‘It can wait…’ a piece of flash fiction by Heather Scott

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Lancaster. Middle of February. Miserable winter weather. Hattie Brown at home on a Wednesday evening, slumped on a cream, sagging sofa with felt tip marks scribbled on the arm rest and what she hoped was chocolate smeared into the upholstery. She stared past her ghastly neon pink ‘Mum in a Million’ slippers towards the end of the room, towards a full-on view of the small oak sideboard covered in inch thick dust, imprinted with tiny hand prints, and placed on it, a large flat screen television, smeared in something Hattie didn’t care to think about. To one side, under the huge bay window, an oak coffee table, hidden under a mound of Play Mobil characters, CBeebies magazines, several half-finished sippy cups of milk steadily turning into cottage cheese and a styling head doll covered in slimy play make up. Below it, the floor. Now, where was it? She hadn’t seen it for weeks. It was littered with tiny sequined shoes, a pink leotard, purple fairy wings, a wand looking worse for ware and piles and piles and piles of unopened mail, magazines, notebooks and to do lists. Yes, many to do lists. The fireplace, once a source of immense pride and beauty with its dazzling granite hearth, and polished oak surround, now yet another dust collector. The hearth, no longer gleaming but dirtied by heavy rain and hailstones tumbling through the filthy chimney like tiny pebbles dancing through a rain stick. And Hattie, hand deep down in the recesses of the sofa. The remote control, buried amongst crumbs, loose change, glittery hair clips and… something else… maybe a banana skin? Hattie wasn’t sure. With a huge sigh, she pulled the remote control out of it’s burial ground, pointed it in the optimum direction and switched the television on.

 

How to clean your windows – mess free and streak free!!

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I am ashamed to say that, when faced with the daily chores of cooking, cleaning, washing and running round after a three year old, cleaning the windows has regularly (no… always!) come bottom of my list of things to do. That doesn’t mean I haven’t noticed how filthy they’ve become – it’s inevitable, living on a busy main road with lots of traffic fumes, and having a toddler and dog regularly pressing their noses, mouths (and tongues!) up against the glass. It just means that on a daily basis I choose to ignore the fact that the glass is more translucent than transparent  and try to convince myself that nobody really notices it anyways!

Well, it turns out that when your next door neighbour decides to hire a window cleaner, someone does end up noticing how filthy your windows are! Thankfully he didn’t knock on the door and say, “Hi! I just noticed how filthy your windows are – would you like me to clean them for you?” (Although I wouldn’t have blamed him if he had!) He very politely offered his services to us at a price we couldn’t refuse. I was gobsmacked at the results! I wish I could say the result was clean windows – well, they were on the outside, but I suddenly noticed how dirty they were on the inside!

One of the reasons I’ve been put off cleaning the inside of the windows is because I’ve never had good results in the past. If I tried using ‘Windowlene’ with a dry, clean cloth I would still end up with streaks. Or if I used soapy water and a squeedgy it would always make such a mess.

Recently I’ve discovered the magic of microfibre cloths. When I was first introduced to them I thought they were just another gimmick. They say you can use them with just water and won’t leave any streaks, but do they really? I started using them to wipe down my kitchen counters and noticed how polished my glass hob looked after using them. So I then decided to keep one in the bathroom and see how good they were at keeping the shower screen clean – we have a glass shower screen and started using it every day with brilliant results. So this was when I decided to take the plunge and have a go at cleaning the inside windows with just water and a microfibre cloth. I have to say the results were stunning! There was no mess as I just wrung out the cloth before I started cleaning, and amazingly no streaks either!! I can honestly say we have never had such clean windows since living in this house (I won’t say when we last cleaned them and please don’t ask! ha ha!)

Inevitably minutes after the windows had been cleaned the dog decided to press her nose up against the glass watching my daughter play outside, who in turn ran up to the window pressing her mouth against it and starting ‘blowing raspberries’! :/

Here’s to clean’ish’ windows!

 

21 Days

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They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Now, as I’ve recently been finding, this works for both good AND bad habits.

I’ve been looking round my house and, despite being a naturally very organised, clean and tidy person, I’ve managed to fall into some very bad habits with regards to cleaning (i.e. it’s not getting done any where near as often as it should be!) I’d been trying to work out why this is the case, and I realised that when you’re in a good habit such as doing the dishes straight after tea or straightening  up the living room before going to bed, if life throws you a curve ball (gosh, I’m sounding all American) then it’s very easy to fall out of those good habits without realising it.

For me, these curve balls have come in the form of DIY, Summer holidays and blocks of very busy weeks. Once things in the house have got on top of me, I try very hard to get organised again only to find within days that it’s all gone to pot again! Why? Because I’d let things slip for long enough to get out of the good habit of staying on top of things.

So now I’m on the case of putting back into place all those good habits that I once had. I’ve been inspired by some cleaning schedules I’ve found on Pinterest and I liked the way that the cleaning and tidying is organised and spread throughout the week to make it more achievable.

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Now, admittedly I have had this cleaning schedule on my fridge for several weeks and not done very much about it! But the reason for this is because I’ve felt like I had to start doing it all at once. BIG mistake when trying to form a good habit! My plan of action now is to focus on one category of task every day and make sure I achieve that… for 21 days (at least!) That way once that habit is in place and I’m doing it automatically I’ll be able to start working on another part of the schedule and forming that into a daily habit…

Well, that’s the plan. Let’s see if it works! Ha ha!

How to clean your Stoneware

I often have people say to me one of the best things about their Pampered Chef stoneware is that they don’t have to clean it! Well, that is only partially true. Follow these tips to get the best out of your stoneware.

1. Allow your stoneware to cool down to room temperature before cleaning. If you place it in cold water whilst it’s still hot you’ll subject it to thermal shock which can cause it to crack.

2. Scrape any stuck on pieces of food with the nylon pan scraper. The brilliant thing about the Pampered Chef Stoneware is it’s natural non stick surface. However, at times some small pieces of food can stick a little. These can be easily removed with the nylon pan scraper that comes with your stoneware, or if you don’t have one you can easily use an old credit card!

3. Rinse with warm water. I often use a sponge to wipe out my stoneware whilst running it under warm water. A cloth would work in the same way.

4. Towel dry and store. It’s always a good idea to put your stoneware away after cleaning to keep it safe and avoid any accidents!