Storm Clouds for Barney, Gertrude, and Doris

As a nation, we’ve experienced an array of adverse weather in the past decade, all of which have had a varying impact on our daily lives — most recently, storm Brendan in January 2020. The storms we have tackled in recent years have affected everything, from transport issues to causing school closures and power outrages. But arguably the most interesting phenomenon to emerge from these prolonged periods of terrible, freak weather is the names that they are given by the Met Office. They never fail to surprise the general public though, and often they are just as outlandish as the storm itself. We’re taking a look at some of the most unbecoming storm names to have battered the British Isles.

Storm Barney
While we might know Barney as a children’s television icon of the 90s, this ‘Barney’ was the second storm deemed aggressive enough to be named. Storm Barney certainly packed a punch when it hit in November 2015, with trampolines being flung into trees in Basildon, Essex. The worst affected areas of the UK were the Midlands and Wales, and 3,000 homes faced power outrages in Derbyshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, along with 6,000 more in Wales. Gust of wind swept up to a staggering 85mph, causing transport disruption on the roads and railway lines, with many trees succumbing to the gale force conditions.

Storm Desmond
Desmond doesn’t sound like a name particularly set out to cause mass destruction, but in 2015 he (as in the storm) did exactly that. Cumbria and Lancashire took the worst of the impact which began on the 5th December 2015, with a record amount of rainfall observed for Cumbria over the space of 24 hours; and this triggered a rarely attributed ‘red’ warning from the Met Office. At Honister Pass, a prominent part of the Lake District, 341.4mm of rain fell in 24 hours, and a Thirlmere, 405mm of rainfall fell in 38 hours. The city of Carlisle was submerged again, just before the tenth anniversary of its last serious flooding event in 2005. The description sent shock waves up and down the country, with a landslide between Carlisle and Preston leading the commuters being prevented from either crossing the border or travelling South. Wind speed exceeded 70mph in multiple areas of northern England, and power outrages, school closures, and blocked roads characterised the intensity of Desmond…an otherwise unsuspected name to say the least!

Storm Gertrude
Storm Gertrude arrived on UK soil after a hefty six storms in six weeks, giving the public no relief from generally rubbish weather. In January 2016, Gertrude made her presence known across Scotland and northern England, bringing intense winds worthy of a red warning from the Met. Orkney and Shetland were torn by intense winds, and a gust of 105mph was recorded at Lerwick. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency issued over 40 flood warnings as a precaution, and multiple bridges were closed with ferry departures cancelled at the Aberdeen port.

Storm Doris
From the name alone, Doris sounds unsuspecting, but residents in Wales had a slightly different experience when this oddly named storm hit in February 2017. Doris unleashed a mixture of heavy snow, sheets of ice and alarmingly strong winds, impacting Scotland and Wales notably. Formidable winds of up to 94mph reshaped the scenery, while blankets of snow left motorists stranded on some of the UK’s major motorways. The Port of Liverpool was forced to close, with yellow and amber warnings in place. One of the lighter stories to come out of Storm Doris was the otter cub found alone on a riverbank in Chesterfield, after being separated from its mother as the storm hit.

The storms we’re preparing for in 2020 have been named already, from Dennis to Gerda, Iris, Kitty, Maura, and Roisin. But only time will tell whether they live up to their unbecoming namesake!

Taking on The Winter School Run

While your little ones might have been enjoying the Christmas break, the beginning of the new school term is fast approaching. Yes it’s almost time to get back into the school run routine. As we move further into January, wintery conditions could make arriving at the school gates on time quite a mission, with kids eagerly awaiting the declaration of a ‘snow day’. We’re taking a look at how you can prepare for the winter school dash, on these frosty, dark mornings and afternoons.

Winter layers
It might be enough of a struggle getting your kids up and out of bed in the morning, never mind getting them to layer up and dress for the weather. Once you’ve covered the basics – they’re in their full school uniform, vest and jumper included, it’s all about finding the perfect winter layers to keep them feeling toasty. Starting with a winter coat, making the right choice will see your little adventurers through rain, snow, and wind, so make this a school run priority! Muddy Puddles has a lovely selection of children’s waterproof jackets and raincoats to choose from, with the Explorer Parka being one of our top picks – it comes in three colours, with plenty of zipped pockets and made using a super durable material. The reflective detailing is also a benefit, keeping your kids visible and safe on even the gloomiest of mornings.

Now add gloves, and a hat and they’re bound to be cosy from leaving the house to arriving in the playground. Monsoon has a quirky selection available, from 3D dinosaur beanies, to bright novelty gloves for boys and girls. These extra layers and accessories will come in handy, and your school run won’t be held up by your little ones complaining that they’re feeling chilly.

The shoes for the job
It’s often icy under foot throughout the month of January, so a good pair of shoes is vital for getting your little one to the classroom safely – with no bumps along the way! When it comes to shoes, your children might be quite particular, as even when they are younger there’s a pressure to have the right clothes for school. If it’s not on trend, it’s no good! There are also school rules to consider, and the more appropriate options tend to include brogues, flat boots, and Velcro or buckle bar shoes. Boys are usually allowed to wear shoes which aren’t classed as trainers. Parents of the nation rejoice, Clarks has an outstanding range of shoes for your little learners, they’re bound to find a pair they love and you’re guaranteed quality!

An emergency umbrella
While mums might have their essential birdcage umbrella with their handbag ready for a sudden shower, giving your child an umbrella for school could be really helpful – especially if they’ve got a walk in between getting to the bus stop after the day is done. Fulton has a range of delightful kids’ umbrellas, available in designs full of character, plus they’re designed to last with the reinforced fiberglass frame, keeping your children sheltered from the elements.

Start a walking bus
As we all begin to make conscious efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, walking to school has been actively encouraged by teachers, with some schools setting up a ‘walking bus’ initiative. A walking bus simply means you walk to school with other parents and/or children, as it can be a good way to boost punctuality while also promoting socialization – and it keeps everyone active! If you find that nabbing a spot near the school gates has become too competitive and you live within reasonable walking distance, then why not gather some fellow mums and take to the pavements early in the morning.

Prepare your kids for the new term and the colder days with this guide, and the school run might feel like less of a chore!

Get Inspired with These Festive Stocking Fillers!

The festive season is in full swing, and it’s time to avoid the last-minute stress-fuelled shopping trips. Coming up with stocking fillers might be the last thing on your ‘to-do’ list, but for this reason it can often prove to be the most difficult task. After you’ve endeavoured to come up with present ideas, you might be left feeling a little bit uninspired when it comes to filling stockings with little, thoughtful extras for everyone in the family! Here’s a great guide on choosing something for everyone in the family.

Stocking fillers for the kids
The 1990s craze of digital pets is back, so pop one of these virtual companions into your children’s stocking filler – it’s bound to keep them busy from Christmas Day and beyond! Another brilliant classic revival is the slinky, a huge 300 million have ben sold since the product launched over 60 years ago, share it with a new generation this Christmas!

Want to encourage healthy habits in the new year? Pop one of these personalised water bottles into the stocking. Make sipping on water more appealing by adding your little one’s names and some of the delightful designs onto the bottle!

Another great little extra for this year’s stockings are these smart mini Bluetooth speakers. Simply stick it in your bathroom and make shower time fun again!

Kids will rejoice at these crafty jewellery making kits, letting their creative side out and designing their own quirky necklaces.

Stocking fillers for mum
Mum’s stocking needs to be packed full of essentials, so get started by picking up a new bobble hat, ready for her to wear on your pre-lunch Christmas day walk. It’ll likely be cold outside too, so a miniature hand cream will be a handbag essential. Pop one of these coconut scented minis from The Body Shop into your mum’s stocking on Christmas Eve.

Mums tend to be the helm of organisation in many households, and a pocket sized 2020 diary could be ideal for her pencilling in all of the important dates for the new year!

Mums are always lending their handbag essentials out to their kids. From hairbrushes to her favourite birdcage umbrella, they’re likely to be borrowed and never seen again. Add one of Fulton Umbrellas compact brollies to her stocking this year, in one of the stunning prints that you know she’ll love.

A Tangle Teezer is another great everyday essential that she’s bound to appreciate, plus they come in a wide range of colours and prints to suit her style.

Stocking fillers for dad
He’s always on the go, whether he’s working, golfing, or ferrying the rest of the family around. So, getting a KeepCup for the man that never stops could be a brilliant idea! KeepCups are a great, eco-friendly solution for enjoying hot drinks on the go, made using tempered glass. Order your savvy stocking filler online at KeepCup and choose a design or colour combination that best suits his style – classic black looks great, combined with a cork band. They limit the need to use single-use products, so all he’ll need to do it simply fill it with his coffee in the morning and take on the day!

Bulldog’s bamboo razors are another great little addition to any dad’s stocking and are another great eco-friendly essential! Simply pick up a fluffy face cloth and you’ve got a brilliant little grooming kit sorted in his stocking.

Of course, novelty gifts are the ones which provide the most entertainment, and if your dad is prone to loosing his keys then add a key finder into his stocking this year and add it to his keychain – man’s best friend will have a new definition, as if he’s lost his keys, all he needs to do it whistle and the device will beep. Or, how about some light up Christmas socks to truly get him in festive spirits? Never mind the turkey, these socks will be the true centrepiece!

Christmas might feel stressful, but note down some of these stocking filler ideas and don’t get caught out in a last-minute rush!

Are Our Regions Becoming Rainier?

Most of us refuse to leave the house without a brolly in our hand, especially in the UK where the weather is unpredictable. But we’re a hardy bunch, and we’ll seize the day whatever the weather. From venturing out in sub-zero temperatures in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne without a coat, to the promise of sunshine in the South from March onwards, it’s certainly a mixed bag in terms of the UK forecast. And this is only increasing…

Regardless of whereabouts you reside in the UK, you’ll have noticed that it has become more difficult for forecasters to pin down weather patterns. In recent years, there’s been an upsurge in extreme weather events. We’re taking a look at how our traditional April showers have evolved in the past decade, from sporadic flooding to some of the hardest hitting storms we’ve experienced.

Join us as we uncover just how much of a rainy nation we are, and how the times have changed.

Is the North still destined for drizzly days?
The answer to this comes as no surprise – there’s less rainfall across the year on average in Southern cities of the UK, and the North reigns supreme as the spiritual home of the brolly. The North certainly does get a bad reputation for being dreary and grey from October through to July. Even in the summer months, Northerners will be reaching for their brollies while the South sizzles in glorious sunshine. Northern UK cities have been historically regarded as umbrella territory, and rightly so. In Manchester, the average annual rainfall is 929mm, and across the border in Glasgow, the average rainfall sits at a substantial 1,171mm.

But while there are some notorious Northern areas for rainfall, recent finding have shown that since 2008, there’s been 24.3 per cent less rainfall recorded in the North. In Scotland, the drop in drizzle was 18.9 per cent over the same 10-year period. Over the past decade, precipitation trends have changed notably, and even the wettest region in the UK has experienced an overall decline in showers.

Showers in the South
The South doesn’t escape from a spot of drizzle every now and again though. In Exeter, the average rainfall per year is 848mm, and Bristol had a recorded 819mm of rain per year. London had an average of 594mm, and on average the South of England had 795mm of rain per year between 2008-2018. This is a lot less in comparison to the figure of 1,704mm for the North!

Over on the moors, the South West of England is one of the rainiest areas of the region, and the city of Plymouth gets an average of 1,000.5mm of rain per year. Gloucester follows closely with a rainfall of 840.3mm. Our picturesque Southern seaside is frequently falling victim to the untameable seas and rainy days though, as the average annual rainfall is increasing gradually.

Londoners certainly have a differing stance towards taking on the elements compared to the North though. Those down South tend to choose a trendy birdcage umbrella instead of adding an extra layer to their outfits with a raincoat.

Changes in our rainfall patterns and extreme weather
However, the North seems to be bearing the brunt of more episodes of extreme weather, such as flooding. Regions in Yorkshire, Cumbria and Scotland have experienced some of the most serious cases of flooding. Most recently, Doncaster and the surrounding areas have been submerged by a deluge which has caused mass destruction. Researchers from the University of Vienna took data from 3,738 flood measurement stations throughout Europe over a five-year-period – and they found an 11 per cent increase in flooding across Northern England and Southern Scotland.

How we deal with the weather certainly varies by region. On average, temperatures are consistently warmer in the South, so an umbrella makes sense on most days, rather than overheating in a thick coat! Meanwhile, in the North, shrugging on a big coat, wielding a trusty brolly and marching out into the rain is what it’s all about! We could all learn a thing or two from the famous northern resilience to the wet and rainy weather – add a brolly to your bag and you’ll never get caught in the rain again!

Fashion forward: Alternative routes into the industry

The UK is a bustling hub for prospective fashion employees, with many degree courses and further education options on offer for those wanting to secure a career in the industry. A little bit of creativity can go a long way though, as finding work in a fashion environment is an extremely competitive task nowadays. Some of the biggest names in the industry are Brit exports, and if you’re looking to follow in their footsteps then there are some inventive career paths that you could pursue to make your dreams a reality.

Umbrella textile designer
Umbrellas come in all colours, styles and prints nowadays, meaning we’re often spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the perfect rainy day essential. Most modern umbrellas are made using high quality nylon, and as a textile designer you could specialise in umbrella manufacturing. A degree in textile design or a related subject, or alternatively a college foundation course will allow you to appeal to potential employers. In terms of interests and skill, a clear passion for design and a creative flair will make you stand out as a clear choice in the recruitment stages. From experimenting with shapes, styles and prints, a career as an umbrella textile designer is extremely varied and will allow you to be innovative with your approach. If you believe that you could come up with a design that has the potential to rival the signature birdcage umbrella, then consider a role as an umbrella textile designer!

Skype stylist
The digital age has prompted an influx of advances in the fashion industry, and it has even triggered the emergence of remote styling. Skype stylists have become commonplace, providing people with portable fashion advice, meaning we’ll never have to endure those last-minute outfit panics again! American businesswoman and Third & Loom CEO Brenna Lyden used her online blog to leverage her Skype styling service, and she sparked a huge following which spawned into others offering the same service. If you believe that you could inject some new life into wardrobes around the would (why start small after all?!) then consider establishing yourself by creating a portfolio of the outfits that you have created. The ever-popular photo sharing platform Instagram is a great place to get started, simply build your following and then prepare to advice the masses on their garment combinations!

3D fashion engineer
While 3D printing is becoming more common in sectors such as architecture, it also has the necessary scope to fit a purpose in fashion. Creative genius and artistic director of Louis Vuitton Virgil Abloh has utilised the technique for products in his collection, showing just how up and coming this technology is. Securing a career as a 3D fashion engineer is a niche task, but it is certainly at the forefront of the industry so get a head start! As the manufacturing process continues to modernise, 3D printing engineers will help to increase sustainability in production methods, while also helping to tackle the issue of fast fashion. Having a strong grasp of information technology and hardware could prove beneficial in this role and being a natural problem solver could also be helpful!

So, how will you break into the fashion industry? The options are endless, you just have to think big and use your own individual flair to set you apart from other candidates!

Are we all becoming luxurious shoppers?

We are all familiar with the idea of high-end products versus their affordable, budget friendlier alternatives. But in terms of longevity, what should we opt for if we want to get the most our of an item? We delve into the world of price and quality differentials and help you to make the call.

Throwaway culture
We are living in a era dominated by the notion of a ‘throwaway culture’, a trend which has surfaced as consumerism grows. The concept applies to items which are classified as being disposable or if they are only short lived. Our throwaway culture is rooted largely in the appeal that inexpensive goods can have, and as they tend to be affordable, convenient fixes as opposed to buying luxury alternatives.

However, there are a series of drawbacks to consider, and it’s really up to the individual as a customer to weigh up the benefits. These habits have progressively created harmful impacts to our natural world, with the ‘fast fashion’ phenomena implicating many affordable clothing retailers. On the other hand, luxury goods are typically designed in adherence to set quality standards. This can help to curb our tendency to throw items away, as they should be made with longevity in mind. Purchasing luxury items is one way to help fight against fast fashion.

Is there such thing as a luxury ‘buzz’?
Many people who buy luxury goods do it for the emotiveness of the purchase. One study from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology has even linked a boost in self-esteem to the value of making a luxury purchase. We often associate luxury goods with an authentic status, and they are often regarded as more valuable because of their stats as the best product available. Paying less for similar goods that do note bear the same excellent quality does not warrant the same emotive response, and this gives the ‘real McCoy’ its unique selling point. Purchasing something more luxurious than usual is an event, and shoppers are usually willing to put some research in place before their big investment.

Nowadays, shoppers are looking more and more for an experience when they make a purchase, and this can be facilitated in a variety of ways. Retailers have been pushed to create an engaging experience for their shoppers, and luxury brands achieved this at a remarkable standard. The high-end French department store Galaries Lafayette used an ‘invite only’ system to create a unique allure to their stores, with access to ‘Le Concierge’ lounge where VIP’s could enjoy unique services such as personalised shoppers and relaxation treats.

The ‘everyday luxury’ staples
A luxury product doesn’t have to be extravagant. In fact, it can simply be an item that you rely on everyday that is enhanced with excellent quality features.

Something as simple as buying an umbrella can be enhanced by opting for a luxury model. The Fulton Diamond Collection is a range of rainy-day essentials, including ladies umbrellas, crafted to the highest quality standards. From woven fabrics to stunning woods, luxe leather and intricate detailing on the hardware, the Diamond Collection certainly has a luxury visual appearance. When this is combined with the functionality of the range, the distinction between luxury and budget becomes clear. The advanced performance fibreglass frames provide impressive durability, making for a longer lasting investment overall. Umbrellas can often be disregarded as disposable items, but by purchasing a luxury product you can enjoy a more cost effective essential that needs replacing far less often that their cheaper market counterparts.

Will you change up your buying habits and invest in luxury?

Preparing for Reign: What to expect from the third season of The Crown

Many of us are guilty of enjoying lazy mornings spent binge-watching the latest new series. As a result, it has become somewhat of a ceremonious occasion when a long-awaited season makes a return to our favourite streaming services. The Crown follows on from the proud legacy of the period drama, following the phenomena which followed programs such as Downton Abbey, Peaky Blinders, and Call the Midwife. Well, it’s time to recap season one and two, as we eagerly await the third instalment of the hit production.

What happened in seasons one and two?
The first season began at the start of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in 1952, initially portrayed by British actress Claire Foy. She married Prince Philip Mountbatten. Elizabeth, the heir to King George VI, and her husband moved to Malta where she gave birth to her two children Charles and Anne. Meanwhile, Philip re-joined the British Royal Navy.

King George’s health began to decline, and this was followed with a terminal diagnosis. He provided guidance for his daughter ahead of her ascension to power, and he later passed away in 1952.

The first season also documented the progression of the Commonwealth of Nations, nuclear testing in the Soviet Union and the relations between the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill (John Lithgow) and US President Dwight E.Eisenhower. The season ended with Churchill leaving office, replaced by Anthony Eden (Jeremy Northam), and the origin of the Suez Canal dispute.

Season two saw Foy’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II resume, with notable historical points leasing the plotline further. These included the unfolding of the Suez Canal dispute to the retirement of Harold Macmillan in 1963, and the birth of her son, Prince Edward, in 1964. Elizabeth gets entangled in the publicised backlash originated from Lord Altrincham (John Heffeman), amidst a trail of her own person qualms surrounding the state of her marriage to Philip. Philip is crowned and given the title ‘The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh’ in February 1957.

Viewers learned more about Elizabeth’s familial circle, specifically regarding her sister Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (Victoria Hamilton). From The Marburg Files scandal and the exile of the Duke of Windsor (Alex Jennings) to a presidential visit from John F. and Jackie Kennedy prior to his assassination in November 1963, Elizabeth steered the country through a decade of rapid changes and political unrest. The second series ended at the birth of Prince Edward, her fourth child.

In line for the throne: What should we expect from season 3?
Of course, we are all eagerly awaiting the already iconic production to return to our screens. Famous British Oscar winner Olivia Coleman taking over for Foy, and Tobias Menzies picking up his duties as the Duke of Edinburgh. We expect to enter a new ear of Elizabeth’s reign when the series resumes on Sunday 17th November. The third and fourth instalments are set to delve into the years 1964-76, and viewers can expect to be introduced to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. Viewers will also witness the disintegration of Princess Margaret’s marriage to Lord Snowdon. In terms of historical points of interest, the moon landing and the decolonization of Africa look set to dominate the plotline of the third series.

Images of Coleman have been released as a teaser ahead of the big return — and we believe that a classic birdcage umbrella wouldn’t look out of place in the striking shot! Keep your eyes peeled for the trailer and get ready to binge watch the UK’s acclaimed regal drama!

How are essential products tested?

From wind tunnels to blind-testing popular cola beverages, brands must put their product through its paces. How else will they know if they can go toe-to-toe with their competitors? After all, consumers are looking for quality, especially when it comes to everyday essential products. Testing processes have to be innovative in order to give a brand something to shout about. Fulton Umbrellas are keen to explore a few brilliant product testing methods!

Pepsi Challenge
Pepsi Challenge

The Pepsi Challenge
The ’Pepsi Challenge’ was a straightforward testing process in which the company sought to prove that their product was the favourite choice amongst customers. Participants blind tested two products, one of which was Pepsi and another was Coca Cola. After tasting both, the drinkers were asked to decide which one they preferred. Unsurprisingly, Pepsi reported more than 50 per cent of tasters were said to favour their drink over Coke. The testing initiative dates back to 1975, and in 2018 the brand revived the concept in their Pepsi Max campaign.

Fulton Umbrellas Wind Tunnel
Fulton Umbrellas Wind Tunnel

Fulton Umbrellas Wind Tunnel
We’ve all been caught out by an umbrella that has fallen victim to the elements, and it is never a fun challenge to be stuck in! Umbrellas have to withstand a lot in order to make it as a daily essential. Fulton is committed to ensuring that their products are always picked up from the porch on a day when the forecast is looking rather inclement. A sudden rainstorm is sometimes only half the battle, and an umbrella which gives way and reverses in the wind is never ideal. Fulton put their umbrellas to the test to assure quality performance in the harshest of conditions.
Fulton took products from their collection to be tested at the Imperial College in London, in the wind tunnel facility. Every element of Fulton’s innovative product range was tested in the process. The Fulton Cyclone golf umbrella was tested at a wind speed of 78mph, and the super strength durable structure will allow you to complete every round of the course even in adverse weather! The high-performance polyester fabric and lightweight aluminum frame of the products lived up to their function and disaster was averted —a Fulton success!

100 Day Quality Guarantee
100 Day Quality Guarantee

Tesco’s School Uniform Guarantee
Parents with children heading back to school for the new term will want to know that they are getting quality uniform essentials that last. After all, the playground can be a challenging place for new school trousers and polo shirts. We all know that kids like to use their curiosity and explore everything, and sometimes a bit of wear and tear on school uniforms can leave parents looking for replacement items far sooner than they would’ve liked! Tesco came up with a solution for this, and their annual campaign coincides with the start of the new school year: put the product testing process into the hands of the child wearing the garments! Tesco offer a ‘100 Day Quality Guarantee’ on their school uniform range at selected stores, meaning that garments can be tested under the exact conditions that they’d need to endure. From hands-on art lessons to a bumps in the playground at lunchtime, the garments experienced it all. With scuff-resistant shoes to reinforced trouser knees, each uniform innovation was well and truly put to the test. Parents can return products when proof of purchase is presented, up until the 100-day deadline has passed.

It certainly seems like ‘tried-and-tested’ is one of the best approaches to take!

Innovations In Fashion

Arnold Fulton
Arnold Fulton

In 1956, Fulton Umbrellas started out in a small factory based in Whitechapel, where our founder, Arnold Fulton, started designing and producing some of the world’s most renowned brolly’s to date. Since this time, we’ve witnessed some immense innovations within the fashion sector, which have definitely helped us pioneer the direction of our business and revolutionise the way that we make our umbrellas.

While we often see these changes at annual fashion shows, with outlandish designs that arguably complicate how functional an outfit is to wear, what changes have fashion manufacturers welcomed that make life a whole lot easier? We’ll start with one of our own exciting developments…

Diamond Collection
Diamond Collection

1. Our Diamond Collection
After three years in the making, we’ve recently launched our Diamond Collection to celebrate 60 years in the business. As you can see, the development of Fulton’s umbrellas can take a significant amount of time, as quality is the cornerstone of our success. We pride ourselves on pushing the boundaries of development, while only using the highest specification materials and precise engineering standards before hand- finishing each product.

For this range in particular, we’ve combined the most elegant woven fabrics, beautiful woods, fine leather, and detailed hardware. It’s important for us to strike a balance between expert craftmanship and technical performance, while also designing umbrella’s that our customers will be proud to hold.

One of the standout features on each umbrella within this range is the fibreglass ribs which add a great deal of lightweight strength. Fibreglass is a prominent feature in our umbrellas, due to its longevity as a material. It is tougher than the carbon fibre alternative, and it has a higher breaking point when flexed which is extremely important when it comes to braving the inclement weather conditions here in the UK. As well as this, the material will not absorb moisture and will not corrode. We strive to make brilliant quality, easy-to-use products for our customers, and using fibreglass helps us achieve this — as it is very strong but also very light.

2. 36.5® Technology
This revolutionary fabric will become more mainstream in the next few years in both our day to day apparel and footwear. Using performance enhancing materials, it helps users to control the ideal core temperature of 37.5° Celsius. As well as this, it helps keep the microclimate next to your skin at the ideal relative humidity of 37.5% — regardless of the activity you’re doing or the external climate you’re in. When you’re hot, active particles embedded into the material use your body’s energy to remove the moisture and cool you down. On the other hand, when you’re cold, it will trap this energy to warm you up.

The particles which are used are made from volcanic sand that have billions of microspores which increases the surface area of the material. Delving into the specifics, the particles actually absorb infrared light in the spectrum that the human body emits, where the light becomes the energy that powers the particles. Interestingly, the active particles trap odor molecules and release them when they’re washed and dried. The active particles will last the lifetime of the product too, as they are permanently embedded in the fibre.

3. ChroMorphous
As described above, the textile industry has encountered remarkable changes that are set to shift the industry in a completely new direction. ChroMorphous is no exception either, as this fabric is bringing something to the table that we could have only dreamt of a few years back. Simply put, this fabric is described to be an active, user-controlled, colour-changing eTextile. Wearers can control the colour and patterns of their clothing at any given time using their smartphones.

The technology works as each fibre contains a small conductive micro-wire inside. So, when an electrical current passes through it, the fibre warms up slightly which activates the colour-changing pigment. Although the material requires heat to activate new colours, the fabric itself won’t get hot and wearers will feel little or no change. This is something that is still in its development stages but will likely transform the way we shop for our clothes in the future. As this will allow for people to change the colour of their clothes, this might eventually contribute to the reduction of mass production and fast fashion — allowing people to purchase products for the longevity rather than their style.

Evidently, the fashion landscape is ever-changing. From making our umbrellas sturdier and increasing product lifespan, to clothing that maintains the right body temperature. What other innovations would you like to see in the future?

Why is rain important?

As a nation, we are very accustomed to a rainy day. From those drizzly April showers to the severe downpours that follow rumblings of thunder, we experience it all — but we aren’t always as prepared for it! The UK Met Office found that between 1981-2010 Britain had an average of 1,154mm on rainfall per year, and during this period we endured an average 156.2 rainy days. Being caught off guard when the heavens open can seem like an annoyance, but rain is actually a very important aspect of wider life, and furthermore, the health of our planet and its ecosystems. Join us as we take a look at some of the unsuspecting value found in the humble ‘rainy day’.

Rain is a lifeline
Rain is a lifeline

Agriculture and the environment
Rain is a lifeline for supporting crop growth across the world, and this proves vital in the need to meet soaring food production demands. Rain is a valuable way to manage crops, and it is a natural alternative to the strenuous man-made irrigation process employed by farmers in regions where less rain falls. Each crop has its own water requirements, and farmers can use climatology methods to calculate which crop will fare best in accordance with long-term rainfall trends based on the region they’re in. Therefore, rain really is vital in order to maintain the world’s food supply, and agriculturalists are already experimenting with cropping habits, and the effects of climate change on rainfall are already impacting annual figures.

Rain creates landscapes
Rain creates landscapes

Rain creates landscapes
Some of the most famous areas in the UK have been created by rain at some stage, through the gradual process of erosion. Rain is heavily involved in topography — the study of physical land features, as it carves and softens areas of land, creating unique rock formations on some of the UK’s most iconic areas. From the White Cliffs of Dover to the Birling Gap in East Sussex, erosion caused by natural elements such as rain continues to make its mark on the land, and the level of impact that it can have on our surroundings is remarkable.

Rain
Rain

Atmospheric clean up
Rain itself is associated with the phenomena of atmospheric cleaning, targeting pollution build ups found in our towns and cities. A telltale sign of this is the brown haze which is often evident in the skies of these pollution-dense areas, and it appears due to a layer of pollution containing a harmful mixture of aerosols, dust, and soot gathered in the atmosphere. This has been proven to have potentially damaging effects on human health, as well as food security. These metropolitan examples of pollution benefit greatly from a good downpour — just make sure you’ve got your trusty Storm umbrella to hand! Rainfall can periodically clear the air of this dirt and debris, and when this happens after a prolonged dry spell, it brings a distinctive fragrance known as petrichor. Australian scientists first named the term in the 1960s, and it describes the earthy, warm scent that enters the atmosphere produced by bacteria released upon rain hitting dry ground.

Therapeutic qualities
Some of us rejoice when it rains — and no, we’re not even talking exclusively about farmers here! Many people take comfort from the sound and appearance of rain, and if you happen to be warm and sheltered when the downpour begins, then rain can feel therapeutic. Many of us enjoy the comfort that comes with even just hearing the sound of rain, and there’s certainly something more appealing about listening to rain whilst warm indoors than being stuck in a deluge without a brolly! In fact, taking a walk in the rain or even going for a run can feel extremely relaxing. Fulton’s range of umbrellas are all designed to help you tackle the elements, with fiberglass ribs for lightweight strength and durable polycarbonate joints.

Now that we’ve learnt the value of a downpour, it’s time to seize the day — whatever the weather!