Product Of The Week: Ceramic Animal Planters

Product Of The Week: Ceramic Animal Planters

Use these ceramic animal planters to add a quirky wild side to any coffee table, console unit, or bookshelf.

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Recommended Reading:  50 Awesome Animal Sculptures & Figurines For Home Decor

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The 5 things people with *always* clean kitchens do – and they take just minutes

The 5 things people with *always* clean kitchens do – and they take just minutes

The 5 things people with *always* clean kitchens do – and they take just minutes

Keeping our kitchens clean can feel like a daily (or hourly) battle. Not long have we cleaned up the mess of breakfast, do we need to make another mess for lunch, and then another for dinner. And the cycle goes on, on pretty much a daily basis.

It can feel exhausting – but as with most things in life, tending to our kitchens often is usually a better approach than leaving the space to get too overwhelming. And this often means doing small tasks every day, in order to maintain a space for feels functional.

But what tasks are essential for maintaining a kitchen that is always clean (well, at least 90% of the time)? We spoke to cleaning experts who revealed the things that people who pretty much *always* have clean kitchens do – and thankfully, their kitchen cleaning tips should take you just minutes to complete.

5 things people with *always* clean kitchens do

White cabinets, dark grey walls, and window with hanging plant

(Image credit: IKEA)

1. They clean and tidy whilst their food is cooking

Whether you’re waiting on something on the hob or in the oven, there’s usually at least a few minutes of downtime during the cooking process – and one of the best kitchen cleaning tips is to make sure to take advantage of those precious minutes. 

‘If you’re heating up some food that doesn’t require your total attention, try to use the time to tidy a surface, put some dishes away, or wipe down a counter,’ suggests Emily Barron, cleaning expert, Property Rescue (opens in new tab). ‘Little and often is the key to a consistently clean kitchen.’

2. They don’t leave spills to fester

Hands up – who else is guilty of spilling something on the kitchen counter and leaving it for future you to deal with? If you want a kitchen that stays clean all the time, it may be time to change those habits.

“Using some of the best cleaning products, wipe up spills as you go along. For example, if you spill tea/coffee, wipe it up immediately,’ advises cleaning, decluttering and organisation expert Heidi Phillips (opens in new tab).

Not only will your kitchen be clean more of the time, you’ll also save yourself an even more difficult job later. ‘If you don’t, it ends up going hard, and takes ages to get off, taking you more time instead of a couple of seconds there and then,’ reminds Heidi.

Kitchen with white counter tops and hanging lamp, lots of white cabinets, and black induction hob and twin oven

(Image credit: Future PLC / Sussie Bell)

3. They tackle the floor daily

The floor is one of the easiest parts of our kitchen to neglect, but Emily from Property Rescue explains that dealing with it regularly will help you to achieve that always-clean goal you’re striving for.

‘Sweep the floor every day – this may sound simple. but many of us push our floors to the bottom of the list. Put aside 1-2 minutes each morning or night to sweep through, and you’ll have a fresh-looking kitchen to walk into the next time you need to go in there.’ Or, if you prefer, send one of the best vacuums around it.

4. They don’t allow clutter to build up

How many times have you popped things in your kitchen that don’t actually live there? If it’s more often than you can count, this may be what’s preventing you from having a kitchen that’s always clean. After all, decluttering tips are key to keeping things clean.

‘The rule of thumb is not to use the kitchen as a dumping ground,’ explains professional organiser Heidi. ‘If you have mail/school letters etc, deal with them daily. Don’t just put them in a pile on the worktop to build up.’ 

5. They clean the sink area every day

white kitchen with white worktops and kitchen sink with gold tap

(Image credit: Future PLC / Douglas Gibb)

Perhaps the one area that gets the messiest in our kitchens every day (aside from the counters) is the sink. People whose kitchens are always clean make sure that this area is cleaned and tidied away every single day – yes, really.

‘Don’t let dishes pile up,’ says cleaning expert Laura Mountford (opens in new tab). ‘Tackle them by washing up after each meal (yes, really) or stacking the dishwasher.’

‘Put them away as soon as possible,’ agrees Heidi. ‘A bare draining board looks so good, and will make your kitchen look instantly tidy.’

After that, a quick clean of the kitchen sink should be done daily, “as water can pool up, and icky remnants of food may also be lurking.” See our guide to how to clean a stainless steel sink too, to add that final sparkle.

The 5 things people with *always* clean kitchens do – and they take just minutes

The affordable home decor upgrade that could improve your well-being

Does art really promote well-being and positivity in the home? The experts reveal just how art can impact a space and the easiest way you can introduce mindfulness in your home.

Mindful decorating has become more prevalent than ever in many a home, and with art becoming easily accessible and affordable to the wider public, there’s little to no reason to keep delaying the fruition of your gallery wall ideas. Whether it’s living room wall art or bedroom wall art, bringing artwork into your home is a foolproof way to bring about playfulness and character to any space.

hallway with white walls and wall art on it

(Image credit: Future PLC/Darren Chung)

How art can improve well-being in the home

‘Art can help to improve our well-being in so many ways. A recent study indicated how just looking at art online for three minutes can lower feelings of negative mood,’ says James Ryan, CEO of Grove Gallery (opens in new tab).

So, if you’re looking for a simple way to bring art into your home, Annica Wallin, executive creative director at Desenio (opens in new tab) says ‘wall art is the easiest and most affordable way to introduce mindfulness into your interiors this year.’

Their new collection, Mindful Art (opens in new tab), focuses on creating a positive space, infused with calming colours, illustrations, and affirmations. Prices start at £5.45, so rest assured that you don’t need to break the bank to achieve a premium feel in your home.

kitchen with black worktop and white wall with shelf and wall light

(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

‘When we decide to bring a piece of art into our homes it is well to remember that art is a visualisation of an intention and we will feel differently when we see it,’ explains Lora Starling, designer, author and founder of Lora Starling (opens in new tab).

‘Whether that is as we enter our home at the end of the day, wake up to it each morning, or look at it on the back door of the loo.’ Decorating with art can give your home a well-deserved mood-boosting makeover.

side board with decorative objects, artwork and exposed brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

James Ryan at Grove Gallery confirmed that ‘art can evoke strong feelings,’ therefore, the art we choose for our homes should represent how we want the space to feel.

‘We all want our homes to feel like a place where we can unwind and relax, and adding artwork is a simple way to achieve a calmer interior environment,’ explains Harriet Pringle, founder of Narchie (opens in new tab).

neutral living room with cream sofa and oversized artwork on wall

(Image credit: Future PLC / Dominic Blackmore)

‘For example, if you want to create a more relaxing environment, then natural and soft tones, such as blues and greens, are a great choice as they are calming colours.’ These hues are perfect for a bedroom colour scheme.

‘Landscapes, seascapes and soft abstracts also work well, featuring curves and soft lines meaning they’re soothing to the eye and create a feeling of relaxation.’

White living room with black fire surround used for a layered display of framed art prints

(Image credit: Future PLC/Douglas Gibb)

‘In contrast, for a space like your living room you may find vibrant colours boost your mood and bring you joy,’ says James Ryan at Grove Gallery. ‘Art is very much down to personal preference so it’s important to spend time finding pieces that bring you happiness.’

So, are you convinced? Will you be bringing more art into your home to promote well-being?

The 5 things people with *always* clean kitchens do – and they take just minutes

Poundland’s Valentine’s Day range is TikTok’s definition of love at first sight

Poundland’s Valentine’s Day range has hit the budget store’s aisles, and over 127,000 people on TikTok have fallen head over heels for it.

With the romantic season just around the corner, we’ve definitely been scrubbing up on our Valentine’s gift ideas, and with Poundland’s new range in stock, it’s just gotten even easier. With the need to balance and manage expenses accordingly, splashing the cash might not be an option for many this Valentine’s, but it doesn’t mean there won’t be a way to celebrate.

Poundland Valentine's Day collection

(Image credit: Poundland)

Poundland Valentine’s Day range

Thanks to a keen-eyed shopper’s TikTok that racked up over 127,000 views and over 17,000 likes, many have their eyes set on these home decor pieces that are oh-so-cute.

The comments are filled with fans tagging their friends urging them to go on a Poundland shopping spree with them and dare I say it, we may have to tag along to get our hands on some things too!

@thirteenthirtyonee (opens in new tab)
♬ Here With Me – d4vd (opens in new tab)

The TikTok showcases mugs with a heart design, heart-shaped bowls, plates, candles, and even a heart-shaped blackboard. After falling in love with Next’s heart-shaped drinking glass, you know we couldn’t resist eyeing up these gems.

The new items from the range are perfect Valentine’s Day budget ideas, so you can honour a loved one without having to break the bank. Here’s what we would shop from the collection.

Whether you’re planning to celebrate with a special someone or have an exciting ‘Galentines’ day prepared, have a snoop in your local Poundland because you might surprise yourself with what you can find.

We think these home decor pieces are seriously sweet and worth checking out to see if they truly suit your fancy – even better yet, if you’re keen on the heart silhouette and colours, then these are little additions that can stay in your home all year round as a well-deserved pick-me-up.

I mean, who doesn’t want to be starting their day drinking from a heart mug?

Poundland Valentine's Day collection

(Image credit: Poundland)

The Valentine’s Day range is available to shop in Poundland (opens in new tab) stores nationwide right now, with stocks subject to availability. If there’s something you’re eyeing up, it’s best to go soon because many others on social media probably also have the same idea as you!

Will you be shopping for anything from the range?

The 5 things people with *always* clean kitchens do – and they take just minutes

Home Truths with Rylan Clark – find out what chore he loves to do (provided there’s music playing…)

When he’s not gracing our TV screens, or hosting his weekly Saturday afternoon show on BBC Radio 2, Rylan Clark – a self-confessed homebody – lives in Essex.

What is the first thing you do the second you walk through your front door?

Kick off my shoes, put the kettle on, put my feet up on the sofa and watch the telly!

What’s your favourite time of the day at home?

I’m often out and about during the day so it’s in the evening when I get home. I love to light a candle with a really nice scent – relaxation vibes all the way.

Rylan Clark in his living room

(Image credit: DFS)

Where’s your happy place at home?

At the end of a long day working, I love nothing more than curling up on the sofa and chilling out. 

I have a Joules Ashwicke sofa from DFS (opens in new tab) that has a soft velvet fabric and deep comfortable seats which makes it the perfect place to relax.

What’s on your bedside table?

Ear plugs – so I can block out the sound of my unwanted house/garden guest, Patrice the pheasant!

What’s your home addiction?

I love creating a cosy atmosphere, so scented candles are a must for me. Weird and wonderful items are also my thing, like my regal portrait and mermaid tail.

Rylan Clark smiling to camera

(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo/Ricci Fothergill)

What’s your favourite shop to buy homeware from?

I’m all about embracing my personality and finding unique items that reflect my style and DFS have made it so easy as they had so many options that fit my unique style choices, from sofas to rugs. 

I lived in Ibiza for a while and I travel a lot, so I also like picking up unique pieces from my travels.

What’s your home pet peeve?

Shoes on my beige rug or someone sitting on my corner of the sofa!

Do you have a bad home habit you’d like to quit?

Walking around naked – luckily it’s private where I live!

Rylan Clark in his living room sitting on his blue velvet DFS sofa

(Image credit: DFS)

With your home decor, would you consider yourself to be a minimalist or a maximalist?

I’d say my style incorporates both minimalism and maximalism. I like my home to look sleek, smart and sophisticated, so I have dark walls. 

But then I love to contrast that with bold statement pieces like my royal blue sofa, which really pops against the monochrome look, and black and gold accessories, which I think add a touch of class to any space. 

I love to incorporate my personality into my home and it’s easy to change it up with accessories, too.

What smell says ‘home’ to you?

Anything with incense.

What chore do you love doing?

I don’t mind giving the living room a bit of a tidy, as long as I have my tunes on.

…and what chore do you hate doing?

The dishes!

Rylan Clark

(Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo/John Sanders Photography)

Do you think you’re a good host?

I don’t host all the time but when I do, I like to make sure everyone is relaxed, has a comfortable place to sit. 

And they can stay over when we’ve had one too many glasses of fizz and we can sing our way through all the Spice Girls hits!

What is the one home appliance that you couldn’t be without?

I have a dry cleaning machine so it’s good to chuck your suit in before a night out. I love a gadget.

Do you try your hand at DIY or always get someone in?

I’m all about the help, darling!

Has anything changed in the way you live your life at home ever since COVID?

If anything, it has made me appreciate my home a lot more and I’ve definitely invested more time into making it look good and suiting my style.

I’ve realised it’s less about following trends and more about creating a space that’s unique to me.

What do you do if you have time at home on your own?

Watch Kath & Kim while having a bubble bath.

What do you miss most about your home when you’re away?

Because of my job, I have to travel a lot so I see tons of hotel rooms that are plain and lack personality. I love returning home from a work trip where I can be surrounded by all my favourite things!

Quick fire questions with Rylan Clark

1. Shoes – On or off in the house? Off.

2. Eat at the table or on laps? At the table.

3. Lighting – are your rooms usually bright or moodily lit? Moody.

4. Quick shower or long bath? I love both!

5. Room decor – Colourful or neutral? Neutral with one accent colour.

6. Are you a neat freak or do you prefer to be surrounded by creative chaos? A neat freak.

7. Do you tend to have music/the radio/TV on at home in the background or do you prefer peace and quiet? I have the news on!

As well as his regular Rylan on Saturday spot on BBC Radio 2, Rylan is working with DFS (opens in new tab) to inspire people to embrace their personality and channel their unique style to create a home that’s perfect for them. 

The 5 things people with *always* clean kitchens do – and they take just minutes

The appliance mistake that could be adding up to £340 to your energy bills

Whether you live in a rental or you own your own home, many of us will be regularly using appliances – be it a washing machine, fridge, kettle or dishwasher – that are older than we might realise.

While most items should be used until they’re at a breaking point (or past that point, if they are able to be fixed and repaired) in order to be as sustainable as possible – there may actually be a serious drawback to using an appliance that’s ‘past its best’, so to speak.

How an old appliance could be costing you money

You might not realise it, but running an old appliance that you’ve had for years (or maybe even decades) could be adding a decent chunk of money onto your energy bills every month, simply because of how energy efficient it is – or isn’t, as the case may be.

Explaining why an old appliance might not be the best option – especially during the current cost of living crisis – Stephen Hankinson, Managing Director at Electric Radiators Direct (opens in new tab) said, ‘Keeping hold of old washing machines or other appliances that are not as energy efficient as modern alternatives may end up costing you significantly in the long run. 

‘For instance, running an outdated refrigerator might cost you up to 1,000 kWh per year, which, based on current prices, equates to up to £340. So updating old appliances for newer models, where feasible, could mean a considerable saving in the long run.’

Blue fridge freezer in a white kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/Ryan Wicks)

William Hobbs, energy expert at My Job Quote (opens in new tab), explained that strides in technology are essentially to blame for the inefficiency of old appliances. 

He told us, ‘The energy efficiency of appliances around the home has improved dramatically over the recent years – this is mostly due to improved technology, and stricter regulations.’

Based on this, one of the biggest (and most unknown) energy saving tips would be to evaluate how long you’ve had an appliance and switch it out if it’s much older than you expect. Of course, however, this is likely only possible if you own your home, and have the initial funds to purchase a new appliance. 

If you can though, William explains that it should be well worth it financially, in the long-term. ‘It’s worth thinking about the appliances that are constantly running, such as the refrigerator and ones that you use often, like the oven or your TV. Chances are, if you were to purchase newer models, you could find yourself saving hundreds, if not, thousands on the cost to run those appliances during their lifespan.’

White kitchen with sink and microwave

(Image credit: Future PLC / Talbot Photography)

How do you know if your appliance is too old though? Though the lifespan of each appliance varies, William advised that, as an guide, washing machines should be kept for a maximum of 20 years, freezers 10-12 years, microwaves 8-10 years, and toasters, a maximum of six years. Yes, that one surprised us too! For other appliances, he explained that the lifespan is around: 

  • Dryers: 10-15 years
  • Boiler: 12-20 years
  • Vacuum cleaner: 7-9 years
  • Dishwasher: 7-12 years

So, if you’ve had your appliance for much longer than that, it may be time to consider a newer option.

When it comes to what to look out for in a new model, Richard explained, ‘The most energy-efficient devices on the market, such as washing machines and refrigerator freezers, are those with an appliance rating of A+++.

‘You should also be able to check the total number of kWh needed to run each appliance for an entire year on the label when you’re shopping around, which can help you calculate the total costs to run it.’