Candle of the Month: May – Yankee Candle Peony

Well, it’s been quite a quiet month on the blog, and it’s been a quiet month on the candle front too. I had a severe hand injury a couple of weeks ago, and while I’m incredibly grateful to have my finger intact, it’s a slow healing process and has made a lot of ordinary things quite difficult. However, there’s a lot of wedding planning been happening, and while I could have probably done with some calming scents, the truth is I haven’t relaxed often enough to think about candles much!

I have really enjoyed the Peony sampler from Yankee though, which I first mentioned to you in my February Candle of the Month post and Serenity Collection review. It’s faintly sweet, with something not dissimilar to peach, and the subtlest hint of a peppery undertone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s unmistakably floral, as you would expect, but not overwhelmingly so. I’m not normally a huge fan of overly floral scents, but I find this quite pretty, and quite a calming scent. It’s relatively fresh for floral, and very fitting as a fragrance from the Spring range.

I took the photos early on in the month when first burning this (between the blog and my Instagram account, I find it’s useful if I photograph everything, all the time) so you can’t see much use from the votive, but since then, it has burnt very evenly – as samplers tend to do from Yankee, which is always a pleasure. There’s nothing worse than a candle that you can only use half of, because of a poor and uneven burn. In terms of scent throw, I’d give it a pretty decent score. For a single sampler, this did very well, especially for our moderately sized bedroom. After a very short burn time, the fragrance literally filled the room.

It’s a perfect Spring scent, and a nice change from the citruses I usually covet. It’s funny to think we’ll be heading into Summer next month, I feel like Spring only just arrived. Though, in terms of scents, I love citruses and cool green teas all year round. I am however, trying my best to work through my candle collection and burn as much as I buy, although I’m so keen to buy the new scents from the Yankee Riviera Escape collection. I’ve had a real hankering for a peach scent recently (no doubt the time of year) so I’m looking forward to trying the Summer Peach scent, and the Olive & Thyme, Riviera Escape and Sea Salt & Sage all sound gorgeous too. Watch this space, I know I’ll end up reviewing them!

For now, I’m going to enjoy the rest of this Springtime bloom scent, and keep on track with the wedding planning. Hopefully I’ll be back here again in a few days with something new so  be sure to check back in a  little while.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Tips For Quicker And Easier Cleaning

If you haven’t read my earlier posts, I’ll be totally honest yet again. I am not the tidiest or cleanest person. I wish I was. It isn’t difficult, and I could  definitely make more time for it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the messiest person by a long shot, but I’m much happier in a very tidy space, and am working towards making my house so.

There are a few tips that spring to mind when I start tidying up, so I thought I’d share them today, and who knows, perhaps as I get a little tidier, I’ll have more tips to share.

1. Cleaning vs. Tidying
What is it you want to do? Do you need to clean, tidy up, or both? You can’t clean if you can’t see your surfaces. Or your floor. If you have a good tidy first, you might realise the house isn’t as bad as you first thought.

2. Little At A Time
I’m not suggesting you drag cleaning out, or procrastinate more than you tidy, but at the same time, don’t overwhelm yourself. If every room in the house needs sorting, start with one task. If you do the dishes, or tidy away everything that’s out of place, you’ll feel like you’ve achieved something, and most likely be motivated to carry on.

3. Pick Up As You Go
This will make the whole cleaning process more straightforward and quicker to achieve. If you get into the habit of picking up as you go, and returning items to where they belong after you’ve finished with them, you won’t have the big task of tidying to complete before you get on with the cleaning. Just think, when you leave one room to go to another, is there anything you could take with you? Grabbing a snack from the kitchen, take your dirty cup with you. Need the bathroom? Grab the sweater you left on the chair and toss it in the laundry bin when you go. Leaving the house for work? Take the rubbish out. It really is just a habit, and one I’m trying hard to master myself!

4. Rubbish Out
So, with that said, a task I like to get done straight away is taking the trash out. I grab a big bag, empty the bedroom waste paper baskets, the bathroom bin, any loitering rubbish or receipts or junk mail and get it out the house. It instantly feels like you’re a little bit closer to clean!

5. Multitask And Make Your Time Count
If I have dishes from the night before (terrible, I know, but it’s regular here as we eat SO late), I run a bowl of hot water and let them soak. I run upstairs and spray the bathtub, toilet, sink and shower door, and then empty the rubbish as above.
Buy the time the rubbish is in the bin, the bathroom is ready to wipe down, and after the five minutes that all takes, the dishes are presoaked and simple to wash! No scrubbing for me!

6. Let Cleaner Sit For A Few Minutes
Always follow the instructions for your specific cleaning product, but a lot of deep cleaning or antibacterial sprays recommend being left for a couple of minutes before being wiped down. Let the cleaner do it’s job, and do the hard work for you. It cleans better, and saves you some elbow grease.

7. Tackle The Microwave
If you’ve let food splatter the microwave and not wiped it immediately, chances are it’s now a pain in the butt to remove, and a job you don’t want to face. Learn your lesson for next time, and get on and solve the current situation. Microwave a mug half full of water for a minute, and the wipe down with warm water and vinegar. I don’t like to use harsh chemicals on something like the microwave, and vinegar works perfectly. I usually use the hot water from the mug to help, so be careful.

8. Vinegar
In addition to that, vinegar is brilliant for loads of household chores. I won’t list here as it’s a post on it’s own and there’s HEAPS of information out there on the web. Have a gander. You’ll be surprised.

9. Newspaper For Glass
One vinegar use I will share here, however, is for glass. With newspaper, it works a treat. For mirrors, and even the shower door (get the soap off first) it works a treat and leaves a perfect streak free shine. The smell does not linger, and the newspaper doesn’t leave marks. It really works better than any artificial cleaner and cloth.

10. Lint Roller Lampshades
This is one of my favourite little tips. It’s not original, but it’s too good not to share. It picks up dust and fluff perfectly, just as you’d expect a lint roller to do.

11. Put Laundry Away Straight Away
If you tumble dry your clothes, put them away once it’s done. As soon as you leave a simple chore for a few hours, or even overnight (or longer) you start to dread it more. The longer you leave it, the less you want to do it. Which is strange, because it takes just minutes to do, is an easy task, and is so much nicer once it’s done.
We don’t use a tumble dryer, but I still make the effort to fold and put away the clothes as soon as they’ve air-dried.

12. Dust First, Vacuum Last
This is a simple one, but good to remember. Don’t go to the effort of hoovering only to cover your fresh carpets in dust from your surfaces and decorative objects. Dust first, and then vacuum. Then you can sit back and admire your tidy, fresh and clean house without spying dust on the carpet.

13. Steam Clean Floors
I only recently got a steam cleaner and I love it. I might review it in it’s own post, but it’s been so nice to quickly clean the kitchen and bathroom floors without the effort of mopping. It takes a couple of minutes, tops, and is super simple. Just remember to vacuum or sweep first.

14. Clean Your Tools
Last, but certainly not least, keep your equipment in check. After you vacuum, empty it. Put it away empty and it will always be ready for next time. Also, clean the filters. Follow the recommendations for your model and DO IT. It makes such a difference to efficient vacuuming and will make your machine last longer. Throw your cleaning rags and towels in the machine, and keep check of your cleaning equipment. Thoroughly rinse your mop and cloths, and everything will be clean and ready for next time. No excuses now!

For now, with love,
Ellen

Top Picks under £10: May

As I mentioned last week, we had a few glorious days in Crete, and that’s where this month’s inspiration has come from for my Top Picks under £10 for May. Whenever I think of Mediterranean décor, I think of blue and white. I love the contrast of rich cobalt against clean white, and I’ve mentioned many times before, once we get to decorating, I’d like to go for a blue and white theme throughout.

Needless to say then, that not only are these my ‘top picks’ for the month, but I literally want to buy them all! Especially the placemats and cushion from IKEA, the entire Sommar 2016 range is beautiful, and there are so many bits I can see really fitting into our home.

So without further ado, here we go.

may_mood_board1. Sommar 2016 Place Mat (4 pack) – IKEA – £4.00
I can’t wait until I can get my hands on these. I just love that brushed ink design.

2. Cork and Ceramic Bath Accessories – George – £3.00 & £5.00
For just £8.00 you can buy this perfectly coordinated tumble and soap dispenser. They look great together!

3. Sea Salt & Driftwood Fragranced Round Candle – Next – £6.00
Featuring “oceanic notes at the top, followed by lily that blossoms towards white musks and precious woods.” this not only smells lovely, but looks fantastic.

4. Large Square Glass Hurricane – Matalan – £10.00
I actually featured the green version of this is March’s Top Picks, and this blue one is possibly even prettier. Plus, lanterns always make me this of Summer and warm evenings.

5. Sommar 2016 Cushion Cover – IKEA – £6.00
Ahh, this cushion cover! I love love love it. There are more in the range too, I suggest you check them out!

6. Royal Doulton Pacific Brush Mug – Dunelm – £5.99
Another fabulous, brush stroke effect piece. Part of the Pacific range, there’s some gorgeous designs and pieces.

7. Patterned Cushion Cover – H&M – £3.99
Another Top Picks, another H&M cushion cover. Can you blame me though?

8. Luxury Cotton Non Slip Bath Mat – Dunelm – £9.99
The Greek key design in this bath mat is perfect for that Mediterranean vibe, and the royal blue colour looks luxurious.

9. 16 Piece Blue Coloured Plastic Handle Stainless Steel Cutlery Set – The Range – £5.24 reduced from £6.99
Lastly, another glossy blue piece. These would be perfect if they had glass handles (I adore blue glass), but for the price you can’t argue, and they still look the part.

So there you have it, a variety of blue and white pieces, under £10 to help create that Summer look. Speaking of which, I am so so so happy we finally have had a spot of sunshine here in the UK, it’s been glorious this past couple of days and I can definitely feel some summery décor ideas happening.

For now, with love,
Ellen