Articles By Penny Wadstrom

I Need my Liquid Energy

Coffee is a wonderful thing. When I get up in the morning, I can’t wait to brew up a cup and drink its caffeine-filled goodness. When I feel tired after working out or after a hard day at work, guess what? Yes, I down a cup of the brown stuff. In the evening, when I want to relax and read a magazine or watch TV, it’s always best accompanied by a nice big mug of my favorite drink.

My trusted coffee maker has seen me through years of ups and downs. I’ve used it to make coffee on countless occasions and for many purposes. To wake me up, to settle me down, to enjoy time with friends or just to fill in time… There’s never a bad time to whip up a brew.

So, imagine how upset I was to discover that my trusty old machine had finally given up the ghost. I came downstairs last Saturday morning, switched it on and… nothing. No reassuring whirring, no lovely smells of brewing coffee… nothing at all.

Now, I’m a modern woman, and I have a very busy life. So, what was I going to do without my coffee to get me through the day? I decided that there was nothing for it, I would just have to buy a new coffee maker as quickly as possible.

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I started doing some research since it’s been quite a few years since I bought my last machine and times have moved on. These days, coffee machines can do a lot more and are pretty impressive. Did I want something basic that would just get the job done quickly with no fuss, or did I want something that might be a pain to clean and tricky to use but which would give me an enormous range of hot beverages to choose from?

I looked into a bunch of different coffee machines to try to find the perfect one to suit my requirements. I wanted something that was easy to use and which wouldn’t break the bank, after all, I was on a budget, but also something that produced great coffee and fairly quickly.

In the end, I narrowed down my options to two different models, both of which had their own unique features and selling points that could make them the right choice to meet my needs:

Behmor Brazen Plus

Behmor Brazen Plus

I liked many of the features of the Behmor Brazen Plus. Firstly, since it has many ways in which the brewing process can be controlled I know I can enjoy a customized coffee making experience. I can adjust the presoaking time, the temperature of the water and I can even manually release into a different brewing vessel. Amazing! Secondly, this is a pretty style model and would look great on my worktops. However, there is a downside. The brewing cycle takes forever, and that means waiting for my caffeine fix. It also requires a larger amount of coffee. But on the upside, the beverage is of the highest quality.

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Bunn Velocity Brew BT

Bunn Velocity Brew BT

If style is my goal, the Bunn Velocity Brew BT is a perfect choice and is one of the best looking machines available today. As an added bonus, it’s really user-friendly with a simple interface and easy to grasp controls. It is also very speedy, producing coffee in a couple of minutes which is ideal for someone like me who doesn’t want to wait around for caffeine. It can also make up to 10 cups – perfect for when guests come around. On the negative side, however, it has plastic components which may break easily, and it required specialist filters which might cost a lot.

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I weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of both machines and decided that I would go with the Bunn coffee machine. The speed was the clincher that won me over. The sooner I get to drink my coffee in the morning, the happier I am, and the more friendly I’ll be! I’m sure that the rest of the family won’t be able to wait until my new machine arrives since I’ve been exceptionally grumpy the last few days without my favorite brew!

For the Love of Clean

For the past few months, I have been in a state of despair about my kitchen floor. Yes, that sounds melodramatic, but believe me, it’s been driving me crazy.

It all started a year ago when we decided to renovate the kitchen. Foolishly, I thought that white floor tiles would be a great idea. Let’s go for a minimalist look I thought – it’s fashionable. What an idiot I was!

I soon discovered my mistake. What was I thinking? Every time anyone sets foot on the floor there’s yet another mark, every time I cook anything – oh look, another stain! I just couldn’t cope with it anymore.

I’d tried everything to get the floor clean again. I’d tried mopping – with three different types of mop, I’d tried wiping with special floor-cleaning wipes, I even tried getting down on my hands and knees and scrubbing with a cloth and soapy water and I was horrified at the amount of dirt that was down there. The bowl of water was filthy! I decided that enough was enough.

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It was time to take drastic steps – it was time to invest in a steam cleaner.

I’ve heard great things about steam cleaners. For a start, they’re really easy to use, you just fill them with water, switch them on and then they’re good to go. It’s like using a vacuum cleaner but much more hygienic. Because they use steam they kill all of the bacteria on the floors and make the floors spotless, and as they’re really convenient I can use it every day to keep my white tiles look amazing.

As an added bonus, steam cleaners are really versatile and multi-functional, so not only can they clean my tiles but they can also clean wood floors and laminates, meaning that I can use one on all of my home’s flooring.

The best steam mops are powerful and can do an impressive cleaning job, but are still gentle enough to work well in hardwoods which require a more delicate touch. The top-selling models have an adjustable steam level, a cushioned mop pad and a cutting-edge design that allows the head to reach even into awkward spaces.

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I’ve been looking into the best steam mops on the market today, and I’ve managed to make a shortlist.

Shark Genius

Shark Genius

The Shark Genius is a really impressive choice, especially since it is very affordable. It works brilliantly on tiled floors so is ideal for my kitchen. There is plenty of texture and nap on the pads of this steam mop and so they’re perfect for cleaning the grout perfectly, and as they have in-sewn grippy rows they do a great job of scrubbing the floor’s surface when you move the mop head to save time on running over the same piece of floor again and again. The Shark Genius also has an inbuilt steam spray which tackles problem areas effectively without any puddles being produced. No mess – perfect!

Bissell Lift-Off Pet

Bissell Lift-Off Pet

This steam mop is rated very highly for use on tiled floors thanks to its long warranty and excellent scrubbing capabilities. Fully equipped with a scrubbing brush that simply snaps on, it can reach into grout while also scraping away any tough food that is stuck to the surface. This mop also comes with special scrub pads which stretch over its head without any need for brackets, catches or clips.

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The Lift-Off is incredibly versatile too, coming with no less than 13 different attachments, even a fabric attachment which can be used on curtains and upholstery. Even better, because of its adjustable steam facility, it can be used on wooden floors. With a 2-year-long warranty, this product is incredibly durable and powerful while also boasting some great features like odor-removal, stain removal and steam alert lights.

Although I haven’t fully decided yet, I think I may well go for the Lift-Off. Its versatility really appeals to me and I like the idea of being able to steam my curtains and sofas. I’ll be making my final choice this week, and I can’t wait to get started on my kitchen tiles. They’ll be clean and hygienic if it kills me!

The Art of the Balance

Juggling life can be a challenge when you’re a busy mom. Trying to parent the kids, get your work done and keep making things work with your husband is never easy. However, over the years, I think I’ve got it all down to a fine art.

If like me, you want to have it all, I’m going to offer you some advice. So get a fresh, hot cup of coffee, sit down for a moment and relax, and read my top tips.

Know Your Goals

road signs

You need to identify not only your business goals but also the goals for your family life and your marriage too. You can’t achieve anything without knowing where you’re trying to head.


You need support from your loved ones to achieve your goals, and you can never have a successful career or family life without your spouse offering their help and support.

Blocks Of Time

Create a schedule for family and for work. Delineate some blocks of time in which you will spend time all together and other blocks when you will spend time as a couple. Having time for everyone is the key to happiness. You also need to discuss your schedule with your family so everyone knows and understands how things work.

Respect Work Time

Once you have decided on the blocks of time which will be spent with the family, the children need to know that when you’re working you can’t be interrupted.

No Business In Family Time

You need to respect family time just as much as your children respect your work time. Don’t touch your phone or laptop during the time you spend together. Boundaries are essential. In fact, family time should be for everyone, so make a rule that nobody messages, calls or emails during that time.

Be Really There

As well as physically being present, you need to be mentally and emotionally present too. Leave work behind and live in the moment. Don’t talk about work and focus on your family and their interests.

Have Dates

couple dating

In the same way that you need to spend quality time with your spouse, you need to spend quality time with each child one on one. Make sure you take time every week for each child. Of course, it goes without saying that you should also try to have at least one date per week with your spouse, away from the children and doing something outside the home where you can reconnect with each other once more.

The key to a successful balance in life is to even out the amount of time that you spend pursuing a career with the amount of time that you dedicate to your children and family. Giving enough time to each element of your life is key to a happy marriage and a successful career path. If you follow these tips, you are sure to find that you achieve that balance and that the juggling act doesn’t become too overwhelming.

Packing Done Perfectly

If there’s one thing I know lots about it’s flying. I always seem to be on a plane heading somewhere, and if I’m not in the air, I’m packing a suitcase ready to go. There’s nothing I don’t know about the art of packing, and I’ve perfected it to a fine art.girl packing her clothes

If you’re like me and spend a lot of time traveling on business, you’re probably wondering how on earth you can fit everything you need into one small suitcase. When you’re in a hurry to get to that meeting, you don’t have time to wait at the baggage collection, so cabin baggage is essential.

With all the new rules these days about what you can and can’t take on board an aircraft, it can be a bit of a minefield, so here is my advice that every traveler should know about how to pack in a minimalist way.

Only Pack The Essentials

Never pack anything you won’t use. Planning ahead is the key. Lay out all of the items you’re planning on packing and then put anything you aren’t sure about back in the closet. By putting everything together you’ll see that you don’t need half the things you were planning on taking.

Taking Bulky Items?

If you really need a bulky item like a thick sweater or jacket, wear it rather than packing it to save on space.

Get The Right Fabrics

Choose the right clothes based on the fabric they’re made of. Garments that will dry quickly and which won’t wrinkle are ideal, and those that are lightweight will take up less space.

The Capsule Wardrobe

The capsule wardrobe really comes into its own when you fly regularly. Forget the idea of taking a fresh outfit for every day. Instead look for staple pieces which can be mixed and matched. Choose a color – black, brown, or grey, and then pair with more colorful tops.

Pack Jewelry

If you want to travel light by taking a lightweight plain dress, you can change up your look every day by adding different jewelry and accessories every day to change its look. Scarves and belts also work well for this purpose and won’t take up much room.

Think Shoes

Most women have the problem of wanting to take too many shoes. You really don’t need them. Pack two pairs when you travel, one pair of heels and one pair of flats and they will work with every outfit.

Vacuum Pack

clothes on vacuum bag

If you need to take a lot of clothing with you but only have a small suitcase, consider vacuum bags. They can squish your clothes right down so that you can fit a lot more in your cabin bag.

Forget Toiletries

These days, you can’t take full-size toiletries on board a plane anyway, and even small-sized ones can take up a lot of room. Leave shampoo and conditioner at home instead and just use whatever is in the hotel bathroom. Or at the worst, just buy something when you arrive.