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  • Leave Your Shoes At The Door

    New Africa: Shutterstock

    Its becoming more and more common for people to ask their guests to leave their shoes at the door when they enter their house. In a lot of European countries it goes without saying. Here’s a look at why you might want to start following suit.

    A lot of people don’t like shoes to be worn in their house simply because they can track mud, dirt and debris everywhere. But there are far more serious reasons to ask your guests to remove their shoes....other than having to clean the floors again!

    Research carried out by scientists at the University of Arizona found that the average shoe has roughly 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of it, whilst the inside harbours 2,887 units of bacteria.

    Just what kind of bacteria is lurking on your shoe?

    Some of the most dangerous ones are Escherichia coli, Serratia ficaria, and Klebsiellapneumonia, all of which can cause dangerous infections.

    There’s also Clostridium difficile, or C. Diff, a diarrhoea bacteria that is notoriously difficult to treat. Researchers found that 26.4 per cent of shoe soles studied tested positively for it.

    Not that we want to think about it, but the splashes from the toilets on the floors of public restrooms, and all the disgusting pathogens it can contain. Not only are your shoes picking up bacteria, but they can also pick up plant matter and soil that can help the bacteria thrive.

    It’s particularly concerning if you’ve walked through faecal matter such as that of dogs. Even if you don’t encounter many animals in your day, experts say that 93 per cent of shoes will test positive for faecal bacteria after a month of wear. Cleaning shoes with detergent several times can remove faecal bacteria and reduce overall bacteria on shoes by as much as 90 per cent – but who has time to do that every time they walk inside?

    If you’ve walked through grass, there’s also a chance your shoes will have a nice coating of fertilizer or pesticides on them. If you’ve crossed a street or walked through a garage wearing your shoes, you may well have gasoline or antifreeze on them. We want to keep all these nasties away from our homes where they could also circulate into the air you breathe.


    How can you help your guests to feel more comfortable about leaving their shoes at the door?

    Subtle messages, like having shoe racks as you enter the house can help a lot. Some of your friends may feel embarrassed by their feet so a basket of clean, cosy socks or slippers can be a great way to help your guests feel at ease.

    Africa Studio: Shutterstock

    The Scandinavian homes aren't just beautiful to look at, they have function and hygiene at the forefront of their design.

    You will find it hard to find a Scandinavian home with carpet throughout, instead they opt for wooden floors with cosy rugs. Bacteria can live a much longer life in a carpet, with the dirt burrowing deep into the weaves.

    Jafara: Shutterstock

    photography.eu


    Keep the dirt out and the fun times in

  • 4 Great Reasons to Fill Your Home with Plants

    Plants don’t just add a splash of green to your home, they also offer some wonderful health benefits


    Plants purify the air in your home

    One of the first lessons we are taught in science is that plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Knowing how important oxygen is to the systems in your brain, everything points towards having plants in your home is excellent for the air and for your breathing.

     

    Different species are adept at purifying different types of toxins.

    Here’s a look at a few:

    Peace lily or spathiphyllum, is very effective at removing airborne volatile organic compounds such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. It’s also easy to care for as it doesn’t require much light or water to stay healthy. Just keep in mind that it can be toxic to humans and pets.

     

    English ivy, or hedera helix, was shown in NASA’s Clean Air Study to remove toluene, xylene, formaldehyde and benzene from the air; it has also demonstrated the ability to reduce mould in your home. These plants like a constant temperature and lots of direct sunlight.

     

    Bamboo palm, or chamaedorea seifrixil, can effectively filter benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, trichloroethylene and toluene, and unlike many other air-filtering plants, this one isn’t toxic to your pets.  

     

    Spider plant, or chlorophytum comosum, is a hardy plant that is hard to kill, so it is perfect for those of us who simply were not born with a green thumb. It can fight against xylene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and benzene, and it’s also safe for pets. Best of all, it’s easy to grow.


    Plants can help you fight colds

    If purifying the air wasn’t enough of a benefit for you, it’s also worth noting that plants can help fight colds thanks to their ability to reduce dust and humidify the air. Some studies have shown that adding plants to hospitals and offices reduces colds, headaches, sore throats and fatigue, whilst plants like eucalyptus can even clear congestion.


    Plants can improve your sleep

    When you place certain indoor plants in your bedroom, it can improve your sleep. Plants like lavender, jasmine, gardenia and aloe vera provide a soothing effect for your mind and body that can help lower your stress and anxiety as well as your heart rate and blood pressure.


    Plants can boost your productivity

    Studies with workers and students have shown that working and studying with plants around you can improve your memory, concentration and productivity, with a University of Michigan study showing that being in the presenceof plants can boost memory retention by as much as 20 per cent. Meanwhile, Texas A&M researchers note that keeping plants in the workplace and home can boost concentration and memory retention and make work more accurate.


    Having a houseplant could have a significant positive impact on your health. The International Space Station has plants on it to help enhance air quality, a move that came about after extensive research by NASA into indoor air quality. NASA recommends that you place at least one plant in your home for every 100 square feet of space to get the benefits.

    NEED SOME PROFESSIONAL HELP?

    We came across Patch Plants and love what they do, so we wanted to share them with you. Patch Plants was founded by Freddie in 2015 and has fast become the go-to business for your year-round plant needs.

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    The wonder of nature

  • Natural Multi-Purpose Homemade House Cleaner

    Making better choices for your body and the environment doesn't mean that you have to scrimp on design...or in this case smell!

    A lot of recipes for home-made cleaners can leave you with such a strong vinegar smell. As much as we want to use less chemicals in our lives, I'm sure we don't want to go around smelling of vinegar 24/7.

    We have the answer....it may take longer to make, but once you're on a roll you will have a constant supply of delicious smelling, non-toxic household cleaner.

    WHAT YOU NEED

    5-8 Lemons (specifically the peels)

    White Vinegar

    Glass Jar

    Spray Bottle

    Peel the lemons, with as little white pith as possible as this can cause the solution to become a bit sticky.

    Put all the peel in a jar and fill with the white vinegar. Seal the jar and set aside for 2-3 weeks. This length of time allows for the vinegar smell to completely disappear.

    After 2-3 weeks your natural house cleaner will be ready!

    Fill a spray bottle 50/50 with solution and water and use.

  • How To Declutter with Kids

    by Elizabeth Meehan

    I personally feel the guilt when I get rid of my girls’ toys without their knowledge and I’ve experienced the struggle with clients too. We have this vision of a broken hearted 5year old when they discover they’re valuable stuffed toy from the fun fair has gone - 9 times out if 10 they don ’t, but it’s that slim chance that terrifies us. But we all know how suddenly attached they get to that half complete toy they got from a £1 machine in the local park cafe, or a toy they haven’t even looked at for months or even years; if we sit with them and try to get them to separate with anything they see as theirs it can be like pulling teeth and you end up after a long time only throwing out maybe a dried up bit of play-doh! Exasperating.

    However, I stopped with the toys and tried a clear out with my daughter’s wardrobe. This was a different story. She loved it and now most days she wants to do the whole process again. She creates three piles: Yes, No and Maybe; she creates her own responses to each piece of clothing, this may vary in arm movements, different head movements or whole body movements, indicating the Yes, No or Maybe category. A double tap of the head may mean Yes, a sudden whoosh of the up arm may mean No and a little wiggle of the body may mean maybe. She really enjoys it.

    We approach it in categories e.g. T-shirts, long sleeved tops, jumpers, trousers etc. In order for it not to be overwhelming we tend to do one category per evening whilst waiting for the bath to run; most of the time she wants to do more, so we may do another category whilst she’s drying off. She’s even keen when it comes to every pair of socks and knickers!

    She really enjoys deciding what to do with the unwanted pieces of items. Whether, it goes to her little sister, friends or a charity shop. This gives her a sense of control and a direct involvement in deciding what happens to her possessions. Which is very important when you are decluttering other peoples’ property.

    It has now transcended over to her toys and books - hallulah! We approach it by category, e.g puzzles, soft toys, dressing up clothes, etc. Not doing it in categories makes the whole process even more overwhelming and causes the reaction to hold on to everything and not let go. We also discuss where we can give her old toys, bringing in the subject of charity, schools, friends etc. So not only are you decluttering your home, you’re educating and nourishing their empathy and thoughtfulness. Again, loving the feeling of being involved and consulted on her toys.

    However, if there is still a struggle especially with items you know your little ones will never play with again, I do admit to hiding these items either in a cupboard away from their play area or the loft. I wait for about a week and if they haven’t been noticed I discard of them appropriately. If I need to to do a big clear out, I wait for the kids to be out of the house. There are times still where my 5 year still get attached.


    TOP TIPS

    1. Make it fun. Put music on, make up songs as you go along etc.
    2. Make them feel like they’re in control and tell them about passing things on
    3. Never keep broken toys or toys with missing parts.
    4. Do it when they’re not in if they can’t let go of anything.
    5. Think about toys you can put into storage for rotation.
    6. Place toys into categories eg all puzzles together, soft toys together.
    7. Invest in some storage. Create an orderly environment to create a calm space.

    The Great little Trading Company have an amazing range of storage solutions for any space and really fun designs for the storage cubes.

    Click to go to site...

    For a more adult friendly system, these ‘Drums’ from Camerich provide a chic and stylish solution. A leather finish on the base and a wooden lid.

    Click to buy...

    These play and go mats are great for toys like lego. Quick and easy to get out, play and pack away.

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    Ikea have always had good storage solutions at reasonable prices

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