Daily Life

  • Get Set for Spring Cleaning with Our 5 Easy Tips

    Where has the time gone? It's April already and spring is very much in full bloom! With Easter now behind us, it's time to think about (if you haven't already) cracking on with some spring cleaning before it slips away from you!

    With our wide range of products here at Poundstretcher, you'll have everything you need to tackle this task before you. Here are a few quick tips to help make everything easier and our top choice of cleaning products to use.

     

    Tip #0: Before You Begin - Clean Your Utensils

    The last thing you want is to track more dirt and pesky dust bunnies around your home, right? Well, then one of the first things you should consider before sweeping your brooms left, right, and centre is to give the bristles a good cleaning. This goes for any cloths you wish to use too.

    Just simply give them a quick once-over with your vacuum (making sure to give the nozzle a clean afterwards too) or wash it with warm, soapy water. Also make sure you give your sponges a good soak too.

     

    Tip #1: Clean Your Light Fixtures

    You'll be amazed at how dusty your light fixtures can get, and also at how much it can slightly alter the lighting in your home. All it takes is a quick climb up a stepladder, a sponge, and some handy Flash all-purpose cleaner to get the job done.

    Regular up-keep also prevents the build-up in these tough to reach places, meaning you'll have a cleaner home. It's especially useful to bear in mind if someone in the house has dust allergies and/or breathing difficulties.

     

    Tip #2: Wipe Every Surface, Even Vertical Ones

    It isn't just the kitchen counters and other horizontal surfaces you should clean on a regular basis. Build-up can occur on your cupboard doors and drawers too, almost seeming invisible. It's a good idea to give everything a good wipe with some antibacterial surface cleaner to get rid of the germs for good.

     

    Tip #3: Deep Clean Your Fridge

    Same as the windows, make sure you clean the inside and outside of your fridge; you'd be surprised how much grime can gather on your fridge door! Gather up all your refrigerated supplies and give the entire inside a good clean. Pull out all the interior shelves and wash them in warm soapy water, followed by wiping down everything else that cannot be removed (this includes the sides, bottom, and fridge 'ceiling'.).

     

    Tip #4: Clean the Windows Inside & Out

    First off, did you know it's a better idea to clean your windows on a cloudy day? That way you can ensure the water and Mr Muscle window spray will not dry and create a load of speckles before you're done.

    It can be difficult to clean the outside of your windows if they're not reachable at ground level. However, it's worth making sure they're just as clean as the inside. What's the point of cleaning the windows on the inside, if there are smudges and dirt on the outside? One product that can help you is our Window Cleaning Kit, containing a rubber squeegee, microfibre mop, a replacement window mop pad, ergonomic hand grip, and telescopic pole (that extends to 1.05cm approx.)!

     

    Tip #5: Declutter All The Clutter

    Finally, tackle the biggest part of spring cleaning (getting rid of and/or organising all your clutter) with our range of storage options! This doesn't mean cramming things anywhere, stuffing them into a box, and leaving them under the bed. No, you might as well do a complete clear out of all your unwanted books, movies, and knick-knacks (either selling them on eBay or giving them to a charity shop). The rest of them can then be organised by size/subject/genre and then neatly aligned.

    For your clothes, some over-door hooks can work wonders in freeing up some space, as would placing your random bits and pieces in any of our plastic storage containers. Also, similar to organising your books and movies, it would be worth doing the same for clothes. Having a designated space for each type of clothing (and also arranging them by occasion) would make your daily routine much smoother.

     

    Have any other top tips on cleaning wizardry to share? Maybe you're a domestic deity who wishes to impart a fantastic way of tackling daily cleaning chores? Well then, share your thoughts and views on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and also be sure to check out our weekly competitions and amazing deals.

    Want to find your nearest store? Well, just use our Store Finder and your local store (including directions and opening hours) will be available to you in a flash.

  • Reasons Why a Canvas Wardrobe Is a Must-Have for Students

    Storage is always an issue, whether you're at university or not. We all have so many clothes, shoes, and bits and pieces, that sometimes we just need a little bit of extra space. Though how do you accomplish this at uni, when you may have the tiniest wardrobe ever and yet still want your room to be neat? Well, canvas wardrobes in our storage range are the answer!

    That's right, canvas wardrobes, and we at Poundstretcher have them ready for you to take home so you get your clothes all organised and put away, all for an affordable price.

    Fill In The Gaps With Canvas

    If you have a tiny uni accommodation, then this Single Metal Frame Canvas Wardrobe is just what you're looking for. You can utilise as much of your new room as possible, and it offers a great storage solution whether it's temporary or long-term.

    Our canvas wardrobes are easy to assemble and allows you to hang all your clothes with a little extra space at the bottom for shoes and other accessories. What's more is that you can free up space for everything else you'll be needing, such as a laundry basket and a desk to work on (which will come easily to you once your room is free from clothes hanging around haphazardously).

    A single not big enough for you? Whether you wish to share it with another person or you simply have THAT many clothes, we also have you covered with our Double Canvas Wardrobe.

    Having Both Style AND Substance

    Now, style is a big part of any room, and we have a choice of colours that will help benefit your personal space. Yet whilst you can grab them in black, white or grey, you can also be assured they are perfect for storage. Stylish and functional.

    It's not only canvas wardrobes, but also door hangers that offer this same design. Like this Black Overdoor Organiser; hang everything from your childhood teddy from home, slippers, shoes, and more. All it takes is to hook it over your door to allow you to maximise your space (which believe me, can be limited whilst at university).

    Wherever you go, I can go too!

    Now you might only be living at your uni accommodation for the academic year, so what happens when summer rolls around? Well, fear not, you can easily disassemble your canvas wardrobe, put it into storage, and reassemble it when you move into your next place; easy peasy!

    Whether it's taking it to use back at home, at your uni place, or even when you start to move out to your own place after uni, there's always a need for storage. It's a great investment in staying organised and to keep your clothes clean and fresh.

    Unsure where your nearest Poundstretcher store is? We have you covered! Introducing our amazing Store Finder, the ideal partner in helping you locate all our stores, as well as opening times and Google Map directions! Give it a try and go on a bargain hunting adventure to find your perfect storage means today!

  • Energy Drinks to Keep you Going at University

    In need of an energy boost at for the beginning of the University year? Energy drinks are a fantastic way of getting back into uni life!

    Having spent much of the summer dancing the night away at festivals, travelling and jet setting or even just curled up with munchies and a ‘Netflix-athon’, getting back into the swing of studying is a difficult transition after so much down time.

    Here are some branded energy drinks that will help kick-start you into the academic year ahead so you can hit the ground running!

    Lucozade

    Let’s start with the old reliable– Lucozade!

     

    Originally, Lucozade started out as an energy source for the sick. Created in 1927, it was sold as ‘Glucozade’ by a Geordie pharmacist, William Owen, until being sold to Beecham’s in 1929 where it became renamed as Lucozade.

    Being a glucose-based water solution, this energy drink was rebranded as a sports drink in 1983 to associate it with health rather than sickness, which was its previous use.

    As an original energy drink on the block, you can trust that it will do the trick when it comes to perking you up in times of weariness.

    At Poundstretcher, we sell the 380ml bottle individually for ONLY 45p EACH.  Or, if you fancy something less sparkling but refreshingly juicy, you can get a 6 pack of the Lucozade Sport Orange 500ml bottles for ONLY £2.89! Refreshing and juicy, these orange bottles are great for those who aren't keen on fizzy drinks!

    So, whether you just need an energy boost to get through a particularly dull lecture or you’re doing an infamous ‘all-nighter’ to finish that essay on time, we at Poundstretcher, have got you covered!

    Lucozade Zero Original

    Obviously, being branded as a sports energy drink, Lucozade original is renowned for high calorie content so may not be conducive to weight watching.

    But don’t worry! We, at Poundstretcher, have also stocked up on Lucozade Zero Original– the calorie free option for ONLY 39p a bottle! So, you can study all night, with the unmistakably awesome taste of Lucozade Original, whilst keeping the calories at bay and looking after your pennies!

    Lucozade Tropical Fusion

    If you’re not keen on the original Lucozade, why not spice it up a bit with some of their fun fusion flavours! Tropical Fusion is a great one for miserable, drizzly days. Flavoured with pineapple–kiwi, this energy drink is a smash of the tropics and is sure to pick you up whatever the weather or however daunting the workload ahead is.

    You can pick up a bottle of Tropical Fusion Lucozade at Poundstretcher for ONLY 49p EACH! So, bring the exotic to your lecture theatre or Library session and add some zest to your studying!We've got a variety of flavours so mix it up for less at Poundstretcher!

    Monster Energy

    Not for the faint hearted, Monster Energy is the MUST-HAVE energy drink for those of us who want to crank up the work-per-hour quota!

    Claiming to ‘Fuel Your Brain’ whilst simultaneously ‘Unleash[ing] the Beast’, this energy drink has become increasingly popular in recent years.

    Originating in America in 2002, Monster Energy, as a company, are known for endorsing many worldwide extreme sporting events such as UFC, BMX, Snowboarding, Motocross (off-road motorcycle racing) and many more.

    The caffeine content in Monster Energy Original is approximately 10mg/oz which is around the same as an average cup of coffee. However, REMEMBER, a can of Monster is ‘beastier’ than the average 8oz cup of coffee at around 17oz per can so you’re sure to get that satisfying surge of energy right when you need it!

    You can pick up a 500ml can of Monster Original for ONLY 79p EACH! At Poundstretcher, we also sell the zero sugar version and many other ferociously tasty variants from the same price.

    GET PREPARED for the dreaded all-nighters before an important deadline.

    When the essay that you’ve been staring at for 8 hours solid has become, what looks to be, a collection of nonsensical wavy lines; when the walls of the library have literally changed state, because you’ve been sitting there that long; when the inside of your brain has turned to soup and your eyes have lost mobility so you’re just staring into the oblivion that is ‘STRESS’ – crack open a can of MONSTER and release your inner geek!

    Red Bull (Gives You Wings)

    And finally, the Powerhouse of the energy drink world– Red Bull. Created in 1987, Red Bull originated in Thailand, being sold by the Austrian company Red Bull GmbH. Based on a cheap Thai energy drink called ‘Krating Daeng’ that was said to be a cure for jet-lag, Red Bull was originally marketed as a trendy, upscale version, first introduced in Austrian Ski resorts.

    Over the years, Red Bull has given itself wings by gaining the highest market share of any energy drink in the world, with 5.387 billion cans sold in 2013!

     

    Often known for being pricey, Poundstretcher have, as always, managed to give you an absolute bargain! At ONLY 95p per 250ml can OR you can pick up a pack of 4 250ml cans for ONLY £3.49 EACH!

    For the ‘toff’ of the energy drink world, we think this is an unmissable deal so study in style for less with Poundstretcher!

    GET YOUR WINGS NOW at your local Poundstretcher and grab that essay by the HORNS!

    These are just a few of our suggestions at Poundstretcher for energy drinks to get you through University. We have a huge range of big brands at bargain prices; from Relentless to Rockstar or Mountain Dew. 

    Whether you fancy a set of wings, are planning on contacting– and unleashing– your inner beast or want to party like a 'Rockstar', remember, at Poundstretcher, there are 'no half measures' when it comes to fantastic deals on all big brand energy drinks!

    We also have a huge range of cold drinks; from Coca Cola to fruit juices, as well as a variety of hot drinks such as tea and coffee at great value so get stocked up at Poundstretcher for this academic year – you’ll be amazed at what you’ll save!

    Safety Note: Please consume energy drinks responsibly. These energy drinks must not be consumed by pregnant women, children or anyone sensitive to caffeine.

  • Get Ready For Back To Uni Season With Poundstretcher

    It's finally that time of year; uni is now looming ever closer. Whether you're a fresh-faced student straight out of college/a gap year, or a mature student, it's always a good idea to have a checklist of the university essentials, and Poundstretcher is here to help!

    Items including your passport, driving license, documents regarding your student loan, clothes, bank card, laptop, TV, and all the other essentials to student life are a given. You’re bound to take all of them, right? However, how about the rest of the things you’re going to have to pack? All the items you'll need to buy especially for student life?

    Doesn't matter if you're going to be a fresher moving into Halls or returning and living with friends in a rented student house. The below checklists are ideal for your uni survival.

    If you are entering Halls of Residence or even some student accommodation, then you may not need certain items (a toaster, iron, ironing board, and even the cleaning supplies are usually provided when in Halls). If in doubt, it's best to consult the university residential services.

    Uni Checklist: Stationery

    Uni Checklist: Bedroom

    Uni Checklist: Toiletries & Bathroom

    Uni Checklist: Cleaning Supplies

    Uni Checklist: Kitchen

    Uni Checklist: Groceries

    Miscellaneous

    And there we have it. Everything (and then some) you may need whilst at university. Some of the above can be altered or removed to suit your own personal preferences and needs. Splitting the cost between flatmates and university friends is also a great and affordable way to go about things.

    Wondering where your nearest Poundstretcher is exactly? Well then, check out our handy Store Finder to see Google Map directions and opening times.

    Good luck!

  • Grocery Shopping Made Easy With Poundstretcher’s Grocery List

    Grocery shopping is, for the most part, a daunting task where money is concerned. A lot of emphasis is placed on the average cost of a weekly shop for a family of four, and sometimes it's tough to know what to buy.

    With the start of the academic school year upon us, the need for adding new packed lunch items starts to show itself on our shopping lists. There is even more to buy and the cost seems to go up and up.

    What if there was an easier way? A guide or list of grocery products to give you an idea of what you could be looking for, all for an affordable price? Well, that's what this blog post is all about!

    Breakfast

    Now, we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why not get the whole family eating something truly delicious and nutritious. You need a boost to get you through the morning, no, not just the morning, but the entire day. It all starts with a hearty dose of these Grain Classic Wheat Biscuits, they're great for everyone and go great with a splash of milk. Those and these Weetabix Weetaflakes are a great way to Carpe Diem.

    What if you need your breakfast on the go? Maybe you just wish to have it in the office later, or perhaps just want to feel the warm oaty taste of Oatburst? Here we have 3 delicious instant porridges for you to sample: original, golden syrup, and apple & blueberry.

    Work/Packed Lunch

    Whether it's for a child or adult, these items are all fantastically affordable that will make any lunch satisfying and filling.

    Let's start with some sandwich fillers. For a tasty treat that's bursting with delicious chocolatey goodness, why not give this Twix Chocolate Spread a try in a sandwich? Nothing screams a special lunchbox treat like some chocolate between bread.

    Or if you wish to go for something a little healthier you can try a sandwich with some Ocean Best TunaGreen Giant Sweetcorn, Baxters Beetroot, or Harwards Silverskin Onion inside, with a good dollop of Hellmans Mayo of course.

    Next, you should really have some fruit thrown in. These Del Monte Peach Halves (or Apricot if you prefer) are great for getting 1 of your 5 a day, that or this Del Monte Light Fruit Cocktail.

    Want a snack in there too? These Wagon Wheels come in a pack of 6 with 2 free, whilst these Higates Flapjacks come in 4 great flavours (white chocolate, original, chocolate, and coconut & cherry). And to top it all off, have these classic Space Raiders to give you that final treat you all deserve. Both the standard pickled onion and the beef flavours are still loved across the recent generations.

    Last, here come the drinks. Get hydrated with these fruity Perfectly Clear Spring Waters, coming in summer fruits, strawberry, and lemon and lime flavours. If water isn't really what you're looking for, then try these Maja Juice Drinks in either orange or multi-fruit. They come in a great pack of 10 and will last the entire week which equates to great packed lunch filler.

    Ready Made Lunches

    So, if you're at home instead (or you wish for a warm and quick meal at the office) then you're in luck! At Poundstretcher you can grab great branded products such as some Heinz Simmer Soup Cream of Chicken or their Tomato Chilli Pasta with a 5 minute cooking time, or these Mug Shot Snack Stops (in sweet and sour noodle, chicken noodle, cheese pasta, and tomato pasta flavours).

    Perhaps you're feeling rebellious and want some Pot Noodle in their Bombay Bad Boy taste sensation? Or Uncle Ben's Rice Time, a great quick-and-easy pot of rice with curry sauce (red Thai, green Thai, and Cantonese) that will give you that warm get-up-and-go feeling you need at lunchtime.

    If curry is more your thing there's also the Curry Express that'll take you on a tasty trip to Savouryville! There are numerous stops, such as korma, rogan josh, tikka masala, and jalfrezi, all that can satisfy anyone's hunger.

    Dinner

    Dinners can become a major hassle, deciding what to have, when to have it, etc. However, here Poundstretcher has a list of everything you would want to have for a weekly shop.

    Starting with pasta and spaghetti, it's something for the kids. These Crosse and Blackwell Kids Shapes come in a variety of different characters, such as those from Star Wars and Frozen. For penne pasta, we have Buitoni's very own. With some Amore plum or chopped tomatoes (or using some Ragu Traditional Chunky Bolognese Sauce),  you can have a tasty Italian dish with ease every time.

    Another day why not try something with rice? Blue Dragon Egg Fried Rice to be exact, or maybe Patak's Pilau Rice instead. With your carbs in place, you can start to add Mai Thai Coconut Milk with some herbs, spices, and chicken to make a delicious Thai curry. It's either that or using Patak's Mild Curry Sauce for a delectable Indian-style delight (with naan and poppadoms, of course).

    There are also fast and convenient dinners available to you. Take this Al'fez Moroccan Easy Cook Meal Kit, which has everything you need to make a tasty meal for two. Pair them up (or any other meal) with peas and beans from Bonners and you have yourself a healthier and greener meal.

    There are so many cupboard-fillers that can be used to make great dinners even better. They include Batchelors Mushy Peas, Goldenfry's Dumpling MixYorkshire Pudding & Pancake Mix, and Gravy Beef Mix.

    Not to mention all the condiments and seasonings you could be adding in, like Heinz Tomato Ketchup and HP Garlic BBQ Sauce. Don't forget the Saxa White Pepper and Salt, Vinegar (great with some chips), and everything from Natural Herbs & Spices.

    Also, what cupboard would be complete without some Flora Pure Sunflower Oil, flour (self-raising and plain) and some sugar?

    Snacks & Drinks

    Now onto the treats and drinks. At Poundstretcher you can be assured you will find coffee, tea, biscuits, and more all for an affordable price. Even whilst on a budget you can still enjoy something sweet and indulge.

    For example, why not get your Bake-Off fix with some baking? These adorable Shaun the Sheep cakes can be made using a simple cake mix. What better way to quench the thirst after a job well done than with some Jucee Summer Fruits with no added sugar.

    If you don't want cordial, then there's Lyons gold roast coffee, Typhoo 100 round tea bags, and Pepsi Max in a 1.5l bottle. Add some Carnation Evaporated Milk and then dunk in some delicious biscuits for a great way to spend the afternoon.

    The List

    Like what you see so far? Well then, get a load of this! This printable grocery list is something you could take with you next time you visit Poundstretcher. It's perfect for those on a budget, with a price range of around £30-£40.

    Unsure where your nearest store is? Our Store Finder will help give you directions and show you opening times of your local store!

    Printable Grocery List: Shopping Made Easy With Poundstretcher

    grocery

  • How to Best Store Your Cleaning Supplies

    cleaning suppliesWhether you're just doing some end of summer cleaning or are just moving into new accommodation (such as for university), Poundstretcher has all the cleaning supplies you'll need to have a sparkling and tidy home.

    Whilst there are many amazing bargains here, the main issue comes from where to store everything correctly once it's all back home! Right here and now you can have definitive reassurance just where is best to keep your cleaning essentials.

    Getting That Bathroom Sparkling

    An area synonymous with cleaning supplies and chemicals is the bathroom.  You want somewhere safe to store your bleach and bathroom cleaning sprays. With what goes on in the bathroom you need to be sure it's spotless and hygienic.

    All of these items can be kept in one place, somewhere dry and cool. You don't want to store them anywhere with varying temperature extremes, so somewhere out of the way of direct sunlight/heat is key. Making sure it's dry is ensures there are no spillages or any chemicals merging together.

    Another idea would be that you may wish to keep them in a small cupboard, a high shelf, or a box (either under the stairs or hidden away in another room) for ease of access. Perhaps you could keep them with the rest of your cleaning supplies (such as your polish and kitchen supplies) so they are all in one place?

    Spick & Span In The Kitchen

    Moving on, it might be best to talk about where a large bulk of your cleaning products are most likely stored and used: in the kitchen. The same rules apply here as they do in the bathroom. You need a clean area and a safe place to keep everything.

    It all boils down to the fact that with cooking and prepping of food means that area has to be free from bacteria. Germs are another issue as you handle items such as raw meat.

    What better way to keep everything hygienic and germ-free than with kitchen cleaners and all-purpose cleaners? Be they anti-bacterial kitchen sprays, washing-up liquid, drain unblockers, or oven cleaners, these all are used to keep your kitchen surfaces and appliances spick and span. A tidy home is a happy home, as they say.

    The same can be said about laundry items. Fabric softener, washing powder/tablet, stain remover, or even colour catchers. All of these can be stored with the rest of the under-the-sink supplies. That or keep them close-by to your washing machine, but out of reach.

    Whilst so much happens in this room, the same rules as the above apply. Keeping your cleaning supplies dry and cool is essential (and keeping them safely out the way). An ideal place (if you wish to split cleaning products between rooms) would be under the sink, away from food items and kept somewhere not in constant use. Ideally, you would want a child-lock on the door to prevent children and pets to gain access.

    And All The Cleaning Supplies In-between

    Don't forget about your cleaning tools! With sponges, you must make sure they can fully air dry. Whilst you can store unused sponges underneath the sink, just make sure you don't store damp ones in an enclosed area, for fear of bacteria. The same can be said about cloths used around the home.

    floor-cleaning

    Now, with dust-clearing tools such as brooms, it's always best to store them upside-down to stop any bristles bending. Or you could hang it up on a hook to keep it suspended in the air, this works for sponge-mops and dusters too. Keeping them elevated not only helps make your home look neat and tidy, but also keeps them healthy so they last longer,

    How To Get Everything You Need Under £10

    Now, it's all well and good knowing how to store products safely and where; but what about the price? At Poundstretcher making things affordable is key. So, here is a list of all the essential cleaning supplies to best clean your home with!

    Persil Washing-Up Liquid 500ml - 69p

    To start with, it's always handy to have some washing-up liquid in the kitchen. This 500ml Persil product comes in green, yellow, and pink, all of which have amazing scents and can destroy dirt and grime from your dishes with ease.

    Persil All-In-One 28 Dishwasher Tablets - £1.99

    Another from Persil. This time it's for those with a dishwasher, the machine that makes cleaning a family-sized amount of dishes much more convenient. Here you have an amazing 28 tablets to get through, and with its all-in-one feature, you'll have sparkling cutlery and shiny plates in no time.

    Daz Washing Powder 6 Washes - £1

    Depending on how big your household is would determine how fast you will use this product up. But for a quid, you can get 6 washes which would last a small/single household quite a while. With Daz you can always be sure to get whites that shine. So keep clean and dazzle on.

    Clean n Fresh Bleach 750ml - 36p

    Nothing gets cleaner or fresher than Clean n Fresh 24-hour bleach! This thick formula kills 99.9% of bacteria and flying germs, including MRSA, E.Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. And if you don't like original, then why not get the citrus burst of essence instead?

    Stardrops All Round Cleaner 750ml - 89p

    Now here's a contender for Star Product on this list: Stardrops All Round Cleaner is amazing. It can do almost anything (cleaning-wise). There's no fear of dulling or scratching, and can be used on a wide range of surfaces, ranging from hobs to floors.

    Stardrops Anti-Bacterial Cleaner 750ml - 89p

    Whilst this product may not have the wide range and 'all round'-ness of the previous Stardrops product, it's still essential. One word: anti-bacterial. It kills 99.9% of bacteria, including the flu virus, which makes it perfect to use for cleaning food surfaces in the kitchen.

    Mr. Sheen Polish 300ml - 89p

    Whenever you want your home to be polished to shiny perfection, you can always turn to Mr Sheen. This multi-surface polish works on plastic, glass, metal, and wood, trapping that pesky dust once and for all.

    4 Microfibre Dish Cloths - 89p

    And what can you use when cleaning with all these products? Why, these microfibre cloths! They can be used for dishes, on surfaces, anything! And if you toss them in the wash they can be used multiple times.

    Total: £7.60

    The Clean Conclusion

    There you have it, but a final word, it's always best to keep all these cleaning supplies in their original containers. If you do want to pour them into another bottle, then use new clean ones and make sure to label it clearly and accurately.

    So, as mentioned before you can find all these great and affordable products at Poundstretcher today. Want to know where your nearest store is located? Then try our Store Finder for a quick and easy way to see opening times, plus Google Map directions.

  • What You May Not Know About Tea

    Tea. It’s an ever important beverage here in the UK. We as a nation drink 165 million cups of tea on a daily basis; that's 60.2 billion being sipped on every year according to the UK Tea & Infusions Association. That’s a lot of brew!

    I think C. S. Lewis said it best: "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

    It's true we are a tea-loving nation, but do you think you know all there is about it? You might drink it every day, you swear by the stuff, and you know your oolong from your pu-erh. So, do you think that makes you some kind of expert? Well, maybe you are, but why don’t you try and see how many of these facts you know? On one hand, you may just learn something, and if not then you can have the satisfaction of gloating. It’s win-win.

    Where Tea Originated

    Despite our nation being synonymous with tea, many others around the world had sampled and adored the beverage first. Long before we even began to enjoy a nice cuppa and a biscuit, tea was being drunk as a medicinal drink in Southwest China as early as the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). However, if you wish to believe in legends then the tale of tea goes back even further.

    In 2737 BC, the Emporer of China and renowned herbologist, Shen Nung, had been waiting within the shade of a tree for his boiled drinking water. It was at that point leaves blew down and rested atop the water, infusing the flavour into it. It was there Shen Nung sampled it, and in a stroke of serendipity the drink we call tea was born. Turns out, that very tree was a Camellia Sinensis (the same plant we use to make tea today).

    Whether or not this was true, the fact that tea was huge in China is no understatement. It even ranked up to being a recreational drink throughout the Tang dynasty (618 AD - 906 AD) and became their go-to national drink of choice. From there, Japanese Buddhist monks came over before introducing it back home in Japan (another nation where tea was a foundation of their culture).

    Despite this, it wasn't until the latter half of the 16th Century when Europeans began to hear of this exotic beverage. It was something of a curiosity gifted from sailors as the British East India Company dominated the import market. This stayed that way until the mid-1600's when tea became known as a drink for the wealthy. This was due to the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza who was a huge tea fanatic and made it hip and fashionable.

    How Tea Plants Grow

    Tea plants, Camellia Sinensis, are evergreens that mainly grow in the wilds of tropical and subtropical climates. However, did you know you can grow your own tea here in the UK? It's true! After all, the plant originates from the damp, cool mountains of China. People all across our nation have been growing their own for quite a while.

    Taken from seeds and cuttings, it takes between 4 to 12 years for a tea plant to bear seeds. After that, you add on another 3 so they can be ready for harvest. The growth is best with acidic soils and naturally require at least 127cm of rain a year with elevations of up to 1,500m above sea level. They can grow up to 16m if left undisturbed, though are trimmed to waist-height when grown to be harvested.

    If you are planning to grow your own tea you needn't worry about the elevation. Whilst the height provides a better flavour to the leaves (due to the higher up it is planted means it will grow slower), it isn't a necessary factor. What is important is to keep the plant in plenty of sunlight and keep them sheltered from the harsh British weather until they become taller (anything past 1m and they can fend for themselves outside).

    Which Teas Help Burn Fat?

    There's growing tea, and there's drinking it; it's the latter you'd care more about, right? Well, tea has so many wonderful benefits to it. There's more to this long-time favourite than just having something warm to sip on when it's cold or a drink to accompany your afternoon biscuit(s).

    For instance, take burning fat; it's something more people are becoming concerned about and are turning to tea for help. However, you need the right type first to better gain the desired effects.

    Most teas are great at helping with managing your figure; be it to give your metabolism a little boost, reduce bloating, help burn calories easily, or shut down the need for snacking. It's a wonderful drink, but there are teas that work better than most. These would be the likes of pu-erh, oolong, and rooibos.

    Pu-erh, a fermented Chinese tea, is great for reducing belly fat and lowering the amount of fat in the blood. The same can be said about rooibos tea, a sweet drink made from leaves from the Rooibos bush in South Africa. It's said that the polyphenols and flavonoids found in it inhibit the forming of new fat cells, and is a great way to kick-start your metabolism.

    Now here's one that's quite well known; oolong tea. This drink is rich in antioxidants and is a traditional Chinese tea. It can assist in controlling cholesterol, boosts metabolism, and aids digestion. It's what you'd expect from the land where tea was originated and used as medicine, right?

    It's also full of catechins that help you burn fat quickly, even so much as a pound a week according to a six-week Chinese study. Paired with exercise and healthy eating, all it takes it sipping some tea now and then to really aid in your endeavours.

    Which Tea Doesn’t Have Caffeine?

    Now, certain teas might claim to be decaf, in which it doesn't have any caffeine in. However, whilst it is true that they have significantly fewer amounts compared to non-decaf, there are still traces of caffeine that remain. So, it's not caffeine-free, is it?

    But don't lose hope! There does exist a tea out there that has no caffeine in it whatsoever, and it's fantastic for you health-wise. It's a tea you've bound to have heard of: herbal tea.

    Be it a sweet peppermint, a calming chamomile, or a sharp ginger tea, all of these are great for being non-caffeinated. So, you can enjoy a nice refreshing hot drink, whilst not pumping your body full of caffeine. Oh, and all of these are great for digestive issues, whilst peppermint especially helps clear nasal passages, chamomile is great for anxiety, and ginger is perfect for nausea.

    Which Tea Has The Most Antioxidants?

    Now, we've all heard of antioxidants, right? They're found in fresh fruits and vegetables, alongside tea. They have great health benefits such as clearing out unwanted things from your bloodstream and have been known to reduce the signs of ageing by minimising wrinkles. They even can help your mind by relieving stress.

    So, which teas are best when you want more antioxidants in your diet? Well, it's the coloured teas that are what you're looking for; black, green and white. They all offer the same cardiovascular benefits, with each having a slight difference.

    To start with, black tea is the most oxidised of them all. Though, it still contains a similar amount of antioxidants as it did before it went through oxidisation. It's said that drinking 3 or more cups a day may actually reduce the risk of a heart attack and promotes blood vessel relaxation. However, it contains more caffeine than green tea and contains a lot of polyphenols. It all depends on what you want out of your drink and your sense of taste.

    White tea is similar to the above, though due to it being dried in natural sunlight, it means that the catechin levels are much higher, but lowers tannins levels, which affects the taste and consistency.

    At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter which one you drink. There isn't an overall 'best tea' that is superior to everything. The taste, the caffeine content, the availability, even the cost, all of these make a big difference but all the teas provide the same health benefits. They can reduce the risk of cancer, helps the skin look its best, boosts your immune system and promotes a healthy heart.

    Which Tea Is Best For A Cold?

    Now, despite the sun being out (for the most part) the risk of colds are of course still around. Being a hot drink you'd assume that tea would be great to drink to help chase away nasty infections; but which one do you go for?

    Well, like before there are many that help boosts your immune system (remember the above?). However, so I'm not repeating myself you can find lemongrass, ginger, and peppermint(that delightful menthol helps break up congestion) teas are fantastic at clearing out your nasal passages. The above also serve as calming and refreshing throat soothers. There's nothing like that wonderful warm feeling that comforts your body after a nice cup of ginger tea.

    Tea with honey is also a great defence when you have a cold. Pair that up with some white or green tea to destroy pathogenic bacteria, and you'll be feeling better in no time.

    Which Tea Is Good For Sleep?

    Sleep is an important part of your health. We don't get enough of it. There are many ways to assist you in getting you to sleep peacefully. Those delightful rain/thunderstorm soundtracks on YouTube are one way, but tea can also be the saviour in helping you get some shut-eye!

    Good amounts of sleep (but also sleep that is great quality) impacts positively on your body. It helps give your body rest and a chance to repair itself. There are many teas that you could use, such as chamomile or herbal teas. With their soothing fragrance and taste it can work wonders. In fact, anything that has that calming effect is great to have when you're in bed with a good book.

    However, valerian tea is a herb that can be paired with tea for fantastic results. It can help those with insomnia, anxiety, and psychological stress and acts as a natural sedative.

    So there we have it, a small array of tea facts and advice to help you make the most out of Britain's favourite drink. Did you know all of the above? Was there anything in there new that you could apply to your tea-drinking life? How about one more little tidbit? There are an estimated 1,500 varieties of Camellia sinensis out there. Now, whilst we at Poundstretcher don't carry every single known one, we do sell all the top products such as Tetley, Yorkshire Tea, and PG Tips!

    Has all this tea talk made you thirsty? If so then why not see where your nearest local Poundstretcher is? Get out your tea cosy, and mosey on over by using our handy dandy Store Finder to grab some bargains in no time! It'll really hit the spot.

  • Start Your Day Well – All You Need To Know About Cereals

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    Breakfast. Well, what can be said that you haven’t already heard before? It should be the first meal you eat upon waking up and is claimed to be the most important of the day.

    They are convenient foods that go hand-in-hand with our bustling and busy society.  It's something quick and easy, that can be shovelled into your gob before you grab the keys and head out the door to work/school.

    With the vast importance placed upon it, it’s no wonder how popular cereals are nowadays and how much variety we have! Being one of the most popular and common choices for our morning meal, cereals have boomed through each passing generation, coming in all sizes, shapes, and flavours. Yes, cereals truly dominate breakfast time.
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    When Were Breakfast Cereals Invented?

    So, to this day we have breakfast cereals that go from borderline sweets in a box, to health-foods, to everything in-between. In fact, it might surprise you to know that the concept of breakfast cereal is actually quite new in the grand scheme of things, having only been around for 150 years.

    But, where did it all start?

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    In America. That’s right, in 1863 a man named James Caleb Jackson (pictured above), a devoted religious vegetarian, created the basis of what we now know to be breakfast cereals. Running a popular wellness retreat in western New York, Jackson was an advocate for healthy living and saw the idea of eating pork chops and other red meats for breakfast was terrible for one’s health.

    He decided to provide his guests with a ‘better’ alternative; Granula. No, not Granola, but Granula. It was a type of grain cake and built like a brick. It was essentially a large block that was so solid you needed to soak it in milk overnight, and then the next morning you’d break bits off and crunch into it. It tasted as good as it sounds.

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    The flavour only really improved once John Harvey Kellogg (pictured above), a skilled surgeon and someone as big on health as Jackson, decided he liked the idea of Granula and took Jackson’s concept.  Kellogg made an oaty wheat biscuit, incorporated a rolling process to improve the taste, and used it in order to further promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle (as well as one promoting sexual abstinence, but that’s a tale for another time).

    So what of Granola? Well, to avoid being sued for using the name Granula, Kellogg decided to change the name… to Granola (very original, right?), and from there his success snowballed. Despite the taste, Granola was sold to those outside his retreat and was soon selling almost 1.8 tonnes a week. From there Corn Flakes were invented shortly afterwards due to a stroke of serendipity, and the rest is ancient cereal history.

    Where Do Cereals Grow?

    As wide a range as breakfast cereals there are, it also means there are various cereals, or grains, out there. Different types of cereals can grow in different environments, like all plants. Some are well-versed in surviving the frigid subarctic and Siberia, such as Barley and Rye, whilst some can withstand the ups and downs of British weather, where one moment it’s content and warm, the next it’s cold with a strong wind.

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    How they are cultivated is also quite diverse. They’re usually annual plants, where one would produce one yield for harvest. Though, as mentioned before, there are many different types; wheat, rye, barley, and oat, to name just a few, are “cool-season” cereals, meaning they’re hardy enough to grow in grim British weather, but not very well in anything slightly hot (30 °C, but it depends on the plant). Essentially, these plants are just like the Brit humans who grow them, once the heat gets turned on a tiny bit it suddenly becomes a chore to do just about anything.

    Wheat, one of the major cereals we use in breakfast cereals, can be cultivated in many different soils and can be grown with ease around the world. That might have something to do with the vast amount of it and the ease of obtaining it. However, to grow it successfully it requires extremely fertile soil, and that means it needs a good amount of humus content (soil that’s had slightly decayed organic stuff in it). However, barley and rye, for example, can be grown in soil that's less fertile.

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    One similarity barley and wheat do share, is that that both have a winter and a spring variety. The winter one usually produces better crops, more likely to have side shoots, and can allow new shoots to form before any cold weather comes around.

    Importance of Cereals

    But what am I talking about? As interesting as hearing about how grains are cultivated is, I bet you want to know the practicalities of breakfast cereals. What cereal can do for you and your health!

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    I’m being super cereal when I tell you that they’re an important part of a balanced diet. Whether you wish to believe it or not, the fact is that having breakfast in the morning is more important to your mental health than it is to your physical. Sure, you will have the energy and the boost in physical fitness from a hearty breakfast, but without it, you will most likely find yourself feeling “hangry” and a bit glum too.

    With cereals like Alpen Oat Granola, you can see they’re high in fibre, and also low in saturated fats. That is exactly what you want to be putting into your body in the early morning. Like adding fuel to a fire, adding good nutrients that can be found in cereals fuels your own body to seize the day!

    Most cereals are low-fat and full of nutrients and vitamins, such as iron and B vitamins; you also can find the power of grains within cereals, as wholegrains provide you with so many benefits it could warrant its own blog post.

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    Wholegrain provides you with fibre, and lots of it. An adult needs around 25 to 35 grams a day, which you can get a kick-start to with a bowl of Quaker Oats or Weetabix. Fibre has been known to control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and actually can promote better bowel moments (gross but important). Also, due to wholegrains containing lactic acids, it allows stronger digestion, which means you absorb more of the good stuff into your body, boosting your immune system which then can help fight off nasty diseases, especially in the colon.

    Also, cereals make you feel incredibly full. So, there’s no need to have a muffin or light snacks shortly after breakfast once you’ve had a bowl of Shredded Wheat, meaning a better breakfast can help your weight too.

    When to Eat Cereals

    To make a long story short; in the morning, that moment after 8+ hours of not eating anything. Want a more detailed and serious answer? Well, there are many great times to eat breakfast, and all of them can be worked into your daily life, be it on weekends or weekdays; it all depends on what you want to gain from it. Breakfast is important for your metabolism to get kick-started, so eating it right after you wake up is a good start.

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    However, if you exercise in the mornings and want a high athletic performance, then the best time to eat breakfast would be an hour or so before you hit the track. It will mean that you won’t fear any sort of cramp, and by that time the nutrients and energy from breakfast will be coursing through your body.

    Also, make sure you eat within one hour of waking up. Eating at that point allows your energy levels to go right up and gives you more energy for an active morning. Due to having been in a sleeping state for so long, your blood sugar is naturally going to be low when you first begin to rise, so eating before that 60 minute window closes means you won’t suffer a blood sugar crash.

    Where Should Cereals Be Stored?

    Now, you may know when to eat breakfast, where cereal came from, and so on; however, storing cereal is a major part. If you don’t store it right, then what happens? Nasty, manky, soft cereal that will end up getting binned, that's what. What a waste of money and food that would be, right? So, here are some quick tips to better store your cereal, which is perfect if you buy in bulk.

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    It’s always best to store an unopened box of cereal in a cool, dry place, such as a cupboard. For how long? Well, until the expiration date is the basic answer, but usually you can store things that way unopened for about a year; it’s at that point the taste starts to deteriorate.

    But, what if you’ve opened the cereal bag already? You don’t want air to get in and soften those Coco Pops or Honey Monster, right? Well then, just seal it with a plastic clip after rolling the top down a tad. Voila, now you can keep it this way for about a week without fear of it ruining. Either that, or store the bag, box, and all into an air-tight storage container, making sure to put it in a cool, dry place as always.

    If you follow those tips, every member of your family will have great tasting, crunchy, delicious cereal.

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    Where to Buy Cereals?

    So, where can you buy all these great tasting cereal delights? At Poundstretcher of course! We have a wide range of branded cereal products, such as Nestle, Kellogg's, Quaker Oats, and many more all with different tastes and varieties. No matter the age, we have a cereal to suit everyone!

    Why not nip on down today and stock up your cupboards with tasty cereals featuring cartoon wolves, a cockerel, or heaps and heaps of grains and fruit? Ideal for when you and your family need that fuel to get you through the start of each and every day.

    You can find your nearest Poundstretcher using our handy Store Finder! So, with your new quick guide to cereal, you can hunt out the best bargains and deck yourself and your mornings out the right way!

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