As the festive season rolls around once again, we're back with our mission to Make Christmas Warmer. Last year, we treated five people working over the Christmas period to a festive hamper to thank them for their hard work!
This year, we're doing it again, with a competition to treat another five workers during Christmas and New Year. Find out how to enter at the bottom of this post, and read on to discover how the UK workforce spends their time during Christmas.
The Great British summertime is best known for unpredictable weather, barbeques and trips to the seaside. To celebrate the best parts of this time of year, we invited Yorkshire parenting bloggers to Lambert’s Yard in Leeds for a fun-filled day of summer
Our recent research and timeline showcases “a century of Great British summers”, and we wanted to bring a taste of that nostalgia to the event, giving children the chance to enjoy some of the activities that formed fond memories for their parents.
Ah, the signs of the British summer: t-shirt tans, cider in the park, and BBQs as far as the eye can see.
Britons love the summer - maybe because it's often short-lived - and we take advantage of sunshine over the British Isles in great style, whether we're making a trip to the races, watching Wimbledon, or enjoying a barbeque in the back garden.
These are the tropes of a modern-day summer, but what was it like back in the day?
With spring in full swing, what better time to go all green-fingered and grow your own batch of fresh and fragrant herbs? As well as giving you a great sense of achievement each time you snip off a sprig to season your meal, you can ensure your home
grown herbs are organic, unlike many of the pre-potted versions you’ll find in the supermarket.
Working over Christmas is something 66% of people in the UK will be enduring this holiday season, but you have the chance to really make someone’s Christmas Day!
We’re always looking for ways to surprise and delight our customers, and this year, as part of our Making Christmas Warmer campaign, we are going to dish out Christmas hampers to five people who have to trek into work across Christmas to help make their
day that little bit nicer.
The world can be a cruel place sometimes, but those among us who want to change all that do so by helping to make others feel a little better. It could be saying hello to our neighbours, making tea for our workmates, opening the door for someone – often
it’s the smallest gestures that make a big difference.
While we believe this should happen every day, Friday 13th November is officially World Kindness Day. This occasion is there to celebrate all that is good about being kind to everyone, whether we know them or not. As we at Cotton Traders are the caring
and sharing types, we’re taking it to the next level..
Stuck for a few things to do this summer? Allow Cotton Traders to show you everything that our great nation has to offer in terms of days out and fun-filled activities. With our Best of Britishness guiding you through the hottest months of the year,
you'll more than make the most of the weather!
With the weather getting better by the day and the winter-to-summer transition well and truly underway, its time to leave those cosy jackets behind and opt for something in-keeping with the season. From the more daring nautical and floral themes, to
those subtle yet stylish items featuring on-trend crochet and embellishment, there is a style to suit everyone this spring!
The world is an amazing place to explore! With social mobility at an all time high and the travel industry booming, more and more of us are heading out into the unknown to see the sights or even start new lives abroad. Being an expat brings endless new
opportunities, however, it isn’t uncommon for homesickness to take its toll and leave you hankering for some British home comforts. You never know what you’re going to miss until it's no longer available!
We’re over a fortnight into 2015 and, though we might have started the year with the very best intentions, here at Cotton Traders we’re beginning to feel our willpower wane as the novelty of our New Year resolutions begins to wear off. The weather outside
leaves little to be desired and we’re finding ourselves reaching for the last of the Christmas chocolates instead of our detox tea, and choosing cosy nights in front of the telly over braving the bracing walk to the gym.
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!
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With a whole 4 days off, it can be difficult to decide what to do during the Easter weekend despite there being so much on. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top events covering a wide range of interests to help you choose.
Easter weekend is often spent with family so if you want something to entertain the grandchildren or younger members of your family read on.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.