accessory with a selection of colours and prints to suit your style. Whether a bold block colour, pretty floral motif or a chic metallic finish, a stylish case has the added benefit of being easy to spot on the luggage carousel.

CABIN LUGGAGE AND AIRLINE ALLOWANCE
4 Wheeled Suitcase

 

Specifically designed to fit in an aircraft cabin, these suitcases make ideal lightweight hand luggage and mean you won’t need to hang around the luggage carousel. Perfect for weekends and city breaks or trips for those who pack light, they often feature a handy front pocket to keep your flying essentials at arm’s reach.

Choosing a cabin suitcase can be confusing, as airlines have different rules and restrictions – see our chart below. If you’re a frequent flyer, choose a case that meets the requirements of your preferred airline. For maximum airline flexibility, you might choose luggage that meets the stricter requirements.

Please also make sure you’re aware of current hand luggage restrictions at UK airports.

 

Shop Cabin Luggage

Check our handy airline allowance chart for peace of mind when travelling.
 

Cabin Luggage and Airline Allowance
BUSINESS LUGGAGE
Backpack

 

If you travel for business, the best luggage for you might include additional features such as specific sections for laptops, tablets and phones.

You might opt for a rolling tote, which is a comprehensive travel bag often including a laptop compartment and garment carrier, with wheels for convenience. Choose from our selection of sleek and premium options in leather, polyester or nylon.

Laptop Bags

Designed to snuggly fit a laptop for maximum protection, laptop bags focus on a slim, efficient design. Some options have adjustable pockets and include a strap which can slip over a traditional suitcase handle so that it can be stacked on top of traditional luggage.

Garment carrier

A garment carrier is a great way to transport clothing with minimum creasing, as they allow you to lay your clothes out in full. They are usually designed around a central hanger, and may include straps to secure items, and extra pockets for accessories.

Backpacks

Backpacks make ideal travel bags for lighter travellers, as they keep your hands free. A great option for active travellers, they often include bottle pockets, tablet and MP3 compartments, as well comfortable padded straps.

TRAVEL ACCESSORIES
Luggage tag

 

It's worth considering some additional accessories for ease when travelling. Keep your items separate with individual packing bags, or pick up a travel pillow or bottle - and don't forget the adaptor plug.

Passport covers, travel wallets and luggage tags in beautiful leather are must have accessories. A luggage tag helps identify your suitcase quickly on the dreaded luggage carousel, whilst a passport cover will protect your passport from any wear and tear in transit.

It's not just about protecting your documents. A luggage cover may be a useful investment if you’re concerned about your case being damaged – these are water resistant coats which can be easily fitted to protect your luggage.

 

Shop Travel Accessories

Rug Buying Guide

If you feel like your room is missing something, a rug could be just what you need to tie the décor together. Whether you want to keep your toes cosy or avoid excessive wear on carpeted areas that see a lot of traffic, there are a number of factors to consider before you buy. That’s where our rug buying guide comes in. The material, construction and upkeep are all important, and we’re here to help you make the best choice.

TYPES OF RUG
Room with a furry rug and large patterned rug

Wool rugs

The obvious choice if you want something warm, soft and cosy. Wool is stain-resistant thanks to naturally-occurring oils which repel everything from ketchup to red wine. It’s a very versatile fabric, so there are endless colours and patterns to choose from.


Construction:

Wool rugs can be made using a variety of techniques.


  • Hand-knotted: The most traditional style of all. This technique is passed down from generation to generation. The yarn is wrapped and knotted around each thread individually.

  • Hand-tufted: Using a tufting tool, the wool is passed through a frame that has a pre-drawn design on it. This allows both cut and looped piles to be created.

  • Hand-loomed: Made using a number of different coloured yarns of varying thickness to create interesting patterns. Only the most skilled artisans are capable of this.

  • Machine-loomed: The most efficient method. Using a machine allows a number of textures, styles, colours and patterns to be created very quickly and cheaply.

Caring for your wool rug:

Vacuum regularly to keep the rug free from dust and crumbs. Use specialist cleaners for any big spills, but avoid over-saturating the fibres. Always blot and never scrub! It might also be a good idea to get your rug cleaned professionally every few months to extend its life expectancy.

Room with a synthetic rug

Synthetic rugs

The most affordable, hard-wearing and versatile rug on the market, synthetic rugs use man-made materials that mimic the look of wool and natural fibre rugs. They also have the added benefit of being particularly durable and colourfast – ideal for a busy living room or messy play area.


Construction:

Synthetic rugs are machine-made using any combination of polyester, nylon, olefin and acrylic fibres.


Caring for your synthetic rug:

Similar to wool rugs, synthetic rugs look their best when vacuumed regularly. Be sure to blot out any spills as soon as you can. You can also place a rug pad underneath to improve the durability and avoid any unwanted slips with a glass of red wine in hand.

Room with a natural fiber rug

Natural fibre rugs

For a more organic look, a natural fibre rug is the best option. They usually have a flatter texture than wool or cotton rugs, and make the perfect addition to a cosy snug or study.


Construction:

Natural fibre rugs are made using similar techniques to wool rugs. Generally, they are hand-woven by skilled craftsmen with years of experience.


Caring for your natural fibre rug:

Natural fibre rugs are perfect for indoor use. The material is very sensitive to changes in humidity and temperature, which may cause them to shrink or expand unevenly. Avoid placing them outside or in humid areas like your bathroom. Plus, keep them out of direct sunlight to stop the colour from fading.


Top tip: Rugs usually wear away fastest from the underside, so placing a rug pad underneath can hugely extend the life of your feature piece. They also help to secure it in place – particularly useful on hardwood floors where a smooth rug might create a slip hazard.

SIZE IT UP
Bright yellow side table with a plant

If you're buying a new rug online, be sure to double-check the dimensions of the area you have available. You can even try to lay out a template to see how much floor space it will take up. Filling a small space with a large rug will make it feel more cramped, so bear this in mind before you take the plunge.


You can subtly divide a room using contrasting textures and materials to create different zones. For example, separate the kids’ play corner from the rest of the room with a brightly patterned piece. It's also important to match the colours and style to your existing décor – cushions, throws and other upholstery – unless you're giving the whole room a makeover. A neutral-hued rug will help you to achieve a minimalist look, while a contrasting block colour makes your floor the main event.


Shop cushions

Small Living Room Ideas

Decorating a small living room can be a challenge, but it's an exciting one. Having less space to work with presents an opportunity to be creative with colour, pattern and statement furniture, as bold choices have immediate impact and can help you to shape the rest of your décor. Of course, it's likely that you're looking to maximise square footage too, which calls for some clever solutions. Our design suggestions and styling tips will help you to take your small living room from compact and busy to elegant and bijou.

PAINT 'ZONES', NOT WALLS
Living room with black walls, palm tree and a sofa

Conventional wisdom says that you should use pale colours to maximise a small space. While this does work, you're likely to end up with a very bland room if you stick to white or anaemic pastel shades on every surface. Rather than covering the whole wall in one hue, create 'zones' which split the space in to sections according to its different uses – so, for example, a blush pink or warm orange framing a cosy reading nook.


Don't be afraid to add colour to woodwork, either. Make a statement by painting the door, skirting boards, window surround or fireplace in a bright hue. This eclectic look, especially eye-catching if your house has period features, allows you to use more intense tones without making the room feel overbearing.


Of course, there's nothing to stop you from painting your entire living room in one shade, if you so wish, and there are benefits to this. Paint colours tend to look different depending on natural light, creating certain 'moods' in rooms at different times of day. A lush green might offer jewel-like tones during the day and become a cosy forest hue at night, synchronising effortlessly with your energy levels and desire to feel cocooned. The effect tends to be amplified in a small space, so if you like your rooms to take on a particular mood, go for it.

DRAW THE EYE AND ADD HEIGHT WITH WALLPAPER
Striped blue and grey wall paper on wall and round with a blue chaise longue

As with paint, you can use wallpaper to create zones within your room, but our advice is to choose a feature wall and use it to draw the eye. Wallpaper has impact alone, but looks even better when used to bring attention to an interesting element of the space, like a beautiful window. Dress with furniture and accessories to enhance your stunning wall-sized piece of art.


A smart way to work with wallpaper in a petite space is to choose a vertical print. It doesn't need to be as regimented as vertical stripes, but a design with a general upward current will seem to elongate the distance between floor and ceiling. Consider the scale of the pattern carefully too. Tiny ditsy prints can suck the eye in and make a room feel smaller, so be bold and opt for something large. Luscious floral or botanical designs can be gloriously modern or have a certain vintage flair, depending on the style and how you choose to accessorise with furniture.


Bold abstract or geometric prints look chic in a simple two-colour design, drawing the eye and complementing the furniture and ornaments.


Shop wallpaper
WORK WITH THE SPACE
Living room with a lady lying on sofa and a shelf of photo frames

Great interior design makes use of a room's best features. Assess your living space and decide what the natural focal points are. Do you have a striking fireplace? A beautiful bay window? Accentuating these features, whether with paint, wallpaper or accessories, will not only make your room incredibly stylish, it'll also help to distract from the lack of space.


Similarly, decide what it is about your living room that makes the small square footage feel even smaller. Low ceilings with low hanging pendant lights can feel very heavy, for example. One option is to remove overhead lighting altogether and instead use several lamps dotted about to provide uplighting and a warm ambience. With the ceiling light removed, your space will feel immediately larger.


If you have wooden floors in your living room, don't be tempted to cover them with carpet. Floorboards will naturally elongate a space, and they're far easier to decorate around than a carpet which may clash with your desired wallpaper or colour scheme.


Shop Lights
CREATE FOUNDATIONS WITH FURNITURES
Living room with a dog on the sofa and frames hanging on the wall

When considering living room decor for a small space, furniture that is simple and lightweight could help the room to feel more spacious.


Dual purpose furniture is ideal for compact rooms. Seating or footstools that double as tables are versatile and great for making quick changes when guests come over. They'll take up less room than a chunky rectangular coffee table. If you can find items that also provide storage, space-stealing clutter can be whisked away without seeming to take up any more room.


A smart furniture layout will allow your carefully curated pieces to shine and look charmingly busy without feeling crowded. We suggest spacing the furniture like a sofa or table in each of the different zones of the room, then use accessories to add character and make the room flow effortlessly.


Shop Living Room Furniture
HOME ACCESSORIES
Neutral room with long draping curtains

Soft furnishings and accessories can really improve a compact space. A small room will, of course, benefit from lots of natural light. Allow it to flow in by choosing lightweight curtains made from cotton or linen. Accentuate a tall ceiling (or create the illusion that you have one) by mounting the curtains well above the top of the window, and choose a floor length style for maximum impact.


Now that you've welcomed in the light, reflect it around the room with a strategically placed mirror. Hang a large one on a wall adjacent to the window for the best effect. Alternatively, you may want to draw attention to a focal point, like a fireplace, by hanging the mirror above it. Mirrors naturally make rooms feel more expansive, so regardless of location, your room will benefit.


It's not only curtains that you should hang high; placing shelves and picture frames higher up the wall again makes a room seem taller by drawing the eye upwards. Thinking vertically allows extra space for storage, keeping potential clutter away from ground level.


Shop Home Accessories

Redesigning your living room with a couple of tricks and tips to maximise space will breathe fresh life into your home and allow you to make the most of what you've got.

Mirror Buying Guide

From clean wooden-frame styles to ornate art deco pieces, mirrors add a touch of class to your home. Decorative and practical, they can be used to reflect light and create the illusion of space in smaller rooms. Statement pieces make striking focal points in living spaces, while more minimalist options will slot into your existing interior easily. This guide looks at the kinds of designs available, where to hang them and how to maintain them.

MIRROR PLACEMENT
Long length standing mirror

Positioned with care, a mirror will enhance any room. When considering what to buy and where to place it, think about how you use the room, where the windows are and whether you intend to use the mirror for decorative or practical purposes.


The Living Room

Your living room should be a calm, comforting space where you can sit down and relax. With this in mind, it's unlikely that the chief purpose of a mirror in this room would be to check your reflection, which you're more likely to do in a bathroom or bedroom. When aesthetics are more important than practicality you can choose any style, but consider how to enhance your space nonetheless. A large mirror hung adjacent to or opposite a window will reflect plenty of light around the room and create a sense of expansiveness, which is great for small or darker rooms.

SHOP WALL MIRRORS

The Bedroom

A full length mirror is ideal for a bedroom, and there are plenty of stylish options available. Rather than choosing one that affixes to a wall or the inside of a cupboard door, make your mirror a decorative feature. Free standing styles crafted from smooth, pale-coloured wood have an alluring Scandi minimalism, which you can accentuate with a carefully placed plant or two. Use this style to soften a harsh corner or to zone off a small dressing area. If you're short on space, a similar dressing table mirror is a great alternative. As before, angle towards a window to invite light and space in to the room.

SHOP FULL-LENGTH MIRRORS

The Bathroom

Bathroom mirrors are often the most practical in style and, depending on space, you might need to choose one that attaches to a cabinet or wall. Above the sink is the obvious choice, but you could go against the grain by opting for a larger mirror which takes up the expanse of a whole wall. This is a real statement in a smaller space, and can double as a mirror in which to check your outfit when the bedroom one is in use.

CREATIVE MIRROR OPTION
Geometric art deco style mirror

Conventional square, circular or round mirrors are an easy option and will work well in most spaces, but if you're looking for a decorative focal point, consider a slightly offbeat style.


Teardrop

These elegant, curvaceous mirrors have a distinctly vintage feel and make a great addition to a feminine boudoir or quirky bathroom. Their elongated style directs the eye upwards, helping to lift rooms with low ceilings. Consider pairing with wallpaper to accentuate vintage vibes – a softer, more rounded shape would suit a large floral print, while one that rises to a sharp point will go well with geometric or abstract pieces.


Antique

Ornate antique mirrors are ideal for bringing a touch of opulence to your room. They look fantastic in spaces with period features, as the intricate detailing works well with decorative fireplaces and skirting boards. You'll often find this style in free-standing dressing table options, too.


Geometric

Geometric designs play with straight lines and angles – you might find triangular, pentagonal and hexagonal options, usually without a frame or with a minimalist metallic edge which lets the shape shine. These contemporary options add modern flair to your interiors and work best when small or arranged in a group.


Sunburst

Sunburst mirrors are typically characterised by radial spokes which extend from the centre of the design and are gilded in gold or silver. Doubling up as a mirror and a piece of wall art, sunburst styles make the ultimate focal point in any room in your home.

SHOP DRESSING TABLE MIRRORS
MIRROR CARE
Illustration of how to clean a mirror

You might think mirrors don't require much maintenance, but taking good care of yours will help them to last longer. If you've invested in a bold decorative piece to use for years to come, it pays to know how to keep it in tip top condition.


Cleaning

Remove any dust with a dry cloth. Next, dip a crumpled wad of newspaper into some water mixed with a little bit of vinegar and gently wipe on to the mirror. You don't need to try and work it in; simply glide across the surface in a vertical or horizontal motion for a streak-free finish. Be careful not to allow the edges of the mirror to get or remain wet over a period of time. Buff the surface to a high shine with a clean cloth.


Protection

An excess of water can cause some damage to the back of your mirror so ensure it stays in the best condition by keeping it free of unnecessary moisture. Tired of your bathroom mirror steaming up? Apply a little shaving foam evenly across the surface and then wipe off with a clean cloth. This will provide a temporary barrier against steam; repeat on a regular basis to prolong the effect.


Mounting

Plaster or drywall may not be strong enough to support the weight of heavier wall mirrors. Don't risk disaster! Mount any screws or hooks over wooden support beams behind the plaster for peace of mind. If your wall doesn't have support beams, wall plugs, like spring toggles, are an alternative. These heavy-duty hollow wall fasteners are secure, reusable and cause minimal damage to walls. If and when you choose to move your mirror, the small holes can easily be filled in.

HANGING WALL MIRRORS

This easy-to-follow guide will help you to hang your mirror with minimal fuss. It's a much easier job with a pair of helping hands, so recruit someone to give you assistance.

Illustration of how to hang a mirror

Step 1

Take a look at your mirror. Does it come with brackets, picture hooks or with a length of picture wire? Generally, the weightier the mirror, the more heavy duty its fixings will be. Don't risk disaster by affixing it to a wall that can't take the weight! Plaster and drywall are suitable for lighter mirrors, whereas it's better to hang heavy ones from masonry or the timber frame of stud wall.

Illustration of how to hang a mirror

Step 2

Carefully measure the dimensions of your mirror and check to see if it will fit on the suitable wall. Using these measurements, make pencil marks on the wall showing the width of the mirror, how high you want the it to be from the floor and where the top of it will end. Use coloured stickers if you don't want to mark the wall. Cutting a piece of paper to your mirror's size and sticking it to the wall will help you to visualise placement.

Illustration of how to hang a mirror

Step 3

For lighter mirrors: If you're hanging your mirror by picture wire, find the central point between the top edge measurements on your wall and place the fixing here. Remember it should be below the line of the top edge, otherwise you'll see the wire. If your mirror has D-rings for picture hooks, measure the distances from the edge of the mirror to the rings and mark this on the wall carefully. Affix the picture hooks – usually you'll just need a hammer for this.

Illustration of how to hang a mirror

Step 4

For heavier mirrors: You'll most likely have brackets or need to use screws and rawl plugs. Again, measuring carefully is key here, as is having someone to hold the mirror whilst you affix it to the wall. Use a power drill to make holes for the rawl plugs, if you're using them, and to drive in the screws (if you're buying a new drill, make sure you purchase the requisite drill bits and screwdriver heads to fit it).

Illustration of how to hang a mirror

Step 5

Time to hang the mirror. If you're concerned about damaging your wall, stick 'bumpers' (adhesive bits of rubber or plastic) on to the back of your mirror for protection. If your anchor points aren't as solid as you'd hoped, things might come crashing down, so go carefully. Hold on to the mirror and release the weight slowly. If your mirror is hanging on a wire, shift it gently to centre and use a spirit level if there's a suitable flat surface to check.

Whether it's perfectly practical or a stunning decorative piece, once you've got your new mirror in place, it'll be hard to see how you lived without it! Now you know how to take care of your mirrors and hang them successfully, you can rest assured that your purchase will last for years to come.