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cleaning the natural way

Natural Cleaning Hacks

By Cleaning, Tips

Cleaning the Green Way – the only way to do it

These are some tricks you want to keep up your sleeve to help you throughout the year, when you’re cleaning your home or vehicle. The thing with cleaning tips is that you cannot get enough, just try them out and see which suit you and your lifestyle best.

We are going to tackle stain-busting, pest-control and grime-scouring with these tips. We also want these cleaning tips to be as natural and eco-friendly as possible. So, let’s get started.

 

Cleaning a vent or hood

Mineral oil – this works better than hot/warm water and a micro-fibre cloth. Make sure to get the dust off first, and try to do this regularly so that the oils and condensation do not build up leaving too much grime.

Using mineral oil is also handier when tackling fingerprints – so you can get a streak-free shine. This is a great ingredient to use on any stainless steel surface and appliance.

Polishing stainless steel 

 

We all know that stainless steel is gorgeous, yet it does have its drawbacks!

It exposes everything, literally – fingerprints, that extra bit of grease, water splashes…so what’s the solution?

Spray a mixture of plain white vinegar on your finger-printed and greasy steel surfaces. Any smudges will rub right off, work in circular motions.

If you want your stainless steel to look as good as new, you might want to rub it with a bit of olive oil.

Cooktop/White surfaces 

A homemade solvent is one of the best ways to go. You want to mix equal quantities of baking soda and vinegar. Hot water will do the trick too, it might just take a while longer.

This is something that will spiff up any white surface, such as your sink, toilet bowl, or any grout.

Oven

 

Due to the super harsh fumes and chemical makeup of the usual oven cleaner you want to steer clear of them. There are a few things that you can do whilst the oven is still warm.

 

When a dish spills over whilst cooking, cover the spill in salt which will make it so much easier to clean up afterwards when it cools down. An even better idea would be to place a tray at the very bottom of the oven so that you’re always covered for a spill.

 

For the interior you can easily degrease with hot soapy water and a scrubbing sponge, you might also want to use a scraper but do so with caution. For tougher stains make a paste with water and baking soda and leave overnight.

 

When it comes to the racks, it’s best to soak them for a couple of hours. If you don’t have the time, or you do this exercise regularly then you can fill your sink with warm to hot water and a bit of soap. Then scrub away.

Dusty surfaces

 

Some top surfaces gather a lot of dust. In an ideal situation you would be able to dust them every other week. If this is not possible, you might want to consider lining the surface, especially if it’s not very visible.

 

You can do so with a piece of plastic or just cover the top with a cotton cloth – either wiping that or washing the cloth often. The plastic sheet is easier to clean and keep your surfaces intact – it’s like lining the insides of your cabinet drawers.

 

All you need to do is pass a damp cloth over the top and you’re done. If you cannot stick plastic or use a cotton sheet, just use a damp cloth to slowly wipe off the layers of dust.

Removing stickers and labels

These can be fixed in the most awkward and visible places which makes it even more essential to remove them properly – without scratching or damaging your piece.

White vinegar will loosen paper stickers if sponged on – just let the sponge sit for a few minutes before scraping the sticker off.

Some have also found eucalyptus oil to be great for such a tedious task.

We hope that these tips were helpful and that you will be able to ditch most of your chemical-ridden products for such natural methods!

how to take care of your wool carpet

How to Care for Your Wool Carpets

By Cleaning, Interior, Tips

Wool Care

Now that we’re getting ready to get those carpets out it’s good to have some idea of how to care for them.

There’s a good chance that they are going to be stained one way or another and you are going to have to vacuum at least once a week.

There’s a good chance that your carpets are a wool mix. They will feel soft and cushy.

Whilst they look (and feel) really nice and cosy, they are also really practical.

– The fibres are natural

– The fibres are from a renewable and environmentally-friendly source

– They are non-allergic, as they naturally deter bacteria and dust mites

– They are naturally flame resistant

For these reasons, especially due to the fact that many children and adults suffer from asthma nowadays and carpets are not recommended.

Carpets are also handy to have around as they really cosy the house up and will reduce the costs on heating. We are not used to having wall-to-wall carpeting yet it is good to have some placed around the house in your open areas.

These open spaces are perfect for carpets as they are the spaces you use most and they are easy to vacuum without the hassle of removing too much furniture.

How to care for woollen products

From sweaters to cushions to carpets, wool isn’t the easiest material to keep clean. Here are a few tips to care for woollen rugs properly.

– Cushion them

An extra layering with a rug pad will make the carpet feel extra squishy, as well as prevent it from slipping from under you.

This pad acts as a buffer between the rug and the floor that will keep it from wearing through. You can choose a thin foam one for rugs with a longer pile, while a super cushy felt for thin rugs.

– Rotation

If you’re placing it in a high traffic location – in the corridor, in the living room, between sofas, next to your bed – it is ideal to rotate it once in awhile.

Since you’re going to be vacuuming them pretty often you might as well rotate them after you’ve given them a good clean every few weeks.

You might also wish to switch their location whilst you’re at it.

– Vacuuming

Frequent, low-impact vacuuming is essential. A high-power vacuuming will only damage your pieces.

When you’re cleaning wool you will want to double check that your settings do not include a spinning brush, so that it’s gentle enough.

– Beat it

When you get your carpet out of storage and before you put it in you might want to hang it and beat the dust out of it. Seeing that our dust levels are high it will be a good thing to do and not skip on.

Use a rug beater, designed for the task. If you do not own one you can also use the clean end of a broom.

– Spot cleaning

Once in awhile you might want to give it a good clean but do so with caution.

You will find that many vintage woollen rugs will be vegetable-dyed, so their colours might bleed with any use of soap so you might want to test a small patch.

If the spot test bleeds then stick to water. Don’t go using any harsh chemicals on wool.

– Seek a professional

If you have some serious stains on your wool you might want to seek the help of a professional.

It is best to do so, rather than just mess it up even more.

A professional will actually place your wool rug in a bath of cold water along with a gentle cleaning solution.

Then it is left to dry in a warm and shady location.

how to care for plants and flowers

How To Prune Flowers

By Exterior, Tips

How and Why to Prune

Ever thought about starting your very own vegetable or herb garden – have your own little spot in which to cultivate and eat your own fresh produce? Think it’s too much work? Well we have a bit of a spoiler – it’s easy to grow your own plants and herbs.

It is also great to start growing your own as there are many recipes with edible flowers nowadays. We’ll see which flowers to eat too.

We’re first going to go through what it entails to simply care for the plants you already have. So why is it important to prune and how exactly you should do this.

You might be used to just bringing your plants home from the nursery, snipping the stems using scissors and feeding them some lukewarm water.

Sometimes it’s actually good to ‘shave’ the stem ends – this will allow the water to actually travel easily up the flowers. Don’t use your scissors like a vegetable peeler, but practice will make perfect.

Also think about repotting – sometimes they leave the flowers quite jammed in too small pots. So if it’s not the season but you feel that the plant will be benefitted and it quite literally choking then go ahead and repot. Do it gently and make sure you’re not in a draft.

How to stem-trim your single stemmed flowers

Use a sharp pocket knife designed for the purpose, work to get an extreme angle. You can also use a Swiss Army knife. So holding your flower stem in one hand, point the blade away from you and gently slice it through the stem so that the cut reveals a generous opening. Then place them in a vessel of lukewarm water.

Pruning

Deadheading in intuitive – even if just due to their unsightliness. But pruning a plant in its prime requires a deeper level of dedication. You can keep your clippings of larger flowers and outdoor plants as single stem flowers for inside.

The Lantana plant is a favourite as it grows well, it is easy to take care of and attracts butterflies. Its mix of orange, yellow and pink buds brighten your space and attract pollinators. Prune it in summer and care for its blossoms. If it is an early bloomer (like the lilac, forsythia and rhododendron) you can prune in late spring once it’s ready of blooming.

Cut your stems at a 45 degree angle to facilitate water uptake. Wooded stems should be split with a sharp pair of shears, and not household scissors, to avoid crushing the vascular system in the stems.

 

Time of Day

The morning is always the best time to prune. It is not an ideal situation is pruning when the plant is warm or hot from a day in the sun. You can cut in the evening once the plant has cooled off completely.

You can manage the pH of the water to stimulate the nutrients the blooms used to draw from the plant with some hacks: dropping an aspirin or copper coin into the water.

Edible Plants – from seed to your table

The Oxalis has lemony and fresh leave, the plant actually being a kind of “sourgrass” which is often referred to as wood sorrel.

Its citrusy flavour is due to high levels of oxalic acid – incidentally also found in broccoli and spinach – and vitamin C.

These leave should only be consumed in moderation due to this oxalic acid, as it inhibits calcium absorption.

People who are prone to kidney stones or have gout or rheumatism should avoid it completely.

Breadseed Poppy, Papaver somniferum

It loves full sun and a moderate amount of water.

You just want to consume the seeds as all the other parts are poisonous.

Harvest when the pods are dry and plump. You can easily bake them – in muffins, cakes or bread – or stir into salad dressings or even ice-creams.

Lilac, Syringa vulgaris

The lilac thrives on contrast. It needs plenty of sun and cold nights. You just want to eat the petals, harvest them in the morning and place the stems in cold water until you use them. Place the petals in salads, steeped into a neutral oil for accenting dishes or even blended into sugar for something deliciously different.

Scented Geraniums, Pelargonium

You might need to move this one around from time to time. It enjoys sun but also some shade, and allow the soil to remain moist. Eat the gorgeous leaves, but how? Dried, minced and mixed into a herbal sugar would be lovely but you can also add them fresh to salads.

You can also use it as a bug repellent by simply rubbing it onto your skin.

Purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea

This is also one for sun and shade, and it requires well-drained soil. You can eat anything from the flower petals to the root (but then you lose the plant). Eat the petals dried and steeped into tea.

 

Gem Marigolds, Tagetes tenuifolia

This is one to stay out in the sun. Go ahead and sample the petals and the flower head. The petals are great over salads, while the heads can be infused into bitters or in an amaro.

Rose, Rosa

I know roses right! But eat the petals you would have harvested in the morning, before the heat kicks in. The rose is perfect for jams, teas and baked goods, even ice cream.

Viola (Pansy), Viola adorata and Viola tricolor

If you’re in a cool climate then it can be left in the sun, but if you live in a warmer climate then leave your Viola in part to light shade. The petals can be mixed into salads or compound butters; the stems and leaves can be eaten raw or if you prefer have them steamed/sauteed/creamed – as you would your greens.

Calendula (Marigold), Calendula officinalis

The Calendula prefers sun but partial shade is good too. Consume the petals raw in salads or infused in tea.

You can also get creative and mix your flowers into a cocktail

Try this one for your tastebuds

Pomelder Prosecco Punch

Makes 12 5-oz

  • 2 cups 100% pomegranate juice
  • 2 to 3 inch knob of ginger, thinly sliced
  • 20 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 bottle extra-dry Prosecco (750 ml)
  • 1 bottle sparkling pear juice (750 ml)
  • ½ to ¾ cup St. Germain elderflower liqueur

Method 

  1. Combine the pomegranate juice, ginger, and cardamom in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a robust simmer. Cook until reduced to approximately 1 cup, which will take about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to cool to room temperature. Pass reduced juice through a fine mesh strainer into a storage vessel. Chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before making punch. Can be made up to 3 days ahead.
  2. Just before serving combine reduced pomegranate juice, Prosecco, pear juice, and ½ cup elderflower liqueur in a large pitcher or punch bowl. Taste and add more elderflower liqueur if desired.
  3. For a fancy party presentation, place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, and add the punch. The sugar cube will create a continuous stream of tiny bubbles. It will disintegrate, but doesn’t dissolve much into the punch so won’t change the flavour dramatically.
  4. For fancy ice cubes freeze sparkling pear juice with pomegranate arils and/or thin slices of Seckel pear.
  5. For a non-alcoholic variation replace the Prosecco with seltzer. Replace the St. Germain with ¼ cup elderflower syrup.
moving tips & tricks

Moving Tips & Tricks: Paring Down for a Move

By Cleaning, Interior, Tips

How to go about Paring Down when on the Move

Though moving might be a great prospect, in reality it is an overwhelming and somewhat daunting process. Even if you’re doing it because you want to you never know what you’ve got into until you start packing up those boxes and bubble wrapping everything.

The thing is, it’s not just about moving and packing boxes, there’s more to it. There’s the paperwork, the address that needs to be changed and you need to let a bunch of people and companies know…so many things to do.

Best way to start is by creating a checklist of things to do and people to contact.

The Packing Process

When you start packing up the boxes you realise the benefits of being a minimalist. In reality this is an opportune time to decrease and give away the things in your life you are no longer making use of.

You will find you have so much stuff, things you had forgotten about ages ago in the laundry room, or on some shelf, behind a wardrobe. Even if you’re not downsizing then you might still want to consider taking less from one place to the next. 

You can’t be too sentimental when it comes to eliminating certain things, and certain decisions you might think will backfire…yet it is needed. Reassessing what you have and what you want in your life is a great opportunity.

Packing Tips 

– Paring down is a fresh start

This time you get to move only your best stuff. If the item has no use – it’s no longer practical in other words – or it does not fit into the space then sell it or give it away if you can.

If there has been something you’ve been dragging along with you for a long while then this is the time to get rid of it. What about the old towels you’re still using even though you bought new sets? Or the third set of measuring scales? You know what’s unnecessary.

You need to give yourself permission to just let go of things, you have no obligation towards most things especially if there’s no reason why to hold on to them.

– Moving

You’ll be doing a lot of travelling with each item and space is precious, so think about whether it’s worth packing, transporting, unpacking and finding a new place for it. Paring down now will save you time.

You can really think of chucking something in the bin if it doesn’t cater to your needs anymore. If you have multiples of it, if it’s worn out, or if you haven’t used it for more than a year.

Remember, if you don’t have any need for this item it does not mean that others will not either. Always consider giving things to charity or selling them as second hand.

– Live with less

The thing to do once you start to minimize the things in your home or when you want to get rid of the old then make a list of the things you’ve gotten rid of and need to replace.

This will ensure that everything has a place in your home – you’re catering for everything.

How to make sure that you stick with the minimalistic approach 

– don’t allow for any clutter on your counter and also in your cupboards

– try out floating shelves, as they ensure that you always keep them clear and see all the equipment you have

– make proper use out of your storage units, like your island or your washroom

– before you buy something make sure it serves a purpose

– if it doesn’t belong trash it, recycle it or give it away

The most important thing is to start. To start somewhere, pick one room and declutter, then pack. You’ve got this!

knowing what to pack - packing tips

How To Pack Like A Pro

By Tips

Need a holiday? Be it a weekend, a few weeks, a month or an open ended stay abroad it’s never too late to learn how to pack in the most economic manner. These are a few tips to help you pack your holiday suitcase better.

Have you ever struggled with baggage dimensions and with managing to place all your clothes and belongings in properly? Sure you have, and you’ve seen others who have struggled too – with last minute changes at the airport, shifting clothes and books from one luggage to another…

So, how can you avoid the hassle?

It all takes a bit of time and patience…till you get used to it and then this method of packing will become second nature. It’s also a good time to rethink having and carrying around a lot of separate bags. You don’t want to be juggling your luggage, hand luggage, an extra bag and possibly a laptop bag too – try to fit everything into just two bags so that it’s manageable. You never know if you will be passing through more than just the airport, think about after the flight – will you be using the metro or a coach? If so, remember there might be lots of steps and people so make sure you’re comfortable.

How do you pack travel essentials? 

Challenge yourself whenever you get the chance, use your work bag to get used to packing properly. Have a place for your work essentials – if you’re carrying around keys, your laptop, any journals or writing pads – a place for lunch, and remove anything you don’t actually use or need. Your back and arms will thank you. Do this when you’re packing for school or for the gym too!

When it comes to tips for packing when abroad, the best thing is to create a travel checklist. The important thing is not to leave this checklist in your head…write it down. If you keep it in your head then you’re just going to go over and over the list and always wonder if you’re forgetting something.

Essentials 

Apart from the checklist you want to know exactly where you’re going and when you know your destination and what you’ll be doing (more or less) then you can decide what you really need.

Pack some travel sized toiletries – from shower gel to shampoo to body cream. Pack your hairbrush and comb, with any products that you use regularly. Also don’t leave your grooming kit behind!

Buying these empty and reusable is a good hack, as you can fill them with your usual preferred product. Make sure you have all the undies you need. Take some snacks in case you get a bit peckish and keep these in your hand luggage, and maybe some in your luggage too.  

When it comes to shoes make sure what you’re taking ones that go with the majority of your outfits and that they are comfortable. Take into consideration if you’re going to be walking most of the time or not. Your context is key.

Packing Tips 

Pack light, dress heavy

It’s always better if you can dress more and leave more space in your suitcase – airports and planes tend to be cold anyway. Pack something that is cosy like a sweatshirt/sweater or a hoodie which will look good with other outfits – jeans, sweatpants.

This tip also makes sense when it comes to shoes. If you have heavy or bulky shoes it’s easier to have them on and save space in your bags for other things. We wouldn’t recommend wearing heels, though you might get away with wearing wedges.

If you’re packing heels in your luggage – be it hand luggage or your main luggage make sure to protect the heel well. Place them in a bag separately and then use clothes to pad them – they’re going to move around so much you don’t want to have the heel or front of the shoe damaged (or damaging something else for that matter).

Roll or Fold

It’s not easy to know, sometimes you’re not quite sure what will save more space (and rolling everything will not do that). From experience lightweight objects are better for rolling and padding the sides of the luggage – unless the fabric gets really creased, if so then just fold. So when it comes to t-shirts and light jerseys try to roll.

For thicker garments like jeans and sweatshirts, go for layering and fold at the sides.

It’s good to alternate and experiment between rolling and layering the clothes flat, especially if you need to protect a breakable between clothes as well as your toiletry bag. 

Most importantly it’s good to try these things ahead. So maybe it’ll be good to pack a few days in advance to really see what you need and eliminate what you don’t. You might also want to leave space for things you’ll buy when on holiday.

This is the start of your journey, planning it and using the time efficiently will save you worries later!

As for the cleaning that will await you after you come back from holiday, don’t stress and get some help – you deserve it! After all, who said the holiday had to end as soon as you got back home?

Use your time to unpack carefully, and we’ll handle the rest. So if you’re even a little bit apprehensive of returning home from your holiday, don’t be. Your house is in our hands. Get in touch with us at BRIIZ and we’ll take the load off your shoulders.

how to prepare for a picnic

How To Prepare For A Picnic

By Featured, Tips

Picnics should be simple and easy, forget the mess. You need to be able to just get out there and enjoy time with family or friends, even time by yourself. If you spend a lot of time in an office or in the city areas, you need to get out into more open and fresh spaces – think about your favourite picnic spot.

The perfect picnic starts and ends with the people you’re picnicking with. Yet, it always helps to take some good stuff along too.

So how do you waste less time preparing and scouring for supplies?

It’s always good to have a bit of a checklist at the ready. So do not fret, have the main items close at hand and all you really need to prep is the food along with your plates and bowls.

The Essentials

These are some of the things that you are always going to need when you want a comfortable and relaxing time. Just to keep your mind at rest…

– The Blanket

A nice big blanket (and a plastic sheet to go underneath it of course!). The blanket can be considered the foundation of your picnic. It’s the place you’re going to gather upon to enjoy drinks, food and a good laugh. It works to protect insects or excess sand coming into your containers.

It also saves on the inevitable carnage – of spilled wine, other drinks or worse…even some food.

You want to go for cotton throws or sturdy quilts, which will be easy enough to dust off, remove stains from and also just throw into the wash once back home.

Whilst we’re on the topic of the basket, see whether it would be a good idea to take a few pillows with you. In case the sitting on the floor gets to you after a while or you want something to cosy up with in the winter.

– The Basket

This is a very important piece of equipment. Instead of running around with an unlimited amount of bags (which you still might need), you want to have everything in one or two secure picnic baskets. When selecting your baskets remember that you need to keep your food, utensils, cups and drinks in here so make sure they’re spacious and cater to your picnic needs. They are often woven-wood, preferably get them with a flat-top lid so that you can also use it as a table-top for drinks once you’re on the blanket – or else you might also wish to use a couple of trays for this purpose.

Try to work with reusable utensils and plates so that you’re not making use of too much plastic. If you are using disposable things then make sure that they are compostable. In reality you’ll do a better job with your usual utensils from home, just place them all in a bag for you to wash later.

Also, have a kit ready for small outings such as this. Pack some salt and pepper, maybe some lemon slices, sauces that you like, take some ice packs in summer to keep the drinks chilled.

– The Thermos

It’s always worth investing in a good thermos – it will last you a lifetime if you care for it properly. In the summer heat it will keep your lemonade or iced tea nice and frosty; come winter it’s the perfect place for your soups or hot chocolate, coffee and tea piping hot.

– Extra Bags

We often forget to take extra bags to place the used, empty and also dirty things in.

If you’re using carton packed drinks then you’re going to have to throw them away. You definitely need somewhere to place the used napkins. Once you empty your drinking jugs or wine bottles and clean out the food containers you want to place them in something so that you can be sure that they will not leak – you don’t want to get your basket messy do you?!

– First Aid Kit

Maybe if you’re not going to take a whole first aid kit – which might be handy to always carry in the boot of your car – then think about taking the essentials. Take an antibacterial with a few band aids, bandages, aspirin and sunscreen.

 

– To Play

Take something to play with, depending on what you enjoy. Take a football, or a rugby ball, if you fancy some badminton take your rackets, or how about a couple of board or card games.

– Extras

It might be a good thing to have a magazine, book or sketchbook with you. Even if you don’t have time for it at least you have them with you.

You might also want to take some music and some microphones with you, just to keep the mood going if you’re with friends or are staying late into the night.

– Corkscrew

Enough said…

The Food

Cold dishes are the best option, you might even enjoy them if you’re going on a winter picnic. So, think cold pasta and you cannot forget the potato salad – a must as they are simply divine.

If you want something more wholesome then think about making a few pies, bite size or cut the pie up into slices. A quiche is a great alternative – it combines the elements of a pie with the feel of summer. What is so perfect about the quiche is that it’s so versatile, you can fill it with anything you like.

You might want to take a soup to warm you up, or have it cold during the hot months. It would be great to just dip your bread into. That of course leads us to that fact that you need a cutting board for that delicious bread!

Making a few simple but special sandwiches will also do the trick, make them hot ones if you’re feeling super chic. Take a few ready sausages to place in buns if you’re feeling like some hot dogs – just don’t forget the mustard and baked beans.

For something sweet…think about preparing some juicy hand pies or a lovely crumble – if it’s apple or forest fruits. If you prefer something chocolatey then go for brownies or cookies.

So…where to go…choose a nice and calm space to picnic at.

Remember, if this is going to be (or feel like) a spontaneous do then you want to spend more time outside than you do preparing inside.

A picnic can happen at any time and in any weather. Having these things ready or close at hand will just make it easier and less stressful. You can even have it in your own backyard!

why book a home cleaning service

Why Book A Home Cleaning Service?

By Uncategorized

Life can be busy and unpredictable. We work a lot, and many people can feel stressed, overworked and anxious because of this. Therefore, it’s nice to have a clean house to come home to after a long day. It helps you to focus on the things that are important to you, instead of being bothered by the mess around you.

Here are some reasons why you should book a home cleaning service.

It is Time Saving

Probably the biggest reason why people book a home cleaning service is because it is time saving. Working from Monday to Friday can be exhausting.

So, when you finally have the time off in the weekend, it is nice to do something relaxing and fun – and cleaning your whole house is not exactly exciting.

Not only is time-consuming, but most people don’t enjoy it.

If you book a home cleaning service, you have more time to spend on better things. For example, spending time with family, going to the beach, watching a movie or catching up with friends.

Because You Deserve it!

Whether you’re a parent, a workaholic or a busy person … you deserve a break! Everybody deserves a chance to unwind and relax in the weekend, so why shouldn’t you find some time for yourself?

Maybe do something you like, meet up with that group of friends that you were meant to meet up with ages ago, or just take the time to go for a jog without having to worry about that pile of laundry waiting for you at home or the bath tub that needs a good scrub.

Time is precious, and life is short, so make the best of both whenever you can.

Professional Skills and Products

Dedicated professional cleaners have the skills to clean your place thoroughly, inside-out. They know what they’re doing, use the right products and make sure to get every nook and cranny. No more struggling with your own cleaning supplies. The professional cleaners will take care of it, leaving you a clean, tidy and safe environment to live in.

Malta is a Desert!

Malta is a pretty but dusty place, due to the winds from the south-east as well as the topography, as the island is increasingly becoming a bit of a desert.

This not only causes a lot of dust to accumulate on furniture, but it is also very bad for your health as well.

Dust causes a lot of problems for people who are asthmatic or allergic to dust mites. This is why it is extremely important to have a professional cleaner who knows what to do.

Good Environment for Kids

Kids like to play, and most of the time they have a lot of toys lying around.

Especially toddlers can be very careless with what they pick up and put in their mouth. The last thing you want, is them getting sick because of that.

Having a clean living space for children is also very important since they are more vulnerable to illnesses.

Nice Living Space Overall

Think about it: what is the kind of home you want to arrive to after a long, hard day at work? A cluttered, disorganized mess waiting for a miracle? – Or, a clean and tidy space with the smell of lavender in the air?

Whenever you have a clean house you come home to, you instantly feel more relaxed and it makes you focus on the good things in life. You can take time to cook a nice dinner, spend some time with the people around you and have a good night sleep. It’s all better in a clean house.

Do You Need A Break?

Do you need help with your cleaning routine? Worry not –  we can help! Get in touch with us and we will send our dedicated team of professional cleaners right to your door.

No Fuss, No Stress!

Check out our official BRIIZ Facebook Page to find out more about our services. 

living green

Going Green – Pest Control and Going Organic

By Food for thought, Learning, Tips

Pest Control Tricks and Living Hacks – the Green Way

It might be pretty easy to buy pest control products off the shelf from your local store or the supermarket, but you should really consider going for the more environmentally friendly option.

But Why?

First of all think about the thousands of people spraying these pest control formulas and pesticides in the air, polluting the air that we breathe. Going green will purify the air around us and the air in your house, as well as reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, methane and so many other toxic gases that end up in the atmosphere.

The Hacks – this is the myth and magic examined

Garden Bugs

Myth – panty hose nets

Magic – hot sauce spray: the solution comprises of 1 part hot sauce (without seeds) plus 3 parts water.

Note: hot sauce seeds clog up the sprayer, so use a kind that doesn’t have them. This works really well if you grow tomatoes and cannot control the pests.

 

Spiders

Maybe – osage orange: we’re not saying that this method is 100% foolproof yet it does decrease the amount of spiders that come along. Keep them in your garage or lower floors for more of an impact.

 

Ants

Myth – lemon halves + cloves: this method brings with it more fruit flies than it deals with your ant issues

– cayenne + water spray: even though ants do not like pepper this is not going to work and will just stain your cupboards

– cornstarch: this will attract the roaches

So what can be done…

Magic – cayenne pepper sprinkle: simply does it! Just sprinkle some cayenne in the areas the ants seem to come from. Also check for any cracks and crevices that can be fixed.

Gnats

Myth – white vinegar + soap + water in a plant sprayer: this will just close to kill your plant

Magic- cup apple cider vinegar + dish soap: the soap acts to break the surface of the vinegar. So if you have a gnat problem simply place a bowl or cup of vinegar with a few drops of the dish soap in it which will attract the gnats.

 

Roaches

Magic – pets usually cats!

 

Mice

Myth – peanut butter in traps: just don’t use traps in general

Maybe – peppermint oil: this works sometimes and at others it doesn’t work at all. Just try it out, besides it will diffuse a great smell into your space

Magic – again cats are perfect

Magic – steel wool clogs: be aware of any holes in your building, if you identify such spots then fill them in with the steel wool clogs till you can come up with a more permanent solution.

 

Mosquitos

Myth – dryer sheets for prevention: mosquitoes like water, nighttime parties, and hanging out in fields. Trying to use some lavender sheets will not really work for many people.

Magic – lime juice: it turns out that lemon and lime are enough to repel as well as numb the itch of previous bites. This is handy when you’re in your garden or balcony, if you’re going out make sure to just dash a few drops on your neck, arms and legs just before you head out.

The issue of using Truvia

It might be surprising yet in reality you can use Truvia as a pesticide! The results from a study by Drexel University found the key in one of Truvia’s polyol (sugar alcohol) components, Erythritol. If you sprinkle it generously on soil, it acts as a reproductive suppressant for adult flies, halting their egg production and killing the larvae of the adult flies within three days.

It might seem strange considering that people actually use these for their drinks and they can be used to kill insects. Makes you realize that we should be very aware of what we are consuming.

 

Why is it important to go Green?

How this affects your life

Doing the right thing when it comes to choosing the right food for your diet already feels amazing but then it would mean nothing if you are taking in so much crap from the pesticides that are sprayed onto your fruits and vegetables.

– Importance of washing your greens

In light of the above, think about the amount of pesticides going onto your greens. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) release an annual Dirty Dozen List which reports which fruit and vegetables have the highest detectable pesticides – it’s good to have a peek at it! Strawberries and apples were found to be the most affected. The pesticide residue is minute it is true but if you have many fruits every day then you want to minimize the intake of these toxins. Properly washing fruits and vegetables can remove most of the existing residue on the surface (the pesticides that are absorbed by the roots are unavoidable but are a very small percentage of the overall pesticides).

1. Make sure your hands are clean.

If your hands are dirty when you start washing the produce, you’ll transfer the bacteria that’s on them to your fresh, beautiful vegetables. To be safe, wash them for at least twenty seconds with soap and warm water before preparing your vegetables.

2. Rinse your produce under running water.

You should not wash your fruit or vegetables with soap, if you think about it adding soap to your produce is like adding more chemicals to get rid of chemicals, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. For the cleanest fruit, just run it under clean water and for firmer produce, use a clean produce brush to rub off any dirt or residue.

3. Dry with a clean towel.

Once your produce is squeaky-clean, dry it off with a clean dishtowel to further reduce the amount of bacteria it comes into contact with.

– Consider going organic

The more you know about your food the more you will be able to eat and buy sustainably. Of course, what it means to eat like this is complicated. We don’t eat locally grown produce all the time – think about your coffee beans, and we don’t always manage to shop from our farmer’s market! Every time we make a purchase we can try to be more conscientious of our decisions – think of every purchase as a vote of what we want to see more of.

A label is not going to tell you everything you need to know about a product – there’s a wide range of farming practices that all play a part in the end product and that you won’t really know about. Next time you’re down at your local farmer’s market strike up a conversation and always stick to the same farmers for particular products.

List of foods you could easily buy organically:

Strawberries and apples

Nectarines and peaches

Celery and grapes

Cherries and spinach

Tomatoes and peppers (any type)

Cucumbers, kale and collard greens

– Habits supporting good soil

The source of healthy eating is ultimately our soil. Healthy soil gives life to flavourful food, it stores climate change-accelerating carbon and nourishes natural ecosystems. To support integrative growing practices we need to start thinking about and looking at the big picture – we have to go for anything that nurtures the environment.

1. Check out the cover crops.

Planting cover crops is a vital part of vegetable rotation that helps farmers to fortify the soil and lay the groundwork for a thriving harvest. But the demands of industrialized agriculture mean that if farmers want to make money, most have to forgo cover crops. It’s not a sustainable solution, but it is a short-term fix.

As consumers, we can encourage farmers to plant what they need to nourish the soil by bringing “cover crops” into our own weekly rotation. Spelt, rye, barley, and buckwheat are major cover crops.

 

  1. Support farmers who practice permaculture.

Permaculture is a holistic approach to farming: Practitioners keep mind the interconnectedness of all elements of the landscape in mind, integrating landscape design, ecological philosophies, and sustainable farming principles to create a “closed-loop” ecosystem. A productive permaculture system is self-sufficient and supports the kind of resiliency and interconnectivity that our soil needs to thrive by recycling waste products, storing energy, and fostering biodiversity.

Put these principles into practice by buying biodynamically-grown grains and supporting local permaculture practitioners. In this way your harvest is both sustainably grown and flavour-packed because it’s soaking up so many nutrients.

3. Experiment in the kitchen!

Biodiversity is integral to soil health: We need a vibrant variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers to revitalize the soil.

So if you find yourself stocking up on the same things: whole-wheat bread, spinach, tomatoes…break out of the mould by trying out heirloom tomatoes, purple carrots, ancient grains, and rarer breeds of kale.

Grabbing the less-common ingredients at the farmer’s market encourages farmers to continue to grow a rich diversity of plants.

 

  1. Go non-GMO.

Regardless of where you stand on the capacity of genetically modified organisms to feed the world, the systems in which GMOs are embedded – seed privatization, monoculture agriculture – are threatening to soil health. The use of GMOs can create super weeds and bugs that eradicate biodiversity and weaken soil resiliency. And across the world, indigenous and small-scale farmers are losing rights to their native seeds – which represent storehouses of biodiversity – in the face of GMO giants such as Monsanto.

With that in mind always look for “Non-GMO” on the package. This can be tricky terrain in light of recent policies that make it harder to determine just what constitutes a genetically-modified organism, but in the end it’s better than doing nothing.

 

Keeping these tips in mind will make it easier to live a greener and healthier life.

how to fix broken ceramics

How to Fix Broken Ceramics

By Cleaning, Food for thought, Maintenance, Tips

Broken and Beautiful 

There is a beauty in the cracks of an object – seeing the bumps and bruises, the scratches and dents simply adds to the character and sentimental value of a piece.

How many times have you dropped a beloved (or not so beloved) piece and there’s nothing you can do about it?! The plate cracks as you’re packing or unpacking it from the bubble-wrap, the vase which falls to the floor and is shattered, someone brings it out of the cabinet and drops it…so many scenarios! Many times we end up sweeping it and throwing the broken bits out – folded in paper and out in the garbage bag to be forgotten it goes.

Yet, sometimes just sometimes there is the chance to salvage your ceramics in quite a whimsical way really.

What To Do

Fix it. I know what you’re thinking…it’s easier said than done and it will not look the same, but thankfully it’s not supposed to. Unless you take it to a conservator and they will do the job as it is supposed to be done, you have another option.

So how to make something broken beautiful?

It’s called ‘Kintsukuroi’. It is an ancient Japanese method of fixing your broken ceramics, giving them a particular edge as you line the broken bits together with a golden mixture that works like a glue. In the process of fixing the pottery with this gold or silver lacquer you also have to appreciate that the item is more beautiful for being broken.

So before you get angry with yourself (or anyone else for that matter), breathe and try to see it from a positive perspective!

The essence of the practice is focusing one’s intention on life’s hidden beauty and power.

 

You are essentially transforming pottery into a masterpiece. The transformation lies not only in putting the pieces of the broken item together but also in healing the fixer’s emotional state.

Process

You will need

– epoxy for ceramic

– gold mica powder

– disposable plate/paper

 

  1. The Epoxy

A fine balance of ingredients is required. If we add too much gold to the mixture the joints will be too soft to fuse. Yet if we add too much epoxy the adhesive bond becomes too brittle to establish a permanent bond.

Movement is also an issue. Be wary of moving too quickly or too slowly with the epoxy, or you will leave too much or too little of the mixture on the broken edge.

 

– mix a quarter of the epoxy with a pea-size amount of the gold powder

– combine it properly (you can use the end of a matchstick)

2. Examining the Broken Pieces

You need to re-experience every broken fragment to engage in the reconstruction process, so that you will be able to know their exact shape, position and feel. Every single piece must be returned to its original position.

 

– use a fresh matchstick and apply a fine line of the mixture to one of the broken edges

– align the other piece to it and press until the glue seeps between the seam, creating a fine line along the crack

– work in sections if you have a more complicated break

– the glue sets pretty quickly but keep an eye on them as the pieces set together

 

The “epoxy” in the analogy represents our attachment to positive reinforcement or to our expectation of how quickly we should be progressing. Being too attached to only fast and positive movement undermines our willingness to embrace setbacks. We have to be open to setbacks and to the possibility of “cure”.

The “gold” is an analogy for this desire to be healed.

Other Concepts

With this method of fixing you really have this feel of focus being shifted, from the impossible to the possible. Rumi, the great Persian poet addresses such a thought process in this way – The wound is the place where the light enters you.”

 

The process we have just described links to other Japanese concepts, these are a few –

Wabi-sabi: nothing is perfect and that is a good thing

Lki: sophistication without complication

Ma: the space defines what it surrounds and in turn is defined by it

Mono-no-aware: the passing of things

Kanketsu: simplicity through complexity

 

Taking all this is, you can appreciate the thought processes that go into repairing pottery and the art that is involved.

This a great opportunity to be able to combine the old with the more modern elements in your house too. You are literally accentuating the break rather than hiding it – thereby honouring its history.

cleaning brushes, making cleaning easy and fun

Make Cleaning Easier with these 8 Sweeping Utensils

By Cleaning, Tips

Sweeping tips that will get you whistling while you work 

Sometimes getting the wet mop ready is not as easy or as quick as you need it to be. There’s a lot we don’t give the regular sweep credit for – it really does turn the usual chore into more of a joy.

Here’s why!

These are a few hacks that will show you why sweeping often is essential to cutting down on the longer and more laborious chores. What does this mean? Well, you won’t have to wash or mop the floors two or three times a week.

A bit everyday is the trick!

Those table spills of salt and pepper, the vitamin rush through the cabinet (but I must have secured that cap yesterday!), the dust settling softly but surely on all your surfaces, and what about pet hair…it just gets everywhere. In summer most especially, missing a sweep for a couple of days makes me wonder if I’m in a western movie rather than the living room…the iconic wind blowing tufts of hay and sand coming to mind.

These utensils will save you and save your face – looking fabulous as well as being useful. It’s worth investing in specimens of higher quality, forget the plastic. The advent of plastic meant that brush-making techniques fell by the wayside, but you can find high quality options made in the old-school way. Also, look for companies using sustainable materials.

Firstly, DON’T underestimate your squeezer

Squeezers are a perfect to use the same way a broom is. So not on a wet floor to scoop up the excess water but on a dry floor which makes it super easy to collect the pet hair and dust. 

The sweeper & funnel dust pan

The curves make for easy scooping and sweeping. So that means that no more annoying lines left behind the pan. The neat element is the hollow handle, which means you can dispose of your evidence without dropping anything. Well…maybe, hopefully.

The Frenchie – table crumber set

The crumber set – might seem like something you’d keep stored in your drawer and never use but it’s pretty handy and looks very professional too. You can use it for you kitchen counters for after you’ve cut that loaf of bread and the crumbs are all over the place. You can also leave it close to the dining table when you have company over – just in case something is spilt, you know!

Brushes & brooms

 

Brushes are not commonly used in Malta, yet abroad they can’t do without them. How about we put them to the test? Brushes are useful when it comes to getting to those tight corners, you get to reach the areas in which dust tends to accumulate, really well.

When it comes to brooms, think witch brooms – they are back, literally! These brooms might seem like something out of “Bewitched” but you will use this. You can use it as your squeezer or replace your usual broom. If not, you can use it for your garden or front paths.

The vintage low push brooms are fantastic, they never let you down. If you care for these properly they will last a very long time and will do the job.

Care for your bristles

  • Immerse bristles of the brush or broom in soapy water
  • Rinse with lukewarm water
  • Shake any remaining water off
  • Allow to dry at room temperature
  • Finish by combing the bristles