Friday, 16 May 2014

You are my sunshine ...

“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbour:
    "Winter is dead.”

Hope that the sun shines for you this weekend ... see you soon my lovelies!

Love, Claire xxx

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Make it easy on yourself ...

Good morning my lovelies!

It's a bit of a blustery day here on my little island, nothing on the calendar, so a stay-at-home sort of day I think ... if I've got nothing planned I don't mind this kind of day, now and again of course ... all the time would be a bit tedious. I've been moving furniture round and sprucing it up, as you know what they say "a change is as good as a rest" and I feel like I've decorated or done something really drastic as it all looks fresh and .... different.

The cupboard above was a lovely find from Freegle,  (I already had the top cabinet) ... a new coat of paint, a swish of wax and some careful shabbying, and voila! ... a complete new look for ... well, nothing!

I've been pondering about simplifying chores (to free up time to do more pleasurable activities, like pottering about with phrases and needles and reels of Sylko) and I'd like to share my top tips with you for making life just that bit easier.  My husband thinks I have chronic OCD, and that may not be far from the truth, but hey, if it makes me more organised with very little effort, that can only be a good thing, can't it? I have mentioned some of these tips before, so if you've already seen them, I apologise!

Top Tips
  • ALWAYS have a 1 litre spray bottle, filled with plain tap water and 2 tsps of bicarbonate of soda handy.  This mixture is invaluable for cleaning your oven  as mentioned here, but also works on any burnt on spills (old or new) on the hob.  Just spray on and leave a few seconds. Wipe off and it will completely disappear.

  • ALWAYS have a 1 litre spray bottle, filled 2/3 with tap water, the remainder with white vinegar, and a tiny drop of washing up liquid.  This concoction is marvellous for cleaning bathrooms, but gives brilliant results on windows and mirrors too ... spray on, wipe off and then polish with scrunched up newspaper ... dazzling results!

  • When filling the dishwasher, try to put like with like as you go, ie, plates of same size, mugs, bowls, etc ... then all you need to do is pick them out in one fell swoop and put in cupboard, without having to sort through them.  The same goes for cutlery ... if you put just forks in one compartment of the cutlery basket, they can just all be put straight into drawer.  The same goes for knives, spoons, etc.  More hygienic too ... especially if the children are helping!

  • While you're doing the 'big' shop, try to put similar items together into the shopping trolley. Place tins together (preferably at the bottom), bread, fridge stuff, frozen items, etc.  Load them onto the belt in this way and then when  you pack them at the other end they will be in this order.  Bag them up separately, ie, tins in one bag (careful, it's heavy!), fridge stuff in another, toiletries in another, etc. When you get home the chore of putting away is a lot easier and this is were you can delegate ... bag of toiletries in the bathroom, veg in the rack, freezer stuff straight into the freezer, without having to sort through every item and making unnecessary journeys. It might sound complicated, but trust me, it will soon become second nature.

  • After you've washed your bedding, keep one pillowcase aside and fold the duvet cover, remaining pillowcases and sheets and place inside the saved pillowcase.  This way you always have a complete matching set to hand ... no more turning the airing cupboard upside down looking for a matching pillowcase! They stack into neat piles too ...

  • Staying with the 'laundry' theme, when you go on holiday, take some bin bags or large carrier bags with you and sort laundry each day.  This saves the mammoth task of turning 6 suitcases onto the kitchen floor and sifting through 2 weeks of smelly washing.  I did this once, and vowed never again! All you need to do, when you get back, is take each bag out at a time and it's not such a big deal.

  • If you're having a 'big' celebration meal, such as Christmas Dinner, or even just a family get-together Sunday roast, about an hour before it's due to be served, place the plates and serving dishes in the dishwasher and put on a quick wash.  Don't open the door until ready to serve and everything will be piping hot and saves space in your oven.  Put your gravy in a teapot, much less dribblesome, and keeps warmer longer too! (And looks very pretty, especially if dressed in a vintage cosy).

  • If you break a glass or china object, after you've picked up the big pieces, take a piece of fresh bread and wipe over the surface ... the bread will pick up the little splinters that you may otherwise miss.

  • If you drop a raw egg, rather than try to pick it up and risk spreading the mess, just give it a blast with a hairdryer ... this will cook the egg making it easy to pick up and dispose of ... or give to the dog so not wasted ...
I didn't think I'd be able to do ten, but I've racked my brains, and here's top tip number 10 ...

  • If fussy visitors are coming at very short notice, say an hour, there isn't time to spring clean, so just get a carrier bag, put everything in it that's cluttering the place, plump up the cushions, tidy papers and magazines, and pick a big bunch of flowers from the garden and light candles.  They'll be so taken with the welcoming ambience that they won't notice the dustballs under the sofa ...

After all that hard work, put your feet up, pick up your favourite magazine ... and relax with a treat.  Enjoy! You deserve it ...

Hope you all have a Wonderful Wednesday ...

Love Claire xxx