There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t get a request or two for household cleaning tips. I take great pleasure in writing back with my best advice: get a cleaner, everyone will be happier.
That said I think there are plenty of things which are important about housework. It should impact positively on your life, make a comfortable environment and tread lightly upon the Earth.
I have a real bugbear about cheap products which don’t last well and end up in landfill. After going through our third dustpan in as many years recently I vowed to replace my household items only with equipment which lived up to my expectations.
I found the deliciously utilitarian yet beautiful Harrop + Penny and fell in love. Their range is exactly the kind of long-lasting tools I have been hankering after. I may have a rather long wish list for future breakages.
I also feel strongly about the cleaning fluids we use. Mainstream cleaning products are so harsh both on the body and the environment we long ago turned our backs on them.
For years we used Ecover (and still do for laundry) but as soon as I found method I switched. Not only are their products environmentally friendly but they look and smell amazing. I have to admit to being a tiny bit obsessed about scent and method ticks every box on this score.
From the pink grapefruit in my kitchen to the mint in my bathroom and almond flower on our wooden floors; it is a joy to inhale. They recently got in touch with me to ask if I’d like to try some of their products and despite me admitting to using near every last one they sent over some of my favourites to use.
Now I do think we are pretty spoiled by their range but I can’t help but notice that over in the US there is an even more tempting array – sage, fig + rhubarb and tomato vine to name but a few.
Luckily for me I have a friend in the US who knows of my obsessive love of method and the cute Orla Kiely tomato vine hand soap above is all mine. Not entirely sure what I’ll do when it runs out…
Are you as obsessive about what you use in the home? Which household products can you not do without?
I was given method products to fuel my obsession. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page. Kat xoxo
Regular readers please pick yourselves off the floor, yes, this is a post about housework. But not just any old housework – lazy housework. The thought of you scrubbing away at a burnt pan when I have the secret formula weighs heavily so I thought I’d share my tip.
Haven’t we all been there? Distracted by something far more interesting we somehow let a pan boil dry or a sauce burn and we are left with a decidedly burnt pan. You could scrub away at it until it is gone or you could take the easy route.
The big secret? Cola. A small bottle of full fat cola heated gently in the pan will lift the black marks in minutes and leave you with a shiny pan. Hurrah!
I have been asked for my words of wisdom by Heather. Thing is, I don’t have wisdom as such. I can form an opinion pretty quickly but wisdom is something I am hoping I’ll grow into one day. The whole advice thing has been inspired by Martha Stewart and I really am so far from Martha it is laughable. After all, I am a lapsed housewife. I have been racking my brains wondering what to pass on to you. My tips and ideas are anything but original. Although it’s worth knowing you can buy bicarb by the kg in the Chinese supermarket – it is a household wonder! Despite finally outsourcing my cleaning (best decision ever) my house is chaotic and never looks pristine.
I do have one idea that I would like to pass on, a sort of standard I aspire to maintain. If you came to my house unannounced you may well find us in chaos but you will be welcomed with open arms. There may be piles of ‘stuff’ to move so you can sit down but there is a place at my table for you. A little thought and I will have a meal on the table for you. It may not be grand, it may well be simply cheese on toast or soup but there will be food. One of my super speedy store cupboard staples for visiting children is my beany spread. It takes less than five minutes to make, tastes great and has protein and veg. It can be used in sandwiches, pasta sauces, as a dip or a replacement for tomato sauce on pizzas. It keeps in the fridge for up to a week and freezes well. Here is the recipe:
Half a can of beans (mixed, haricot, butter, chickpeas – your choice)
Half a cup of frozen sweetcorn and peas (either or both)
A couple of basil leaves
A glug of good olive oil
- Drain the beans.
- Cook the peas and sweetcorn, then run over with cold water to cool.
- Put all ingredients in the blender and wizz them up.
Now Sian Mummy-Tips is always trying to get me to join in and play along with memes but I am a grump. This does not deter her and she keeps on tagging me so this time I’m playing. Here are my famous face-a-likes:
Yes folks, I look like Helena Christensen and no, that did not influence my choice to play along.
In the past Mr Kat and I were keen gardeners with beds packed full of veg and flowers. We had mushrooms under the stairs, lemongrass and herbs on the window ledges and a green house filled with chillies. When we got married we grew our lavender centre pieces. Our heads were filled with dreams of our own small holding. We got as far as making a (very stretching) offer on a gorgeous house with and acre of small holding. The offer was turned down and the next day we found out I wasn’t going crazy, I was pregnant. Having never expected to fall pregnant so easily we taken by surprise and shelved our plans for a small holding. We bought a gorgeous tardis-like terrace in a nice village. The garden was the compromise. It was even smaller than our previous one. We moved in when I was four months pregnant and set about building two raised beds for our veg. We were offered a section of the garden behind ours to buy but had our hopes for a proper sized garden shattered when the owners sold the house instead. Despite our intentions, gardening has slipped down on the priority list since having children. It may have slipped down but it has not fallen off completely and with Spring springing all around us we have been growing with our children.
A classic for a reason, growing cress on the window ledge has been so much fun. It is the kind of venture which can be left completely to a pre-schooler which is so very pleasing for a little girl who would like to be a big girl like Mama. To go from a packet of seeds to harvest in little more than a week is most satisfying. As is an egg, yoghurt and cress sandwich!
Milla and I took a trip to the garden centre to choose some plants for our own mini version of Planting a Rainbow. The rain made it an indoor gardening activity but no less fun. Every time we see our bright rainbow filled pots it is delightful. I had worried that they may not do well on our North facing steps but they continue to flourish and Milla is so very particular about watering and dead-heading.
A rare weekend off from social commitments was spent clearing the overgrown mass of creepers, hedge and honeysuckle. Our long handled hand fork has proved the perfect size for Milla to copy her Papa digging. Monty got involved with my herb planting which is of course a very serious task. The strawberries we planted out after Easter have remained unharmed by slugs and snails so far. This could be because Monty has been found rolling snails around his mouth on more than one occasion, hmm. Our raised beds need some attention as a neighbouring raspberry has invaded one with shoots from below (ideas on how to tackle this welcome!). As we are so late out of the starting blocks we’re considering buying a ready to plant garden for this year.
I am hoping this is the year we bring gardening back into our daily lives and if my children have anything to do with it I am sure we will succeed.