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General House/Tips and Hints

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      20.09.2012 13:16
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      Kill mould quickly and cheaply

      I just had to share this tip after recently trying it.
      A few years ago, we moved into our end terrace house. It didnt take us too long to realise that all our outdoor walls were becoming invested with rising mould. We would try and wipe it off as soon as saw it coming, but sometimes it beats you! After rearranging our eldest daughters bedroom at the beginning of this year, we found behind her wardrobe was covered in thick black mould. This was a huge concern for us as she is an asthmatic, and for anyone who doesnt know, it can be really bad for your health, but even more so for those with respiratory problems.

      Using bleach, we attempted to wash it off the walls, but even neat, the bleach wasnt cleaning it all off. We had some very unsightly stains on the wall that werent budging.

      After that we were then prompted to move any items we had on any of the outside walls of the house, leading us to find some awful patches all round the house. Again we scrubbed them all down with bleach but were left with stains everywhere.

      My husband had 2 weeks holiday during the summer, and we had planned on purchasing a somewhat expensive treatment we had found online that treated the walls and killed the mould off and protecting the walls in the future, before then repainting pretty much every room in the house.
      Just before his holiday was due to start, we had a boiler service, and the man that came do to do it was a god send! He noticed our mould stains and queried them. Feeling slightly embarrassed, I told him of our plans to sort them, only for him to give me his tips on how he sorted his own mould problem out.

      Thinking it couldnt hurt to try what would turn out to be a much, much cheaper soloution, we gave it a go.

      His tip was this - mix PVA glue with bleach. Yup, thats it! My husband was dubious, but as I pointed out, trying couldnt hurt! So we went out and bought a few bottles of bleach, and a few tubes of PVA glue, and armed ourselves with rubber gloves and sponges.

      We started on a small patch of wall, and within minutes, it was clean! We couldnt believe it, but we worked our way through the house and by the end of the day, every wall was mould free.

      We didnt use any exact measurements, but we used a bowl that was about half the size of a washing up bowl, mixed a third of the bottle of bleach and about 75 - 100ml of PVA glue. At first the glue just pools in the middle of the bleach so you need to give it a really god stir to mix it together. Then we just doused our sponges and wiped the walls, we didnt even need to use that much effort.

      I cannot comment on how long the results last, though the man that gave me the tip said that his had still not come back. Apparently as the bleach cleans, the glue leaves some kind of protective layer, and they both work together to kill the mould and prevent it coming back.

      I do know that usually after cleaning a patch before, we would be cleaning the same patch down again within a few weeks, and six weeks later, we still do not have the tiniest fleck of mould showing anywhere.

      Obviously if you are doing this and have children, it may be a good idea to have them out of the house while you do it as the fumes from the bleach can be very strong, and make sure to well ventilate the rooms.

      I hope this tip comes in handy for someone else as it has for me!

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        12.02.2010 15:45
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        Some things I do to save money!

        Those of you who have read a few of my other reviews will know I LOVE saving money, finding bargains and generally getting the most out of the money I earn. I'm a nerd. I find it fun. So here's some tips for how you can get the most for your money in your home and 'personal care'.

        1. Dilute your washing up liquid!
        This is a favourite of mine. Washing up liquid these days is very concentrated, but we often forget that and put much more in the bowl than we really need. When you have finished using your current bottle of washing up liquid, keep the bottle. Buy your usual brand (I've found VERY little diference between supermarket own and more premium brands) and pour half of this into the empty bottle. Top up with water and away you go! It's not great on 'cemented on' food, but you learn to soak these things anyway.

        2. Left over kettle water in a flask.
        I learned this from my Grandpa. We often boil more water in the kettle than we actually need. If you do, put the excess in a thermos flask and save for washing up later. It will be warm enough for washing up and will save you the price of hot water.

        3. Use a flannel to exfoliate.
        Flannels are cheap and because they are quite rough to the touch, make an excellent exfoliating cloth. Use daily with your normal soap or face wash and your skin will stay nice and fresh, you don't need to buy an expensive exfoliator. It's also gentle enough for sensitive skins that don't take well to products.

        4. Sugar exfoliant.
        If you do want a more 'luxury' exfoliant, just for the feel of luxury, try this. Get a teaspoon or so of normal kitchen sugar, doesn't have to be special, and mix in with a bit of water in the palm of your hand. Then use as a normal scrub! You can use face wash or soap to mix as well. Give it a go!


        5 Don't waste money on cold remedies!
        Cold remedies (lemsip and beechams etc) are a big fat scam. If you take time to look at the ingredients on most of them, they usually contain paracetemol, caffeine, and a decongestant. And cost about £3 - £4. Instead, get a packet of 'own brand' paracetemol (normally 50p), have a good cup of tea, coffee or cola for the caffeine (fluids are good for colds anyway and it'll warm you up!) and to decongest, put some boiling water in a bowl and inhale. You can add vicks, olbas oil or eucalyptus oil to this to help as well.

        Does the same job, costs a lot less!

        6.CHECK the ingredients.
        Take some time to compare the ingredients in things like household cleaners etc as often supermarket own brands are the same as other brands, just in different packaging and a bigger advertising campaign.

        Just a few ideas there from me. All tried and tested. I hope you have found something to inspire!! xxx

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          14.01.2010 11:40
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          My tips for your household chores

          I love a good household tip, so I thought I would share mine with all you lovely dooyooers out there.

          Baking Soda- What a marvellous little invention and a real help around the house. You can use it in many ways, firstly you can mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with hot water and pour down your drains to stop them blocking. You can mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part cold water to remove stubborn stains. You can sprinkle it on the bottom of pans when you have burnt food at the bottom, add hot water and leave overnight to soak, the next morning rinse and wash as normal and your pots will be gleaming.
          You can also had 1/2 cup in your washing machine drawer to make your laundry smell fresh and also to remove any stains.
          You can make your glasses shine and sparkle, by putting them in a bowl of water and adding 2 tablespoons of baking powder take out and leave to dry.
          For red wine stains; Rinse with cold water and blot with a tissue until the stain lifts. Use baking powder and a little water to make a paste then rub softly into the stain. Leave for 10-15 minutes and then hoover up

          To stop windows steaming up in your bathroom wipe the mirror with a dry cloth with a drop of washing up liquid, this will keep your mirrors steam free for a couple of weeks.

          To never forget what shopping you need out a magnetic notepad on the door and write down when you run out of something and then when you have filled the page take it with you shopping. My pal puts post it notes on the outside of her fridge freezer draws and writes a list of what is in each drawer. When the product has finished she crosses it through the list and again she never forgets to buy what she needs.

          Place a mat or a piece of carpet underneath the washing machine to stop the noise of the spin cycle. I did this as I live in a flat and at times it sounded like my washing machine was about to take off....not any more!!

          When cooking pasta or rice turn the pan off 5 minutes before it has finished cooking, and put a lid on. It preserves the heat and will still continue to cook in the pan and it not only saves energy but it also saves money.

          For all of you who have kids that grow like a giant and are constantly having to buy new school clothes there is a good website where you can swap clothes your kiddywinkles have outgrown. www.primaryschooltrader.com and also www.schoolstrader.com.

          Candles will last longer and will not drip if you put them in the fridge 24 hours before you are going to light them.

          If like me you have problems with glue where it always manages to reseal the lid after use, I have found a nifty way to stop this problem. After using the glue use a piece of blu tack at the end to seal it.

          If you suffer from problems with ants then the best way to repel them is copper. So if you place a few copper coins near where they are gathering they will move away.

          Place cling film over the holes of salt and pepper pots before filling them up.. that way you get no spillage!!

          To remove sticky labels from new shoes blast with a hairdryer for 10 secs. This way the label will peel off in one fail shoot and no gooey residue will be left either.

          For Coffee stains..blot with a cloth or tissue until some of the residue leaves the area. Then pour on cold water and blot again. Use a standard stain remover but failing that a dash of vinegar works wonders

          For Oil Stains; Dab with a cloth or tissue dipped in alcohol. Dont rub too hard and work from the outside of the stain and work inward...

          So thats it guys hope the tips have helped :)

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            09.09.2009 13:10
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            you can cope,just look for new ways to challenge obstacles.

            lv done a search on here and l cant find anything written for anyone whos disabled about disability hints & tips...so......l thought l'd write my own little tips about how l overcame my own every day difficulties.l hope it will be of help to any one who maybe is reading this who is disabled or is elderly or wants to collect info for someone else.Hope you enjoy my review.

            Bathroom.
            l make my mornings as stress free as possible,so as to conserve my energy as much as possible for better things to do. l try to remember these few tips.
            To make toothpaste tube easier to use, press it on to the side of the sink using knuckles,so much less strain on fingers.
            For extra safety in the shower/bath,wear a clean pair of cotton socks to help less chance of slipping when getting out.This tip is good for anyone,adults and children, who goes on holiday and there is no bathmat in accomodation bathroom.
            After shower/bath put on a toweling robe straight away,this will dry off most of the water on your body, then use a new thick tea towel for your own use,to dry yourself with,its so much lighter to use than a heavy bath towel.
            A large handled wicker basket to put all your everyday toiletries in is much easier to lift and move about while using in bathroom .l have a small handled basket for my make-up as well to move easier from bathroom to bedroom.
            Put your closed bottle of body lotion into the shower/bath with you while washing,when you come to use it ,it will be lovely and warm and so much easier to use on your body.l put a little lotion on top of each foot and l use the bottom of each foot to massage in over the top of each foot.Doing it this way the lotion is spread over the bottom of each foot & toes, saving my energy having to reach down to spread lotion all over bottom of heels.
            Put a stick-on hook on to side of bathroom cabinet to hold your necklaces, so much easier to store/reach when dressing.

            Bedroom
            l use one of those large hanging shoe holders on the door of my wardrobe, to hold my undies,tights,socks etc etc.They are so much easier to have items all close to gether so saving energy.l have a chair right next to wardrobe and dress sitting down.Keep 2 washing baskets,up stairs, one for white dirty washing other for colours.This saves time and energy each morning when doing the wash.No more sorting out,just take washing straight to machine to load.

            Hall
            Keep a nice large cloth bag,top and botton of stairs, to pop in anything that may have to be taken downstairs.My lovely cloth bags were free from a magazine,and the colours match my decor.

            Kitchen
            Read up on as many reviews as you can about food/cleaning products you use and make notes on ease of use people say about them.Its so hard to explain to someone how difficult it is to get blister packs open, or lids open, if you havent got anyone else in the house to help at the time.l get my hubby to remove the plastic wrappers from all proucts,example plastic shrink wrap around boxes of tea bags, before they are stored.The sealed tops on some bottles, example cooking oil,where you have to pull a thin line of plastic around the lid to open the seal are a nightmare.lv more than once nearly hurt myself with a knife trying to open these tops because the thin line of plastic breaks half way leaving the bottle still sealed.Now l just get hubby to put a tiny hole in the lid for me to just squeeze the contents out in to frying pan etc.
            If you have a lot of plugs next to each other on kitchen units, ie kettle,toaster,coffeemaker etc etc,then colour code the top of plugs with a dot of different coloured nail varnish,saves so much time when time to use, trying to see which plug belongs to which item.

            Housework
            l use a large peg bag to carry my cleaning items in when cleaning.l can hook this onto back of chairs, door handles etc while cleaning rooms.Makes less fatique in bending down each time l need a cloth,spray etc to get from cleaning holder.
            l wear cotton gloves to dust furniture etc.It makes dusting faster to just run my gloved hands over the furniture.Same when l want to dust skirting boards, wear a clean pr of cotton socks and just run your foot along the boards.
            The packs of toilet cleaning wipes are so useful to use in bathroom cleaning,so much eaiser than struggling to open bottles of child proof cleaning products.l find spray bottles so difficult to use, again read up on cleaning product reviews.

            Garden
            Use a pr of old oven gloves in garden to pick up leaves,so much easier to do.To water high hanging baskets, pop in ice cubes, much easier than struggling with heavy watering cans.
            Also dont foget to wrap white tape around garden hand tools for finding easier if left lying in shrubbery etc.
            Pipe cleaners are easier to use holding plants together,than trying to tie string around them.

            l hope some of these tips were helpful and makes your life a bit more comfortable.

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              18.06.2009 16:56
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              The simple easy way of getting candle wax out of your carpet

              This is for anyone out there who has candle wax on their carpet and doesn't know how to get it out.

              A few years ago, one nice Saturday evening, I had my friends round for dinner. I accidently knocked a candle over and was left with a big wax stain embedded in my carpet. It was quite late on and I'd had a few drinks. Reacting to my devasted cry my friend told me not to worry and that he knew how to get the wax out.
              Its a very simple and easy process.

              You need the following items:
              greaseproof paper
              a thick tea-towel
              a hot iron

              Put the greaseproof paper over the wax stain
              Then place the tea-towel on top of the greaseproof paper.
              Iron on the towel and be careful not to iron the carpet. The wax will melt in the heat and the grease proof paper will soak up the wax. The tea towel will stop the iron burning the greaseproof paper.

              What a great idea. AND IT WORKED! BUT, as I'd mentally taken these instructions whilst under the influence of Blossom Hill Californian Red I'd forgotten to use the tea towel and was left with a nice burnt iron mark on my carpet that I couldn't get rid of! That was a few years ago now and its taken me ages to get over it!

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                08.03.2009 23:57
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                Cleanng brands

                There are a huge number of products available on the market to help keep your house nice and clean and many make some pretty impressive claims however the reality is often very different to what the advertisers would have you believe and often you can find yourself wasting money on new products that fail to deliver what they promise to on the label or in the adverts, Cilit Bang products tend to spring to mind when I think of examples.

                My advice is to not waste your money on name brands but to go for the stores own brand labels as these are nearly always really effective and often will be cheaper than the name brands, this is particularly the case with washing up liquid and I always opt for the Tesco concentrated own label brand as it has a nice smell whatever variety you opt for and lots of soapy bubbles which last through the whole wash even if it has been a big meal creating lots of mess.

                I also find oth the Tesco own brand kitchen and bathroom cleaners are very effective especially the kitchen cleaner which has a strong antiseptic smell to it and is very good at removing marks on my surfaces. The bathroom cleaner has a nice fresh lemon smell to it and again is very effective and I find it good on all surfaces including the tiles.

                There is certainly no need to waste money on name brands in my opinion.

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                  29.02.2008 22:26
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                  Follow my tips to live a better life and look after your home and yourself!

                  Until you are living in a house of your own, it is hard to realise what needs to be done and what it is like. In my review, I will be giving you a few tips on living as best you can in your home. Whether you live in a flat or house, my tips should be useful.

                  * Cleaning is very important! It is essential that you clean your house once a week generally and also once a month thoroughly. They talk about spring cleaning, but I wouldn't suggest leaving cleaning till spring! Cleaning once a week will keep your place in good condition so it will sell for a good price if you put your house on the market. Cleaning once a week should include cleaning every floor after going over all the surfaces such as desks, kitchen areas and other places used frequently. A few objects that collect loads of bacteria are keyboards, light switches; door handles and handles in general. It is amazing how so many people don't realise this when cleaning; however they are like the main source of bacteria. Every time you open a door, a cupboard or go on the computer, you are picking up bacteria and shortly spreading it. It is essential that you keep your place in good condition, and it shouldn't take more than an hour and a half with an average sized house once a week. Your work will pay off in the future!

                  * Maintaining your garden is pretty important, but not liked by many too. The best way to do this is to keep on top of it, or you will be entering a jungle full of weeds to next clean it out. Keep on top of weeds with the best weed killers. Weeds can grow quickly and make your garden look horrible. Also, trees should be trimmed so they don't get too bushy and over-crowd the garden. Plants inside should always be watered or there is no point in keeping them! It takes no more than 2 minutes to water some indoor plants, so make sure you do so every now and then.

                  * Keep on top of things in general! Keeping on top of things such as paperwork will pay off and keep you out or trouble too. Make sure you pay your bills and sort out your paperwork. I would suggest a good cabinet or file to put your paperwork in - preferably labelled to make things clear and easy to find as paperwork is important!

                  * On the subject of bills, I think there are a few things you can do to reduce them. Switch to energy-saving light bulbs for the long-time bonus of cheaper electricity. Keep your fridge and freezer away from any sources of heat or warm areas. Only boil enough water in the kettle for what you need, as it is a high-powered appliance. Switch off your lights when you aren't in the room or don't need them! There are loads of ways you can save money, and it all adds up to save you pounds every month.

                  * Don't be vulnerable to identity theft! Make sure you shred any paperwork enough before chucking it out your house. It is so easy for thieves to retrieve paperwork from your house with all your details and personal information on them, so make sure this doesn't happen! I would advise a good shredder that will make your information unreadable to thieves. Unless they pieced together each strand of paper, it's pretty much impossible for them to get your details and they would rather try it on someone more vulnerable.

                  * On the subject of thieves, it is well-worth making sure your house is safe and protected! The thing I would hate most is to be living in a house with little security. Things such as double glazed windows can protect you from robbers and criminals. Have a strong front door rather than one of those light cheap ones that can be smashed through with a bit of force. An efficient burglar alarm and system is essential for maximum security too. As well as these security tips, make sure you close your windows when you go out and are aware of your surroundings as they may be vulnerable for thieves to break in.

                  I hope these tips have given you a few ideas to ensure a pleasant and more trouble-free life in your home. Look after your home and it will look after you!

                  Thanks for reading,

                  - Recon -

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                    22.12.2005 20:45
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                    Hints and tips for the house.

                    Over the last few years i've picked up a few ideas that have made life just that little bit simpler. Hope you find something helpful.


                    Housework and cleaning.


                    Yes it has to be done unless you want Kim and Aggy to show up and rip your house habits to pieces on national T.V.
                    Stay organised, i keep all my cloths and cleaning products in a little carry tub so i can move from room to room without having to go back into the cleaning cupboard and try and find a duster or spray.

                    Baby wipes are great for leather sofas, they clean them really well and they keep your leather soft.

                    Window cleaner is fab for cleaning chrome. It brings up my kettle and bread bin up into a real shine and because its window cleaner it doesn't leave streaks or smears.

                    Buy a vax if you can, i vax my carpets every month, it prolongs the life and helps lift the fibers meaning that wear marks dont show as quickly on the most walked on areas.

                    If you vax already buy some Vanish moose. I rub the whole carpet with some of it before i vax, it brings the carpet up brand new.


                    Pets


                    Its worthwhile getting a baby gate if you've got dogs. It means you can keep them at bay if you have visitors or need to get on with housework or paperwork.

                    If you have a goldfish and have problem with algee, try moving the tank into a darker area or out of any sunlight, it will stop it growing almost completley.

                    If you have a rabbit and hate cleaning out the hutch put in a cat litter tray, they use it as well as a cat would and it means you just need to tip it in the bin and refil.


                    Paperwork


                    If you have a large file to store all your paperwork try getting a smaller one that just has a few pockets. You can keep it handy for daily use. Mark the pockets:
                    Urgent- for bills that need paying within the next week or so.
                    For the file- for things that just need tranfered into your large file.
                    To Post- letters that need posting.
                    Jan,Feb,Mar etc- for things that dont need looked at for a few months, just pop them in the month that you need to look over it again.
                    Anything that would be of benefit to you. I have a pocket for my dobeman with all his show dates and entry forms and pockets for my daughters to put any perscription papers or nursery info.
                    All this means that you dont have a pile of paper sitting and being forgotton about or having to pull out you box file every day to stuff things in it.


                    Cooking


                    Put tin foil at the bottom of your oven, saves you cleaning it.

                    Store eggs pointy end down, keeps them fresher for longer.

                    Dont wrap cheese with tin foil it makes it go hard quicker.

                    When your cooking always have your sink filled with hot soapy water so you can wash as you cook, saves the mountain of dishes afterwards.

                    Change you tea towel AT LEAST once a day. In your kitchen the tea towel holds more germs and nasties than anything, this is also true of your dish cloth, spray it with disinfectant after each use.

                    Hope you found something in here to help with something in your home.

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                      13.11.2002 23:02
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                      (Apologies. This was published elsewhere but I thought it might make you titter. Ratings irrelevant. Smile for me!) Ladeez, gentlemen and Anthony Bourdain We are gathered here today in Cooksville, Gourmandia to pay tribute to the utensil's best friend, the humble Spoon Rest. We feel that it is time for the true and pandemic versatility of the Spoon Rest to become a matter for the public sphere. Whether colourful and vivacious, or cool and sophisticated, there is sure to be a Spoon Rest that will fit you and your kitchen like a mixed metaphor glove. (Or there would be if I wasn't typing directly into the box and so a multitude of metaphors aren't springing to mind, sorry). St Delia uses hers to keep her worktops clean. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall uses his to store carbolic soap which he uses after mucking out his pigs. Ernie Wise (jeez I'm old) uses his for storing teabags prior to a second use. The fragrant Nigella keeps a tealight in hers to banish cooking odours. Marco Pierre White keeps an ice pick or two in his, but the less said about that the better perhaps. Unadventurous as ever, I keep paper clips in mine, but I do like making those little chains, don't you? Think of the uses: spare coins, jewellery, peanuts. The list is endless. And so tonight, we are honouring the Spoon Rest in our Annual Toast. Raise your glasses please. PS Jamie Oliver uses his in a colloidal way to collect all that dribble. Squelch. (If anyone else would like a challenge to write an opinion on a specific product - more consumery than mine I guess - in under 200 words and using three words of my choosing, feel free to comment!)

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                        24.10.2002 07:40
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                        Whilst re-doing the hearth in my kitchen with Cardinal Red Liquid, I was reminded poignantly of the reason I first used this long established product When my late husband and I started courting (there's a nice old-fashioned word), local council elections were due to be held. Just before I left him in my house for a brief shopping trip Malcolm asked me with a cheeky smile if I would put a red Labour poster in the porch window. He knew what my answer would be as there is a blue ribbon wrapped around my district. I told him that I was not about to outrage the neighbours and anyway my politics were my business. "Won't you do this for me?" he asked and I said categorically "No!" I was gone longer than I had expected and came home to see my previously white wooden door painted shiny, fire engine red. Since we had only been seeing each other outside of our workplace for a couple of weeks, his cheeky grin had sheepish undertones to it. :-) Remembering this; after Malcolm died some years later, I said that I would always have red somewhere in my newly double-glazed porch. The only available place was the floor, which I left cemented and then painted with bright red cement paint - even if it didn't match anything else on the outside of the house. Since it was left rather matt looking I bought a bottle of Cardinal and applied it, which I have done annually over the succeeding 7 years. I have known of Cardinal Self Shine Liquid since my mother used it to keep a shine on the red tiles of her doorstep and front garden path in our London home, nearly 60 years ago. She also used it on the quarry tiles in our kitchen, as did many of her neighbours. Today this simple method of giving a polished effect to red tiles, my brick hearth and porch floor comes in a neat "cardinal red" plastic bottle. Although it has a screw cap, there is also a smaller opening kept closed by a tab attached to
                        the cap. Thus the user has a choice of tipping up the opened bottle or squirting the liquid through a finer dispenser. Here I must point out that Cardinal is for restoring the colour of unglazed tiles, brickwork and cement. It is applied by pouring the liquid onto the clean dry surface and then spreading with a paintbrush. In fact I have also used a sponge with equally good effect. When used for the first time, you will need 2 coats. After that, just one application is needed as the surface becomes dirty or grubby. It is washable, although if you use too much of the liquid some residue may be seen on your cloth or sponge. Since it is water based, the brushes wash out and so do your hands. Allowed to dry, the effect is self shining and can be walked on after 20 minutes. In fact my hearth was dry in a much shorter time than that. The effect is water resistant, does not spot and has a natural deep shine rather than glossy. The colour is not fire engine red, rather a pleasant, deeper, more natural shade which takes some time to fade. Cardinal goes a very long way, unless you are using it on a red airport runway. The 220ml bottle I bought last year for £3.20 is still almost full and I can count the bottles I have bought over the years on one hand. I believe that nowdays it is also available for green tiles, brickwork etc. The manufacturer is Reckitt & Colman who are appointed to her Majesty the Queen. I doubt that she needs Cardinal for her front doorstep though. Note. This was the closest category I could find during the present lack of item links.

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                          19.06.2002 23:15
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                          I've just had my first baby and, not surprisingly, I've found that I'm a little busier than I used to be!! So I managed to persuade my husband to let me get a cleaner in to help me out a bit. Whilst browsing on the internet, I put in the search findacleaner and it brought up a great website. I just entered my postcode and it gave me a list of cleaners in my area. I am now a proud employer of a lovely cleaner and am a lot less stressed - if you're looking, it's definitely worth looking on the internet!

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                            18.06.2002 02:49
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                            I unfortunately have the box bedroom in my house. It is a nightmare trying to get furniture for it. My mum however is very creative, and had some very good ideas for these types of problems. Firstly, I have a chest of drawers, and a cupboard thingy, although can be 2 chest of drawers, or etc, that were the same height. My mum attached my bed, just a normal bed, onto the top of them. It was perfectly secure, and there was a lot of storage underneath the bed, taking up less floor space. Another idea is to put furniture on top of each other, such as a small bookcase on top of a chest of drawers, again taking up the same amount of floor space. Another good idea is to put as much stuff on the wall as possible!! Cupboards and shelves on the wall could take away the need for a bookcase or chest of drawers. This again leaves space on the floor, making the room appear bigger. If the room is for a student, such as mine is, then instead of buying a desk, get a piece of melamine wood, and attach it to the wall,after being cut to the required size, so there is no need to buy a huge desk, as most are these days, and it will probably be cheaper too. Most of these ideas can be adapted. My mum is a single parent, so has had to work on a very small budget for many years. I have never had any complaints however, and my room is perfect for me. I am at university now, and do own a proper desk, but everything else in my room is according the ideas mentioned above.

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                              27.12.2001 01:09
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                              From time to time I bake a cake, and my wife gave me a lovely new shiny metal tin as a present. It had several labels, and a message that they could be removed in water. Sure they could, but not the gluey layer that stuck them on. The adhesive turns into a burnt patch, with use. I tried to remove it with surgical spirit (useless), then with nail varnish remover - this has some effect, but leaves an insoluble residue. Finally the inspiration: use paint brush cleaner! It works a treat, but if you try it yourself, maybe you should test it first to prevent damage to any plastic materials, etc.

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                                14.11.2001 03:15
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                                • "It might coat more than an average diary."

                                I've said no to household chaos - you can do it too! All you need is a dodo! What is this woman on I hear you cry!?! What is a dodo? I was in WHSmiths looking for an Xmas pressie for a family I know when I spotted in the diary section a book with a dodo on it. This pink book contained a set of calendar pages decorated with humourous clips and pictures and sketches - like a scrap book. There were lots of different typefaces scattered about and all of it was really entertaining. In the front was a set of instructions - here is an extract: "..the Dodo team of social researchers calculates that out of every ten harrassed mothers, six are harrassed because they can't remember what it is they know they have forgotten; four have remembered they have an appointment, a fitting or whatever, but have lost the piece of paper they wrote down the time on. Thanks to the DODO-PAD these causes of anxiety, at least have now been eliminated." It's £9.99 and has changed my life! Do I have to buy one? No. You could get an exercise book but you'll have a lot of drawing and writing to do. Go on spoil yourself. You could get a plain old diary but your family will probably ignore it! Why should I bother? Getting a family diary or calendar is usually a great idea that you (if you are the lady of the house - sorry lads you're pants at this) start with good intentions and the family ignore. No matter how many dates and reminders you put it the only person who looks at it is you! Well, here are the results of my scientific experiment: I brought the dodo-book home to my partner and instead of saying 'that's nice dear' he said "pass it here I want to read the funny bits" and as a side line he happened to comment "Oh that's when your birthday is!". We all have someone in the house who forgets everything. With this book you can distract them into being organised.
                                How to get the best use out of it: Put it on the table with the telephone - or the shelf or the window sill or whatever. You can open the Dodo-Pad to show a whole week on the right page and cartoons/jokes/quotes on the left. An Example: "The Dodo Pad Market Reserach Team has discovered the 21 mosty popular terms for " The Thingy" that controls the television:" It goes on to list 21 fabulously funny but true names for the Dodoblerizer. It is a very attractive book and I've not revealed all of the pages to my partner so he'll be tempted to look at it as he's speaking on the phone. The book encourages you to doodle and scribble on the left panel rather then ruining your telephone directory, other people's books, tiny scraps of paper and easy to lose old envelopes. Each person has a column to fill with items for each date and plenty of room to jot notes. It's a central point - tie a biro to it. Whenever someone shouts "Mum I left a note and now you've moved it", you can flick to last weeks' page and find their notes! Don't keep this book as a museum piece and dont' impose too many rules about using it. All the family can use their part as they wish and even if they just scribble the odd number in it - that's better than losing notes all of the time. Further Scientific Experiments: My partner still hasn't got used to the columns and scribbles stuff down all over it - but I have a way of protecting him from his own loopyness when it comes to remembering anything! I know his late shifts and his days off and we often manage now to spend them together as I'm fore warned! Also down to some clever forgetfulness on my part I managed to avoid a visit from his mother by going to stay with an old school pal! He also scribbles down demands for treats from ASDA - sometimes I give in... This year make a resolution to subliminally entice your family
                                into dodoing!

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                                  07.11.2001 19:14
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                                  If anyone has read any of my other opinions you will know by now that I have a fairly big family. Me,my partner and 5 kids. As you can imagine, washing clothes in my house is a nightmare. If I miss washing for one day I have an absolute mountain to catch up on. One of the worst things about my washing is the socks. My washer/dryer has the same monster inside as everyone elses. "The Sock Eater" This monster eats odd socks. Never a pair,always just one. I have a bag with about 35/40 odd socks in. Well you never know...they may turn up. Here are a few of my tips for keeping control of your socks and giving "The Sock Eater" a hard time. When buying socks try to work out a system where everyone has different coloured socks. This makes sorting them out easier, you know whose are whose. One problem with that system though is if you have got twenty pairs of pink socks, pairing them is still hard work. Try sewing different coloured threads into them to make pairing easier. Different coloured socks are not always an option. All my kids have to wear grey soccks for school. The way round this is again sewing different coloured threads into them. Allocate each child a different colour. At least it gives you a head start. I have to say though I still prefer to see my kids in white socks. If you buy sports socks the problems aren't so great because you just make sure the tops are different. Colour coding works again here so you know which belong to who. Or with white socks you could differentiate by make. Donnay for one child, Nike for one child, Adidas for one child etc. This can get expensive though. Try putting all the socks in a pillowcase or bag of some description before throwing them in the washer. This way they are less likely to end up in your filter or outlet pipe. If after following these tips your socks still keep disappearing then you have
                                  a problem. You have more than one "sock eater" This "sock eater" is far more illusive and usually hides under the kids beds. This may take a serious row with the kids about the state their bedroom is in and often leads to loads of sulky faces. In serious cases this can lead to an early bed time or even grounding so beware. Of course you can always recycle all your odd socks. Sock hand puppets always go down well. Golf club protecters are another idea.

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