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The Cheats Guide to being a Domestic Godess

• If you have not had the time or inclination to give the house a good clean before visitors arrive spray the room with a little spritz of furniture polish – I will smells as if you have been cleaning for hours !!
• Light the room with candles . My carpet has seen better days, so when I have people round for dinner I switch off the main lights and use candles or fairylights instead – in the half-light nobody will notice the odd coffee stain. An extra bonus is that it’s more flattering to your skin, too – very handy for disguising eye bags!
• Use magazines as placemats. They look colourful and interesting – and your dinner guests can have a flick through them between courses. And if you’re running out of conversation, just open the magazine and discuss whatever topic you find there.
• Keep it quirky. I’m not the best cook in the world, so I try to use quirky presentation to make food look more interesting. Pretty teacups are really handy – I use them to serve soup and desserts like Eton mess (it might look a mess, but you can’t really tell when it’s in a teacup!) Chocolate mousse looks good in a shot glass. And a simple prawn cocktail looks quite fancy in a wine glass.
• Air Fresheners – they are quite expensive and definitely not environmentally friendly. So why not buy a small bottle of essential oil (I favour the lemon one) put a few drops into the bag or filter of your vacuum cleaner and as you vacuum it will give all your rooms a wonderfully fresh smell for very little cost. A bottle will last a very long time.

If you are thinking of buying an expensive exfoliating cream to get rid of those patches of dry skin that have built up over the winter, DONT. Try this eco friendly recipe that I learned from my Grandmother. Put a handful of coarse sea salt into a bowl add in a desert spoon of olive oil and the juice of ½ lemon. Rub this over your hands, elbows and heels and you will be left with smooth moisturised skin for very little cost.

The average household does 300 loads of washing per year so finding ways of saving money and the planet are of interest to all of us. The most obvious way is to wash on the coldest setting possible. Line dry your clothes as this will not only save on electricity but will extend the lifespan of your clothes as using the dryer shreds out the lint fibres from the material.
Here are a few other tips you may want to try :
Bleach Alternative: Add ½ cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle of a medium load of whites.
Fabric Softener: Add a quarter cup of baking soda to the wash cycle.
Colour Brightener: Toss a capful of vinegar in with the detergent.
Static Cling: To fight static cling, a quarter cup of white vinegar in the washer should help.

Fresh Herbs – don’t let your herbs wilt in the bottom of the fridge. As soon as you buy them wash, pat dry, wrap in a piece of kitchen paper and place in a dry plastic bag – they will last much longer this way.

Lemons – You will get much more juice and flavour from a lemon if it is kept at room temperature. Roll between your hand and the work surface for a couple of minute before squeezing. Once used dont discard your lemons – use them to freshen your fridge or in the washing-up water for a lovely citrusy smell