Tag

help and advice

Browsing

Over 6 million Christmas trees are sold every year in the UK, and once the celebrations have passed, and the decorations go back into storage come Twelfth Night, it is time to deal with your Christmas tree. Just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean your tree has outlived its usefulness, and there are many ways to prevent it from ending up in the landfill. The experts at ManoMano give you some ideas on how to give your Christmas tree a second life, from keeping it alive to recycling it or reusing it in other decorative projects.

First of all: is it a cut Christmas tree or a rooted Christmas tree?

You may not have noticed at the time of purchase, but natural Christmas trees are sold rooted or cut. How do you know if both are usually sold in pots? If you bought it online, this detail is always indicated in the product description. If you bought it in a physical shop or at a Christmas market, the seller should provide you with this information. Very often Christmas trees bought in the UK are cut. 

If you are reading these lines when you have already put away the decorations, tinsel and garlands of lights, it will be easy to answer this question: hold the trunk at the base and pull it upwards out of its pot. Now look at the base… does it have roots or has it crumbled around a cut trunk? Here lies the answer to your question and the various recycling or reuse options below.

What to do with a natural Christmas tree after the holidays?

Now that you know whether your fir tree is cut or rooted, you know that you can only keep it alive if it is a rooted tree. Let’s take a look at the options to give your Christmas tree a second life:

Option 1. Repotting a Christmas tree to another pot or to the ground

If your tree has roots and is in good condition, you can transplant it to the terrace or garden. The most common variety of Christmas fir is Picea abies, also called Picea excelsa, European or Norway spruce. It is a tree that withstands low temperatures very well but suffers a lot from summer heat. 

But this does not mean that it cannot survive, on the contrary! It needs two or three waterings a week and a special conifer fertiliser, especially in spring and autumn.

For a successful transplant, ideally you will have kept the tree inside for no more than two weeks, away from heat sources such as fireplaces or radiators and you’ve provided enough water at its base. Before replanting the tree, give it a few days to re-enter dormancy by keeping it in a cool sheltered area outside, like a garage or a shed.

If you want to transplant it to a garden, bear in mind that in optimal conditions, it is a tree that can grow up to 60 cm per year. Think about this when choosing its location. 

If you prefer to keep it in a pot, transplant it into a larger pot and take it outside. The heat and lack of light it may have experienced over the Holidays may have affected it, but it will recover quickly. Use universal compost and add some perlite to improve drainage.

Option 2. Compost your Christmas fir tree

Give your christmas tree a second life  through composting

All Christmas trees can be composted. City councils in large cities often set up a tree collection programme in public squares or parks at the end of the Christmas season. The gardening service will collect them and turn them into compost. 

If not, you can always put it in the organic waste bin. You can reuse the pot (they are usually large, and that’s always good) or put it in the plastic container. And of course, you can also compost it at home.

Option 3. Use it for mulching

You can use the whole tree to create a mulch that will be very useful for acidophilic plants. If you have hydrangeas, azaleas, gardenias, camellias, rhododendrons or heather they will appreciate it.

If you have a wood chipper, the task is very easy. But if you don’t have one, cut as many branches as you can and let them dry a little before spreading them over the soil in your pots. The trunk can be used as described below.

Option 4. Leave it to dry and use it for handicrafts

Give your christmas tree a second life by getting crafty

The branches that are still green can be used to create some crafts: wreaths, bouquets and centrepieces can still bring some green into your home. Combine it with colours other than red to avoid associating it so much with the holidays that are over.

The trunk can be cut with a saw to create coasters, table mats or for future projects for next Christmas. Or if it was a good size (and you aren’t lacking space), why not let it dry out completely? Next year it can become a minimalist Christmas tree that you can decorate in a totally different style.

Did you enjoy this article on how to give your Christmas tree a second life? Why not read our guide on beekeeping for beginners

One of the most fun parties of the year is coming and it’s time for the whole family to get down to work to create a terrifyingly fun atmosphere. Halloween is here! We’re here to make it easy for you and share ideas on how to decorate a Halloween party so that it will be a hit – you just have to follow these simple decorative tips. Roll up your sleeves and get ready for a spookily good article.

Star colours: Orange and black with touches of purple and white

Decorate a Halloween party decoration ideas

If there’s one thing you should bear in mind when it comes to decorating a Halloween party this year, it’s the base colours, where oranges and blacks, together with touches of white and purple, take on a leading role. From the unmissable pumpkins, to the typical cobwebs, balloons of different shapes and different scary costumes, where the kids can enjoy themselves.

The classics never fail: the Halloween decoration that can’t be missed

If there is one decoration that can never be missing at any spooky party, it is pumpkins. You can buy them in lots of shops and supermarkets and hollow them out and decorate them yourself. There are many crafts on the internet to make the spookiest faces and have a great time with the family. 

Spider webs are another must-have for any spooky party, as well as skulls or ghost garlands and monster piñatas. You can make them with papier-mâché, cardboard or old fabrics. You can also hang balloons of different shapes and sizes on the walls, as well as paper bats.

If you want to add a special touch to your Halloween party decorations, don’t forget to create a ghoulish atmosphere with good music and dim lighting – it will give you goosebumps!

A creepily delicious sweet spread

Decorating a halloween party: sweet treats

We don’t want to just focus on how to decorate a Halloween party; to make it even more memorable for the little ones, you can make original devilish snacks. From sandwiches with googly eyes, terrifying biscuits decorated with spider webs, to pumpkin-shaped cupcakes, or simply fruit that looks like ghosts or mandarins that look like pumpkins. The idea is to use your imagination and create easy, simple and especially entertaining recipes that the kids will love!

A great activity during the party is to decorate biscuits. To do this, you can have toppings in the main party colours and some sweets or chocolates to decorate them.

The spookiest fancy dress costumes

Fancy dress is key when planning how to decorate a halloween party

Always bearing in mind the age of the children you are going to organise the party for, there are a series of characters that have to be at any Halloween party. If the costumes are homemade, all the better. 

You can make the classic ghost as a sheet, simply cutting out the shape of the eyes and creating a chain tied to the children’s feet, or fold black cardboard to make a witch’s hat and a broom.They can dress up as vampires with a face, fangs and a big red cape made from scraps you have around the house. Also monsters, mummies made with bandages, skeletons… If the children are a bit older you can propose a more themed party with science fiction characters such as Jack the Ripper, Maleficent, Edward Scissorhands, the Joker and many more. The point is to enjoy this frighteningly entertaining party!

The scariest party of the year is already here! Let us know how your Halloween party looks by tagging us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

Winter is just around the corner, where it gets dark much earlier and just by having the lights on for more hours we increase our energy consumption. In addition to using our lights for longer hours each day, in order to combat the cold we also switch on the heating – this will mean a big increase in our energy consumption and monthly expenditure at home. Energy saving has become one of the main concerns in the UK, not only with a view to saving on bills but also because of the environmental impact this entails and the current fuel crisis. We have put together a few energy saving tips to try out at home and significantly reduce your energy consumption.

Top energy saving tips

Tip 1: Ventilate the house early in the morning

energy saving tips: open the windows in the morning

The house should be aired out every day to let fresh air in. Ideally, this should be done in the morning with the windows wide open for at least ten minutes. If, on the other hand, this is done in the evening when the house is warmer, extra energy will be required to recover the heat coming out of the windows, thus increasing the cost of our bill. 

Tip 2: Insulate doors and windows effectively

Good insulation is the key to preventing heat from escaping from your home through doors and windows. If you notice that your front door has a gap between it and the floor, you can fit rubber weather stripping to prevent heat from escaping. A small rug can also be useful, simply slide it towards the door and block the heat from escaping. When it comes to windows, opting for double glazing will significantly reduce energy consumption.  

Tip 3: Turn off the heating in empty rooms

If your house has several rooms and they are not being used, why have them heated? Keep the radiators on in the rooms you are in or are going to use for a while, turning off the radiators in the rest of the house. Don’t forget to close the doors once you have switched off the heating, otherwise we will lose the heat from the rest of the house.

Tip 4: Maintain an optimum temperature

Believe it or not, the optimum temperature to save energy is between 20°C and 21°C, and it is advisable to lower it by at least a couple of degrees at bedtime. Moreover, it is much more economical to keep it on at a constant temperature than to turn it on and off every time we feel cold. 

Tip 5: Wrap up warm

energy saving tips: wrap up warm

The most economical way to keep away the winter chill at home is to have warm clothes at your disposal, such as sweatshirts, dressing gowns and woollen socks. If just wearing one of these is enough to keep the cold at bay, why keep the heating on? Also, keep thick blankets handy so you can cover up on the sofa when watching a movie and have warm drinks during the coldest hours. At night, cover up with a winter duvet to keep you warm and help you fall asleep. All these small changes will help to significantly reduce your electricity bill. 

Did you enjoy this article on energy saving tips? Why not read our blog post on how to prepare the garden for winter or even our guide on how to bleed a radiator!

Are you trying out some ways to reduce your energy consumption at home? Let us know how you get on via Instagram using the #mymanomanoway#manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

After the summer months outside it’s time to get back to the routine and put our house in order again. The bustle of people in the house with the whole family on holiday, visitors, open windows… All these things make our house suffer and we don’t have it as clean and tidy as we would like it to be. So it is time for an autumn cleaning blitz to get everything shipshape for the winter months.  

Although it is not an easy task and requires several days, we are going to give you some tips to do it effectively in the shortest possible time, although it can all be summed up in one word: organisation.

Autumn cleaning deep clean

Tip 1. Create an autumn cleaning schedule

The first thing to do is to draw up a cleaning schedule in which we divide the house by areas, tasks and days. If you don’t live alone at home, involve the other members of the family, this way it will be more effective and quicker. Keep in mind that it will not be a general cleaning but something much more thorough where we thoroughly clean things that we normally overlook. 

Tip 2. Wash your textiles

Autumn cleaning blitz: wash all textiles
Autumn cleaning blitz: wash all textiles

Don’t forget to wash all textiles as this is where dust tends to accumulate the most. Wash curtains, sofa covers and bed linen… as this is something we tend to put off and put off. Take the opportunity to give the rooms a new style by bringing out your favourite bedspread or renewing some cushions. Don’t forget to vacuum carpets, or if you want a more thorough clean, cover them with bicarbonate for a couple of hours before vacuuming. For stubborn stains, soak a cloth in cleaning vinegar and rub the surface, leave for a few minutes and then wipe with a damp cloth. In a matter of minutes you will have them as good as new. 

Tip 3. Wardrobe refresh 

Autumn cleaning: Wardrobe organisation
Wardrobe organisation

This is one of the tasks that takes up most of our time and that we put off for as long as possible, especially if there are a lot of us at home. Make it a day for yourself, put on some background music and take the opportunity to get rid of all those clothes you no longer wear. Separate them into three sections: to throw away, to donate and to keep, so the process will be easier. In a few hours, you’ll have your wardrobe organised and ready for autumn.

Tip 4. Use small household appliances

Although many people think that there is no better cleaning than the old-fashioned way of cleaning by hand, others take advantage of new technologies to get hold of a multitude of devices that make our lives easier and, best of all, save us time. If you have a robot floor hoover, run it for a while before cleaning to remove most of the dust, if you have a steamer, use it in the kitchen to remove grease, to clean bathroom tiles and even to disinfect mattresses and pillows. There are even automatic window cleaners that thoroughly clean both sides of the window. 

Tip 5. Autumn cleaning: attention to the smaller details

Clean door handles, intercoms and light switches
Clean door handles, intercoms and light switches

There are many items that we don’t normally pay much attention to, but we handle often and they are probably full of fingerprints and germs. Door handles, intercoms and light switches are good examples. To clean the latter, rub the surface with a cotton wool soaked in alcohol and if there are stains on the surrounding wall, use a cloth with lukewarm water and rub gently so as not to remove the paint, until they disappear.

Tip 6. Tidy up the pantry 

Organise your pantry
Organise your pantry

When we do the shopping we usually take the opportunity to rearrange all the products in the fridge, but when it’s time to put them in the cupboard, it becomes more difficult and we end up with everything mixed up on different shelves. With the help of a labelling machine, print out several small signs with the names of the different product groups and stick them on the front of boxes or baskets. This way you will have your pantry sorted by categories and it will also be easier to place and find what you need.

Did you enjoy this article on our autumn cleaning tips? Why not read our article on Japandi interior design or even our guide on how to remove stains from wooden flooring!

Are you doing an autumn clean too? Share your finished results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!

You finally get home after a few well-deserved days off and rush to check how your plants are doing. Have any of them dried out? Has the home watering system not worked as you expected? Wait, before you throw them away, Ester Casanovas, gardening expert at ManoMano, has compiled some top tips on how to revive your plants that might have suffered during your holidays.

How to revive your plants step-by-step

Before we get down to work, check what went wrong: did you use a home method to keep your plants moist or did the person who was supposed to water them not do it properly? Make a mental note so that you can solve these problems on your next trip. Remember that you can always automate the watering of your pots with a drip irrigation system or solutions for less prolonged absences.

1. Cut off all dried leaves and flowers

Help revive your plants by cutting off dried leaves and flowers
Help revive your plants by cutting off dried leaves and flowers

What has dried out is dead and will not recover. The plant will thank you for it, as it will avoid sending nutrients to those unsalvageable parts during the hydration process. 

Use sharp pruning shears and clean them with alcohol between plants. If they have fallen ill during your absence, you will avoid possible contagion.

2. Check plants for pests

A weakened plant is often an easy target for different types of pests. Check the tops and undersides of leaves and stems, and use the most appropriate insecticide for the problem detected. If possible, remove the topsoil and throw it away: this will eliminate the possibility of some insect eggs hatching and will speed up subsequent hydration.

3. Water your plants

A dehydrated plant requires careful watering, and we often make the mistake of putting it in a bucket for hours until it is waterlogged. It is true, a bucket will help, but so will a little patience and the knowledge that just because it is submerged for a long time, it will not recover quickly.

If your dry plant is planted in the ground, use a rake to create furrows in the soil: this will make it easier for the watering to penetrate deeply. If you have only recently repotted it, you can try removing it and the root ball: dip it in a bucket and wait until air bubbles no longer appear on the surface. 

Use lukewarm water to rehydrate the plants: most substrates absorb it better than cold water, and in this way, in addition to the plant, the dry soil will also be rehydrated, regaining its permeability.

If the plant is in a pot, proceed in the same way, but remove the plant from the pot.

4. Spray the leaves

Spray the leaves to gently rehydrate the plant
Spray the leaves to gently rehydrate the plant

Spray the leaves of the plant with a spray bottle, and take the opportunity to clean them if they are dusty. If so, then spray again and let it dry on its own. 

If its size allows, you can also put it in the bath or shower, spraying it generously.

5. Observe for a few days

Observe your plant
Observe your plant

Keep the soil moist for the next few days and watch closely for small changes. If the limp leaves stand upright again and the stems remain firm, it is very likely that the recovery process has been successful. 

A change of location can also help, especially if it is an outdoor plant that was in full sun: it will recover much more easily if it is in shade or semi-shade for a few days.

The leaves of plants can dry out due to both over- and under-watering.

Finally, we would like to add a note that may be useful in some cases: over-watering can cause similar symptoms to under-watering. The leaves of the plants also become limp and may turn yellow, which can lead to confusion. In this case, you will need to check the humidity of the soil and proceed in the same way but suspend any watering.

Observe your plant and its soil
Indoor plant revival

Remove the plant from the pot or soil with as much soil as possible in the root ball. Use kitchen paper to absorb as much moisture as possible and let it air dry for a whole day. 

Put the plant back in place and wait for the soil to dry out before watering again.

Did you enjoy this article on how to revive your plants after the summer holidays? Why not read our tips on how to care for your Monstera plant or even our house plant buying guide!

Are you going to try reviving your plants after your holidays? Share your results with us on Instagram using the #mymanomanoway, #manomanouk and #youvegotthis hashtags!