It’s Spotless! Tips to Keep Your House Perfectly Clean

Tips to keep your house clean

Most of us want our homes to always be spic and span, but if we’re honest, the vast majority of us don’t want to spend half of our lives cleaning and polishing when we could be out having fun. Luckily, it is possible to have a spotless home with just a little effort on your part (and your family’s part) each day.

Don’t believe me? Check out these tips to keep your home perfectly clean:

Hire Some Help

If you can afford it, you might want to consider hiring some domestic household staff to do simple chores like cleaning, ironing and laundry for you. If you know that at least the basics will be covered, it’s much easier to pick up the slack, and you’ll probably find that your home has never looked better.

Take Your Shoes Off

If you don’t want to spend your days, cleaning, sweeping and vacuuming the floors on your beautiful home, make it a rule that everyone in your family must remove their shoes at the door. It’s up to you whether you apply this rule to guests or not, but even if it’s only your family who does this, you’ll notice a huge difference in the cleanliness of your carpets and floors, and cut your cleaning time significantly.

Invest in Electrostatic Cloths

Electrostatic cloths are a cleaning miracle, they will pick up and remove any and all dust from your walls, furniture and floors, in seconds, instead of simply moving it around to a new place where it will settle.Invest in them and a spotless home can be yours.

Make the Bed

Tips to keep your house clean

As soon as you get up in the morning, make the bed. It takes minutes (if that), and it makes the room look much more tidier than it otherwise would.

Keep a Squeegee by the Shower

If you keep a squeegee by the shower and instruct everyone to use it on the glass doors after showering, then it won’t end up streaked and grimy which means it will look spotless all the time.


If you get rid of everything that is unnecessary, unused and unloved in your home by decluttering your decor, then you won’t have nearly as many things to dust, clean, polish and store, which means your home will immediately look a lot more spotless. You will, of course, also save time in the housework department too.

Soak Stuff

When you soak dirty items in a mixture of hot water, baking soda, then the dirt just comes off effortlessly for a much cleaner conclusion that is much less effort. If it isn’t something you can easily soak, such as a spillage in the fridge, steep a paper towel in hot water and baking soda and place it over the stain, leave for a few minutes and then wipe away. Totally effortless!

Open the Windows

Tips to keep your house clean windows

If you’re able to keep at least some of your windows, or even doors open for a few hours each day, then do it to let out dust and get rid of cooking smells and that horrible stale air smell.

Do you have any tips to keep the home spotlessly clean? Please share them.

Decor Elements Every Rustic-Inspired Room Needs

home decor

Rustic decor is very much in right now. You will notice that whenever you flick through all the latest interior design magazines – you’ll notice cute country kitchens and cottage-style living rooms. Adding lots of rustic-inspired design and decor elements will help to create a super comfy room, one in which you will feel exceptionally cosy in.

Ready to makeover a room and make it a lot more rustic? Here are some decor elements that you will need to include.

A Fireplace

Is there anything more cosy than a fireplace? I don’t think so! But fireplaces aren’t just great sources of warmth and comfort; they also make great focal points in a room. So, whenever you have guests over, their attention will be directed to the fireplace as soon as they step into the room.

Wooden Furniture

Oak furniture features in many rustic rooms as it is an easy way of bringing some natural touches into the design. Natural materials are key in any country inspired room, so lots of wooden furniture is a great addition. It’s a good idea to invest in some top-quality oak pieces as they will look great and last a very long time.

Natural Carpets And Rugs

Another way to keep your rustic rooms looking as natural as possible is to bring in some rugs and carpets that are made from natural materials. Even though the majority of carpets are still produced using synthetic materials, it is still possible to find some natural ones for very reasonable prices. The types of materials you want to look out for are sisal, seagrass, and jute.

White Walls

Most rustic-inspired rooms feature very minimal colours. Rather than going for bold shades like dark reds or bright purples, you should keep things as light as possible. If you need to add some colour, stick to pale pastels. Ideally, though, you should try and stick to white walls wherever possible.

Beamed Ceilings

If you are able to, you should open up the ceilings in all of your rustic rooms to expose their beams. This is very typical of rooms in country houses and period properties. It’s also a nice idea to strip away any paint from the beams to expose their original woodwork. In fact, you should try and add some expose woodwork to as much of your room as possible, not just the ceilings!

Found Objects

It’s also a nice idea to add some found objects as ornamental pieces. This will be an especially nice touch if your rustic room is inspired by the sea as there are lots of found pieces that you can pick up at the beach. For example, dried seaweed and driftwood are great decor touches to any room.

Different Textures

To ensure that your whole interior design is interesting, you should mix up the textures that you use. One cool idea is to juxtapose rough materials, like jute and driftwood features with some smooth surfaces and materials, like marble and silk.

Your rustic-inspired room certainly won’t disappoint!

Finding The Right Conservatory For Your Home


If you are planning to add some space onto your home this year, you may have considered getting a conservatory. Before you can choose what kind of conservatory you want to get for you home, you will need to consider what the role of a conservatory is. How will you use your conservatory?

To Find a Conservatory fits your needs, you will need to think about what you want to put inside it and how it will be used. Many people use their conservatory space as a greenhouse for plants such as tomatoes and peppers, but other people might want to use it as a lounging area for during the summer months, meaning you’ll want a decent amount of space.

However, if you are going to use the space as a utility area for your washing machine and tumble dryer, then you might only need a small space to work with.

How Will You Use It?

A conservatory is an area which can become the hub of your home if you use it in the correct way. Many people love to use it as a play area for the kids or even put their dining table in there and use it to entertain guests.

There are even kitchen-diner conservatories which are available on the market, which more and more families and snapping up due to the natural light they can provide for family dining and cooking. And if it ever becomes too hot you can always open the French doors into the garden and enjoy that fresh air.

Conservatory Styles

There are two main categories when you are choosing the style of conservatory to buy: traditional and contemporary.

Traditional conservatory styles will usually have an Edwardian or a Victorian theme, and are often grand looking and suit period properties very well.

Contemporary conservatories are usually bespoke. This means that the design will largely depend on what your home looks like and the space you have available. The idea is to make the style fit your home and to complement the existing property.

Conservatory Prices

Just like an extension, getting a conservatory put onto the back of your home will cost you a pretty penny. However, if you are smart about your budget you can find a conservatory which suits what you need without putting you too much out of pocket.

If you are tight on the budget, you will likely have less options, but if you are able to go a little bit over the budget you have set, you have a few more options at your disposal. The price will depend on the size of the conservatory and also the style you want.

Conservatory Insulation

If you will be using your conservatory as an extra room in the house, you will need to make sure that you keep it insulated. It will need to be able to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and it can be helped largely by your heating system. To help keep your conservatory cooler in the summer, you can also install blinds to block out the sun when you aren’t using it.

Feel The Burn: Easy Ways You Could Burn More Calories

Have you ever thought about how many calories you burn on an average day? If you’re into fitness, you may wear a monitor that shows how many calories you burn when you work out, but you might be surprised at how your body expends energy when you’re resting, working or getting ready for the day ahead.

It’s easy to assume that you need to be on the go to work towards your daily calorie burn, but your body can use around 382 calories during a 7-hour sleep. If you sleep for longer, the figure will be even higher. As you’re getting ready in the morning, you can boost your burn by drying your hair (39 calories for 15 minutes), showering (62 calories per 15 minutes) and cleaning your teeth (2 calories per minute). If you walk to work, this will add another 149 calories for 30 minutes at a steady speed of 3.5 mph. Even driving for 30 minutes can help you burn more than 60 calories.

If you have a desk job, you may assume that you don’t burn many calories at work, but as you’ll see from the infographic, spending an hour at your desk can actually burn around 100 calories. More physical jobs, such as painting and papering and carpentry can burn more than 160 calories per half hour.

You can also increase your burn by doing a food shop and pushing a trolley for 30 minutes, which burns 130 calories, putting shopping away, which will add another 26 calories and mowing the lawn, which burns around 205 calories per half hour.

If you’re sporty, you can take massive leaps towards your daily target by doing an hour of cycling (1,220 calories), boxing (670 calories), skipping (900 calories) or swimming (520 calories). Even a light 15-minute yoga session before bed could burn around 75 calories.

Infographic design by calories you burn in a day

Why Slowing Down Your Lifestyle Might be the Best Thing You Can Do in 2018

When you live life at 100 miles an hour, it’s never long before it all catches up with you and takes its toll. You might begin to notice that you’re feeling tired or burnt out. Or it might be the case that you spend too much time working and not enough time on the other important areas of your life. All of these problems and more are experienced by people who live life in the fast lane and rarely stop to take stock of the situation.

For those reasons, it might be a good idea for you to slow down your lifestyle; it could even be the resolution you take forward into the new year.  There are so many benefits that you’ll experience when you slow down the speed of your lifestyle and stop rushing around so much. That might sound like a strange concept if you’re used to living the fast-paced lifestyle, but a change might be exactly what you and your family need right now, so read on to learn more reasons why this could be the best path forward.

You’ll Learn to Appreciate Your Time More

Everyone’s time is precious, but we don’t always act like it is. When you’re moving too fast through life, you don’t tend to appreciate the time you have or how you spend it. How can you when you’re busy focusing on other things and barely stopping to take a breath? By taking a slower approach to life, you’ll realise just how important your time is and you’ll put more thought into what you do with your time. It’s something that everyone should do more of, so make this the cornerstone of the changes you make in 2018.

You Can Focus on Your Purpose and Passions

Instead of motoring through life doing what you think you’re expected to do, you should slow down and start to focus a little more on the things that you’re passionate about. And if you think there is some purpose you had in your life but moved away from, maybe you could recapture that too. Life can become joyless if you don’t indulge your passions and do the things you love, and that’s something that busy people often miss as they focus on other things. Don’t let that happen to you too.

There’ll Be More Time to Spend With Your Loved Ones

This is perhaps the most important point of all to make. If you slow down a little and make more of the time you have, more of that time will be spent with your loved ones. What could be more important or more significant than that? The time you spend with them should always be cherished, but for many people living busy and fast-paced lifestyles, that family time can become a secondary consideration, and that’s never the way it should be. Slow down and enjoy that time you with your loved ones.

You’ll Set the Right Example

If you have kids to think about, you need to consider what kind of example you’re setting for them in life. Being constantly busy and not paying enough attention to the important things in life might not be the kind of example you want to set for them. You’ll want to make sure that they see you living a healthy and sustainable kind of life. After all, you don’t want your kids to end up picking up bad habits from you as they grow up and eventually become adults themselves.

Woman lying on decking

You’ll Have Time to Weigh Up Big Financial Decisions Properly

Living life at too high a speed eventually leads to you making decisions under pressure, and you probably won’t take the time you need to actually weigh up the options in front of you. A lot of the time, this won’t result in much of an impact at all. But when it comes to the financial decisions you make, you need to take time. Cash float and many other lenders can offer you a lifeline when you need it. But rushing into decisions is never wise, so slow down and make sure you know what you’re getting into before you get into it.

Living in the Moment Will Become the Norm for You

If you do make the decisions to slow your lifestyle down a little, one of the things that will happen is that you’ll be able to start living in the moment much more than you ever did in the past. This makes living a healthy and fulfilling life much easier and your general happiness will certainly receive a boost, which has to be a positive thing. Living in the moment will quickly become the norm for you, and you’ll then experience all the benefits that come with that. It can only improve your wellbeing and happiness in the long-term.

Your Stress Levels Will Fall

This is one of the most important points of all because stress in life is always difficult to handle, and for some people it can lead to other mental health problems as well. Pushing yourself too far is always going to lead to problems, and that’s why you need to take steps to keep your stress levels in check by slowing down a little. Once you stop pushing yourself beyond your healthy limits, you’ll notice that you experience less stress in life and simply feel better in general.

Creative Juices Will Start to Flow Once More

If you’re someone who values creativity, slowing down and gaining some perspective could be exactly what you need right now. It’s hard to be creative when you don’t have any free time or space to think. Busy people don’t tend to make great creatives. If you’ve lost touch with your creative side, slowing down your lifestyle might be your best chance at reversing that particular trend. Time and space in life will help you set your creative side free once more, so what are you waiting for?

A Bit of Clarity is Always Welcome

Sometimes, what your life really needs and what it might be lacking is some clarity. It’s often hard to see the wood for the trees when you’re rushing through life and not even stopping to take a breath. Sooner or later, that’s going to catch up with you, and you should be careful about ignoring the importance of clarifying your perspective. More clarity can only ever be a good thing and slowing down a little will most definitely help you to get that. Don’t underestimate how important this could be for you.

You’ll Stop Taking Things for Granted

It’s so easy to take things for granted in life, and it’s even easier to do that when you’re barely stopping for a second to think about how good your life is and how lucky you are. Don’t be that person who has so much and doesn’t seem to even consider how fortunate they are. Taking things for granted is never a good look for anyone, and you don’t want people to view you that way I’m sure. So think about how slowing your lifestyle down a little may help you to take things for granted a little less.

Slow down road sign

Taking a step back and slowing down the way in which you live your life could have a huge impact for you, so don’t underestimate its impact. As we move into 2018, now is the perfect time to change your lifestyle and feel the benefits that a slower way of living could bring to you and your family.

Getting A Foot On The Ladder: A Guide To Buying Your First Home

There are few things in life that provide a more intense sense of achievement than buying your own home. Many of us strive to become homeowners, growing up with aspirations to hold the keys to our own property in our hands one day. Although it’s much more difficult to get onto the ladder than in years gone by, it is still possible to take that giant leap. If you’re hoping to buy your first home in the coming months, this guide should come in handy.

House for sale

Saving a deposit and getting a mortgage

Buying a house doesn’t come cheap. These days, you’ll need a sizeable deposit to take that first step onto the property ladder. In 2017, the average first-time buyer deposit was £33,000. Now, most people don’t have that kind of money lying around, and in many cases, it takes years of saving to reach the point where you’re ready to start a property search. Not every buyer will need a deposit as substantial as this sum, as property prices vary hugely according to where you choose to live. However, the days of putting down a minimal deposit are long gone, and typically, you’ll need around 10% of the value of the home. If you’ve got a deposit saved, the next step is to think about your mortgage. There are myriad mortgage providers and types of mortgage out there, so it’s essential to do your research and compare offers. Ensure that you understand the different kinds of mortgage and that you know exactly how much you’re going to be paying each month over what period of time. Once you’ve got mortgage offers on the table, this will give you an idea of how much you can afford to spend.

Finding the right home and seeking legal advice

Buying a house isn’t as simple as falling in love with a property, making an offer and going to collect the keys a few weeks later. There are complex legal processes involved, and this is why it’s so important to seek advice from experts like those at Bannister Preston if you do find a home you love. When you’re searching, always bear your budget in mind, and factor in additional costs, such as stamp duty and legal fees, as well as the purchase price. Try not to rush into making decisions or get stressed because you don’t find the perfect house or flat straight away. Take your time. Being able to compromise is important, but don’t feel that you have to take the plunge if it doesn’t feel right. If you do fall head over heels, arrange some more viewings, and use your head and your heart. If you want to proceed, be prepared to negotiate on the price. You can always start low and increase your offer provided that there aren’t other buyers already knocking on the door. Once you agree a price, you can instruct a solicitor to oversee the acquisition and then wait for the processes to be completed. Once the legalities are sorted, all that’s left is to look forward to life in your first home.

Sold sign

If you’re on the hunt for your first home, hopefully, this guide will prove useful. Good luck!

Moving Home Mistakes to Avoid

Moving home

If you are currently getting ready to move home, you are no doubt excited about relocating to a new place. However, there is a lot that needs to be planned and organised between now and then. To give yourself the greatest chance of everything going smoothly, read on to discover the common moving home mistakes that you need to avoid.

  1. Failing to carefully research moving and storage companies – This is a mistake that can most certainly come back to haunt you. Choosing a removal or storage company simply because your friend has recommended them or because they were the cheapest solution you could find is not the best way to go about it. You need to take time to read reviews online to ensure the company has a good reputation. The likes of Magenta Self Storage has received positive feedback and has a good rating, which will put your mind at ease. After all, you don’t want a storage site that is unsecure or a removal company that has a reputation for failing to turn up.
  2. Not measuring furniture in advance – This is another error that can give you a massive headache. There is nothing worse than getting to your new property only to discover that your sofa does not fit in the living room properly or that your bed is far too big for your bedroom.
  3. Forgetting about your children and your pets on the moving day – The moving day can be a lot more stressful when you have dogs running around and children that are complaining. It is a good idea to see if you have a friend or family member that will look after your children on the removal day. With regards to pets, the best thing to do is confine them to one room while the removal firm is there. This should be the last room that is dealt with when packing up to leave.
  4. Not packing a survival kit – It is unlikely that you are going to get to your new place and want to unpack straight away. This is why it is essential to put a survival kit together. This should contain all of the things you are going to need for the first night, ensuring you don’t have to go through the hassle of searching through every box to find your pyjamas.
  5. Not working out all of the costs – Moving home can be a lot more expensive than you realise, especially if you don’t plan for it. This is why it is important to put together a plan that outlines all of the costs. You will know exactly how much money you need, as well as being able to find out whether you can make savings anywhere.

If you can avoid the mistakes that have been mentioned above, you can give yourself the greatest chance of having a stress-free moving home process. This is something that most people assume is simply unachievable. But a bit of careful planning can certainly go a long way and make a massive difference.

Light up the holidays – Christmas at the Museum of Science and Industry

Light up the holidays - Christmas at the Museum of Science and Industry


Thursday 21 December 2017 – Sunday 7 January 2018

Recommended for all ages

Please note: the museum will be closed 24–26 December and 1 January

Even in winter, you might need to grab your sunglasses at the Museum of Science and Industry as we explore the magic of light.

The museum has a brand-new show and activities taking place every day throughout the school holidays. Forget about light sabres as we make light battle it out in our Science Showdown, become a light detective and solve mysteries in our fluorescent workshop, and make your own beautiful light catcher to take home.

There’s something magical for kids of all ages, from pre-schoolers to older children and even their grown-ups.


Recommended for ages 5 and older

Free drop-in show

Join our Explainers for a Science Showdown all about Light.  UV, infrared, and visible light all want your vote… who wins? You decide. Join us for bright battles, hidden messages and lightbulb moments in this interactive science show.


Recommended for ages 7 and older

Free, tickets required due to limited capacity (book at the information desk)

Discover a hidden world in this fantastic fluorescent workshop. Find out what materials glow and why, then turn a torch* or your smartphone into a detector to reveal what’s glowing in the museum and in your home.

*Torches provided. Please note that UV-A lights are used in this workshop.


Recommended for ages 5 and older

Free drop-in activity

Get creative with all the family and make your own Light Catchers in this fun and easy workshop. Test it with light to see what colourful patterns, shapes and shadows you have made. Then take it home to create even more.


Recommended for toddlers under 4

Free lending packs available at the information desk

Pick up a Power Pack from the front desk and join one of our Explainers to explore the sights, smells and sounds of the museum’s giant engines in the Power Hall. This is a special guided session on how pretending and play can make the adventure even better for younger visitors.

There’s also all our regular programming including Engine Demonstrations where you can see some of our magnificent machines working and Manchester Mills highlighting the role Manchester played in the global cotton industry.

Plus, Christmas is also a great opportunity to visit the museum’s blockbuster exhibition, Robots. It features more than 100 robots, including interactive bots and Hollywood stars. The Robots activity trail, suitable for children aged 5 to 11, features drawing activities, talking points and an object hunt.

Admission to the museum is free. Tickets for Robots cost £8 adults/£5 children/free for age 6 and under. Ask for a free copy of the Robots activity trail at the ticket desk when booking.

Christmas in Leicester Square December 2017

The countdown to Christmas is officially on so here’s a taster of some of the fabulous festive entertainment on show at central London’s alternative hub of yuletide performance: Christmas in Leicester Square.

Bringing an evening of seasonal songs and laughter to Leicester Square on 14 December are West End star Emma Hatton (Evita, Wicked) and jazz legend Anthony Strong. The two join festive forces for one night only in London for Baby It’s Cold Outside, a fusion of stunning arrangements of musical theatre hits, jazz and blues numbers and of course some festive favourites is the first time the two stars will have ever performed together live, following their Number 1 EP Merry Christmas, Darling.

Fresh from releasing her sparkling version of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ channelling 26 different divas, Christina Bianco is sashaying her way into Leicester Square on 15 December with her spectacular live show Divine Delusions. The epitome of Christmas glitz and glamour, Christina seamlessly embodies some of the hottest female singers around, including Liza Minnelli Celine Dion, Shirley Bassey, Britney Spears and Barbra Streisand as she mashes up the classics with some very unlikely interpretations. The ultimate festive celebration of the world’s favourite divas, this is a unique musical comedy experience guaranteed to get you ready to embrace your inner Mariah for the work Christmas do….


Other acts coming to Christmas in Leicester Square this month include Black Cat Cabaret (various dates including a New Year’s Eve Spectacular on 31 December), cabaret supergroup Fascinating Aida, House of Burlesque, Fitzrovia Radio Hour’s A Christmas Carol, Showstoppers Kids Show and Monski Mouse’s Christmas Baby Disco Dancehall.

In addition to this amazing seasonal entertainment, London’s iconic Leicester Square will be transformed into a wintery haven with a beautiful European-style Christmas Market with over 25 different stalls featuring a range of fascinating Christmas curios, sumptuous food and delicious drinks.

So, come one, come all, have a mulled wine and a pretzel, visit Santa, take in a show, and immerse yourself in a complete Christmas experience!

Tying The Knot During The Festive Season? How To Look Amazing For Your Wedding


What better time to get married than during Christmas? We all love to look great every day, especially on our wedding! This is a time which is dedicated to you and your partner, so you want to look your very best as all eyes will be on you. With a few helpful tips and thought-out preparations, you’ll be a beauty for those wedding photos.

Plan your outfit…carefully

Not thinking through their wedding outfit is a flaw which most brides make and regret. Buying the first dress you see just because the deal was good is not always the way to go. Have a couple of wedding gowns in mind and use the helpful input from friends and family. When you eventually find your dream dress, store it in a zippered garment bag after purchasing it. If you’re stuck on the what shoes or accessories to get, look at a few bridal magazines, they’re jam-packed with loads of festive ideas and different styles which might interest you! If you’re still planning your wedding, make use of your time to find a dress which will suit you.

Stay healthy and active

Being active and eating better during the months before your wedding, is the key rule to look fabulous on your big day. By finding a workout routine, a fitness-related hobby or a healthier diet which suits you, you’ll not only look fitter but feel more confident in yourself. You could even get your partner involved in your fitness regime and make them lose a bit of tummy fat too! You might even enjoy it so much, that you continue doing it after the wedding day and schedule it into everyday life.

Makeup and hair trials are a must


You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘being prepared is half the victory’, well this applies to everything. If you want a relaxed and successful wedding, it’s essential to have all the preparations in order. This involves beauty treatments too! Get all of your girls together and let them do a few hair and makeup trials on you. If you’re struggling for space in your house to accommodate them, see these 6 Style Ideas to Get Your Guest Room Ready for the Holidays. By doing this, you’re preparing yourself and avoiding any hiccups which may occur on the day.

Look yourself, not someone else

One of the worst things you can do while getting ready is making yourself look completely different. Yes, you could try makeup you’ve never used before or go for that hairstyle you’ve always wanted, but don’t have any drastic makeovers on your wedding day. This is just asking for a disaster! Be proud of your original features and let everyone admire your natural beauty.

Prepare a ‘Wedding Day Survival Kit’


You may or may not have heard about this, but it can be a lifesaver on your wedding day. Typically referred to as the ‘just in case’ items, this survival kit comprises of beauty essentials such as tweezers, toothpicks, extra undergarments, breath mints and deodorant. During the dinner/reception, your bridesmaid can keep hold of this little bag of goodies and always be there with the supplies which keep you looking fresh.