The Bird ‘Boys’

We love this photo of the four generations of the Bird men.

Our founder Jeff with his son David, grandson Michael and great-grandson Harrison.

Have you read our story.

Sleep tight: don’t scrimp on a bed – buying a cheap mattress can turn into a nightmare

Mattresses have become so technological – some are even based on research from the US space agency NASA – that they now sometimes go by the name sleep systems.

And at up to £40,000 a throw, some even cost as much as a mid-range BMW and command the same sort of social status.

But is it really necessary to fork out to get a good night’s sleep?

The consensus is that a cheap mattress is indeed a false economy – spending, say, less than £200 is almost certainly not going to ensure a good night’s sleep unless you are very young, very light and frequently sleeping somewhere else.

Cheap mattresses also need replacing more often, perhaps as frequently as every two years. Spend a bit extra, say, more than £1,000, and you should not need to change the mattresses for 10 years, or, in the most luxurious pocket spring cases, up to 25.

Spend as much as you can afford is our advice. The minimum should be about £700 on the mattress and bed base combined.

Some people will spend £3,000 or £4,000 on a sofa which they sit on for an hour or two some evenings, and much less than £1,000 on a bed where they will spend a crucial eight hours every night.

Once you have fixed the budget, the next priority is looking for the right kind of support.

People often ask for orthopaedic mattresses, but all that means is a hard one.

Very few people actually need a hard mattress unless they have crushed a disc. For most other people, they will simply be uncomfortable, particularly for lighter women, creating shoulder pain and pins and needles sensations.

Indeed, your body weight will largely dictate the sort of tension you require – the softer ones are better for an eight-stone woman, a firmer mattress will benefit a 16-stone rugby player type. Of course, many suppliers sell combination mattresses with different tensions on either side, catering for couples with greatly varying weights.

Although good mattresses are expensive, they are surely worth it for health and happiness, even if it means making savings elsewhere. People often put up with wakeful nights, constant tiredness and sore backs for a long time before connecting it to the mattress.

A good test is sitting on the edge and seeing whether the whole side of the mattress collapses. If so, the mattress needs urgent replacement.

Christmas table settings are essential for a large family meal on the big day!

As everyone knows, the true centrepiece of any Christmas day is the dinner. And the centrepiece of the dinner is the, well, centrepiece.

If you’re looking to make an impact, you can’t beat a striking colour scheme. Silvers and golds will create a classy, classic feel, while purples, teals and blacks will establish a more modern aesthetic. Crisp white table linens and crockery will add freshness and look great when paired with gold candlesticks and metallic ornamental touches. If you want to add a hit of formal glam, consider tying fabrics or linens around the chair backs.

You can have fun with Christmas tree baubles too, either hanging pedant-like over the table or scattered among the tableware. Indeed, for a more dramatic effect combine hanging baubles with vintage ornaments, elegant candelabras and rich colour palettes. There, your very own winter wonderland!

If you’re looking for something a little more pared back and sophisticated, minimal tableware and black and gold accents should be just the thing. Of course, even the most chic Christmas table isn’t immune to some good ol’ Christmas spirit – just add a clutch of attractive crackers and fun party favours. After all, it is Christmas!

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