Review: Kärcher Premium Steam Stick

Kärcher steam stickThis is the second item Kärcher have sent me to review, after the Window Vac which really impressed me.

The Kärcher Premium Steam Stick is a portable steam cleaner with attachments making it extra versatile.

Kärcher steam stick

Prior to re-painting the wall, radiator and skirting board in a section of the kitchen which is my little workspace, I was able to give the space a really good deep clean, thanks to the Steam Stick.  It was ideal for getting right into the corner, prior to painting – I don’t know about you, but getting fluff and dust on a paint brush is the most annoying thing!

So firstly, I was able to give the radiator a long overdue clean, both outside and in.  The steam nozzle was great for lifting off and dissolving surface dirt, it loosened everything so quickly and I was able to just wipe it down with a cloth.  With the small brush attachment I could even get inside and give it a scrub.

Kärcher steam stick brush attachmentThen, a bit of  a revelation!  By directing the steam down from the top of the radiator (and it really does blast out the steam) – you would not believe what came out of the bottom, take a look below – I’m not ashamed to show you as I simply couldn’t get to these dust bunnies with anything else before!  Neither vacuuming nor brushes can reach right inside the radiator.

Kärcher steam stick

I whizzed the powerful steam jet over the skirting boards next and and then I added the tube, foot and cloth attachments that enabled me to steam over the floor.

Kärcher steam stick cloth

I have a Karndean floor in the kitchen, so you have to be careful about using steam (because it can lift up the strips of planking) so I didn’t linger long over any patch, but neither did I need to as it was super fast at dissolving and wiping off stains and grime.

.Kärcher floor cleaning

The unit is very easy to use, simply fill the tank with water and wait a few seconds for the steam to get going, it lasted a good long while before I had to re-fill it, and having tried another hand held steamer once before, I realised it wasn’t a patch on the power of the Kärcher one.  It will be great going forwards for cleaning such things as our cooker hood, shower screen, oven, toilet, floors and probably a whole lot more I’ve not thought of yet.

I think this is a piece of kit every household should have, because let’s face it, there’s always stuff that needs a clean in any home.  This gadget, without being unwieldy or taking up too much space to store, really takes the effort out of cleaning.  So many jobs require ‘elbow grease’ to make a difference, whereas the Steam Stick does the hard work for you – and no chemicals or cleaners required!  It’s the pure power of steam that cleans and also sanitises.

In my opinion the Kärcher Premium Steam Stick is a quality item and a wise investment, once you’ve got one you’ll wonder how you managed without it.

Antonia new signature



Northern Rose Wallpaper by Graham & Brown

Northern Rose wallpaper Graham & Brown

When I first saw the vintage-style floral wallpaper, Northern Rose, by Graham & Brown, it was in the above photo, with the lovely whippet posing in front of it.  It’s a really gorgeous image and conveys a relaxed elegance to me.

Then I saw the brilliant Graham & Brown Morris Minor adorned in the same Northern Rose design – very striking, isn’t it?

Graham & Brown VW Beetle

If I were to use this particular wallpaper in a room design of mine, I think it would be perfect in either a feminine bedroom, or a quaintly old fashioned bathroom.  I would experiment by pasting a strip of the wallpaper onto the front of an old vintage cupboard that would be perfect for storing towels, toiletries or linens.  A bit like this example from the blog, Every Day is a Holiday:

wallpapered cupboard

Or you might even like to try this technique, pasting it onto floorboards, sanding some of it off and sealing with varnish for a truly unique vintage look:

wallpaper floorboards

I could really imagine ‘Northern Rose’ in an old, characterful cottage, in a bathroom that has a roll top bath and beautiful embroidered towels and toiletries in blue glass bottles, couldn’t you?

Here’s a Pinterest board I put together which I think captures that quintessentially English vintage country cottage to perfectly complement the Northern Rose wallpaper, why not have a peek?

Follow Antonia’s board Graham & Brown Northern Rose on Pinterest.

Antonia new signature


My Top 7 Dream Blogging Equipment & Accessories

As I spend a large chunk of my working week blogging, it really helps to have the right set up in terms of an organised working area, so a nice desk space (which I’m currently making over – more on that soon!) and the right accessories and blogging equipment to enable me to work efficiently and effectively.  I have a fairly decent camera and computer, which are the vital items I couldn’t do without, but there are other things that would make my job easier and more enjoyable.  So I’ve been giving some thought to a ‘dream wishlist’ of bloggers’ items that I would love to have at my disposal.  Whether you are a blogger yourself, or maybe thinking about becoming one, have a read and see what you think about my technology and style choices:

1. Camera bag

As mentioned, I have a DSLR camera that I enjoy using, but it is a bit big and bulky and I don’t have a carry case for it.  When I take it out, it gets tossed into my handbag along with a notepad, pens, bottle of water etc.  Not ideal!  So I would really love a stylish camera bag to tote it around in.  Grafea leather camera bags look super-cool; forget about black, padded nylon holdalls that are all function and no aesthetics, the Grafea satchel-style camera bags look utterly fantastic, whether in pink (above), dark brown or the best-selling caramel version:

Grafea caramel camera bag

2.  A ‘state of the art’ monitor

I spend hours and hours each week working at a screen.  Too many hours in fact and I have paid the price recently with eye problems, including a twitchy eye from tiredness that lasted several weeks and currently some uncomfortable dryness in one eye which is preventing me from wearing my contact lenses at the moment.  As well as trying to reduce my screen time, something else that would really help is a new, cutting edge monitor.  Curved monitors, like the brand new Samsung 34″ SE790C  Monitor with HD resolution not only provide an immersive viewing experience, which is great for creative and visual projects, but the curvature matches that of the human eye, providing significantly more comfort.  It has ‘Flicker Free’ technology, too, which protects your eyes from the constant strain caused by flickering screens on conventional monitors.

SE790C Ultra WQHD LED Curved Monitor

In addition to those benefits, for multi-taskers like myself, you can change the panoramic display and instead split the screen into multiple spaces, for example having two windows side by side, or even viewing two different input sources on the screen at the same time.  This would really help me while I am researching a subject, or editing pictures whilst drafting blog posts.

3.  A Stylish Portable Case

Any blogger who has attended an event or workshop will know how essential a small portable suitcase is.  Whether you’re staying over the night before, or bringing home a haul of goodie bags, a compact Jelly Bean carry-on case would be ideal as they come in a wide range of fashionable colours and are also strong, lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, featuring 360º swivel, silent running wheels.

Jelly Bean case

These great cases also have a sturdy, push-button telescopic handle and a built-in combination lock.  Creative sorts would I’m sure love the fact that you can personalise your case by colouring in some of the indents to form initials or a blog logo, and they can also be decorated by embedding beads or crystals.  I’d really love one of these funky cases for my blog travels!

 4.  Apple iPad mini with Retina Display

tablet for bloggers

For blogging and staying connected on the move, a tablet would be a fantastic addition to my kit, as I don’t have one yet.  I love the look and capabilities of the iPad mini with Retina Display as it is so small and light, with a super-sharp visual display and an all-day battery life – poor battery life is such a major headache for bloggers on the go.  Especially at a blog event where you are lucky to find a vacant plug socket!  I could slip this device easily into my bag, so it would be fantastic to transport – it has fast WIFI too and the fact that although I’m not really a vlogger, but would like to shoot the occasional bit of video, then I would be able to use the full HD video at a moment’s notice, its A7 processor making automatic adjustments to give me a great picture whenever and wherever.

5.  A Sony Xperia Z3 Smart Phone

sony xperia

The Sony Xperia Z3 would perfectly meet my needs as a blogger; there are just so many great features to  it.  It’s waterproof for a start, so taking pictures in the rain?  Not a problem – and since I take a lot of pictures and it rains plenty here in the UK, that’s a feature not to be underestimated!  Of course, I could also capture exceptional pictures in any light with this smart phone’s camera and even record steady videos on the move, enjoying two days of battery life at the same time (two days!).  This phone even comes in a bang-on trend copper case option, so what’s not to love?!

sony colours

6.  Stylish Blog Planning Stationery

blog planners

I’m a bit of a stationery freak, I know a lot of you will understand – especially if you also collected scented erasers as a child, or used to arrange the colours of your pencils or felt tips according to the rainbow!  There’s nothing like a nice new notebook or wall planner to get me motivated to crack on with my ‘to do’ list or start scheduling my work commitments and the nicest blogger stationery items I’ve come across so far are from Lollipop Designs; their ‘Big Planner Bundle’ available at Not On The High Street makes my heart skip a beat!

7.  Samsung Galaxy Camera with WIFI & 3G

galaxy camera 2

I know I mentioned earlier about wanting a lovely camera bag for my DSLR, however sometimes I just don’t have the space about my person to bring my large camera, especially if I’m deliberately trying to travel light, or I know I’m going to be weighted down with a suitcase and a holdall.  It’s on those occasions where I sometimes wish I had a smaller camera to capture photos for my blog.  I love the look and the spec of the Samsung Galaxy Camera, with is hyper-connectivity, meaning you can edit and upload superb images super-easily.  It not only looks stylish and professional, it isn’t bulky and has a fantastic 21x zoom, plus you can record great quality video with it.

So that’s a round up of my dream blogging equipment and accessories, things that would really make my life easier and so much more stylish – what do you think, do you agree with my choices?  Are there any other fantastic accessories or bits of kit that I shouldn’t be without?  I’d love to hear about your favourite hi-tech gadgets and style statements, whether you are a blogger or not.

Antonia new signature


Painted floorboards using Ronseal Diamond Hard Floor Paint

floorboardsRegular readers here will have seen the makeover we gave our teenage son’s bedroom recently.  We were really pleased with the room’s more grown up look, as was Alex – luckily.  But the one thing we didn’t get sorted then was his floor, but I’m happy to report we’ve now painted it and it was easy and straightforward to do.

Having ripped out the old beige carpet to expose the floorboards, we liked the way they added some more character to his loft-style bedroom.  But they looked a bit shabby and I didn’t fancy having to sand, stain and varnish them.  I also wanted a more contemporary finish, so painted floorboards were the way to go and Ronseal have worked with us on this project by sending some of their Perfect Finish Diamond Hard Floorpaint.  In the perfect urban colour – slate grey, we couldn’t wait to get started.

bare boards

However, first off there was a bit of preparation to do.  Luckily, the floorboards, being in their natural state, only required a mop clean and my husband, Paul removed any staples and hammered in any nails that were standing proud.  We also watched the handy Ronseal video which shows you how to apply the floorpaint:

The system is really user friendly – your tub of paint comes with a tray to pour the paint into, then you assemble the pole and Perfect Finish pad and you’re ready to start.


As the video recommends, dip the applicator into the paint, draw it across the edge of the tub to remove any excess and then apply it to the floor, pulling it smoothly towards you.

This was the first coat, which went on quickly, much more so than it would have by brush (5x as quick according to Ronseal):

floorpaint close up

After doing the whole floor, we left it overnight and then did a second coat.  We left it for a further couple of days to fully cure, before putting anything heavy onto the floor – just in case.floorboards2

So far, it both looks great and seems extremely tough and durable.  It has a lovely smooth satin finish which is neither too matt nor too shiny.

I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this product for anyone who likes the look of painted floorboards, or who wants a quick and easy floor update as you can apply it to concrete and stone floors as well as wood.  Of course, if you are going over previously waxed or varnished wood, you would need to sand the surface before painting, but for untreated boards like ours, or previously painted ones, you could get cracking straight away and see a big transformation in next to no time.

Thank you to Ronseal for providing their Diamond Hard Floor Paint, look out for some more projects where we’ll be trying the paint in a couple of different shades – next up, Pebblestone on our staircase!

Antonia new signature



Win a Reclaimed Teak Home Bar for Summer!

Wow, today’s weather has been pretty perfect here in Manchester!  Just the sort of day where it would be soooo nice to sit in your garden sipping cocktails, right?  Now, imagine serving them from your very own home bar, wouldn’t that be amazing?!!

With my latest giveaway, that’s exactly what you could soon be doing, because Trade Furniture Company are offering one lucky person the opportunity to win a reclaimed teak home bar, which currently retails at £299.95.  The perfect addition to feature in your home this summer for all those parties and BBQs!

teak bar1

The Reclaimed Teak Bar Counter is made from 100% Reclaimed Teak throughout. Due to the nature of the reclaimed wood, the bars are extremely characterful with knots and cracks, so no two will be exactly alike.  The item comes ready assembled and the dimensions are H190 x W100 x D70cm.

I can just see this reclaimed teak home bar stocked up with wine, beers and cocktails served in gorgeous retro glasses with paper parasols…

teak bar2

As well as decorated with pink plastic flamingos and string lights draped over the serving hatch…

So let’s get this party started!!!  If you’d love the chance to win this fab prize, simply complete the steps in the rafflecopter widget below.  You can do as many or as few options as you wish to take part.  Good luck everyone and big thanks to Trade Furniture Company for a generous giveaway prize.

*Entrants please take note of the terms and conditions below, including the fact that delivery is by one man and will need assistance on delivery.  The area that they can deliver to without any additional surcharge is between Glasgow and Swindon UK Mainland only.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Antonia new signature