Of Beds and Bedding

New Sofa Bed

I love crawling in between crisp clean sheets in a freshly made bed, nothing beats that initial feeling of cool and smooth cotton aginst your skin.  And I love a smartly made bed -so satisfying to quickly pull or shake a pile of bedclothes straight, transforming a room from a mess to welcome. However I was beginning to dispair that even newly changed our current bed looked unloved, let me explain why:

Having slept in many hotels over the years you become aware that beds come in a variety of shapes and sizes generally referred to as standard, king, superking and queen by all. In the UK we have a set of accepted dimensions for these which makes purchasing beds and linens simple. The only indication that things might be different elsewhere in the world is the hint you get if you happen to buy a bed or bedding from IKEA.

Brands from all over the world are sold in the Middle East and this can result in mayhem in the bedding department. Unaware of what was to come we originally shipped a selection of our existing bed linen from the UK – basically a couple of sets of kingsize duvet covers & fitted sheets together with a selection of pillow cases – things I thought would cover most beds we might encounter in furnished apartments. Wrong!

In Bahrain our semi-serviced apartment included one set of bedding for each of the two beds – the master bedroom boasted a “superking” mattress of enormous dimensions and the spare room a king sized bed so the supplied bedding wasn’t interchangable. Then there were only two pillows per bed so we purchased four rather overstuffed locally made pillows in the hypermarket. They only just fit in a standard housewife pillow case and although they look great on the bed, are just too plump to have two beneath your head and too soft to comfortably lean against for reading! Eventually a luxurious set of Egyptian cotton superking sized sheets, pillow cases & duvet cover were acquired in a sale as getting those provided washed and dried in a single day became too much of an effort, up and down to the laundry in the mezzanine eight floors below (the machine in the kitchen being too small to take the bottom sheet let alone a duvet cover). Life in the bedding department was perfect!

Then we moved to Dubai. The bedstead in the master bedroom is beautiful with its tall dark wooden headboard and a thick luxury sprung mattress. The latter is almost square at 180cm wide by 200 tall but is a challenging 30-something cm thick – once again we were down to one sheet that fitted meaning a rush to get bedding washed and dry. No duvet was supplied so one of our first purchases on a trip to Carrefour was a kingsized duvet, being naive I didn’t bother to check the sizes after all it was French wasn’t it? The duvet proved to be longer in one dimension and shorter in the other than our UK covers which are actually square! Ah well it had enough duvet to cover us but looked rather odd stuffed in any of our covers, especially the superking where it laid flat but left several feet of fabric unfilled.

With the purchase of a sofa bed a week or two ago so our guests can have somewhere to sleep I resolved to try to sort things out. Mattresses, duvets, sheets and covers were all measured and off I set clutching my precious list of sizes. Ignoring IKEA completely my first stop was the supermarkets – cheap polycotton sheets a plenty but nothing to fit a very thick mattress. No duvets, only ready covered quilts so thick that even in the darkest UK winter night they’d be too warm, protection perhaps against the chills of the aircon? Then onto the homewares stores. In the process I discovered that many products simply stated the generic categories king, queen etc but no sizes and those that did had little or no logic between measurements and category.  Products sold here come from all over the world and despite most being made in China are made for markets like the USA, Australia and elsewhere as well as for the UK so side by side on the shelf you can find two items both labelled “King” but very different sizes.

Next stop a shop selling some well known UK bedding brands like Fogarty. Sucess a 4.5 tog quilt in the right dimensions, lovely soft pillows in a choice of firmess and fitted sheets galore – all at a price. The credit card machine wasn’t working and I hadn’t sufficient cash so left my potential purchases in search of an ATM. On the way I finally cracked the problem – Debenhams home department! Wow a wall of UK kingsized duvets in a choice of togs and fillings, mounds of lovely soft pillows and fitted sheets with all three dimensions listed on the packet. Plus to cap it all, buy three items and the cheapest was free so compensating for the marked up UK prices. One kingsized 4.5 tog duvet, a packet of two super soft anti-allergenic pillows and a duck egg blue fitted sheet – no more over stuffed pillows or painful necks, no more extra yards of cotton draping lifelessly over the side of the bed, our newly made bed looks gorgeous.

PS: For the protection of my sanity I only iron pillow cases 🙂

One comment

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