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Celebrating St Patrick’s Day at home

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

For the second year in a row, we will be celebrating St Patrick’s Day at home. That doesn’t mean that we can’t still have fun.

  • Dress in green
  • Watch the RTE virtual parade
  • Set a St Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt
  • Take an Irish cooking class
  • Learn Irish dancing
  • Tell Irish fables
  • Have a drink at the virtual pub
  • Take part in a St Patrick’s Day quiz
  • Host an Irish film night
  • Test your luck

Dress in green 

The best way to get into the St Patrick’s Day spirit is to wear as much green as possible. Ransack your wardrobe for every green item you can find, and wear it for the whole day. You could even turn this into a contest between your friends and family- who can wear the most green? 

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Watch the RTE virtual parade 

Following the success of last year, RTE is taking their parade virtual for 2021. Usually, RTE would host a 4-day event, complete with performances from comedians, musicians, and, the crown jewel of the event, the St Patrick’s Day parade. This year, the festival will be hosted online, with all performances being done virtually. You can enjoy the RTE St Patrick’s Day parade, and all of the other performances, by heading to the RTE website. 

Image by Michael Miller

Set a St Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt 

A St Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt is fun for all ages. Simply hide a few St Patrick’s Day-themed items, such as potatoes, gold coins, an Irish flash, etc., and set your players off on the hunt. You could even award prizes for the fastest players to find all the objects. 

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Take an Irish cooking class 

St Patrick’s Day is the ample time to expand your culinary expertise and learn how to cook a traditional Irish dish. You could try making Irish stew, soda bread, or shepherd’s pie. Just get your ingredients together, and see how it turns out. 

Photo by Naim Benjelloun from Pexels

Learn Irish dancing 

Irish dancing began in the 17th century and was taught by “traveling dance masters” who journeyed across Ireland to teach the art form.  The characteristics of Irish dancing are a stiff upper body, rapid leg movements, and precise foot movements. It is an incredibly hard dance form to master, however, is very fun to try, so dust off your dancing shoes and annoy your neighbours by attempting a wee Irish jig. 

Image by Thank You (20,5 millions+) views

Tell Irish fables 

The people of Ireland are naturally sociable, and storytelling is an integral part of their culture. Before society was literate, storytelling was how important life lessons were passed down to children. As a result, there are some interesting, and entertaining, Irish fables that make for great reading. 

Have a drink at the virtual pub

There are many Irish tipples that can be enjoyed on St Patrick’s Day. Despite not being able to go to the pub physically, there is nothing stopping you from setting up a virtual pub with your friends and family. Whether your preferred drink is Guinness, whisky, or Bailey’s, enjoy a special St Patrick’s Day drink with your friends and family, from the comfort of your home. 

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Take part in a St Patrick’s Day quiz

Quizzes are a great way to test your knowledge, whilst having competitive fun. You can design one yourself, or get one online, and then virtually gather your friends and family to test your St Patrick’s Day knowledge. To make it more interesting, you can give out special points for the best team name and funniest answers.

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from Pexels

Host an Irish film night 

There is an abundance of fantastic Irish films, so St Patrick’s Day presents the prime opportunity to enjoy some of them. Pick a selection of Irish films, perhaps some that you have seen before and others that you have not, and settle down for a night of Irish cinema. Don’t forget your popcorn. 

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

Test your luck 

St Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a lucky day, so why not test your luck. You could buy a scratch card, a lottery ticket, or put a bet on, and see what the outcome is. I hope luck is on your side. 

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Whilst you enjoy some St Patrick’s Day fun, we will take care of your laundry. To book your Laundryheap order, simply head to the Laundryheap website, or download the free Laundryheap app. 


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Swedish must-reads

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Swedish literature has given us some of the best tales of all time. From children’s stories to crime, romance to comedy, these are just 10 of the must-read books written by Swedish authors. 

  • Hanna’s Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • Depths by Henning Mankell
  • Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson
  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  • Pippi Langkous by Astrid Lindgren
  • Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Söderberg
  • The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg
  • Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard
  • The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf

Hanna’s Daughters by Marianne Fredriksson

If you would like to learn some of the history of Sweden, but don’t fancy reading a long-winded history book, read Hanna’s Daughters. Marianne Fredriksson explores the love, loss, and sacrifice of family life through the eyes of three generations of women. With the ever-changing backdrop of Sweden, this novel will educate you on how Sweden has changed in 100 years, and how that change affected the lives of a grandmother, mother, and daughter. 

Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

You will have likely heard this title before, as the novel was made into a box office hit in 2011. The book was released in 2005 and is the first novel of the Millennium Series by Steig Larsson. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is a dark psychological thriller, following journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander as they investigate the murder of Harriet Vanger. More than 100 million copies of the novel have been sold worldwide and it was ranked in The Guardian’s list of ‘100 Best Books of the 21st Century’. 

Photo by Rahul Shah from Pexels

Depths by Henning Mankell

Henning Mankell was a notorious crime author in Sweden, best known for his Wallander series. Depths is a step outside of the usual for Mankell, as he explores historical fiction through the tale of a Navel engineer in the first world war. The story begins with the naval engineer becoming dangerously obsessed with a beautiful woman, and quickly spirals into a warning tale of the dangers of deception. 

Photo by Caio from Pexels

Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson

Winner of the August Prize 2013, Wilful Disregard is a boy-meets-girl story quite like no other. The tale begins when writer Ester Nilsson is invited to give a lecture about artist Hugo Rask. The two meet for long dinners where they talk extensively, to the point where Ester falls in unrequited love. Despite Ester yearning for his love, Hugo gives her just enough hope to think he may fall for her, before taking it away. In this novel, Lena Anderson dissects the theme of love and passion and retells the classic boy-meets-girl tale in a brutally honest way.

Photo by Ravi Kant from Pexels

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window, was the bestselling novel of 2010 in Sweden. The story begins on Allan’s 100th birthday, which he celebrates by breaking out of the old people’s home he resides in. He is determined to fill his final days with adventure and, as he does, we learn of the adventures he has had in his past. This piece of hilarious comedy fiction is bound to make you laugh out loud. Once you have finished reading the book, watch the 2013 film adaptation of the same name.  

Photo by Samson Katt from Pexels

Pippi Langkous by Astrid Lindgren

Pippi Langkous, or Pippi Longstocking, has been an icon of children’s literature since her first appearance in 1945. She is a 9-year-old girl who lives alone with her pet monkey, horse, and a suitcase full of gold. She has superhuman strength and an anarchic attitude, which leads her on a multitude of fun adventures and mishaps. Pippi Longstocking is still widely read, and the character has been developed for TV and film and is still inspiring children to have fun adventures today. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Söderberg

When Doctor Glas was first published in 1905, it quickly became one of the most controversial books of the 1900s. Söderberg was a novelist, playwright, poet, and journalist, but Doctor Glas nearly ruined his career. The novel tells the story of the titular character and his love for one of his married patients. As his lover begins to confide in him about her failed marriage with a clergyman, Doctor Glas begins to ponder on whether to murder her husband, and what the repercussions of this act may be. With themes such as murder, abortion, and women’s rights heavily featuring throughout the book, it was heavily criticized when it was first published but is now considered a Swedish classic. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The Emigrants by Vilhelm Moberg

The Emigrants is part history, part drama, and 100% gripping. Split into 4 volumes, it tells the history of the crushing poverty that forced 1.5 million Swedes to emigrate to North America in the 1800s. The tale focuses on Kristina and Karl-Oskar and their family, friends, and enemies, but serves as a representation of the history of millions. It perfectly explains why so many Swedes have a complicated relationship with both Swedish and American history. 

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Autumn is one of the four books that Ove Knausgaard wrote with a seasonal title. It is autobiographical, and begins with a letter written by Knausgaard to his unborn child. The book itself is an introspective account of Knausgaard’s daily life with his wife and children in rural Sweden. Despite its mundane content, the way Knausgaard writes is reflective, and made Autumn a New York Times bestseller. 

Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

The Wonderful Adventures of Nils by Selma Lagerlöf

This dark, yet geographically educational, children’s book has been a young reader’s staple since it was first published in 1906. The book begins with Nils mistreating animals on his family’s farm. When Nils is turned into an elf, he mounts a goose and flies across Sweden. As Nils travels from province to province, tales are told of characters in each province. This book is adventurous and fun and has taught children about the country of Sweden since it was first published. 

Photo by Alex Green from Pexels

Whilst you read, we will make sure that your laundry basket doesn’t overflow. To book your Laundryheap order, simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app. 


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New Year’s traditions around the world

Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2020, and wave hello to 2021. This is how they bring in the new year in the countries we operate in around the world. 

  • UK
  • USA
  • Ireland
  • Denmark 
  • Netherlands
  • UAE 
  • Qatar
  • Kuwait
  • Bahrain
  • Singapore

UK

In the UK, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with friends and family. Often, people will host parties in their homes, go to pubs, or gather for large firework displays that begin as soon as the clock strikes midnight. 

New Year’s Day is considered a day to relax and spend time with family. There is an old British superstition that the first guest to enter a person’s home on New Year’s Day will bring all the luck of the New Year with them. This tradition is called ‘first footing’. 

USA

Every year around 2 million people gather in Time Square, New York City, to witness the ‘ball drop’. The ‘ball drop’ began in 1907, and sees a large ball slowly lowered down a pole until it reaches the bottom as the clock strikes 12. Nowadays, the ball is covered in Waterford crystals, and the ‘ball drop’ is an event that includes musicians and entertainment. For those who can’t make it to New York, the ‘ball drop’ is broadcasted nationally and internationally to one billion people a year. 

Ireland 

Similarly to in the UK, New Year’s Eve in Ireland is often spent with family and friends either at parties, in the pub, or enjoying time together. 

In Ireland, New Year’s Day begins with cleaning the house. It is a centuries-old custom in Ireland to start the new year with a completely clean slate, meaning a spotless house. It is also a tradition to take note of which way the wind is blowing. If the wind is blowing in from the west, then the whole country is in for a good year, however, if it’s blowing in from the east, bad times are ahead. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Denmark 

In Denmark, they take ‘leaping into the new year’ to a whole new level. At the stroke of midnight, Danes leap from chairs to enter the new year in high spirits and with good luck. As well as jumping from chairs, Danes also smash plates against their friend’s front doors. This, like chair jumping, is supposed to bring good luck. The more plates you have smashed at your front door the more friends you have. Just be careful when stepping outside.

 Netherlands

On New Year’s Eve, the Dutch celebrate with friends and family, drinking bokbier and glüwein, and setting off fireworks at midnight. 

The next day, 30,000 people brave the freezing cold Dutch sea to enjoy a New Year’s dive. This has been an annual tradition for roughly 50 years, with many participants taking on the challenge to raise money for charity. The biggest of these dives happens outside Den Haag, underneath Scheveningen pier. 

UAE

New Year’s Eve in the United Arab Emirates is grand and luxurious. Many people go out for festive dinners, where entertainers dazzle diners whilst they eat. Alternatively, big parties are held at the best clubs in the UAE, where special guest DJ’s perform. At midnight, a myriad of fireworks, known to be the world’s most expensive fireworks, light the sky to welcome in the New Year. 

Qatar

In Qatar, they don’t view New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day as public holidays, so they don’t usually celebrate them. This being said, because of the tourism in Qatar, there are parties thrown at resorts and firework displays put on at midnight. 

Kuwait

New Years’ is a big time of the year for tourism in Kuwait. There are usually big parties held for tourists and locals alike, with firework displays going off at midnight to welcome in the new year. 

Bahrain 

Bahrain Bay is the best location in Bahrain to be on New Year’s Eve. Throughout the evening there is a host of extravagant feasts laid on at hotels and restaurants. At midnight a grand firework display is set off, followed by an abundance of exclusive parties.

Singapore 

New Year’s Eve in Singapore is centred upon Marina Bay. The focal point of the evening is always the midnight firework show, which is organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. 

People in Singapore start their New Year’s Day with a fresh approach. They buy fresh flowers and plants to decorate their homes and often freshly paint their houses. This is supposed to signify a new beginning for the new year. 

With the new year, comes a fresh start, which should be met with freshly laundered clothes. To book your Laundryheap service, head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app. 


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Celebrating Hanukkah

Image by ooceey from Pixabay

The Jewish festival of Hanukkah is upon us, and this is how you celebrate it. 

  • The meaning
  • Dates
  • The menorah 
  • Food
  • The dreidel
  • Gifts

The meaning

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. It celebrates the defeat of the Syrian Greeks, who had taken over the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and outlawed Jewish practices, by the Maccabees, an army of Jewish rebels, in 164 BCE.

You may have seen Hanukkah spelt several different ways, including Hanukkah, Hannuka, and Chanukah. This is because Hanukkah is a Hebrew word meaning dedication and there is no direct English translation. 

Dates

Hanukkah is based on the Hebrew calendar. Despite always starting on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev, in the Georgian calendar this can translate to anywhere from late November to late December. This year Hanukkah begins on Thursday 10th December 2020, and will end on Friday 18th December 2020. 

The menorah 

The menorah was a seven-branched candelabra that lit the ancient temple in Jerusalem. It was lit only by a specially, ritually-pure, olive oil that took over a week to prepare. After the Maccabees defeated the Greeks and rededicated the temple to God, legend has it that they found a small amount of this pure oil. Normally, the small amount that they found would only have lit the menorah for one day, however, somewhat miraculously, the menorah stayed lit for eight days. This provided enough time for more oil to be prepared. 

To celebrate the miracle of the menorah staying lit, Jews light nine-branched menorah’s, called hanukkiah, for all eight days of the festival

Food 

During Hanukkah, the sacred oil that lit the menorah is also celebrated by eating fried food. The two most traditional foods to eat are latkes, fried potato pancakes, and sufganiyot, jelly donuts. 

The dreidel

The dreidel is a small spinning top which children often play with at Hanukkah.

Prior to the Maccabees defeating the Greeks, Jews were forbidden from worshipping God or studying the Torah. Despite this, they continued to read the Torah, but simply hid their scrolls away if a Greek was nearby and played with a spinning top.

Today, dreidel’s are played with to commemorate this time, and are marked with 4 Hebrew letters which stand for the phrase, nes gadol haya sham- A great miracle happened here. 

Gifts 

Giving gifts was never a Hanukkah tradition, until the rise of Christmas gift-giving prompted American Jews to begin giving gifts at Hanukkah. Traditionally, Jews would give their relatives gelt (money) on Hanukkah. To acknowledge this tradition, many Jews will exchange gifts and give gelt in the form of chocolate coins. 

Happy Hanukkah from the whole Laundryheap team.

If you would like a helping hand with your laundry, book your Laundryheap service by heading to the Laundryheap website, or downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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Celebrating bonfire night

Image by Roy Costello

Bonfire night 2020 will not be the same. Due to COVID19 restrictions, many firework displays across the UK have been cancelled. That does not mean that you have to miss out on the firework fun. 

  • What is bonfire night?
  • How to stay safe on bonfire night
  • Light a bonfire 
  • Play bonfire games
  • Throw a firework display 
  • Light some sparklers 
  • Make marshmallow rockets

What is bonfire night? 

Every year, on the 5th of November, people across the UK celebrate bonfire night by lighting fireworks, sparklers, and, of course, bonfires. This is done to remember The Gunpowder Plot, a plan by Guy Fawks to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Many towns and cities in the UK host mass firework displays and light big bonfires to remember the occasion, whereas others decide to host smaller, more private, firework displays. 

How to stay safe on bonfire night 

Bonfire night is a lot of fun, however, there are a lot of dangers. Some general bonfire night safety tips are:

  • Children should be supervised at all times.
  • If you are setting off fireworks, assign one person to set them off to limit the number of potential injuries.
  • If there are several people attending the firework display, make sure that they are a safe distance away from where the fireworks are being set off. 
  • Keep pets indoors to avoid them becoming scared.
  • Do not set off fireworks after midnight. 

Light a bonfire 

Light a bonfire, gather, up to 6, of your friends and family, and warm yourself by the fire. It is the best way to celebrate the occasion. 

It is important to remember that you can only light a bonfire in a clear and safe space, away from fences, sheds, bushes, trees, and roads. You should also check with your local fire department whether it is legal to light a bonfire in your area. If it is safe to light a bonfire in your area, make your neighbours aware that you will be lighting it.  

To build your bonfire begin by creating a circle from bricks or stones, this will help contain the fire. Next, stand your tinder in a tepee shape in the centre of your circle. Place a couple of fuel logs parallel to each other on two sides of your tepee structure. Repeat this process up to five times to build up your bonfire. When you’re happy with your structure, drop a match in the centre of your tepee to start the fire. 

If you are lighting a bonfire, make sure that you have plenty of water at hand to put it out before it gets too large.

Play bonfire games 

Once your bonfire is lit, it’s time to play some games. Gather around your guests, play some music, and start by playing Hot Potato. Stand in a circle, a safe distance away from the bonfire, and throw a potato from one person to the next. Whoever is left with the potato when the music stops is holding the ‘hot potato’ and is therefore out. Keep going until there is one victorious player remaining. 

After you’ve warmed everyone up with Hot Potato, next is In the Bonfire. There are four phrases to learn for In the Bonfire-

1. In the Bonfire- everyone put their hands out to warm on a bonfire,

2. Out of the Bonfire- everyone puts their hands high in the air,

3. On the Logs- everyone put their hands on their knees,

4. Sparklers- everyone put their hands in the air and shake them around.

Nominate one person to shout out the phrases in any order. If anyone does the wrong movement they are out, as is the slowest person to complete the movement. 

To end your night of games, why not indulge in a singalong. Choose your favourite songs, gather everyone around the bonfire and sing the night to a close. 

If you haven’t got the space to light a bonfire, don’t worry, you can have just as much fun playing these games indoors.

Throw a firework display 

There is no better way to bring the night to an end then by throwing a personal firework display. Stock up on your fireworks, and stand in awe as a kaleidoscope of colourful flames light up the nights sky. 

If you are hosting your own firework display, make sure that you only buy your fireworks from a reputable shop. To ensure that your fireworks are legal, make sure that they have CE and BS 7114 on the lid of the box. 

Before setting your fireworks off, make sure that you read the instructions of each firework and fully understand them. When you are ready to set your firework off, aim it away from any buildings or stand buyers, light the firework at arms length, and stand well back from it as it explodes in the sky. 

It’s important to stay safe around fireworks and when setting fireworks off. Make sure that you have read up on your local areas firework safety guidance prior to setting any off. 

Light some sparklers 

Sparklers are a magical bonfire night treat for all. Unlike with bonfires and firework displays, you do not need to have a large open space to light a sparkler, however, you do need to light them outside and a good distance away from others. 

Light your sparklers outside, and observe the way they sparkle at arms length. Once the sparkler has burnt out, or if you want to put it out, put it in a bucket of water and leave the flames to completely extinguish. 

Make marshmallow rockets 

Marshmallow rockets are a simple, yet delicious, bonfire night treat. 

All you need for your marshmallow rockets is 

  • Wooden skewers
  • Marshmallows 
  • Chocoalte of your choice 
  • Sprinkles 

To make your marshmallow rockets, begin by piercing your marshmallows on the end of your wooden skewers. Next, melt down the chocolate of your choice either by microwaving or melting it on the hob. Once your chocolate is melted, dip your marshmallows into the chocolate until they are three quarters covered. After your marshmallows are covered, sprinkle a handful of sprinkles on the top of each marshmallow, and leave them to stand until they are set. As soon as they are set, share them amongst your friends and family, and enjoy your bonfire night. 

Don’t let laundry ruin your bonfire night, let us pick up your laundry, dry clean it, and redeliver it back to you, completely contactless. To book your Laundryheap service head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app. 

Laundryheap is operational across the UK in London, Birmingham, Coventry, and Manchester.


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Fun things to do on Halloween

Despite the fact that Halloween will be very different this year due to COVID restrictions, you can still have an exhilaratingly spooky time. 

  • Pumpkin carving
  • Make your home spooky
  • Halloween movie night
  • Get dressed up
  • Mix a spooky drink
  • Host a virtual party
  • Play Halloween games
  • Bake a spooky snack
  • Create, and dance to, a Halloween playlist
  • Get crafty

Pumpkin carving 

Carving pumpkins is a classic Halloween ritual that begun in Ireland hundreds of years ago. They would carve faces into turnips and potatoes, but it wasn’t until Irish immigrants in America discovered pumpkins that they began pumpkin carving. 

You can find pumpkins in supermarkets or you can pick your own from a pumpkin farm. To make your carving more interesting, see who can do the best/scariest carving amongst your friends and family. 

Make your home spooky 

Part of the joy of Halloween is walking down the street and observing spookily decorated houses. Just because things will be different this year, don’t let that stop you from creating your own haunted house. Get the spiders webs, ghosts, and flickering lights out and make your house as scary as possible. You could even collaborate with your neighbours and create a whole street of haunted houses. 

Image by Elaine of Lotus Land

Halloween movie night 

Are you more Hocus Pocus or A Nightmare on Elm Street? The Adams Family or The Conjuring? Whether you’re a lover of scary films, or prefer the family classics, host your very own Halloween movie night this 31st October. Snuggle up in some comfy PJ’s, lots of blankets, and plenty of snacks, and watch your favourite Halloween films over the course of the evening. Just make sure that you don’t get too sleepy watching them, because you never know what’s hiding under the bed…

Image by Ginny

Get dressed up 

We may not be able to go out trick or treating this year, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dress up. Get the face paints, fake blood, and masks out and have fun transforming into a new person, creature, or thing for the day. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures to show your friends and family just how ghoulish you can be. 

Mix a spooky drink 

Give in to your inner witch or warlock and mix yourself a spooky drink in your cauldron. Get creative with your concoction and try out a variety of  flavour combinations. Give your drink that extra edge by including ice cube spiders and zombie eye limes. 

Image by Shari’s Berries

Host a virtual party

2020 has made us all experts at hosting virtual events. This Halloween, get your costume on, mix yourself a spooky drink, and gather all of your friends and family for a virtual party. Complete with a ‘Best Dressed’ competition and spooky playlist, you can have all of the fun of a Halloween party, from the safety of your own home.

Image by Tambako The Jaguar

Play Halloween games 

Release your inner child by bobbing for apples, playing Halloween bingo, and making the best mummy from toilet paper. Buy some sickeningly sweet treats for the winner of each game and have some childish fun. 

Image by Janet

Bake a spooky snack 

Halloween is a great time to get creative and bake some spooky snacks. Try making eyeball cake pops, spider biscuits, and black cat cupcakes. Once you’ve made your beastly bakes, share them with your loved ones. You just need to think of a trick to go with your treat. 

Create, and dance to, a Halloween playlist

Halloween would not be complete without dancing to the Monster Mash. Create your very own Petrifying Playlist and dace the night away to all of your favourite spooky sounds. Don’t forget to share your playlist so that all your fellow ghosts and ghouls can enjoy your mix as well.

Get crafty 

If you want something creative to do this Halloween, then why not take part in some Halloween crafts. Create your own spiders web, make a mummy, or even get messy with some Halloween slime. The messier the better.

Image by Wendy Piersall

Our only trick is delivering your freshly dry cleaned laundry to you completely contactless. Treat yourself to a Laundryheap service by visiting the Laundryheap website or by downloading the free Laundryheap app.

  


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Get creative with your empty detergent bottle

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Once you’re finished with your detergent bottle there is so much more that you can do other than recycle it. Here are just some ideas. 

  • Bird feeder
  • Kettle bells 
  • Watering can 
  • Homemade detergent
  • Piggy bank

Bird feeder

During the autumn and winter months birds find it harder to forage for food. Help feed the birds, and save the environment, by making your very own laundry detergent bottle bird feeder. 

Make sure that your detergent bottle is completely empty and give it a through rinse before beginning to form your bird feeder. 

Once you’ve cleaned out your bottle, cut a bird-sized hole into the front of it. This will be how the bird accesses the food, so make sure that it is big enough for a standard sized bird to fit through. Underneath your hole, create a small perch for birds to rest on by pushing a wooden pencil or dowel through the bottle. 

After you’ve constructed your bird feeder, decorate it in any way you see fit. Use paints, streamers, glitter, whatever you have laying around to make your bird feeder as attractive to the birds as possible. 

Leave your bird feeder to completely dry before placing any bird food inside it. Once it is dried and filled with food, place it outside and in plain sight for the birds so that they can begin feasting.

Image by Indiana Ivy Nature Photogra

Weights

There’s no need to pay for a gym membership when you can make your very own weights at home.

Once you’ve used all of your laundry detergent, give the bottle a thorough clean. Next, fill the empty bottle with water or sand, creating weights. Depending on how heavy you want your weights to be depends on how much water/sand you add to the bottle. If you want to change the weight for your at-home workout, simply add or take away the amount of water/sand inside the bottle.

This is an easy, cost effective, and safe way to stay fit and healthy, especially during COVID19.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

 Watering can 

Keep your plants alive and well with this easy laundry detergent bottle watering can.

Simply give your bottle a thorough wash to remove any soapy residue and poke watering holes in the lid of the bottle.  To make your homemade watering can more appealing, decorate it however you see fit. Paint it a bright vibrant colour, and add some designs. People will never know it was originally a laundry detergent bottle. 

Homemade detergent 

Once you’ve finished using your shop-bought laundry detergent, re-fill the empty bottle with homemade detergent. The process of making your own detergent is easy. 

Piggy bank 

Get crafty and turn your laundry detergent bottle into a piggy bank. 

Begin by thoroughly washing out your empty detergent bottle to get rid of any soapy residue. Once you have done that, drill four small holes on the long flat side of your bottle. These will be the holes that you attach your pigs legs to.

Next cut a rectangle slit in the handle of your detergent bottle. This will be where you deposit your money, so make sure that your slit is large enough to deposit all sizes of coins. 

Next, decorate your piggy bank with whatever you can find in your house. Give it a thorough coat of paint to cover the base of the laundry detergent bottle before adding eyes, ears, and decorating the bottle cap as the pigs snout. 

Insert 4 screws into the drilled holes at the bottom of your detergent bottle, these will be what your piggy bank stands on. Once your screws are screwed in make sure that your piggy bank can stand up and is stable. You may need to tighten and adjust your screws to allow your piggy bank to comfortably stand.

Once you are satisfied with your piggy bank, it’s time to start saving. To access your piggy bank money, simply unscrew your pigs nose (the bottle cap) and empty it out. Happy saving. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Whilst you are busy up-cycling laundry detergent bottles, let us take care of your laundry. We launder all of our clothing with the environment in mind, which is why we do not use harsh chemicals on your clothing, and we offer low emission delivery slots.

To book your Laundryheap service head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app. 


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Best summer reads

There’s nothing quite like being completely immersed in a new book. That’s why this International Book Lovers Day, we have devised a list of the top five best summer reads.

  • How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister 
  • The Shelf by Helly Acton
  • Love in Colour: Mythical Tales from Around the World retold by Bolu Babalola 
  • The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams
  • Sisters by Daisy Johnson

How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister

How to Disappear is the latest psychological thriller from the Sunday Times Bestselling author Gillian McAllister. The story focuses on Laura and her daughter Zara, who witnesses a terrible crime. Zara speaks up about what she has seen, which leads to her having a target on her back. Laura realises that the best thing for her daughter is for both of them to disappear, but she soon finds out that staying hidden is harder than disappearing.  

If you are a fan of psychological thrillers that keep you guessing every page, then this book is the summer read for you.

The Shelf by Helly Acton

The Shelf is an exploration of our modern society. The story’s protagonist, Amy, is surrounded by friends getting married and having children. When her long-term boyfriend takes her on the holiday of a lifetime, the last thing she expects is to be dumped and thrown into a reality show. On the show, she must compete against 5 other women in tasks that will determine who is ‘The Keeper’.

Throughout this novel, Acton explores what it means to be a woman in the modern-day and what could be worse than being left on the shelf.

Love in Colour: Mythical Tales from Around the World, retold by Bolu Babalola

Love in Colour is a collection of the most beautiful love stories from history and mythology, vividly rewritten by Bolu Babalola. Throughout each story, Babalola decolonises love and shows the different varieties and colours that love can come in. From business to family to romance,  Love in Colour crosses continents, perspectives, and genres, to celebrate love in its many forms.

If you are a lover of love, then Love in Colour is a must-read. 

The Love Square by Laura Jane Williams 

If you love a classic Rom-Com than you will fall in love with The Love Square. The story follows the life of Penny, who is unlucky in love. However, in true Rom-Com fashion, she meets a remarkable man who sweeps her off of her feet. The issue comes when another man sweeps her off of her feet, followed by another man. Penny has to decide which of these men, if any, is ‘The One’ in this laugh-out-loud Rom-Com.

If you were a fan of Laura Jane Williams’ book Our Stop, then make sure that you pick up a copy of The Love Square. 

Sisters by Daisy Johnson 

Sisters by Daisy Johnson is perfect for lovers of Gothic thriller. As the title eludes, this book focuses on two sisters, July and September. When they were young, the sisters forged a blood-promise, however, after moving to a new house, they find that their bond is fading away. In a house that never seems to sleep, and where no one seems to be able to get any sleep, what will the fate be of these two sisters?

If you are an avid Stephen King reader than give this short thriller a try. 

Photo by Dina Nasyrova from Pexels

Don’t let your laundry interrupt your reading. Book a Laundryheap dry cleaning service by heading to the Laundryheap website or by downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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How to host a festival at home

Image by Henry Burrows

With festival season being, close to, completely cancelled because of COVID19, it’s time to bring the festival fun to you. Grab your tents, glitter, and music, because this is how you can host a festival at home. 

  • Give your festival a name
  • Make access passes
  • Create a map
  • Pick your line-up
  • Get your house festival-ready
  • Set activities 
  • Get yourself festival-ready
  • Dine al-fresco
  • Stick with camping 
  • Document the journey

Give your festival a name

Begin planning your stay-at-home festival by naming it. Don’t stress yourself out too much about creating a funny or witty name, something simple will do just fine. Naming your festival will simply put a name to the event and make it more official.

Make access passes 

It’s always nice to have memorabilia from a festival. Despite your festival taking place in your own home, and with limited guests due to COVID rules, making access passes is a fun way to commemorate the event. Make your passes by either drawing or create a simple graphic. Print your graphic on plain paper or card and fold it into a small rectangle. If you have access to a laminator, laminate the pass to avoid it becoming damaged by spilled drinks or general wear and tear. Finally, attach your passes to some string, or a lanyard if you have one, and hand them out to your festival-goers. Don’t forget to remind them that without their passes they can’t access the festival, so they must be worn at all times. 

Image by goblinbox_(queen_of_ad_hoc_bento)

Create a map

It may seem silly to create a map for your festival when it’s being hosted in your own home, but it’s part of the festival experience. Draw a simple layout of your house and pinpoint the areas where events will take place. You could even create a breakdown of which bands you will be playing at certain points of the day, just like in a real festival program. Similarly to the access passes, creating a map will provide your festival-goers with a small token from the festival that they can keep. 

Pick your line-up

You can’t have a festival without music. Unfortunately, you can’t have any live performances, unless someone in your social bubble is a musician. Luckily, there are a few music streaming options that will provide all the tunes your festival needs.

Firstly, many festivals that have been cancelled due to COVID have been showing performances from past acts. For example, Radio 1’s Big Weekend is available to watch on IPlayer. You could create your perfect festival line-up by going through performances from festivals past and playing those for your guests.

Alternatively, you could create your own playlists using a streaming service. This way it is completely up to you which songs to include in your set. Regardless of your decision, make sure that you have a headline act that is worth sticking around for. 

Image by Karen Woodham from Pexels

Get your house festival-ready 

You can’t host a festival without getting your house adequately festival-ready. Make a stage for your virtual bands to perform on by using a chair or table to prop a laptop on. Pitch a tent in your garden and allocate camping space for those staying at the festival. Use fairy lights to illuminate your food court and stage area. Create an outdoor seating area using throw pillows and blankets. Finally, finish off creating the festival vibe by using colourful streamers and banners to decorate the area. You want to create a new experience for your festival-goers, so get creative with your decorations. 

Set activities

When visiting a festival there are usually activities that can be done between seeing performances. These can be anything from face/glitter painting to playing human-sized Jenga. Plan some activities throughout the day that can involve all of your festival-goers. Do some face-painting, play some games and, most importantly, have fun with it. Make sure that your activities are appropriate for all ages so that any children at the festival can join in. 

Get yourself festival-ready

Part of the fun of festivals is dressing up for them. Think flamboyant but comfortable. Shorts, feathers, sequins, tassels, and, of course, a pair of wellies. You want to be prepared for all weather conditions, so it’s best to wear something lightweight for the sun, but also have a waterproof coat on-hand for the rain. The most important thing to remember when getting ready for your festival is… you can NEVER wear too much glitter. 

Image by ChrisPerriman

Dine Al-Fresco

Eating at festivals is all about grabbing something easy to eat at a food truck and dining Al-Fresco. Set up a BBQ and have burgers, hot dogs and other easy-to-eat delicious BBQ foods available for your festival-goers. Create your very own food court and let your guests lounge on throw pillows and blankets whilst they enjoy some, much-needed, festival food before they get back to their raving. The bonus of attending an at-home festival is that you can skip the endless food queues. 

Stick with camping

One of the best parts of going to a festival is camping. The joy of a stay-at-home festival is that you don’t have to camp in a crowded campsite, surrounded by queues of people waiting to use the portaloos in the middle of the night. Upgrade your camping experience by creating a calming campsite that your festival guests can enjoy. Pitch some tents and make them comfortable and cosy. Leave out plenty of sleeping bags, pillows, and blankets for your guests to snuggle up in, and light your tents with a multitude of fairy lights. You want to give your festival-goers a relaxing area to wind-down after a day of partying to their favourite artists. 

Image by Matheus Bertelli from Pexels

Document the journey 

Finally, make sure that you document your festival journey. Your festival is bound to be a lot of fun for yourself and your guests, so make sure that you capture plenty of photos and videos to remind you of what you created. You could even go live on Facebook and Instagram and share parts of your festival experience with your followers. 

Image by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

The joy of a stay-at-home festival is that there is less chance of your clothes getting covered in mud from staying in a field all weekend. If you do happen to get muddy during your festival, let us take care of your clothing. Book a Laundryheap hot wash service by heading to the Laundryheap website or by downloading the free Laundryheap app. 


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New York City Fun Facts

Photo by Roberto Vivancos from Pexels

New York is one of the most famous cities in the world. From The Empire State Building to the Statue of Liberty, everyone knows at least something about The Big Apple. But, did you know any of these 10 New York City fun facts?

  • The meaning behind The Big Apple
  • The languages of New York 
  • The story of the Statue of Liberty
  • The length of the Subway system
  • The Empire State Building
  • New York’s coastline
  • Rich New Yorkers
  • The Pizza Principle
  • The whispering gallery
  • The New York City library

The meaning behind The Big Apple

New York City is lovingly known by many as The Big Apple. There are many rumours about how this nickname came about, including a nod to the Great Depression when prior financiers would sell apples to make money. The first published use of the term was in the 1920’s when sports writer John J Fitzgerald used the phrase to describe New York’s horse racing track. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the name The Big Apple began to be widely used in reference to New York itself.

The languages of New York

There are over 800 different languages spoken in New York, making it one of the most linguistically diverse cities in the world. As a result of the cities’ rich immigration history, Only 51% of its residents solely speak English, the other 49% are bilingual. The second most popular language in New York is Spanish, followed by Chinese and Russian.

The story of The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is arguably New York’s most notable landmark. Standing 83 metres tall, The Statue of Liberty is a historic American landmark that millions marvel at every year. The statue arrived in New York in 1885, in 214 crates and 350 pieces. It was a gift from France to celebrate America’s centennial celebration. Interestingly, the statues iconic arm holding the torch arrived in America a decade earlier in 1876. It was put on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia to raise money for the construction of the whole statue.

Photo by Jesús Mirón García from Pexels

The length of the Subway system

New York’s Subway system is one of the largest urban mass transportation systems in the world. Each year, approximately 1,727,366,607 passengers use the underground system, consisting of 34 lines and 469 stops. If you were to travel to every stop on the system, without leaving the Subway, it would take you 21 hours and 49 minutes. 

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is another of New York’s famous landmarks. Standing 102 stories high in Midtown Manhattan, it has been a New York highlight since 1930. Despite being a notable NYC landmark, The Empire State building is very unlucky. There is a 1 in 9 million chance of being struck by lightning twice in your lifetime. The Empire State Building is struck 23 times every year!

New York’s coastline

When you think about American coastlines, New York will not be the first place you think about. That being said, New York actually has a coastline of 520 miles, which is longer than the coasts of Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco combined.

Rich New Yorkers

New York is the only city in the world that is home to more than 100 billionaires. There are actually 113 billionaires currently living in the city, the richest of which is former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has an estimated net worth of $60.1 billion. Asides from the billionaires, there are also more than 380 million millionaires living in New York City. 

The Pizza Principle

For over 50 years the average price of a Subway ride and the average price of a slice of pizza has been relatively the same. Whenever one of the prices goes up or down, so does the other. Economists have lovingly named this the Pizza Principle. 

Image by Mike Licht

The whispering gallery

Grand Central Terminal is a commuter rail terminal in Midtown Manhattan and home to the whispering gallery. If you were to stand at one corner of the platform and have a friend stand at a diagonal corner to yourself you will be able to whisper to each other. This secret conversation can happen because of the perfectly curved arches that make up the platform. 

Image by Andreas Wulff

The New York City Library

The New York City Library is the third biggest library in the world and the second biggest library in America. It is home to 50 million books and when the library first opened in 1911 it was the largest marble building ever built in America. Today 3.5 million people inhabit the library and explore its extensive collections.

If you are in the New York City area don’t forget to book your Laundryheap dry cleaning service. Use the code FIRST10 to get $10 off of your first order. To book your slot head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app.