Review: Fantastic Services – professional cleaning

We’ve been without a cleaner for well over a year now. We’ve haphazardly tried to tackle this much hated chore by ourselves, but for some months now I’ve shuffled around the house trying not to look too carefully at the dusty corners and the dirty marks on the walls. A couple of times a year we like to properly blitz the place. One of those times is before the Christmas tree goes up. So this week we bit the bullet and booked a three-hour spruce up and scrub of our home from Fantastic Services.

Review: Fantastic Services - professional cleaning

It was ridiculously easy to book cleaning services through the Fantastic Services website. You just enter your details and what you need doing and the website comes up with a quote and a selection of time-slots for you to choose from. It’s as easy as that. If you get stuck there’s a live chat option too.

I have a large lounge and big kitchen to clean, as well as bedrooms and bathrooms, so I opted to have two cleaners come for a three-hour slot to properly blitz the place. This costs £78 but for a big deep clean it was really worth it.

I had a tidy up a declutter before the cleaners arrived. Having a seven-year old means my house often resembles a toy assault course, so I think it’s only polite to have a tidy up. There was no need for me to leave out any cleaning products or anything, they brought everything they needed with them.

Review: Fantastic Services - professional cleaning

The cleaners arrived bang on time and they were really lovely. I gave them a tour of the house, outlined what I needed them to do and I just left them to it. I sat working in my office as they cracked on with cleaning my house.

After the three hours were up I went to chat to them and have a look at how they’d got on. Everything I’d asked them to do they had done. They’d even cleaned things I’d stopped noticing; like my kitchen bin and that corner of my bedroom where all the spiders live. I think all cleaners are different and have slightly different things they like to focus on. We were very happy with their work and I think my house looked about 300% better for having them visit.

I think Fantastic Services offer a really easy to use, well priced service. For a one-off clean (which I had) it was £13 per person per hour. There were no booking fees or extras added on top and they brought their own cleaning products and equipment.

Review: Fantastic Services - professional cleaning

Fantastic Services offer a wide range of services including regular and one-off cleans; gardening and landscaping; pest control and handyman services. They’ll even get you a Christmas tree and decorate it for you! They’re really easy to book and pay for online. The cleaners they sent me were very professional and did a great job. I’ll be booking them again!

Here’s a FANTASTIC Discount Code for you to use! Use the code “HodgePodge10” to get £10 off your first booking. Does not apply to regular domestic cleaning and Christmas services. Cannot be combined with other deals and promotions. Min charges apply. Subject to availability and area coverage.

We received a complimentary clean from Fantastic Services in return for an honest review. All images and opinions are our own.

Five ways kitchen towel can keep your house clean

Kitchen towel is a real household essential. It’s great for mopping up spills and for cleaning up after children and pets. It’s so essential, a roll of kitchen towel is one of the first things we pack when we go on a self-catering holiday. Here are my five ways we use kitchen towel to keep our house clean – it’s so versatile we wouldn’t be without it!

Five ways kitchen towel can keep your house clean!

Damp dusting – I’m allergic to dust, so when I do dust my house I have to damp dust. To me damp dusting makes more sense than just moving the dust around. To damp dust, just dampen your kitchen towel and wipe over the dusty areas, then you just dispose of the dusty kitchen roll. No dust has been flicked up around the house, I’m not sneezing and everything looks clean and tidy.

When I’m cleaning windows – Kitchen roll is great to use for cleaning your windows with. Just damp them and use with some window cleaning spray – there will be no streaks just shine.

Fat fighters – Tipping cooking fat and grease down the sink is a big no-no. If your sink or drains get blocked it can cause all kinds of problems. To combat this problem, I put a couple of sheets of Plenty Kitchen Towel in my pan (once it’s cooled obviously) and leave it for a few hours, the towel soaks up the fat. I then just put the soaked kitchen towels in the bin. No fuss, no mess, no blocked drains.

Condensation killer – If your windows suffer with condensation in the winter, one old fashioned but excellent tip is to dab of washing up liquid onto your kitchen towel, wipe it all over your dry window and that will help to prevent condensation build up.

Bye bye cobwebs – If you’ve got high ceilings or hard to reach places to dust; slightly dampen a piece of kitchen towel, put it on the end of a sweeping brush and carefully dust the cobwebs off your ceiling or hard to reach corners. The damp towel will stop the dust from floating down onto your face and your corners will be cobweb free. Result!

Five ways kitchen towel can keep your house clean!

= This is a collaborative post =

Review: Spring Cleaning with Bar Keepers Friend

I dislike cleaning but I like living in a nice clean house. When I clean I like to use things which will be quick and effective, leaving my kitchen and bathroom gleaming with minimal effort. I was sent a selection of cleaning products from Bar Keepers Friend to try out, so this weekend we set about cleaning our kitchen and bathroom to see if Bar Keepers Friend would help our house to sparkle.

Bar Keepers Friend was first launched in 1882 in America, where the story goes that in 1882 a chemist from Indianapolis noticed how clean and shiny his tarnished pot was after cooking rhubarb. Using an active ingredient that’s found in the plant he made a talcum smooth cleaner and sold it to the city’s taverns. It worked so well that it was called ‘Bar Keepers Friend’. 

Bar Keepers Friend uses a blend of Oxalic Acid (found in rhubarb, parsley and chives) and a mineral base with surfactant to make one of the most popular cleaning brands in the UK.

bar keepers friend

We were sent the following products to try –

  • Bar Keepers Friend Stain Remover Powder: (250g, RRP: £2.99)
  • Bar Keepers Friend Power Cream – a superior cream formulation that “cleans where others fail”. For for cookware, kitchens and bathrooms (350ml, RRP: £2.99).
  • Bar Keepers Friend Power Spray – this easy-to-use format is for use in everyday cleaning situations, from kitchen and bathroom to stainless steel and glass (500ml RRP: £2.99).

Using the three products we tackled the kitchen and bathroom areas. We used the Bar Keepers Friend Power Spray in the kitchen, we cleaned the kitchen sink and hob with it and I was impressed with how shiny they were after use. 

bar keepers friend

We didn’t have to deploy too much elbow grease either. They power spray cut through the dirt and with a little (and I mean a little) amount of buffing and soon the sink and hob were shining.

Hubs used the Bar Keepers Friend Stain Remover Powder on the kitchen floor. There were a couple of stubborn marks from some crafting we’d been doing in the kitchen (don’t ask) and they needed a bit of focussed attention rather than a waft over with my damp mop. The stain remover is a powder you sprinkle onto a damp cloth. I have to say we were both very impressed at how quickly the stain lifted from the floor and the shine it left afterwards. I can tell why this is their “original and best” product.

Lastly we had a go at the bathroom with the Bar Keepers Friend Power Cream. This was a white cream which we used with a damp cloth, cleaning all the nooks and crannies in and around the taps and in the basin and bath. I was really impressed at how  bright and sparkly everything was afterwards. It’s so lovely I’m loathe to let the boys back into the bathroom again.

Bar Keepers Friend removes stubborn stains and cuts through mineral deposits, oil and grease, rust stains and everyday grime on stainless steel, tiles, ceramic, glass, plastic, chrome, brass, copper and other surfaces too.

I liked Bar Keepers Friend, I think it’s a fantastic range of products, especially for those times when your cleaning needs an extra boost and a bit of a stain lifting supercharge. I was genuinely surprised when those crafting marks came off the kitchen floor and both the kitchen sink and the bathroom were gleaming. I couldn’t fault it. I’ll be looking at rhubarb in an entirely different way from now on.

Bar Keepers Friend is available in Robert Dyas, B&Q, Lakeland, John Lewis, Waitrose, Ocado and a range of independent retailers. For more information visit the Bar Keepers Friend website.


Review: Spring Cleaning with Astonish

This weekend the sun streamed through the windows and I saw my house properly in the warm glow of daylight for the first time in months. I like many others felt the urge to give everywhere a good scrub. I suspect I was not alone, up and down my road husbands were cutting the grass whilst their wives were hanging out line after line of washing, taking rugs outside for a good shake and polishing windows. It’s that time of year where everyone feels the need to have a spring clean.

Years ago I was less cautious about the chemicals I used around the house, I didn’t really care as long as the house was clean, but these days I’m a little more careful, I have the small boy to worry about as well as an asthmatic husband, and I try not to use cleaning products which make me catch my breath.

Astonish has a full range of products, which are all Vegetarian Society Approved, to help you clean your home from top to bottom. Better still, many of the products in the range have an RRP of just £1, so you can clean your house and not break the bank too.

We were sent some Astonish cleaning products to try out, including the new All in 1 Dishwasher Tablets, Oven & Cookware Cleaner, Grease Off Spray & Wipe, Antibacterial Cleanser and Grout & Tile Cleaner.


The antibacterial cleaner is brilliant, often these kind of cleaners have a strong smell so we don’t buy them again, but this had virtually no smell and cleaned the kitchen surfaces really well. I’d happily use this multipurpose product all over the house again.

The Grease Off Spray & Wipe was so good on the hob. I know I should wipe it down every day, but it probably gets a scrub once a week, sometimes I have to really give it some elbow grease, but this lifted the burnt on bits and left my hob clean and shiny with very little effort at all.

I loved the Grout & Tile Cleaner, my bathroom grout has started to get a bit grubby and difficult to clean. This is easy to use, just spray it on and leave for 10 minutes, then go back and give it a rub with a cloth and it comes up almost like new. More stubborn bits of grout might need a second application, but it couldn’t be easier to use. Although we didn’t review it, we’ve been using the Astonish Mould & Mildew Remover for years and it’s fantastic for sorting out mould on bathroom sealants and very grubby tiles.

Hubs who is in charge of the dishwasher tried out the new All in 1 Dishwasher Tablets, they are formulated to remove even the toughest dried on stains including tea, coffee, dried sauces and gravy. They have a built in salt and rinse aid and they don’t contain Phosphates, so the product is kinder to the environment. They are also really good value (I’ve found them online for £2.99 for 40 dishwasher tablets).

He’s tried a lot of different brands of dishwasher tablets and he was very happy with these, the glasses were sparkly and there were no dried on bits left on the cutlery or dishes. We would definitely buy these again. It’s nice to be using a brand name product for a budget price.


I used to think cleaning products were all the same, but they’re not (years of cleaning have taught me something at least). These products from Astonish don’t smell so bad that you can taste them in the air, they’re pleasant to use and they do the job well. They’re not expensive, with an average RRP of £1, having a clean house won’t cost the earth. I’m glad I’ve got these Astonish products in my spring cleaning armoury, I’ll be looking out for them in the future.

You can find out more about Astonish on their website. Astonish cleaning products are available from a wide range of retailers.


The Oven Pride Christmas Dinner Challenge

At this time of year there are a million things to do and a million more things to think about. It had been in the back of my mind that I should probably clean my oven before Christmas, but I’d not done anything more about it. It seemed like a chore I could do without. However Oven Pride got in touch and suggested my Christmas dinner might taste a bit better if I did give my oven a good clean, they sent me a box of Oven Pride and it seemed I had run out of excuses not to clean it. 

The challenge was to cook a Christmas dinner in my filthy oven, then give it a clean, then cook another Christmas dinner. Thankfully my family like turkey, so we were on!

I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my oven, I think it might’ve been sometime over the summer but I can’t be certain. Regardless it was filthy, the glass on the door was caked in brown stuff to the point where I struggled to see through it. The bottom of the oven had a slight dip in it, so anything that splatters or bubbles over pools there and quickly turns black, burnt and acrid. 

Oven Pride

I popped the turkey into the oven, and because our oven is used to fairly quick blasts of cooking we hadn’t realised how bad it was. After 45 minutes of the oven being on, the kitchen quickly filled with smoke and I had to keep the back door open. My eyes started stinging every time I went into the kitchen and regrettably I’d left a damp coat over a chair, so that stank of smoke and grease and had to be washed the next day. The kitchen reeked and it was very hard to spend any time at all in there whilst the oven was on. I hardly dared to imagine how the food would taste.

I’d cooked the turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and roast parsnips in the oven. I’m veggie so I don’t know how the turkey tasted, but the roast potatoes and parsnips did have a slight smoky taste, and if I’m honest the whiff of the oven was still hanging in the air while we were eating, so I was very put off by it. I could only imagine what my guests on Christmas Day would think sat in an acrid, smoke-filled kitchen tucking into turkey and all the trimmings – not impressive. Action needed to be taken.

Oven Pride

I was so disgusted I could hardly wait for the oven to cool down enough for me to get cracking with the cleaning. In the box comes a pair of gloves to protect your hands, a large bag to soak your oven shelves in and of course a big bottle of Oven Pride. Read the instructions carefully before you start, but it is very simple to do. I would recommend leaving it overnight rather than the 4 hour minimum. We left it for four hours but our oven was so filthy it needed a longer soaking, so we did the oven again, the second time overnight. 

Oven Pride

Oven Pride

Oven Pride

The shelves in the bag were amazing – a revelation. You could see the grime coming off them almost instantly and once they’d been left overnight and rinsed clean they shone like I’d never seen before. I was very impressed.

Oven Pride

As you can see the oven is spotless, you could eat your dinner off it and those shelves are zingy clean and shiny! It was time to put it to the test, it was time to cook turkey number two!

I cooked the exact same Christmas dinner as before, only this time it was in a clean and shiny oven. This time there was no smoke, the kitchen was a nice place to be, all was as it should be. 

Oven Pride

The dinner was how it should be, the boys enjoyed the turkey, the roast potatoes and parsnips were really good (even if I do say so myself) and not at all acrid or smoky. Christmas dinner was a success!

Oven Pride

Oven Pride

I’m ashamed that I let my oven get in such a state. I promise to try and keep my oven clean from now on, knowing what a difference it makes to the taste of the food. Using Oven Pride is really simple, there’s very little elbow grease involved, and if you leave it overnight even the most stubborn oven grime is easily removed. I guess if you keep on top of it, cleaning your oven maybe twice a year then the filth doesn’t build up. Take it from one who knows, don’t let your oven get smoky and disgusting like mine.

Note: We are sent the Oven Pride to try for review purposes and we were compensated for cooking the meals, but all images and opinions are our own.

Review: Aquaint Sanitising Water

As a parent blogger I sometimes get to try out products for review. I usually really like the products I’ve been sent, but occasionally I get one where a loud voice in my head shouts “where were you when I had a newborn?”. This week I was sent one such product, Aquaint sanitising water.

When I became a Mum, I was incredibly torn between wanting to sterilise every single thing my precious baby would ever come into contact with, and wondering whether the frankly industrial smell of the products used to make things 100% germ free might be harmful in itself. And then there’s always the argument that a little bit of dirt does no one any harm (thanks Gran).

When I opened the box and had a good look at the bottles, I was surprised to read that the sanitising water can kill 99.9% of bacteria in seconds, but it’s safe enough to spray into your mouth and has passed official UK drinking water tests. It has no smell and it tastes only of water and it’s ideal for sensitive skins and people with allergies, perfect for me then, I’m as sensitive as they come.


You can use the Aquaint sanitising water on hard and soft surfaces including cutlery, tables, toilet seats, toys etc. as well as surfaces that come into contact with the mouth such as toothbrushes, dummies, feeding bottles and even food (e.g. fruit, meat, fish etc.).

We tried it out in the kitchen, cleaning up after we’d eaten a meal at the dining table. It doesn’t remove dirt, a damp cloth and elbow grease do that, but a spray with Aquaint and a quick rub with a clean damp cloth and everything is sanitary and germ free. Hubs even tested the claim that it was okay to spray in your mouth, he didn’t die and he said it just tasted like water.

I’m ex-NHS and in the course of my career (and also as a parent), I have tried every anti-bacterial gel on the market. I have sensitive skin so it was a necessary evil at work and I’d often be left with cracked and sore hands due to the gel we had to use. I can hand on heart say that this is the gentlest anti-bacterial product I’ve used on my hands ever. It doesn’t contain any alcohol, fragrances, preservatives or harmful chemicals and it comes in a handy little bottle which you can easily slip in a handbag or changing bag.

I am genuinely sad I didn’t know about this product earlier. We’ve gone through gallons of anti-bacterial products over the last four years and all of them have cracked my skin or made me feel sick if I’ve accidentally licked a finger afterwards. I’m putting a small bottle of Aquaint in my bag and it’s staying there until the boy has gone to university.

Aquaint Sanitising Water is available from a range of shops including Boots and Amazon for £4.99 for 500mls and £2.49 for a small 50ml bottle.

Note: I was sent some Aquaint sanitising water to try out for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.