Last-minute Homemade Christmas Gifts

22nd December 2014

The countdown is on and there are just three sleeps until Christmas Day! Hopefully, you will have ticked off most of your Christmas list by now and all of the presents will be wrapped up, ready and waiting under the tree. However, there are always a few people you either forget or you just can’t seem to find something for, whether it’s your hardworking postie or your friendly neighbours who never fail to water your plants whilst you’re away. For those hard-to-buy-for folks, you can’t go wrong with something sweet and homemade to show that you care. We’ve come up with some of our favourite edible gifts to keep close by – just in case!

Our Christmas Advent Calendar

1st December 2014

Why should the children have all the fun? We’ve created a clickable Christmas Advent Calendar that’s great for us grown-ups. We’ve drawn upon some of the best festive cooking and crafting ideas on the web, to help ensure your household is both beautifully decorated and filled with more delicious yuletide treats than the family knows what to do with.

Take a peek behind the doors and find how to make anything from quaint custom wrapping paper to delightfully indulgent chocolate orange cakes.

Best of British - Autumn Walks

10th November 2014

Autumn sees our surrounding landscapes turn from the lush and vibrant greens of summer to rich shades of red, yellow and gold. Before the last of the leaves fall and give way to that rumoured blanket of snow, make the most of one of Mother Nature’s most stunning displays with some of our favourite spots for a refreshing autumn walk.

Best of British - Firework Displays

3rd November 2014

This week will see Britain light up in a display of blazing bonfires, spectacular sparklers and the whooshes and shrieks of fireworks that get bigger and better as each year goes by. Join us as we take you on a breath taking tour of the best Bonfire Night events that Britain has to offer!

Halloween Tricks and Treats

24th October 2014

Halloween, often thought of as a family-friendly commercial holiday that originated in America, can actually be traced back to Britain over 2000 years ago. In fact, the first reference to Halloween can be found with the Celts – they believed that on Samhain (the night before their New Year on November 1st), the dead would return to the land of the living as ghosts. To ward them away, families would leave food and drink on their doorsteps and don masks and costumes in order to move unnoticed amongst the spirits at night.

Top Tips for a Brighter Autumn Garden

17th October 2014

For many, autumn can be a dreary season – the bright flowers of the warmer months wilt and die away, the air becomes nippier with artic winds and well, the garden generally becomes a little bit neglected! In preparation for the coming season, we have some tips that will not only brighten up your autumn garden but also set your garden up for a brighter spring.

Winter Trends

14th October 2014

This week, Britain has been hit with a noticeable change in the weather – from a significant drop in temperatures to autumnal thunderstorms, there’s no denying that it’s time to shake out your woollens and bundle up in preparation for the coming months. A cooler forecast calls for cosy fabrics and clever layering, all without compromising in the style stakes, so we’ve collated some of our favourite winter trends to see you through the season looking and feeling fabulous.

5 Steps For Glowing Winter Skin

26th September 2014

Autumn has been a long time coming but the arrival of that tell-tale chill in the air hasn’t gone unnoticed this week. With it comes a welcome taste of everything we love about the cooler months – cool and crisp morning walks crunching through fallen leaves, a welcome mid-afternoon cup of coffee to warm you up as the sun sinks into the horizon, and that low early evening light that brings everything to life in rich tones of red and gold.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Autumn

17th September 2014

These warm winter breakfast recipes promise to get your day off to the brightest of starts – warming you from the inside out and leaving you feeling full, energised and ready to face even the dreariest of days.

The Daytrip Decider

19th August 2014

As summer has been in full swing for a while, people up and down the country are spending their weekends travelling to the seaside for the day whilst mumbling about the short amount of sunny days the UK receives. To make the most of the good weather, getting outdoors is essential and to help people decide where to spend summer’s swansong, the Daytrip Decider was created.

Healthy BBQ Recipes

18th August 2014

Give your meat and vegetables a depth of flavour without adding too many calories by making your own marinades. Store-bought sauces often have added sugars and additives, but you can get plenty of flavour from adding even the simplest of ingredients. Some of our favourites include Worcestershire sauce, mustard, tomato puree, soy sauce and honey. Just pop your ingredients in a zip lock bag and leave to marinade until you’re ready to cook

Keeping Florals Fresh

30th July 2014

From bold and beautiful to dainty ditzy prints, the floral trend bursts into bloom every season and it’s no surprise why. Florals bring an air of easy elegance and soft femininity to any outfit, bringing to mind mild spring mornings and lazy summer afternoons at back garden barbecues or picnicking in the local park.

Best of British: Camping Spots

17th July 2014

With the temperatures slowly creeping up and most British schools breaking up for the school holidays this weekend, now is the perfect time to getaway and enjoy the summer sunshine outdoors. We’ve selected some of our favourite campsites across the British Isles – with convenience, cleanliness and good old fashioned fun at the top of our list of priorities, they’re all fantastic options whether you’re adventuring solo or with your family.

Summer Drinks – The Thread

20th June 2014

Summer is well and truly here and, when the sun is shining, all we want to do is gather in back gardens around barbecues, burgers in one hand and an ice cold drink in the other.

For a little bit of inspiration, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite summer drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) so you can sip away and beat the heat in style!

Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Summer

6th June 2014

It isn’t just an old wives’ tale, breakfast truly is the meal of champions. It gives you five or ten minutes to sit down, wake up and gather your thoughts, it fuels you for the day ahead, it’s the optimum time to get your first fix of vital nutrients and it makes you less likely to reach for high-sugar snacks at that 11 o’clock slump. The benefits of not skipping this meal have been rehashed time and time again and, whilst we understand its importance, we also recognize that it can become a little bit boring and repetitive.

On Holiday with Parents and Grandparents: What Makes It So Special?

29th May 2014

Weather-wise, this summer looks like being one of the best in recent memory. Hour after hour of unbroken sunlight and warm temperatures provide the perfect backdrop to exhilarating and enriching physical activities, especially for children who have their six-week summer holidays to look forward to during late July and August.

Six weeks of summer: At what cost?

20th May 2014

In recent months, the increasing cost of childcare in the UK has been a hotly-debated and the subject of significant media attention. Parents around the country are being put under financial strain as a result, forcing many to take time off work or enlist the help of grandparents or other relatives to look after their children, particularly during the school holidays.

Best of British - Bluebell Walks

8th May 2014

The beginning of May sees the shaded floors of Britain’s wooded areas become cloaked in a carpet of vibrant bluebells. There’s still enough time to seek out this fleeting yet unforgettable sight in your area, plus it’s the perfect excuse to step outside and soak up a bit of early season sunshine, get a bit of light exercise and some colour in your cheeks, all whilst admiring one of Britain’s true springtime treasures.

Top 5 Coastal Walking Destinations

29th April 2014

With summer on the way, the warmer weather means it will be a perfect time to head to the beach. While many flock overseas for the sun and sand, as an island the UK is home to plenty of great coastal parts too. For those who don’t fancy sitting on a beach or swimming, there are some great walks to go on which can provide some truly stunning views.

Hot Cross buns…with a twist!

16th April 2014

Easter is just around the corner and with it comes the treats we all love – from soft and bready hot cross buns bursting with juicy currants and lightly spiced with cinnamon and ginger, to the childhood classic of chocolatey birds’ nests, piled high with crisp sugar-coated eggs in a pretty pastel palette.

Great Things to Do This Easter Bank Holiday Around The Country

15th April 2014

The four day weekend over Easter is an exciting prospect for many people as it allows a welcome break from the stresses of work and everyday hectic life. So Easter is a perfect occasion to spend quality time with family – reconnecting, eating, getting outdoors and relaxing.

Where Should You Go For a Walk in The Lake District?

9th April 2014

The Lake District is one of the UK’s most treasured and most visited national parks. It’s popular not only amongst keen walkers but also with families and for those looking for a leisurely stroll. However, given the enormity of the walks on offer in the Lake District (it’s a whopping 2,292 km² in size) it can be difficult to know which walk is not only right for you in terms of ability, but also will be one that you’ll enjoy!

We’ve put together this handy chart to help you choose where you should go for a walk in the Lake District.

An Introduction to Walking Navigation

1st April 2014

We know that walking is a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Not only that but, being a low impact activity, it’s ideal if you’re looking for a bit of light exercise too. From the craggy Welsh hills to the stunning valleys of the Lake District, the UK has a lot to offer walkers of all abilities. However, what puts many people off the idea of going on a new walk is the fear of getting lost! There are plenty of tools available to help you find your way around but we appreciate that they can be daunting to use. If you’re looking at getting to grips with navigation, we’ve come up with some top tips to help you on your way.

Best of British - Spring Gardens

20th March 2014

With the equinox marking the official first day of spring on March 20th, now is the perfect time to step outside into the early season sunshine and watch the world waking up after a long and dreary winter. From the bright bursts of blossom at Sizergh Castle in Cumbria to magnificent magnolias at Stourhead in Wiltshire, Britain boasts a colourful collection of spring gardens that promise to leave you feeling refreshed and inspired. Whether we're blessed with some early season sunshine or those famous April showers, pull on your waterproof jacket and take your pick from our top 10 British gardens that every enthusiast should experience at least once

Getting Into Golf: Our Top 10 Tips

14th March 2014

Mark Twain once described Golf as ‘a good walk spoiled’, however we believe that golf is a great way to get outdoors and stay active. There is the cliché that at a certain age, men suddenly get into golf, but really it is a fun game for anyone, regardless of gender or age. Golf can also be a good way to socialise, you can play a game with friends, have some light exercise and then there’s usually a pub at the clubhouse for when you’re done. If you want to get into golf, we have 10 handy tips for you – 5 things you can do when you’re starting out and 5 essentials that every new golfer should get their hands on.

Best of British: Castles

5th March 2014

A vital part of the country's military and social history, British castles are dramatic and rich with history. Take your pick from the royal courts of the Monarchy to some of our strongest wartime defenses - you'll find them scattered throughout the British Isles, from the gothic Edinburgh skyline to the magical Cornish coast. Whether you’re looking for gruesome ghost stories, brutal tales from the battlefield or a taste of Tudor life, we've picked out some of the best castles that Britain has to offer – all brimming with fascinating stories.

The Perfect Pancake

28th February 2014

This coming Tuesday will see people across the country digging out their frying pans, beating together flour, eggs and milk, squeezing lemons and liberally sprinkling sugar in celebration of Pancake Day.

Whether you see Shrove Tuesday traditionally - as your last opportunity to indulge before the ritual Lenten fast - or simply as an excuse to eat pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner - follow our favourite recipe for perfectly thin and crispy crepes. We've also thought up some filling ideas for you – from decadent chocolate to bubbling cheese – so whatever you fancy, you won’t be stuck for ideas.

3 Low Cholesterol Desserts: A Resolution Reminder

19th February 2014

It’s normally at this time of year that our New Year’s resolutions to keep fit, stay active and eat healthily fade into a distant memory as we drift back into our old routines. However, with Lent only around the corner, now is a perfect time to revive the promises we made to ourselves at the beginning of the year and get back on our health kick!

9 Essential Vitamins and Minerals

13th February 2014

Vitamins and minerals are not simply something we need to keep our bodies in tiptop condition – they are integral to keeping us alive. Our bodies need a whole host of essential nutrients to function properly, all of which you should be able to get by eating a varied and balanced diet. However, keeping track of what we need and where we can find it can be confusing. We’ve laid out the most vital vitamins and minerals you need and why you need them.

March Gardening Advice From Industry Insiders

6th February 2014

February may have only just arrived but this short month means that the busy gardening period of March is only around the corner. Gardening at this time of year is not only a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors in the springtime but is vital if you want to create a fantastic outdoor space to enjoy in the summer.

To see your garden bloom this spring there is plenty to be getting on with – why not take this time to plan ahead using top tips from experts in the gardening world!

The UK’s Best Train Journeys With a View

27th January 2014

Here at Cotton Traders there’s nothing we like more than an adventure, especially one that includes marvelling at the UK’s spectacular scenery. In a recent blog post we shared with you some of the UK’s hidden gems but this time round we’re putting our walking boots aside and eyeing up a warmer way to explore the UK’s natural beauty - by train!

Whilst train travel might not appeal to everyone – especially if your perception is a cramped commuter carriage – time it right and it can be one of the most relaxing and awe-inspiring ways to explore the UK. From Scotland to the southern corners of England – we’ve compiled our favourite places to sit back and watch as our wonderful world unfolds before our eyes.

Brights are the new black!

22nd January 2014

We could almost be fooled into thinking that spring has sprung but - although it may be on the horizon - bear in mind the gale force winds, dreary drizzle and Baltic temperatures we are often bombarded with at this time of year.

Whilst wearing colours that aren't even showing in your garden yet may feel a bit premature, they are sure to make these gloomy few months far more palatable.

Hidden Britain: Places and Spaces to Discover in 2014

13th January 2014

New year, new you, new places to discover! January is all about new beginnings so why not add these incredible and often forgotten places to your must-visit list in 2014. Whilst the likes of Devon and the Lake District attract thousands of tourists and walkers throughout the year, there are so many other places in the UK that are worth a visit.

A post-Christmas winter warmer - Beef Stew with Red Wine

8th January 2014

With the contagious cheer of the festive season behind us and a long few months of wintry weather ahead, it's easy to let January leave us feeling a bit deflated. While it may start with a bang, good intentions and high hopes of a new, healthier way of life, it is often seen as a month of post-Christmas tightened belts and winter blues.

About 'The Thread'

Here at Cotton Traders, we like to do things a little differently. Our reputation has been built on outstanding quality, a sense of community and keeping our customers interests at heart. The Thread is just that – a space for sharing things we know our customers enjoy, whether it’s travel, eating, staying active and healthy or enjoying sneak-peeks behind-the-scenes at Cotton Traders.

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