The Great British Cup Of Tea

cup of tea

It comes as no surprise that the British drink more than 60 billion cups of tea a year, but what is it about this classic drink that people love so much? While some like it with milk, one sugar – two,  fruity or just simply plain, it’s the drink that brings people together.  Tea has become symbolic in our culture and is almost ingrained into the British way of life, from “shall I put the kettle on?” to scrumptious afternoon teas out,  the cup of tea provides us all with a sense of comfort and enjoyment.

Here at Neo Direct, we believe a good cup of tea can make all the difference to your day.  We’re all very busy people so taking time out to relax and unwind is essential,  whether you’re feeling too much pressure at work, or you’re catching up with friends, a cup of tea goes down a treat. Tea is renowned for boosting your mood and has even been known to reduce tension. But where did this magical drink originate? Is there caffeine in tea? And what is the best way to enjoy these fruity alternatives? Don’t worry we’re on hand to spill the tea.   

What is tea?

Tea is an aromatic popular beverage that is usually prepared by pouring boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, this is an evergreen shrub that is native to East Asia. There are different kinds of tea, like Chinese greens or Darjeeling, which provide a more bitter taste, while some have a more sweet, floral or nutty taste. You’ll find a whole host of different flavours and infusions to suit your taste buds, with some offering some great benefits. Herbal teas are hot drinks that offer an infusion of fruit instead of Camellia sinensis. 

Where did tea originate?

tea

Tea originated in Southwest China during the Shang dynasty, where it was used as a medical drink, with the earliest medical text dating to the 3rd Century AD by Hua Tuo. Tea then became a popular recreational drink during the Chinese Tang dynasty, which spread to other East Asian countries. 

afternoon tea

It is believed that Portuguese priests introduced tea to Europe during the 16th Century. Tea has been consumed in the United Kingdom since the 18th Century, and is one of the greatest consumers worldwide. The British Empire was instrumental in spreading tea from China to India as they controlled the tea production in the subcontinent. What was known as an upper-class drink in continental Europe, became the drink of choice for every social class in Great Britain during the 18th Century, and it still remains the same today. 

Tea is often found accompanied with sandwiches, scones, crumpets and cakes during an afternoon tea, a popular British custom alongside dunking a biscuit in a cup of tea. 

How many calories are in a cup of tea?

1 cup of tea has 3 calories in it.

However, adding your preferred milk and sugar options can alter the calorie intake. 

1 cup of tea with 30 ml of milk and two teaspoons of sugar would equate to about 37 calories. 

Using skimmed or no milk, with no sugar is your best option if you’re wanting to cut calories . 

(This also depends on how many biscuits you’re dunking) 

How much caffeine is in tea?

There is 11mg of caffeine in a regular cup of tea. 

2 cups of tea = 1 cup of coffee.

Black tea, or English breakfast tea may be the most flavorful tea, but it is also the most caffeinated. 

There are decaffeinated tea options available if you’re wanting to decrease your caffeine intake. 

What is English Breakfast tea?

English breakfast tea is on the most popular blended teas, particularly in British and Irish culture. It’s rich deep flavour comprises a blend of teas originating from Assam, Ceylon and Kenya. 

Healthy herbal teas 

herbal tea

Herbal teas have been globally popular for centuries, however, despite being labeled teas they are not ‘teas’ at all. 

They are made from flowers, spices, herbs or dried fruits. This makes the choice of herbal teas particularly extensive. 

Herbal tea makes a better option to an alternative sugary beverage, especially as they have been used as natural remedies for a variety of ailments for many years. 

Here are our favourite herbal teas you must try: 

  1. Chamomile tea 

Chamomile tea is most commonly known for its calming effects and is frequently used as a sleep aid. It’s also used by women who believe it relieves premenstrual symptoms. 

  1. Peppermint tea 

Peppermint tea is one of the most commonly used herbal teas in the world. People drink this tea as they believe the peppermint oil helps relieve nausea, cramping and stomach pain. 

  1. Ginger tea

Ginger tea is used by people to combat nausea, as many have found it can be an effective use for this. Many also believe it offers benefits to people with diabetes. 

  1. Sage tea  

Sage tea is well known for its medicinal properties, and scientific research has begun to support several of its health benefits, especially for brain health.

  1. Lemon tea 

Preliminary studies have found that lemon tea may improve antioxidant levels, skin and heart health. Some have experienced it relieving symptoms of anxiety.

Herbal teas come in a variety of other delicious flavours and are naturally free of sugar and calories. Whether you’re a tea lover or not, there are so many options available, you’re sure to find one to suit your palette. 

Honey and lemon tea 

honey and lemon tea

If there’s another thing us Brits are used to, it’s developing a cold or cough in the winter. While drinking lots of water, stocking up on tablets and having a few days rest make up the usual cold combating routine, drinking honey and lemon tea is believed to be extremely comforting to cold or flu like symptoms. 

If you’re suffering from a cough or congestion, then lemon juice is renowned for cutting through the congestion,  while the honey has been recorded as a soothing for the throat. 

How to make honey lemon tea 

Ingredients 

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2 Tbsp honey 
  • ½ cup of hot water 

Method

Pour the lemon juice and honey into a tea cup. Add hot water and stir. 

Add more honey or lemon to suit your taste.

Green tea 

green tea

Green tea is not a herbal tea, it is made from Camellia sinensis leaves and buds that have undergone the same withering and oxidation process as black teas. While it originated in China, like black tea it’s production and manufacture has spread to other countries. Green tea, however, is full of antioxidants that are believed to have many health benefits including improved brain function, fat loss, and lowering the risk of diseases such as heart disease.  This hydrating beverage is rich in polyphenols, which are natural compounds that are said to have health benefits, such as reducing inflammation. 

While none of these health benefits can be 100% proven, many people want to consider making green tea a part of their regular routine. Green tea has a very distinctive taste that some can’t grow accustomed to, so we’ve got some tips on how you can make it that little bit more palatable. 

How to make green tea taste better 

The grassy flavour of green tea alone is too much for some people, luckily you can add some additional subtle flavourings to make this tea taste better.

  • Add a slice of lemon or a small dash of lemon juice to counteract the bitter flavours if you’ve steeped the tea for too long. 
  • Add raw sugar, honey, or a stevia leaf if you want to add a little sweetness to earthy flavoured tea. 
  • Spice up the flavour with herbs and spices such as fresh ginger.
  • Add mint leaves for a refreshing flavour.
  • Add cinnamon sticks or nutmeg for a richer flavour.

Similar to cooking, brewing green tea means that you have to pay attention. Green tea leaves are delicate and can burn just like foods do. Green tea should not be steeped for more than 2 minutes. Start by brewing a new green tea blend for 1 minute. You should taste the green tea every 30 seconds to find a flavor that works for you. 

Top tip: Tea becomes increasingly bitter the longer it is steeped. If you prefer light flavor, steep the tea for shorter amounts of time.

Create your own afternoon tea 

Afternoon tea was introduced in Britain in the 1840’s, it evolved as a mini meal to comfort the hunger and anticipation of an evening meal. It was initially developed as a private social event for ladies who were high in society. In Britain today, afternoon tea is usually enjoyed as an occasional indulgence to celebrate a special event, birthday, pre-wedding or baby shower. 

Creating your own afternoon tea has never been easier, and here at Neo Direct, we have all the tools you need to make your very own scrumptious treats in the comfort of your own home. Discover a stylish collection of kitchen appliances, whether it’s an illuminating glass kettle or a convenient hot water dispenser that suits your needs, both are ideal for brewing the perfect cup of tea. Our electric stand mixers make cake mixing effortless, with a variety of colours available you’re sure to find one to accompany the interior of your home. If you’re looking for some tasty treat inspiration, browse our blog where you’ll find recipes for tasty afternoon tea favourites such as lemon drizzle cake and battenburg.  

The Top 5 Cakes Brits Love

cake

As a nation, we are united by our mutual love of cake. We have developed, and enjoyed, a cake for every occasion. They are used to celebrate birthdays, christenings, baby showers, weddings and even engagement parties. Not only are they the dessert of occasions, but they also deliver a sweet treat when we need it most, as well as making a decorative, tasty touch on an afternoon tea.  While there are hundreds of baked goods that could have made our list, here at Neo Direct, we have chosen 5 scrumptious recipes of Brits best-loved cakes to share with you.

How to make Battenburg cake

Prep time: 2 hours 

Cook time: 1 hour

Makes: 2 Cakes (10 slices each)

Ingredients 

Almond sponge

175g of soft butter 

175g golden caster sugar 

140g self-raising flour 

50g ground almonds

½ tbs baking powder 

3 medium eggs 

½ tbs vanilla extract 

¼ tbs almond extract 

Pink sponge 

1 x ingredients for the almond sponge

Pink food colouring

Assembling 

200g apricot jam

2 x 500g blocks white marzipan 

Icing sugar for dusting 

Method 

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line the base and sides of a 20cm square tin with baking parchment. For the almond sponge, place the butter, sugar, flour, ground almonds, baking powder, eggs, vanilla and almond extract into an electric stand mixer and whisk until the mix appears nice and smooth. Scrape into the tin and spread to the corners. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 mins. After it has baked, cool in the tin for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling while you make the pink sponge.
  2. Now for the pink sponge, line the tin as you did for the almond sponge. Mix all the ingredients together (no almond extract) in the electric stand mixer, as above. Fold in some pink food colouring. Scrape it into the tin and bake as before. Cool.
  3. Now for the assembling part, heat the jam in a small pan until it is nice and runny, then sieve. Lightly trim two opposite edges from the almond sponge, then well trim a third edge. Roughly measure the height of the sponge,  then using the well-trimmed edge, use a ruler to help you cut 4 slices each the same width as the sponge height.  Then repeat this with pink cake.
  4. Take 2 x almond slices and 2 x pink slices and trim so they are all the same length. Roll out one marzipan block on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to just over 20cm wide, then keep rolling lengthways until the marzipan is roughly 0.5cm thick. Brush with apricot jam, then lay a pink and an almond slice side by side at one end of the marzipan, brushing jam in between to stick sponges, and leaving 4cm clear marzipan at the end. Brush more jam on top of the sponges, then sandwich remaining 2 slices on top, alternating colours to create that checkerboard effect we all know and love. Trim the marzipan to the length of the cake. 
  5. Delicately lift up the marzipan and smooth over the cake with your hands, leaving the joining fold along the bottom. Trim the opposite side to match the size of the fold, then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork.
  6. Keep your cakes in an airtight container or cling film for up to 3 days. Can be frozen for a month if needed. 

How to make fruit cake 

fruit cake

Prep time: 20 mins 

Cook time: 1 hour 45 mins 

Makes: 1 Cake (12 slices) 

Ingredients

400g mixed dried fruits 

125g soft butter 

3 large eggs 

60ml milk 

1 rounded tablespoon of ham (your choice of flavour) 

125g soft brown sugar (dark or light) 

250g self raising flour

2 teaspoons (10ml) of  mixed spice 

Method 

Preheat the oven to 150°C fan/gas mark 3 and grease tin with butter or fill with a baking parchment liner prior to cooking. 

  1. Place all the ingredients (except the fruit) into the large bowl attached to your electric stand mixer
  2. Beat them together gently.
  3. Scrape the mixture down and mix again.
  4. Add the dried fruit and stir in by hand (an electric mixer will break up the fruit). 
  5. Carefully pour the mixture into your tin and use your knife or spoon to make a slight depression in the top of the mixture (to reduce the domed top). 
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 15  minutes. 
  7. Take the cake out the oven and leave to cool inside the tin for 10 minutes. Once you have done that, you can turn it out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
  8. Store in an airtight box. You can keep it in the fridge for at least a week. Decorate as you please. 

How to make chocolate chip cake 

chocolate chip cake

Prep time: 15 mins 

Cook time: 1 hour  

Makes: 10-12 servings 

Ingredients

200g soft butter 

200g caster sugar 

3 large eggs

320g self-raising flour 

150g chocolate chips

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4. 
  2. Grease your tin and line with baking parchment. 
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together using your electric stand mixer. Add one egg at a time and beat thoroughly. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour into the prepared tin. 
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Take it out and then loosely cover with foil and bake for a further 20 to 30 mins. 
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

How to make a moist Madeira cake

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 40 mins  

Makes: 4 servings 

Ingredients

150g of soft, salted butter

50g vegetable oil 

200g caster sugar

4 medium eggs 

140g plain flour 

3 tbsp baking powder

Extra butter or jam to serve

(To ensure a good rise, we would recommend taking your eggs and butter out of the fridge 3-4 hours before baking. This makes sure they are are at room temperature) 

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 2 and line your tin with baking parchment. 
  2. Pour your oil and butter into your  electric stand mixer bowl and whisk together. Then add your sugar and beat for at least 5 minutes. You should do this until your mixture is light and fluffy. 
  3. Add your eggs to the mixture at a time. We would recommend breaking your eggs into a separate bowl first, to ensure you don’t get any shell in your mixture. Whisk using your electric stand mixer for at least a minute. 
  4. Add flour and baking powder to the mix. Fold gently with a large metal spoon, scooping the mixture from the bottom to the top until the mixture is smooth. Be careful not to over mix. 
  5. Pour the mixture into your linded tine and smooth out, don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Place into your preheated oven for 40-50 minutes. Once baked it should be golden brown on top. 
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  7. Enjoy served with butter, fresh cream, jam or strawberries (whatever tickles your taste buds) !  

How to make lemon drizzle cake 

lemon drizzle cake

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 45 mins  

Makes: 10 servings

Ingredients

Cake 

225g soft, unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g self-raising flour

Finely grated lemon zest 

Drizzle topping 

1 ½ lemons 

85g caster sugar

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4
  2. Beat together the butter and caster sugar using your electric stand mixer until creamy and pale. Add your eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. 
  3. Gradually sift in self-raising flour and add the zest of 1 lemon and mix.
  4. Line your loaf tin with greaseproof paper and spoon in the mixture. Level out using the back of a large spoon.  
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a golden brown colour. 
  6. While the cake is cooling, mix together the juice of 1 ½ lemons and 85g of caster cougar to make the drizzle. 
  7. Spike the warm cake with a skewer or fork, then pour over the dizzle you’ve just made. The juice will sink in and the sugar will form a firm, crisp drizzle topping. 
  8. Leave in the tin until it has completely cooled, then remove and serve. 
  9. You can keep your lemon drizzle cake in an airtight container for 3-4 days. It can be frozen for upto a month if needed. 

Feeling inspired?

pretty cakes

If these tasty cake recipes have inspired you to get baking, here at Neo Direct, we have a whole host of equipment that makes baking in your home both effortless and fun. Why not explore our modern array of kitchen appliances, where you’ll find our sleek electric stand mixers that save time and energy when cooking or baking. There’s a choice of sleek colours available, so you’re sure to find one that will fit nicely into your kitchen. 

A cup of tea makes the perfect accompaniment to any British cake, check out our  illuminating glass kettle or a convenient hot water dispenser, to brew the perfect temperature. 

It’s easy to lose your cool in the kitchen, especially when you’re busy with hot appliances. Keep cool, calm and collected with one of our free standing tower fans, perfectly situated in the kitchen, or other rooms of your house. 

How To Create the Ultimate Gaming Setup

Gaming

Whether you enjoy playing on a PC or a video game console, having the right surrounding environment can make all the difference to your gaming experience. Here at Neo Direct, we’ve set up the ultimate guide that will provide you with essential tips and tricks on how to create an optimal gaming hideaway.

PC Gaming Setup 

A PC gaming setup, which is often described by gamers as a ‘battle station’ generally comprises a gaming chair, a gaming desk, a keyboard, and a mouse, as well as one or more monitors. Once you have these essential items in place, you can start to accessorise and personalise your setup, but first, we are going to tackle how to choose these must-have components.

What is a gaming chair?

A gaming chair is a chair specially designed for the comfort of video game players and will allow you to sit with a supported posture. While a gaming chair, unfortunately, won’t help you win games, it will help with your spine health. Nevertheless, a healthier spine and long-lasting comfort can provide you with the components you need for a successful game.

PC Gaming Chair 

We imagine you’re going to be spending a large amount of time sitting in your gaming chair, which is why it’s really important you choose a chair that is well-suited to your needs. Investing in a good-quality gaming chair will not only improve your overall comfort, but it will also improve the quality of your play and elevate the overall aesthetics of the room.

gaming chair

While PC gaming chairs may appear similar in appearance to your everyday office chair, they provide more in terms of cushioning and back support. With adjustable armrests and even massage functions, they offer that little more relief for your back – meaning you can game for longer. 

When choosing the right gaming chair for you, there are three main important elements to consider; ergonomics, material and size. We would highly recommend choosing a chair with lumbar support or full back support, as this will minimise body or back pain after gaming for extended periods of time. In terms of material, while faux leather, leather and vinyl are easy to wipe clean, they aren’t breathable fabrics. That’s why mesh inserts make a great addition to our mesh racing chairs, here at Neo Direct. Finally,  you need to choose a gaming chair to suit your size, whether this is an adult, teen or child. 

PC Gaming Desk 

PC Game set up

Choosing your gaming desk requires a little less thought than your gaming chair, but is important nonetheless. We recommend gearing your desk to suit your chair, rather than the other way round, so it can suit the size of the gaming chair, as well as meeting the requirements of the room. Choose a desk with a broad, flat surface that can easily and comfortably accommodate your monitor and screens. Some gamers like to equip their desk with cup holders, in order to reduce the chance of disastrous spills. 

If you have a lot of space along one wall, you will probably opt for a rectangular gaming desk, while if you’re tight on space and need to fit your gaming desk in a corner, you’ll need an L-shaped gaming desk to provide that extra surface area. It may go without saying, but ensure that the desk is tall enough to fit your legs beneath before purchase. 

PC Gaming Monitors 

A smooth-running game requires a comfortably placed monitor, and it’s crucial your gaming setup minimises neck strain as much as possible. We recommend elevating your monitor slightly above eye level, which you can do by fixing your monitor to a monitor mount (these attach to your wall or sit firmly on your desk). 

What to look for in a gaming monitor

gamer with headphones

One of the most important features you’ll hear when it comes to choosing a gaming monitor is the refresh rate. Even though you’ll find milliseconds between them, it makes a big difference. The refresh rate is the number of times the monitor refreshes the image on the screen. As you can imagine, this makes your game feel and look more responsive.

Most monitors will support either a 60hz, 120hz, 144hz or 240hz refresh rate. While some gamers believe it’s worth investing, some also believe it’s more about human response times. 

When it comes to screen size, some make the mistake of thinking a large screen is always better. While this is mainly true when it comes to television screens, when you’re gaming so close to the screen, the size becomes irrelevant. As long as it fits on your desk, most people find that sizes ranging from 24” to 27” are best for gaming.

  1. Response Time – No more than 3ms!
  2. G-Sync or FreeSync – A nice but not essential option, and possibly very helpful!
  3. HDR and deep color gamut –  An optional choice – HDR isn’t always widely supported.
  4. IPSVery optional, might come at the expense of one of the others.

What is the best router for gaming?

The best gaming routers ensure that you won’t suffer lag spikes during the most crucial moments, as well as prioritise network traffic for your games, thanks to a feature called Quality of Service (QoS). This feature helps ensure uninterrupted gaming sessions, despite other users of your network trying to download their own games or stream videos. They will come equipped with features like Gigabit Ethernet ports, multiple antennae, and the reigning WiFi standard. Here are some of our favourites for gaming: 

  1. TP-Link Archer C5400 v2
  2. Asus RT-AC86U
  3. TP-Link Archer C5400X
  4. Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
  5. Asus RT-AC5300
  6. Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600
  7. Asus RT-AC88U
  8. D-link DIR-885L/R

PC Gaming Accessories 

If you’re wanting to improve the sound quality in your gaming room, you can set up a set of speakers. You can mount them on the desktop or floor using speaker stands, which is also a great way to minimise desk clutter. If you find you’ve got a lot of loose cables, you can keep this under control by using cable management solutions that will improve the overall appearance of the room. 

If you spend hours at a time gaming then hydration and nutrition are essential. A mini-fridge that can hold cold water and snacks could be a great option here. If you really want to keep your cool you could try one of our electric slush drinks and smoothie machines!

Console Gaming Setup 

Whether you play PlayStation, Nintendo Switch or Xbox, your console gaming setup requires a few essentials. While many PC gamers prefer playing close to eye level with their monitor or monitors, most console gaming setups include a floor gaming chair paired with an elevated TV.

Console gaming chairs are available in two styles: rocker and floor. 

Rocker chairs are L shaped sturdy chairs that rock freely front to back and can be reclined at a gamers’ convenience. Floor chairs are often large, soft cushions or bean bags. Floor chairs provide more comfort, while rocker chairs provide more structure.

Just like choosing a PC gaming chair, it’s important to keep in mind space, material and size when choosing a console gaming chair. 

Most console gaming setups include an entertainment center and a TV stand or TV mount that elevates the TV above eye level. We would recommend a TV stand that includes ample storage space for multiple consoles, controllers, chargers, headsets, and other accessories.

What headphones should I buy for gaming? 

gamer with headphones

The best gaming headsets are an essential component of any game set up, as they bring the sound in games, movies and music to life.  Poor audio is the easiest way to ruin any gaming experience and a loud surround sound could disturb other people in your household.  

You need headphones that don’t just deliver superb sound quality, but bring depth to the sound with excellent sound staging and surround sound. Some headphones even offer virtual surround sound as part of their feature set. If you’re looking for aesthetically pleasing gaming headsets, you’ll find ones with impressive features such as RGB lighting. Comfort also plays a crucial part, so make sure you try before you buy, as they need to see you through those long gaming sessions after all. Here are some we would recommend: 

  1. HyperX Cloud Revolver S
  2. SteelSeries Arctis Pro 
  3. Astro A50 Wireless 
  4. Beyerdynamic Custom Game

Game room ideas 

Black out blinds 

Blackout blinds or curtains minimise glare on your screen from the natural sunlight. 

Lighting 

Complete your games room with some futuristic LED strip lights, which you can place along your ceiling, under the rim of your desk or shelving units. You’ll even find some advanced LED lights that allow you to change the strip colour and brightness. 

You can also find quirky novelty neon signs to hang on the way, giving the room a more personal edge. 

Floating shelves 

Just like any room in the house, floating shelves make a great addition for placing your ornaments or collectables. 

Graphic prints and posters

Personalise your games room by adorning your walls with your favourite graphic prints or posters. Whatever you love to game, whatever you like to game on, we hope we’ve supplied you with some ideas to get you started creating the ultimate place to play. Be sure to check our full range of gaming chairs here at Neo Direct for some inspiration.

How to clean a wool carpet

A wool carpet or rug can make a stunning addition to your interior. It makes a durable and environmentally friendly choice when it comes to choosing flooring for your home, and you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to colours and patterns.  

While many of us may be tempted to opt for a laminate or wood floor choice, especially with small feet or muddy paws running around, there’s something very comforting about a wool carpet. A wool carpet can instantly add warmth, texture and style to your living space and keeping it clean can be a lot easier than you may think. 

Here at Neo Direct, we are on hand to provide you with some quick and easy tips on how to care for your wool carpet. 

1. Vacuuming regularly

Using a high-quality vacuum cleaner with good suction and soft bristles can extend the life of the wool fibres in your carpet, soft bristles gently remove any trapped dust or dirt without damaging the appearance of the wool. If you have any furry friends in your home, we would recommend using our pet hair attachment for corded vacuum cleaners as this will eliminate any fine pet hairs. 

Top tips: 

  • Vacuum wool carpet every day for the first week it is laid, this is because it is essential to remove any lint and dust that may be still remaining from installation. 
  • Vacuum twice a week in high traffic areas,  such as your entrance hall or living room. Pass your vacuum over these areas 5 to 7 times. 
  • Vacuum once a week in low traffic areas even if your carpet isn’t used much just to remove any dust that moves through the air. Pass you vacuum over these areas 3 times. 

2. Removing stains

This may go without saying but ensure you are blotting spills and scraping up solids immediately. Despite wool naturally detering liquids from absorbing into its fibres, it’s important you reduce the chances of stains as soon as the incident occurs. Scooping solids straight away stops them from digging deeper into the carpet. Blot (no rubbing) spills with a dry paper towel. 

How to remove stains from a wool carpet

  1. Plain water is the best for wet stains.

If your spill is fresh, plain tap water will suffice on a wool carpet or rug. After you have blotted all you can using a dry paper towel or cloth, fill a spray bottle with warm water and spray a little on the carpet. Gently rub the water onto the stain with a soft sponge or cloth, then continue to blot using your dry cloth or paper towel. 

  1. Pet accidents can be removed with baking soda or vinegar.

Sometimes pet accidents can’t be avoided, especially if you have a new puppy. Baking soda can absorb the odour while the white vinegar can help disinfect the area.

First, sprinkle a good amount of baking soda on the stain and leave for 30 minutes, then vacuum. 

Secondly,  make your own solution using: 

Half a cup (120ml) of vinegar 

Two cups (470ml) of water 

Half a teaspoon (2.5ml) of liquid dishwasher detergent 

Then, dip a sponge or cloth into your homemade cleaning solution, gently wring out and lightly rub your stain using a circular movement.

When you’re confident the stain has gone, rub a damp (water) cloth or sponge over the area to rinse out the solution, then dry. 

  1. Blot any hard to remove stains with mineral turpentine.

Stains such as rust, oil, lipstick or crayon can be removed using mineral turpentine. This is a solution that is used to thin paints and can be found at your local DIY or hardware shop. Soak a clean cloth or rag in the liquid, then lightly dab and blot the stain with it. Remember to blot with a dry paper towel. 

  1. Clean liquid stains with wool detergent and vinegar. 

Stains such as coffee, tea, or juice can be removed using an (approved) wool detergent and white vinegar. 

Make your solution using:

1 teaspoon (4.9ml) of wool detergent 

1 teaspoon (4.9ml) of white vinegar 

1 litre of warm water 

Next, dampen your cloth in the homemade solution, then lightly rub and dab the stain. Use water to remove the cleaner and finally leave to dry for several hours. 

3.  Use a steamer 

You need to steam clean your wool carpet at least once a year. At a glance, your carpet may appear clean, but there is a chance of a lot of hidden dirt. Dried mud, dust or trapped sand can wear the fibres of your carpet as you move around day today. Steam cleaning once a year can remove this hidden build-up of dirt. Consider twice a year on a highly used carpet.

Remove all furniture from your carpet before cleaning and remember you will have to wait at least a day for the carpet to be fully dry and livable again. 

Reasons to steam clean your carpet  

Carpets are made up of a number of individual fibres that attract so many different types of dirt, from food, mud, dust and pet hair. While hard surfaces can be easily cleaned with a mop, many are left under the impression that vacuuming a carpet is enough. You could vacuum your carpet every day and it still wouldn’t pick up the underlying dirt. A build-up in this dirt can result in a musky smell, therefore, steam cleaning your carpet can keep it looking fresh and as good as new.

Steam kills dust mites and bacteria, although vacuuming will eliminate some dust mites, it won’t remove them all. Bacteria and other minuscule particles, such as cold and flu viruses can live in your carpet alongside dust mites that aggravate allergies. Steam cleaning your carpet is the only way to completely eliminate and destroy bacteria from your carpets.

How to steam clean a carpet with a steam mop 

Steam mops are an essential tool to have in your home. They don’t use harsh chemicals, they’re lightweight and are easy to move around. While steam mops are perfect for polishing up hard surfaces such as tiles or hardwood, they are also great for giving your wool carpet a deep clean. 

  1. Clear your floor of any furniture and other items then give your floor a thorough clean with your vacuum cleaner. This makes it easier to use the mop over the carpet and will prolong the life of your steam mop pads. 
  2. Fill your steam mop with water. You’ll find manufacturers guidelines which will advise you how much, as every steam mop is different. Be careful not to overfill the mop as this could result in a boiling water spill. Don’t add any harsh chemicals to the mixture, one of the main benefits of a steam cleaner is that you don’t need any additional chemicals as hot steam is enough to kill bacteria. 
  3. Attach the cleaning pad and ensure it is secure before use. Attach the carpet glider and again, ensure it is secure. 
  4. Glide over your carpet with the steam mop as you would a vacuum or mop. Work on small areas at a time to avoid walking over areas you have just cleaned. 

Remember, don’t let your carpet become saturated in water, light steam is enough to clean your carpet efficiently. Soaking your carpet could encourage mould growth.

If your carpet is particularly dirty or smelling, we would recommend using a professional carpet cleaner for the first clean, then using a steam mop to clean your carpet at regular intervals afterwards. 

Here at Neo Direct our Hot Steam Mops come equipped with a glider, carpet and fabric tools to ensure a deep clean of your carpet and a smooth glide over all your floor surfaces. Boasting 180-degree swivel heads, our Hot Steam Mops are perfect for getting into tight spaces. Our ergonomically designed handles can reduce hand and wrist stress, while our variable steam control and a measuring cup can ensure you don’t soak your carpet. Be sure to also explore our extensive range of floor cleaning equipment to keep your home looking sparkling and clean. 

How to make the ultimate full English breakfast

The English breakfast is one of the nation’s best-loved meals. Sometimes referred to as’ the fry up’, the English breakfast remains so popular not just because it tastes so good, but because it has been enjoyed for centuries by people from all walks of life. It’s not just England where this meal is enjoyed, you can even travel abroad and find this British dish standing proud on the menu.

We know life can get pretty hectic, for many many working people breakfast consists of an instant coffee and a slice of toast on the go. So come the weekend, you’re ready for a leisurely breakfast you can enjoy. That’s why, here at Neo Direct, we are on hand to provide you with a guide to creating the ultimate full English breakfast. 

How to make a full English breakfast 

When it comes to creating your full English breakfast, we understand it is a personal thing, so feel to swap in and out what you like best. 

Ingredients 

(Per person) 

2 sausages 

2-3 rashers of bacon 

2 flat mushrooms 

1-2 ripe tomatoes 

1 large egg 

1 slice of bread

1 thick slice of black pudding 

Optional beans 

Light olive oil 

Method 

  1. Heat a flat grill plate or pan over a low heat and brush sparingly with light olive oil.  
  2. Add sausages to the hot grill/pan and allow to cook slowly for around 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden. Increase the heat to medium after 10 minutes to cook the other ingredients. If you have a small kitchen or you’re struggling for space, completely cook the sausages and keep them on a hot plate in the oven until you have cooked the rest of your ingredients. 
  3. Place the bacon straight onto the grill plate/pan and fry for 2-4 minutes, again turning until you find your desired crispness. Bacon can also be kept on a hot plate in the oven. 
  4. Take your mushrooms and trim the stalk level to the mushroom top. Drizzle with a little light olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place stalk side up on the grill plate/pan and cook for 1-2 minutes before turning and cooking for a further 3-4 minutes. Try and keep the mushrooms still while cooking, as too much movement can release the natural juices and make them soggy. 
  5. Take your tomatoes. If you’ve opted for plum tomatoes cut across the centre and remove the green eye with a sharp knife. If you’ve opted for cherry tomatoes it’s best to keep these whole. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil. Place cut side down and cook without moving for around 2 minutes. Turn the tomato, season again, and cook for a further 2 minutes. You should see the tomatoes holding their shape. 
  6. Cut off a slice of black pudding and remove the skin. Cook for 2 minutes each side until slightly crispy. 
  7. Take a separate frying pan for your bread (sometimes it is better to use bread that is a few days old as it retains its shape better). Heat a frying pan to a medium heat and cover the base of the pan with oil. Add the bread flat to the pan and heat for 2-3 minutes until golden and crispy. If you’re looking for a richer flavour add a knob of butter or a little egg after you turn the slice. 
  8. When it comes to your egg, you can choose between fried egg, scrambled egg, boiled egg or poached egg depending on your personal preference…

Fried egg 

Break the egg straight into the pan and leave for 30 seconds. Add a knob of butter and lightly splash/baste the egg with the butter when melted. Cook to your prefered stage and gently remove with a fish slice onto a plate. 

Scrambled egg 

  1. Lightly whisk 2 large eggs, 6 tbsp single cream or full cream milk and a pinch of salt until all the mixture blends together. 
  2. Heat a small non-stick frying pan for a minute, add a knob of butter and let it melt. Be careful not to let the butter go brown or it will discolour the eggs! 
  3. Pour the mixture into the pan and let it settle without stirring for 20 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon, folding and lifting over from the bottom of the pan. 
  4. Let it settle for another 10 seconds then lift and stir again. 
  5. Repeat this procedure until the eggs are soft, set and slightly runny in places. Remove from the heat. 
  6. Give a final stir and serve. 

Poached egg

Poached eggs are hard to master. That’s why here at Neo Direct, we have introduced an innovative 3 in 1 egg boiler which is a must-have for any busy kitchen. 

To poach your eggs simply add the required amount of water to the heating plate, crack the eggs into the tray/poacher attachment then close the lid. A buzzer will sound when the eggs are ready to be served. Eggs cooked to perfection every time. 

This 3 in 1 egg boiler can also produce hard-boiled, soft boiled and omelettes, so is a quick and easy solution for a number of mealtimes. The device can cook 7 eggs at the same time so it is perfect for busy families.

 9. Once all the ingredients have been cooked, serve on warm plates and enjoy. 

Traditionally, the perfect way to finish off a full English breakfast is with a cup of tea, coffee or freshly squeezed orange juice. Here at Neo Direct, you’ll find an array of LED illuminated electric glass kettles to help you create the perfect hot beverage. 

How many calories are in a full English breakfast? 

A full English breakfast with all the accompaniments equates to about 807 calories. Of course, this can vary depending on the size and items on the plate. You can make small adjustments to your breakfast to make it a little healthier…

  1. Trim fat off your bacon and replace the frying pan for the grill. 
  2. Scramble egg whites and lose the yolk. The yolk is high in cholesterol and fat. 
  3. Try turkey sausages in opposition to fatty pork sausages. 
  4. Swap white bread for wholemeal or rye bread and toast rather than fry. 
  5. Use low-fat oils or sprays in your pan.

Here at Neo Direct, we have an array of kitchen appliances to transform the way you use your kitchen. Whether you’re part of a busy family or living alone,  you’ll find appliances to improve the overall usability of your kitchen. 

You’ll find electric stand mixers which can assist you in creating some of your favourite recipes – you can easily whip egg whites, cream and mashed potato, as well as easily shredding chicken breasts and preparing pizza or bread dough.

Our multi-purpose pressure cookers are perfect if you’re always on the go as they cook food quickly, perfect for meat and stews. Additionally, our blenders are great for creating your own soups and smoothies. Be sure to check out our full range of kitchen appliances here at Neo Direct to assist you in creating some tasty recipes for you and your family to enjoy!