Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Reasons to ditch chemical filled cleaning products in favour of greener alternatives


The majority of people out there are extremely careful about the household products that they leave lying around or within easy reach, especially when children are around. If you’re a parent then you’ll know how much you panic when the bleach is out just in case your little ones manage to get hold of it or get it on to their fingers off the freshly cleaned sides. In order to cut down on unnatural chemicals in the household many people are now turning to alternative cleaning products made using only natural ingredients.

The only reason that many people are yet to make the change to greener cleaners is because they don’t understand the benefits that go along with making the switch:

Dangers that chemicals pose
The majority of chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis – not just in cleaning products – have not been tested for safety. Of the millions of chemicals that are out there only a miniscule fraction have been tested, but rather than being tested for safety they’ve been tested to see whether they’re actually unsafe. You’ll also be hard pushed to find any scientific data that details the short or long term health risks of any household chemicals.

Although there’s a chance that chemical cleaners could have a negative effect on adults whether it’s because they cause a skin irritation, problems with breathing or other complication, however the truth is they’re much more likely to cause problems for young children. There is a whole list of problems that can be caused by the chemicals in common household cleaners including skin irritations, asthma, chemical burns and even more seriously, cancer.

The packaging of bleach bottles and other cleaning products is generally extremely bright and therefore pretty enticing for children and it doesn’t matter how many times you tell your kids to keep away from the cleaning cupboard that will only make them want to head to it even more. Cleaning products generally smell nice too, having either a citrus or very sweet scent which entices children even more as they see a brightly coloured, sweet smelling toilet block as something to eat rather than something to avoid. Kids who can’t read or merely don’t read aren’t going to understand the dangers of something that looks just like a sweet to them.

Toddlers are into everything
If you have a young baby or toddler who’s just starting to find their feet you’ll feel like you need five pairs of eyes to be able to keep watch over their every move all day. There’s no getting away from the fact that this is difficult so the less likely they are to harm themselves the less you have to worry. If you remove toxic everyday cleaning products from your home and replace them with greener, environmentally friendly alternatives made from natural ingredients there’d be much less of an issue if you did find your child playing with the bottle. It’s not just the possibility of them coming across the products when they’re searching through the cupboards that’s a problem though because most parents will do everything they can to prevent their children playing with anything that could cause them harm by placing such products out of reach. However babies and toddlers are always absentmindedly chewing things and touching everything so the table that you just cleaned with a chemical cleaner is likely to turn into your child’s new teething ring at some point meaning all the cleaning chemicals will soon be all over your child’s hands as they pull themselves up and in their mouth as they chew incessantly on the edge of the table.

Children are affected more often
A child’s immune system is nowhere near as strong as that of an adult as they are still developing many basic bodily systems and haven’t been exposed to anywhere near as many harmful chemicals or diseases as an adult.
Most adults develop a barrier to the brain which stops harmful chemicals from circulating around the body however babies don’t have this and aren’t likely to develop it until adolescence when the immune system is fully developed. This means that babies and young children are consequently at a much higher risk of developing a negative reaction to being exposed to harmful chemicals.
Chemicals are everywhere so it’s impossible to eliminate them all from your home and some exposure is essential if you want your child to develop a healthy immune system. However, the chemicals in household cleaners generally have the potential to be much more dangerous so green, environmentally friendly cleaners made from natural products present the perfect way to reduce your child’s exposure to unnecessary harm.

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Clean and Tidy are a renowned cleaning company and offer their cleaning services to many different businesses throughout the United Kingdom.

Monday, 1 July 2013

The Best Independent Cafés, Delis and Coffee Houses in Norwich


Norwich is known for a number of things. From the Canaries at Carrow Road to Alan Partridge and the University of East Anglia, this little known city is positively teeming with cultural pursuits that far outdo its tired representation in the media.  Indeed, scratch beneath the surface and Norwich is a veritable treasure trove of independent shops and eateries that offer the freshest and most reasonable food this side of the south east.

For a whistle-stop tour of the best bits, head to Norwich’s famous lanes. Home to a glut of successful independent cafes and shops, many of these establishments have weathered the recession and then some. I’ve lived in Norwich for five years and have always made the effort to visit as many independent places as possible. I really like the sense of community that comes with living in a small city and by going to the same establishments’ I find that fast friendships are formed.

What follows are my favourite places to grab a quick bite.

No 33
For the best cake in Norwich by far, check out No 33. Known to have eager punters queuing out the door, No 33 sell really great coffee and truly memorable cake.  What’s more, you get served a thick, door-stop sized slab of moist, melt-in-the-mouth sponge that’s come straight out of their range cooker, rather than a meagerly dry slice that leaves you desperate for more.

Aside from coffee and cake, No 33 have a really impressive breakfast and lunch menu. I always go for the Welsh Rarebit as it’s served with the most heavenly red onion chutney and cheese. However, there are a number of standout meals on the menu so I’d say that this place is a must-visit to those new to Norwich.  It’s not open on Sundays though!

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Moorish sell one thing and one thing only: falafel.  As a relatively new joint, Moorish has fast cemented its reputation as one of the best places to get a fast yet fresh bite.
Hot, freshly prepared falafels are stuffed into pitta bread and served with your choice of salad and sauce. An incredibly simple, guilt-free meal that is filling and delicious to boot. I treat myself to one of these babies at least once a month. 

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The Window
The Window is the smallest coffee shop in the world and incredibly good at what it does. You’ll only ever find one person working the handles of the espresso machine and that’s the owner, Hayley Draper, who works their fulltime with her dog Daisy.

The lovely thing about this place is the intimacy. At first, I was concerned that such a small establishment would be cliquey. However, it’s quite the opposite. Hayley is very inviting and personable and her passion for coffee is evident in the great drinks she makes. Sometimes, Hayley’s mum makes cakes to sell however, if you’re just after a really good cup of Joe that you can enjoy by the river, this is the place to go and lots of national publications agree.

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Pandora’s Kitchen
Pandora’s Kitchen has recently reinvented itself. Before the New Year, it was known as the Vanilla Bean House and was in need of a serious makeover. Unloved and run down, the Vanilla Bean House sold the kind of jacket potatoes and sandwiches that one would expect from a pub lunch menu. However, almost overnight the place was transformed and a menu overhaul graced the newly anointed Pandora’s Kitchen.

Now, alongside the vintage-inspired décor, you can expect handmade pizza, hog roast sandwiches and a delicious deli buffet that comes with the best cheese scones I’ve ever tasted. High tea is also available and although it’s rather pricey, it’s worth it if you want to treat yourself.

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Although the menu at Frank’s is very selective, they do what they very well. I often go there at night (it’s open until 2am – bonus!) and share a famous Frank’s Platter with a friend. It comes with a variety of bread and oils, a huge bowl of hummus and a mountain of olives.

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Frank’s is also the only place in Norwich to get your teeth around traditional pancakes with maple syrup and bacon.  The pancakes here are seriously thick and doughy – which I like – and the bacon is cooked to a crisp. They screen movies in the back room on a Sunday and one of my favourite past times is watching a film I haven’t seen for ages whilst eating the best pancakes in the east of England.