Sunday, May 31, 2009

How often to clean what...

I hope everyone in the UK has been enjoying the lovely sunshine! It's been scorching hot yesterday and today, but lovely... just what we need really.

I've been bad at getting into my old routine after our holiday (hence not posting regularly). Even our healthy eating seems to have gone out the window since our return. So every now and then I think it's a good thing to be reminded of the basics around that need to be done, so I thought I'd do a post about how often what needs to be done about the house as a reference for others and a reminder for myself. Of course this is only a rough guide, and every household would need to adjust it accordingly. For instance having a dog with muddy paws probably means vacuuming or mopping needs to be done more frequently than in other households. But a basic guide is a great way to help write up a cleaning routine. I myself find looking at these daunting, but the point of them is not to make more work but rather to help create a schedule so that work around the house can be done efficiently and regularly enough so that no job becomes a major task. I'll start from daily tasks through to tasks that need only be done yearly.

Just a small note: Please don't allow this list to make you feel bad for not doing all of these things all of the time. I certainly don't get all of this done, but if you try an do as many of these just as regularly as you can you certainly have nothing to worry about. I remind myself that it's not a requirement but just things I could do to show that I appreciate my house.

Daily tasks

  • Make the bed
  • Put dirty clothhes in the laundry bin, and hang up or fold the rest
  • Sort out laundry, whether it's puttin on the washing, hanging it up or ironing
  • Wipe the bath, shower and sink after use
  • Wipe down kitchen surfaces after use, and clean the sink
  • Wash the dishes/ load and unload the dishwasher
  • Tidy away books and magazines in the sitting room/bedroom
  • Sweep or vacuum floors as needed
Once a week tasks
  • Thoroughly vacuum carpets and rugs
  • Dust all surfaces
  • Change the bedlinen
  • Clean and disinfect the toilet bowl
  • Clean surfaces and fixtures in the bathroom
  • Clean mirror
  • Shopping for food and non-food items

Tasks for once a month
  • Clean the windows (or every other month depending on where you live)
  • File all papers
  • Turn and vacuum matresses
  • Wash mattress & pillow protectors
  • Wash the inside of the dishwasher and washing machine (vinegar is perfect for the job), and wipe down the rubber seals with some vinegar
  • Wash hair and make-up brushes
  • Wash scuff marks on walls and paint work
  • Wipe down the oven, microwave and fridge shelves and kitchen cupboard doors

Spring cleaning tasks for once a year
  • De-clutter by discarding old magazines, outdated catalogues, clothes you no longer wear, and electronics that don't work.
  • Check and replace batteries in torches, remote controls, alarm clocks etc.
  • Polish furniture
  • Wash ornaments
  • Dust or vacuum books
  • Clean light fittings, shades or chandeliers
  • Shampoo carpets, and have soft furnishings, curtains and blinds cleaned
  • Turn-out and clean the loft/attic/garage
  • Empty and clean all cupboards that are rarely used.

I know! Other than the shopping for non-food items (now that I can do!), this is quite a list and probably reminds you that housework is never done. And well, okay it's not really. But if you have a routine or a list of things to do at a time, or even if you do 10 minute timer cleaning, you will be done for the day and put your free time to something else. For me it's about changing my mindset about housework from seeing at as a chore, to seeing it as just a daily thing I do because I appreciate that I have a roof over my head, and a lovely space to which I come home to. Without wanting to sound airy fairy, we need to love our homes and enjoy them regardless of it's size or status.

Have a great week! I hope to catch up with you all soon

The Housewife's Handbook by Rachel Simhon
Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendleson
How to be the perfect Housewife by Anthea Turner

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Holiday & a birthday cake

I'm back from Egypt now - we had a marvelous time, just what the doctor ordered really!
Egypt is such an exciting, interesting and sunny place to visit, I'd highly recommend it. My favourite was the Nile with it's beautiful green colour and dusty sunsets. I'm also really pleased I cleaned the house before we left... coming back from holiday always a bit of a downer, but allot better if you step back into a fresh and tidy home. Here are some highlights from our trip....

A kiss for the Sphinx

The temple of Philae on the Nile

Coming back from holiday, it's all been a bit of a rush, and I quickly had to get my apron ready because it was our one niece's 1st birthday! (we have 6 nieces and nephews between us).
My sister-in-law sent me a photo of a cake she liked, I adapted it a bit and voila... a girly 1st birthday cake for a special young lady.

Well, actually it wasn't voila... it was hard work! My mum use to make wedding cakes, not to mention the most amazing birthday cakes for us, and still makes birthday cakes for all her grandchildren, so I'm lucky that I've picked up some great tips from her. It's nice to know I can ring her up and say 'mum, the icing is cracking, what am I doing wrong?'. It's certainly not perfect, it has some cracks, lumpy- bumpy bits and is even a bit wonky - but hey, it's a homemade cake, and that's what matters.

Fondant icing can be a real pain to work with, but here are some tips if you decide to try it yourself:

  • Always knead and warm the fondant with your hands before you roll it out.
  • Use both your hands to lift up the rolled fondant to avoid it stretching - stretching will also cause cracks!
  • Adding a tiny bit of egg whites can help prevent cracking and smoothing it.
  • I don't buy ready coloured fondant because you can achieve the exact colour you want and you'll need to work the icing anyway before you can roll it out.
  • To test if the icing is ready, when you tear a piece off it should make a nice 'thump' sound as it breaks.
I hope you like the cake, I wish I could share a slice with you all (it's a vanilla Madeira cake).
I'll have to do a proper 'cake making' post some time.

Thanks for stopping by!

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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