Dealing With Grime One Day At A Time – Descaling An Iron

It’s been a while since I posted any home maintenance and cleaning tips on the blog but it’s something that I would like to share more of. When I chose the At Home With Ellen title, I wanted to encompass a variety of aspects of home living, from decor and enjoying the space you’re in, to looking after it, sharing opinions and reviews on products, meal ideas and recipes and more.

I have confessed many times that I am not the cleanest and tidiest person. I work, I’m planning a wedding and trying my best to keep on top of the blog too, and see myself as an ordinary kind of woman. Sometimes I cannot be bothered to wash up after dinner! Shock! Horror!

That doesn’t mean I’m not houseproud. I love my home, and I hate for people to see it when it’s messy. That’s why I my posts about home maintenance will never tell you to be more like me. Rather, I want to show you that I’m also on the journey of day to day life, and hope to create a place where we can share tips and ideas, and maybe give you a little inspiration and motivation along the way – I know having the blog certainly motivates me!

So with all that said, I thought I’d create a new little series – Dealing With Grime One Day At A Time. I’ve created a new category for it, so you’ll be able to search all posts in the future by the tag, and over the coming months I’ll be adding little posts like this one about those little jobs that you might not otherwise get around to.

So, descaling an iron. Yep, that’s what we’re talking about today. If you don’t already know, it’s an important bit of maintenance to maintain the lifespan of your iron, and save your lovely white shirts from the telltale signs of a scummy iron. If you’ve ever ruined a shirt with jets of brown steam, and little pieces of debris from the bottom of your iron, then you probably haven’t been descaling it often enough. I probably don’t do mine enough. Some companies recommend every 10 uses, but it will depend on your usage, and it’s always best to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer.

I’m going to try and do mine around once a month. I won’t always use a descaling product – if you clean your iron regularly (a lot of irons have a self clean button) then there shouldn’t be a need to, but I do live in a hard water area and that can make it worse.

I love the Oust sachets (not sponsored – it’s just the brand and type I’ve always used), and buy the ones that usually come as a pack of three and can be used in the kettle too. In fact, I bought this box to descale my kettle, and then decided it was definitely time I did the iron too.

I’m naughty and don’t bother to empty to water out after ironing (it’s recommended to) and I also use plain ol’ tap water (definitely not recommended) and the telltale white deposits end up presenting themselves around the steam holes.

It’s a simple case of heating up the iron, then unplugging, adding the Oust sachet and topping up with water, and using the self clean button or pressing the steam button a few times over the sink. If you’ve let it get really bad, you may have to do it more than once, but for regular maintenance, once will be just fine. I’ve also read you can get fantastic results with vinegar, so I may have to give that a go too, as I already use it for many other tasks around the home and get great results.

I like to flush out my iron with some fresh, clean water afterwards, and with a quick wipe of the soleplate, it’s as good as new. The descaler is so inexpensive (around £1-£1.50 for a box of three sachets), and it really will lengthen the life of your iron. So if the next time you’re ironing and you think yours is underperforming, give it a little tlc and enjoy the benefits!

I have another bargainous Top Picks under £10 post coming up next, so don’t forget to bookmark the blog and come back for that. If you’ve any tips to share, or anything you’d like to hear about from me, please do share in the comments section.

For now, with love,
Ellen

COTM: March – Wax Lyrical Amaryllis

Spring isn’t quite in full swing yet, but the weather has warmed up a little and the daffodils are popping up to say hello.

I noticed these fragranced tea lights in TK Maxx, and as a discontinued fragrance from the Wax Lyrical Royal Horticultural Society line, I knew I had to snap them up. I love Wax Lyrical candles – they are some of my favourite, and the beautifully floral and fruit scents from the RHS range are just as beautiful.

With top notes of citrus, heart notes of jasmine and base notes of musk, these are just what they say they are. Delicate, floral, slightly sweet with a hint of something else… a sharp, zesty green note. The sweetness and floral notes also make me think of sweet peas, or violets and lavender. They’re soft, garden blooms, and as per usual with Wax Lyrical, the smell is just as beautiful when burned as on cold sniff.

The pack claims up to 6 hours burn time from these tea lights – I got around 4, but I was more than happy with that and still think they’re fantastic value. Burn time can depend a lot on the holder, your room and atmosphere, so there will always be some variances there.

I have been burning three at a time, so got three uses from this pack of nine. I found that was a great amount to have in the centre of the coffee table, and offered a subtle, pretty scent. Sadly, dear Fiance wasn’t so keen – probably the sweet Jasmine note was a little too floral for him, but I have to say I really enjoyed them.

For another Wax Lyrical review, check out one of my favourite ever candle scents here, and do check www.wax-lyrical.com for their beautifully British candles. I feel like I’m spoilt for choice with candles at the moment – there are so many beautiful floral, fruity and calming clean scents out there at the moment, so don’t forget to come back to find out what will be my choice of the month for April!

For now, with love,
Ellen

Top Picks Under £10: March

Wafting in like a gentle breeze on a fresh Spring day, aquamarine is the order of the day this time around. It’s both the gemstone and colour associated with March, and seeing as the weather here in the UK can’t really make it’s mind up, I think this pretty aqua hue is the perfect option to put a little Spring in your home whether the weather is playing or not.

Sure, the Sun will catch up eventually, but as Easter themed décor is in abundance in stores, you’re probably more than ready to freshen up your home a little and inject a little colour in a pretty, subtle way.

As far as pastel blues go, aquamarine is my kind of shade. It’s not as vintagey as duck egg, or as green as mint, but it’s certainly got that coastal feel that true sky blues don’t. It also works wonderfully with greys and whites, or tan and ivory, and minks and creams, so whatever your neutral pieces and most likely your sofa, this is a colour that will work with what you already have.

So here are my Top Picks at £10 and under for March 2017:

1. Riviera Escape Wax Tart – YankeeCandle.co.uk – £1.43 Currently on Offer

A fresh scent is the perfect way to add a little Springtime to your home. If the colour aquamarine had a scent, it would be this seasidey wonder. I mean, it has marine in the name… no wonder it seems just right.

2. Yankee Candle Sanremo Votive Holder – House of Harris Gifts – £4.99

No longer available at yankeecandle.co.uk, this votive holder is part of the same collection that the Riviera Escape tarts and candles came from. It’s still available at many other retailers however, including the one linked ablove.

3. Jacquard-Weave Hand Towel – H&M – £4.99

As traditionally one of the smallest rooms in a house, a bathroom can be the most affordable to give a mini-makeover. You don’t have to replace all your towels either, just adding fresh, colourful hand towels which are the ones most regularly on display, are an easy way to begin to coordinate a theme or colour.

4. Drona Box (Blue) – IKEA – £2.50

A perfect fit for the Kallax shelving units, but also ideal in or on the wardrobe, or any other furniture, colourful storage solutions can be as pretty as they are practical, and these ones are a great size and value.

5. Dorma Hydrangea Stem – Dunelm – £7.99

I love hydrangeas, but fresh cut blooms can wilt quickly, and dried don’t always retain their beautiful colours, so artificial options can be a huge success when it comes to hydrangeas. These pretty blue ones from Dunelm are great quality for the price, and the colouring is so realistic. Love!
6. Decoart Americana Chalky Finish Paint (Escape) – The Range – £6.99

If you like upcycling, or are tempted to try it, chalk paint can be ideal. Perfect for that rustic look, but in a distressed, sea-weathered way, the shade ‘Escape’ looks perfect to tie in a coastal theme.

7. Supersoft Throw – George at Asda – Was £6.00, Now £5.00

Ideal size for an armchair, or to centre over the sofa, it’s nice to have a soft, lightweight blanket for when the weather is really grotty outside, and just the pretty pop of colour for when the sun starts shining. And for the price, it’s a very affordable way to add plenty of that pretty shade.

8. 2 Pack Knobs – H&M – £4.99

Whether you decide to go for painting your upcycled furniture or not, simply changing over the handles can really lift and modernize a piece. Whether for a sideboard or chest of drawers, these gorgeous shaped and colour door knobs are a quick and easy update you can do yourself in no time.

9. Mint Velvet Living Cushion – Primark – £5.00

Well, this wouldn’t be complete without a cushion, now, would it? Off to Primark for this beauty. Gorgeous colour, perfect price, what more could you want?

And there you have it, my Top Picks for this month. A post that’s come a little later than intended but that’s just how things go sometimes! Stay tuned though for another post coming shortly, and my Candle of the Month post which will be up at the end of the month.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Kelly Hoppen’s 8 Interior Design Trends for 2017 – My Views

I was reading this article over on House Beautiful, in which Kelly Hoppen discusses her 8 Interior Design Trends for 2017. I thought I’d recap them here, and take you through them with my own thoughts and views on how you can incorporate them into your own home.

I love her initial piece of advice to “Use trends as a guide rather than a rule as they can be very dating to an interior.” Which I think it great. Our homes are for us to live in and love, not to photograph solely to wow strangers on Instagram. It’s not just about how something looks but how it makes you feel, and a lot of that will come down to practicality in terms of day to day living, so having a hint of this and a nod to that can be much more livable than a statement so large it overshadows your whole home.

1 Colours

First up are colours. “Splashes of burgundy, dark grey, pastel pink, emerald green, and burnt orange will be the shades of next season” the article states. Now each to their own when it comes to colours. I could certainly embrace emerald green, and I think pastel pink can work wonderfully in many ways, also alongside either dark grey or burgundy, if used right. I have to say, burnt orange isn’t a colour I immediately draw towards. I think it depends on what it is paired with and the overall vibe. As a stand alone shade, I’m not a fan, but I do like rich tan leathers and metallic copper which share the shame hue, so with the right contrasts, it could definitely work.
As ever, I like to play safe with trends, and tend to go for easily updateable pieces rather than whole room themes, so this pastel pink table would be a perfect nod to the season, and could easily tie in with some textiles and art in the same hues.

2 Wall Coverings

Now the article mentions a few options here, but the thing that stood out for me was the mention of geometric wallpaper. Especially with the younger crowd, I’m seeing more and more geometric patterns, and companies are now embracing this on everything from cushions to duvet covers to, of course, wallpaper. It’s a modern and funky vibe and there’s countless pattern and colour combinations out there. I like this one from B&Q.

3 Accessorizing

Kelly states that for 2017 “Retro plants, palm trees and rubber plants are huge, very 60s” and I couldn’t agree more. We’ve seen such a huge revival of real life greenery recently and it’s time to get green fingers and be ready and willing with the watering can. The tropical types are my favourite of the moment (and probably yours, everyone is loving palms and the like) but easy care options like Spider plants are also back in vogue. I also love this rubber plant from Waitrose.

4 Art

The article mentions fantasy-like art, such as that of artist Tim Walker. If you’re not quite so keen on the surreal scenes he creates, you can still have a hint of the madness with delightfully bow-tied zebra, from Graham & Brown at Debenhams.

5 Space

Now this is something you may not be able to change. Open plan versus cozy and intimate can be very limited by your house and rooms, and whilst open plan areas can be divided up, if you have cozier rooms, then that’s what you have to work with. Choose lighter colours for the walls, (and in my opinion, almost everything) to increase the bright and lightness of the room, and add mirrors wherever possible to really get the light reflecting around the room. Ikea always has a fabulous, varied selection of mirrors and I love the large, round Stockholm mirror.

6 Concrete

Another one for the modern, urban fans. Again, concrete can sound like a big commitment. It can be fantastic as a polished floor (my partner’s favourite), but can also come in smaller formats such as candles and candle holders, and plant pots such as these from notonthehighstreet.com.

7 Flooring

Texture and contrast, though not carpet, seem to be the order of the day. Mixing tiles and wooden flooring is set to be big, and this wood effect ceramic tile literally mixes the two, for a fabulous parquet style floor, without the maintenance and upkeep. I really love this look!

8 The Old vs. The New

And lastly, we have the old, versus the new. I feel this is perfect for me. I love to take old furniture and upcycle to give it a new lease of life. And also contrasting old and new is a great option. Take great priced basics from Ikea and mix them up with one off finds from Antiques shops and Charity stores. Literally go for your favourites without worrying if all the styles match perfectly. They’re not supposed to.

So there you have it. Some tips and ideas to try out if you’re updating or decorating this coming year. What’s your favourite point? I’d love to hear and discuss with you what décor plans you have if you’d like to leave a comment below.

For now, with love,
Ellen