Then, just the other day I was thinking about all the little time-savers and ‘hacks’ that I have invented or adopted over the years and thought how great it would be to share them - my gift to you all!
They cover Home, Beauty, Style and Life. I hope you’ll find them useful and if you have any hints and tips you’d like to share in return, please do!
- Don’t even ask me how this ‘hack’ ever came to be, but I’ve been doing it for years! I use toilet cleaner to get my sinks, draining board and taps MEGA shiny and it works really quickly too. You only need a tiny bit. Rub on with a sponge and rinse. You may want to leave it longer on more stubborn lime-scale marks – but I’m only talking minutes here, not hours.
- When hand washing clothes that you don’t want to spin in a washing machine because they are delicate or may mis-shape, roll the wet items in a towel (or for more delicate pieces, place between two towels) and apply pressure to draw out the water. You can either stand on it or press more gently with your hands.
- Reduce your ironing pile. Always use fabric softener and shake all items that come out of the washing machine REALLY well and then hang them to dry. And if you have an airing cupboard, fold all t-shirts, school trousers vest tops etc really neatly and pile up on a shelf in the airing cupboard overnight. They won’t need ironing.
- It can be tricky to get tea/coffee/sugar/flour/rice caddies etc dry after you’ve washed them – especially if they have corners that you can’t reach into. Well, once you’ve dried them the best you can, put them in the airing cupboard overnight or rest upside down on a radiator to dry completely.
- Viagra for your tulips! Placing a 2 pence piece in the water of your tulips will stop them from drooping. Not sure if you’ll achieve similar results by popping one into your husband's Eggnog this Christmas but I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!
- Empty the bottom drawer of your dishwasher first. This way, if any water has pooled on the items on the top drawer, it won't splash onto the dry and shiny crockery beneath ruining the perfect finish.
- Pet fur on your sofa, stairs etc? Use a damp sponge to remove it – works a treat.
- Check that the Christmas lights work BEFORE spending half an hour putting them on your tree!
- If putting lights on a tree outside - use twisty garden ties to keep them secure for when storm Tom/Dick/Harry drops by!
- Coconut oil. You can cook with it but did you know it's also an amazing cleanser? Shifts mascara and make-up like magic. It's also a great moisturiser which is brilliant for when you need to travel light and don't want to carry too many toiletries.
- Mascara on eyelids – tell me this happens to you too? Well, it happens to me and I remove it by simply, and quickly, using a moistened cotton bud. Spit or water, whatever happens to be closest at the time.
- My forehead is oilier than the rest of my face so I use an oil free moisturiser on my forehead and usual moisturiser everywhere else.
- Nails. Remember, bare nails look better than chipped, painted nails. So, as soon as it starts to look shabby, take it off.
- Busy morning with no time (or energy) to wash and style your hair? If you have a fringe, wash it under the tap with your usual shampoo and style as usual. For the rest of your hair, use dry shampoo – total time saver.
- Laser hair removal (..ha!..not as an alternative to the point above by the way!). For those of you who suffer from painful and unsightly in-growing hairs, it’s the best thing – ever. Yes, it can be expensive but look out for half-price offers. I can personally recommend Harpenden Skin Clinic.
- If you like over-knee boots but not ready to fully take the plunge and purchase a pair (connotations of Pretty Woman, ladies of the night and all that) then create the illusion instead. Wear long socks or leg warmers underneath your usual length boots and pull them up to the knee or just above.
- The items in your wardrobe should reflect the current season - so pack the summer stuff away in a suitcase or vacuum-pack storage bag until you need them.
- Make sure the heels of your shoes and boots are not worn down and that all footwear is clean and ready to wear. A scruffy pair of shoes can ruin an outfit. I have been known to carry a suede brush in my handbag in case my boots need a smarten up part way through the day.
- Some uber organised women plan what they’re wearing to the office for an entire week in advance. We can’t all be that organised but just knowing what outfit you’re wearing the next day will save you time and stress the next morning.
- For those that find it hard to part with clothes that have not been worn for years, try bagging them up and putting them out of the way. If you've not thought about them in 6 months, take them straight to the charity shop. DO NOT OPEN THE BAG!
- Save wear and tear on your smart work clothes by changing out of them as soon as you arrive home. And by changing into something more relaxed, or scruffy, you’re more likely to be in the right mind-set to relax or do your chores!
- When attending an interview, dress for the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re being interviewed for a position that requires a lot of running around, you’re better off wearing lower heels or flats. If you wear heels that you find harder to walk in, your potential employer may regard you as unsuitable or unwilling to fulfill certain aspects of the job description.
- Make sure that you wash your jeans before getting them taken up to allow for any shrinkage that may occur.
- If your matt silver jewellery loses it's finish and goes all shiny - revive it by rubbing it with the green scourer side of a washing-up sponge. True story!
- If your kids are ready to start making you cups of tea - make it easier and safer for them by getting a jug-style kettle. The old style can be tricky as they have to tilt it so much more! Tea in bed may not be a thing of the past after all!
- Free your mind and use the reminder/scheduler on your phone. As soon as I remember something I must do, particularly if it's something a few days or weeks away, I put it in my phone so that I get a reminder nearer the time.
- Put your keys alongside, in or on, whatever you need to remember in the morning – I do this all the time. I have known some people put their keys in the fridge so they don't forget their lunch – brilliant!
- Fed up of shouting at your kids to get ready, brush teeth, get off the tablet etc? Set a timer. I’ve been using this method for all things ‘timed’ since mine was toddling. And now, every morning, when the timer goes off, he knows to go upstairs and get ready for school. It saves my voice that I swear he just can’t hear anymore (selective hearing)!
- Put a magazine subscription on your Christmas list (or treat yourself!). Every time my InStyle magazine comes through the door, my heart skips a beat and it's permission to sit down with a cuppa or something stronger and have some much needed me time.
For your chance to win, send an email to Melwallstyle@gmail.com with the subject ‘InStyle’ (or comment on the blog or Facebook) and I will ask Mr. B to randomly pick a winner at noon this Saturday (19th). I will notify the lucky person soon after!
Good luck and Happy (early) Christmas!
P.S. For those sending emails - your address is safe with me. I won't share it or use it afterwards. Promise. x