MOLLY MAID https://www.mollymaid.co.uk Mon, 24 Sep 2018 10:48:01 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/cropped-cropped-MM_Logo_full_300x300-180x180-1-32x32.png MOLLY MAID https://www.mollymaid.co.uk 32 32 Banish post-holiday blues by bringing your vacation home https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/09/18/banish-post-holiday-blues/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:49:20 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81763 Post-holiday blues may be setting in - but why not bring home some of the joys of your annual holiday?

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It’s the time of year when post-holiday blues tend to set in.

After looking forward to a summer trip for months on end, all of a sudden it’s over – and the future promises dark mornings and chilly nights (and maybe the remnants of that weird liqueur you bought on the last day of your trip). But while trips away from home will always be a special treat, you might be surprised at how many aspects of a holiday you can recreate in your day to day life – without packing or airport queues!

Spend quality time together

Often, our most precious memories of a holiday aren’t of the exotic locale, but of the time spent with loved ones. At home, the hustle and bustle of commitments can mean there is little time left to simply enjoy one another’s company the way we can when we’re lying around by the pool. Make the effort to carve out one evening or weekend afternoon a week to simply spend time together – whether it’s a date night, family games tournament or a no-TV-or-phones dinner, make quality time a year-round commitment.

Take in some culture

There is nothing more thrilling than exploring the old town of a faraway destination or getting up close and personal with a world-famous landmark, but you might be surprised at the treasures to be found closer to home. Turn that tourist curiosity on your own home town or county – there may well be local museums, stately homes, theatres or music venues you have walked past a hundred times without noticing.

Have adventure for dinner

One of the great pleasures of international travel is getting out of your food rut and sampling all sorts of extraordinary cuisine. With a glorious variety of restaurants to be found in most parts of the UK, however, there’s no reason not to bring that adventurous spirit home. Or if you live in a stubbornly pub-grub area, why not pick up a cookbook or two and give it a bash yourself? Your efforts might not quite reach the standards of the locals – and maybe think twice before flinging pizza dough around your kitchen like an expert Italian – but you’ll certainly have fun trying.

Aaaanndd relax

Of course for most of us, the best part of the holiday is simply being on holiday! Switching off from work, getting to finally read that book, go for a walk for no reason or listen to the podcast everyone was going on about months ago. While it’s always going to be trickier at home to carve out an hour for yourself here and there, it’s far from impossible – and you will reap the benefits.

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Build your good habits this autumn https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/09/12/build-your-good-habits-this-autumn/ Wed, 12 Sep 2018 10:43:29 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81755 How can you build on the good habits that you've established during the summer months?

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Those glorious lazy days of summer are at an end for most of us, and that back-to-school feeling is sinking in. Though resolutions are traditionally associated with the new year, there can be something about the nights drawing in and that bite in the air that makes autumn the perfect time to establish some good habits to stay productive all winter long.

Write it down

Dark and chilly mornings can threaten the best of intentions, whether it was an intention to get up for an early morning run, or a goal to read before breakfast. Taking a few moments when you first wake up to reflect on your goals and why you set them can reawaken that sleepy motivation. Establishing the habit of journaling first thing in the morning is a great way to clear your mind for the day ahead, and focus on what you want to achieve that day and why.

Work it out

After summer’s activity it can be very tempting to let the cold weather send us scurrying onto the sofa until further notice! Studies show that keeping the body active helps to keep the mind focussed and spirits lifted. If pumping iron at dawn is never going to be a realistic plan, keep it gentle: try a ten minute yoga routine when you first wake up, or commit to a brisk walk after lunch each day.

Switch it off

How many times have you stopped what you were doing when your phone alerted you to a notification, only to find it was letting you know it’s the birthday of someone you haven’t seen in 20 years or that it’s a sunny day today? Give yourself the gift of freedom by switching off all social media and other needless notifications. You can still enjoy a good nosy catch-up on your downtime, without allowing your phone to interrupt you when it pleases.

Even so, it can be tempting to take a peek at your phone whenever your concentration wanders, so consider a productivity-sprint. Switch your phone (and other devices) to airplane mode and set a timer for 30 or 45 minutes, then challenge yourself to work solidly until the alarm goes off. Reward yourself with a five minute break, then start the next sprint. If you struggle with the duration to begin with, start with twenty or even ten minute intervals and gradually increase your endurance.

Set Deadlines

It’s all too easy to convince yourself you’ll do something as soon as you get around to it – but that’s a quick and easy way to let a to-do list get the better of you.

No matter what the task is – whether it’s tackling a work project or scheduling a dentist appointment, set yourself a deadline to complete it – and stick to it.

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How to keep your carpets clean (with kids) https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/08/28/how-keep-your-carpets-clean-kids/ Tue, 28 Aug 2018 06:52:11 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81700 How can you keep your carpets clean when kids are charging around with snacks, drinks and muddy knees?

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Regular vacuuming tends to feature in most regular cleaning routines, but when your little darlings are determined to track mud, food and goodness knows what else around the house, a simple hoover doesn’t quite cut it. While vacuuming twice a week or so is a crucial part of carpet maintenance, here are some further tips for keeping your carpets clean  – despite your kids’ best efforts

1: Sprinkle baking soda before vacuuming
Baking soda is a great odour-eater, so a quick sprinkle before you hoover will take care of any suspicious whiffs that have taken up residence in your carpets.

2: Treat stains immediately
Or at least as soon as you find them! The longer stains are left to soak into the fibres of the carpet, the more likely they are to be stubborn. Most spills can be wiped with soapy water if treated quickly enough. Older stains will probably require a stain removing product, or a solution of vinegar and tonic water will work if you prefer not to use chemical products. In many cases it’s best to dab stains rather than scrubbing at them – as this can unravel the twists of your carpet. Check that you’re using a stain remover that is safe (and effective) on your carpets. If your carpets contain natural fibres, such as wool, you may need to treat them with specialist cleaning products.

3: Freeze it!
Anything that’s been caked into the carpet, such as peanut butter, putty or play-dough can be a nightmare to work out. Try freezing it first by applying some ice so you have a better chance of removing it in one piece.

4: Keep wear and tear to a minimum
The best way to keep carpets in good nick is preventing damage in the first place! Put mats next to every exterior door and set a strict no-shoes and no-food in carpeted areas policy. For high traffic areas such as hallways, it could be worth putting down runners or rugs that can be removed when the kids are older.

5: Bring in the big guns
Even with the best of intentions, sometimes only a professional will do! To prolong the life of your carpets and improve the air quality in your home, consider having your carpets professionally cleaned once a year or so. If anyone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, you might want to do so more often – a professional clean could all but eradicate the inevitable build up of allergens and bacteria that cause problems.

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How to clean uPVC windows https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/08/20/how-to-clean-upvc-windows/ Mon, 20 Aug 2018 07:51:33 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81706 A few quick tips for how to clean uPVC windows so they work brilliantly and offer a gleaming view.

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One of the great advantages to upvc (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride) is that it is practically maintenance free. Unlike wooden window frames, upvc won’t flake, rot or peel and it is virtually immune to even the worst of British weather. However, over time dirt and discolouration will build up, so a regular clean will keep your upvc frames in great condition and sparkling white.

As with many such chores, prevention is better than cure, so a quick wipe of the frames with a soft-fibre cloth from time to time (whenever you’re cleaning the windows themselves) will prevent it becoming a bigger job further down the line.

If you do feel a dedicated clean is necessary, applying warm soapy water with a soft cloth or sponge will restore your window frames to pristine condition. If you do come across any stubborn stains, try spraying a solution of one part vinegar to four parts water and leaving for a few minutes before gently wiping. There are some dedicated uPVC cleaning products on the market, but either washing up liquid or vinegar should be more than sufficient.

So here are a few suggestions for how to clean uPVC windows:

Gentle cleaning

One important thing to bear in mind is that too much enthusiastic cleaning can in fact cause damage, so avoid anything abrasive like scouring pads, bleach or methylated spirits which will leave your upvc window frames in a worse state than when you started! They do scratch easily, so take care.

If you do want to consider a higher tech option, giving your upvc window frames a going-over with a powered steam mop will have them sparkling like new.

Lubricate your locks

Over time, the mechanisms and locks of uPVC windows can become dusty or grimy, making opening and closing a battle. If your window mechanisms are looking a little grubby – or are hard work to move – then why not give them a quick spray with WD40? This takes a moment but can make your windows feel like new. Just make sure you wipe away any excess spray – and put some newspaper down to protect surrounding surfaces and carpets. Other lubricating sprays will work – but make sure they are safe to use on your windows and locks.

Condensation

A classic problem in British homes is condensation. We blast the central heating and close all the windows and doors. Evaporated water from our washing, cleaning and breathing enters the atmosphere – but has nowhere to go. So the water condenses on the cold windows and pools along the seals. This water can degrade the seals and lead to the formation of mold around your windows. If you get condensation in your home, try to mop it up every day – or whenever you see it forming. Opening your windows a crack – or using the inbuilt ventilation slots – can help reduce the build up of moisture in your air.

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How to deep clean a washing machine https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/08/07/deep-clean-a-washing-machine/ Tue, 07 Aug 2018 08:50:46 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81709 Deep clean a washing machine - and make sure it cleans perfectly with every wash.

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Just like cobblers’ children going barefoot, all too often we neglect to clean the very appliances we rely on to clean! The trusty washing machine is often the workhorse of the appliances, particularly when servicing a family – and sometimes it needs a little TLC of its own.

And as we discussed recently, your washing machine can be one of the dirtiest things in your home.

It’s good practice to leave the door open for a few minutes after removing a clean load to let the interior fully dry. This will help to keep mildew at bay. It’s also worthwhile giving the door and inside a quick wipe down with a cloth from time to time, particularly if you notice condensation or the first signs of mould.

Washing machine mechanics also recommend leaving the soap tray pulled out to let it air-dry in-between washes. This can also prevent mold from accumulating.

However, even with the best of intentions, over time, bacteria, mildew and soap scum will build up and clog pipes and parts. This prevents your machine from running as efficiently as it could, and can cause more serious problems further down the line.

Deep-clean a washing machine

A good deep clean every once in a while will keep your washing machine running smoothly and happily for a long time to come. We reckon it’s definitely worth preventing problems with your washing machine, because an out-of-action appliance means you’ll be spending a lot of time – and money – at your local launderette.

The good news is, giving your washing machine a deep clean is a doddle – and can be done using everyday products.

You will need:

  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • A sponge scourer

Mix the bicarb with the water in a bowl, and pop the solution in the detergent tray. Pour the vinegar directly into the drum and set the machine on its highest water temperature setting.

When the cycle is finished, use the scourer to wipe around the opening of the machine to remove any stubborn stains or residue. If the detergent tray is particularly caked, you can remove it and soak it in hot soapy water before scrubbing with an old toothbrush. For a final sparkle, wipe the drum, outside the machine and around the seal of the door with a microfiber cloth soaked in a little vinegar. For best results, it’s worthwhile cleaning your washing machine every 2-3 months.

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How to clean a cooker hood https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/08/02/how-to-clean-a-cooker-hood/ Thu, 02 Aug 2018 07:49:39 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81712 How to quickly and effectively clean a cooker hood.

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The hard working cooker hood protects your kitchen from all sorts of airborne grease and smoke particles, yet all too often it’s overlooked entirely when it comes to cleaning.

Don’t forget that its job is to collect grease – so it’s hardly surprising that when you do brave a peek under the hood, you’ll likely find a reasonable build up of grease.

Over time, this build up will affect performance, so it is worth giving your cooker hood a good clean from time to time.

Deep clean a cooker hood

Before you start, you may want to check your manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining the cooker hood. They may recommend particular cleaning products or methods for refreshing the hood.

The process will vary slightly depending on how stubborn the grease on your hood is, but it would be worth having these products handy:

  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • A bowl
  • A kettle
  • Stainless steel oven cleaner
  • Washing up liquid
  • Jay-cloth
  • Sponge
  • An old toothbrush
  • Baby oil (or WD40)

Firstly, make sure that the fan is unplugged at the mains and that the hood is cool. If there are removable parts (you might want to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to check, as this can vary), remove them and set them to soak in hot, soapy water.

If the hood is particularly caked in grease, you might want to start by wiping it with a solution of warm water and a couple of teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda to loosen the grease first. When the worst of the grime is released, spray the hood with a stainless steel oven cleaner, and give it a good wipe – make sure you use a soft cloth or sponge as anything too harsh could scrape the steel.

Wipe the blades of the fan with a cloth dipped in soapy water then wrung out – it’s important not to get the blades too wet, and to ensure they are fully dry afterwards.

When the filters have soaked a good ten minutes or so, give them a good scrub with a non abrasive sponge or soft toothbrush, and dry carefully. If you have paper or carbon filters, refer to the manufacturer’s guide as they may need regularly replaced.

It’s a good practice to clean your cooker hood once a month or so.

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How to make time for yourself in a hectic schedule https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/07/23/how-to-make-time-for-yourself-in-a-hectic-schedule/ Mon, 23 Jul 2018 08:16:54 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81672 These simple tips can help you spend less time looking after yourself, your home and your family - and make time for yourself.

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They say if you want something done, ask a busy person, but sometimes that busy person needs a break!

Try these simple time-saving, efficiency-increasing tips and make time for yourself to smell the roses this summer, or read a book – or just sleep!

1. Cook once and eat all week

Meal prep is a bit of a buzzword these days, often associated with the fitness industry and seems to consist mostly of tupperware containers filled with brightly coloured fruit.

But taking a couple of hours on Sunday evening to prepare the week’s meals can save time and effort throughout the week. Soups, casseroles and pasta sauces are all ideal to be made in batches and kept in the fridge or freezer to be reheated in minutes as needed.

Preparing lunches to take into the office also saves time waiting in sandwich-shop queues! Plus, it is cost effective to buy ingredients in bulk – and makes it less likely you’ll reach for takeaway menus when you can’t face cooking later in the week!

2. Shower and clean

Get into the habit of wiping down the shower and sink after each use and maintain a spic and span bathroom without having to set aside time to clean it.

3. Use the two minute rule

Whenever you think of a task that will take two minutes or less – such as putting the rubbish out or responding to an email – stop what you are doing and do it then and there. Putting off minor to-do items can result in them up more time and energy than necessary and make us feel as though we are forever playing catch up.

4. Remember to forget

Often, worrying about what we might have forgotten – or even worrying in advance that we will forget! – can clog up our mental energy and slow everything down. Take an hour or so to sit down and create recurring reminders on your phone for all your deadlines and time-specific tasks. These can be one off, or recurring, daily, monthly or even yearly. Then you can go about your business safe in the knowledge that you will be reminded of everything you need to do in plenty of time.

5. Double up

You will be surprised at how many tasks you can double up on – whether it’s brushing your teeth in the shower, tidying while searching for something around the house, or popping things in the post on the way to work. The key is planning – take a few moments before you go to sleep or as soon as you wake up to write down your priorities and must-dos for the day ahead, then look for opportunities to combine tasks and save time.

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Cleaning hacks to make your home seem pet free https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/07/18/cleaning-hacks-to-make-your-home-seem-pet-free/ Wed, 18 Jul 2018 06:55:22 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81671 Simple cleaning tips for removing traces of your beloved pets.

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We may love Rover or Felix to bits and consider them part of the family, but from time to time we can’t help wishing they were a bit better at cleaning up after themselves. Pet hair and odours can be off putting to guests or potential home buyers – and aren’t the most pleasant to live with.

Here are some simple hacks to make your four legged friend seen and not smelt!

1.Get sticky with it

A lint roller, pair of rubber gloves or simply wrapping some tape around your hand sticky side out can tackle the pet hair that’s determined to make your sofa its permanent home. Hoover as much as you can, then get sticky on those last stubborn bits.

If your pet is particularly prone to shedding, it could be worth cheating and investing in a few pet-friendly throws to protect the sofa – then just whip it away when guests are due!

2. Accidents happen

…And the smell can be a permanent reminder. Baking soda does wonders to neutralise unpleasant odours – just sprinkle a little over the offending area last thing at night and vacuum it up in the morning. If the accident left a stain, a solution of equal parts water and white wine vinegar will take care of it at a fraction of the cost of a shop-bought spray, and is completely non toxic to your pet!

If you ever let the dog sleep on your bed, washing the sheets and covers with a cup of baking soda in the washing machine will have them smelling good as new!

3. Hoover the dog

This one might sound like a joke about a house proud sitcom character, but it’s a great way to minimise shedding, and also takes care of the skin cells that can exacerbate allergies. Experts believe it is more comfortable for the dog than a traditional brush – though you must use an attachment specifically designed for the job, such as the Dyson Groom.

4. Clean the collar

Often a good bit of pet odour can be traced to the collar, which picks up all manner of filth as your pet goes about its daily business! Soak the collar in hot water with some dog shampoo for about 15 minutes, then give it a good scrub and leave to dry, preferably outside.

5. Lavender

Lavender is an excellent way to calm a skittish dog (during fireworks or on a car journey, for example) while eliminating its odour, and helping to keep fleas and tics at bay. Spritz your car, your pet’s bed, or rub a little lavender essential oil between a dog’s shoulder blades.

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Last minute holiday booking ideas https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/07/10/last-minute-holiday-booking-ideas/ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 07:42:09 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81670 Need a last minute holiday - but left it rather late? Here are some ideas for the latest of last-minute breaks.

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If summer crept up on you this year* and it feels too late to start booking a holiday, don’t worry! Here are some ideas for last minute holidays and breaks to suit all budgets.

*Or if you’re just back from your holiday and are feeling in need of another!

Get some sun in Tenerife

It’s a classic British stand by for good reason – a relatively short flight for all-but guaranteed sunshine. Tenerife boasts several family-friendly resorts and activities, and with some incredible restaurants including El Calderito de la Abuela and Lucas Maes, it is a must-visit destination for foodies.

Lastminute.com has several Tenerife deals that could have you jetting off tomorrow morning!

There’s more to Stockholm than Scandi-noir

Stockholm is just a two and a half hour flight from the UK, and an excellent destination for a last minute city break. The city is the perfect size to take in on a long weekend, and is bursting with culture, nightlife and things to do for children. Visit the ABBA museum or explore the Vasa ship which sunk in Stockholm harbour only metres into her maiden voyage in 1628. Both museums are on the island of Djurgarden, which is minutes from the city centre but boasts only museums, an amusement park and acres of untouched parkland to explore.

As Stockholm is situated over several islands, one of the best ways to see the city is by water – either on one of the tour boats that feature historical commentary, or rent a kayak and do it yourself!

Norwegian Airlines features last minute flights to Stockholm starting at just £45.

Staycation with a twist

Can’t face the hassle of international travel at the last minute? There are plenty of fantastic UK options, including Landal GreenParks. They have locations in Northumberland and Cornwall, and feature a fairy school and giant bubbles in which to walk on water – plus saunas and a gym for the adults.

Or keep it simple by renting a country cottage or airbnb a flat in a city you are unfamiliar with for a few days or a week, and get exploring! Your last minute holiday doesn’t have to cost a fortune to give you a change of perspective and some much needed relaxation.

There are several UK cottages available now on cottage.com

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The hottest cleaning gadgets in 2018 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/2018/07/03/the-hottest-cleaning-gadgets-in-2018/ Tue, 03 Jul 2018 07:32:29 +0000 https://www.mollymaid.co.uk/?p=81665 What are the latest cleaning gadgets on the market? And are they worth the investment?

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What are the newest and hottest cleaning gadgets on the market, and are they worth the investment? Unfortunately they have yet to invent a robot that simply does all the work for you (and perhaps gives you a nice foot rub at the end of the day!) but until then, here are the cleaning gadgets worth putting on your wish list.

A robot vacuum

Nobody ever wished they had spent more time hoovering. Hoovering doesn’t even have the satisfaction element of a good scrub or polish, so why not turn the whole chore over to a robot? The iRobot Roomba can handle three different floor types, and responds to voice commands with an Alexa or Google Assistant so you don’t even have to get up to turn it on or off!

A robot mop

If you’re going to turn the vacuuming over to a robot, why not washing the floors too? The iRobot Braava jet will not only sweep and mop, it can decide itself which the floor requires – and won’t even leave you high and dry after sneaking into a ball and meeting Prince Charming.

Or combine the two with the Ecovacs Deebot N78 which can vacuum as well as sweep and mop – though it is so cute you may well get princes showing up at your door with shoes for it to try on.

Take your scrubbing to the next level

When elbow grease doesn’t quite cut it, tackle stubborn grime and stains with an electric scrubber. With several different brush heads for getting into all those nooks and crannies, the Sonic Scrubber will polish your kitchen and bathroom so you don’t have to – it’s basically a giant electric toothbrush for your cooker!

Superclean Keyboard Putty

This one is a little less space age-y than the others, but the bacteria that sets up home on your keyboard doesn’t bear thinking about, and cleaning it properly can be awkward. Simply press the Superclean Keyboard Putty down on your keyboard, then lift up – it is reusable and leaves behind a fresh lime smell.

A house that’s always just right

This one isn’t a cleaning gadget, but what good is a clean and tidy house if it is too cold or too warm? The Nest Learning Thermostat will not only let you control your heating and hot water remotely via the app, after about a week it will learn your routine and switch off when you don’t need heating, slashing your energy bill in the long run.

Of course, if you want to spend less time cleaning and more time doing what you love, call Molly Maid for a home cleaning quote.

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