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Lovely little things… De-stress with a Natural Relaxation Reed diffuser from Babyblooms

If you need your relaxation solution to be subtle but always on tap, this reed diffuser from Babyblooms will waft gentle scents of geranium, orange, lavender and ylang ylang in the direction of your poor befuddled brain – and who knows, it might have a calming effect on the scrapping children too!

Check out Babyblooms’ fab range of baby shower gift bouquets too… Classy, practical and gorgeous.

De-Stress Week: Daniele Ryman Candles

Danièle Ryman developed the formulation for her range of multi-purpose massage oil candles that melt into purest quality essential oils. All have natural antiseptic, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties – they smell divine and once you have one burning you can use the oil for a massage, in the bath, on your temples… anything really.

The Alive candle is packed with Rosemary and Vetivert – promising to soothe anything from exam stress to jetlag.

Our SM tester writes: ‘I love to use candles to create a bit of me-time in the evening. My husband laughs because it’s always him blowing them out because I’ll fall asleep. The Alive one smells lovely, it’s strong but not overpowering, and if you pour some of the oil into your hands, run them together, breathe deeply and inhale it’s a really stimulating but mentally clearing moment…’

Order from the website

Shift some serious stains with Bar Keeper’s Friend

At SM we love a cleaning job done well. Not spritzing the porridge-sticky high chair with a namby-pamby supermarket spray that just moves the dirt around, nor something self-foaming that is so toxic it takes a tank of water to rinse away.

There’s something thorough and comforting about buffing a beloved wooden table with beeswax polish or cleaning a kettle with vinegar – and so we were very excited to give the Bar Keeper’s  Friend range a try…

The Stain Remover is apparently used to clean the Albert Memorial – and is also pretty nifty for getting felt tip off the bathroom wall (just rub off with a dry cloth) or crud from baking tins when you were on the phone and forgot you had something in the oven (soak in a solution overnight).

The Power Spray uses citric acid and oxalyic acid (rhubarb, to you and me) and has a very long lasting fresh (lemon drop like) smell – but my gosh it really does get stainless steel shining! If you have little ones who flood the bathroom each morning and the result is scummy tide marks, a quick squirt and a rinse is magical.

And finally the Power Cream is the one to reach for if you’ve spilled red wine on a wooden worktop, or burned a milk pan – also great for getting rid of those black marks from candles from the inside of Hurricane lamps- and generally brightening up hobs, grout, tiles etc

All available from Lakeland.

How to banish the smell of wee

We have all been there. On the receiving end, the comforting end or post-light-jog after childbirth, sometimes the embarrassing end of life’s little accidents.

We don’t judge; but we know a few tricks to get the smell out of the laundry, mattress, carseat etc…

When they’ve wet the bed: ‘Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress’ recommends ‘this will blot up the liquid, then you can vacuum it away’ They also recommend making a cleaning solution for anything that can’t go in the washing machine, as follows: In a small bowl mix a couple squirts of liquid dish soap, one tablespoon of vinegar, and two cups of cool water. Take a clean white rag or wash cloth and dip the cloth into the water. Using the dampen cloth start to work on the mattress. Try to apply a blotting motion with the damp cloth against the mattress. If you press to hard you will be pressing the urine into the mattress instead of removing it. Keep blotting until the liquid is absorbed. Keep working with the blotter until the stain disappears.

For soiled clothes: soak in vinegar, or add half a cup to the wash cycle. You could also use non-chlorine bleach, baking soda – or we are loving the sound of Wellness Mama’s homemade laundry detergent.

Our SM tip: ‘if a little one has wee-d on you, once you’ve cleaned them up try a bath in Matey Bubble Bath, honestly, it’s even better than any more expensive scented body wash when it comes to getting rid of the smell of wee!’

Editor’s Tip: Get some old fashioned lavender bags and pop them in your children’s bedroom drawers. We’re loving these Liberty Print ones…

Our pick of: Wipe clean tablecloths

Who says practical can’t be pretty? We’re loving these cheerful tablecloths – all easy to wipe clean from fingerpaints, homemade jam, sticky porridge and coffee spills…

Beach Huts tablecloth from Franclaire Fabrics: this PVC coated number is oh so cute, will bring an English Summer holiday vibe to your kitchen table and it’s a bargain at £11.99.

Atlas oilcloth from Tablecloth Shop: attractive AND educational; help  the little ones learn the countries of the world spill by spill with this luxury, hardwearing oilcloth.

Esterel Coated Tablecloth from Boutique Provencale: beat the January blues with the hue of Provence lavender fields and a chic French design…                                                       

Mirha Hounds from Doreen Preston and Son: add some Country Living to your townhouse with this subtle hound print, available made to order.                                               

Noveau Mineral Oilcloth from Blue Jigsaw: bring a splash of ditsy daisies; simple and cheerful…

Penguin Pick Me Ups

If the kids have gotten into a flap over the feathery love of John Lewis’ adorable Monty and Mabel, or the recent Madagascar Penguins film – here are our picks (pecks?) of the best ways to continue the theme:

  • Penguin Beach at London Zoo: with its stunning underwater viewing area and twice daily feeds, this is the best way to get up close and personal…
  • Penguin Classics: Ok so this might be a stealth way to bring literature into their bedrooms, but the cute birds on the spines of the originals do look appealing when lined up…    
  • Penbo the Interactive Penguin: She sings, she dances, she cares for her baby… 
  • Penguin Moccis: warm, non slip, colourful footwear – great for pre-toddlers too …
  • Duvet set by Easy Tiger from Bambino: striking, unisex and works for all seasons… Combine with monochrome wallpaper or a snowscape…