SLEEPING ON A CLOUD - PART 1

Quite a few friends have asked me where I went bed, mattress and bed linen shopping, and how I decided on the winners, so I thought I'd share my experience with you. I've actually been meaning to write about my search for the perfect combo for a while, but spending the last few days in a hotel has finally given me the kick I need to stop procrastinating. Of course I understand that hotels need to cater for the average customer, but the mattress was a little too soft for my (and my back's) liking. Mind you, I still slept like a baby - bless those Grandma Kwok genes!

Anyway, I'm gonna do this in 3 parts so I don't bore you with too many words in one go! So, Chapter 1 - the Almighty Mattress!

Apparently the average person spends about a third of their life in bed, so I think of purchasing a mattress as an investment. Whilst it is true that prices generally increase with the quality of construction and composition, you don't necessarily have to break the bank, at least not immediately. A lot of companies offer interest free credit these days, just make sure you understand the terms and conditions!

We went to all the popular retailers and tried a million brands - Tempur, Vi-Spring, Silentnight, Hypnos, Insignia, Sleepeezee, you name it. I briefly considered an online company recommended to me by my colleague, but decided against buying something that I couldn't try first. This is by no means an extensive list, and I am not claiming to be an mattress expert, but here are a few things I'd consider:

1) Size

Having slept in a double bed for the last couple of years in our rental flats, we knew we wanted a bigger bed. My friends have laughed at me about this, but we don't like being too far apart when we sleep... so we quickly ruled out super kingsize, so kingsize it was! Also something to bear in mind if you (or your partner) are tall - kingsize and above are 3 inches longer than double or smaller, so if you're 6 ft tall, I would say you should go for at least a kingsize, unless you're one of those strange people who like to stick their feet out...

2) Mattress type

There are many mattress types out there, but the 2 main types we considered were foam and pocket sprung. When chosen correctly, either type should give you the support you need, so it really is down to personal preference. Personally, I don't like the feeling of slightly sinking into, and being engulfed by the mattress. Also, from previous (limited) experience, I found foam mattresses get hotter throughout the night which can become unpleasant!

3) Hard does not equal best

I've always preferred hard mattresses. Actually, I don't know if it's really my preference anymore, or whether it's just because people keep telling me hard mattresses are better for your back. When we visited big retailers like John Lewis and Dreams, we didn't really get much advice from their staff. This is of course our own experience, and I know many people who have had good experiences at both, and love the mattresses they bought! Anyway, it wasn't until we visited Feather and Black that I felt like we got a proper assessment. The sales person sized us up, asked if we prefer to sleep on our back or side, and recommended a few mattresses for us to try. Personal preference does come into play, but the general rule is, your spine alignment should be horizontal. If your spine curves down in the middle, the mattress is too soft, and if it sticks up at your hips, it's too hard.

4) Make yourself at home

No, honestly, don't be embarrassed. Take off your shoes and jacket, test out your usual sleeping poses, roll around, make sure you're not being bounced around when your partner tosses and turns.

5) Did I keep saying "we"?

Yes, I did! If you're sharing your bed with your partner, you'll need to pick something that works for both of you. It sounds obvious, but depending on your height and weight, and whether you like to sleep on your back or side, you'll want different levels of support. When I told my friends that our mattress has different tensions on each side, quite a few of them were surprised!

And the winner is... * drum roll... * the Fitzgerald from Feather and Black, which I absolutely LOVE! We also got the Bronte for our loft guest bedroom. If this is any indication at all, one of our first guests slept for 12 hours straight in that bed! We bought them (and our bedframe) on a special "king for double" offer on top of their May bank holiday sale, which made a HUGE difference in price. That offer isn't available anymore but they are offering an extra 15% off the summer sale prices until Sunday 31st August with the code "FIFTEENBH". They also offer interest free credit on purchases over £750 which is amazing, especially if you've spent a lot of money on renovations. And before you ask, no I don't get any commission from them for promoting their products!

And with that, I'm heading upstairs to my cloud... night night! x