12 Cleaning Tips for a clean home

So, firstly I should start with a disclaimer, this post is NOT sponsored or affiliated with Method, I’m just a real sucker for a blogger trend. Can you even call yourself a blogger if you haven’t watched 20 speed cleaning videos on Youtube or bought a bottle of the Method Anti-bac spray? Probably not. I’m also laughing at myself as I used to sucked in by blogger trends to buy the latest eyeshadow palette or overpriced scented candle, now I’m hooked on the latest cleaning product trend – how life changes. Anyway, this post was off to a slightly rambly start, I actually wanted to talk about cleaning. I’ll admit – I am obsessive about cleaning. I love a clean home and if things are out of place I feel uncomfortable and unsettled until it’s sorted. I also really enjoy cleaning once I get into it, I think it’s the feeling of satisfaction that everything is sparkling, fresh and clean that makes me enjoy it, rather than the actual ‘doing’.

But, I have to mention on the flip-side of this I have a busy lifestyle – with a young baby, a hairy dog, my blog, freelance work, not to mention family and social time – it’s hard to get it all done! Our home is often much less than perfect (much to my sadness!) so I’ve had to find a middle ground with it all and accept sometimes things aren’t perfect, but just to the best I can, in the time I have.

So how do I do it? Here are a few tips for keeping the home clean, when time is limited or if you downright hate cleaning and don’t fancy doing it very often… hope they help!

Little and Often

With cleaning, I don’t tend to spend hours on it as I clean a little bit every day. Every morning I do at least 30 minutes, which seems to cover most areas and means I keep on top of everything -rather than leaving it all to do in one go which can seem like a really daunting task. I give the house a deeper clean around once a week too where I’ll spend more time and go into more detail in each room.

Clean as you go

Try to clean up as you go along. Violet has just started weaning which is SO MESSY – I tend to try and wipe up any big spills at the time, even if she’s still eating to keep on top of everything, then the cleanup isn’t so bad at the end. This is the same concept with cooking, wash pots and pans whilst eating and clear up before you eat your meal. This one I’m actually pretty bad at when I’m cooking but I’m trying!

Cleaning Challenge

Sometimes if I’m tired and not feeling like cleaning I’ll do a ’10 minute speed challenge’ – if you aren’t sure about these, put that into the search bar on Youtube and you’ll find hundreds of videos (they are strangely fascinating to watch!) I put on some upbeat music and set my phone timer for 10 minutes, I then challenge myself to see how much I can get done in that ten minutes. I swear after doing this for a couple of months now I can get so much more done in the time than before! Plus, what is ten minutes in the whole day? It’s hardly any time really (I bet most people spend longer on social media) but it makes such a difference!

Make the Beds

If you have to do one thing in the morning – make your bed and open the curtains. This makes such a difference to a room and makes things look so much neater.

Clear the Surfaces

This is similar to making the beds – if you have limited time, just make sure the surfaces on your house are clear of clutter, including the washing up, drying board and any surfaces you can see. This immediately opens up a room, even if the cupboards inside are busting at the seams, you can tackle them later!

Time Saving Products  and sprays

I find if I’ve got brand new, shiny cleaning products or handy gadgets I enjoy cleaning so much more. I recently tweeted about these awesome microfibre slippers   (and had SO MANY REPLIES… everyone loves them!) which are so handy for picking up dog hair on the go and cleaning the floors, I’ve also been running my toe along the skirting boards as I pass, they’ve never looked so clean! Other things include, lovely smelling products like the Method Range, scented candles or my favourite – Yankee Candle Wax Tarts to freshen a room, or time saving gadgets like this mop with built in spray. I really really want a Cordless Hoover too, but we’ll have to save our pennies for that one as the one I have my eye on is not cheap!

Declutter – Mari Kondo folding

I read the book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying‘ and it really changed the way I store things. I’m not amazing at decluttering yet (no one is perfect!) but I’ve really mastered the way of folding clothes into little squares to save space in drawers and cupboards. I highly recommend learning that technique, especially for baby clothes, it saves us so much space in Violet’s room and keeps her drawers really neat.

Sort everything before bed

I always go to bed with the house tidy, I make sure all washing up is done, all laundry is hanging on the rack and the living room is tidy with cushions plumped and ready for the next day. It’s so horrible waking up to a mess, so I do the last bits of tidying up at night once everyone is in bed to ensure we start with afresh with a clean house the following day.

If it takes 2 minutes – do it now

During the day, if I see a task that needs doing I think in my mind ‘Will this take less than 2 minutes?’ if so, I do it there and then rather than leaving everything to build up.

Sort stuff out every 6 months

I try to go through our stuff and get rid of anything I haven’t worn/used for 6 months – this includes clothes, beauty/skincare products and just anything thats been laying around. If I’d forgotten about it, I clearly don’t need it. Our cupboards are still busting at the seams even though we do this, but I guess thats the life of a blogger I guess! I do try and give away or sell as much as possible though, especially Violet’s stuff, she’s grown out of so much already so we’ve been sending bags of baby clothes to charity or to friends. I’ve kept the special baby clothes and stored them away in space bags which are really good for shrinking everything down and saving loads of room in cupboards or under the bed.

Get into a routine – daily/weekly/monthly jobs

I find getting up and doing my cleaning routine is second nature now, especially as I’m off on maternity leave so as soon as Violet has her morning nap I’ll get on with the cleaning before I get up and dressed myself. That means I start the day feeling like everything is in order. Now I have a routine with jobs I feel like I cover everything that needs doing around the house either daily, weekly or monthly. If you aren’t great at remembering what needs doing or creating a routine, there are some good cleaning schedules that are free to print out – Pinterest is full of great ideas like that.

Make it fun!

This is the most important tip – if you find cleaning a chore then make it fun! Put on music, challenge yourself to a speed clean, reward yourself in chocolate biscuits – do whatever it is that means you’ll get it done and feel pleased with yourself when the cleaning is over. And just remember when it’s done, you can put your feet up and enjoy the clean space too, so make sure you enjoy your hard work and efforts to the maximum too.

 

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Giveaway! Win a Children’s Bed worth £150!

It’s been a while since I hosted a giveaway on the blog, hasn’t it? So, when Lakeland Furniture got in touch and asked if I’d like to give away one of their gorgeous wooden childrens beds, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity! Having just decorated Violet’s nursery I’ve enjoyed picking out furniture for her and picturing her playing in her perfect little space, so I hope that you’ll enjoy planning your child’s bedroom just as much! I am absolutely in love with the Cordoba Day Bed – if she was big enough, that would be my choice, hands down!  Which one would you chose?

To enter to win a wooden children’s bed of your choice, simply complete the form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GOOD LUCK!

Post in collaboration with Lakeland Furniture.

Open to UK entrants only –  Lakeland Furniture to supply prize to winner

Home Decor: Take a peek in our new Bathroom!

To many, our bathroom might just look like an average room but if you’d have seen it when we moved in, you wouldn’t believe it’s the same house! We have lived in our house for two years now and it’s only now we have managed to get the bathroom totally finished – getting major renovations certainly isn’t cheap, so it’s been slow progress, but it’s been totally worth it. Firstly, before you see too many of the finished project, take a look at my bathroom renovation posts to see how far we have come months ago – I blogged about living in a building site (where you can actually see we had walls being ripped down and no running water for SO LONG) and then I posted an update when we had the floor put in, but I hadn’t actually blogged about the finished look – with all the little extras that make it finally ours.

So, talking about the decor, the reason it’s taken us so long to complete is that we have been back and forth with it, quite a few times. We decided we wanted to go for a Victorian theme, but with a green colour scheme. We went all over the place looking for green tiles but just couldn’t find the shade we really wanted, so we bought some green paint instead. However, this turned into a disaster – I can safely say when you get paint mixed from those little colour swatch cards, BE CAREFUL or get a tester pot first – we ordered what we thought was a lovely muted light green but as we got painting, we soon realised we were painting the calls a rather vibrant shade of lime green! It just didn’t look right at all, lime green isn’t the tranquil, peaceful bathroom colour we hoped for, it was more like a child’s bedroom or a Mexican Restaurant! So, before the painting was even finished we decided to take it all down, rushing off to the nearest B&Q to buy the biggest tin of just plain white paint, to start again from scratch. It turns out when painting a bathroom, just keeping it to white (or a neutral colour) is a good idea – you can add pops of colour through the decor, towels and ornaments you choose. PHEW! What a palava.

So, onto my favourite element of the bathroom – the floor! We chose a traditional victorian checkerboard, which not only looks gorgeous, but we got underfloor heating so it’s lovely and toasty warm too! It’s got to be my favourite part of the room.

Onto our green theme! So after the paint/tile disaster we were so pleased to find these beautiful Super Hygro towels from Christy in the shade ‘Green Tea’ which colour wise, which worked so much better to give us that pop of vibrant green, than any paint or tiles we could have chosen. They are such lovely towels too – thick, fluffy, warm and luxurious – I don’t think I’ve ever owned such gorgeous towels. Christy also offer the option to get our names embroidered on too, which is just such a lovely touch (although usually I mark my own towels with copious amounts of mascara smudges, ha!). As well as a matching towel bundle, we picked up the bathmat and two face cloths too, so we have the complete matching set now, which definitely gives a sleek look, compared to our mismatched collection of random towels we used to have!

I then finished off the bathroom with relaxing scented candles, like this one from The Body Shop that smells amazing (even when it’s not burning) and some plants for some more greenery and positive energy.

Of course, I couldn’t do a complete tour without mentioning a few favourite products too (it’s the old school beauty blogger in me coming out!) So, firstly, hair products – I’m currently LOVING the Paul Mitchell KerActive in Forever Blonde. Just before Christmas I attended a lovely event run by Salon Success, who gave me this set as a little Christmas gift, it was super thoughtful as they matched the gifts to our hair colours/types. I haven’t had my hair coloured in ages, so using this is keeping my blonde lovely and bright, without making it too frizzy (as I often find brightening goes hand in hand with drying but this isn’t the case at all). If you fancy a look at the Salon Success bloggers evening, Aine wrote this post – it was fab!

Onto a few of my favourite pampering products – Of course at this time of year I always have a big bottle of Lush Snow Fairy to work my way through, that has been tradition for many years now and doesn’t get boring! My other favourite Christmas/Winter scent this year has been the Vanilla Chai range from The Body Shop – it smells just divine, I have both the bath bubbles and body butter – yum! I’ve been working my way through my collection of the Superfood Face masks and now the weather is a little colder, the Ethiopian Honey Deep Moisturising Mask is suiting my dry/dull skin just perfectly. Lastly, for an all over scrub from top-to-toe the Brazilian Cupuaçu Scrub-In-Oil is one of the best body scrubs I’ve used in a LONG TIME, it leaves my skin so silky soft and nourished by the oil, however a word of warning to pregnant ladies (and anyone else really!) it makes the bathtub SUPER SLIPPERY so don’t fall over in the oil…………!

So, that was a little whizz around our new bathroom. I absolutely love it now we’ve finally got it to where we want it to be, it’s like my little sanctuary – I live in there at the moment, with a good book, cup of tea and a hot bath I can easily while away the hours, it’s my happy place and my calm zone. Worth the wait! 

Robbie Takeover: #CarpetCamouflage with Carpetright

Today on the blog, I have a lighthearted post for you, plus LOTS of photos of the star of my blog, Robbie! We were recently contacted by Carpetright, who asked me to take part in fun idea I couldn’t resist! They asked me if I could try and ‘camouflage’ Robbie against samples of their carpet for their latest #carpetcamoflage campaign. As I absolutely love to feature my favourite little mutt on my blog, I said a resounding yes, even if this was one of the slightly more bizarre campaigns I’ve worked on in my time as a blogger! 🙂

Robbie has been feeling a bit sorry for himself recently, he’s been to the vets for tests (which were pretty stressful for us all), plus we’ve been so busy getting the nursery ready, I think he’s already starting to feel left out. He knows I am pregnant and is very protective over me but I have no idea how he’ll be when the baby is here. He loves being the centre of attention at all times, and is like our first baby. So, getting him involved with this campaign was really fun, we got lots of time together, plus he LOVES carpet – we have wooden floors, so when he sees carpet he rolls on his back and scratches his face on it, basically he turns into a real lunatic, scurrying all over the place – it’s his idea of heaven! As he’s on a diet following his trip to the vets too, he was even happier with the carrot pieces he got in return for these pics too!

So, Carpetright sent me three carpet samples they thought would be closest to Robbie’s colouring – let’s see how we got on!

CAMOFLAGUE #1:

Twilight Saxony Carpet – This carpet seemed hardy and practical. In a plain black shade, this went really well with Robbie’s fur, you can even see his ‘baddy’ from the vets on his arm in this pic, poor little mutt! I half wish our house was covered in this carpet as we’d never have to worry about hoovering up all his dog hairs, they’d be totally hidden!

Camouflage rating: 4/5 

CAMOFLAGUE #2:

Glendale Saxony Carpet – This was our favourite carpet. I loved the flecks of white as it added detail, plus the flecks remind me of Robbie’s grey hairs that have started coming through in the last year or so (especially on his face). So this was our winner for the ‘camouflage’ competition! This carpet was rich and luxurious feeling, it would be so soft underfoot if it was fitted across our house – Robbie loved this piece so much we’ve kept a piece for his bed area, it’s snuggly warm and he would prefer to sit on his carpet than on our floor!

Camoflague rating: 5/5

CAMOFLAGUE #3:

Atlas 599 Perriot Vinyl – This one we didn’t get on with so well, Robbie wasn’t keen on his tip-tapping feet on the vinyl so getting him to pose was tricky! The colour match wasn’t quite as deep as Robbie’s fur. Saying that, I think vinyl is a really practical option though for a household – especially with pets, as we’d be able to wash away any muddy paw prints easily and keep it clean. For camouflaging pets though, maybe not.

Camouflage rating: 2/5

Overall, this was just a bit of fun really, we don’t have black carpets as practical as they would be with Robbie, and as much as he’d love to scratch his back on them, I’m pretty sure it would be a bit dark! Saying that, have recently been shopping for our babies nursery though, a lovely cream carpet would look gorgeous, although we haven’t decided yet – Carpetright have too many options to choose from! We are getting there with the decoration though, so look out for a nursery tour, coming in the New Year!

A big THANK YOU to Carpetright for asking Robbie to take part in your latest campaign, Robbie had so much fun and has now made a doggy fort-bed out of the remaining samples, I don’t think we’ll be able to get rid of them! Check out the hashtag #CarpetCamouflage to see how the other bloggers hid their pets! 

Collaborative Post

 

 

Planning our versatile dining area

Ever since we moved into our little house by the sea, we have never had a formal dining area. We did buy a second hand table and chairs (thank goodness for Facebook selling pages) when we first arrived, however it quickly turned into an office space, a dumping ground for junk mail and pizza menus plus it’s even the home of Vee’s extensive lego collection too, so there isn’t much room for eating. After a long day at work, it’s easier to just eat from our laps on the sofa than clear off the piles of junk we seem to have accumulated in our little ‘dining corner‘ – oops. However, with baby on the way we’ve both agreed we feel it’s important to have a family dining space. Yes, the baby isn’t going to be feeding from the table straight away, but we want to get into good habits, so when little one starts to wean we can all sit at the table from day one and get into a habit of eating in the same space.

I really want our dining area to be totally versatile as we want to invite friends over for dinner as well as create a family space – so I’ve created both a daytime and evening look, with a quick change of decoration, our table can go from practical to gorgeous and classy in no time at all!

EVENING TABLE

Next Valencia Extending Table | Hampstead Soft Upholstered Chairs | Kate Spade Wine Glasses | Flamingo Plate Set | Geometric Candles

The table we’ve had our eyes on for a while is an extendable white table from Next, we don’t have a lot of space so the fact it folds up into the corner is just perfect. Fully extended it’s big enough for 6 guests if we have a dinner party, so it’s truly versatile. We will probably get 4 dining room chairs, this will mean if we have 6 guests we’ll have to use two ‘put-up’ chairs, but I’m sure it’ll be so rare, we’ll be glad of the extra space only having 4 main chairs. The touches of gold instantly make the table set-up look classy and perfect for wine and dinner, for either a date night or dinner with friends.

BREAKFAST SPACE

Barstool |  Nespresso Citiz Machine | Fresh Flowers | Coffee Cup

With a newborn baby, breakfast for us is bound to be a quick affair; grabbing a cup of well needed coffee and shovelling a pan au chocolat. With this in mind we have thought about setting up a little breakfast bar area in our kitchen for breakfasts on the go. A couple of barstools  next to the coffee machine would work perfectly to make the perfect breakfast space.

DAYTIME TABLE

Cosatto Magic Unicorns Highchair | Kid’s Dinner set | Just Wipe Table Cloth| Wipeable Bibs | Kid’s Dinner Set

Lastly, but certainly not least would be our tables ‘daytime look’. This needs to be functional and easy to clean! I’ve chosen the cutest highchair from Cosatto, because – well unicorns! Plus, I saw these at The Baby Show, they are super practical too, so it’s a win/win situation. I’d cover our table with an easy-clean vinyl tablecloth, you can get some really pretty designs – I love these fun beachhuts to go with our seaside theme. Of course kids dinner sets (preferably with suction cups to stick them down), food storage boxes and bibs are essential weaning tools too.

 

What do you think to our versatile dining area? Do you do something with your family’s dining area? I’d love to hear any tips you may have!