All feather & down used in our doonas and pillows is sourced from reputable and reliable European suppliers that obtain their down as a by-product of meat production.
Plucking feathers from live geese is forbidden by EU legislation on animal welfare. Article 23 (3) of the recommendation of the Council of Europe on geese(1) states that ‘feathers, including down, shall not be plucked from live birds’.
25 Member States of the EU have signed and ratified the European Convention for the protection of animals kept for farming purposes; the detailed list is available on the website of the Council of Europe. However, since the European Union signed and ratified the Convention, the Convention and its subsequent recommendations are part of EC law. As such they are legally binding for all Member States as well as for the Union.
According to the European Down and Feather Association, 98% of the down and feathers processed by their industry is collected after the slaughter of birds. A small amount of European down & feathers is gathered from geese during their natural moulting period when the bird naturally changes its feathers and the old ones are shed. Harvesting during moulting season is only allowed under strictly defined rules and unlike live plucking does not involve any harm or trauma to the birds.
The European Down and Feather Association has established a compliance program to ensure it’s members comply with all relevant regulations and has been dedicated to checking and monitoring farms and breeding plants for years.
Alora House does not support the practice of live plucking at all and does not source down & feathers from Asian countries where in some parts, the practice of live plucking continues to be used.
Not only does the sheer misery induced by allergy symptoms keep you awake at night, but your body’s immunological response to those allergens disrupts the systems set up to regulate your sleep. So the key to a good night’s sleep is to keep allergens at bay — or, when that’s simply impossible, find a way to minimize your body’s reaction to them.
Here are nine of the worst mistakes for those sleeping with allergies:
1. No dust mite protection. Dust mites are a common cause of allergy. Using dust mite proof barrier covers for your mattress and pillow such as the Protect A Bed Allerzip range will stop the dust mites breeding in your bedding. Protect A Bed Allerzip protectors fully encase your bedding and form an impenetrable, yet soft physical barrier between you and dust mites. In clinical studies, the use of bedding protectors has shown a dramatic reduction in problems associated with dust mite allergens.
2. Not rinsing out your nasal passages When allergens, dust, and mold enter your nasal passages, they tend to get stuck in the membrane lining those passages. Inflammation sets in, your nose becomes swollen and clogged, and a nasty sinus infection can be the result. Fortunately, however, “nasal irrigation, if it is done correctly and gently, can remove allergens, irritants, and inflammatory mucus,” says William H. Anderson, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
3. Not showering before bed. Taking a shower before you go to bed can help wash away the pollens you’ve collected during the day. Wash your hands after outdoor play to avoid transferring pollen from the hands to the eyes and nose. If you are outdoors during high pollen counts, take a shower and wash your hair when you come inside.
4. Sleeping with the windows open. If you can afford it, air conditioning will help keep pollen out of your home and keep the humidity low to discourage dust mites. If you can’t afford to air-condition your whole space, try using a room-size window air conditioner in your bedroom. It may help you sleep. Budget not up to even that? Then buy a HEPA filter and shape it to fit over your bedroom window screen. The pollens won’t get in.
5. Taking your allergy medication at the wrong time. Hay fever symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes, generally peak early in the morning, shortly after waking up. Those morning symptoms can be reduced by taking your allergy medications at night. It assures that it will be circulating in your blood stream when you most need it, early the next morning. Allergy symptoms generally peak at about 4 a.m.
5. Exercising at the wrong time of day. Pollen is usually emitted between 5:00 and 10:00 A.M. Consider pollen counts when planning outdoor activities. It may help to limit your outdoor activities during the times of highest pollen and mold counts. You may find that outdoor activities may be better tolerated after a gentle, sustained rain.
6. Bringing allergens indoors on your clothing. If you are outdoors during high pollen counts, change your clothes (not in your bedroom) when you come indoors and leave these clothes in the laundry room. If you bring the clothes into the bedroom, you also bring the pollen and can affect your night’s sleep.
7. Not using hot water for laundry. A study at Yonsei University in South Korea looked at what it took to clean dust mites, dog dander, and tree pollen — three of the most common allergens — off your sheets.
For dust mites it turns out that cold water killed 5 to 8 percent. Warm water killed 7 to 11 percent. Hot water — 60°C or 140°F — killed 100 percent.
For dog dander the results were similar — although nearly all allergens were removed at all wash temperatures when rinsing twice or more.
For tree pollen using hot water was more effective than other temperatures. Rinsing at least once removed tree pollen at all temperatures.
8. Drying laundry outdoors. Hanging laundry on the line allows a zillion pollens and moulds to collect on sheets, clothes, and towels. When you fold your laundry, drop it into the laundry basket, and haul it back into your home, you’re contaminating your house with millions upon millions of the very things to which you may be allergic.
9. Pets in the bedroom. A lot of people are apparently allergic to dog and cat dander without even being aware of it. They think their itchy nose and sneezing are due to something else altogether. But play it on the safe side. Let Beans or Spike or Rufus sleep in his own bed several rooms away from yours
Tetra Organic Bedding has been helping children sleep safe & sound for over 60 years – shop the range now
Here are 5 simple and practical tips to help babies (and parents!) get a good night’s rest.Stay flexible when putting baby to sleep
No single approach will work with all babies all the time or even all the time with the same baby. Don’t persist with a failing experiment. Be open to trying different night time approaches. Follow your heart rather than some stranger’s sleep-training advice, and you and your baby will eventually work out the right night time parenting style for your family.Decide where baby sleeps best
There is no right or wrong place for babies to sleep. Wherever all family members sleep the best is the right arrangement for you and your baby. Realistically, most parents use various sleeping arrangements at various stages during the infant’s first two years. Be open to changing styles as baby’s developmental needs and your family situation changesConsistent bedtimes and rituals
Babies who enjoy consistent bedtimes and familiar going-to-sleep rituals usually go to sleep easier and stay asleep longer. Yet, because of modern lifestyles, consistent and early bedtimes are not as common, or realistic, as they used to be. Familiar bedtime rituals set the baby up for sleep. The sequence of a warm bath, rocking, nursing, lullabies, etc. set the baby up to feel that sleep is expected to follow.Check for irritating sleepwear
Some babies cannot settle in synthetic sleepwear, so if your child is restless their sleepwear could be the reason. Besides being restless, some babies show skin allergies to new clothing, detergents and fabric softeners by breaking out in a rash. Try dressing them differently and see if it helps.Create the right bedroom temperature and humidity
Just like their parents, a baby will find it hard to sleep if the climate in the room is uncomfortable. A consistent bedroom temperature of around 21 degrees Celsius is preferable. Also, a relative humidity of around 50 percent is most conducive to sleep. Dry air may leave baby with a stuffy nose that awakens him. Yet, too high a humidity fosters allergy-producing moulds
Remember that sleep is not a state you can force your baby into. Sleep must naturally overtake your baby. Your night time parenting role is to set the conditions that make sleep attractive and to present cues that suggest to baby that sleep is expected.
Tetra Organic Bedding has been helping children sleep safe & sound for over 60 years – shop the range now
Tetra Mattresses, Pillows and Snuggle Beds are uniquely filled with 100% natural and chemical-free Tea Tree Flakes. Tetra Tea Tree Flakes are lighter-than-feather pieces of incredibly fine layers of native Australian Tea Tree bark, scientifically proven to promote airflow.
Tea Tree Flakes are inherently naturally breathable, naturally anti-bacterial, naturally anti-allergy, naturally thermally regulated (cool in summer and warm in winter).
Tetra Tea Tree Flakes are created with a proprietary process that starts with great expertise in the beautiful natural outdoors of Australia’s East Coast.
The science behind Tetra Tea Tree mattresses begins with identifying one very specific native Australian Tea Tree. Only one variety of the 145 types of Tea Tree has the exact properties to deliver all-natural benefits.
The Tea Tree bark is collected by-hand in a process that promotes the health of the tree. As the tree’s are not cut or felled the same tree can be used in years to come. Each Tetra Tea Tree product is hand-made in Sydney from these natural sources. As such, Tetra is widely regarded as the most sustainable baby bedding in the world.
No chemicals are used when processing the natural Tea Tree Paperbark.
It is broken down and cleaned by our proprietary process that harness physical energy and heat to prepare the paperbark as a filling.
It is common knowledge that more star means a better hotel, but what do the star ratings really mean for travellers?
Here is a summary of the key differences:
***** Five Star
These are hotels that offer only the highest level of accommodations and services. The properties offer a high degree of personal service. The amenities often include: VCR′s, CD stereos, garden tubs or Jacuzzis, in-room video library, heated pools and more. The hotels feature up to three restaurants all with exquisite menus. Room service is usually available 24 hours a day. Fitness Centres and valet and/or garage parking are typically available. A concierge is also available to assist you.
Typical National Chains: Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons.
**** Four Star
Mostly large, formal hotels with smart reception areas, front desk service and bellhop service. The level of service is well above average and the rooms are well lit and well furnished. Restaurant dining is usually available and may include more than one choice. Room service is usually available during most hours. Valet parking and/or garage service is also usually available. Concierge services, fitness centres and one or more pools are often provided.
Typical National Chains: Hyatt, Marriott.
*** Three Star
Typically these hotels offer more spacious accommodations that include well-appointed rooms and decorated lobbies. Bellhop service is usually not available. The hotels usually feature medium-sized restaurants that typically offer service breakfast through dinner. Room service availability may vary. Valet parking, fitness centres and pools are often provided.
Typical National Chains: Holiday Inn, Hilton.
** Two Star
Typically smaller hotels managed by the proprietor. The hotel is often 2 – 4 stories high and usually has a more personal atmosphere. Furnishings and facilities are clean but basic. Most will not have a restaurant on site but are usually within walking distance to some good low-priced dining. Public access, past certain hours, may be restricted.
Typical National Chains: Days Inn, LaQuinta Inn.
* One Star
Usually denotes independent and name brand hotel chains with a reputation for offering consistent quality amenities. The facilities typically include telephones and TV′s in the bedroom. Some hotels offer limited restaurant service; however, room service and bellhop service is usually not provided.
Typical National Chains: Econolodge, Motel 6.
You know you’re supposed to get seven to nine hours of sleep a night, but sometimes, you stay up for a night out on the town, to finish a project at work, or even just to surf the ‘net.
In our seemingly always-on society, there’s great temptation to skimp on sleep, but sleep is extremely important to our physical and mental wellbeing.
Though you may think your five-hours-a-night habit is nothing to worry about, but chronic sleep deprivation has been tied to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression
Here are 5 signs that you should start heading to bed a little earlier….You’re always hungry – if the brain is not getting the energy it needs from sleep it will often try to get it from food. People who sleep fewer than six hours at night are more likely to be overweight—and show reduced levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin, along with elevated levels of hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin—the large-scale, long-running Wisconsin Sleep Cohort study showed for the first time in 2004. Your productivity and performance are slipping. – Chronic sleep deprivation can negatively affect our abilities to reason, focus, and even find the right words to describe simple things. Often we believe it’s absolutely essential to stay up late finishing up work projects or preparing for presentations. But, it turns out, stopping work in time to wind down and get a good night’s sleep is generally the best way to improve productivity and performance overall. You’re having trouble making decisions – If you’ve been finding it harder than usual to manage projects at work and home, lack of sleep could be the culprit. When people are sleep deprived, the region of the brain involved with emotional processing, the prefrontal cortex, “basically goes to sleep,” according to Harvard Medical School sleep researcher William Killgore. You aren’t looking your best – Red, puffy eyes, dark under-eye circles, and turned-down corners of the mouth were all readily identified in sleep-deprived people participating in a Stockholm University study. Even small amounts of sleep deprivation can affect your appearance. You get sick often – If you’re not sleeping properly there can be significant issues in terms of your body’s ability to fight off infections. A 2009 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed the sleeping habits of 153 volunteers for 14 days straight. Researchers found that people who got less than seven hours of sleep were nearly three times as likely to develop a cold than those who got eight hours or more rest a night.
Rarer than a Rolls Royce, a genuine Eiderdown duvet is extremely rare, in great demand and highly prized (accounting for its high price).
Eiderdown, or eider down, comes from the Common Eider Duck, a large migratory sea duck. Eiderdown is exceptionally soft and has insulating properties superior to any other down.
A Male and Female Eider Duck
The total worldwide annual harvest of eiderdown could be carried by one small truck. In 2014 Rolls Royce delivered 4063 cars yet the annual harvest of eiderdown was less than 3000kg. An average doona uses about 1kg of eiderdown filling, so a genuine eiderdown duvet is actually rarer than a Rolls Royce!
The eider duck lives near the Arctic circle, but comes to the shorelines of Iceland, Canada and Finland to nest in May/June. The female eider duck plucks down from it’s breast to line the nest. Once the eggs are in the nest, the precious eider duck down is hand collected. The eider down is then replaced with hay that keeps the eggs warm. In certain cases, the farmer waits until the nest is abandoned to collect the eiderdown.
Only 15-20 grams of eiderdown (eider down) can be collected from each nest. An eiderdown comforter with 1 kg. of down may contain eiderdown from the raw material of over 60 nests.
When it comes to thread count, higher is not always better!
Thread count is the total number of threads per square inch in a fabric (counting both horizontal and vertical threads). In theory, the higher the thread count, the softer and higher-quality the sheets.
“There’s a maximum number of threads that can fit into a square inch of fabric,” says Scott Tannen, CEO of Boll & Branch, a luxury linen provider. “Depending on the type of cotton used, that number is generally not more than 400. So there is an awful lot of interesting maths involved in the sheets you see in a department store that can be up to a 1200 thread count.” Scott says that “In reality, to achieve a higher thread count manufacturers are generally using a lower grade of cotton that becomes very thin when spun,”
A common technique is to twist this thread around itself to create a ‘multi-ply’ thread. When they use 2-ply thread and weave it to a theoretical 300-thread count (150 horizontal, 150 vertical) they then market it as a 600 thread count sheet.
Fortunately, brands are required to list the thread ply on the package. If you see high thread count and multi-ply thread being used, then be sceptical of the quality.
400 or 500 thread count sheets made using a good quality cotton will be softer and smoother and will outlast a set of 1000 thread count sheets made from a poorer quality cotton.
For the best quality sheets, choose a long staple Egyptian or American Pima cotton. The highest quality American Pima cotton is sold under the Supima ® trademark, often regarded as the world’s finest cotton.
White Siberian goose down is highly prized filling for doonas but what exactly is it?
There are many products being sold in various forms that state they are filled with “Siberian Down”. It is advertised as being the finest down in the world, because of the severity of the Siberian climate.
The Down Association of Canada plus other bedding experts argue that the actual Siberian goose doesn’t look or quack like a duck, er, goose down doona. The Siberian Goose is a protected species which as per the picture below, flaunts red and black plumage–hardly the pristine white colour for a white goose down comforter.
In response to inquiry from the Down Association of Canada a major supplier of “Siberian Goose Down” stated: “We have marketed and sold a high end, expensive, European region product called `Siberian Goose Down’ for a couple of years or more in this country and world-wide. We have never claimed this product to represent a single country of origin”.
At this time, the Down Association of Canada has concluded that “Siberian Goose Down” is simply a trade name. As it is not testable, nor registered, nor set with any kind of quality standard, it means that the quality cannot be verified. At this time any manufacturer or retailer can call any level of quality – “Siberian Goose Down”, whether it is a high, medium, or low quality material. There appears to be no standard, so the term is meaningless.
We think that use of the term ‘Siberian Goose Down’ to describe a type of goose down implies a specific origin in a manner that is intended to enhance the perceived value of a potentially mediocre or even inferior product. We feel this is inherently deceptive.
The moral of the story? Buyer beware, and do your homework. If you are considering a Siberian goose down doona, then make enquiries first as to the real origin and quality of the down. Perhaps you’re better off avoiding the risk of fake products altogether and choosing a European or Canadian down doona instead.
Read the Down Association of Canada’s post on Siberian goose down
The term “fill power” is often used in connection to duck & goose down quilts but what does it mean?
Fill power is a measure of the ability for duck & goose down to expand (when tested in ideal conditions). Technically speaking Fill Power refers to the number of cubic inches that one (1) ounce of down will occupy when allowed to reach it’s maximum loft.
For example one (1) ounce of 800 fill power goose down will loft to 800 cubic inches. The higher the fill power the larger the down cluster is. Larger down clusters will loft higher; sleep softer, last longer and sleep warmer!
The larger the down cluster, the higher the fill power. Larger down clusters come from older, larger and more mature birds. The pictures below show the difference between a large (high fill power) down cluster taken from a mature bird and a smaller (low fill power) down cluster from a younger, less mature bird.
Fill powers (based on the IFDB method) typically range from under 400 (low quality duck or goose down) and up to 800+ (premium grade Hungarian goose down).
Quilts made using high quality European down (600+ fill power) are lighter, warmer, fluffier and will last much longer than cheaper ones made using low fill power down (400-500 fill power) sourced from Asian countries where the birds are typically slaughtered at an earlier stage of maturity.
The picture below shows different levels of fill power
The International Feather & Down Bureau (the world largest feather and down authority) recognises two methods for measuring fill power.
These are:IFDB Method – used by Europe, Canada, USA and Australia GB/T Method – used by China and other Asian countries
While the testing methodologies are different and yield different results, a general rule of thumb for converting the GB/T results to a comparable IFDB result is to multiply the result by 40.
If the GB/T result is 15cm fill power, the equivalent IFDB result is 600 fill power (i.e. 15 multiplied by 40)
Duck & goose feathers do not have any ability to expand, and so do not have a fill power rating.