Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Savvy storage solutions
for small spaces

Bicycle shelf

Bicycle shelf from www.theknifeandsaw.com

Living in a city like London often goes hand in hand with living in a small space. I have lived in many a weeny pad and know what it is, to FALL OVER my own shoes, cut my finger on the cheese grater while trying to wrestle the cling film out of the kitchen drawer.. and of course, the classic squash-the-hangers-into-the-wardrobe-as-tightly-as-they-will-go-so-all-your-clothes-are-crumpled-and-unhapy-looking-and-what’s-the-point-anyway.

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How to fold a fitted sheet

Pic from here

Pic from here

I can’t tell you how excited I was to discover this little nugget of housekeeping knowledge. No more tangled Poppy in a heap in on the floor. (No exaggeration. It’s emotional.)

Here is how you do it.

Ready?

1. With the sheet inside out, place one hand in each of two adjacent corners.

2. Bring your right hand to your left, and fold the corner in your right hand over the one in your left, so the corner on top is right side out. Next, reach down and pick up the corner that is adjacent to the one that was in your right hand (it will be hanging in front), and fold it over the other two; this third corner will be inside out.

3. Bring the last corner up, and fold it over the others so it is right side out.

4. Lay the sheet flat, and straighten it into the shape shown above.

5. Fold the two edges in, folding the edge with elastic in first, so all elastic is hidden.

6. Fold the strip into a smaller rectangle.

7. Continue folding until rectangle is the size you want.

 
Ta da!
 
 
 
With oodles of thanks to Steph Modo and Martha Stewart
 
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Making the cut

I bought tulips on Monday. Gorgeous, colourful tulips from Portobello market. I brought them home and did what I always do – snipped an inch off the bottom, pulled off some of the errant and straggly leaves and popped them into a vase.
 
I thought I was doing rather well, but after doing some extensive research, (*coughs* thank you Google) I realised that there are a whole host of magical flowery tricks (and many myths too) which will ensure your blooms will last for as long as possible.
 
Here are my newly discovered top tips:
 
1. Cut around 3cm off the bottom of the stem at a 45° angle. Why? Because there will be a larger surface area for the stem to suck up the water AND the stems won’t sit flat on the bottom of the vase, limiting their water intake.

2. Cut the stems with a sharp knife rather than scissors (oops) as the scissors can pinch the stems and cause them to not absorb as much water as they otherwise would.

3. Make sure you remove all leaves that are below the waterline as they can contaminate the water.

4. Clean water helps flowers last longer, so change water daily if you can (be bothered..shhh)

5.  Use luke warm water rather than cold water. Why? Because luke warm water contains less oxygen than cold water (!) and so reduces the amount of air bubbles likely to form in the stems, blocking or limiting water uptake. (I know! This is fascinating!) 

6. Add a spoonful of sugar or some lemonade to the water – the sugar helps keep the flowers alive and perky.

7. Make sure your vase is really really clean as a grubby vase means nasty bacteria which can quickly contaminate the water.

8. The cooler the room the better – warm temperatures encourage the flowers to respire at a higher rate and fade faster.
 
And some myths?
 
According to Online Florists UK, bleach is more likely to kill flowers than help them, coins do nothing if you drop them in a vase…and aspirin is great for headaches, but does diddly squat for cut flowers.
 
I hope this has been helpful – my sources were Online Florists UK and Cole Hardware, so if you think or know differently, please share your secrets!
 

 

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Stain Reaction

laundry

Photo courtesy of Surrender Dorothy

I managed to spill coffee on myself couple of days ago. Not just a weeny bit, but one of those enormous splashy spillages that made me wonder if I’ll ever not smell of coffee for the rest of my life.

I set about Google searching for magical remedies to get rid of the coffee splodge and stumbled across a very handy laundry stain removal guide from A Typical English Home. I love things like this – they make me feel just a bit more in control. (Ha.)  This guide is packed with special tricks of the trade, passed down from wise old washers through the generations… Some of them sound a bit dubious, but I am assured that this is no hocus-pocus  – these remedies work. Yep. Your new best friend will be vinegar, if I have anything to do with it.

So have a peek below and see how you can remove those tricky, pesky stains (think wine, blood, ink, grease etc.. eek!) and let’s all be as happy as the woman in the Rinso Soap poster above.

Ready? Here you go:

BLOOD 
Soak in cold water, mixed with  two tablespoons of salt or ammonia.
CHOCOLATE      
Remove as much of the excess as possible, being careful not to spread the stain. Rinse from the reverse side with cold water. Gently rub in some liquid detergent and leave it to sit for 5 minutes, then soak for 15 minutes in cold water.
COFFEE          
Mix 1 teaspoon of white vinegar with two cups of water and apply to the stain with a sponge.
CRAYON
Sprinkle baking soda onto the crayon marks and rub with a cloth.
INK (BALL POINT)
Dab a little non-gel toothpaste over the affected area and rub gently. Wash off with soap. Repeat if necessary.
INK (DRY ERASE MARKER)
Rub stain with dish soap and a damp cloth, before washing with a biological detergent.
GRASS
Pre-treat the stain with white vinegar or dish soap.
GREASE
Sprinkle baking soda on the affected area to soak up excess grease. Rub the stain with liquid dish soap and wash in the hottest water suitable for the garment.
GUM
Apply an ice cube to the area to harden the gum, or put in a freezer. Scrape off as much of the hardened gum as possible then pre-treat the area with a mixture of dish soap and white vinegar.
MUD
Allow the mud to dry completely. Remove as much of the mud as you can then rub dish soap into the area with a damp cloth.
PERSPIRATION
Create a paste with baking soda and water. Apply it to the stain and leave it to sit for an hour.
PROTEIN
Apply a paste of baking soda and water and leave for one hour. Soak garment in cold water then wash as usual.
RED WINE
Sprinkle salt on the area to absorb as much of the stain as possible. Rinse from the reverse side of the stain with boiling water and wash immediately.
RUST
Squeeze lemon juice onto the stain and sprinkle with salt. Allow garment to bleach naturally in the sun.
SAUCES
Apply white vinegar directly onto the stain and wash immediately. Sunlight will also bleach stubborn stains.

Ooo and if you want a handy printable version to frame or stick on the fridge, then whizz over there to her lovely blog and grab the free pretty download.

Hurruh!

 

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And one for the pot

From ConstellationMe

From ConstellationMe


Thought you might make a cuppa and sling in a Tetley’s teabag Circa 2007 you found at the back of your cupboard? *Looks sheepish*

Stop right there and read on, for I (Poppy) have been on the hunt for the ultimate guide to the Perfect Cup of Tea… and I believe I may have found it.

Here is the go, according to the tea guru that is Fortnum and Mason

1. Warm the teapot by rinsing it out with hot water.

2. Fill the kettle with fresh water from the tap. Water that has been boiled already will affect the taste of the tea.

3. Put into the teapot one rounded teaspoon (or caddy spoon) of tealeaves for each person and one extra spoonful ‘for the pot’.

4. Turn off the kettle (or remove it from the stove) just before the water boils and pour into the pot. It doesn’t need to be stirred.

5. Leave to infuse for three to five minutes, depending on taste. Serve, using a tea strainer.

And I thank you.

So what do you think? Do you do it differently?

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Perfect poached eggs

 

I made eggs this morning. Not just any eggs, but proper, poached, runny in the middle, restaurant eggs. *Takes bow*

I used to try to make poached eggs the way it says in clever recipe books. It was always a fairly emotional affair, with me trying to create whirlpools and vortexes, (kept expecting Luke Sky Walker to rise out of my pan) and with a box of 12 eggs usually resulting in 8 mashed and mangled eggs, 3 scrambled eggs, one in the hair and a destroyed saucepan looking like it had a run in with the Ghostbusters.

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