MOLLY MAID Blog

As the UK's leading domestic cleaning company, MOLLY MAID has been providing professional domestic cleaning services and cleaning tips for many years.  Our MOLLY MAID Blog offers interesting cleaning tips and organisation tips to help make your life a little bit easier.

Autumn clean is the new Spring Clean!

Why has Autumn Clean become the new Spring Clean? The professional domestic cleaning experts at MOLLY MAID say that it's simple. We're back from our summer holidays, back to work and to school. We tend to be more rested and raring to go in preparation for the winter months, which we will spend indoors being warm and cosy. In terms of practicalities, Autumn is a great time for a deep clean for a number of reasons:

Cobwebbing - It is spider season. The spiders are coming in and making themselves comfortable in the corners of your rooms! Ensure you remove them with an extendable long-armed duster or use an appropriate vacuum attachment.

Leaves - Although the streets and fields look pretty with the autumn colours of falling leaves the leaves themselves can be a pain in the home. It is quite blustery at this time of year so leaves are blown in when you open the doors and they will find their way around your home in no time! Sweep them up regularly to avoid them being trampled into carpets and to avoid marking.

Weather- Autumn can be a wet season, therefore start imposing a 'shoes off' and a 'wipe your paws' rule for the family to limit mud and debris being traipsed through the house. Where mud is trampled into carpets it is best to wait for it to dry out taking care not to work it into the carpet further. Then use the vacuum to clear it up. You can try sprinkling bicarbonate of soda on muddy carpets to help lift the stain to the surface. Leave it on the carpet for 30mins and vacuum off.

Condensation - This can be a big problem, especially on window frames. Wipe all window sills and clean windows inside and out. However, one of the biggest problems with windows is the condensation that form, which often leads to mould growth. Using tea tree essential oil (mix 10 drops into a cup of water) wipe off the mould with a sponge. The tea tree is anti-fungal so, it should go some way to preventing the mould returning with such force. However, at this time of year the best form of action is regular maintenance.

Upholstery - After much traffic of family coming in out from the outdoors, vacuum your upholstery gently, removing cushions and covers if necessary for cleaning to ensure that you have fresh furniture free from sun cream, spilt ice cream or drink in time for the winter season.

Bedding - It's important to air your mattress regularly and to turn your mattress (check the instructions on your mattress) particularly after the warmer months. Try vacuuming your mattress too. Schedule some time to launder or wash duvets and pillows to prevent dust mites.

De-clutter - It doesn't take much for your home to be overrun with summer sport equipment, games, balls and other summer garden paraphernalia. Take the chance to sort through the various toys, equipment and sports shoes to the cupboard for safe keeping and you will be amazed how much more space you feel you have!

Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00

Autumn crafts: don’t let the rain get the family down!

With the shorter, darker evenings and cooler weather setting in, it can be daunting trying to find activities to entertain your family without resorting to the television or computer. MOLLY MAID, the house cleaners, suggest that you gather your supplies together and set your creative juices to crafting. Some of these ideas will take you back to your childhood! Here are some autumnal crafting ideas to get you started:

  • Leaf Rubbing Fairy

Autumn is a fantastic time to take leaf rubbings and this craft is a lovely way to use them. Maybe it could be used to record a special walk?

You will need:

Crayons
Paper
Skin-tone or white card
Leaves
Glue stick
Pens

Instructions:

Put the leaves under the paper, with the veins facing up, and, holding them still, rub over the paper with the side of your crayon so a picture of the leaf appears on the paper.

Cut out your leaves following the outline of the leaf shape.

From the card cut out a body shape and draw on the face and hair. Use the leaf rubbings to make a dress and wings for your fairy and glue them to the body.

  • Autumn Collage

Here's an excuse to go outside and collect some autumn leaves! Even the youngest children can make a pretty autumn collage that you will be proud to display.

You will need:

Autumn leaves
Paper
Glue
Pens

Instructions:

Press your leaves for a couple of days by slipping them between sheets of newspaper under a heavy book. 

Arrange your leaves on paper and glue in place, and add any further decoration you like with pens, crayons or pencils. You could also use glitter or even stickers to make your autumn collage special and original.

  • Family Tree with a difference

This family tree display makes a great project at any time of year, but also an unusual and special gift.

You will need:

Branch with plenty of smaller branches
Vase or pot
Orange, red & yellow paper (for leaves)
Pens, string and pipecleaners

Instructions:

Make a 3D tree. Find a branch/ twig and pop it into a vase or pot. On the back of each leaf write one reason why you love that member of your family. Punch a hole in the top of each leaf and tie them to the tree in the same order as you would a family tree.

  • Hanging Leaves Garland

Hanging Leaves Garland makes a really super display for Autumn and involves the fun of leaf collecting and rubbing too (while learning to identify the different leaves!).

You will need:

Paper in red, orange and yellow
Brown or red crayon or chalk
Cord or string
Sticky tape
Autumn leaves

Instructions:

Lay your leaves vein side up on the table. Place your paper on top of your leaves. Holding your crayon or chalk firmly rub over the leaves using the side of your crayon. Cut out the leaves. Secure each in place with a bit of sticky tape so they are spread along the cord. Hang as bunting!

Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00
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Ideas for preserving autumn fruits

Whether you have had the satisfaction of picking and harvesting Autumn fruit as mentioned in our previous blog, MOLLY MAID suggests spending some time being productive in the kitchen!

It is the season where cooks hurry to preserve the flavours of the passing year for their enjoyment throughout the dark and dreary months. A spicy plum chutney enjoyed with a Christmas ham, or an apple jelly on a slice of creamy brie, evokes memories of the bygone summer.

Autumn is as much as time for preserving as well as a time for celebration with Harvest Festival just around the corner. Grace the table with savoury and sweet sauces from your crop of autumnal fruits and berries and use them accompaniments with meats and cheeses or even as homemade gifts. 

So, as you reach for your apron, tackle your bounty and try some of the below recipe ideas from MOLLY MAID, the professional house cleaners, on how to deal with the overwhelming amount of fruit before the worms do!

Apple

Blackberry

Pear

Plum

Apple jelly

Blackberry jam

Pear & fig chutney

Plum Chutney

Apple chutney

Blackberry jelly

Pear sorbet

Plum Jam

Apple sauce

Blackberry crumble

Pickled pear

Plum compote

Apple crumble

Blackberry coulis

Pear tarte tatin

Plum crumble

Apple tarte tatin

Infused alcoholic drink

Pear in red wine

Roasted plums

Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00
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Fruit Picking: Don’t let the bounty of autumn fruits pass you by!

The professional domestic cleaning company, MOLLY MAID, suggests that you make the most of what this time of year has to offer by encouraging your family to come together as a day out to gather up the fruits of the land - whether in your garden, the hedge rows or on a farm. It is days like these that not only serve as an educational lesson, but will also create memories for the whole family not to mention filling your larder with nutritious goodies.  So, here's how to prepare yourselves for a wonderful day in the countryside:

What to bring:

  1. Pack for a day out and bring snacks, a picnic and hand towels or disposable wipes and plenty of liquids to drink.
  2. Include containers for picking and for carrying the fruit home.
  3. Dress in old clothes and some extra layers to keep you warm and remember to wear worn sports shoes or wellies if soggy underfoot.
  4. Don't forget sun cream if it is sunny for any exposed skin along with a sunhat.
  5. Don't forget the camera (not the expensive one!) to capture these memories.                                                     
  6. Bring a cool box if it is still warm to keep your picnic and drinks cool, but also your picked fruit on the way home.

On arrival at farm:

  1. Take some time to explain to your children how to identify and pick ripe fruit. See below for some quick tips.
  2. Make sure you know where to meet up should you get lost as orchards and farms can be spread over large areas.
  3. Read the farm rules as some farms are more relaxed than others and teach your children to respect the plants.
  4. Ensure you walk within the rows avoiding to step on any plants or to damage them. 

Fruit

Is it ripe?

How to pick

Apple

The flesh colour at the bottom should have turned from green to yellow-green.

Roll or twist the apple away from the fruit spur and it should pick easily with the stem still attached

Blackberry

The berry should be full and black. Any hint of red means that it's not ripe.

Best to pick early in the day and should drop at the slightest of touch.

Pear

Fruit should be turning from green to yellow and the stem separates easily from the branch.

Grasp the fruit firmly and twist and roll it to make the stem separate from the tree.

Plum

As they ripen, their flesh softens, sugar content increases and colour deepens. Depending on the variety, look for the deepest in colour and slightly soft especially at the tip end.

Gentle but firm pull from the branch of the tree ensuring not to damage the flesh.

Remember Plan B: With British weather in Autumn, it's always helpful to have a Plan B. Whether it is exploring the farm in dryer areas, such as petting zoos, hay barns or gift shops, the fun doesn't have to end! Or, you may alternatively have a trip to the museum or cinema up your sleeve, so your children will remember it as "the time we went to pick fruit and instead had fun doing" something else.

Read the next MOLLY MAID blog on Friday 12 September for ideas for preserving autumn fruits.

Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00
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Top Tips to bed down your garden for Autumn

The professional domestic cleaning company, MOLLY MAID recommends undertaking the following tasks in order to keep on top of the garden this Autumn in preparation for the winter months. MOLLY MAID believes that by investing some time now into your garden or patio area will pay dividends in the winter months.

1. Tidy up!

Autumn is a great time for those who love wielding the clippers - all that summer growth will need a trim back now to keep the garden tidy. But many off-cuts will do well now, so think about planting some of your cuttings out into pots.

2. Dig out the foliage

Remove dead plant foliage and leaves from flowers and vegetable patches. Dig up the annuals (plants that last only a season) and put them on the compost heap. Flowering perennials (plants that spring up year after year) should be cut back. Remove yellowing or dead leaves or flowers before rot develops and remove any weeds hidden under the plant foliage.

3. Start composting

Winter gives cuttings and leaves a chance to break down and produce nutrient-rich compost, which will be ready for boosting the garden in the new year. Now is also a really good time to turn your compost heap. It will heat up nicely and then gently rot over winter.

4. Embrace autumn colour

Deciduous trees, such as Acers, will provide lovely autumn colours from foliage, bark and berries. Autumn flowers such as Crocus and Amaryllis add colour, too. Cyclamens come in white and a range of pink shades with glossy green leaves, and add a welcome dash of vibrancy.

5. Plant for 2015

Think about planting spring bulbs, such as daffodils and tulips, and new perennials as the soil is still warm, but moisture levels are increasing. There is still time for plants to establish themselves before the real cold and frost sets in. This is also a good time of year to plant or move shrubs and trees to allow them to anchor down before the growing season. Reflect on what was and wasn't successful in your garden this year, so that you can adapt your plans for next year.

6. Venture into the interior

Ventilate conservatories during the remaining warmer days to prevent soaring temperatures, but reduce ventilation once the cooler, windy autumn weather sets in. Consider using blinds to help to keep them cool. However, as light levels fall, reduce the shading as well as the watering of any houseplants.

7. Love your lawn

For a healthy and luscious lawn next spring, start to mow less frequently and raise the height of the grass as the growth rate slows down. Scarify your lawn by raking out dead grass and moss that has built up over the summer. Follow this with applying a high-potassium autumn lawn feed, which will release the correct balance of nutrients throughout the winter.

8. Cover up the furniture

When there is no more need for garden furniture, store it in the shed or garage to protect it from the winter weather and allow it to dry out. If you can't do this, cover it with a tough waterproof sheet securely fixed down, taking care to allow plenty of air to circulate so that the furniture is not damp all winter. Wooden items, such as benches or pergolas, may benefit from a treatment of preservative.

9. Give wildlife a hand

Encourage birds into the garden by providing extra food. Place the feeder near a tall shrub, fence or mature tree to provide protection from predators. Plant berry-bearing plants for an extra source of food for birds and other wildlife. Firethorn, rowan and holly plants are recommended.

10. Protect your pond

Cover your pond with a net to stop falling leaves polluting the water, but make sure you clean it regularly to prevent the net from sinking into the pond. If it contains fish ensure that they can continue to breathe by preventing the water from freezing. Make sure the pond is as deep as possible, because fish live in the deepest levels during the winter months.

Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00
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