News & Articles

Quick guide to camping holidays

Camping is a popular and fun way to spend a holiday. Although it may not suit everyone’s tastes, camping has increased in popularity over the years as the facilities, equipment and amazing locations continue to improve, allowing you to have a great holiday and experience. It is a brilliant way to see the outdoors, visit a different part of the country and appreciate nature.

In this guide, we discuss why you should go camping and how to plan a camping trip if you haven’t been on one before. With glamping and other amazing and unique accommodation choices, camping has never been this fun or luxurious.

Why should you go camping?
There are so many reasons why a camping holiday can be fun for all the family. Here are just a few reasons why:

It’s affordable
Although this is not always the case, as there are plenty of campsites where they offer glamping which is relatively expensive, camping can definitely be done on any budget. This is a great option if you have children as you can avoid the high prices of travelling abroad during school holidays. Campsites can start from less than £10 a night and although you will be investing in all the camping gear if this is your first time, you will use these hopefully time and time again, making the overall cost of the holiday extremely low. You also have control of how much you spend during the day. Choosing free activities such as going to the beach or visiting free museums and cooking for yourself instead of eating out are also great ways to keep the cost to a minimum. You can also bring a lot of the stuff you need from home. If you have your car nearby you can bring duvets, pillows and blankets from home as you don’t have to worry about carrying it far.

It’s great for the whole family
A big bonus of camping is that the whole family can enjoy it. No matter what age your kids are, there is a campsite that will be suitable for you. In addition to this, you will also be able to bring your dog with you to many campsites which allows them to be part of your family holiday as well as saving you money on kennels. Camping is not only fun for kids (they can spend the whole day playing and running around outdoors), it is also educational. Camping can teach kids many important skills, such as putting up a tent and cooking.

It’s fun
If you embrace all that camping has to offer, then it is a really fun holiday. It allows you to escape from your daily life and routine and get away from things. Stripping back to the mere basics with no TV and other distractions can be really rewarding. Trying to cook amazing meals with limited resources is a fun challenge. You can sleep under the stars, and there is a ton of activities you can do so that you will never be bored. Playing games, reading, playing sports or visiting local attractions are just some of the things that can fill your days quickly. Choosing a campsite that has a range of facilities is a great option, or you can go for a campsite that is walking distance to entertainment, restaurants etc.

You get to see the beautiful UK
Camping allows you to visit places in the UK you have never visited before. When you go on holiday abroad regularly, it is sometimes nice to remember how many beautiful locations we have in the UK which we may not have seen yet. Whether you fancy a mountainscape, beaches, rolling hills, valleys or lakes, you will find a campsite with these spectacular views.

How to plan a camping trip
Here is a step by step guide on how to plan your first camping trip

1. Decide what trip you want to take (what would you like to see and do. Choose a location from there). Try somewhere relatively local and easy to get home in the car if you have not camped before. This means you can go home if you have forgotten anything important.
2. What accommodation would you like? (Tent, Glamping or Static Caravan) Decide what facilities you ideally would like the campsite to have.
3. When do you want to go? Aim for warmer months for your first trip
4. How are you going to get there? If you are travelling on train or bus you need to be careful about how much you are able to carry. If its by car, you can bring more things from home.
5. Who’s going? This will determine what type of campsite you choose and also what activities you want to do. Make sure if you are bringing children and pets that the campsite allows this as some do not allow pets whilst others are adults only.
6. What’s your budget? Campsites, although not expensive, vary in price so check beforehand. Also, book online in advance if possible. Although some campsites allow you to pay at the door when you arrive, you don’t want to risk the campsite being full once you get there.

List of camping essentials
Although you can bring as much as you or your car can carry, there are a few things which you should not leave home without
- Tent (practice putting the tent up in your garden first before you go camping)
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping mat
- Torch (one for the tent and one for you to carry with you)
- Cool box for food and drink storage
- Water bottle for you to refill
- Food (amount will vary on how much you are planning to eat out)
- Utensils, cutlery and plates
- Pillow
- Blanket (Have one for inside the tent and one for outside the tent to create a relaxing area outside)
- Camping chairs and table (unless you are happy to sit on the floor)
- Camping Stove (BBQ but check if they are allowed at your campsite)
- Solar panel charger for emergency
- Clothes for all weathers (its surprising how cold your tent will get even on the hottest summer’s day)
- Wash kit
- First Aid Kit

Let us know if you have any top camping tips by connecting with us on social media @TimeForYouGroup

A guide to the latest travel trends

With the increased use of technology and social media as well as an increased knowledge of the impact our travel can have on the environment, we have recently seen a change in travel trends which impact not only how we travel but where we travel to. Here we discuss what these latest travel trends are and how it changes the way we holiday.

Micro trips
One trend that has been growing in popularity is the micro trip. More and more people are sacrificing a large summer holiday and splitting it into several weekend trips across the year. These micro trips (also called bitesize travel) have increased due to many factors. With improvements to flight routes, it is easier for people to get to cities quickly, meaning that you can now go further afield for a shorter period of time. Having these shorter breaks with jam-packed itineraries are a way of seeing more of the world, quickly. Planning a 2-week holiday can also be extremely stressful, making more regular but shorter breaks seem more desirable and easier to organise.

Conscious Travelling
The adverse effect we have had and are having on the planet cannot be ignored, especially as this is constantly being discussed in the news. According to a study carried out by Booking.com, over half the people asked would not go to a destination if they felt it would negatively impact the locals that live there. Hotels and other businesses have had to make this shift in conscious travelling and embed it into their strategy. Banning single-use plastics such as miniature toiletries and highlighting what sustainable practices they do are becoming more common in order to entice people to stay with them. One study stated that over 80% of the travellers they asked would be willing to spend time doing activities that offset the environmental impact their travelling was having. This has also led to a spike in eco-tourism companies.

Technology
From having our boarding passes on our phones, artificial intelligence, speech recognition and virtual reality, there have been so many recent advancements in technology that have changed the way we travel. On the whole, these developments in technology have led to smoother holidays. Technology also significantly helps us with our holiday research. No longer does the average person head into their local town to visit a travel agent. With all the information you need on the internet, you can cut out the middle man and enjoy planning it all from home. Although online bookings have been around for years, it is the future use of technology in the travel and tourism industry which is interesting. There are several projects being worked on such as keyless room access which is controlled by your phone, using artificial intelligence as concierge so that they always speak the language of their guests and having a digital tour guide to provide tailored information to each person. It is impossible to truly predict how technology will continue to change how we travel in the future, but personalisation seems to be an important factor.

Social Media
Social media, in particular, Instagram, has recently affected not only where we want to go on holiday but also guided our decisions on what to do when we are there as we share our holiday pictures. A lot of people, especially millennials, constantly seek photo opportunities to post on Instagram, such as being “alone” at the top of a mountain when in reality there is a queue of people waiting to get the same “isolated Instagram shot”. For some people it is like you were never there if you didn’t post a picture on holiday. In a survey from UK company Schofields, more than 40% of the people asked under the age of 33 consider “instagrammability” the most important factor when choosing a holiday destination.

New Destinations
One destination that seems to be more possible to visit than ever before is space. Although this is not a reality yet, it is something people are considering for the future and has also led to people wanting to go to completely new destinations such as accommodation under the sea. Cheaper flights and new routes have also led to an increase in people visiting places that were not that popular before. Further afield places such as Abu Dhabi and Oman are now becoming more popular as they provide the tourist with a more unique holiday and experience to share with friends.

Unique Accommodation
Gone are the days where all we want is a nice hotel. Although this is still desirable, people are wanting alternative and different accommodation to make their holiday unique. Over the last decade, we saw the rise in air bob which allows you to stay at apartments and other people’s homes whilst they are away. It also opened up the growth in people staying in unique accommodation such as boats, cabins and yurts.

Craving experiences and to learn
A trend that is growing is the need for experience. Tourists are now more driven by the experiences they can gain on holiday, with learning a new skill high on a lot of people’s lists. Companies are jumping on board this trend by providing people with these experience packages. Having an experience on holiday is now deemed preferable to buying new material possessions. These experiences range from the adventure seeker to the nostalgic where people are trying to feel like a child again (think inflatable obstacle courses). People want to tick things off their bucket list and this tends to go beyond your typical sightseeing and is focused around certain activities and experiences. This goes hand in hand with the rise of social media influence as they seek amazing shareable pictures.

Change in timings
With the internet allowing you to book holidays extremely last minute, a lot of people choose this option when booking their holiday, leaving it until the last moment to organize your trip in order to try and get the best deal. Searching for offers is popular as well as changing the time of year they go. Visiting places like Dubai in the summer and Sydney in their winter are becoming a cheaper and attractive option for people to experience these places without having to pay the peak prices.

 

12 bad cooking habits that you probably need to stop

1.    Not preheating your pan
No matter what you are cooking, always make sure you start off with a hot pan. If you don’t, it will take longer for the dish to cook and will increase the risk of overcooking your food.

2.    Leaving spoons on the counter whilst cooking
It’s very easy to just give your food a stir and then place the spoon on the countertop until you need it again. Although you try and keep your kitchen tops clean, so many items are placed on it daily, from shopping bags to pets, so you can never be too careful. Place the spoon on a plate or spoon rest instead.

3.    Using dull knives
Although you may think shaper knives are more dangerous, this is not always the case. Having sharp knives for cutting food means you don’t need to add as much pressure to cut. With blunter knives, more pressure is needed which, if you slip, if more likely to cause injury. Sharper knives are also better for chopping ingredients up more precisely and finely.

4.    Not drying your salad
Despite food labels saying the food has already been washed, it’s always a good idea to wash your salad again. However, when people are in a rush, they do not always take the time to dry the salad off. Use a salad spinner to dry the salad quickly, resulting in a much better looking and tastier salad that is not sitting in a pool of water.

5.    Letting food sit before placing it in the fridge
Whilst many people claim the correct way to deal with leftovers is to wait for the food to become room temperature before placing it in the fridge, they are mistaken. The main reason behind this was that fridges were not the best at coping with the rise in temperature. Modern day fridges do not have the same problem and can cope with the temperature change well. It’s important to place the food in the fridge as soon as possible rather than leaving it out on the side. Letting your food stay warm for longer means you are increasing the time it spends in the bacteria promoting zone which can be potentially dangerous for your health.

6.    Cooking wet vegetables
If your place your vegetables in the oven straight after they have been washed, they will probably turn out soggy. Dry them off first before roasting to ensure they come out crispier.

7.    Cutting meat straight after cooking
After your meat is cooked, give it time to rest before cutting it. Especially for steak and beef, cutting it too quickly will mean moisture will not be retained as well and will lead to pooling on the plate, and drier tasting meat.

8.    Using dried herbs instead of fresh
Dried herbs and spices are great things to use as they are convenient and have a long shelf life, however they do not have as much moisture as the fresh version and therefore the flavour is stronger. This needs to be considered before using them and adjust the quantity accordingly.  

9.    Seasoning food at the end
Don’t wait too long to add your herbs and spices. A lot of people quickly season a meal at the end as an afterthought. Adding the seasoning as you cook will give it time for the flavours to develop and will stop the dish tasting too spicy or salty.

10.    Not reading the recipe
Always read the recipe to the end. And read it at least once. You don’t want to be halfway through the recipe when you realise you had to marinade something overnight or have realised you do not have all the ingredients.

11.    Keeping butter in the fridge
Its sometimes a natural reaction to place things in the fridge, however some items do not need to be in there, including butter. Along with temperature, moisture and protein are two other factors that affect the level of bacteria in foods which can make them potentially dangerous. Although butter contains a fair amount of moisture, there is hardly any protein, meaning that doesn’t need to be in a fridge. Place a cover over the butter to make sure it’s not affected by light and oxygen.

12.    Overfilling your pan
Finally, when you are in a rush, putting everything in the pan at once can seem like the simplest and quickest solution, however this can actually increase the cooking time and can risk some of the food not cooking properly. If you cook in batches the meal will be cooked better and will also taste better.

Do you know of any other bad cooking habits? Let us know what they are by connecting on social media @TimeForYouGroup

Dishwasher Do’s and Don’ts

Dishwashers are an invention that have changed our lives and freed up a lot of time in the kitchen which otherwise would have been spent washing and drying all the dishes by hand. Using a dishwasher can also be better for the environment. However, in order to get the best out of your dishwasher, here are some do’s and don’ts.

Do use all the space you can and try and stack the dishwasher in the most efficient way. Put bigger pieces in first and then fill the smaller items around them.

Don’t overfill the utensil holder. If you cram too many in, not all of them will be cleaned sufficiently.

Don’t rinse plates before putting them in the dishwasher. Scrape the plates to ensure the larger bits of food have been removed but rinsing the plates will use additional water and modern dishwashers can cope with food residue on plates as long as you run the dishwasher that day and don’t leave them standing there too long.

Do run a full load. Dishwashers are a great way to be efficient with water, however if you only run half loads, water will in fact get wasted.

Don’t overload the dishwasher. Although you should only do full loads, don’t go to the other extreme and overfill. You run the risk that not everything will be completely clean, resulting in you having to wash them again (and wasting both water and electricity).

Do run the dishwasher at night. Waiting until later in the evening can lower your electricity bill. It also makes sense as you can place all the dishes from the entire day into the dishwasher and wash them all in one go.

Don’t unload the top drawer first. Sometimes the upper dishwasher rack can store water. If you empty these items first, you can end up getting the dry items on the bottom level wet.

Do use Rinse Aid - using this regularly will guarantee a better, shinier clean.

Do clean the dishwasher regularly. Inspect the drain for bits of food and remove them before running the machine again. Also use dishwasher cleaner once a month on an empty cycle to keep the machine clean.

Items you can safely put in the dishwasher
-    Silicone oven mitts
-    Kitchen sponges and brushes
-    Microwave turntable plate
-    Refrigerator shelves
-    Candle holders
-    Toothbrush holders
-    Bath toys
-    Pet toys
-    Pet food bowls
-    Golf balls

Items you should NOT put in the dishwasher
-    Wooden spoons
-    Wooden chopping boards
-    Kitchen knives
-    Graters
-    Sieves
-    Aluminium pans
-    Copper pans
-    Non-stick pans
-    Acrylic dishes
-    Thin plastic containers
-    Metallic trimmed dishes or cutlery
-    Delicate crystal or blown glass

If you have any other dishwasher tips then let us know by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup.

Easy storage solutions for your home

You can never have too much storage in your home. Whether your house is large or small, it is great to be able to have the space to put everything you want away when necessary. However, sometimes it can be a struggle to find sufficient storage. Here are just a few ways you can find extra storage space when you need to.

1.    Using hooks on cupboard doors
Many of us don’t take advantage of the space that is available to us on the inside of our kitchen cupboards. You can easily place adhesive hooks on the inside of your cupboards and use them to hang tea towels, oven gloves and kitchen utensils, keeping them off the counter tops and oven handles.

2.    Under the sink storage
Use adhesive hooks on the inside of the cupboard to hang a small caddy in which you can keep cleaning supplies in or hang cloths. Also, by using small baskets to keep your cleaning supplies in, it will help you find things more quickly and keep things tidier as you won’t have to keep searching for things right at the back of the cupboard. You will also keep track of what is in the cupboard by using this method.

3.    Christmas lights storage
Christmas lights are notoriously annoying to put away. Cut a rectangle or square of cardboard and wrap the fairy lights around this. Not only will it be easy to store, it will mean the lights won’t be tangled next Christmas.

4.    Bedding Storage
Keep matching sets of bedding together by placing the duvet cover and one pillowcase folded inside the other pillowcase. Not only does this save a surprising amount of space, it keeps everything looking tidy and makes it easy to find the whole set when you need to change the bedding.  

5.    Bed storage
Under the bed is a go to place for many when they need extra storage. However, now there are many options to choose from. Built in storage can be accessed through drawers or by lifting up the mattress. You can also get headboards with built in shelves down the side which could be a great space saver.

6.    Magazine holder storage
If you attach a metal or plastic magazine holder to the inside of a cupboard, it’s a great place to store tin foil, cling film, bin bags and sandwich bags which are sometimes annoying to store neatly.

7.    Use picture ledges
Instead of a large shelf, using a picture ledge can still allow you to place photos, small plants and candles etc on without taking up a lot of space. They are great for small rooms and can also be placed next to your bed and be used to charge your phone on or put your glasses on if you don’t have space for a bedside table.

8.    Use your radiator for shelf space
Having a radiator cover or a shelf above the radiator provides additional storage and display space which is usually an otherwise unused area of the home.

9.    Maximise drawer space with dividers
The use of drawer dividers means you can easily split the drawer into different sections, meaning you can make the most of the space. Also, by using folding methods made popular by people like Marie Kondo, you can make your drawers tidier but also see and access all your clothes at once, rather than having to rummage through the drawers to find something you have placed at the bottom.

10.    Vacuum storage bags
Vacuum sealed storage bags are now widely available and are great for storing things like clothes and bedding that you don’t need. Place your summer wardrobe in them during the winter months and you can easily store them away until they are next needed. They also come in a range of sizes to suit your needs. Simply place the items in, place your vacuum onto the attachment and the air will be sucked out of the bag, reducing its size significantly.


Let us know if you have any other amazing storage solutions by connecting with us on social media @TimeForYouGroup


Time For You are the premier international house cleaning service company with hundreds of local business owners across the UK, Australia and Canada. Time For You are currently cleaning tens of thousands of homes across the world on a weekly basis.

Facts about sleep - true or false?

Sleep is one of the most important things that we all need. Not only can it improve our mood, it can make us live longer and healthier lives.

Over the years we have been told many facts about sleep, ranging from how much we should be getting each night to what we should and should not be eating before we go to bed. But how many of these facts we’ve been taught about sleep are true? And are any of them affecting our health instead?

Fact 1: You don’t need 8 hours sleep a night – This is partly true. The body can cope well with 7-8 hours a night. It is however false when people say you only need a few hours. Yes, Margaret Thatcher swore by only having four hours of sleep a night and claimed this to be one of the reasons she was successful, however this is not good for our bodies. If we consistently have fewer than five hours of sleep per night, it can increase the risk of serious health issues such as heart attacks and strokes.

Fact 2: You can catch up on sleep at the weekend - No matter how long you lie in on a Saturday or Sunday, it will never completely make up for any sleep lost during the week. The key is to remain as consistent with your sleep as possible.

Fact 3: Alcohol helps you sleep - True in the way it can help you fall asleep, however if you have alcohol in your body you are less likely to have a good night’s sleep. You are more likely to wake up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet or grab a drink of water.

Fact 4: You don’t need as much sleep as you get older - Although older people tend to wake up more during the night and wake up earlier, they still need the same amount of recommended sleep as anyone else.

Fact 5:  Count sheep - This is one of those things you learn when you are really young. However, reading a book or listening to music have been proven to be a much quicker way of falling asleep.

Fact 6: Buy a firmer mattress - It is commonly said that a firm mattress will help people sleep better. Although this will be the case for some people, everyone is different so you will have to choose a mattress that suits your own personal needs.

Fact 7: Some people don’t dream - This is completely false. Although some people never remember their dreams, everyone has them, whether they can be recalled or not.

Fact 8: Cheese gives you nightmares – There is no evidence to support this. However, all meals (consisting of cheese or not) should ideally be finished two or three hours before you go to bed if you want to sleep well.

Fact 9: Watching TV before bed helps you relax - Many people head up to their bedrooms to watch some telly to wind down before bed, but this is not ideal for two reasons. Depending on what’s on TV, you could end up going to sleep feeling anxious or stressed, which will cause you not to sleep as well. In addition to this, TV’s, phones and tablets all emit a blue light which delays the body’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

Fact 10: Hit the snooze button if we need more sleep - It is normal to feel groggy when you first wake up. It is also natural to think that this means we need more sleep and should hit the snooze buttons on our alarms. However, this is not the best thing to do. Hitting the snooze button allows you to fall back to sleep, but it will only be low quality and for a short amount of time which could make you feel worse. Try and wake up on the first alarm and open the curtains to expose yourself to as much bright light as possible as this will help you feel more awake quicker.

Do you have any other facts or tips about getting a good night’s sleep? Let us know by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup

26 Uses for Bicarbonate of Soda

Bicarbonate of Soda is an ingredient every household usually has shoved away at the back of a cupboard. However, apart from baking, this incredible ingredient has a myriad of uses. After reading all of these, you will never look at a tub of bicarb in the same way again.


 
1.    Clean dirty fruit and veg
Put some on a damp sponge before scrubbing the fruit and veg.

2.    Give hairbrushes a clean
Mix a teaspoon of bicarb and some warm water. Rinse well and dry.

3.    Clean your BBQ grill
Put some on a damp brush, scrub the grill, then rinse.

4.    Clean rugs and carpets
Sprinkle some on the carpet, preferably overnight, then hoover.

5.    Get whiter clothes
Place a small amount in your washing machine.

6.    Remove stubborn food stains from pans
Shake some into pots and pans, add hot water and washing up liquid. Leave to soak before rinsing.

7.    Shine the floors
Dissolve some bicarb in warm water before mopping the floor.

8.    Clean appliances
Place some in the dishwasher or coffee machine and run the appliance on an empty cycle.

9.    Polish silver
Shine tarnished silver with bicarb and water. Create a paste and then rub onto the silver with a clean cloth.

10.    Stop litter tray smells
Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda under a layer of litter to reduce smells.

11.    Keep the loo white
Place some in the bowl of the toilet, then scrub clean.

12.    Hair treatment
Mix some bicarb into your conditioner before applying.

13.    Kill garden weeds
Sprinkle on driveways and areas prone to weeds to discourage them growing.

14.    Clean toothbrushes
Soak your toothbrush in a mixture of bicarb and water. Leave to stand overnight.

15.    Soothe insect bites, chickenpox and sunburn
Mix with a litter bit of water and apply directly to your skin.

16.    Ice proof your driveway
Scatter bicarb on icy driveways as its not as corrosive as salt.

17.    Unblock drains
Pour bicarbonate of soda into your drains then add white vinegar. Pour boiling water down the drain after a few minutes.

18.    Stop bins smelling
Sprinkle in the bottom of your bin.

19.    Whiten your teeth
Mix with strawberries and lemon juice to create a natural whitening agent you can brush onto your teeth.

20.    Make a face mask
Mix with a little bit of water before applying to your face.

21.    Clean Tupperware
Sprinkle onto a clean sponge before washing up the containers.

22.    Stop shoes smelling
Sprinkle into your shoes and leave until you next need to wear them.

23.    Clean your oven
Sprinkle into the bottom of your oven. Spray with water to dampen. Leave to soak overnight before scrubbing to remove it, then rinse.

24.    Stop your fridge smelling
Place a box of bicarb into the back of your fridge which will neutralise odours.

25.    Keep flowers fresher for longer
Add a teaspoon of bicarb into your flower water.

26.    Keep ants away
Add bicarb to an equal amount of salt. Sprinkle into corners that are prone to ants.

Have you found any other amazing uses for bicarbonate of soda? Let us know what they are by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup

Time For You are the premier international house cleaning service company with hundreds of local business owners across the UK, Australia and Canada. Time For You are currently cleaning tens of thousands of homes across the world on a weekly basis.

The Biggest Cleaning Mistakes you are probably making

It is very easy to pick up bad habits whilst cleaning without even realising it. Here are just a few common mistakes people are making when cleaning their home.

1.    Starting with the wrong spot in the room
Start at the top of the room and work down. Dust first, especially in those high, hard to reach places. This allows all the dirt to go onto the floor, which you can then sort out by vacuuming last.  This top to bottom rule works for shower screens and doors as well.

2.    Using the wrong cleaning products
Be careful of which products you use for which job. It is not a case of one product fits all. If you use a product that is not strong enough, you will not be cleaning sufficiently which will mean you have to clean again.

3.    Using dirty cleaning tools
You could be doing more harm than good if you are cleaning with dirty equipment. Be aware of how long you have used cleaning sponges and cloths for and use a new one after each big cleaning job. Remove mop heads and wash them and cleaning cloths at 60⁰c so you can continue to use them. For ease, disposable anti-bacterial wipes are great for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, however make sure you don’t just do one for each room. Although this method is quick and simple, it is less environmentally friendly.

4.    Spraying product directly onto surfaces
Spray your cleaning product onto a microfibre cloth first as this means you are cleaning with more accuracy. This method also means you don’t use too much product each time.

5.    Cleaning too quickly
It is tempting to get your house jobs done as quickly as possible; however, this does not always pay off. Although its great to split your jobs down into more manageable tasks, ensure you are still spending enough time on each task to do a sufficient job. If you rush, you will miss things and you will end up having to clean more regularly.

6.    Not reading directions
Even if you have chosen the correct product for the cleaning job, always read the directions label. They are there for a reason and if you don’t follow them it could waste your money and can even cause damage. Products can vary as to how long they take to be effective, and this needs to be considered when cleaning.

7.    Cleaning windows on sunny days
It’s common to assume the best days to wash your windows are when its sunny. It’s not! When cleaning exterior windows on a sunny day you’re likely to end up with streaky windows as the water and soap dry too quickly before you can clean them properly. The best conditions are a dry but overcast day.

8.    The way you clean (s shape not circular motion)
Its normal for people to clean in a circular motion however this is not the best way as you are just moving the dirt around. Use an s shape instead as it brings the dirt towards you and off the surface completely.

9.    Not emptying the vacuum
Doing this not only makes the appliance itself a breeding ground for bacteria but can also affect its performance as airflow will be restricted when its full. Empty the vacuum every time its ¾ full to ensure that it will continue to perform well. Also, don’t forget to clean the vacuum regularly too!

10.    Using too much cleaning product
More is not always better. By using the correct amount of product, you can save on having to buy replacements as regularly. If you have a sticky stain you cannot get off, putting more cleaning spray on doesn’t necessarily work. It will just create more tidying up for you.

11.    Using cleaning products on electronics
Electrical items don’t mix well with cleaning products. Either put a little bit of water onto a cloth or buy products that are specifically designed for electronics. Make sure you don’t spray anything directly onto them.

12.    Scrub stains out of carpets
If you spill something on the carpet, don’t scrub it away. It can spread the stain and it can also cause damage to the fibres of the carpet. Instead, place your stain remover on the carpet and then press down with a cloth with a dabbing action.

13.    You use furniture polish every time you dust
Dusting doesn’t mean you need to use polish. Moisture attracts more dust, so where possible use a dry, anti-static wipe instead.

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8 UK walking spots you must visit

If you’re looking to embrace your adventurous spirit then walking, hiking and rambling is a sure-fire way to get started. Not only is it a great form of exercise but getting out in the open and reconnecting with nature is a proven way to boost your mental health. Here’s a short list of some of our favourite jaw-dropping walking spots to visit around the UK.

Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland is home to some first-class walking trails and first up on our list is Mourne Mountain, a tough but rewarding route that includes a 5.6mile long climb up one of the highest peaks in the country. On a clear day it’s said you can see views as far as Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man.
 
Scotland


One of our favourite walking routes in Scotland is Stac Pollaidh. One of the smaller and more manageable mountains in Scotland, it stands at 513m high in the Northwest Highlands and features plenty of pinnacles, gullies and a sandstone crest. The views of stripped back wilderness, and an almost Martian-esque landscape are a real treat.
 
North East


If you’re located in the Northeast then the obvious place to visit for some rambling, coupled with a history lesson, is Hadrian’s Wall. Built by the Roman’s in AD 122 a hike through this area can give you a great insight into Roman life. For an extra special sight, get yourself to Sycamore Gap, an area featured in iconic scenes from the 90’s smash-hit movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves featuring Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman.
 
North West


Home to the Lake District, the North West of England has a plethora of varied walks to enjoy. One unique walk you can enjoy is the Tolkien Trail in Lancashire. Starting in the Ribble Valley nearby to the village of Hurst Green, this 5.5-mile walk conjures up scenes not unlike that of The Shire in Middle Earth from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.
 
Midlands


There are many Areas of Natural Beauty (AONB) around the UK but one of the smallest and most interesting is that of Cannock Chase. A former royal hunting forest that is teeming with everything from lizards and adders to deer and all manner of birds. This abundance of wildlife and biological diversity has led to Cannock Chase being designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and given a certain level of protection from development. Walkers however can make the most of roaming rights to enjoy this special and surprisingly remote area.
 
Wales


When it comes to choosing a Welsh walking trail you are truly spoiled for choice. We couldn’t narrow it down to just one alone, so here are a selection. First up, you can visit the Taf Estuary which leads to Laugharne – once home to writer Dylan Thomas. You could take a trip to the gravity-defying canal boat route which follows the River Dee and can be found near the UNESCO heritage site by Llangollen. For isolation you can stroll the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, wonder at the ancient spiritual site of the Preseli Bluestones, or of-course make a visit to the woods, waterfalls and gorges of the Brecon Beacons. Or finally you could traverse peaks atop mountains at Holyhead or Mount Snowden.
 
South West


The South West of England is one of the most popular destinations for staycationers – and rightly so. The region has sun-soaked coastlines, rolling hills and beautiful countryside that make it a great place to visit on holiday. Cheddar Gorge is undoubtedly one of the most popular places to take a walk and attracts droves of visitors to its weathered crags, steep pinnacles and array of plants and wildlife. If you’re looking for some sea air and a coastal walk, then try the South West Coast Path in Cornwall, a 630 mile stretch of world-class walking tracks.
 
South East


In ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks TV programme a great many of the 100 routes they featured on their show were located in the South East of England. Some of the popular routes included chalk cliffs via Margate to Broadstairs, medieval towns and shoreline from Sandwich to Dover, forest tracks and sleepy hamlets via Leith Hill and steep-sided adventure seeking at the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
 
We hope this article gave you some inspiration for your next outdoors adventure. Have you found these tips useful? Where are your favourite places to ramble? Let us know by connecting with on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

A beginners’ guide to rambling

How do you like to keep fit? Do you enjoy Yoga? Swimming? The gym? One of the less talked about but equally impactful forms of exercise seldom talked about is good old-fashioned walking.  

An ever-increasing number of people in the UK are realising the benefits of walking and rambling, as it is also known. Indeed, many clubs around the UK are dedicated to rambling and their members who call themselves ‘ramblers’ enjoy lengthy walks around rural and countryside areas and use it as a means of not only regular exercise but also a handy way to socialise.

Who can do it?
From ultra-fit to out-of-shape, rambling is not a discriminatory sport, and anyone can enjoy it. Rambling groups often include people of all genders, ages, fitness levels and backgrounds. A good rambling group should always brief you in advance if the walking route that day might be challenging so that you can prepare in advance or sit that one out.

What kit do I need?
The best thing about rambling is that it is low cost. Unlike many sports and hobbies, there aren’t expensive joining fees or subscriptions and you don’t usually need any specialist equipment other than a mobile phone in case you get lost, some comfortable and safe footwear and a bottle of water. There are things that you can buy to make your walk more pleasurable such as hiking boots, base layers, thermals, waterproofs, gaiters and walking poles but none of them are compulsory.

How to get started?
If you want to start rambling, then you aren’t obliged to join a club. In fact, many people enjoy the solace that comes from solo-rambling. However, if you’d like to make it a more social occasion, enjoy conversation and share tips and routes then it makes sense to reach out to a club. Most regions in the UK have several rambling clubs and the website ramblingclubs.com lists a great many of them.

Have you found these tips useful? Let us know by connecting with on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.