10 essential tips for speedy house cleaning

June 28th, 2016

Get your home clean, with these essential speedy cleaning tips

Love it or loathe it, keeping the house looking clean and fresh can be a real time investment. Get the maximum result for the minimum of effort with our top tips.

1. Clean little and often

No-one wants to feel that they’re cleaning and tidying constantly, but just half an hour a day is enough to help you keep on top. Tidy up as you go along, put everything away as it’s finished with, give bathroom sinks a quick daily wipe over and straighten sofa cushions when you leave the room.

2. Sort out your cleaning cupboard

Spring clean your cleaning cupboard. Image: Pixabay

If you’re anything like me, a lot of your cleaning time is spent rummaging for cloths and brushes in an over-flowing cupboard!

Turn everything out, and get rid of anything that you never use. Invest in some small coloured plastic baskets, and fill each one with the right tools for different rooms – for example, the ‘bathroom’ basket could contain disposable cleaning cloths, cleaner, soft cloths for buffing taps, bleach and rubber gloves. If that sounds like overkill, have an ‘upstairs’ and a ‘downstairs’ basket.

3. Invest in some door mats!

The less dirt brought into the house in the first place, the better. Use an exterior plastic or jute mat outside the front door, then a washable, ‘dirt trapper’ mat indoors. Position a boot scraper outside, and ask people to remove dirty shoes before coming in.

4. Love your oven

Line the bottom with a non stick oven liner (available from eBay, Amazon, Lakeland, John Lewis, Argos and many other retailers), and you’ll never have to scrub it again. The liner can be wiped occasionally with a damp cloth, or even put through the dishwater.

5. Go modern

There are hundreds of cleaning products on the market now designed to take the effort out of cleaning. Using shower shine on the cubicle (a no-rinse, spray-on cleaner) every morning after you’ve showered will banish soap scrum and keep everything sparkling for minimal effort. We also like microfibre cloths, which are washable and mean you can clean bathrooms and kitchens using water only.

6. Clean top to bottom

Being organised really does save time. Start at the top of the room and cleaning downwards, so that dust falling from windowsills, shelves and furniture ends up on the floor before, not after, you’ve vacuumed!

Keep taps sparkling with a quick daily wipe. Image: Pixabay

7. Let products work

When you’re in a hurry, it’s really tempting to apply products like bathroom cleaner to sinks and then rinse it off immediately. What’s happening, though, is that you’re wiping it off before it’s had a chance to sink in and dissolve soap scum, meaning you’ll have to rub harder to remove stains. Apply cleaners and let them sit for two or three minutes while you do something else, then you should be able to rinse with very little scrubbing required.

8. Keep tools clean

Keep cleaning equipment tidy, and empty vacuum bags regularly. Image: Pixabay

Cleaning equipment soon gets covered in grime, and won’t do a good job unless it’s looked after.

Keep a stack of cloths so you can use clean ones each time, wash broom heads and dustpans regularly and empty the vacuum clean bag when it’s three quarters full, to give the best clean.

If you prefer using disposable cloths, cut them in half. The smaller size is fine for doing most jobs, and you’ll get double the use out of each pack.

9. Distract yourself

Pick a half hour podcast, plug in your headphones and listen while you clean. If you prefer music, anything with a lively rhythm is great for vacuuming to!

10. Create a ‘clutter basket’

Most people have a dumping ground in their hallway or kitchen where odds and ends accumulate – things that aren’t required in the short term but can’t thrown away. Give them a special home with a smart lidded box or basket, keeping surfaces clean and tidy.

By Sara Walker


Fab Friday Bargains: Contemporary Freud furniture range

June 24th, 2016

Love the Freud range of furniture at Graham & Green? You might like it even more now, as some of the popular pieces are currently reduced in their sale, helping them become a tad more affordable.

Distinctive and stylish, the mango wood furniture boasts contemporary style, appealing colours and storage potential. Whether you opt for one single piece, or several coordinating items, it’s a range of furniture that’s built to last.

Everything will have its own storage place, with this super sturdy and stylish Freud mango wood chest.

The Freud chest is a wonderfully sturdy and substantial piece of furniture. There are numerous drawers – from large to tiny – to squirrel away all your treasures. It’s an ideal piece of furniture to have in a living or dining room. The Freud chest now has a price tag of £556 (was £695).

Wouldn't this make a fab way to store clothes? The mix of large and small drawers gives plenty of scope and they're designed to be easy to access.

The Balthazar chest of drawers has a great combination of drawers. There are four large deep drawers and six smaller drawers. The style of the drawers, with their easy access, makes them ideal to use for storing clothes. The piece is now £600 (was £750).

Gorgeous Darwin compact chest of drawers - lovely colour palette and multiple storage options.

The Darwin chest of drawers is slightly more compact in size, but still has plenty of storage. There are six drawers of varying sizes, plus three traditional style shallow trays, which are ideal for storing stationery or post in. Use it in a study or home office, or in your living room. The chest of drawers is in the sale for £396 (was £495).

Love this contemporary mango wood pallet style coffee table from Graham & Green

The ideal complementary piece for a storage chest, this five drawer wooden pallet coffee table is super versatile. It’s easy to move around, as it’s on casters, and has five useful drawers to stash away your clutter. The pallet coffee table is reduced to £536 (was £670).

In addition to the furniture, there are plenty more great buys for your home in the G&G clearance sale.

Floral delight: Colourful Sissinghurst Castle ceramic range

June 23rd, 2016

Add some colour to your kitchen with this gorgeous floral Sissinghurst Castle range.

This ceramic range is absolutely bursting with colour from an array of beautifully depicted floral blooms.

The design of the cheeseboard caught my eye initially, then I was pleased to discover there are even more pieces in the range – plates, mugs, bowls and even a rolling pin. I love how the designs are continued inside the mugs and bowls too, so they’re not left plain inside.

Sissinghurst Castle floral stoneware range from Anthropologie

This gorgeous range of stoneware is rather aptly called the Sissinghurst Castle range. If you’ve ever been to the National Trust’s Sissinghurst Castle garden in Kent, then you’ll know why – the gardens there are bursting with flowers too, especially at this time of year (it’s definitely worth a visit).

Here are the links to each of the pieces, which are available to purchase at Anthropologie:

Dinner plate –  £20

Side plate – £14

Bowl – £14

Mug – £12

Sissinghurst Castle cheese board – £58

Rolling pin – £32

If you don’t want to go all out floral with your dinnerware, then these pieces would work very well used in a mix and match fashion, with white china.

Fresh cuts: John Lewis clearance sale top picks

June 21st, 2016

Furnish your home for less, with these fab clearance bargains. The prices are now more budget-friendly.

We love a good clearance sale! As well as getting a bargain or two, sale prices can really help if you’re on a budget.

We’ve been shopping the John Lewis sale and have rounded some of our top sale picks to help you furnish your home for less.

1. Update your dining room or kitchen with a House Lily rectangular six seater dining table – now £135 (was £199)

2. Cosy up and relax on an Elise snuggler, in bala charcoal – now £489 (was £699)

3. Add more light to a room with the Aylin LED saucer uplighter floor lamp in black – now £65 (was £130)

4. Opt for a durable and stylish Belmont Lloyd loom dining chair – £99 (was £225)

5. Invest in some elegant and useful home storage, with a Belmont large sideboard – now £599 (was £999)

6. Cook in style with a Meyer Infinite Circulon three piece saucepan set – now £125 (was £179.50)

7. Embrace minimalism, with a Content by Terence Conran Fusion shelf – now £389 (was £795)

8. Relax after a hard day’s work on a Walton medium sofa with light legs in Bala Putty – now £649 (was £1400)

9. Make your lighting characterful, with a large LED ampersand light – now £87.50 (was £175)

Fresh Design Finds: Summer drinks dispensers

June 20th, 2016

Get equipped for summer picnics, parties and barbecues with a fab drinks dispenser.

Get equipped for summer barbecues, picnics and parties with one of these fab drinks dispensers!

Simply make a batch of your chosen drink – soft or alcoholic – and take the dispenser with you. You’ll have your favourite tipple on tap, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy a glass or two.

Whether you’d prefer plain or patterned, glass or acrylic, here are six great options suitable for all occasions:

1. Opt for a classic Kilner glass design with this 8 litre capacity drinks dispenser. It’s currently on offer for £19.99 (£10 off) at Lakeland.

2. Exclusively designed for The White Company, this tap drinks dispenser is made from quality soda lime glass and holds five litres. It’s £55.

3. For a slightly different design, how about this beehive drinks dispenser? It holds up to 9 litres and is currently reduced to only £7.50 at Wilko.

4. This smaller version of the Kilner glass drinks dispenser holds 5 litres. It’s £12.99 from The Range.

5. Don’t want a plain drink dispenser? M&S have this spring bloom design one for £17.50.

6. Plain and simple, but definitely not lacking in capacity, this 12 litre acrylic drinks dispenser is from John Lewis. It’s £20.


Luxury bathing with the Divina Collection from Novellini

June 16th, 2016

Want to bathe in luxury? Italian designer bathroom company have recently launched a new collection of baths that could make bathtime even more divine!

The Divina Collection has been produced in collaboration with designer Massimo Farinatti and helps fulfill the idea that the ultimate bathroom experience should help promote relaxation and wellbeing.

There are three shapes of baths in the collection, which help to cover all bathroom needs.

There’s the classic rectangular shape of Divina, with its centre taps and deep bathing experience:

Make your bathroom experience divine, by relaxing in a luxury Novellini Divina bath.

The asymmetric Divina O is wider at one end than the other. It’s a bit of a different design, but could make a strong statement in a contemporary home:

Doesn't this bath look luxurious? Oh to relax and unwind in this!

Last, but definitely not least, is the semi-circular Divina C. This is a very good looking corner bath that’s ideal for bathrooms where you can’t fit a standard rectangular bath. Unlike some corner baths though, this one definitely doesn’t compromise on size:

Love the look of this corner bath, especially as it still looks roomy despite its shape

All three of these baths have been carefully designed and made to provide users with a luxury product. They don’t skimp on space and each of them has a deep interior, so you can sink down comfortably and enjoy some quality time to relax.

The relaxation element is enhanced by the addition of the hydromassage feature. It’s a great way to feel like you’re at a spa, yet be in the comfort of your own home.

In keeping with a luxury product range, there are a number of accessories, fixtures and fittings that you can choose from too. If you’d prefer to have a coloured side on your bath, rather than polished white, then panelling is available in a range of finishes, including grain, wenge, striped white and soft white.

There are also side and central trays available – great for propping up a book to read, or somewhere to rest your glass of wine – and a head rest to ensure your whole body is enveloped in comfort.

If you’re keen to create a luxury spa-like bathroom in your home, then the Divina Collection could tick all the right boxes!

Discover more about the range in the video below:

For more details, visit or check out their Facebook page

(Disclosure: This is a collaborative post)

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