AD | This post is in collaboration with John Lewis & Partners.
Sleep is up there at the top of my list of favourite things to do! So when an email dropped into my inbox asking if I would like to go on a journey to discovering a great night’s sleep with John Lewis & Partners, I certainly didn’t need to hit snooze and have a think about it!
The first stop was Herbert Parkinson, who are the main supplier of soft furnishing products to John Lewis. So off we went to their factory in Darwen, Lancashire. Mr Herbert Parkinson established the business in 1934, it was then bought by the John Lewis Partnership in 1953. Fabric is woven at the mill and hand made into finished product, the site produces 70% of John Lewis’ own brand duvets.
We started our visit with a duvet and pillow masterclass where we delved into the various types of pillows and duvets that Herbert Parkinson manufacture, ranging from £30 for a Siberian goose feather up to £180 for the Ultimate Collection, Mountain Goose which is 100% down. It was fascinating listening to how birds from different countries produce different feathers depending on the climate but then I guess a Siberian goose needs to be much warmer than a British goose!! Down and feather pillows mould snuggly around your head and shoulders, the right head and neck support can transform your sleeping habits and improve your posture. Also the position you sleep in will determine the type of pillow that you need. Check out the John Lewis buying guide to make sure you choose the correct one for you.
All the duvets and pillows made at Herbert Parkinson are natural, predominantly goose feather with the exception of eiderdown which comes from a duck. They are proud members of the of EDFA (European Down and feather association) Which means that they commit to certain standards that they adhere to around animal husbandry. They have traceability in their supply chain to the EDFA standard and that standard gives you a certain level of husbandry for example, live plucking is strictly forbidden and everything that they use is a by-product of the meat industry. Don’t worry if you have an allergy to dust mites, you can still enjoy natural bedding as they are protected with Nomite. Which means the fillings are washed at high temperatures and then sealed in a tightly woven fabric cover, which acts as a barrier against dust mites.
I love that they offer a made-to-order duvet service called “mine and yours”. So if, like me, you always have really cold feet, you can have extra feathers in the bottom part of the duvet to make it warmer or you can have half and half to make one side warmer than the other. They also come with buttons to enable two duvets from the same range to be joined together, so you could have a lighter tog for summer and higher tog for winter and also fasten them together to make one duvet. Pop into your local John Lewis to find out more and customise your own duvet for a great night’s sleep.
Armed with all the information that we needed, we then headed off into the factory to make our own duvet and pillow – lots of fun!
My very own personalised duvet and pillow made by me. Hands off husband!
The next stop on our journey to discovering a great nights sleep was the very beautiful Hornington Manor house which is set within the grounds of the Harrison Spinks farm. Harrison Spinks are a Leeds-based bedmaker who supply John Lewis & Partners with their natural collection mattresses. 100% of the filling materials used in their mattresses are processed on-site, of which 60% are locally sourced and grown on the farm which provide the perfect, natural fillings in their mattresses.
After a delicious dinner and a great nights sleep (must be a combination of the country air, the comfort of the Harrison Spinks Mattress and the softness of the John Lewis & Partners 100% washed linen bedding!) we had an early breakfast then started our tour of the Harrison Spinks Farm.
A walk through the hemp crops left us giggling like teenagers, as you may recognise by looking at the photo’s below that we were actually walking through fields and fields of cannabis plants! What we didn’t realise is that Hemp derives from the cannabis plant but despite this contains no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – the active ingredient that makes cannabis a drug, this is all contained in the leafy part of the plant. Hemp instead consists of the fibre and stem of the plant, it is durable and resilient, making it the perfect natural fibre for a mattress.
The hemp is grown from seed on the Harrison Spinks farm then harvested and the bales are placed in a huge machine which shreds it and separates the wood from the fibre. The fibre is used in the mattresses but the wood is too hard so instead this is recycled and used as eco building material, animal bedding and also collected with all the dust that is given out from the process and put into a machine that compresses it into briquettes. These are then used as biofuel to provide heating and hot water for the farm, visitor centre and wedding venue. Any excess is then sold on so they then have another product. It means that they use approx 90% of the bail so hardly any waste.
A lovely, very passionate guy called John Horsefield walked us through the hemp factory and explained the whole process, what he didn’t know about Hemp, wasn’t worth knowing basically! Here are the reasons why hemp is the best filling for a mattress:
- It replaces nylons and polyesters making it much more environmentally friendly.
- It is super absorbent. As you sleep you lose moisture so the hemp will wick away the moisture.
- Will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer so helps regulate your temperature.
- Hemp is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to mildew and bedbugs, which keeps your mattress fresh, clean and hygienic.
- It is naturally antibacterial, so no nasty odours can build up in your mattress and the likes of MRSA cannot live on it.
- It is hollow fibre so has a deodorising effect.
Hemp for miles!
John showing us the hemp separation process and how it looks once all the waste and dust is compacted into biofuel.
We were then introduced to some of the friendly residents who live a very happy life, grazing on pastures free from pesticides and fertilisers at the Harrison Spinks farm. This includes approx 600 sheep, a rare breed of long-wooled Wensleydale sheep, Angora goats and alpacas. Their fleeces all provide a sumptuous filling for Harrison Spinks mattresses. The fleeces from 1.5 sheep go into each mattress so that’s around 100,000 sheep per year! Additional fleeces are used from UK farmers in the North of England via the British Wool Marketing Board, and additional hemp crops come from local Yorkshire farmers. This also helps to support local businesses.
Snack time for the Alpacas!
This is beautiful Bea Jnr who was very excited to be reunited with Helen from John Lewis! (The feeling was mutual as you can see.)
Harrison Spinks Factory.
Once the fillings are ready, they’re transported just 20 miles down the road to the Harrison Spinks factory, which is where we headed next to start our tour. From the sewing room where it all begins to the spring factory where all their springs are manufactured in house using a patented spring technology, we learnt all about the assembly of the John Lewis & Partners natural collection mattresses.
Every Harrison Spinks mattress is hand made by their skilled crafters, from hand stitching the sides of the mattress with over 200 stitches which helps to hold your body in the ideal posture, to hand tufting which secures the ingredients of a mattress and keeps them stable. These guys are highly skilled, I had a go at doing both these jobs and it was tough. It takes a lot of time, skill, patience and strength! (As you can see from the concentration in the photo’s below!)
A common issue with pocket spring mattresses is the glue that makes the units almost impossible to recycle, in the UK alone 7.5 million mattresses end up in landfill every year. So this is something that Harrison Spinks have worked hard on to make their mattresses more sustainable. They now have their own patent Cortec spring technology which is a unique glue free design. Cortec springs are individually pocketed and sealed with heat, rather than glue. This makes the mattress 100% recyclable at the end of its life, as each spring can be simply disassembled and reinvented in the future, ensuring zero waste to landfill and zero guilty conscience.
From the farm to the factory.
Here is Lisa and I trying our hand at side stitching and tufting!
Next stop, John Lewis & Partners!
100% Linen bedding.
So I think you’ll agree that my journey to a great night’s sleep is almost complete. Just one thing left! Soft, cosy bedding. When it comes to bedding, Linen is my absolute favourite, I love the texture and the relaxed feel of it, in my opinion it looks even better when it’s not been ironed which is always a bonus! it is perfect for all seasons as it naturally regulates the temperature so it keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter.
The John Lewis & Partners 100% linen bedding collection is new for AW19 and comes in 6 gorgeous colours, I was totally spoilt for choice. All the colours co-ordinate well together which makes it perfect to mix and match. I opted for pink, white and grey as you can see below. I couldn’t be happier with it, even my husband commented on how soft it was!
You’ve reached the end of my journey to a great night’s sleep. I hope you’ve loved gaining a deeper understanding into each process just as much as I have. We spend approximately 1/3 of our lives sleeping so It really is worth investing in a great quality mattress, duvet, and pillow, each designed and handcrafted to ensure you get a great night’s sleep. Good sleep will boost your health and wellbeing.
ALSO, THERE’S SOMETHING RATHER LOVELY ABOUT KNOWING THAT WHEN YOU BUY ONE OF JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS NATURAL COLLECTION MATTRESSES IT HAS STARTED IT’S LIFE ON A 300 ACRE FARM IN NORTH YORKSHIRE AND THAT THE NATURAL PILLOWS AND DUVETS ARE HAND MADE BY PARTNERS IN LANCASHIRE. YOU CAN SLEEP SOUNDLY KNOWING THAT THEY ARE COMMITTED TO BEING AS SUSTAINABLE AND ECO-FRIENDLY AS POSSIBLE.