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Now housekeeping, well just cleaning is always a chore to most of us especially when work and other areas of our lives are so important, but here hopefully are a few little guides to help out (some more so for entertaining over the festive weeks ahead).

1. Keep a small ball of cotton wool tucked behind your radiator with a few drops of essential oil on it, (The Body Shop Chocolate Orange fragrance smells divine, just reminds you of a chocolate orange but without the calories) then when the radiator warms up the nice aroma should fill the room, getting rid of stale smells.  Ebay usually has someone selling items(fragranced oils) that can be used  in this method most times.  A really christmassy one is a cinnamon and ginger fragrance.

2. A bowl of water with a slice of lemon put into the microwave and put on for 1 minute will help clear any nasty wiffs from the microwave (useful if you have cooked sprouts in there). Never enough hob spaces over the festive period in any house I think, so it is a good idea to use the microwave, but the smell afterwards can be daunting even more so if  like myself you dont't like sprouts.   You could try the likes of Lakeland as they do special steam bags for the micro, so you get no nasty wiffs.

3.  For really bad dirty toilets, put a bottle of cola down it leaving it overnight, then by morning all you need to do is give it a good brush and it should look nice and clean again, and without any nasty harmful chemicals.  If you find the culprit, try and make sure they use someone elses.

4.  Keep an extra supply of loo rolls and kitchen towels in for over the holiday period, always more visitors and you do not want to run out of essentials when all the shops are closed over the crucial days.

5.  Keep a selection of ready cooked meals in the freezer (no I don't mean shop bought ones, but home cooked ones) so when you are cooking for example a curry or chilli one night for a meal, make a double helping, then one can be frozen, useful then when you get bored of the turkey you have got something that just needs defrosting without the preparation.

6.  For smelly loos, just light a match then blow it out and the smoke will do away with any nasty smells.

7.  For red wine spills, blot, then clean up with soda water, then use a carpet stain remover if on carpet, but always read the label on stain remover, as some can discolour the carpet.  I have found that by pouring white wine on some carpets it can still stain.

8.  For hard burnt on oven trays, and oven racks rather than spend time scrubbing, pop them into the dish washer on a hot wash with a good brand dish washer tablet, and they come out like new, thus giving you some time for some self indulgance, be it watching a film, reading a book or having a manicure.

9.  One of the best ways to avoid having garlic hands is to use one of those special blocks you can buy from most high street kitchen shops, it is usually made of stainless steel and plastic, and takes away the garlic aroma left after touching the raw garlic when preparing it, failing that just rub your hands over a stainless steel spoon/ cutlery handle as this has the same effect and doesn't cost any money.

10.  Don't worry about over- buying frozen food for Christmas (just make sure it will fit into your freezer), as after the event your shopping bill should be reduced for the next few weeks, as you use up the surplus, sausage rolls, picnic eggs, and some party food pieces can be used in lunch boxes as a change for the normal sandwiches.

11.  Keep a nice room spray in your smallest room  and on show ( so make sure that it looks nice, the White Company, BHS, and other high street department stores do good looking glass spray bottles that don't cost the earth) that way after anybody uses the room they can spray.   Also I find having a scented candle in a suitable safe holder is really reliable, in the morning I light it for 15-20 mins max. then it smells wonderful for the rest of the day, (just remember to blow it out and not near curtains and fabrics for obvious fire reasons).   It also brings a nice smell to any room next morning when clearing up after a party.  You know start the cleaning, putting dirty paper plates, glasses away etc,  with a scented candle burning  the room soon starts to feel cleaner  and your head also feels lighter (along with a painkiller if needed and a strong cup of tea).

12.  If all else fails, either ring mum (help, please how do I? and hope and pray that she may come round and help you out, or get the Yell pages or similiar out and find a cleaner, vowing never again (but wasn't that said last year and the year before?)

Now as of 2009 June I have tried a simple experiment to cut down the amount of shopping (food) waste, you know how easy it is to go shopping not use everything in your fridge (then it is shopping time) you go load up your trolley, fill the fridge and the same happens again next week.... more food thrown away.   I have solved some of this issue at home by going to the supermarket not once a week but once a fortnight, yes, I know more to push in the trolley and more time putting food away.   But the main thing is you save money and we all want to save in these days of thrift, just try it yourself and see the difference.  You shop more wisely and think ahead a bit more about mealtimes (well we are all machines and if the machine is not well fed, problems happen).

A big plus is that you also save money on fuel by only going once a fortnight.

Also only buy what you really need (we all see the adverts on tv etc for the supermarkets but look beyond the 'buy one get one frees' will you really use them if so great if not, then they are really not all that a good deal, and you don't have to buy everything just because it is on offer, that is the way the supermarkets make 'their' money not save 'yours'.

Money Making/ Money Saving Idea
Another big big tip is to have a sort out of your wardrobe/cupboards every few months, it is surprising just how many clothes etc that you find that you no longer wear (either down to them not being the right size or just not your style anymore).  Rather than hanging on to them (taking up valuable space in the wardrobe) and if you are not that size anymore wha(we all do it save items of clothing vowing to fit into them by next summer) but we never do really, what is the point, who are we kidding?  Make some money instead, put them on Ebay, then if they don't sell give to the local Charity shop, well charity does begin at home and in the economic times you do have to think of your own families first.
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