The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

White bed linen


Photo: Inca on my bed

Photo: Inca on my bed

Do you remember the film Orlando (1992) when Tilda Swinton wakes in a bed of pure white linen? Well that movie changed my taste in bed linen forever. I walked out of the cinema and from that moment on I only bought white.

White sheets with Min Pins on the bed! Well they do have to be changed quite often. Changing the sheets is a palaver but there’s nothing I like more than curling up in clean fresh sheets. Our favourites are some Jasper Conran ones that we bought in the Debenhams sale. They are such good quality that we can get away with not ironing them. In the summer we dry the bed linen in the garden and they smell so fresh and summery. In the winter they dry on the line beside the wood burning stove and have a gentle wood smoke scent.

I started off with percale sets from John Lewis but they lost their bloom quite quickly. Then I discovered that the feel of pure cotton was so much better and started to look out for sets in the sales. Laura Ashley have some very pretty ones on their website – roll on her sale. Amazon which sells nearly everything that you could ever want has some amazing deals here. They even have good discounts on Jasper Conran ones. I always find it so strange that people don’t want to buy last seasons sheets – especially when they are classic styles. So gradually over the years we have fed our white bed linen habit. They are very soothing to sleep in and a good investment.

I inherited wonderful goose down pillows and bolsters from my Aunt Pickles and my grandmother. A few years ago I invested in goose down duvets – light and so snug. And then we discovered the joy of continental pillows . These are square and wonderful for reading and lolling in bed – just like being in a cosy armchair. Ours are microfiber filled so don’t need to be plumped up. Much much better than the v shaped pillows that we used to use.

Staying in bed for so much of the day I doubly appreciate these luxuries. It’s nearly five months now.

  Leave a reply


  1. I’m rather worried about using old (inherited) goose feather duvets- not very hygienic. How do you clean them? I prefer machine washable.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Angela

      Best to dry clean them. As long as you don’t have a feather allergy these are the best duvets (apart from the silk filled ones that I’ve heard are really good). If you shake them every morning they will keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. Generally we don’t heat upstairs at the cottage in winter and we (+ Min Pins) never shiver at night.

  2. Just reading this and I thought I might (if allowed) let people know of 2 sites that can cover most of the globe and also offer you “Actual” 5 Star Hotel Bed Linen.

    Many thanks.

  3. I thought I would share my favourite linen sites. Many places Down Under post overseas and with the exchange rate may be worth considering. Enjoy.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Pamela

    I’ve just checked out that website – it’s fab. Thanks.

    We have the two duvet type but have never needed the extra layer for winter. It’s warm in winter and cool in summer too.

  5. If you want good quality and good price white bed linen, you should check out Musbury Fabrics in Helmshore – they have a website for mail order. My sister, who can be somewhat snooty about many things, buys all her bedding and towels there by mail order. In fact just before she moved to France she got together with some friends in Kent and between them they order about £500 of stuff! I used to go regularly for a mooch when I lived in East Lancashire and do miss the mills now I live in Cumbria. My goose down duvet and pillows are all from there. I used to have all white bedding but now am happy with a pale duvet cover as long as my sheet and pillow cases are white, preferably Egyptian cotton and preferably ironed. My favourite duvet cover is a pale grey cotton jersey one bought in a sale at Muji when they had a shop in the Trafford Centre in Manchester. It looks great with the white sheet and pillows. I have never gone the two layer duvet route. I use the same one all year round and am perfectly comfortable. In the winter I shake it up a couple of times a week so it is thick and puffy and in the summer I let it flatten and go thin. It works perfectly for me.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Patricia

    We stick to white but often mix and match and as you say this makes them more economical than buying whole sets.

    Hi Chris

    Yes they are soothing. Conventional yet chic.

    They reckon that I have a sort of post viral syndrome. A long course of antibiotics cured the infections. They’ve done extensive tests and are still doing them on and off, but can find nothing wrong. Meanwhile I’m trying to do a little more each day but get tired very quickly.

    Hello Jan

    Pale blue and white sounds fresh looking. I was given a super white and blue stripped duvet cover when I was married in another life. Had forgotten all about it – must look it out.

    I will get better eventually. I just have to be patient. Meanwhile the Min Pins are loving it!

    Hello Joan

    A decent duvet is a joy. I had a polyester filled one for years and thought it was fine until the goose down duvets arrived!

    It’ll start to feel a bit better after the shortest day (December 21). The night’s closing in at four are a bit grim.

    Hi Rachel

    I must check out TKMaxx – I hadn’t thought of that. Thanks.

    I’m a bit of a sucker for ribbon on duvet covers too.

  7. yes yes yes – only white (well a smidge of taupe embriodery has crept accross the top of my latest set), only cotton and only feathers and down. Its stupidly hard to buy pure cotton sheets in many shops but TK Maxx often have some good quality stuff at decent prices.

  8. Ten years ago I changed to all white bed linen and I love it. I left my down duvet in the States when I moved over and I miss it. I think it is time to put a new one on the want list plus some of those big square pillows.

    There is just nothing like snuggleing down in fresh outdoor dried sheets. Here we have just started winter and I am longing for spring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,237,274 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder