Halcyon Dreams Blog


Australian Wool History

By on 31 October 2017 click here to comment

What Makes Australian Wool So Good?

 

Australian wool is famous all over the world for its high quality, and rightly so. On the face of it, Australia would not seem a likely place for producing the world's best wool yet somehow, against the odds, we’ve managed to come out on top when it comes to the production of top quality wool.

At least some of the reason for the success of wool production in Australia can be attributed to another legend, the spirit of the "Aussie battler".

This is the same spirit that helped thousands of young men and boys brave the horrors of the killing fields at Gallipoli and the awful conditions of trench warfare on the Western Front.

It is what helps people when they are facing raging bushfires, catastrophic cyclones, and devastating floods. It is what helps bring communities together to rebuild after these tragic events, and it is what keeps farmers going during the frequent droughts that affect our country.

In short, we Australians persevere in the face of adversity, and are willing to work together for the greater good. It's a concept we call "mateship", and this is what has made Australia strong.

When it came to wool production, that strength of character and spirit was crucial in helping the fledgling industry get on its feet, and then go on to become a major Australian export industry that has stood the test of time for over 200 years.

The beginning

The Australian wool industry got its start largely due to the ambitions of one man, John Macarthur, the former commandant of Parramatta.

Macarthur established a property called Elizabeth Farm and began experimenting with wool production. While these early experiments were modestly successful, the real change came with Macarthur's importation of merino sheep in 1797.

This was to be such a pivotal event it would eventually earn Macarthur and his merinos a place on the former two-dollar Australian currency bill, and various commemorative stamps.

Wool samples from what could rightfully be regarded as the first flock were taken back to England personally by Macarthur, and these samples created such a strong impression that he had no difficulty in obtaining a royal grant to build a larger sheep station in New South Wales.

The result was Camden Park, established on the most premium pastoral land discovered in Australia up to that time, which would undoubtedly have played a significant role in establishing the Australian merino as a provider of top quality wool.

The impact on Australian culture

Today the wool industry doesn't hold the same economic importance, but the nostalgic bond is still there, because this is an industry that has asserted such a strong influence on Australian culture.

Almost every Australian born before 1990 will have at least some memories of visiting sheep farming areas during their lifetime. The industry had a distinctive character, as did the personalities who were involved in it.

Many early Australian writers were influenced by the sheep farming industry, with its high wealth success stories and equally fascinating tales of harrowing defeats. Poets such as Banjo Patterson were inspired by it, and many colonial and federation era songs also made references to the industry, including Waltzing Matilda, Give Me A Home Among The Gum Trees, and Click Go The Shears.

This heavy influence on popular culture during Australia's formative years has rooted awareness of the importance of sheep farming to Australia's history upon the national psyche, to the extent that most Australians are as aware of it as they are of other elements of Australian history.

Australian wool today

The Australian tradition of producing the world's finest merino wool continues today, and while other industries such as mining, metals, and energy have made greater progress, the Australian wool industry is more productive than ever.

Merino wool from Australia is treasured for its softness and strength. Because the fibres are very strong and yet fine, materials manufactured from Australian merino wool are light in weight, super comfortable and are extremely durable.

The many uses for this versatile material are well known. It is used for everything from making business suits to car seat covers. The warmth and softness also make it ideal for making bedding underlays, duvets, and blankets.

Buying Australian

When buying products made from wool, it is important to be sure you're getting genuine Australian wool products, and therefore the best quality and value.

Look for the Australian Made logo, and also the Woolmark logo, as these are your assurances of products that were made in Australia with Australian wool using the highest quality Woolmark certified wool. In both cases you are getting the best products and helping to support our Australian farmers and economy, which is a perfect combo!

Why buy local? Because the wool industry provides thousands of jobs to Australians and it is an important link to our national heritage. When you buy quality Australian made products, you make a huge contribution to keeping our local industry strong.

Look out for these logos below and you’ll be able to sleep well knowing that you’re getting the best of the best whilst supporting our local economy

                                            .                           

      

Sweet dreams!

The Halcyon Dreams Team



The 4 Different Stages Of Sleep Simplified

By on 26 September 2017 click here to comment

Until the 1950’s, scientists believed that sleep was simply our bodies and minds going into shut down mode, and that there wasn’t much more to it.

 

Nowadays this seems hard to believe as most people are quite aware that there is a difference between the foot-jerking stage of light sleep and the stage where it would literally take a ship horn in the bedroom to wake you up!

 

It wasn’t until fairly recently and after numerous tests that it was officially confirmed that we go through a number of different stages of sleep: four to be exact.

 

These four stages of sleep are characterised into two separate groups of REM and non-REM sleep. REM is an acronym for Rapid Eye Movement and it is the deepest form of sleep.

 

If you’ve ever been curious about what really happens when you turn in for the night, the following are the four stages of sleep that your brain and body experience throughout the night.

 

NREM Stage 1

 

As you fall asleep, have you ever felt your legs or body jerking like you are having a fit of some kind? This jerking reaction is a characteristic of the first stage of NREM sleep that can occur between 1 and 10 minutes after closing your eyes.

 

Your breathing slows down and your heartbeat becomes regular; your blood pressure and brain temperature will start to lower. If you’re woken during this stage of sleep, chances are you won’t even feel like you closed your eyes. You have basically just started to nod off.

 

NREM Stage 2

 

After about 10 minutes of sleeping you will start to enter the second stage of NREM sleep. This stage usually lasts around 20 minutes and is a little deeper than stage 1. Your heart rate will slow down even more and your body temperature begins to cool in preparation for deeper sleep.

 

Your brain also starts to emit larger waves and your blood pressure and other metabolic functions start to slow. It’s harder to wake up in stage 2 than in stage 1 however you are still likely to react to external stimuli like the smell of bacon coming from your kitchen.

 

Stage 1 and 2 for NREM sleep are usually lumped together and called “light sleep”. For those who like an afternoon nap, NREM stage 2 should be the deepest stage you want to enter. This will ensure that you don’t wake up too groggy. It is a quick brain recharge as such. Just remember to set your alarm before you fall into a deeper stage of sleep. We recommend 20-30 minutes as the optimum nap time. 

 

NREM Stage 3

 

Stage 3 of NREM sleep is also known as slow wave or Delta sleep, and this is the stage where your sleep starts to get serious.

 

It typically occurs 35 to 45 minutes after falling asleep when your brain has slowed right down. Stage 3 is the first phase of your brain entering into its restorative mode. It is processing the days information and cementing memories. Most of us have heard the phrase “Let me sleep on it” however we probably haven’t read too much into what our brains are actually going through when we sleep.

 

Sleeping on something you are having trouble making a decision about is much more than just taking a little more time. You are allowing your unconscious brain to process the information it has been fed on any given day. It can be quite satisfying to wake up with a new found clarity after a good nights sleep, especially for the procrastinators among us!  

 

REM Stage 4

 

Stage 4 REM sleep is the deepest form of sleep. Adults spend around one quarter of their night in this stage. While sleep research studies are not yet medically proven, it’s believed that Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is related to the internal images that your brain is creating whilst in its deepest form of sleep. Your eyes are literally darting around in various directions under your eyelids when you are in REM stage! 

 

Have you ever had a really vivid dream that almost felt real? If so, it’s likely you were dreaming whilst in stage 4 REM sleep. Other than ensuring essential bodily functions such as breathing and a regular heartbeat, your brain has now ceased controlling non-essential parts of your body such as your muscles, which have basically entered a paralysed state. Old sleeping sayings such as “Dead to the world” and “I slept like a log” come to mind when we talk about Stage 4 REM.    

 

Studies on the brains activity while sleeping in Stage 4 REM show that brain areas associated with long term memory, memory consolidation and emotions are extremely active. Take a little time to ensure that your sleeping environment is set up to allow your brain to enter its deepest form of restoration so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the new day.

 

We hope this article gives you a better awareness of the different stages of sleep that your brain and body go through over the course of the night and highlights the importance of getting a good nights sleep.

Sweet Dreams!

The Halcyon Dreams Team



5 Tips For A Better Nights Sleep

By on 19 July 2017 click here to comment

Sleeplessness is something that around one third of the world experience regularly, so it’s most likely something you’ve had to deal with at some stage in your life.

It’s proven that irregular sleeping patterns and insomnia can result in health issues, which gives us a strong message that sleepless nights are about so much more than dark circles and early morning caffeine. 

And with more research proving that sleep is absolutely essential for optimum physical and mental performance, why are Australians finding it so hard to get their 40 winks at night?

Luckily, there are some very simple ways to tackle the issue of sleeplessness (unless you have a more serious sleep problem or health issue).

Here are six tried and tested ways to ensure that you are getting all the zzz’s that you need:

 

  1. Get into a time routine

Routines are incredibly boring. We all know this. Everyday seems to be one routine after the next, and thus we understand why it can be a little underwhelming to go to bed and wake up at the same time day…after…day.

However, it’s very important for your sleep habits and if you stick to a good routine, your body will soon learn when it should be shutting down and starting up. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with a fun night out on the town every now and then; life should be lived to the fullest after all.

 

  1. Exercise

Ah exercise! It’s something that everyone should do, but something that most of us are guilty of neglecting from time-to-time.

Adding just 30 minutes of exercise to your day will not only help you sleep, it will also help your overall well-being. You don’t have to run in the next Sydney City2Surf marathon. It can be as simple as going for a nice walk with a friend. The benefits are immense and include staying mentally sharp, physical health and fitness, self-confidence, losing weight and, of course, sleeping well so you are recharged and ready to take on the new day.

 

  1. Create a comfy sleeping environment

You should not underestimate the importance of creating a comfy bedroom environment that actually promotes sleep. It may be the single most important thing that’s preventing you from getting enough deep sleep (essential for body restoration) and REM sleep (essential for brain restoration).

Factors such as temperature, lighting, noise, and your mattress and bedding selections are all of utmost importance when creating your perfect sleeping environment.

 

  • Australians optimum sleeping preferences are quite varied. Factors such as climate, individual body temperature and partners’ body temperatures are just a few that come into play. It’s all about finding what temperature works for you and doing your best to optimise your sleeping environment to suit, which takes us to our next point…
  • Choosing the right bedding will go a long way to helping you get your body temperature and comfort level where it needs to be to promote a good night’s sleep. Many of us don’t actually realise that we are not getting a good nights’ sleep until our sleeping conditions improve then the light bulb moment hits. There is a hint of catch 22 involved in this scenario.
  • If you think you may not be sleeping as well as you could be, consider factors such as tossing and turning, waking up hot or cold during the night, sheets and doonas being displaced throughout the night, noises and/or light that may be interrupting your sleeping pattern and the feeling that you are only sleeping lightly for most of the night and therefore not getting the physical and mental restorative sleep that your body and brain requires.
  • And most importantly – if you feel you have had a sufficient nights’ sleep but still feel tired from day to day, there is a good chance that it’s due to a poor sleeping pattern. We encourage you to do a little research as to why this happening. You will thank yourself later!      

 

  1. Have a relaxing bedtime routine

As tempting as it is to watch cat videos, or to check your work emails – it’s important to get into a relaxing routine before you go to bed.

Try and avoid electronics for at least one hour before hitting the hay and do something like reading, writing, yoga, meditation or take a bath instead. Your body will start to associate going to sleep with these activities and it will help you fall asleep faster.

 

  1. Manage your worries

One of the most common causes of sleeplessness is stress and, unfortunately, it’s very easy to think about that bill you have to pay next month, or that business meeting you have when lying there staring at the ceiling at 3am in the morning!

Many of us will replay scenarios of both upcoming and past events in our minds and this can include worst case scenarios of situations and events. Worst case scenarios cause us to stress which in turn causes sleeplessness. 

To combat his, make a plan of action for the worries that you can do something about now. If you are a procrastinator by day, this can have a negative flow on effect to when you are lying in bed with only your thoughts to keep you company at night. If there is an action you can take throughout the day to prevent these concerns, take action and it will negate the night time worry!     

If there is nothing you can do to prevent the worries in your head, try to put them in a vault for the night and come back to them when there is something you can do. For most of us, this is easier said than done. If you can’t stop thinking about these concerns, ensure that you replay positive scenarios where the situation works out favourably for you and everyone involved. Allow your mind to direct the best case scenario. This can help your brain to relax and in-turn shut down for the night.    

 

We encourage you to try any or all of the above tips. We want you to say hello to waking up feeling energised and wave good-bye to those dark circles and all day caffeine fixes. Well, you might want to keep the caffeine flowing, we all love a nice coffee. Our point is, you won’t be depending on multiple caffeine hits to get you through your day!

 

Sleep Well! 

The Halcyon Dreams Team 



Halcyon Dreams Company News & Updates

By on 16 September 2016 click here to comment

With winter now disappearing in the rear view mirror, the team at Halcyon Dreams have come up for air. Due to high level demand, our machines have been running non-stop this winter, as have we!

New Wool Products! 

We are currently pouring our focus into the development of new wool quilts and underlays to provide a more diverse product range for our customers. These products are being manufactured and tested and are scheduled for release later this year.  

One of the main sources for our new product development is based on feedback and questions from our customers and website visitors. We encourage you to keep them coming as your feedback and input can directly lead to the development of a new wool quilt or woollen underlay! As always, these wool products will be 100% Australian made, with all production taking place at our factory in Smithfield, Sydney. Stay tuned for some exciting new product releases!

Are You Getting The Best Quality Wool Filling & Finished Product?

Unfortunately the trend of many Australian manufacturing companies relocating offshore is continuing. There is now an abundance of wool quilts and underlay products on the market that are predominantly being made in China. Companies chasing higher profit margins send the manufacturing offshore to cut their labour costs. It is important to look for the country of origin for a number of reasons which we have outlined below:

  1. The Quality of the Wool

There are many different types of wool quality. While companies manufacturing out of China will trumpet the fact that it is “Australian Wool”, the quality of this wool can be far inferior, contain unknown additives and come from an unknown or uncertified source. See images of wool quality below.

                                                                      

     Highest Quality                                   Inferior Quality                               Poor Quality           

  1. Unsanitary Work Conditions

Many factories in China do not have the same sanitary standards as we do in Australia. This can result in dust, dirt, droppings or other foreign materials falling onto the exposed wool and getting sewn into your product. Not good!

  1. Manufacturing Expertise & Standards

China is typically known for the manufacture of cheap products, made as fast as possible and in bulk. There is a human touch and level of expertise required for every wool quilt and underlay that is made. This can be lost when a company outsources their manufacturing offshore.

  1. Poor Quality Control

In addition to potential manufacturing problems, quality control standards in China are often non-existent. This can lead to inferior products ending up on shelves that will not stand the test of time. Conversely, at Halcyon Dreams, every single product we make is checked by our quality control team. This ensures you receive an expertly manufactured 100% Australian Made  product that has been thoroughly checked for any potential faults.

We can confidently tell you that Halcyon Dreams is an extremely proud 100% Made & Owned Australian Company that will never send our wool product manufacturing offshore. We will continue to support Australian farmers, employment, our economy and our customers.  Further to this, we are confident you will find our prices extremely competitive.

Enjoy your Spring and please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us!



Australian Wool Quilts & Underlays - Sales Update & Some Popular Questions Answered

By on 18 May 2016 click here to comment

It’s been all hands on deck at the Halcyon Dreams factory. Our tireless team are working 7 days a week and our machines are running all weekend fabricating bale after bale of 100% pure Aussie wool to keep up with the demand due to our largest sale ever.

The sale is still running so if you want to get your hands on one of our top of the range, 100% Australian made, 100% pure Australian wool quilts or woollen underlays at an amazing price, you still have time.

We have been receiving many questions regarding machine washable wool and the warmth of our wool quilts and underlays so in this blog we are going to break it down for you.

Machine Washable Vs Dry Clean Only Wool

The difference between machine washable wool and dry clean only wool is quite simple. Machine washable wool is put through an additional process where the wool is pre-shrunk then coated in a light layer of resin to prevent shrinkage if you would like to wash your wool product in a domestic washing machine. This is a great option for families, especially if you have children running amok and spilling things on your bed! On the contrary, some people simply prefer to wash their doonas or underlays from time to time. If you don’t fall into the above 2 categories then we suggest you choose the dry clean option and follow the general care instructions which are to air your wool product occasionally.

What Product Should I Get? Will I Be Too Warm Or Too Cold?

Believe it or not, most questions we are receiving are people worried about being too warm with our products. Most parts of Australia have been unseasonably warm and we won’t enter into a political debate regarding climate change or global warming! We will however, attempt to answer some common questions to help you with your purchasing choices.

1000GSM Wool Underlays

Due to having one of the highest wool GSM underlays on the market, we are receiving enquiries from people concerned that our underlays may be too warm, especially in summer. Our underlays are fully reversible so you can put the wool side to the bottom in the warmer months to reduce heat. Further to this, as the underlay is under you it doesn’t store heat like a doona that doesn’t breathe would. This helps you to sleep at your optimum temperature throughout the seasons.

Wool Quilt Options

Our wool quilts come in 3 x GSM options – 350GSM, 500GSM and 700GSM. GSM stands for grams per square metre of wool. The more grams per square metre, the more wool and hence the warmer your wool quilt is. If you live in a warmer climate then the 700GSM Pure Opulence wool quilt may be too warm in summer. Most of our team located in Sydney use the 700GSM Pure Opulence Wool Quilt for the vast majority of the year. Wool is unique to other fibres in that it breathes so it doesn’t trap heat between the doona and the sheets throughout the night. Having said this, your wool doona may get too warm on hot summer nights, especially if you live in the northern areas of Australia. We recommend using a summer doona, a light blanket or simply your bed sheets for these occasions.

We hope this blog was informative and if you have any other questions please feel free to talk us via website live chat, email or call us on 1300 653 482. And as always, happy shopping! 



July Sale City! Want To Sleep Warm And Cozy This Winter? Find Out How!

By on 4 July 2015 click here to comment

With the advent of the winter chill setting in across most parts of Australia, our wool quilts and woollen underlays are flying out the door like the proverbial hot cakes. We don’t want to pull the wool over your eyes, just your body!

We have some massive discounts on our already great prices this July, and, as always, we are selling direct from our factory to you. No middle man here, factory to your doorstep. Up to 60% off RRP, sometimes even a little more but we’ve rounded down!

While our “ready to go” product stock levels are low, we have plenty of bales of Woolmark certified, premium Aussie wool. This ensures our woollen products are zipping off the production line around the clock in order to satisfy our customers’ requirements. Our dedicated manufacturing team are putting in overtime++ to keep up with our order demand.

If you are one of the many Australian residents feeling the freeze lately, then you need to get involved! If you’re an astute shopper, we invite you to compare our product specifications with the top of the line department store wool quilts and underlays. Australian made, Australian wool, Australian owned.  Take the challenge. It’s not a deal, it’s a steal!  

We offer free and fast delivery, Australia wide, 5 year warranties and no questions asked returns if our products don’t meet your expectations. Standard delivery times are 2-5 business days depending on your location in Australia however due to overwhelming demand, delivery times may be a little longer this month. When we say a little longer we mean a few more days. Our manufacturing workers need some sleep too!

Get warm, tell your friends, sleep well. We certainly will!

The Halcyon Dreams Team. 



Wool Quilt Sale! Save Up To 25% For A Limited Time.

By on 23 April 2015 click here to comment

Wool Quilt Sale! Save Up To 25% For A Limited Time

Be sure to get in fast as these discounts are only available until May 8th 2015 or while stocks last!

Our factory never stops manufacturing quilts, even in the middle of summer. As a result, we have excess stock in the warehouse that needs to be cleared and we are taking up to 25% off our already amazing manufacturer direct prices.

Now you can own a premium, “top of the range” Halcyon Dreams wool doona at the best price we have ever offered, just in time for winter!

There’s no need to enter any promotional codes, we have adjusted all prices of all sizes of wool quilts until we clear our excess stock. Simply place your order and the discount will automatically be factored into the price of the product.

 

Comparing Wool Quilts Before Making Your Purchase

This is often the biggest challenge for consumers who are in the market to buy a new doona. Which filling best suits your needs, the quality of manufacture, warranties provided, return options and comparing product specifications all factor into your buying decision. The wealth of options available  can make “comparing apples with apples” a somewhat difficult task for you, the consumer.

At Halcyon Dreams, we use only the finest quality materials, our wool quilts really are the very best money can buy and ensure the ultimate warmth and comfort for a perfect night’s sleep.

All of our wool is Woolmark Certified. Woolmark collaborates with Australian farmers to ensure that wool is grown and harvested to the very highest standards meaning your wool doona maintains the highest, most exception quality of Aussie wool fibre.

We can assure you that all product materials and specifications of our wool quilts are comparable and in many cases of higher quality to that of the very best you will find in department stores, without the hefty price tag! We invite you to compare our wool products to any of our competitors if you have any doubts. Below are some of the main points to factor into your consideration before purchasing a doona:

  • Filling Type and Quality of Filling
  • Quality and Material Casing and Stitching Finish
  • Place of Manufacture
  • Manufacturing Standards – (Beware of companies sending Australian wool to china for manufacture)
  • Warranties and/or Guarantees
  • Returns Policy
  • Shipping Costs To Your Area

As always, happy shopping!

The Halcyon Dreams Team.



Winter Is Coming!

By on 27 May 2014 click here to comment

We’ve had an unseasonably warm May across most parts of Australia however as you are no doubt aware, at this time of year, a cold snap that spells the start of winter is potentially lurking only just around the corner. Frolicking down the beach in your swimmers one week only to be layered up in winter clothing or snuggled under your doona feeling the full force of winter the week after!  

Although we are experiencing above average temperatures during the day in Sydney and other parts of Australia this May, it’s getting noticeably cooler during the night and first thing in the morning. Most of the Halcyon Dreams team have now ditched our summer doona’s in favour of our Pure Opulence 700GSM Australian wool quilt – our thickest styled quilt. If you want to laugh at the cold when you hop under the covers this winter you will not find a thicker wool quilt on the Australian market. Get under one and sleep like a log, all night, all winter! We promise you the hardest thing will be getting out of bed in the morning.

If you don’t want to burn massive holes in your pocket with expensive heating options throw your doona over you while you relax on the couch reading a book or watching a movie. If you want “warm and fuzzy’s” about doing your thing for the environment then rugging up and keeping warm naturally is the way to go. 

Fancy a 5 star hotel bedding experience in your home this winter? Then why not get your hands on one of our Australian wool underlays to go with your wool quilt for the ultimate in warmth and comfort? If you want to achieve the sensation of what it would feel like to sleep on a warm, fluffy cloud then this quilt and underlay double delight is the closest you will get. Ok, maybe we are getting a little carried away but you get our drift!  

These woollen underlays can be reversed in summer so you have the same comfort level but the level of warmth is reduced. Our underlays have been flying out the door like crazy – mainly due to the fact that they are of an equal or higher quality in all product specifications to top-of-the-range department store brands. We sell them to you direct from our factory to your doorstep so you don’t pay exorbitant department store prices.

And did we mention free delivery from our Sydney factory? Live in Tasmania? No problem – we’ll send it for free. And anywhere else in Australia for that matter. Please feel free to contact us via our websites live chat, email or telephone if you do have any questions regarding our products. Stay warm this winter, we certainly will be.

The Halcyon Dreams Team.

Welcome To Our New Website!

By on 30 July 2013 click here to comment

Welcome to our new website! We hope you enjoy browsing our site and getting underneath a wool doona or underlay this winter.

Be sure to become a fan of our Facebook page and we will enter you in our competition being drawn on the 15th August. Its a fantastic prize, see Facebook for details. We'll be running other competitions and free offers through Facebook so be sure to become a fan of our page so you can be in the draw to win free stuff and get access to all of our latest promotions.

We are still tinkering with final site refinements. If you experience any issues with the site when browsing or placing an order please let us know and we will be happy to assist. You can contact us via telephone, live chat on the website or enter your details into the contact form and we will get back to you in a jiffy! Sleep wool, sleep well......zzzzzzzzzz.