Yearly Archives: 2011

Keeping your Nest clean in 2012

I really enjoy cleaning. I know…I’m sick in the head, but I find it really therapeutic. Being able to see a visible difference when I start in a room to when I finish a room makes me feel like I’ve actually achieved something. If my house is tidy, my brain is tidy. My mother used to spend her entire weekends cleaning our house from top to bottom, despite working a full week, and she never used to have any time for herself. I like to break mine down into 15 minute slots every day. I even set a timer, and then I do it with as much gusto and energy as possible…might as well burn some calories as you do a chore right?

I originally was inspired by Apartment Therapy’s 20 minute a day cleaning schedule, but I tweaked it to work for me.

Let’s start with some exceptions…

Laundry – As there are only two of us, and we do our washing at night when the cheap electricity clicks on, I tend to only do laundry once a week. We also have to hang our washing indoors in our main living space, which is not the most chic look…. so I tend to avoid doing washing when guests are on the cards. One thing that does save me time is drying all wardrobe items on hangers. This means I can easily just grab them off the drying rack and plonk them in the wardrobe.

Dishes – P and I have daily fallings out about the dishes. He likes to leave them until there is enough to wash up an entire bowl, I like them done ASAP after every meal. We decided when we moved in together what were ‘My jobs’ and ‘His jobs’, and as I cook, he washes up, so I try not to complain as long as it gets done before I need pans again! Let’s just say we cannot wait to move and get a dishwasher.

Bins – When I do my general room tidy, I whack these in the big bin and then empty that as regularly as we need to. Don’t let it get so full you can’t push the lid open like we do sometimes…..

Hoovering – Hoovering is a P job, so it gets done on his own timetable. I actually own an old-fashioned push and pull carpet sweeper, which I use when I’m doing a general tidy of each room.

So here is my 15 minute a day, 30 day cleaning schedule!

  1. General tidy and dust of Living Room and Kitchen – Make sure everything is where it should be, recycle junk mail and old take-out menus, carpet sweep/sweep and mop.
  2. Clean bathroom – wipe and bleach toilet, wipe bath/showers, clean tiles, taps and mirrors, sweep.
  3. General tidy and dust of bedrooms – make sure all clean clothes are away and dirty go in the wash basket. Check if bed linen needs changing, strip and remake beds if it does.
  4. General tidy and dust of hallways – Don’t forget to wipe down your banisters…think how many times they get touched!
  5. General tidy and dust of extra rooms/ Tidy your Airing Cupboard – P is in charge of his office (The Cave) so I use this day to make sure our airing cupboard is all tidy.
  6. Clean your windows. I use this recipe here (link to old post)
  7. Clean all mirrors and glass fronted doors in your house.
  8. General tidy and dust of Living Room and Kitchen
  9. Tidy wardrobes/closets – sort out that pile of shoes, array of coats, bags of hats etc.
  10. Tidy and organise all bedroom drawers.
  11. General tidy and dust of bedrooms
  12. Clean bathroom
  13. Clean and tidy inside any bathroom cabinets, clean them out and chuck anything no longer used or empty.
  14. Wipe down all light switches and doorknobs
  15. General tidy and dust of Living Room and Kitchen
  16. Clean fridge, inside and out, tidy inside kitchen cupboards.
  17. Clean Kitchen appliances
  18. Clean bathroom
  19. Wash out bins
  20. Wipe down all cupboards and cabinets in the kitchen
  21. General tidy and dust of bedrooms
  22. Clean the oven
  23. General tidy and dust of Living Room and Kitchen
  24. Wipe down windowsills
  25. Clean bathroom
  26. General tidy and dust of hallways
  27. Tidy and organise any drawers in the Living Room
  28. Organise bookshelves/dvd storage
  29. Clean all mirrors and glass fronted doors in your house.
  30. Tidy and organise your kitchen drawers

I have my list printed out, laminated and stuck inside my kitchen cupboards so I can cross them off each day and then rub it off when my 30 days are up. You could put it in a photo frame and use the glass the same way. I hope to transfer my list to a nice frame and mount it once we’ve moved.

So there you have it…my completely insane cleaning schedule.

New Years Resolutions

It is that time of year when we start thinking about the future and the things we hope to achieve.

New Years resolutions to some are often a bit of a cop-out, but this year I wanted to strive to make promises to myself that I want to carry out and see through. This year I have one big one and two little things that I want to be amazing at.

Brushing Up

I am sometimes so lazy that my make-up brushes are caked in make-up for several months before I even think about cleaning them. And I know that can’t be good for my skin. I want 2012 to be a good skin year, so I aim to wash my make-up brushes once a week.

H20

I want to drink more water. Water is truly the cure to all ails and skin problems. More help for perfect skin 2012! I aim to drink at least 3 pints a day (of water…and not gin).

The Pigeon’s Nest

This year, I intend to open my very own little shop of handmade goodies, called of course, ‘The Pigeon’s Nest’. I’m getting some amazing support from P and my girls, and I really can’t wait to get stuck in and share what I have done with my evenings for the past few months! I am hoping to open my digital doors sometime this spring.

In 2012, I want to get this venture online and at least one craft fair.

Sharing your NYR makes them concrete and solid. What are your NYR’s?

 

A Week in Pictures

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! Tonight I head for the hills, laden with gifts for all of those I love. This will be my last post before Christmas, so I thought I’d make it a first…

This is my first ever week in pictures post… hope you like it!

1: A little peek of some of my creations for my first business venture next spring!

2: Desperate times call for desperate measures. Never have I needed toasted marshmallows more….

3: Our gorgeous little tree, before we packed up the presents to deliver to family and friends. (And yes, the bottle of Hendricks gin…a present from P to us both…)

4: I haven’t been lying about how much I’ve been in my kitchen. Our fridge is full of yummy gifts and VERY wilty celery apparently…

5: P built me a Bourbon Bungalow. He’s perfect.

6: Helping P’s Mum sort out her wardrobe came with rewards. Vintage costume jewellery of hers, her mothers and her grandmothers.

Hope you all have an absolutely fabulous Christmas. Love to you and yours!

xxx

Christmas Traditions (or the lack of)

Time to be honest….I’ve been a getting a little bit jealous of everyone posting up about their Christmas traditions.

I’ve been hurumphing around the nest thinking ‘I don’t have ANY Christmas traditions. My family & I do different stuff EVERY YEAR. Some years I’ve worked, some years I split my Christmas day, some years I’ve just gone back to bed after a Christmas Eve late shift….’

So I huffed a bit more, ate some pretzels and sat looking at our tree, and then it slowly dawned on me how much P and I had done similarly this year to last year, and actually how we have started to build our own Christmas traditions together.

We put the tree up in November.

Some say it’s too early, we say ‘no way’. We’ve normally sorted out a huge amount of our presents by the end of November and we need somewhere to store them! Also…our little 4ft tree is amazeballs. It’s from my teenage years, when I wanted a tree in my room, so I bought myself  a small one. We have such random decorations; some bought, some made, some thrifted, some handed down. I love our teeny tree.

We watch a classic christmas film as we make our flat christmassy.

Last year we watched Home Alone 1 & 2. This year, Muppets Christmas Carol took centre stage. FILM GOLD!

P turns on the lights.

Once the tree is up and decorated, P sets the ‘Christmas Timer’, which turns our lights on automatically each afternoon. He has also set them to turn off automatically at bedtime. The fact that I walk in the door and the Christmas lights ping on makes my day.

I cook. A LOT.

Truffles, Pretzel bark, Mallow Pops… I am literally up to my eyes in chocolate for the entire week before christmas.

Two lots of presents (or more!)

P and I are both from divorced parent families, so we have more than one ‘big day’. Last year we clocked up 4 Christmas dinners. Not bad eh?

We aren’t at home when we wake up on Christmas Day.

Due to the mentalness that is our families, we have never been at home Christmas morning. I hope to change that next year.

I hope when we are in our own place Christmas morning, that we can start a stocking tradition, where we open stocking presents in the morning and open the rest of the presents after lunch. Spreading out the cheer.

Xmas Swap

My best friends and I do a mass present swap where we all exchange gifts before trogging off to our families for our christmassy duties. I love getting to spend this time with them….I hope I can convince them to open all their pressies on the swap day instead of Christmas morning! *evil laugh*

So there are my meager ‘traditions’….hopefully in a few years time I’ll have a few more to share!

Bourbon Truffles

Last year for my hampers – I made these very yummy Oreo Truffles pictured above.

This year, I have found that my budget for Christmas has tightened (whose hasn’t?) can’t stretch to buying Oreos (come on.. a £1 per stupidly small packet?!) so I decided to experiment using that trusty biscuit barrel staple, the bourbon biscuit.

Ok, ok, I know it doesn’t look as exotic to us Brits as the Oreo, but it works just as well, and produces some pretty tasty results.

Ingredients

250g of Philadelphia or equivalent (I used Sainsbury’s own brand)

500g Bourbon Biscuits

400g of Milk Chocolate

Method

  1. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor till they are a fine crumbly mix. (You can just put them in a plastic bag and attack them with a rolling pin if you are without a food processor)
  2. Mix the biscuits & Philly together.
  3. Roll small amounts of the mixture into little balls onto greaseproof paper or a silicone tray. (I wear CSI gloves for this because it stops them sticking to my hands which I HATE!)
  4. Chill for 30 minutes (minimum…I try to leave mine overnight)
  5. Melt the chocolate till molten (either do this on the hob or do it in small sections in the microwave)
  6. Cover the Philly/Biscuits balls with chocolate.
  7. Fridge till set.

They can be quite fiddley to put the chocolate on, but once you get into the rhythm of it, it’s quite therapeutic. I use two spoons, one table and one tea, I put the ball on the teaspoon and then I dunk the tablespoon in the chocolate. I then move the ball between the two spoons until it is completely covered before putting it back on the teaspoon (which should have less chocolate on it than the tablespoon) before placing it on a silicone tray/greaseproof paper.

Can take a while but the taste is TOTALLY worth it!

Enjoy!

January Sponsorship

Ok, it’s a little earlier than usual, but we’ve all got our Christmas bumpf to be getting on with.

I’m on the scout for some brand new sponsors, to join my current lovely sponsors! Come one, come all!

And the most fabulous thing is…it’s absolutely FREEEEEE!

Please check my ‘Sponsor Info’ page for more information.

How To: stop people raiding your cupboards…

I cook A LOT. Probably a lot more than is mentioned on this blog, but never more so than around Christmas time. I make a lot of edible Christmas presents the week before Christmas (yep, this week, between blogging, I am covered in chocolate) and I really can’t wait to hand them out, but what really gets me angry is doing my ‘ingredients shop’, only to find that two days later, the majority of my ingredients have been munched by Him Indoors.

After realising how much of the food in the cupboards and fridge P wasn’t allowed to eat, I came up with a genius little idea.

As simple as this seems, having a visual reminds us not to eat the things I need to cook!

Hope your Christmas cooking is going well!

Sunday Saviours #26

Hello you lovelies.

This is my last Sunday Saviours before Christmas! Not long now till the big day, and I must admit I am going to be up to my eyeballs making all sorts of goodies ready to give away to my friends and family. I have a few more bits to get, but thankfully school holidays have begun and I’m free as a bird to get my shop on!

Right…here we go…

I need this in my life just to organise me that little bit more. Feed the OCD.

I love big band music, and this is makes me quite happy.

My gorgeous best friend and beauty blogger Lauren Alice has recently found the best way for her to keep blogging without flaring up her RSI! Genius.

I need to buy this and hang it by my mirror so I can see it everyday.

Sequins and flesh…could I ask for more?

Reuse, remake, rehash, recycle. My kind of girl.

I really feel my life is so mental that I need one of these. Perhaps my new years resolution should be to have one of these running.

How I Spend My Christmas Vacation

Today was the last day of term (I’m in tomorrow to do a care shift…but lets glaze over that shall we?), so work for me is finished! HUZZAH!

So from finishing one job, to starting another. Time to crack on with my christmas hampers.

My jams are already done, and my relishes are relishing. What I wait for ages to do are my sweet things as I’m always afraid my biscuits will go soggy and my truffles will get….well…. scoffed.

The first thing I’ll start making are my homemade chocolates. These are possibly the easiest of all my goodies to make, but this year I’m adding a little flavouring to make mint and orange delights.

Brrrrrrrilliant

 Last year, P had bought a penguin shaped ice cube silicone mould for making…you guessed it…penguin shaped ice cubes.

Due to being totally amazeballs and full of great ideas (check out MY SELF-ESTEEM!) I pinched it to make Choccy Penguins for my friends children and my younger brothers as seen last christmas here. Since last year, we have bought LOADS of different silicone moulds (IKEA you legend!) for my christmas chocolates and I’m most excited about using the heart shapes.

1: Take 200g of chocolate (any flavour, how about chilli chocolate for the menfolk? – I’ve done plain white & milk shapes as they are for children) – 200g does one ice cube tray. Keep the empty ice cube tray in the freezer till you are just ready to put the chocolate in it.

2: Break it up into squares and nuke in the microwave until completley melted. You can do it the traditional way over a pan of hot water, but I feel it takes too long when I’m in this festive rush! (At this point, stir in a few drops to taste, of peppermint or orange essence, if you fancy some flavoured chocs)

3: Using a teaspoon, scoop and dribble molten chocolate – it has to be runny or it will make silly blobs too quickly, into the mould…halfway you can add a nut, or a sweetie if you wish, dependent if you want them to have a centre. You could also do half white and half milk…etc etc, just stopping halfway through before adding the different layer.

4: Ensure you are as neat as possible as this will save you neatening them up after they come out the freezer. Clean up the edges with a flat butter knife. Give the mould a little wibble to make all the chocolate fall into the cracks.

5: Whack in the freezer for about an hour.

6: Pop out of the mould (you may have to be a bit rougher than you think) and place in bought or homemade bags or boxes lined with greaseproof paper.

Do try not to scoff them before you finish….mine get stored in our drinks fridge (that doubles as an end table) ready to go in their cute cellophane bags. I have to wrap them pretty quick else P thinks they are fair game and scoffs them all!

Why Self Esteem is NOT a bad thing.

Just over a week ago, the down-right amazeballs Bangs and a Bun angrily tweeted about an article involving sports women pretty much dissing their bodies. The article was trying to relate to all the ‘average’ women out there (pleeease note my sarcastic air quotes), despite having some really amazing women in their grasp, who have worked REALLY hard and primed their bodies to peak condition.

This started an impromptu #Selfesteem chat, led by Miss Bangs herself, all over Twitter. The whole thing really got me pondering about female self esteem, and it has been festering in my head for a while now… so here is my outpouring….

Putting ourselves on the same level.

Right ladies…rolling up imaginary sleeves… Enough is truly enough. Why are we dragging ourselves down all the time to relate to each other?

“Your hair looks great.”

“Not as great as yours, I hate that mine does this flicky thing.”

Ummmm.. can anybody tell me why can’t we accept a compliment? Are we worried people will think us vain or conceited? Why can’t we say “Thanks! I love how straight you get yours!” Why is that so hard? Is this a British thing? We need to snap out of it!

I have 4 beautiful best friends, and although I (in a weak moment) envy hair, legs, skin and ears (weird right?), I know I can hold my own on the fabulous scale, and they are right up there next to me, straddling the same amazing-o-meter in 4 inch glitter heels.

Of course we are all different. That is totally a given, and sort of the point.  All I am asking everyone to do is to look at the positives, physically and otherwise.

So when it comes to being on the same level, pull people up, don’t pull yourself down. You have every right to be complimented. You have every right to accept that compliment. And don’t ever be frightened to give a compliment. They make your day as well as theirs.

Influencing our children.

Our low self esteem epidemic is infecting our children. Children at quite a frighteningly young age will pick the slim girl over the curvy girl as the prettier. I stumbled upon an episode of Jo Frost: Extreme Parental Guidance (Supernanny extraordinaire) that looked at this particular subject which really got me thinking about how I portray myself to the young people I work with.

I work with young people ranging from aged 9 to 15, who are so obsessed with looking like ‘everyone else’ and fitting into a certain sizing of clothes (size 8) they will skip meals. Yet they are surprised to learn my clothes size as they think I am the ‘perfect shape’ (It’s a UK 12 for those who are as nosy as me!). I know many will think that this is normal teenage behaviour…but does it have to be? Can we not put out a healthier self-esteem package for our young people?

I never put these young people down, (I would be awful at my job if I did!) and I also NEVER put myself down. When I’m given a compliment about something I’m wearing or how I have my hair, I always thank them and reflect it back, even if it is just by giving them a squeeze and saying, ‘Thanks, you’ve made my morning!’

Some of these young people have been through horrendous things in their short lives and don’t know how to be positive about themselves. I had an instance of this today, so I grabbed an A4 sheet of paper today and with the young person in question beside me, asked staff and her peers to list her good qualities. I ran out of paper. Back and front. She was shocked that people had so many nice things to say about her, and that she could agree with them.

It’s a old message that is well-worn….. they learn from us. Can we just love ourselves enough to teach them to do the same?

It’s not big headedness. It’s self-esteem.

Hell, I’ll come out and say it.

I. AM. FABULOUS.

And so are you…… you…..you over there…….even you at the back shaking your head. Face it. We are amazing. There is no arguing with it. FACT.

There is a line in the song ‘The Farmer and the Cowman’ from the musical ‘Okalahoma’, which I used to watch religiously with my Grandmother (a seriously amazing woman) when my Grandfather went away on business.

“I don’t say I’m better than anybody else, but I’ll be damned if I ain’t just as good!”

I live by this saying, and Aunt Eller is a prime example of healthy self-esteem.

I’m not saying I skip around everyday brimming with happiness and sunbeams about my body, my life, my hair, my relationship, that meal I made yesterday that went badly and stunk out the entire flat….. What I’m saying is, give yourself a boost, accept compliments, think positive and focus on ‘the good bits’, because we are our own worst enemies sometimes.

Much love

Shinypigeon

Ps: THEY ARE ALL GOOD BITS. xxx