Thursday, 25 March 2010

Get off your butt and get cleaning!

It's that time of year and while we may feel less than thrilled about the prospect of doing it, the after-effects of Spring cleaning are worth the effort. Not only do you have a shiny new home, but it also dramatically lifts the spirits. The big problem is getting started. We asked our friends on Facebook for their top tips and got some great ideas from them.

Rock 'n roll your way through it! Music seems to have the desired effect in getting lots of you going. And it's not surprising. There's loads of evidence from gym workouts  that people push themselves harder and achieve more when there's a throbbing beat to drive them forward. Everyone has their favourite musical recipes from Erasure to Bollywood, from country to techno - but there seems to be a common consensus that it has to be VERY LOUD!

Clock on and off. Some great tips here about setting some time parameters:
  • Set yourself a manageable time chunk - like 30 minutes and challenge yourself to see how much you can get done in that time. This has the added benefit of encouraging yourself to do it more often - as you see how much you can accomplish in a short and relatively painless period of time.
  • Set the timer and do 15 minutes a room - like the tip above - but even more frenetic and with the benefit of adding some variety.
  • If you have kids, set them to work in the commercial breaks of their favourite TV programme - or they don't get to watch the rest. This lovely Macchiavellian tip was from Karen Grevatt - and seems a fantastic way of getting the kids to take all their junk upstairs, empty rubbish, tidy toys away etc. 
Use the power of shame! Inviting guests is a sure-fire way of encouraging yourself to get the place cleaned up. The imminent arrival of friends is a great incentive to get the mop and bucket out.

However you do it you're bound to feel better afterwards. Do you have any other motivational top tips? Leave a comment below.

For loads of advice on cleaning - including making your own natural cleaning products >> on our website

Thanks to Desiree, Sarah, Jules, Wendy, Sharon, Cherise, Jenny, Adele, Kathy, Jane, Skinny, Karen and Kate for your input.

Friday, 12 March 2010

The caffeinated car

As part of a BBC science programme, Bang Goes the Theory, a car powered only by roasted coffee granules is being driven from London to Manchester. The idea is to show how fuels other than petrol and diesel can power vehicles. The car, a converted 1988 Volkswagen Scirocco bought for £400, has been nicknamed the Car-puccino.
The coffee is heated to 700 degrees C in a charcoal fire and breaks down into carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases which are fed into pipes on the roof and cooled down and put through a couple of filters housed in the boot, then the clean gas is fed through to the bonnet to power the engine. the Carpuccino will do up to 60 mph.

But before you rush round to your local KwikFit, at a kilo of ground coffee just to do 3 miles, this is not going to save you any dosh at the pumps! Getting up to Manchester will require about 70 kilos of coffee - so even with a cheap brand it'll set the licence payer back around a cool £1000 (sorry can't resist) - and if you're picky about your brand of espresso it could cost around 50 times the cost of good old gasoline.

If you want to save the planet, stick to drinking the stuff - or go for the chip fat solution >>read our piece on chip fat powered cars