Cleaner Home Hacks

You may find it hard to believe, but some people love housework. They thrive on the constant cleaning that is needed. Most of us feel the opposite though, and do it because we have to, not because we get any pleasure from it at all. Anything that will make the chores simpler is very welcome…

Cleaner Home Hacks

Declutter Your Home

Nothing will make your home look messier and hardest to clean than clutter. Create some storage space, put things in storage in your garage or shed, or get rid of some. Ornaments are just dust collectors, and although it can be nice to have one or two in your living room or dining room, do not have loads. You have to clean them before you can clean the shelf they are placed on, so they just create more work.

Look round your kitchen and see what appliances are taking up space on your work surfaces. Do you use them all often, or could some of them be fetched out of a cupboard for their occasional use? Decluttering your kitchen makes it much easier to clean, and you will have more room to work on your surfaces.

Bathrooms can have toiletries, bath toys, makeup and anything else put away until they are needed.

Simple To Care For Flooring

A dirty or dusty floor gives the impression of a dirty or dusty room, so keeping your floors looking pristine can make the whole house feel better. Carpets can be a lot of hard work and if they get stained they may be ruined. Real wood floors are expensive, and although they can look brilliant, they only stay that way with a lot of care.

The simplest way to have a floor that looks good, is stain and water resistant, and is easy to maintain too, is to install laminate flooring from Factory Direct Flooring. It not only has these advantages, it is cheaper than most other floor coverings.

Vinegar And Baking Soda

These two items that many homes will already have in their cupboards can help to make short work of some of the hardest cleaning tasks. Simple things like putting some baking soda in with your wash will make the clothes come out brighter. Soaking watermarks with white vinegar, which you can pick up on Amazon cheaply, for a while will make them much easier to clean. Mixed together they can work wonders on a dirty oven or grubby pots and pans.

Forget the chemical cleaners. With these two products, you can do amazing things. Put some vinegar in water in a bowl in your microwave and set it to high for 5 minutes. Wipe out with a paper towel for a spotless microwave oven. If you have any stubborn stains, have the setting for 10 minutes.

Two short cycles of your dishwasher, the first with vinegar in a bowl and the second with baking soda sprinkled on the bottom, will bring your dishwasher up like new, and get rid of any nasty smells coming from it.

Mop dustpan and broom

There are lots of tricks to make your home cleaning less of a chore, and these three tips are just a start.

What are your top tips? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

B.A.B Courses: Workshops and Courses For Parents Where Your Children Are Welcome (Bring A Baby/ Child Courses)

BAB courses (Bring A Baby courses) are workshops and courses for parents but without the childcare hassle and cost! Bring your baby or child with you where they will be looked after in the same room. Perfect for parents of young children and home educators. Develop your skills or pursue your own interests without worrying about childcare. Tutors focus on parents, skilled playworkers focus on children. Support not separation. Based in Harrow. North London. Discount code available – 5% off all bookings!

*Disclosure: The following post is not a sponsored post. I have not been on any of these courses or workshops myself but I love the concept behind them and genuinely believe they will be of interest to my readers who live in the London area. I know Maxine, Business Manager, personally and have no doubt that these are excellent – hence I am helping to promote them!

My discount code is LLOW18 for 5% off any booking. This is an affiliate code, which means I receive a small commission if you use it.

Bring A Baby Course - B.A.B courses for adults

Is every fun activity in your schedule for your kids?

Have you forgotten the last time you were able to do something for yourself?

It happens to every parent, and perhaps even more so for some home educating families. Between shuttling children around to meets far and wide, finding enriching activities, supporting their latest interests and providing their education, as well as all the other usual parenting stuff, time for anything else is often somewhat limited.

What if there was a way for you to carve out time for your own interests and you were able to take your kids along too?

A fantastic new business in Harrow, North West London, is providing our community with just that.

Bring a Baby Courses have developed an exciting range of courses and workshops for adults focused on teaching new skills from photography to cake decorating, embroidery to rock climbing! And the best bit? All students bring their children with them!

BaB Courses are fully home ed friendly and welcome children between the ages of 0-13 yrs. Business manager Maxine Taylor home educated her own daughter and is very aware of the unique set of circumstances that home educators face.

“Home educating families are so so welcome on a BaB Course. I know how hard it is to divide yourself so many ways when home educating and to have no time to put into your own self development. We have highly trained play workers to support the children in class while their parents learn. We plan and plan and plan our activities based on the ages of the children coming – so each course has a different approach for the children. Older children might like to learn alongside the parent too. Of course, children are children and some weeks a child may not want to leave their parent’s side. It’s normal and we don’t force anything. That’s why classes are an hour and a half rather than your typical one hour class. ”

Bring A Baby Courses for adults. Support not separation.

How does it work?

Classes are small – usually no more than 8 parents and their children. Tutors focus on the parents and specialist play workers focus 100% on the children. Everyone is in the same room and all students have their children with them, creating a wonderful relaxed atmosphere of support.

What may sound crazy is in reality a breath of fresh air receiving 5* reviews from London parents.

The BAB team have something unique and wonderful – being able to take children along and have them entertained and cared for without having to worry about leaving them was really refreshing. The children were always welcome to approach us if they needed to but generally didn’t as they were having so much fun and we got to focus on the course. Crystal Miles 2018

I cannot recommend this course enough! Being able to do something for me whilst not feeling guilty about it because my 2 year old was having just as much fun! The staff were amazing and I learnt a new skill which I will be able to continue at home. Rachel Moncur 2017

It was really good to be able to concentrate on the course knowing that my child was happily engaged but able to come to me if he needed me. We both had a fab time and my son enjoyed it so much he wants me to do more! Julie Grace Cunningham

Location

All courses are currently run in central Harrow, with easy access to public transport and free parking available.

September Classes

These are the courses and workshops available this September…

B.A.B Bring A Baby Course - creative family photography course

Creative Family Photography Course £235

This is a unique 6 week photography course for parents. You will learn how to get the most out of your digital camera and get the best shots of your family and the best bit is your favourite subject is there too!

Cake decorating workshop by B.A.B (Bring A Baby courses)

Cake Decorating Workshop £65

The Enchanted Teddy Bear Picnic cupcake class is a great way to get to grips with a range of skills. You will be working with both fondant and buttercream and the course will introduce you to various techniques to create a set of 6 beautifully decorated cupcakes to take home for you and your family.

Climbing workshop B.A.B courses Bring A Baby courses for adults

Climbing Workshop £45

B.A.B courses have teamed up with Harrowall to bring you an exciting climbing experience. This hour and a half session will take you through the basics but also to breathtaking heights.

Bring A Baby introduction to knitting course

Introduction to Knitting Course £200

This unique 5 week course has been created for parents to learn the basics of knitting and you’ll be creating two fantastic pieces to take home and show off.

Personalised jewellery workshop B.A.B courses

Personalised Jewellery Workshop £195

This unique Jewellery workshop teaches students how to create incredible replicas of their children’s drawings, handprints or handwriting as beautiful silver charms that can be kept forever and turned into a pendant, bracelet or cufflinks as an end product for students to take away with them.

Hand embroidery course Bring A Baby course for adults

Hand Embroidery Course £200

This beautiful course will help you take one of your child’s drawings or a drawing of your child’s handprint and using embroidery and scraps of your favourite children’s clothes turn it into a special personalised cushion to treasure forever.

DISCOUNT ON ALL BOOKINGS!

To get a 5% discount of any booking please quote the following code: LLOW18

For more information, or to book a workshop/ course, see the website or drop them an email.

Website: www.bab-courses.co.uk
Email: contact@bab-courses.co.uk

How To Keep Kids Happy On Long Car Journeys

It is the summer holidays and England is enjoying a lengthy heatwave, which most likely means fun days out and sunny staycations. However, it also potentially means braving long road trips with the kids too! If you are wondering how to survive the car journey and all stay sane, here are some of my top tips…

How To Keep Kids Happy On Long Car Journeys

Be Prepared

This motto is not just for scouts! Time your journey for evening, if your children sleep well in the car and don’t mind the disruption to their bedtime routine, or opt to travel whenever they are most likely to be chilled in the car. A badly timed journey is so much more stressful than it needs to be!

Comfort

If you are going on an exceptionally long journey, it maybe worth considering the actual car you are using. Comfortable seats, space and even down to basics such as air con, are more than just a luxury if you are planning a long distance road trip!

Assuming it is not going to be practical to invest in a new car specifically for this purpose, you could consider hiring one. This could also be of benefit for safety, reliability and fuel costs. For example, The New BMW 5 Series was voted WhatCar? ‘Overall Car of the Year’ 2017 and reviews well on space and comfort, and has surprising low running costs too. You could even look at secondhand deals on something like this BMW 5 Series, if you travel long journeys by car often. You can find BMW 5 Series For Sale here.

Interior picture of BMW

Have Essentials On Hand

Have snacks, drinks, (reusable) wipes and other essentials easily available on hand. It is much easier to organise this in advance than it is to have to make additional stops just to find essential items, and is especially helpful if you get stuck in traffic and your plan for a scheduled lunch/ snack/ dinner stop goes awry. Of course the driver will still need to take a rest too, but some careful organisation will avoid the inevitable hunger upsets if you do find yourself stuck in long queues!

Queue of traffic in rear view car mirror

Entertainment

Car journeys tend to be somewhat more relaxing if the children are not bored! Taking a couple of favourite toys to play with is a good start. Books are good in theory, but reading can make travel sickness worse so audio books might be a better choice for the car. A tablet with a favourite film, kids TV programmes or fun apps might well keep them occupied for a decent chunk of the journey, so that may help with at least some of the travelling time, but it is handy to have alternatives too. Travel games and card games (Top Trumps etc…) add some variety to a long journey; there are plenty to choose from. You can also resort to classics like ‘eye spy’ if you get stuck!

Boy sitting on top of car, through sun roof.

Emergency Supplies

It is useful to have some emergency supplies ready, that you will hopefully not need, but just incase of the unfortunate scenario that you do. I wholeheartedly recommend having a sick bucket and tissues in the car, even if your child/ren doesn’t usually get car sick. A change of clothes is also useful. If your child has any medications, keep a dose in the car – in the event of a delay at least you don’t have to worry about stuff like that then. Also keep a blanket in the car for any eventuality.

Last but not least, don’t forget paracetamol incase the journey still ends up causing a headache, despite all your best laid plans – but fingers crossed you won’t need it if you follow this advice! Enjoy your roadtrip!!!

What are your top tips for long car journeys? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Social Responsibility: Top Tips For Looking After Our Environment

We are all jointly responsible for our environment. Individuals and organisations need to all work together to protect our planet; we all have a part to play and even small actions help to make a big difference. Glasdon (a cool company who supply all sorts of recycling options, such as bins etc…) have released a really useful e-book all about being socially responsible. Here are some of their top tips for looking after our environment…

Social Responsibility: Top Tips For Looking After Our Environment

At Home

The first thing to do at home is reduce the amount of waste you create, such as food, packaging or even clothing. Try to buy items that use less packaging, meal plan and buy only the food you will use and opt for a capsule wardrobe of slow fashion items. Switch to reusable items as much as possible, freeze any leftover food and take old clothes to charity shops. Last but not least, recycle what is left wherever possible.

The second key thing to do at home is to save energy, which will conserve the Earth’s natural resources. Simply turning off light switches and plug sockets when not in use will help to reduce your power consumption. You can also help by switching to a clean energy supplier too.

Unplugged plug

On The Go

There are various ways you can help to protect the environment whilst on the go. One of the most highlighted ones here in the UK is reusable shopping bags. Plastic bags can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose. It was reported that in 2014 over 7.6 billion single-use carrier bags were given to customers by major supermarkets in England. This equates to around 240 bags per person, the equivalent of around 61,000 tonnes. Since the 5p charge scheme was introduced the number of plastic bags used in England has reduced by 80%.

You can also ditch plastic straws in favour of more environmentally- friendly alternatives, switch to reusable coffee cups and water bottles, and opt out of single- use containers by taking your own. Last but not least, look for recycling bins whilst out in the community to discard recyclables.

Reuse bag surrounded by leaves and nature

At Work

Companies can make small changes, such as going paperless and recycling. They can also help financially by supporting local environmental charities and campaigns. Other ways that companies can make a positive impact is to celebrate key events, such as World Environment Day, using their social media to raise awareness, hold local community awareness events and also provide opportunities for employees to volunteer within the local community too. Whilst an individual employee may not be able to influence all of these ideas into action, you can certainly approach management to raise these suggestions.

Educating Our Children

We can teach our children social responsibility from a young age by setting a good example to them. Show them through your own actions and talk with them about why it is important. Encourage children to help with simple tasks, such as litter picking and sorting recycling. Shaping eco- friendly attitudes and behaviours from a young age is vital to the future of our planet.

In Summary

As Glasdon explain: “By adopting the mind-set that your individual changes can help to make the world a more sustainable place, you can inspire others around you to follow suit. Working together to make better, more mindful decisions surrounding sustainability will ensure we continue to protect and grow the environment for generations to come.”

What steps do you take to improve the environment? Tell me in comments! And don’t forget to join the conversation by using the hashtag #MySocialSpirit too.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Home Buyers Bible: Make Sure You Do These Things Before Your Move

Moving house can be an exciting time in your life, but it can also be pretty nerve-wracking as well. You are going to be parting with more money than you ever have before in your life, so you need to be sure you are making the right choice. There are so many things that can go wrong in the process of buying a home, as well as so many things that people aren’t even aware of these days.

You need to make sure you are in the best position to be making the right choice regarding your new home. There is so much to think about, and this is such an important process. It is essential to think about how you can make the ideal choice and pick the perfect home for you. There are a lot of things you need to do before your move, and these are some of the most important.

Home Buyers Bible: Make Sure You Do These Things Before Your Move

Check Out the Area

Head to the area before you actually finalise any kind of move, and check it out. This is something you should be doing at the start of the process when you are choosing where you want to live. Visiting a town or city before moving there is the best way of getting a feel for it, and this is something you need to do asap. You will soon be able to tell if it is a nice area or one that should be avoided.

Understand all the Costs

There are a lot of costs involved when you buy a home, and this isn’t just accounting for the deposit and the mortgage payments. There is stamp duty, solicitors fees, you may have to pay estate agents if you’ve used any; there is also tax to think about. It is so important to know what all the costs are before you actually confirm or finalise anything because you need to know if you can afford it.

Hire a Surveyor

Before finalising a place, you would like to buy you need to make sure that the home is in the best condition it can be. This means getting in touch with companies like Allcott Associates Surveyors and bringing in professional surveyors. They will be able to assess the quality of the home and make you aware of any structural issues. This is something you have to do early on because it will help inform your decision.

Modern apartment block

Finalise Your Sale

Before you buy your new home, you are most likely going to want to make sure you have secured a sale for your existing home. This is crucial because you are going to need to sell the home before you can afford to buy the new one. So, making sure you have secured a sale before you actually buy is really important, and all about timing.

It is pretty clear that you’re going to need to make sure you get these parts of the process right before you move forward. They are essential for ensuring you have the perfect home, and that you’ve made the right financial choice for your future. Think about all the decisions you have made before, and consider what it takes to make the perfect choice here. These factors will set you well on your way to making sure you have chosen the home of your dreams.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Essential Tips For Moving Home

Are you planning to move home? I personally have moved over a dozen times in my life, including property purchases and sales, to and from rentals, as a single, in a couple, and with Squiggle. Our last three moves have been since becoming a parent and that is not easy, that’s for sure! Moving can be stressful whether you have a family in tow or not, but there are ways to help ensure a smooth(er) move. Here are some tips, based on our experiences…

Essential Tips For Moving Home text with image of hand holding keys

House Hunting

There are so many tips for house hunting, I think this would need a post of its own! In very brief summary; consider the area, local facilities, what the neighbourhood and that particular road is like, the house itself (layout, type of build/ style, state of repair etc…), your actual neighbours and so on. Ask questions of the vendor to find out why they are selling too.

First Time Buyers

As first time buyers, we were a little over eager and rushed into it somewhat. We also totally underestimated the costs involved!

My advice would be to haggle and don’t be afraid to walk away. Take your time to think about what you really want from a home; what your priorities are and what you are prepared to compromise on. Take into account the cost of surveys, solicitor fees, stamp duty and actual moving day costs, as well as any other expenses, and make sure you have enough set aside for any unexpected eventualities too!

House with a for sale sign

Buying and Selling

We found buying and selling hugely stressful and had a horrendous experience. We made alot of rookie mistakes, but we were also quite unlucky, and I think we certainly should have chosen our solicitor more carefully too, to be honest. I won’t go into the finer details on this post (maybe one day!) but it’s not an experience I would like to repeat!

All of my above advice for first time buyers applies here too. Remember there will be greater expense, especially in solicitors fees, if you are buying and selling at the same time. Make sure you have a good solicitor and keep in regular communication with your chain.

If you need to pull out during the process for any reason, do not let other members of the chain pressure you into proceeding regardless, if your reasons for doing so can not be fully resolved. However, if the chain starts to crumble elsewhere down the line, see if there is any way of helping to resolve the issues as this is mutually beneficial. The bottom line is, moving home is a huge expense, so only go ahead if and when you are 100% sure.

Renting

We have rented many homes, some short term and some longer term. We rented when we were younger but we also rent our family home now too. These days we are very specific about what we are looking for but before we had a child to consider, we were somewhat more versatile!

If you are renting, you need to think about whether it is a long term let (worth asking about the landlord’s situation in our experience), is it furnished or unfurnished, and do they allow pets. If it is a shared house, you also need to consider who your housemates will be of course. If it is a family home and/ or long term let especially, you are also likely to want to take into account the tips mentioned for house hunting above too.

Practical Tips For The Actual Move

My top tip for the actual move is to enlist plenty of help! Depending on how much stuff you have, how busy you are, and how far you are moving, largely dictates how much help, and what type, you are likely to need.

Squiggle and Andy carrying items from van

Many people, including ourselves, pack up their own belongings to cut costs and save some money, rather than paying a full service removal company. We have often hired a van ourselves too, especially if we are only moving locally. However, I would recommend getting some friends or family to help, or alternatively hire a man with a van to assist. We did this before and it certainly relieved some of the stress!

For example Man and Van services – The man van operates in the London area and offers a cost effective solution to moving home or office. There is a choice of a smaller van if you have less stuff or a larger Luton van for a whole house move. As long as you can fit all your belongings and furniture into one load, or if it is just a very short journey (for example we once moved just a few streets away) then this often a more economical solution that a larger removal company and more practical than doing it entirely yourself.

Another tip is to be organised. Arrange to get the keys as early as you can in the day to allow yourself more moving time. With rentals you can allow yourself a small overlap, if finances and circumstances permit, to take the pressure off somewhat. Bare in mind when buying a house though, the keys are not usually released until the solicitor has received your money. So make sure they will be available and easily contactable on the day!

Do you have any top tips for moving? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

The Music Shuffle

I love a good fellow blogger inspired random post now and again! Sarah at Mummy Cat Notes tagged me in her recent post asking; what’s in my music library?

Now, most of my music is sadly ‘lost’ at the moment on a non- functional laptop, so I only have a small selection of songs from the playlists on my phone. But I will give them a shuffle anyway and name the first 15 songs.

Here goes…

Kaiser Chiefs. Live onstage at Bedford. The Music Shuffle text.

1. Mr Brightside ~ The Killers

Absolutely has to be number one on any decent playlist to be fair, shuffle did good.

2. Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor ~ Arctic Monkeys

Ah! Memories of early 00s and fun times!

3. One Day Like This ~ Elbow

This is my feel good song.

4. Laid ~ James

Reminds me of drunken nights with Venture Scouts and Sixth Form friends.

5. Cake By The Ocean ~ DNCE

This is on my playlist primarily because I choreographed a routine to this for Squiggle’s home ed dance class last year! But also, I secretly love it too!

6. Never Miss A Beat ~ Kaiser Chiefs

My faves. Amazing live.

7. Love Shack ~ B52s

Hmm. This fabulous cheese snuck onto my list. No idea how that happened…. (Ok I confess, but who doesn’t love this song?!)

8. She Moves In Her Own Way ~ Kooks

Reading festival live. 2006 I think? Watched them alone. Glad I did – they were awesome!

9. Insomnia ~ Feeder

I loved Feeder back in the 90s and was very happy to see them live again last year.

10. Best Of You ~ Foo Fighters

Another all time fave band.

11. By The Way ~ Red Hot Chili Peppers

See above. X 2.

12. Vertigo ~ U2

Dunno why I love this one. But I do.

13. Dakota ~ Stereophonics

14. Shut Up & Dance ~ Walk The Moon

Love it.

15. Livin’ On A Prayer ~ Bon Jovi

My mum loved Bon Jovi so reminds me of my childhood and of her. I also saw them live, which was cool. And, more recently, saw a cool cover band at a local venue when one of my favourite people in the entire world. So pretty happy this came up! Yay!

My Shuffle

I will admit, I did remove any extra songs from the same artist from my list, because it was rather boring otherwise. So it wasn’t actually a truly random shuffle… but it was close!

The Rules

Thank the person who nominated you for this tag and link to their blog.

Shuffle your entire music library (no matter how old songs the songs are) and talk about the first fifteen songs that come up (anything like why they are there, if they signify something, any story, why you like them, etc.)

Mention the songs as well as the artists.

Tag 5 people or more to do this tag and please let them know!

Your turn…

Pass the Prosecco Please

Hampshire Mama

Spencersarc

Inspire Gratitude Manifest

Mrs Mactivity

www.life-as-mum.co.uk

Do You Know What Stuff Not To Flush? (A Really Useful Guide To Drains)

Do you know what should – and more to the point, shouldn’t – go down your drains? A whopping 93.9% of people declare that they are confident knowing what should and shouldn’t be poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet, leaving only 6.1% saying they are not too sure.

Infographic % of people knowing what should flush or pour down drains

But are they correct? UKDN have conducted some research to find out more about what people put down their drains – What The Flush? – and discovered that many people don’t quite have their facts straight after all.

Do You Know What Stuff Not To Flush? (A Really Useful Guide To Drains)

Down the Drain

When asked what items they pour down the sink, almost a quarter admitted to pouring cooking oil (24.7%) and coffee granules (24.7%) down the sink. Worse still, just under half the people surveyed – 43.5% of them – pour sauces down their drain. Other culprits included meat fat (22.3% of people) and actual food leftovers (18.4%). So it seems some people don’t have it quite right after all…

What do you pour down the sink infographic

Bathroom Habits

The research also looked into what goes on in the bathroom; which items people flush away or pour down their bathroom drains. Whilst I was less surprised to see that 18.6% confess that their hair goes down the plug hole, I was disappointed to find out that a small minority of people still flush away their sanitary wear (10.6% for tampons and 8.6% towels) and was even more shocked to discover that 5.5% of people flush away nappies, 3.7% cigarette butts and 4.7% also dispose of condoms this way too?! Wet wipes are a massive issue as well, so it was sad to see 14.1% of people are still yet to get the message about those.

What items do you flush or pour down bathroom drains? Infographic.

So what’s the issue?

There has been plenty of media attention about wet wipes lately, the main problem being that they are made of non biodegradeable plastic. Packaging is often misleading too, stating they are flushable, which causes a huge amount of concern for our environment. Some research suggests wet wipes account for as much as 93% of blockages in UK sewers and many campaigners would like to see a ban on them altogether.

But, of course, it is not just the wet wipes that are the issue here. Even the kitchen items which, whilst in theory might seem less of an issue as at least these are more organic matter, still block up drains. Oil can solidify, food lumps together, sauces congeal, and so on.

All of this combined is then the real major issue; because put together it creates a solid mass known as a fatberg. A fatberg is a congealed lump in a sewer system formed by the combination of non-biodegradable solid matter, such as wet wipes, with grease or cooking fat. They have become an increasing problem in recent years. The remains of a massive fatberg found in London sewers is even on display at The Museum of London to try to highlight the problem!

How would you feel if a fatberg was discovered in your street? Infographic

In addition to this issue, other single-use plastics, which never break down completely and cause huge issues for marine life, are also being sent off to pollute our environment. Along with the various other items, if they don’t turn into fatbergs and block our sewers on the way, still end up somewhere they shouldn’t be! All of which leads to damaging effects on our environment, water and wildlife. One way or another, it causes an issue.

Furthermore, when our drains get blocked at home, harsh chemicals are often then required to unclog them too, leading to yet further pollution. Clearly the best solution would be to just stop doing all this in the first place!

Plug hole

Top Tips

So here are my top tips to help keep drains unblocked and to develop more environmentally- friendly habits in your home…

• Avoid putting oil, fat, sauce, coffee and food waste down your kitchen drain by disposing of it correctly. For oil, fat and sauce either let it solidify then tip it into the trash, or pour it into a non- recyclable container and throw it away. Small amounts of solidified waste can be put in with food waste in some areas – check with your local council. Coffee granules and all food leftovers also go in your food waste bin.

• Keep hair out of your bathroom drains by brushing it thoroughly before you shower. Use a plug hole guard if you are prone to shedding and ensure you remove any trapped hair then discard it before it has a chance to disappear into your drain.

• If you use coconut oil (or any other type of natural oil) to wash your hair, try to rinse it off into a bowl so that it doesn’t wash down your drain. Failing that, run the hot tap for several minutes straight after rinsing, provided the tap comes out with very hot water. Or pour boiling water down the drain straight after use.

• Try to replace disposables with reusables if at all possible. If you do use single-use items, dispose of them correctly. This usually means in the bin, unless it can be recycled!

• Use home-made unblocker if needed. Try using baking soda and white vinegar to clear your drains. It will fizz up and create bubbles instantly; pour it down the drain as quickly as possible. Follow it up with boiling water later on.

• Contact UKDN drain unblocking service if you are experiencing issues with blocked drains. Sometimes a professional is needed!

I hope this advice is helpful. Have you discovered any useful drainage tips? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Meetchu Dating App: Review

Oooh, I have something a little different to write about today – and I admit to being quite excited about this! Whilst I am not interested in dating (or available!) personally, I have single friends who use dating apps, and quite frankly I have sometimes felt like I am somehow missing out on the fun of these! I have always been quite intrigued to know what they are really like. I guess not least of all because I hate feeling like I am ‘out of touch’ with anything – that is so not me – I like to know everything! So when I was given the opportunity to review Meetchu – a cool new dating app with a twist – I found myself saying yes

Meetchu Dating App: Review. Couple holding hands walking down the street. Into the sunset.

About Meetchu

So as I mentioned above, meetchu has a twist – prospective love interests can actually ‘meet’ each other before they meet up, via video or voice calling directly through the app. This means that you can get to know someone abit better before deciding whether to meet in real life, and you never have to give out your phone number to anyone.

Meetchu app icon

Setting Up

Meetchu verifies who you are by connecting to Facebook. This provides an extra layer of security to avoid getting catfished, which is good. It is also really handy as you can then access your facebook photos to upload to your profile, which makes setting up quick and easy.

Meetchu dating app home screen

You can include photos and short 10 second videos on your profile, as well as some details about yourself and what you are looking for. There are various options to choose from under settings, which helps to narrow down your search so you are more likely to find your true match! For example, you can specify gender and age range. In the premium version you can also specify distance too.

Edit profile screenshot

Using Meetchu

The app is very easy to use; simply heart or swipe right if you’re interested, of click the x or swipe left if not. Matches are then found at the bottom section of the screen. Aside from their photos/ video clips, it also tells you age and distance. I would possibly like a little further info before chatting ideally, but on the otherhand it does help to keep too many personal details away from strangers, which helps me feel more secure.

If you are a match (i.e. you both swipe right or heart) then you can video chat or call each other through the app. I really like this because it means you definitely know who are meeting – no catfishing! It makes the idea of online dating somewhat safer. (Although you still need to take sensible precautions when meeting someone for the first time, of course!)

Another security feature that I really like is that you can delete your messages from the other person’s phone at any time. I think this is a really good idea!

Meetchu app in use. Swipe left or right.

Overall

I love the attention to security and ‘meet before you meet’ concept. Who knows if you might find your true love on this app; either way, you’ll have fun trying!

Join for free!

Download the app using my code to receive a one month’s free premium membership!

This gives you unlimited voice and video calling, as well as unlocking all the emojis. Premium membership also allows users to refine search location. Last but not least, it means you can jump the queue and be seen first in match searches! Premium membership costs from £4.99 per month.

Happy couple

Have you ever tried Meetchu? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclosure: I was given free download for the purpose of this review and was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Trint Transcription Software: Review

Trint is a clever piece of software that transcribes any video and audio files into text. It was founded by Jeff Kofman, a former war correspondent for CNN. Jeff had to manually transcribe thousands of interviews throughout his career, so he decided to develop Trint, to save people the hours of time and effort it takes to transcribe manually.

Trint is useful for a range of purposes, such as journalists and broadcasters, podcasters and content creators, or for students transcribing lectures. It’s also helpful for those who cannot write or type often, which makes it an excellent tool for those with SEND or accessibility needs.

How it works

Here is a short video explaining how Trint works…

Prices

Trint has various pricing options. You can pay as you go at £13.20 per hour. Or you can subscribe to either the basic package for 3 hours per month at £36 or the supercharged package at £100 for 100 hours. For both subscriptions, unused minutes can be carried over for up to 60 days. You can cancel anytime.

Trint’s video to text transcription software is also available via Adobe Premiere Pro, thanks to the newly added plug-in.

A review of trint subscription software text. Background image in grey of laptop, notebook and pen.

My Review

I tried Trint on my android, but the website is so easy to navigate anyway that it probably wouldn’t make difference what device you use, which is useful. As I mentioned above, it can also be used directly on Adobe too. I didn’t test this out personally but I imagine it is very useful!

The software couldn’t be simpler to use; you literally just select the video clip or audio you want to transcribe and click the button. You can also create folders for the files so everything is nice and organised.

Screenshot on my Trint folders.

Trint takes roughly the same length of time as the video clip itself. That is speedy transcribing! It did seem to glitch slightly when I tried to select multiple videos, and a couple of times it got stuck when I was trying to open the transcribed files. However, admittedly I tend to multi-task so that was likely more a reflection on my phone’s capabilities, and my impatience, than this software! Aside from that, the process of transcribing it was incredibly easy.

Trint screenshot of the actual transcription.

In terms of accuracy, overall it did very well in the right situations. It clearly struggled with Squiggle’s voice generally, although it fared somewhat better with her in a Q&A style video with myself. It does suggest that ideally the speaker should be close to the camera and to speak in a clear voice without background noise, so that might also have improved the outcomes.

Of course, the vast majority of users would be adults anyway though, so let’s find out how well it did with me…

As you can see it is very accurate with only a couple of minor errors. Andy also tested it on a longer video presentation he did and it was almost perfect, aside from some missed punctuation, which would have just been down to his presentation style. So he was very impressed!

Overall, Trint is very useful if used in the right contexts (i.e. in situations where the speaker on the recording is very loud and clear, with an adult pitch voice, without too much background intereference). It could certainly save time, effort and money in transcriptions – it is much easier than doing it yourself manually, and far cheaper than hiring someone else to do it!

Find out more about Trint on their website: trint.com

*Disclosure: I was given free minutes for the purpose of review and compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.