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The benefits of reading

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Immersing yourself in a good book is a wonderful feeling. It can transport you to a different time, a different place, or even a different world. These are just some of the benefits of reading. 

  • Relaxation
  • Emotional intelligence 
  • Builds vocabulary 
  • Sleep preparation 
  • Improve focus and concentration
  • Builds relationships
  • Improves memory 
  • Time filler

Relaxation

Research shows that reading a fictional book can reduce your stress level by up to 68%. As your brain engages with the story, your heart rate slows down and your muscles relax. This is because you are no longer thinking about the stresses in your life, and instead are focused on the story in front of you. 

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Emotional intelligence

Reading, especially to/with children, can help develop emotional intelligence. Books contain multiple characters who deal with multiple emotions. Children can identify these emotions, and evaluate whether the characters dealt with them in a negative or positive way. This can help them reflect on how to deal with their own emotions.

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Builds vocabulary 

As you read, even as a child, you will begin to recognise words and their meanings. The more you continue to read, the more advanced your vocabulary will become. Pushing yourself to read books outside of your comfort zone, such as Shakespearean literature or books containing a different language, the more advanced your vocabulary will become. 

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Sleep preparation

Looking at screens, such as a phone, can make it hard for you to fall asleep. Instead of looking at your phone for hours on end, try reading a book. Reading is great for sleep preparation for several reasons. Firstly, it is usually done in a comfortable position so it is already getting your body ready for sleep. Secondly, as previously mentioned, reading relaxes the body, lowering your heart rate and releasing tension in your muscles. Finally, there are no bright lights in books to stimulate your brain, just words to be read from a page. Read a few pages of your latest novel before bed, and find yourself slipping into dreamland in no time. 

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Improve focus and concentration

To successfully read and understand a book requires a lot of focus and concentration. Unlike when watching a film, you can’t check your phone or hold a conversation whilst reading, you must be fully immersed in the story in front of you. If you have a limited attention span, reading can help improve your focus and concentration. Challenge yourself to read a chapter or two of a book every day, without taking breaks to check your phone or chat, and soon you will find your ability to concentrate improve. 

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Builds relationships

Reading is a great way to build relationships. As previously mentioned, reading can help to improve emotional intelligence, making emotions easier to detect and handle appropriately. This emotional intelligence can translate to helping identify emotions in other people, making it easier to empathise with people. In addition to this, reading is a great way to bond with children. Reading to a child captures their attention and establishes a time that you are sharing one-to-one with each other.

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Improves memory 

Unless your book is short, or you are a very fast reader, it is unlikely that you will be able to finish a full book in one day. This means that you will have to remember what has happened so far in the story the next time you read it. This will help to improve your memory, and has even been proven to slow down cognitive decline in old age. 

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Time filler 

Becoming immersed in a story is a great way to pass the time. It is perfect for when you are waiting for your washing machine to finish it’s cycle, or your clothing to dry. Simply sit down, open your book, and forget about the stress that comes with sorting your laundry

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Reading is not only incredibly fun, but also comes with many benefits. Don’t let doing your laundry get in the way of your reading time, let us do it for you. Simply head to the Laundryheap website or download the free Laundryheap app to book your order today.


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Swedish must-reads

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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. 

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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’. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.  

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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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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. 

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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 Make the Most of Your Laundry Time

Let’s face it, we’ve all found ourselves helplessly searching for something to do in the hour it takes for laundry to be washed. Often regarded as the household chore people loathe the most, Laundry generally gets a rough time. 

Waiting for your washing to come out of the machine or dryer is often the most frustrating aspect of doing laundry . With such small increments of time, people often wonder what they should do? Well, we are here to change that with a few simple suggestions. 

  1. Listen to a Podcast
  2. Read A Book
  3. Listen To An Audiobook
  4. Call Your Friends or Family
  5. Watch Something On Your Phone
  6. Do A Quick Workout
  7. Online Shopping
  8. Get Some Work Done
  9. Catch Up On Emails/Messages
  10. Hire A Professional To Free Up Your Laundry Time

Listen to a Podcast

If you haven’t already jumped on the Podcast hype-train, then where have you been? Podcasts are a great distraction from just about any boring task that doesn’t require your full attention. 

There are quite literally hundreds of thousands of different Podcasts at your disposal, with most of them being free to listen to, it’s a no brainer for killing time doing laundry. Whether you are into true crime, sport, music, history, self-help or comedy, there is something for everyone in the Podcast world. Put your headphones in, sit back and let the time fly. 

Read A Book

Most people don’t have time in their busy schedule to sit down and read a good novel these days. With so much of our time spent on work, replying to emails and checking social media for current events, the art of sitting and reading a book is in steep decline. 

Waiting for your laundry to be done is the perfect opportunity to pull out that novel someone bought you as a gift two Christmas’ ago. Find a comfy seat, relax and get lost in the words. The time will fly by. 

Listen to an Audiobook

Reading isn’t for everyone, we understand that. Luckily for us, we live in a digital age, that means you don’t have to strain your eyes from trying to focus on the small font used in books. If you feel you don’t have the attention span to sit and read a whole novel, then Audiobooks have you covered.

Just about every novel released now is accompanied by an Audiobook version. Harry Potter fan? Why not listen to the seven books narrated by the melodious voice of Stephen Fry? Let the narrator take you on the author’s intended journey and forget about all your laundry worries.

Call Your Friends or Family

So much of our interactions with people come in the form of text or email these days. Why not take the hour you have spare to call one of your friends or family. That’s right, call, as in over the phone and with your voice. Crazy, right? Waiting for laundry provides the perfect space in your day to call that special someone and catch up on all the things happening in each other’s lives. 

Watch Something on Your Phone 

Nowadays most people have smartphones with instant access to whichever choice of streaming service they prefer. If you have an hour to kill why not load up the latest episode of that series you have been binging? Or check out that documentary your friend recommended you watch? You’d be amazed how quickly you forget about that laundry spinning around the machine when you are tuned in to David Attenborough’s latest documentary. Just make sure you remember to take the laundry out when it’s ready and move it to the dryer!

Do a Quick Workout

This is a great option for those neglecting the gym lately, or for those who simply just love to work out. You can do plenty of routines in the hour it takes to do some laundry. Press-ups, sit-ups, squats, dips, you name it, it can be done whilst waiting for your laundry to be finished. This will have you not only feeling good about getting your dirty clothes washed but also about giving your body some much need endorphins.

Online Shopping

What better way to take your mind of doing the laundry than buying more clothes that will one day have to be washed? We are all guilty of spending too much time scrolling through online stores latest releases, so why not do it when you are waiting for the laundry. This way you don’t have to feel guilty that you are wasting valuable time. 

Get Some Work Done

This suggestion can mean different things for different people depending on what you do for a living. If, for example, you work independently from home then laundry time is the perfect time to get some work done. 

This option can be applied to just about any profession though. Whether it comes in the form of writing a to-do list or brainstorming some ideas you want to put forward to your boss, don’t let this free time go to waste! 

Catch Up On Emails

Emailing is part and parcel of most peoples daily working routine. I’m sure we don’t need to remind you how quickly that inbox can fill up and how overwhelming it can be to start getting back to people. Why not use this unusual free time to tackle that ever-growing inbox of yours.

Hire a Professional 

Why go through the stress and boredom of doing laundry when you could be using Laundryheap? All you have to do is book a collection and delivery time. Your clothes will arrive back with you 24 hours later – all clean and ready for action. You never have to worry about how to make the most of your laundry time ever again.