Conservatories are great way to extend your home without spending a fortune. Light, bright and warm, they're a great way to create space. Find out everything you need to know here, from how a conservatory can add value to your home to keeping them cool in summer.
Keep the heat at bay with these top tips and clever hacks for all budgets
Wondering how to keep a conservatory cool? A gateway between indoor and outdoor living, the humble conservatory has come back into fashion of late, with over 5,000 #conservatory posts on Instagram in the first two months of 2022 and Read More
Give your conservatory a facelift with these decor ideas for all seasons
Charlotte Thomas’ Fern bedding range
The Good Homes team reviews the Fern bedding range from British brand, Charlotte Thomas. Elegant, bold and good value for money, the Charlotte Thomas collection includes bed sheets, cushion covers and curtains in designs ranging from modern to classic.
Manufacturing in the UK since the mid 60s, Charlotte Thomas’s bedding collection includes classic plain dye ranges, toile designs and timeless florals, as well as contemporary on trend prints. The eye-catching Fern double duvet set reviewed by the Good Homes team comes with two housewife pillowcases and is reversible, so you get two great mix and match designs in one.
While the Fern range is made from 144 thread count polycotton with metal stud fastenings, the brand also offers luxe designs in 200 thread count 100% cotton percale. All the collections are machine washable at 40ºC and can even be tumble dried.
Some ranges, including the Charlotte Thomas Fern bedding set, offer matching pencil pleat curtains and tiebacks and cushion covers to complete the look. If your style is a little more understated, the two plain dye collections include duvet cover sets and housewife and Oxford pillowcases, as well as flat and fitted sheets, platform and fitted valances.
Where to buy
The collections can be found in major online retailers including Wayfair and Amazon. Prices start from £19.95 for a single duvet cover set in 144 thread count polycotton, rising to to £41.95 for the luxurious 200 thread count 100% cotton percale.
Would you recommend?
Absolutely! The Good Homes Approved team were impressed by the Charlotte Thomas bed linen range – 4.5 stars!
MORE ON BEDS & BEDDING
Dowsing & Reynolds’ bubble chandeliers
Bubble chandeliers are delicately frosted glass orbs suspended in a cluster formation from a length of fabric cable. Sophisticated and chic, it creates the illusion of a cloud drifting and comes to life once lit up. The elegant baubles absorb the light beautifully, cascading an ambient light into any space. Good Homes magazine takes a closer look at the OG – the Dowsing & Reynolds bubble chandelier…
Bubble chandelier design
Designed by Founder and Creative Designer James Dowsing-Reynolds, this unique bauble chandelier light can be customised to suit individual preferences. Choose between one, three or five outlet points depending on the size of the space and either Antique Black, Forgotten Silver or Raw Brass bulb holders and matching ceiling rose. Browse 21 fabric cable colours and select the number of baubles to complete the look.
Baubles are available either frosted or clear, and all Dowsing & Reynolds bubble chandeliers are hand-assembled to order in Yorkshire, using components sourced from the UK and around the world. Dowsing & Reynolds recommends the bubble chandelier is installed on a dimmer switch to be able to control the ambience.
Bubble chandelier installation
The bubble chandelier requires some assembly by the customer or an electrician, but full installation instructions are provided. Each bauble is individually wrapped and packaged so these need attaching to bauble hooks in situ once the ceiling rose is in place. The customer service team is on hand to assist with any installation queries. For more technical electrical queries, consult an electrician.
Bubble chandelier cost
Prices range from £112.49 to £529.99. Options available include standard sizes (a small chandelier has 8, 12 or 16 baubles; medium has 12 or 24 baubles; large has 40 baubles). Bespoke options, where you can specify the length and colour of the fabric cable, number of outlet points, and number of baubles, are also available.
What’s unique about Dowsing & Reynolds’ bubble chandelier?
Chandeliers designed in a ‘bubble’ formation are becoming popular, however the ability to customise Dowsing & Reynolds’ bubble chandeliers is what makes them unique. Customers can choose their own colours, lengths and sizes to suit their interior space.
Styling your bubble chandelier
Check these five ways to work the bubble chandelier trend, as styled by interiors influencers.
Delivery: Since each bubble chandelier is hand-assembled to order, deliver usually takes three to five working days.
Availability: Bubble chandeliers are available to buy all-year-round, in a range of sizes and finishes, with customisable options also available.
Customer service: Dowsing & Reynolds is rated ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot, scoring an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars across nearly 9,000 reviews. Contact Dowsing & Reynolds via phone, email, live chat, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Would you recommend?
Yes, we give it 5 stars! These stylish pendant lights are handmade and customisable, yet they represent better value than many similar models from other brands, the wiring is tidier, and they are delivered faster. Plus, they look great.
Find out more at dowsingandreynolds.com/bubblechandelier
MORE ON LIGHTING
The Bosch MUM 5 Kitchen Machine
Looking for a kitchen assistant that will help you without complaining? Read the Good Homes Approved team’s Bosch MUM 5 Kitchen Machine review…
The Bosch MUM 5 Kitchen Machine is a freestanding machine designed to help with all manner of cooking and baking activities (MUM stands for multi-use machine, just FYI). It’s a freestanding mixer, food blender, meat grinder and even a juicer, all in one package. It’s the perfect all-round investment for not just cake makers and bread bakers, but all-round chefs, too.
The machine comfortably sits on your kitchen worktop and the other accessories (such as an ice-cream maker and pasta maker) can be added to further boost the functions, as required.
- Mixer stand
- Stainless steel, 3.9 litre mixing bowl
- Splatter guard
- Flexi stirring whisk
The box is quite hefty, but considering all the handy accessories inside, it’s like a Mary Poppins bag of surprises. It comes with the mixer stand, stainless steel, 3.9 litre mixing bowl and handy splatter guard. A neat accessory bag sits inside it, containing a patisserie set including a flexi stirring whisk with silicon edge, metal beating whisk and kneading hook with gear protector. It also contains the metal discs for the food processor attachment. Other attachments include a blender jug, meat grinder and citrus press, all of which can be cleverly attached to the mixer via several power ports.
Design-wise, the unit itself is light to carry, easy to store and looks good – it would make a contemporary addition to any kitchen. But if you are planning on keeping it out on your worktop, note that it might be a tad bulky for smaller worktops or those with low-hanging cabinetry.
Ease of use
As a multi-use product, it’s great for keeping your worktop clutter-free. The MUM 5 even has integrated scales. It’s simple and straightforward to use, with each attachment fitting onto the basic kitchen mixer with ease – just press the silver button, the EasyArmLift lock releases, then you just push on the attachment. The bowl twists and locks into place, and the clear lid slips over the top.
Additionally, a touch screen panel helps you to reset the scales and select your weight metric and time. Once the machine is switched on, the speed is controlled using an intuitive twist-dial and the screen switches from scale function to a count-up timer.
All the stand mixer attachments sit low in the bowl and reach the majority of the ingredients. The whisk attachment is height adjustable.
The main body of the product is easy to wipe clean, and the speed control is easy to use. All the accessories are dishwasher safe with hand grooves for lifting the machine for cleaning underneath. Every single part, as mentioned previously, is easy to remove and clean by hand or in the dishwasher.
Good Homes Approved gives the MUM5 a 5-star rating. The integrated scale, timer and LED display built into a multi-functional mixer are perfect for ease of use and saving space. The additional accessories make this a worthwhile investment purchase – you can add to it your cookery and baking skills progress.
The Bosch MUM5XW40G costs £479.99 from bosch-home.co.uk
MORE GOOD HOMES APPROVED PRODUCTS
- Good Homes Approved: Bosch FreshUp
- Good Homes Approved: Die Zudecke Goose Feather & Down Range
- Good Homes Approved: Crown Breatheasy Coloured Emulsion
The Bosch FreshUp
Need to instantly refresh your clothes? Read the Good Homes Approved team’s Bosch FreshUp review…
The Bosch FreshUp is a portable odour remover that keeps your clothes fresh between washes. The hand-held device uses innovative Bosch Plasma Technology to lift odours simply by brushing it over your clothes – no washing, no added chemicals.
You can even use it while wearing the item, making it ideal if you need to make a quick dash from the office to an evening soiree, if you’ve been around smelly foods, or if you’re about to head out the door in your favourite jumper but it’s not quite as fresh-smelling as you’d like.
- The Bosch FreshUp removes smells on fabrics like body odour, smoke, food, pet odour and musty smells
- Spot treat a garment in 30 seconds or a full garment in two-to-five minutes
- For use on dry fabrics including cotton, silk, cashmere, wool, linen polyester blends and sportswear (not suitable for wet fabrics, or leather, skin, real or faux fur and sequins)
- Gentle on fabrics, it uses no chemicals, detergents or water
- Long runtime of up to 60 minutes and a charge time of three-to-four hours
- Charges like a phone with USB charger and adapter included
- Lights up white when it’s on and ready to go, and purple when the plasma is active
- Roughly the size of a glasses case and lightweight, you can pop it in your bag and be on your way
How does it work?
Plasma may sound a little science fiction, but it’s been knocking around forever – in the stars, the sun, lightning bolts, neon signs and even in fancy TV screens. It occurs naturally in the universe, but is artificially made for products we use in daily life. The Bosch FreshUp generates plasma through ionisation – the process by which electrically neutral atoms or molecules are converted into electrically charged atoms or molecules. These active plasma particles, released by brushing the device across fabrics – either on a flat surface or while you’re wearing them – then break down odour molecules on fabrics, removing smells instead of just masking them.
Ease of use
You simply turn on the device and give it a couple of seconds to glow white – this means it’s ready to use. Then press down and slowly swipe the device across the fabric you wish to remove odours from. The device will glow purple when plasma is flowing. A few times on testing the light flicked back to white while running it in a straight line over the fabric. Using it on a flat surface makes it easier, as does swiping the device slowly in an S-shaped motion. If the device starts blinking purple, it has detected moisture – dry the garment before continuing.
Our GHA tester found that the device does indeed lift odours, so it does exactly what it says on the tin. You can smell the plasma at first (it smells a little grassy, the way some smells when they come in from a long period out in the cold), but it’s not an unpleasant smell, and it does fade, giving way to fresher fabrics.
The Bosch FreshUp was tested on a woolly jumper that had taken on the smell of some new seagrass baskets (almost a curry-like odour that lingered on a treasured old jumper for weeks!). The device lifted it after a couple of goes (thicker fabrics like chunky knits may require a second swipe), meaning it didn’t need washing.
Our GHA tester also gave it a whirl on a cotton pillowcase that had taken on the scent of a new hair product. That delivered great results. It was slightly less effective on a down jacket that had taken on cigarette odours. It’s not really designed for waterproof synthetic fabrics, but it did make a bit of a difference after a couple of sessions.
Would you recommend?
Yes, we give it 4 stars! It’s no substitute for that just-washed off-the-line freshness, as you might expect, but the Bosch FreshUp is a close second. It’s perfect for ideal for grab-and-go moments when you can’t change.
The Bosch FreshUp is £249.99 from bosch-home.co.uk
The Die Zudecke Goose Feather & Down Range
Contemplating upgrading to a goose feather and down duvet and pillows? The Good Homes Approved team reviews the Die Zudecke range…
When weighing up feather duvets, many choose goose over duck because they have fluffier feathers and larger down clusters, meaning better insulating properties and longevity. Down is the fine layer of insulating fluffy feathers found around the belly of the bird, so for a plump, soft duvet and pillow set, look for one that combines both, offering fluffiness and insulation rolled into one.
The Good Homes Approved teams reviews the Die Zudecke Goose Feather and Down Range, which contains 85% Hungarian Goose Feathers and 15% Hungarian Goose Down for luxury bedding on a budget.
- Fill – 85% Hungarian Goose Feather & 15% Hungarian Goose Down
- Cover – 100% Cotton Cover which is 233 thread count to enhance comfort
- Duvet Sizes – Available in Single to Emperor sizes.
- Pillow Sizes – Available in Standard (50cm x 75cm) and Kingsize (50cm x 90cm)
- Natural product which is biodegradable produced in an eco friendly factory
- The products are NOMITE certified. This is issued by the EDFA and means that the fabric is so tightly woven that house dust mites cannot penetrate the fabric, making them suitable for sufferers of house dust mite allergies.
- All products also conform to the Oeko-Tex 100 Class 1 standard. This gives you the assurance that there are no harmful chemicals or substances in Surrey Down duvets and pillows. This also means they are suitable for babies and children.
- The wonderfully soft, fluffy clusters of Hungarian Goose Down trap large pockets of air, offering incredible softness, warmth and minimal weight.
- The natural filling enables the body to breathe as it allows excess humidity created by the body during sleep to escape resulting in a refreshing night’s sleep.
- This duvet also benefits from a cassette pocket construction, keeping the filling evenly distributed and eliminating any cold spots for a luxurious drape.
Delivery & additional services
All of Surrey Down products on their website are delivered to the UK Mainland for FREE with no minimum spend. The delivery is a next day service if the order is placed before 2pm Monday to Thursday. Plus, the duvet is packaged in a box and is lightweight and easy to carry.
- No assembly needed – the duvet springs to life once unrolled from the box
- Pillows ready to use straight from the carry case
The 4.5 tog duvet vs 10.5 tog
4.5 tog duvet:
- The 4.5 tog Hungarian Goose Feather and Down duvet is extremely lightweight and perfect for spring/summer
- It’s very comfortable to sleep in and retains warmth, despite being so lightweight
10.5 tog duvet:
- The 10.5 tog Hungarian Goose Feather and Down duvet was light weight but also very warm, great for winter
- The duvet bounced into shape quite quickly after unwrapping
- There was no odour to the duvet when unpacked, which can sometimes occur with feather and down products
Soft, medium or firm pillow?
- The soft pillow was plump and very comfortable, and also had no odour when unpacked
- The medium firmness pillow is extremely comfortable and the perfect balance between soft and firm
- The firm pillow is robust and retains its firmness over time
Would you recommend?
Absolutely – 4.5 stars
The Surrey Down Die Zudecke Goose Feather and Down duvet is £113 for a king size 4.5 tog, and £125 for a king size 10.5 tog. A soft pillow is £38, medium pillow £43 and hard pillow £57. All available online at surreydown.co.uk
The Simba Hybrid mattress
The Simba Hybrid mattress reviewed by the Good Homes Approved team…
The Simba Hybrid® mattress was Simba’s original hybrid mattress, combining both springs and foam layers. Made with five layers and suitable for all sleep styles – side sleepers as well as front and back sleepers – it has a hypoallergenic knitted top cover, zoned support and open-cell foam to prevent overheating and regulate body temperature.
Simba Hybrid mattress: Design
- The mattress is sourced and made in Europe: working with well-known, state-of-the-art factories in UK
- 500g top cover hypoallergenic knitted cover that offers exceptional comfort
- Five-layer mattress (25cm) that appeals to all body types and sleep styles – suited both GHA reviewers perfectly
- Up to 2,500 25mm conical pocket Aerocoil springs, made with titanium alloy for a no-pressure support system
- Reflex and zoned Simba-Pure support layer and base
- Open cell Simba-Pure foam with graphite – this prevents overheating and regulates body temperature
Delivery & additional services
- Free standard delivery (within 2-3 days)
- Easy-to-use online booking system
- Option to spread the cost over 12 months
- The mattress is vacuumed-packed and delivered in a 107cm x 50cm x 50cm box
- Comes with a 200-night free trial and 10-year guarantee
- The Simba Hybrid mattress was ready to sleep on in just five hours after unboxing
- Comes with a branded cutter to aid unpacking
- Four handles make it easy for two people to manoeuvre
- Single-sided so doesn’t need flipping. Instead, users are advised to rotate it every month for the first three months, and every 3-6 months thereafter
- The balance of medium-to-firm support took no getting used to
- The super-light coils have a flexible and specially shaped design, offering GHA reviewers interrupted sleep without disturbing each other
- The Aerocoil springs push warm air away keeping the body temperature regulated all night, reducing any risk of waking up if too cold/hot
Would you recommend?
Absolutely – 5 Stars
Prices range start from £679 for a single hybrid mattress.
Crown Breatheasy Coloured Emulsion
Looking for a hypoallergenic paint? Read the Good Homes Approved’s Crown Breatheasy paint review…
Crown’s Breatheasy paint range, suitable for walls and ceilings, offers a matt touch-dry finish after just two hours. The paint is 99% solvent free as well as being asthma and allergy friendly. It’s water-based and highly versatile, so would be great for any project you’re working on in the family home. Plus, the range is available in 65 matt shades, which can also be purchased in silk and mild sheen finishes, making it easy to find the exact colour and finish you need for your decor scheme.
Crown Breatheasy paint review
The GHA tester painted four walls of a 6m x 3m room in Granite Dust matt emulsion. The paint was easy to apply and had good, even coverage. Two of the walls were freshly plastered and the paint took well to these, while also covering minor imperfections on the other two.
The paint was touch-dry within two hours and there was no evidence of patchiness when fully dried (around 3.5 hours). The GHA tester didn’t use an undercoat, instead applying a second coat of paint for a durable no-shine, on-trend matt finish. Using approx 7L, or two generous coats, the paint offered good, even coverage. There was no lingering odour and the tester, who has mild asthma, didn’t experience any side effects.
How much does it cost?
While the pigmentation may not match more expensive brands on the market, for its coverage, drying time, versatility and hypoallergenic benefits, the GHA Crown Breatheasy paint review found that it offers fantastic value for money at £19 per 2.5L.
Would you recommend it?
Absolutely – 4.5 stars!