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How to keep your home clean if you have a dog – from pet showers to hair hoovers

Are you in the dog house? Well, that might not be such a bad place after all. Around half of all British households have a pet, and our furry friends have never been so pampered.

But one thing all owners howl about (sorry) is the mess that four-legged friends tend to bring with them. 

So what can you do to stop your sofas being destroyed and your carpets being covered in mud?

Build a shower room 

Freshening up: Victorian Plumbing has a 3-Spray Dog Shower Handset for £96.24 (

Freshening up: Victorian Plumbing has a 3-Spray Dog Shower Handset for £96.24 (

According to interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch: ‘A pet shower never goes amiss in a household with dogs.

‘These are often positioned in a boot or utility room and are a must-have for those wishing to keep a clean and tidy home, particularly after long and muddy walks.

‘The shower can be integrated into the design of the room by using the same tile on the floor and walls of the shower. Not only does this look great, but it makes the shower practical and easy to clean.’

You want a dog-height shower, with a sturdy waterproof barrier around it, and preferably a good-sized towel warmer. 

Set the shower at waist level so you don’t have to kneel to clean your dog, and a little step would be handy so they can walk in, rather than you having to lift them (and it can be used for muddy wellies, too).

Victorian Plumbing has a 3-Spray Dog Shower Handset for £96.24.

Ready-made spas

If you don’t want to build a doggy spa, you can buy a ready-made, enclosed washing cubicle to keep in the garage or basement. You just need to connect it to the water supply and drainage.

Vevor produces a range in stainless steel, such as the 50 in Pet Bath Tub, big enough for a large dog, which comes with a shower attachment, straps to hold your pooch in place and steps so they can clamber in (£917.99).

Try a pet ‘car wash’

Don’t have enough indoor space for a shower room? Consider building a washing zone outside, with a shower connected to the hot water supply.

To make light work of it, try the Woof Washer 360, a hand-held, hoop-shaped hose that you pass your dog through, a little like a car wash (£22,

House and hound: The right fabrics can keep your sofa hair-free - choose smooth materials, such as leather, or hard-wearing short, synthetic fibres

House and hound: The right fabrics can keep your sofa hair-free – choose smooth materials, such as leather, or hard-wearing short, synthetic fibres

Choose furniture wisely

Ask a dog or cat owner where Rover or Fluffy makes the most mess, and nine times out of ten the answer will be ‘the sofa’.

You might be able to keep your canine pal off a fabric settee (try telling a cat where it can and can’t sleep…), but those hairs will still somehow find their way on to the cushions. And good luck trying to vacuum them off.

So choose smooth materials, such as leather, or hard-wearing short, synthetic fibres, and stay well clear of anything that will trap dirt or fur or can be scratched (deliberately or inadvertently) by sharp little claws. That means velvet and velour are definitely out.

Wooden or cane legs are also inviting for doggies who fancy a chew, or cats who want to sharpen their claws. Stick to metal frames if you can. A dedicated scratching post is a must for cats.

‘The choice of flooring is key,’ says Emma Sims-Hilditch. ‘We recommend avoiding loop pile carpets, which can be damaged easily by your pet’s claws.

‘Instead, we suggest laying a natural stone floor. These not only look great in a garden room, kitchen or boot room, but are incredibly durable.’

Zone your home

Your canine chum needs their own space sometimes. You can keep all of their toys there, too, so they don’t infiltrate every nook and cranny of the house.

A play pen will do the trick, such as Lords & Labradors’ Wooden Puppy Pen in white or grey (£129.99).

One reason that dogs often climb on to sofas is because they like elevated places for sleeping. If you buy a nice raised bed for them, they will be less tempted to climb on to the soft furnishings. The Dog Bed Company does an attractive, large, handcrafted oak bed with Queen Anne legs for £299.

Watch the walls

Cats often stalk along walls, while dogs get overexcited and crash into them. Either way, if you have expensive textured wallpaper, it might take the brunt and end up dirty or torn. So stick to washable paint, such as Dulux Easycare (brilliant white emulsion, £50 for 10 litres from B&Q).

Banish those hairs!

Pet fur can get absolutely everywhere. Tackle the problem with the Dyson Groom attachment, which allows you to vacuum your pet for stray hairs. Just what he or she thinks of it all you will only find out when you try (£65).

Savings of the week! Drying racks 

The Black & Decker three-tier rack is reduced by £50 from £199.99 to £149.99 (

The Black & Decker three-tier rack is reduced by £50 from £199.99 to £149.99 (

A tumble dryer may be a handy appliance, but it can also be an energy guzzler. 

Despite the energy price cap freeze, most households will still be looking for ways to reduce their fuel bills this winter, which makes an electric heated airer worth considering.

These racks dry clothes effectively and the cost is about a third of that of a tumble dryer. Devotees also like that they are gentler on garments than dryers — and far kinder to the planet.

Robert Dyas, with a large range of models, offers the Status 220W dryer in silver, which would be suitable for a single person or a student.

It is reduced from £69.99 to £49.99. Robert Dyas also stocks the Black & Decker three-tier rack (left), which would suit a larger household. Its price has been cut by £50 from £199.99 to £149.99 (

At Lakeland you can take £15 off the Dry:Soon three-tier rack bundle. This includes a cover, which helps to keep heat in and turns into a storage bag. The price is now £177.98 (

Anne Ashcroft

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Daisy Lowe’s designer mother Pearl is putting her beachside bolthole up for sale for £1.8million after she transformed it during lockdown

  • Pearl Lowe is selling 1940s Shell House in order to relocate to London

Daisy Lowe‘s mother Pearl has put her beachside home on sale for £1.8million. 

Former singer Pearl Lowe, 53, purchased the Shell House on the East Sussex coast during lockdown but have now decided to sell it up in order to move to London.

The 1940s ‘beach shack’ was built by a soldier who was married to shell artist Theresa Arnott, who crafted the home with seaside-themed installations using shells from nearby Winchelsea beach.

Mrs Lowe and her husband Supergrass’s Danny Goffey, 49 transformed the property, which sleeps 12, after they purchased it in February 2021.

Prior to moving to East Sussex, the couple had lived for seven years in a Georgian manor in Frome, Somerset, the Times reported.

Daisy Lowe's designer mother Pearl has put a east Sussex beach house on the market for £1.8million after buying it in lockdown

Daisy Lowe’s designer mother Pearl has put a east Sussex beach house on the market for £1.8million after buying it in lockdown

Pearl (pictured left with daughter Daisy),53, purchased Shell House in February 2021 with her husband Daniel Goffey

Pearl (pictured left with daughter Daisy),53, purchased Shell House in February 2021 with her husband Daniel Goffey

The decor is in contrast to the designer's usual maximalist style

The decor is in contrast to the designer’s usual maximalist style

The vintage-looking Burlington bathroom complete with Bert & May patterned tiles

The vintage-looking Burlington bathroom complete with Bert & May patterned tiles

Mrs Lowe also added a deVOL Shaker-style kitchen

Mrs Lowe also added a deVOL Shaker-style kitchen 

READ MORE: Pearl Lowe admits she dropped her Primrose Hill pals in a bid to kick drug habit and says her ‘turning point’ came when her toddler almost popped a pill as she celebrates 15 years of sobriety

The Shell House has been the setting for many parties, which Mrs Lowe has furnished with luxury fittings including a deVOL Shaker-style kitchen for a ‘vintage’ look, Bert & May-patterned tiles and Burlington bathrooms.

She also added a wildflower path leading up to the cosy self-contained two-bedroom cabin, which comes iwith a log-burner and roll top bath.

But the decor contrasts with her signature pattern clashes and ‘maximalist’ tones, with the designer admitting that a beach house needed to be more ‘basic’.

In March 2022, a pool was installed on the site of a pond along with a steam room and wood-fired tub.

Pearl was visited at the pad by her large family at Christmas – when 18 snuggled into the property.

In March 2022, a pool was installed on the site of a pond along with a steam room and wood-fired tub

In March 2022, a pool was installed on the site of a pond along with a steam room and wood-fired tub

The designer described the home, just a stone's throw from the seaside, as the 'most enchanting place'

The designer described the home, just a stone’s throw from the seaside, as the ‘most enchanting place’ 

She has three children with Mr Goffey, Alfie, 27, Frankie, 24 and Betty, 18, as well as her eldest daughter Daisy, with singer Gavin Rossdale.

But the couple are now looking to move to the capital, possibly Hackney, to be closer to their growing family, after Daisy and her partner Jordan Saul had their first child, Ivy, in April.

Mrs Lowe also also rents out the property from £6.650 a week on Unique Homestays, where the home has proved divisive with guests, with some moaning about the rugs with rips in them.

Mrs Lowe described the property as a ‘most enchanting place’ and close to many ‘amazing’ vintage shops including Hawk and Dove, Merchant 57, Xanadu and AG Hendy.

She added that several ‘a-listers’ had visited the pad. 

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Chemistry Problems & Quantum Computing

The researchers compared the results of a conventional and quantum computer to minimise error calculations, which could eventually be scaled up to solve more complicated problems.

Scientists in Sweden have successfully managed to use a quantum computer to solve simple chemistry problems, as a proof-of-concept for more advanced calculations.

Currently, conventional supercomputers are used in quantum chemistry to help scientists learn more about chemical reactions, which materials can be developed and the characteristics they have.

But these conventional computers have a limit to the calculations they can handle. It is believed quantum computers will eventually be able to handle extremely complicated simulations, which could lead to new pharmaceutical discoveries or the creation of new materials.

However, these quantum machines are so sensitive that their calculations suffer from errors. Imperfect control signals, interference from the environment and unwanted interactions between quantum bits – qubits – can lead to “noise” that disrupts calculations.

The risk of errors grows as more qubits are added to a quantum computer, which complicates attempts to create more powerful machines or solve more complicated problems.

Comparing conventional and quantum results

In the new study by Chalmers University, scientists aimed to resolve this noise issue through a method called reference-state error mitigation.

This method involves finding a “reference state” by describing and solving the same problem on both a conventional and a quantum computer.

The reference state is a simpler description of a molecule that can be solved by a normal computer. By comparing the results from both computers, the scientists were able to estimate the scale of error the quantum computer had in its calculation.

The difference between the two computers’ results for the simpler reference problem was then applied to correct the quantum computer’s solution for the original, more complex problem.

This method allowed the scientists to calculate the intrinsic energy of small example molecules such as hydrogen on the university’s quantum computer.

Associate professor Martin Rahm – who led the study – believes the result is an important step forward that can be used to improve future quantum-chemical calculations.

“We see good possibilities for further development of the method to allow calculations of larger and more complex molecules, when the next generation of quantum computers are ready,” Rahm said.

Research is happening around the world to fix the problems limiting the development of more advanced quantum computers.

Earlier this month, Tyndall’s Prof Peter O’Brien told about his group’s work in addressing a key challenge in quantum technology and how quantum communications will make eavesdropping ‘impossible’.

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12 Outstanding Tech Resources To Improve Your Skills

If you want to improve your tech skills and don’t know where to start, this list introduces you to some of the resources out there.

If you’re familiar with our advice pieces, you’ll know that we regularly mention various resources you can use to upskill in tech.

We’ve steered readers towards courses from the likes of Udemy, Udacity and Coursera for learning tech concepts from machine learning to data literacy skills. And we’ve pointed out Python meet-ups run by Python Ireland among others.

But what if you’re not sure what these platforms are? Or you aren’t sure which one is the best one for you and your learning style? Maybe you like the idea of Python Ireland and you want to find other similar groups.

Here is an introduction to some of the best resources out to hone your tech skills.


Founded by two Stanford University computer scientists, Coursera is a global online learning platform for techies of all stripes.

It has partnerships with major companies like IBM and Google, as well as with universities such as Stanford and Imperial College London.

If you need a bit of guidance, scroll to the bottom section of the Coursera homepage and you’ll find articles that provide advice on how you can achieve a career in areas such as data analytics using the site.

In terms of courses, it provides everything from short certificates to longer postgraduate degree programmes.


This one is for anyone who wants to brush up on their coding skills; the clue is in the name. Codeacademy offers free short courses in a variety of languages such as Python, C++, C, C+, Bash, Go, HTML, R, SQL and Ruby.

Codeacademy is particularly useful for people who like interactive learning, as it has links to cheatsheets, projects, video and coding challenges under Resources at the bottom of its homepage.

It has a pretty active online community, too.


This Coursera rival – its founders are MIT and Harvard scientists – carries thousands of courses. Like Coursera, many are university-level, with edX making use of its partnerships with the likes of Boston University, University of Cambridge and Google.

Scroll to the bottom of the homepage and you’ll find boot camp courses in topics such as fintech and cybersecurity, as well as longer courses.

Data Camp

Like Codeacademy, Data Camp is quite hands-on and has a lot of short, free courses. It’s best for people who are interested in data science and related technologies.

You can select a specific skill you want to brush up on (like data literacy, NLP, machine learning) or you can explore different career paths such as data scientist, data analyst and statistician.

If you just want to get to grips with a particular tech tool (ChatGPT, Tableau) you can do that too.

Irish meet-up groups

Going along to events run by Irish tech community groups can be a fun way to keep on top of new tech trends and meet like-minded people.

You can find lots of different events on Meetup no matter what you’re interested in. Dublin Linux Community meets monthly, as does Python Ireland and Kubernetes Dublin.

If you want something more casual, there is a coffee chat for indie hackers in Dublin in early June. And it isn’t just the in capital: there are online events and conferences, as well as things going on in Cork, Galway and Belfast.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is another one to consider if you want to do an online tech course, even though it’s not as well known as some of the other names on this list.

Its short video lessons are good for beginners and it provides lessons and learning paths for children, too.

It is a non-profit organisation and it aims to educate people all over the world for free.

LinkedIn Learning

The educational offshoot of LinkedIn has business and tech courses galore for anyone who wants to perfect certain skills.

If you already have LinkedIn, LinkedIn Learning is a good bet as you can add your certificates of completion to your profile.

It’s not free, however, but it does offer a one-month free trial.


Software educational platform Pluralsight provides learning plans for teams as well as individuals. It’s quite skills focused, perhaps more so than some of the other resources that include non-tech courses on their sites.

You can pick up new skills like cloud tech, programming and test your progress using specially designed exercises.


Best for creative techies, Skillshare carries courses in things such as graphic design and photography – but many of these areas are arguably tech focused.

If you’re interested in things like UX and UI design or how tech tools can be used for creative purposes, you may find a short course that takes your fancy.

It’s got a lot of creatives on its books that are willing to, yes, share their skills.

Digital Skillnet

An Irish resource for all things technological, Digital Skillnet is a great site to keep in mind for future educational and upskilling opportunities.

If you prefer the familiarity of an Irish-run organisation, it has plenty of information about the types of careers you can break into.

Whether you’re an employer looking to find resources and courses for employees, or an individual looking to reskill, upskill or find a tech job, Digital Skillnet should definitely be one of your first ports of call.


Udacity is pretty good for anyone who wants to try out a tech course as it has a lot of short and beginner courses as well as longer ones.

It also has an AI chatbot running in beta which offers to assist you when you visit its website.

You can pick from courses on topics such as programming and development, AI, data science, business intelligence and cloud computing.

Scroll to the bottom of the homepage for in-depth career-related resources.


One for bargain hunters, Udemy constantly runs sales on its courses. It has hundreds of thousands of courses, too, so you won’t have difficulty finding something.

It’s good for beginners as many of the courses are short and delivered through video. What’s cool about Udemy is there is so much on the site that you can quite easily find courses on a certain topic from beginner right through to specialist level.

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