Domestic Goddess

From one domestic goddess to another!

I’m sorry guys but I don’t enjoy house work. I appreciate that lots of people do, I am not one of them. I don’t spend hours hovering, polishing and cleaning. So when I get a tip from another domestic goddess like me – I will certainly pass it on.

Washing net curtains, or anything delicate by hand.

This tip was given to me by the cleaning manager of a private hospital. I know not many of us have net curtains in our windows any more, but this method of washing could be used for delicate items, or clothes that need hand washing. Fold the nets so they fit into a washing up bowl. Or if you have a top or a dress that is hand wash, do the same, or slide them into the leg of a pair of tights. Fill the bowl with lukewarm water, and little bit of washing powder or liquid. You will need a very small amount. Place the folded item into the bowl of water, and agitate it up and down. Do this for about 5 min, it gives the bubbles the time to penetrate through the fibers of the cloth. Throw out the water, and re fill with clean lukewarm water, and agitate the item for another few minutes, emptying the water again. Repeat for a final time so the water is clear. Allow as much of the water to drain from the item so it isn’t soggy. On the draining board, put a towel that has been folded in half, and place the item on the top of the towel. Roll the item up in the towel so it looks like a sausage roll, and then squeeze the roll. The water will come out of the item and be absorbed in the towel.  You can repeat with another towel if you want to. Shake out the dress or hand wash item and hang it on a hanger, or the curtains you can hang then up straight away. They may not be absolutely dry, but should only be a little damp, and will dry very quickly. No ironing. Quick and easy. The towels are only damp/wet, so can be dried not washed.

Removing pet hairs from clothing.

Isn’t it a nightmare all the hair our pets seem to molt. I have spent hours with the old sellotape trick, trying to get the hair off the bed-clothes before washing. Or you end up with hair over everything else! Invest in a velvet brush. You brush the head over the covers or your clothes, and it picks up the hair. The end of the brush rotates so you can ‘wipe’ the hair off into a pile, and start again.

Cleaning sinks and baths

You don’t want to use an abrasive cleaner on your sink that will scratch the surface, but sometimes soap and grease needs a lot of cleaning to get off. Put a little bit of washing powder into your sink or bath, and by using just an ordinary cleaning cloth  the little grains act as a cleaner without damaging the surface. There is normally a brightener in the powder, which will give it a brightness and a sparkle.

Making washing up liquid and shampoo go further. 

Using a sponge in the washing up bowl will make a few drops of washing up liquid go much further. Put the drops on the sponge – not in the water!

The same goes for shampoo. Wash twice  – 1st wash use a large coin size amount of shampoo, rinse well. 2nd wash, use a small coin size amount of shampoo – it lather’s up a lot. And by keeping the shampoo warm – by the side of the bath or in the shower cubicle – it goes much further!

Goodness me –  I think that is enough to be going on with. Its time for this domestic goddess to be doing something else, like putting my feet up and having a coffee!

real life, Whatever

Work Etiquette or ‘how not to annoy your customers’

Customer service training is great, don’t you think? It reminds you of the things you should be doing on days when you are thoroughly fed up with just that….customers. Come on, seriously – how often would you like to start your conversation off with the word ‘LOOK’ or  ‘do you realise how annoying you are’. But we simply can’t can we? Remember – however fed up you are – these poor customers on the end of the phone, or sitting in front of you – their day may have been even worse than yours. They can hear what kind of day you are having by the tone of your voice and how fed up you are. Have you ever answered a phone call with a smile? Sounds corny doesn’t it but try it tomorrow. It seriously works and has a knock on effect,  they feel happier that you haven’t sounded grumpy on the phone. You in turn are dealing with someone who’s back isn’t up immediately.

A few years ago, the organisation I work for decided that to become more efficient and business like we should all answer the phone the same way. Company name, salutation, your name, how can I help you. Bit of a mouth full. But it has been proven that callers don’t listen to the first part of the phone call. They know who they are calling, they know if its afternoon or morning – they hear your name, and the offer of help. It always amazes me that at the end of a conversation with someone they often say, ‘thank you Pat’ – it takes me aback – they did hear my name when I answered the phone! It does work. And if you are all answering the phone in the same way – none of you will sound stupid – I know that’s what you were thinking!

This sounds like I am so righteous doesn’t it, never on my phone in work, never texting my mates, never fooling and laughing around, and having a joke. Well let me put this another way.

Its a busy Thursday lunchtime. You have 30 min to go and pick a present up for a friends birthday, and get back to the office again.  The shop assistant is busy chatting when you get into the shop and doesn’t see you or acknowledge you. You can’t find what you are looking for, you know that little specific item that will make your friend smile when they see it. After 5 min you still cant see what you want, and when you try and catch the attention of the sales assistant – they huff and puff, and don’t make much of an effort to help you find the elusive gift. Walk out of the shop- just do it! Go into the shop where you know the sales assistants appear happy, they greet you with a smile, and offer to help you with your search. You leave happy and content, they know they have helped you, and your friend is so pleased with their gift!  I hate shops where they chat to one another at the expense of customers. I’m the one walking out the door into your competitor shop down the road!

Don’t get me started on Social Media – it does what it says on the tin- SOCIAL MEDIA – not work media. Do it in your own time – not mine!  I work for an organisation that is funded by the tax payer – so I pay my own wages in effect. I will not allow myself to spend time on my phone during the time I’m paying me to work!

All life is a fish bowl. And work is no exception. In fact work is more of a fish tank than a fish bowl, everyone sees what you do, and how you do or don’t do it! So if you follow some simple rules, your customers will hopefully remain your customers, and not go somewhere else, and fill one of those ‘how did we do today’ forms in with some positive comments for you.

Food, Inspiration, Laughter, real life

Life is too short to make preserved lemons

I saw the finished results on someones social media time line, a beautiful tagine with chicken and couscous and preserved lemons. My friend said how nice the flavour was, and how easy it was to make.

I thought – I could do that! But I didn’t have any preserved lemons. So like a fool I asked for the recipe. Being a tad over enthusiastic I read the first bit, went out and bought one of those little jars with the clip on the top, and the lemons and rock salt. How many of us keep all those things in our store cupboard, not me, that’s for sure? I read the recipe again ……. AAAAAH! Once made you have to leave them for 3 months, and keep turning the jar over and over again so the salt is dissolved….

I wanted the lemons then, not in 3 months time. I don’t know what I thought I had let myself in for, something less time consuming than THAT that’s for sure. 3 months relentlessly going to the dark cupboard, turning the lemons, cooing over them, putting them back. Going to the cupboard, turning them over… get the picture? And what if I forget to do it? Would I get a thumping headache like the time I forgot my blood pressure tablets for 2 days? Or would the finished product be less than preserved, and the tagine be less than flavorsome.

How do I know! I’m only into day 2 and I’ve forgotten to turn them already……

Inspiration, Laughter, real life, Whatever

Clown of the day

We were at a family gathering today. You know the kind of day when the good, the bad and the downright naughty get together over a few glasses of the fizzy stuff. The nibbles were out – the olives only those with a refined pallet would go anywhere near, together with fresh crusty bread and crisps a plenty. The ‘family’ consisted of grandparents, parents, an aunt and uncle and the most junior members of the Mafia, sorry – the ‘family’. Oh yes together with the family pet, a cheeky 3 legged cat.
All was going well till gran dropped a glass of fizz on a very expensive table, which sprayed over the bread – and the cat! The crisps and crumbs were crushed into the rug, the only thing that was left untouched was the olives – literally!

Of course there was the obligatory family photo ‘for the album’. Two takes, two slightly different views, same smiles and poor family member with the cats ears sticking out the top of her head. Unfortunatly it was me this time! 30 min later its all over social media for all to see!

I love these days. So natural, no airs and graces – full of family love and promises of ‘we must do this again’ and we will!

Someone had to be the clown of the day. Today it was my youngest son. This was how the conversation went –

‘Its nice to see you’the uncle said, to which the clown replied ‘yes it is isn’t it’. Seriously! The arrogance of the little puppy…I don’t know where he gets it from.

Inspiration, Writing

Why I do what I do

I want to say ‘Thank you’ to those of you who have followed me, to those of you who have read my last few blogs. To my family members, friends and colleague I have circulated my link to, and to those seasoned writers who have taken the time to find me and read my outpourings.   When you produce something, the greatest thing that can happen is that someone takes notice. When I cook for my family and they say ‘thank you that was really nice, we will have that again’ it makes me feel good. Or if I help a colleague or friend  to achieve something, or to improve their daily life – and it works for them, I feel great.

That’s what happens  when you write something, and send it into the wide world for others to read.  Only the descriptive words for how you feel as more elaborate. When I see that someone has read one of my blogs, and bear in mind I am so very new to this, I feel elated, proud, satisfied, honored and fulfilled. The greatest achievement for anyone who has that burning passion to write something meaningful – is for others to read it. You could be the best author in the world, but without your audience, you are a writer without a purpose!

I started writing without a purpose about 15 years ago. My writing was long and laborious, hand written on scraps of paper, to test  if I could form the words together. It wasn’t too  bad, if I say so myself. I got better, I bought myself a book to write in, then a better book, more elaborate, bigger with pictures on the corners to make my work seen more valued by me. Then I started  to type up some of the work I had written, and after a few disasters – my work was sitting on the ‘c’ drive in the folder ‘Pats writing’ and that is where it has stayed.

Then I started to write short plays, the theater group I volunteered for had an opportunity for writers, actors and producers to show case their talent. So I wrote a play, and submitted it. I cannot tell you the feeling I had in my heart when I pressed the send button. This was the very first time that I had shared a piece of writing with anyone. I mean anyone. I enjoyed it so much I send another one off, my head was bursting with ideas. Finally I was acknowledging I could do this!  The next year, I sent my work off to a friends daughter who was a fledgling comedy writer for her to read it through before I submitted it. Now that was a very odd feeling. Someone who had got the format right and knew what they were doing was reading MY WORK! She has her own show now on TV, I make sure I follow her on Twitter and watch the show, as a thank you for that little bit of hope she gave me.

What I’m trying to say after 598 words is when someone writes something, the greatest thing anyone else can do is read it. And acknowledge that piece. We are all prolific writers, I spend hours on social media commenting on my friends funny videos, and posting kind words. But when you put your heart and soul into something like a blog, because to be honest not everyone does, you want it to be acknowledged. From your first piece, to your 1,000 piece.  So thank you again, and your feedback is very much appreciated.


How hard was today?

How hard was today I’m going to ask you?

Busy day? Full time job and juggling home life? Me too. I often wonder how I manage to find time to sit and write. But do you know, its this little time of day that helps me unwind.  It gives me the opportunity to look back over the day and think ‘goodness what a day’ or words to that effect!

Today I really wanted a hand up. Someone who would come along and say, fancy a cup of tea? Can I take some work off you? Can I cook the dinner tonight? or simply say please – sit down and do nothing for 10 minutes!

Let me tell you what I had instead, it might not be so bad after all! To be fair my hubby did ask if I wanted a cup of tea, after I had put my coat on to walk the dog! Now – for all those dog owners out there, or take note potential dog owners – you will know what ‘putting your coat on’ means to a dog. It means now, immediately, straight away, not in 10 minutes, or 5 or even 2, but NOW. Now we will go for a walk, now we will pee up against every tree, now we can stop at every fence post and sniff. So why offer me a cup of tea when the dog is just about to take me for a walk! It was waiting for me when I got back, a little cold, but welcoming none the less.

The question ‘can I take some work off you?’ sends shivers down my spine. It never means, do a little less, or slow down, it normally means, do this instead. And isn’t it usually something you don’t want to do or you have already put off? The other version  of this is ‘why don’t you let someone else do that?’ so that you take this on! There is always an underlying message to every apparent good word.  So if anyone has any tips on how I can dig myself out of that mess, please message me, I haven’t quite mastered that art yet. I tend to end up taking the first and the second job on. I’m doing something wrong aren’t I?

Dinner, yes I cooked the dinner; The other half was watching the football on the TV, what more can I say. Its November and its the football season, so the football is going to be on the TV. Although to be fair if it was any other time between March and September we could have a choice of Formula 1, Tennis, Horse racing, Basketball or two ants running down the pavement!  So I cooked the dinner, and very nice it was too. He did buy me dessert – a Twix bar.

Finally – the 10 minute sit down doing nothing. I did have 20 minutes actually with the dog, who insisted I pat him, and stoke him, and make a fuss of him.  He licked me, and covered my trousers in hair, and slobber. But it was 20 minutes of total adoration, undivided attention. Unconditional love. The best 20 minutes of my day.

Inspiration, Laughter, Whatever

A proud parent

Today I am a proud parent. Not that I’m not a proud parent every day, today I am especially proud.
We hear so much negatively in the press about the youth of today. Lazy, rude, unruly and so many more dark expressive words. Today I want to celebrate the good side, sensitive, compassionate, and most importantly hardworking, and dedicated.

I’m celebrating today because my son is moving to a new home next weekend. I’m cheering because he is moving out I can hear you say. Well in fact he moved out into his first home with his girlfriend just over a year ago. They bought a lovely little home together, and with lots of hard work they made it their own.

This is where the celebration bit comes in. Their friends came up trumps and many came along to help them. Friends with bowls of water cleaning, paintbrushes and pots of paint, helping to lay a floor, putting wardrobes together. And those that couldn’t help in a practical way shared their network of friends, and found contacts who could help with carpet laying, and plastering, and fitting a new boiler. It was a real house of love. full of the smell of paint, and take way Pizza.

Now they are moving on to a bigger place, and that whole cycle of calling on friends will happen again. I’m proud because they made it work. I proud because they shared their good fortune and paid back every favour by helping their friends with their own projects.

We will be off later to crack open the champers with parents and grandparents and neighbours. The good wishes radiating through the family.  And the hard work will start again.