Karcher asks: How long does it take to clean your house?

When Karcher asked me this question I could answer it no problem at all as I have a pretty tight cleaning schedule. I’ve also halved the time it takes to clean our family home since April this year because I’ve followed Marie Kondo‘s advice and more than halved the ‘stuff’ that we own!

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How long is enough?

I spend 8 hours a week on all of our general cleaning and household chores, running a tight ship where various days are earmarked for washing, clothes sorting and bathroom cleaning.

Working from home I generally use 30 minutes of my hour long lunchbreak to tackle some household tasks, washing on, hoovering, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, and prepping a meal for the slowcooker, then when J is in bed I do the quieter jobs, folding and putting away clothes, making lunches for the next day and washing the pots and clearing surfaces. I find weekends are a time I try to protect as family time so less happens on a weekend and on Monday lunchtime I tend to do a bit of catching up but generally I find we have a clean and tidy home that takes a lot less effort than it did when we had double the amount of stuff!

My least favourite task is cleaning the bathroom, but it’s probably the most satisfying to see sparkling white tiles, the task I least mind is washing the dishes as I like to use the time to think, and plan ahead for the rest of the week!

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A monumental task?

Slightly harder to answer was the second question Karcher posed, how long, in hours did I think it would take to clean Mount Rushmore! What? Well my washing pile is fondly known as Mount Washmore so I guess longer than my usual hour spent washing and folding each week?!

The monumental heads of the American presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were created from 1927 to 1941 by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum. They measure around 18 m (60 ft) from crown to chin – I’d guess it must have taken Karcher, who cleaned them first in 2005 200 hours?! I’ve used and loved a Karcher power cleaner but not on anything like this scale!

A spot of fun!

If you’d like to find out for yourself, watch videos of the Karcher team in action, and also challenge yourself about the other various worldwide monuments Karcher has cleaned you can check out their fun quiz and make yourself feel relieved that you have what will then seem like a rather manageable sized home to clean rather than a national treasure! Do let me know how you fared, my geography isn’t as great as I thought, so I won’t be shouting my score from the rooftops!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post all views are my own

Mental Health and BuddyBox – a hug in a box

Founded in 2011, The Blurt Foundation is a community interest company that exists to support, help and inspire people affected by depression.  BuddyBox was born out of Blurt Foundation’s belief that whilst depression can’t be treated with ‘things’ we all need to pay attention to ourselves, self care is something I’m really interested in both as someone who runs a pre/perinatal mental health support group and as someone who sometimes needs a reminder to attend to my own needs.  I generally find winter a really challenging time and I try to pay extra attention to my mental health as I know that if I don’t do the things I know that keep me healthy, like practicing mindfulness and taking the time to rest, I can get into a downward spiral.

The BuddyBox is effectively a clever care package aimed at letting a loved one know you’re thinking about them, and it’s a really kind gesture, a sometimes much-needed hug in a box.
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Mental Health and BuddyBox

If you know someone who is struggling, it can be difficult to show your support.  The new BuddyBox subscription care package makes a thoughtful gift for anyone who could do with a boost. And if you’re living with depression, buying a subscription for yourself is a great way to enjoy a little self-care.

Every month a new BuddyBox is released, a special box filled with things to help, inspire and comfort those with depression. Each box has a different theme – for example, products and tips for a good night’s sleep or items to recharge the body and mind.  I was sent the September BuddyBox to review.  I thought the contents were thoughtful, well put together and I sensed that anyone receiving this as a gift would feel nurtured by the contents.

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A monthly subscription costs £21.50 per month (there’s also a lite version, and you can buy a one off box too) and the contents of the box reflect the cost, as Blurt Foundation is a community interest company some of the proceeds from boxes support Blurt Foundation’s mental health advocacy.

In my £21.50 box I received:

– 4 postcards including a lovely one to leave in a public place as a random act of buddybox kindness :)

– Tisserand energy roller

– Cafe Direct hot chocolate

– Colouring sheets

– May the Thoughts be With You book by Charlotte Reed

– Seeds with a message

The energy roller is my favourite item in this month’s box, uplifting and an on the go item that I can take about with me I thought this was a lovely addition for pepping me up with amood boosting romatherapy oils, the quirky colouring sheets are much appreciated and a nice addition for someone thinking about buying a mindfulness colouring book who wants to give ‘grown up colouring’ a go.

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May the Thoughts Be With You is something to dip into when you need a pick me up or a reminder that you’re not alone in your feelings.

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If you’re looking for a little self-care, or want to surprise a friend with a thoughtful pick me up BuddyBox is a simple and effective idea – why not send a hug in a box? Whilst you’re browsing read more on the Blurt Foundation’s site about mental health too, lots of fab resources to be found there!

Take care x

Organic September Round Up

I’ve a bumper Organic round up this month as it’s Organic September, the month when Soil Association encourage us to make a small change in our shopping, an organic swap, to make a big difference to people, animals and the environment.

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Food

This month I’m kicking off with food, and what a great swap cereal could be, starting your day the organic way! This month I’ve been starting my day with Lizi’s Organic Granola. Sweetened with organic agave syrup, the lowest glycaemic sugar, Lizi’s Granola is everything I like in toasted oats, it’s not overly sweet like the sugary cereals I try to avoid, instead it’s really nutty and has that comforting golden toasty taste that makes for a really moreish start to the day. The addition of pistachios makes this granola sing, and packed full of nuts and seeds alongside oats you get a brilliant slow releasing energy, it’s easy to see why Lizi’s B&B customers were crazy about her granola!

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Next up Vita Coco Coconut Oil. Extra virgin, no nasty chemicals, organic, 100% raw and cold-pressed with all of it’s natural goodness this is one I’ve been meaning to try for a little while, I’ve been using coconut oil on J’s skin and in our cooking and baking for about a year now and it’s great to try an organic version. This is an easy swap for me as I really liked the quality of the oil, I was impressed because the one I’ve been buying can be a little grainy, I’m not sure why that is, but it doesn’t seem to have the same purity Vita Coco has. I’ve been using the small jar in my handbag for moisturising on the go (coconut oil is a great all rounder in this respect) and the large jar for cooking, I recently discovered Deliciously Ellas’s date and oat bars so I’ve been using Vita Coco to make afternoon snacks too, with great results!

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Beauty

Gold award winner in the free from skincare awards 2015 Skin Revivals organic facial cleansing oil from Beauty Naturals is a bit of a gem and is a product I have recommended heartily this month, priced at just £12 this really is a superb cleanser, and a brilliant price. It removed every trace of my waterproof mascara leaving a really luxe soft finish, the rosy geranium scent is really gently relaxing and the blend of oils avocado, sweet almond, sunflower, jojoba, wheatgerm and rosehip seed work a treat on my dry patches. The packaging is very simple but don’t let that put you off, what’s inside is liquid gold!

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Another oil that’s bringing love to my bathroom cabinet is Khadi Amla ayurvedic hair oil. I loved the pipette applicator, it made applying the oil really simple, I use a hair oil regularly as I have a dry scalp and they tend to smell a little boring, I loved the smell of the organic Amla oil, rich and relaxing and herbal, which I love and which is needed as this is a pre-wash treatment and Khadi recommend leaving the product in the hair for an hour or two before washing, or overnight, I found the gentle scent very relaxing. Amla is one of the world’s oldest natural hair conditioners, I didn’t know much about it so I googled and it’s apparently an Indian gooseberry, hence the green colour of the oil!

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Marili skincare has children at its heart, fun and with a wild side! Inspired by Zimbabwe’s nature and wildlife, Marili Skincare is a newcomer to the children’s organic bath and body market. The product range is SLS, paraben, petrochemical and mineral oil free, with packaging designed with a wild animal design to make bath time more fun. The Hair & Body Washes are available in Strawberry & Honey and Caramel & Honey and we used them after our weekly swim this month, the scents are appealing to children without being overpowering, I’ve also been using the Papaya Foaming Face Wash, a great foaming cleanser with neroli and papaya this would be brilliant for introducing teens to a skincare regime! The lipbalms are a lovely soft texture with a not too sweet flavour but the chocolate one is a firm fave as it’s delicious! I loved the funky packaging and Joss loved the rhyme on the hair and body wash packaging, great for singing in the shower!!

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Clothing

Boody Bamboo Eco Wear has been exclusively sourced and developed with up to 95% organic and chemical free bamboo yarn mixed with a touch of nylon and elastin to create a fabric that is soft, stretchy and wrinkle free. It’s a new to the UK Australian brand that I find really exciting. I love bamboo childrenswear but adult clothing is really hard to come by. I reviewed Boody’s scoop neck top and was blown away by the quality of the fabric.

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Seamfree, warm and soft I’ve worn it alone, and under my favourite dresses and cardigans to give an extra warm layer. I’m no fashion blogger but I am a busy working parent so this photo well captures how I’ve been wearing Boody! I love wearable wardrobe staples and I’ve added Boody leggings to my winter shopping list!

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If you’re making a switch to Organic in September I’d love to hear about what you’re up to, leave a comment, I’d love to get your ideas!

Disclaimer: Products reviewed were sent to me as samples, all views and photos are my own

Big issues: Save Syria’s Children #savesyriaschildren

In the Syrian conflicts fifth year civil war continues to devastate children’s lives, living in fear, being denied an education, hospitals destroyed and fleeing war. Refugee resettlement isn’t a new issue, this hasn’t somehow just reached fever pitch, the scenes in Calais and Hungary are simply the tip of the iceberg and the world can no longer avert its gaze.

Humanitarian Disaster

People didn’t expect and many didn’t like the picture of three year old Aylan Kurdi appearing on their newsfeeds, Aylan’s tiny body was washed up on a beach in Turkey, this beautiful little boy the same age as my daughter, sadly his photograph is the one thing that has made people pay attention and so I won’t apologise for sharing it. These are real people, real children, fleeing, it could have been my daughter, your son.

There are millions more children just like Aylan who need help; the refugee crisis isn’t going to go away and I feel we have a moral obligation to join together and act accordingly. This is the worst humanitarian disaster of our time – The U.N. estimates that 7.6 million people are internally displaced. When you also consider refugees, more than half of the Syria’s pre-war population of 23 million is in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, whether they still remain in the country or have escaped across the borders. As we have seen, the risks of the journey to the border can be as high as the risks of staying, imagine weighing this up for your children, what choice do you have, what chance do they have?

Do something

The groundswell of grassroots campaigning and organising that I have been following has heartened me (North East Solidarity with Calais Refugees for local readers but there are lots of other local groups springing up nationally), people organising collections of goods and clothing, tents and shelters, encouraging donations and organising protests, ordinary people who want to stand together and say yes, we see you, we hear you, we stand by you. People asked what real difference can we as individuals make, we can speak with one voice and say refugees are welcome, we can raise awareness and we can give our money, time and resources. When I was contacted by a group of bloggers who suggested we get together as use our blogs as a collective voice I thought this was another way I could be involved.  I love how the blogging community gets behind a cause and each other and feel privileged to be part of this.

It could have been me

I am using my blog post to say ‘it could have been me’ and am making a donation to Save the Children as well as getting involved in local community activities.

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You can make a donation by TEXTING 70008 and the word SYRIA to donate £5 (see T&Cs) or you can make a web donation

There’s lots that you could do from the comfort of your own home.

Please don’t turn a blind eye.

Do Something to help.

Anything.

Whatever you decide, don’t choose apathy

#savesyriaschildren

Organic September with Soil Association

This is a bit of a teaser blog post as I’d usually be posting my bi-monthly organic roundup about now! I’m currently editing this month’s guide but as we’re in Organic September I’m kicking off the month with a little guide to going organic to raise awareness.

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This month the Soil Association is launching the biggest ever Organic September, the UK’s celebration of all things organic. With more people looking for healthy, ethical and local food, Organic September makes it even easier to eat and live well – with inspiring tips and recipes using good ingredients. Swapping to organic food has huge benefits for people, animal welfare and the environment, these swaps are small changes to our everyday shopping to help our planet. Last year I switched to organic eggs and organic milk, with our budget supermarkets offering organic dairy it’s a great swap at a good price, and one we’d kept up with all year.

Soil Association have shared their 5 top tips for Organic September with me and I thought my lovely readers might like to get involved, why not try one of these this month?

1. Switch to organic milk. Organic milk is naturally different – no system of farming produces milk with higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids or a healthier balance of omega-6.

2. Eat less, but better, organic meat. Organic animals enjoy the very highest welfare standards of any farmed animals. They are fed a GM free diet and graze on organic pasture where pesticides are severely restricted.

3. Switch to organic beauty. There are currently no legal standards for organic beauty so some products may be labelled ‘organic’ even if it doesn’t always stand true. Look for the Soil Association symbol to make sure that what you put on your body is as important as what goes in it.

4. Sign up for an organic veg box. Organic farms support 50% more wildlife than non-organic farms, so you’re not just treating yourself to the best of British produce, you’re also helping to protect bees, birds and butterflies.

5. Brew an organic tea or coffee. Organic tea and coffee is grown without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilisers. This not only reduces the farmers’ exposure in the developing world, it also means healthier soils and more habitats for birds and wildlife.

Are you making a swap this Organic September, if so what are you trading?

A jar of Seaham Seaglass

This summer Joss and I have visited the beach every week, exploring the Northumberland and Tyne and Wear coastlines and we’ve loved it!

When Think Money challenged us to fill a jam jar with our holiday memories for their Jam j-art project I had an idea that it would have a beachy theme, little did I know the treasure that would eventually come to fill our lovely kilner jar as we start to get ready for preschool!

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Our seaside visits took us to Seaham Beach, famed for its treasures – seaglass! Seaham seaglass is pretty special stuff. until almost a century ago there was a glassworks at Seaham and waste glass from the hand blown bottles was tipped into the sea, years on and polished by the sea these marine treasures can be found by keen eyed beachcombers. End of day glass is especially prized, tipped into the sea at the end of the day these pieces are multicoloured and so pretty!

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On our first trip we found a few small pieces which I blogged about at the time, and by the end of the summer we’d become a little bit addicted to the hunt and ended up with some beauties!

These are my favourites:

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Displayed in our kilner jar they’re a reminder of a summer of adventure, and as I’ve lightly oiled some of the more dense pieces to give a gorgeous glow keeping them under a lid keeps them dust free and vibrant!

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A ProjectLife tag with the date tied with some lovely ribbon from a dollypeg makes this a great memento!

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Disclaimer: Think Money provided me with the Kilner jar and a contribution towards project materials, all words and photographs are my own

#LoveNorthEast