News & Articles

Information For Cleaners

The government has announced strict new measures and restrictions on the UK due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

 

We contacted all clients and unfortunately there has to be a full suspension of services.

We urge you to adhere to the guidelines and want to provide you with some information in regards to the support you can receive.

We really appreciate everything you have done and your safety is the number 1 concern for us.

 

STAYING SAFE

In line with Government & NHS advice and in order to stop the spread of Covid-19. It is not recommended that you attend clients houses until the restrictions are lifted.

GOVERNMENT: Please see the official Government Advice page for information on the restrictions:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

NHS: If you feel unwell or are showing symptoms of Covid-19 or need any advice see the NHS website:
nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

Assistance

We have collated some of the help & advice that is available at the moment. There are a number of assistance packages and support available to individuals during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income.

ESA

You may be able to claim the ‘New Style’ Employment & Support allowance with, or instead of Universal Credit

Tax Deferral

Any self-assessment tax due in July 2020 has been deferred to January 2021 automatically

Money Advice

The Money Advice Service website has a comprehensive list of all your rights and assistance available.

Citizens Advice

The Citizens Advice Bureau website also contains lot’s of information about help and support you can receive.

 

Clients Through Time For You

We are keeping in regular contact with clients during this time.

We will also work to ensure as many cleans are restarted as soon as the Government restrictions are lifted

We hope you find this information helpful, please let us know if there is anything we can do to help

 

SELF-EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant based on their previous earnings over the last three years, worth up to 80% of earnings, and capped at £2,500 a month. This should cover up to 95% of the five million self-employed people in the UK, earning an average of £781 a month.

There is criteria to be eligible:

  • Must have submitted a tax return for 2018/19 (if you missed the January deadline you now have 4 weeks to get it in)
  • Self employed trading profits of up to £50,000
  • The majority (at least half) of your income must come through self employment.

The grants will be taxable, and will need to be declared on tax returns by January 2022.

 

Questions you may have...
 

I’ve recently become self employed, am I eligible?

The scheme does not cover people who only became self-employed very recently (do not have self employment income for the tax year 2018/19) you will have to look to the benefits system for support.
 

How do I claim the help?

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will use existing information to identify those eligible and will invite those that are to apply to confirm that they meet the eligibility requirements. Once approved, the money will be paid directly into your bank account as provided on the application form.

You do not need to contact HMRC, and be aware that some people may try to impersonate HMRC to obtain your personal details.
 

When I will receive my grant?

The government are trying to set this up as quickly as possible, but expect payments will be made no later than the beginning of June, backdated to March.
 

How long can I access the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support scheme?

Initially, this support will be available for three months, but will be reviewed and extended if necessary.
 

Can I still work whilst receiving the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support scheme?

Unlike the employee scheme, the self-employed can continue to work as they receive support.

 

 

Covid-19 | Client & Cleaner Notice

Regarding the Coronavirus Outbreak and official government advice;

 

Like everyone, we’ve been busily gathering as much information as possible about the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). We have taken advice from Head Office and are working out how we best protect our clients.

Please contact the branch of Time For You that you use soon as possible if you are suffering from even mild cold and flu like symptoms, have travelled to an affected area or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the disease.

For more information regarding the nature of the Coronavirus please see the official Government and NHS advice pages.

GOV: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

In the interests of helping to stop the spread of Coronavirus;

  1. If you do contact us to inform us that you have been advised to self-isolate or are taking precautionary measures from even mild symptoms. We will temporarily suspend the services and issue you with a credit for any cleaning hours missed until it is safe to re-start said services.
  2. We will also be notifying our database of cleaners with the same advice and also NHS guidelines on How To Prevent Germs From Spreading.
  3. Currently we will be acting on request and we will be following the Government’s advice. Should the situation change we will inform you but for the time being we will be acting on a case by case basis and for most clients it will continue unaffected.

 

 

 

The Best Way to Clean Jewellery at Home

Cleaning our jewellery is a task many of us can easily overlook. However, cleaning your jewellery should be something you do every now and then to ensure your collection remains in the best possible condition. Even without realising it, your jewellery could be getting grimy and dull as daily life takes its toll on the metals. Soap and lotions, for example, can start building up in the jewellery. The good news is that you do not need to buy specific jewellery cleaning solutions in order to do it.

But what are the best ways to clean jewellery at home?

Here we discuss how best to clean your jewellery depending on the type of metal or stone.

Cleaning Silver
Place some washing up liquid (just a couple of drops) into warm water. Use a soft cloth to rub the solution onto the silver. Once you have done this, rinse with cold water and buff it try with a separate, dry cloth.

If you have some pieces that are heavily tarnished using washing up liquid may not be enough. Mix three parts baking soda to one part water to form a paste. Apply the paste onto the jewellery with a soft cloth, ensuring it fills the crevices as this will be where the tarnishing is worse. Rinse well with cold water and buff dry with a separate cloth.

Alternatively, you can use toothpaste in the same way as the baking soda solution. Add a tiny bit of warm water to the toothpaste in order to loosen the mixture slightly before applying. Just make sure you only use traditional toothpaste rather than the gel varieties.

Do not use the baking soda or toothpaste method if the silver contains gemstones.

Cleaning Gold

Bathe your gold jewellery pieces in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of washing up liquid. Use a sieve to place smaller items in before submerging so you do not lose anything. After they have soaked, lay them on a soft cloth and use a soft toothbrush to rub into the crevices where the tarnishing will be worse. Buff dry with a separate cloth afterwards.

Cleaning Gemstones

You can bathe the gemstones in the same solution as you use when cleaning gold. Brush the stones gently before buffering them dry.

Cleaning Pearls

Always treat pearls differently to other gemstones as they are porous and this means that they can lose their lustre and shine quickly.
Dip a soft brush (makeup brushes work well) into a mixture of warm water and a little bit of shampoo and gently rub each pearl. Rinse quickly with a damp cloth and then leave to dry. Ensure you lay the pearls down flat as they are drying to avoid the shape-changing and never leave your pearls soaking as it can soften the string and cause it to snap. 

Treat other porous gemstones, such as opals and turquoise, like pearls as well.

Cleaning Costume Jewellery

You can still clean costume jewellery, just ensure you do not clean them too vigorously as it could remove the plating
Place a cloth in the mixture of washing up liquid and warm water and gently rub on to the costume jewellery.

Do not place the costume jewellery to soak in the mixture as a lot of the stones are glued on and the solution can loosen the gems.

Some general tips

One of the best ways to avoid tarnishing is by wearing the jewellery. They are more likely to become tarnished if they are left sitting in your jewellery box for long periods of time.

If you have highly valuable pieces of jewellery or pieces that are sentimental to you, see your local jeweller and ask them to clean the pieces for you and at the same time, check that all the fittings of gemstones are secure.

Avoid swimming with jewellery on as the chlorine can cause damage.

Remove rings before washing up, washing your hands or applying makeup to help avoid a build-up of grime from makeup products, soaps and lotions.

Do not apply perfume directly onto the jewellery.
 
Jewellery is precious and by ensuring you keep them in good quality, you can enjoy the sparkle of your jewellery pieces for years and even decades to come.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

We sometimes depend on our dishwashers to provide us with clean dishes and they can be a real-life saver when we have extremely busy lives. It can be deemed as an almost pointless task to clean your dishwasher as surely it is cleaning itself at the same time as it cleans the dishes. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Your dishwasher needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid a build-up of food, grease, undissolved detergent and water minerals. Overtime an unclean dishwasher will leave spots and streaks on your dishes and can lead to a bad odour or even faults that will cost a lot to repair.

Here we discuss the best way to clean your dishwasher and keep it in the best possible condition.

Step 1- Remove bits of food

Frequency: Every Day
Get in a habit of removing any leftover bits of food from the dishwasher after every cycle. Pull the bottom drawer out so you can easily see the food.

Step 2- Wipe the Dishwasher Door

Frequency: Weekly
Once a week, wipe the inside of your dishwasher door with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Make sure you get into the door seal as this is a popular place the grime can build up without you noticing and will lead to a bad odour.

Step 3- Rinse Filter

Frequency: Once a week
The filter is an important part of your dishwasher to ensure a good clean. If the filter is not kept clean, your dishes will suffer as a result. Each week if possible, remove the filter, rinse in the sink and scrub with a soft brush. Clean around the filter in the machine as well.

Step 4 - Wipe down the exterior of the washing machine

Frequency: Weekly
Don’t forget about cleaning the outside of the dishwasher as well. Regularly wipe down the exterior to keep it fingerprint and smudge-free. Only use soft clothes as anything harsher like an abrasive cleaning pad can end up scratching it.

Step 5- Deep clean

Frequency: Monthly
Once a month, try and deep clean your dishwasher. You can purchase specific dishwasher cleaners from all the top brands which are simple to use. Merely take the sticker off the lid and place upside down on the bottom shelf before putting it through a wash cycle.

Alternatively, you can save money and achieve the same results but using common household items. Place a glass measuring jug or bowl of white vinegar on the top rack and run on a normal cycle. Both of these methods will help tackle any residue grime and dirt.

You can follow this up by sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and putting on a hot short cycle. This will leave your washing machine gleaming. Avoid using bleach as although it will clean your dishwasher it can actually lead to the seals and other parts of the dishwasher becoming damaged.

Step 6- Keep rinse aid and dishwasher salt topped up

Frequency: Monthly
Rinse Aid is necessary to help dishes dry and avoid streaking, whereas dishwasher salt helps prevent a build-up of limescale and softens the water, which leads to a better clean. Luckily, most dishwashers will indicate to you when these need refilling to help you remember.

Step 7- Clean Spray Arms

Frequency: Up to every 6 months
Remove the spray arms, clean them and poke through the holes to ensure they are not blocked as this will affect the quality of the cleaning. Rinse the arms under the tap and then place back in the machine.

Step 8- Combat odour by running a hot cycle

Frequency: Every 6 months
Every now and then, just a couple of times a year, run your dishwasher on a hot wash with nothing in it. This is to help stop your machine from smelling. This is important if the majority of the time you use the eco-friendly settings on your machine as the water will not get as hot and as a result, the build-up can increase.

At the end of the day, if your dishwasher is not clean, then your dishes will not be clean either. Banish food and grime build-up with these 8 simple steps.

 

Planning a Party- 15 Steps to Party Perfection

Parties are a lot of fun. However, if you are the one planning a party, the task can be extremely overwhelming. No matter if it’s a kid’s birthday party, a hen party or a 50th wedding anniversary, follow this step-by-step guide to ensure you plan a party everyone will enjoy, including you.

STEP 1: Choose A Date

If you can, start planning a party up to 12-weeks in advance. Although you may not be telling guests about it at this stage, this is a good time to start considering dates. If the party is for a birthday or anniversary, then try and choose a date that is close to this time. Check whether the date you have in mind is a bank holiday as this may determine whether your guests will be free. If it’s a bank holiday or too close to Christmas, unless you let them know far in advance, they may already have plans.

If you want to host the party at a venue, always book the date you want first (or at least reserve it) before informing any guests when the party is, otherwise you will cause confusion.

STEP 2: Decide On A Budget

Before you spend anything on the party, decide on a budget and stick to it. Once you have a figure in mind, split it between the venue, food, drink, entertainment and decorations. Once you have these specific figures you can start making decisions. If you wanted to hire a venue but your budget won't stretch to it, then you know that hosting it at home may be more realistic. Write a list of everything you want and price it up. Once you have this list, you can get a better idea of what you can afford. Prioritise your list to ensure you have all the essentials. Then you can buy extra items from the list with anything you have leftover. Your budget will also have a large impact on how many guests you can invite.

STEP 3: Choose Your Venue

Straight from the beginning you need to decide whether you want to host the party at your home, at a friend’s or at a specific venue. Once this is booked, you know exactly where you are working and can plan the party around the space available. If you have specific entertainment ideas in mind, ensure your venue doesn’t have any specific rules. Also ensure you have all the important information regarding the venue. Get the full address, all parking information, and whether there are specific hours you can serve alcohol or play music until.

STEP 4: Decide On A Theme

Now is the time to choose a theme. Would you like it to be a cocktail party, casual dinner party, 80s themed, casino night, black tie etc? Once you have a theme in mind, it will make all the other decisions easier as you have some direction. Don’t worry if you don’t want any theme at all. Themes can be as subtle or as in-your-face as you wish. Once you have chosen a theme, ensure you stick to it otherwise everything will not tie together.

STEP 5: Decide On A Time

Now that you have a theme you can confirm the date and decide on the best time to host. If it’s a cocktail party, then early evening is a good option. If you are having a family BBQ then mid-afternoon to early evening will be the best as you need to plan around mealtimes and children’s bedtimes.

STEP 6: Invite Your Guests

Once you have a date and time confirmed, it’s time to email or call your guests to tell them you are planning a party. Ensure you let them know all the important information so that they can plan accordingly, and you won't be inundated with messages from people asking the question. Include the full address of the venue, any parking instructions, anything they need to bring and state a theme if you have one. Also state clearly whether children are allowed, whether they can bring anyone else and get them to RSVP before a specific date along with any specific dietary requirements.

STEP 7: Organise The Food

Although you can start to have ideas for food earlier on, don’t order all of your food until you have the majority of your RSVPs (unless you need to order bespoke items that take a long time to be delivered). You need to ensure you are catering for everyone’s requirements. If you are serving alcohol, ensure there are some great non-alcoholic options available as well for those who choose not to drink.

STEP 8: Organise Entertainment

Again, once you have chosen your theme the entertainment can slot into this overarching theme nicely. If it’s an 80s theme then why not recreate an 80s style school disco, or have some retro board games? If it’s a black-tie casino night have some poker tables set up.

Organise your music as no one likes a silent party, even if it is only playing quietly in the background. You may decide for a live band, a DJ or just use your phone to create your own playlists.

Also think of entertainment that isn’t necessarily games or music. Creating your own photo booth is a popular option. All you need is a piece of fabric against a wall as a backdrop and a range of props. Ask some friends in advance for props so that there is a decent amount for people to choose from.

STEP 9: Plan Decorations And Details

Now the venue, food and entertainment are organised you can focus on the decoration. Stick to the theme wherever possible.

If you are having a formal sit-down meal then you may want to consider a seating plan. Plan the tables carefully and try and mix people up wherever possible.

Ensure you plan zones of the venue. Know where you will be having people sit or stand. Set space aside for any presents people may bring. If you are having a buffet set the plates and cutlery at one end so people know which direction to queue to keep things organised.

STEP 10: Follow Up

A week or two before the party, chase up anyone that is yet to RSVP. If you still don’t hear from them, assume they will not be attending. However, to be on the safe side ensure you have enough food, spare place settings and drinks for a couple of extra people in case you receive any last-minute attendees.

STEP 11: Prepare The Food

If you are catering the event yourself, ensure you prepare the food in plenty of time to alleviate as much stress as possible. Go to the shop a week or so before the event to buy non-perishable items. Then buy the fresh ingredients closer to the event.

STEP 12: Clean The Home

If you are hosting the party at your own home, you may want to ensure your whole house is clean in advance, or at least the areas the guests will see. If you are short of time, hiring a domestic cleaning service can help while you concentrate on fun stuff, like planning a party.

STEP 13: Set The Mood

Allow yourself more time than you need on the day of the party as time will go really quick. Organise deliveries to arrive at the venue in advance and have a schedule for the day so you know roughly when everything has to be done.

Before the guests arrive set the mood by playing music and ensuring all the decorations are ready. There will inevitably always be someone arrive slightly early and you do not want to be seen rushing around in a panic.

Greet guests enthusiastically as it helps to set the mood for the rest of the evening. Try and get people talking by introducing people to each other.

STEP 14: Take Photos

You have spent a lot of effort planning the party so you will want some memories of the night. Have a polaroid style camera near the photo booth so that the photos as can printed instantly and added to a scrapbook. Alternatively have a digital camera to create an album online.
Get people who are uploading their photos to their social media to use a designated hashtag so that you can see all the photos everyone has taken together.

STEP 15: Relax And Enjoy

The final, and most important step is to relax and enjoy it. If you have followed the steps and remained organised whilst planning the party, then there should be no emergencies that you will have to sort out, allowing you to enjoy your hard work. If your guests see you are panicked and overwhelmed, it may rub off on them and can impact the party atmosphere so just have fun!
As long as you remain organised, have a list and work your way through the steps, the party will be a great success. Who knows, you might find guests contacting you for help when they are planning a party.

59 Inspiring and Life- Affirming Quotes

If you fancy a change but find the task daunting, here are 59 inspirational quotes to motivate you to achieve your goals and make that change.

Inspirational quotes such as the list below can give you all the push you need to maintain a motivated mind.

George Addair
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear .”

Michael Altshuler
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

Maya Angelou
“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”

Carl Bard
“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

David Bowie
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won't be boring.”

Sarah Ban Breathnach
“Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing.”

Buddha
“No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.”

Winston Churchill
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Karen Kaiser Clark
“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

Emily Coue
“Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better”.

E.E. Cummings
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

Hillary DePiano
“We all get the exact same 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.”

Walt Disney
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Mike Dooley
“Life's not about expecting, hoping and wishing, it's about doing, being and becoming.”

Taylor Duvall
“This year, be structured enough for success and achievement and flexible enough for creativity and fun.”

Albert Einstein
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”

George Eliot
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

T.S. Eliot
“Every moment is a fresh beginning.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Nike Campbell Fatoki
“We are the authors of our destinies.”

Tim Ferris
“Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can't be done. Life’s too short to think small.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Strength shows not only the ability to persist, but the ability to start over.”

Anne Frank
“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven't even happened yet.”

Nick Frederickson
“I close my eyes to old ends. And open my heart to new beginnings.”

Neil Gaiman
“Whatever it is you're scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

Ghandi
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Richelle E. Goodrich
“Past and Present I know well; each is a friend and sometimes an enemy to me. But it is the quiet, beckoning Future, an absolute stranger, with whom I have fallen madly in love.”

Steve Harvey
“You are never too old to reinvent yourself.”

Auliq Ice
“New Beginnings are in order, and you are bound to feel some level of excitement as new chances come your way.”

Thomas Jefferson
“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”

Germany Kent
“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.”

Charles Kettering
“Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas.”

Camilla Eyring Kimball
“You do not find the happy life. You make it.”

Martin Luther King
“You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

W.P. Kinsella
“Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get.”

C.S. Lewis
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

Abraham Lincoln
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Nelson Mandela
“It always seems impossible until it's done.”

Josiyah Martin
“The magic in new beginnings is truly the most powerful of them all.”

J.P. Morgan
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you're not going to stay where you are.”

Earl Nightingale
“We become what we think about.”

Joanne Raptis
“Be like a tree. Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Keep growing.”

Joan Rivers
“Listen. I wish I could tell you it gets better. But, it doesn't get better. You get better.”

Tony Robbins
“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Helen Rowland
“You will never win if you never begin.”

Arthur Rubenstein
“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”

Vidal Sassoon
“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.”

Dr. Seuss
“You’ll never get bored when you try something new. There’s really no limit to what you can do.”

William Shakespeare
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

George Bernard Shaw
“Success does not consist in never making mistakes, but in never making the same one a second time.”

Frank Sinatra
“The best is yet to come.”

Socrates
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Taylor Swift
“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.”

Henry David Thoreau
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

Brian Tracy
“You can develop any habit or thought or behaviour that you consider desirable or necessary.”

Unknown
“Be so busy loving your life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear.”

Unknown
“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she became a butterfly.”

Unknown
“Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.”

What are your favourite inspirational quotes? Do you have any to add to our list?

Why not share our inspirational quotes with friends who are maybe having a hard time? You might just help them through it. 

 

Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions and How to Stick to Them

When New Year comes around, many of us want to be better versions of ourselves. However, more often than not these resolutions do not last until February let alone all year. Why is that?

We discuss here what some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are along with some top tips on how you can stick to them successfully.

Most Common New Year’s Resolutions
1. Exercise More.
2. Lose Weight.
3. Eat more healthily.
4. Learn a new skill.
5. Focus on self-care and wellbeing.
6. Stop smoking.
7. Spend more time with friends and family.
8. Drink less alcohol.
9. Save money.
10. Find a new job.
11. Become more organized.
12. Travel more.
13. Read more.
14. Make new friends.
15. Manage stress better.
16. Enjoy life to the fullest.
17. Learn a new language.
18. Get more or better sleep.
19. Spend less time on social media.
20. Spend less time watching TV.
21. Run a half marathon or marathon.
22. Have a baby.

How to succeed at your New Year’s resolution.
When you decide on your New Year’s resolution you can have the best intentions to succeed at it, but in reality it is extremely difficult. Here are some things to consider when choosing your new year’s resolution to help you pick a target that is realistic to achieve.
• Be specific
When setting your resolution be as specific as possible. If you want to save money, choose an amount. If you want to lose weight, choose how much weight.

• Make it measurable
Leading on from the first point, having a resolution that is not only specific but measurable can really help you stay on track. If you want to lose one stone set a target date ie, I will lose one stone for my best friend’s wedding in July.

• Think about how you are going to achieve it.
Many people make a resolution but do not decide on an action plan to achieve success. Once you have your big goal in sight, create mini goals or milestones to hit throughout the year. This can help the resolution seem more manageable and helps you measure your progress.

• Is your resolution even achievable?
By creating your action plan, you will be able to see if your resolution is achievable. Setting a timeline can help you be realistic with your goals. If you are creating a plan but think it will be a rush, then you are more than likely not going to be successful.

• Does the resolution excite you?
It is important to choose a resolution that excites you. If your goal is to lose weight you may not enjoy the hard work that you will have to do in order to achieve success. If you think the end result will bring you joy then you will be more motivated. Many people say their goal is to exercise more by going to the gym. However, if the thought of going to the gym fills you with dread, then opt for another form of exercise that suits you more. You may find that going running or joining a team sport will make you happier.

• Get prepared
Think about how you are going to achieve your resolution before the new year starts. Don’t leave it until January 1st to even consider it. You need to be mentally prepared for change.

• Record your progress
Try and record how well you are doing. Write down your progress and even if you reach the end of the year and you haven’t stuck to your resolution, you will have a record of how far you got and what went wrong. Use this information to motivate you for next year and potentially change or amend your goals if they are unrealistic.

• Stay positive
Whatever your resolution is, it will involve hard work and dedication. If it was easy then you would already be doing it!

• Don’t go for massive change
If you are aiming for a resolution that will involve a big change, you are more at risk of failure. In order for change to be sustainable, the transition should be gradual. Make smaller changes first and build up from there.

• Allow room for error
Try not to be too hard on yourself. If your resolution is to quit smoking, don’t be too mad with yourself if you end up having a couple of cigarettes. It’s a big change to suddenly stop overnight and if you are too hard on yourself, you will feel like you have failed and will be more likely to just give up entirely. Instead, if you have a couple of setbacks, take a minute to evaluate why it happened and just move on.

• Stick to one resolution
Don’t spread yourself too thin and try and accomplish too much. Having several resolutions is unrealistic. Stick to one and focus on this. It means you can dedicate your efforts on this resolution and not be distracted with trying to accomplish several other things as well.

• Share your resolutions
Tell your friends and family what your resolution is. Having other people know about it can act as motivation as they will ask you for updates and you will want to be able to prove to them that you are on track. Sharing resolutions also means you can try and help your loved ones stick to their resolutions as well.

Hopefully these tips will help you focus on your goals and review them to ensure they are achievable. Planning your resolutions in advance before the year starts can really help you stay on track.

 

15 Cleaning Tips For When You Are Expecting Last Minute Guests

Having guests over to your home can be lovely, but when they arrive with hardly any notice you have limited time to prepare and clean your house.

Here are some tips to help you speed clean in order to be ready to host.

Tip #1- Only focus on key areas
Decide which rooms you are more likely to spend your time. Often this will be the kitchen or living room so focus on these rooms first. Close the door on any other rooms. Thinking you must clean the whole house is unrealistic and can be overwhelming, leaving you in a less than ideal state to greet your guests.

Tip#2- Light a candle
Before your guests arrive, light a scented candle. Not only does it make your room smell lovely, it provides an inviting and calm environment for your guests.

Tip#3- Get rid of the dishes & wipe down the sink
The kitchen sink is the place that can make your entire kitchen look untidy. One of your first jobs should be to remove the dishes. If they are on the drying rack, put them away. If you have a pile still waiting to be cleaned, place them in the dishwasher to hide them. Alternatively, place them in a bin liner and store them in a cupboard or in the garage until your guests leave.

Tip#4- Focus on tidying
Walk around the main rooms with bin liner or box and tidy things up as you go along. Put all your clutter in the box or bag and store it in a room to sort out when your guests leave.

Tip#5- Distract guests with music, TV and food
Proving your guests with music to listen to, having the TV on in the background or providing them with a drink and some food will help them relax, feel welcome, but will also distract them from looking around the room and inspecting your home.

Tip#6- Freshen up your carpet
Use a carpet deodorizer or sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the carpet, leave it for 15 minutes, then hoover it up. It’s a great way to freshen up your carpet and banish any smells.

Tip#7- Get changed
Once you have finished cleaning and change into clean clothes. If you have been rushing around you could be sweaty. A change of clothes will also help you feel fresher for when your guests arrive and not make it obvious you have been cleaning.

Tip#8- Empty the Bin
Emptying your bin doesn’t take long but makes a big difference. You don’t want your guests spotting a full or overflowing bin as it makes the room look messier and smells.

Tip#9- Open the windows
Wherever possible, open windows whilst you are cleaning, it will make the room smell and feel fresher when guests are there for your guests.

Tip#10- Wipe surfaces down
Wipe down the kitchen worktops, and tables. Don’t worry about doing a deep clean, just making sure there are no big marks or smudges will give the room a cleaner feel.

Tip#11- Do not apologise for the mess
It can sometimes be a habit to immediately apologise for the mess, when in reality your guests don’t even think your house is untidy. An apology will draw more attention to the subject, and they will be more likely to notice a small amount of mess.

Tip#12- Do not forget the toilet
It’s important that you clean the toilet before your guests arrive. If you have more than one toilet, focus on one and ensure your guests are guided to that toilet if they need to go.

Tip#13- Use your outdoor space
Weather permitting, guide your guests to your garden or outdoor seating space. If it’s sunny, then lead them outside to enjoy the sunshine. This also has the added benefit of your guests not spending as much time indoors to notice untidy areas.

Tip#14- Dust
You can use a lindt roller to pick up dust. Use this trick when you are running short of time.

Tip#15- Do one room at a time
Start with one room and don’t move onto the next room until you have finished. Although you want to try and multitask, it’s not always efficient moving around the house will waste precious time.

These are some tips to prevent you entering panic mode when you have unexpected guests due. Follow them and you’ll greet your guests into your welcoming, clean home with a calm and friendly smile.

Do you have any other cleaning tips for when you are expecting guests? Let us know what they are by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup

Where did our Christmas Traditions come from?

We all have our traditions at Christmas Having traditions make Christmas comforting and fun but a lot of the time we take part in these customs without even truly thinking about their origins. Where did they actually come from? Why do we bring Christmas trees into our home to decorate? Why do we eat mince pies and send Christmas cards to one another? Here we discuss some of the most popular Christmas traditions and how we came to celebrate them.

Christmas Cards
Think about the amount of Christmas cards you have sent or received over the years. They are a lovely way to keep in touch with family and friends who you may not speak to as very often but where did Christmas cards come from originally? Sir Henry Cole and artist John Horsley helped set up the post office, which was originally named the Public Records office. In 1843, to encourage people to use their new service they created the very first Christmas card. As they grew in popularity, the cost of sending Christmas cards decreased and started to become popular by the mid to late 1800s. The custom then spread throughout Europe by the beginning of the 1900s.

Christmas Crackers
Christmas Crackers were invented by Tom Smith, a sweet maker from London. Inspired by traditional French sweets, Bon-Bons, Smith started to include riddles and mottos inside each one but it wasn’t until he discovered a way to create the “crack” when they were pulled apart that they became extremely popular. His two sons, Tom and Henry decided to add the hats and novelty gifts we know today. The hats represented the three wise men or kings from the nativity story. To this day, Tom Smith Crackers remains one of the most popular and largest Christmas Cracker manufacturers in the world.

Christmas Carols
Dances and songs of joy have been around since pagan times and Christmas Carols have been written and adapted over hundreds of years. Even though Christmas Carols are still enjoyed and are a big part of Christmas celebrations, more recent songs such as Band Aid’s, Do they know it’s Christmas, Slade’s, Merry Xmas Everybody, and Bing Crosby’s White Christmas are also know known as Christmas Classics and are enjoyed just as much as the older, more traditional Christmas carols. Christmas carols were actually banned by Oliver Cromwell in 1647 as he thought Christmas should be a solemn time. More jolly Christmas carols were created during the Victorian times including Jingle Bells and other popular carols we still sing today.

Mince Pies
Originally mince pies were actually made of minced meat (hence the name). They were inspired by Middle Eastern flavours and combined meat, fruit and spice. These flavours were brought to the UK by the Crusaders on their return from the Middle East. Mince pies were originally made with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and the Apostles. The shape was also originally oval to represent the manger from the nativity story. It was not until the Victorian times that the meat was removed and replaced with the filling we use today.

Christmas Tree
Already popular in Europe, the first Christmas tree only appeared in the UK in the 1830s. Prince Albert placed a one in Windsor Castle in 1841 inspiring others to copy this trend. The rest is history. Although Prince Albert gets the majority of the credit in bringing the Christmas tree to Britain, it was the German wife of George III, Queen Charlotte who was the first person to have a decorated Christmas tree in the country. The tree is meant to represent the tree of life from the Garden of Eden and would have been traditionally decorated with ribbons, apples and candles.

Mistletoe
Hanging mistletoe has been a tradition since ancient pagan times, with the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe originating in England. Each kiss meant that a berry had to be plucked from the plant until none remained. One story says that the kissing under the mistletoe comes from Norse Mythology when the god of truth and light, Baldur was killed by an arrow made from mistletoe. His distraught mother wept tears of white berries which then brought him back to life. Overjoyed by the miracle, she blessed the plant and promised a kiss to all those who passed under it.

Turkey
Originating in Mexico, the first turkey arrived in Britain in 1526. It is known that King Henry VIII enjoyed turkey which meant it became extremely popular and fashionable in high society during his reign and beyond. It was not until the 1950s that the Christmas turkey became more widespread and not just enjoyed by the upper classes of society.

Stockings
Nothing beats waking up on Christmas morning to a stocking full of treats. However, having a sock full of presents is definitely a strange concept. The legend behind this tradition goes back to St Nicholas who was known to send bags of gold down the chimney at the home of a poor man. The gold fell into the stockings that were drying next to the fire.

Advent Calendars
Advent Calendars are going from strength to strength, with new versions of the custom being created every year, from chocolate ones to beauty and even alcohol. But who started the original tradition? In the 19th century Germany, a mother created an advent calendar to help her son count down the days to Christmas so he would stop asking her all the time. She attached a sweet and a coloured picture to each day of the calendar and this inspired her son to take this idea and mass produce advent calendars in 1908.

The tradition originally started on St Andrews Day (30th November) but this soon changed to December 1st. Before this during the mid - 19th century, German protestants made chalk marks on their doors or lit candles during the days leading up to Christmas.

Father Christmas
Although red robes have been associated with the traditional bishop robe of Saint Nicholas in the 4th century, it wasn’t until the famous Coca Cola advert launched in the 1930s that the current image we have of Father Christmas was popularised. Before this, Father Christmas was not seen as the Jolly character he is today.

Christmas Wreaths
The word wreath comes from the old English word, writhen, meaning to twist. They have been around since the Ancient Roman and Greek periods during which time they were used as status symbols and sporting trophies. Christmas wreaths, similar to modern-day equivalents date back to Christians in Germany during the 16th century. The green foliage represents everlasting life while the circular shape signifies the never-ending cycle of God.

So, when the beginning of December arrives and you open that first door on your advent calendar, or when you place your baubles on your Christmas tree and sit down for your Christmas dinner, you will be able to appreciate exactly where these traditions we enjoy so much came from all those years ago.

The Best Christmas Markets to Visit in the Europe

Christmas markets are great to visit. Not only do they offer amazing food, and a great shopping opportunity, they have a fantastic Christmas atmosphere that is guaranteed to make you feel festive. There are so many amazing markets across the UK and the rest of Europe, which means you can combine your Christmas shopping with some travel. Here are some of our top European Christmas Market picks:

1. Vienna, Austria
The capital of Austria first held a Christmas market in 1298 and now has over a dozen of different events to choose from across the city. The main market to try is the Viennese Christmas market “Vienna Magic of Advent” which takes place in front of the Rathaus (Cityhall). This glorious, fairy-tale like market has over 150 stalls offering goodies from local sausages to hand made crafts. It features a huge ice-skating rink as well as a classic nativity scene. It is a great market for those seeking a traditional experience.

2. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague has two main Christmas markets which are about 5 minutes away from each other. One is set in Old Town Square and the other in Wencelas Square which allows you can explore both of them easily in the same day. They are open throughout December and even open on Christmas Day itself, giving you plenty of time to enjoy them.

3. Gendarmenmarkt Berlin, Germany
Berlin is extremely popular during the build-up to Christmas, and the Gendarmenmarkt is a large reason for this. Traditional wooden huts adorn the street providing a range of amazing gifts, local food and warming glühwein. There are also concerts every night in a range of styles allowing you to enjoy some festive Christmas songs whilst you browse.

4. Lincoln, UK
Set in the historic Cathedral city of Lincoln, this Christmas market is one of the oldest and most popular markets in the UK. Over 250 stalls surround the beautiful historic quarter of the city so you can enjoy this festive market with the stunning backdrop of Lincoln Castle and Cathedral. The Victorian-themed stalls teamed with a thousand years of historical buildings make you feel like you have transported back in time whilst you explore the amazing range of homemade crafts, festive food and warming mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.

5. Brussels, Belgium
The Winter Wonders Christmas market in Brussels has more than 200 chalet-style huts that serve mulled wine, local beers and the famous Belgium waffles. The market runs from the end of November to the beginning of January giving you plenty of time to enjoy this amazing market. Some people adorn traditional festive costumes which adds to the amazing festive feel. The market also features an ice-skating rink as well as a huge Christmas tree and the whole scene is lit with magical Christmas lights.

6. Budapest, Hungary
The Budapest Christmas Fair is the oldest Christmas market in the capital and has led it to be the most popular as well. With a view of the grandest cathedral in the city, it is impossible not to feel festive whilst exploring this market full of local delicacies and lovely gifts. Ice skating also takes place in a central ring that surrounds the giant Christmas tree centrepiece. The market is completed by the Jolly Christmas Tram that travels through the city centre, carrying Santa and his elves which is a joy for small and big kids alike.

7. Zagreb, Croatia
The award-winning Advent in Zagreb continues to grow in popularity. From ice skating, street food stalls, bars, music stages and ice sculptures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

8. Tallinn, Estonia
A winter grotto, choir performances, handmade gifts and local Estonian cuisine are just some of the reasons why this Christmas market has people flocking from all over the world. The combination of amazing stalls, historic buildings and local delicacies helps create the ultimate festive atmosphere. One of the main parts of the market is the Christmas tree in the Town Hall square. This has been tradition since 1441 and is believed to be one of the first Christmas trees displayed in Europe.

9. Birmingham, UK
This city boasts, “the largest authentic German Christmas Market outside of Germany and Austria.” Victoria Square transforms into a Christmas market with over 180 stalls and in 2018 they welcomed 5.5 million visitors. Shop for beautiful Christmas decorations, handcrafted toys and jewellery, eat amazing food and visit the ice rink or big wheel to top off your visit.

These Christmas markets not only provide you with that lovely festive feeling, they provide a chance to buy unique presents and transform the build-up of Christmas into a great experience.