Friday, 20 December 2013

Helping you through the Holidays!

I do like this top tip - I tend to have an abundance of these over the Christmas holidays!

Here's to a Tip Top Christmas!  

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Melting Lollies

A week or so ago, I posted a top tip about how cupcake cases can be used to prevent insects from getting in your drinks.  Today, I've got another use for the humble cupcake case - to prevent lolly spills!  Simply stick the bottom of the lolly stick through the middle of the case and you have a super basin to catch any spills.  It's best to use a metallic/foil one for this as they're a bit more sturdy, but any will be better than nothing!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Drinking Healthily?

I hope you have had a lovely Monday.  If not, do bear this in mind....

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Funny Top Tip!

Three rules to live by:

Don't shop when you're hungry...

Don't date when you're horny...

Don't update your status when you're drunk....

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Recycling Cereal Boxes to make Box Files

I've been finding that, despite this whole idea of a paperless home and office, I'm getting more and more paperwork.  Letters from the kids' school, appointments, party invitations, vouchers, reminders - the list goes on!  Inevitably, I lose some of it - or it clutters up the house - so I have been looking at ways of keeping track of it in an efficient but pretty way.

One great tip I have found is to recycle old cereal boxes.  It's so simple!  Take an old cereal box and cut it into a box file shape.  I cut about two-thirds of the way down the side and the same again across the top.  If you want to be really precise, you can measure it and mark it up with a pencil, but I didn't find it necessary.

Next - decorate!  Choose any paper you like, be it specialist crafting paper or just simple wrapping paper, and glue it on.  What's also great about this is that you can use any size box you like, depending on what you're storing.  And there you have it - quick, easy, cheap, efficient and easy organisation!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Ripening Avocados

I can never get it right with avocados.  Either they are too hard to do anything with or I leave them out for too long and they go all squishy and brown, so not even suitable for guacamole.

So the way to do it is to ensure that the avocado is ripe just when you want it (durr!).  If you're not going to use it for a while, keep in the vegetable chiller drawer at the bottom of your fridge.  It will keep for ages without ripening.  Then, when you need it, you can put it in a dark cupboard or drawer (or a brown paper bag if you have one) with a banana and it will ripen really quickly.

An alternative, immediate way to ripen avocados which kind of works is to place in the microwave for 20 - 40 seconds.  However, I only use this when I am desperate as it makes the avocado too warm and it doesn't taste quite as nice.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Recycling Cardboard Boxes to make Drawer Organisers

My underwear drawer was a mess.  But then I discovered a way to utilise all of those old shoe boxes I had hanging around, waiting for me to do something with them - use them as drawer dividers to create a cheap and easy way to organise my stuff!

Literally, all I did was to cut the boxes in half, either along the length or width to fit the space and fill each section with my socks, underwear and bras.  Quick, easy and cheap - and I can now find what I need without rummaging around every morning!  And if you want to make it pretty, it's easy to do with some lovely craft paper and glue.

You can do this with any drawer - it doesn't have to be underwear!  And I imagine any box will do - think cereal boxes as well....

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Preserving Fresh Herbs II

So I've just said how you can preserve fresh herbs so that they aren't wasted once you've opened the packet, but there are other ways that they can be used and saved too, which I think are brilliant!  These involve creating herb oils or butters and freezing.

For herb oil, all you have to do is chop the fresh herbs very finely, put in an ice cube tray and add olive oil.  Mix a little. Pop in the freezer, then, once they're frozen, place in a sealable plastic bag, label and use when needed.

For the herb butter, chop the herbs and add garlic for a bit of a kick!  Mix with room-temperature butter to taste and then wrap, sausage-like, in some greaseproof paper.

Place in the freezer for up to an hour so it firms up and then chop into slices about 1cm thick.  Re-wrap in the paper, ready to use when needed.  I'm planning on making some garlic bread with this - chop a baguette, add some ready-made butter to each slice and bake.  Yum and quick!

I have to say, this and the previous post of drying herbs is something that I do already but thanks to Jamie Oliver's new series 'Save with Jamie' for reminding me!

Preserving Fresh Herbs

If you're anything like me with herbs, you've got the best intentions when you buy those little bags of fresh ones from the supermarket - lots of plans to cook gorgeously flavoured and seasoned recipes from scratch.  But what inevitably happens is that I use about 1/4 of the packet, throw the rest into the fridge and forget about it until it's gone off.  So what to do with the remainder, so you're not wasting it and wasting money?  It's simple!

All you have to do it bunch them up with a bit of string and hang them somewhere fairly warm, like an airing cupboard or larder.  I've got some sage and some bay leaves on the go at the moment, and have attached them to a cooling rack by the oven.  Leave to dry out for a while - at least 12 hours - until they are crisp and then store in a jar or Tupperware and use as you would dry herbs.  They will last for ages this way.

Click here for another way of preserving those fresh herbs!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Use Less Toilet Paper

Toilet paper's expensive and it's not great for the environment.  One way to get around this is to buy the cheap stuff and use as little as possible, but it's not always easy.  And, quite frankly, I don't want scratchy, horrible loo roll.

A really simple, quick and easy way to use less toilet paper is to squash the roll before you put it on the holder.  The cardboard tube won't turn as easily, so it's harder to get a massive wodge of it - but easy enough to get what you need!

Bug Free Outdoor Drinks

I may have missed the boat season-wise for this one, but you never know, there may still be opportunities to eat and drink outside this year!  A great tip to stop flies and other insects from getting into your juice or precious cocktail is to use cupcake cases upside-down on top of the glass, and stick a straw through them.  Pretty and practical!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Red Wine Stains

One of the best tips I have ever been given is how to clean red wine stains.  Quite simply, pour over some white wine, leave to soak a few minutes and wipe!  That's all!  The white wine somehow dissolves the red, normally leaving no stain at all.  It is fantastic!

Alternatively, just drink the white!

Cleaning your Hairbrush

You use your hairbrush at least once a day, so just think of all the stuff that collects in it!  Hair, dust, grease, hair product, dirt - yuck!  So you should think about washing your hairbrush fairly regularly to ensure it's nice and clean and all this muck isn't being transferred back into your hair.  This is mine pre-cleaning - a ton of hair and dust.  Blee!!

As ever, it's quick and easy.  All you have to do is remove the excess hair from the brush.  Then fill the sink with warm water and add a little shampoo - I just used one of my free samples from a recent hotel visit.  Leave to soak for a few minutes, assuming it's a plastic brush.  If it's fabric or wood, dip it in the water to just get the bristles.  In addition, if there is a lot of gunk on the brush, use an old toothbrush to remove it - but I've not yet had to do this!

Remove from the sink, give it a little shake to remove excess water and then place on a towel to dry.  Good as new!


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Top Tip!

A lovely quote from a lovely lady.

Enjoy your day!

Cleaning your Phone's Earbuds

Probably the last thing on your mind is keeping your phone's earbuds (or headphones as I prefer to call them) clean.  But just think of all the muck and yuck that will get on them if you don't!  Ewww...  Not only will there be the gunk from your ears on them, but the amount of times that they will be pulled in and out of pockets and bags means that there is bound to be all sorts getting stuck to them.  So clean them regularly!

All you need to do is detach them from your phone and wash with mild soap or dishwashing liquid and a small amount of water.  If there is stubborn dirt, use a toothbrush or cotton bud to get rid of it.  And that's it!  Word of warning though - never submerge them totally in water, just wipe gently.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Earring Organiser

I've got a couple of great ways to recycle old bits and bobs to create a lovely earring organiser.

The first way is so super simple!  Just get an old cooling rack for cakes and voilá.  An earring organiser!  Just make sure it's criss-crossed to hook the earrings on, like this one from Amazon.  If you want, you can paint it, but I quite like the silver.  It's basic but it works.

A second, more project-based and potentially pretty one is to use an old photo frame and some wire.  Remove any backing and glass, so you're just left with the frame.  Attach the wire to the frame with some eyelet hooks, decorate the frame as you see fit and hang the earrings from the wires.  Or - even easier - attach some chicken wire or similar!

With both, you can attach it to the wall or just place on your dressing table or chest of drawers.

Cleaning the Blender

I've always been a little worried about cleaning our blender, as I'm terrified of slicing my fingers as I'm doing so.  Which is why this simple top tip is so great!

All you have to do is put some washing up liquid in the dirty blender - any will do.

Add some water, give it a whirl and rinse.  And there you have it - one clean blender, no bleeding fingers!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

What to do with Samples & Hotel Beauty Products

I must confess, I am a serial collector of sample beauty products, including the gorgeous little shampoo and body lotion bottles that are provided by hotels.  If I don't use them, they come home with me.  I find they are really useful for when I go away for a short break, at someone's home or another hotel - but with the latter, I inevitably end up with more products!  So what to do with them?

A really simple and useful idea is to put them in the guest bathroom, meaning that when friends and family come to stay, they can just help themselves.  And this can be done so beautifully.  All that is needed is a lovely jar to store the items in, such as this vintage candy sweet glass jar that's available on Ebay.

Simply put your shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, shower caps and whatever else you've acquired in the jar and leave in the bathroom.  Guests will really appreciate the gesture, it will look lovely and it will stop all those little bottles from cluttering up other parts of the house!

Funny Top Tip

This is so true!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Descaling the Kettle

If you live in a hard water area like me, limescale builds up on your kettle very frequently.  Not only does this affect the taste of your drink, but horrid chalky bits end up in your tea or coffee and it's just vile!  Look at mine today - gross!

In order to combat this, you can fork out on chemical descalers.  However, apart from the cost of these, my main problem is the fact that it's so unnatural and I imagine if it's not rinsed from the kettle properly, it would be nasty.  Which is why I was so pleased to discover that plain old malt vinegar does the same thing as a chemical descaler.  Any malt vinegar works; I usually use supermarket own brand, but I guess they had run out as I was substituted with some posh stuff!

To descale the kettle, pour the vinegar into the kettle - use as much as you like.  I then top it up with water to cover all the limescale, but you could use more vinegar if you don't want to dilute it too much.  Wait at least half an hour, rinse and voila!  A sparkling clean kettle, at a cheap cost with no chemicals (albeit a bit smelly - rinse, rinse, rinse)!  Perfect!