Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Spring's in the air ...

As it's that time of year again, I thought I would repeat my spring cleaning tips from last year, first published not long after I started blogging.  I use all these methods myself, and thought you might like to share them too! Sorry if you've already seen them ...

Spring Cleaning Special

Au Naturelle!
Be brave and ditch all your chemical-laden cleaning products! Honestly, all you need to clean effectively and healthily are a few store cupboard staples and a couple of spray bottles.

The main ingredients are Bicarbonate of Soda (you can use the kind you get in the baking aisle, but if you want to be thrifty, they sell large boxes of the stuff for much less in the cleaning aisle of some stores); White Vinegar (any vinegar will do the job, but malt vinegar smells a bit at first); Lemon Juice and Olive Oil.

Make up a 1 litre spray bottle with 2 teaspoons of bicarb, and fill up with water.  This invaluable spray can be used as the only oven cleaner you will ever need! Spray on a cold, dirty oven, all over, and leave until next time you use oven - it's perfectly safe.  After using your oven and it has gone cold, there will be a powdery film on the bottom of the oven.  Just wipe with a clean, damp cloth (use this cloth for your oven cleaning from now on, as will get quite stained), spray and repeat.  Within a couple of weeks, your oven will be sparkling clean without having to resort to using poisonous sprays, and with no elbow grease required! To clean the glass, mix up a thick paste of bicarb and water, plaster on the glass and leave overnight if possible.  The grease and grime should wipe off easily.  If you follow the oven cleaning tip, you will find that the glass stays clean as the bicarb absorbs grease, so all it will need is a wipe.

This spray can also be used on the hob, just spray and leave a few minutes and burnt on marks will come off easily.  Spray on burnt on stains on oven trays and pans too.  After emptying your dishwasher, use the spray all over the inside, it will help absorb odours and clean it too. Make sure you label it, so you don't get it mixed up with the vinegar spray (about 2 inches of vinegar in 1 litre of water), but it wouldn't have disastrous consequences, even if you did!

The vinegar spray can be used on mirrors and windows - just spray on and wipe, then polish with crumpled up newspaper.  Spray on  taps (spray on unseen area to test first, if unsure) on the bath and sinks, on shower screens, down the toilet and in dishwasher.  Cuts through grease, quickly and easily. If your shower head is clogged, remove and submerge in a vinegar and water solution and the limescale will dissolve and water flow freely through the holes.

See last weeks Tuesday Tip for natural furniture polish - I don't use the Olive Oil in the photo for this, far too good, just use cheap stuff, but the can looked nicer in the picture!

Lemon juice and lemons are invaluable.  Roll a lemon around before juicing, you'll get much more juice from it.  After juicing, put the 'shells' in your dishwasher cutlery basket.  Cuts through grease, and makes glass and cutlery shine - plus smells nice! Alternatively, put the shells in a bowl with hot water and microwave for a couple of minutes.  Your microwave will clean much easier, as the steam and juice loosens dirt.  Just repeat for stubborn stains.


Monday, 19 March 2012

'God couldn't be everywhere, so he created mothers'

Hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day yesterday, I know I did! Lots of lovely cards,  (a couple that my gorgeous girl made me when she was younger, that make an appearance each year) ...

and on the back ....

Lovely gifts, full English Breakfast made by my youngest son, and a phone call to say "Happy Mother's Day" from my son in Leeds

A drive out into the country for a Village Hall Sale in the afternoon with my darling daughter, the weather was absolutely gorgeous, sun shining brightly, and daffodils nodding their heads along the roadside.  Back home, to a lovely meal cooked by my lovely husband.  A perfect day, but bittersweet for those of us who can only put flowers by their lovely Mam's picture

.... with love xxx

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


For a lovely, fresh-smelling, homemade furniture polish, just mix together a quarter cup of cheap olive oil

with the juice of 1 lemon

and apply with a cloth to your wooden furniture, if unsure do a patch test first, on an unseen area.  I use it on my old pine furniture, as it can dry out.  Just apply and let it soak in.  The lemon juice cleans the wood. and the oil nourishes it, and makes your room smell fresh and spring-like!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Hello, have had a very busy time lately, and have neglected you a little bit ...

I had a birthday

Lots of lovely cards,

Loads of flowers ... and beautiful gifts.  My friends and family know me so well, and my presents reflected this ... Euros from my eldest son and sister, for my upcoming holiday with friends, books, a beautiful handmade cake stand (from Maria at Rosey Tinted Spectacles), soap, ribbon for crafting, manicure voucher, lipglosses from my gorgeous girl, heart-shaped coasters (I love hearts, in case you hadn't noticed!), vouchers and lots and lots of flowers from family and friends, particularly loved the tulips from sons number 2 & 3.  My big present from my lovely husband was a weekend in Blackpool with my little sister, which I'll tell you about in a little while.

The day after my birthday, Maria and I went to Ulverston, a lovely little market town not very far away.  She very kindly treated me to afternoon tea at The Mad Hatter's tearooms.

This is a gorgeous little cafe, very quirky and unusual, with amazing food served in intriguing surroundings

Delicious cakes ...

and afternoon tea, served on cake stands with delightful mismatched china

Ulverston is a lovely little town, that has retained its charm and history, and there are lots of little shops and cafes, a street market and quite a few charity shops which give me my thrifting fix, every now and again!

But the highlight of my birthday week was my weekend away with my lovely little sister, Helen.  We set off bright and early on Saturday morning, did a little bit of shopping, particularly in Primark for the lovely vintage style tea towels which have a hint of Cath Kidston and Pip's Studio (more of which later, I plan to reveal them, when I've spring cleaned my kitchen) and the shopping list from our teenage daughters.  A quick visit to T K Maxx, where I bought some baking bits and a lovely little jug (I have so many, one more won't make a difference, surely?), back to the hotel for a quick change before dinner at a lovely Chinese Restaurant and then off to the Winter Gardens ... such a beautiful building, very art deco ...

Romance ...

and the concert began ...

Definitely one to watch, Jay James Picton, a very talented young man (you saw him here first!) followed by the amazing Rebecca Ferguson ...

Was really impressed as unlike most new 'stars' I don't think she did any covers, these are usually used to pad out their own songs, but not only did she sing them, she'd also written them ... don't know about you, but too good for X Factor! Really hope she doesn't change, she was sort of shy and a bit humble, with that amazing, powerful voice.  She'll go far, reminds me of a young Aretha Franklin x

Blackpool, by night ...

and next day, grey and blustery, quick walk along prom,

and then home, to Sunday Dinner cooked by my lovely husband ... perfect end to perfect birthday weekend! Thank-you everyone xxx

Before I go, let me just share these images with you ... 2 weeks ago went for walk with my husband, and Ruby, the mad Patterdale, to Furness Abbey

the jewel in the crown of my home town

snowdrops everywhere,

but when I returned 2 days ago, with Ruby and Son No 2, they'd all disappeared ... fleeting beauty, making way for the bluebells yet to come.  Spring's definitely on the way ... have a lovely weekend! xxxx