Cre­at­ing a tidy and or­derly home, by FRAN­CIS BREN­NAN

Irish Independent - Weekend Magazine - - WEEKEND MAGAZINE COMPETITION -

Hote­lier, au­thor and pre­sen­ter of At Your Ser­vice, be­lieves that a tidy home is the per­fect an­ti­dote to a chaotic world. Here are his tips...

Res­cu­ing house plants with yel­low­ing leaves If the yel­low­ing is on the tips of the leaves, you need to wa­ter more, but if the whole leaf is yel­low, you’re over­do­ing it! Make sure your soil is well drained and wa­ter when it is barely damp to the touch.

Help­ing flow­ers stay fresh

One of my neph­ews used to love Myth­busters when he was younger. It was an Amer­i­can show where sci­en­tists used to put pop­u­lar myths to the test us­ing lab tech­niques. In one test they set up five dif­fer­ent vases to com­pare pop­u­lar ways of keep­ing flow­ers fresh, in­clud­ing vodka, Sprite, ap­ple cider vine­gar/sugar, the fridge and an as­pirin tablet. They found that Sprite worked fine for a cou­ple of days, but then the sugar af­fected the IR­ISH IN­DE­PEN­DENT flow­ers — rather like kids af­ter too much lemon­ade — and they wilted. They also found that flow­ers, like hu­mans, can’t take too much vodka! So the win­ner was... the fridge!

Be­fore you go to bed at night, pop your flow­ers into the fridge and they will keep for longer, ac­cord­ing to the sci­en­tists. And don’t for­get to use the packet of food that comes with your ar­range­ment too. By the way, the sugar/cider vine­gar mix came sec­ond. Sugar cer­tainly seems to help flow­ers, but adding an acid helps to pre­vent slime. So, there you go!

Find­ing an ear­ring on the car­pet

Place a bit of stock­ing over the tube of your vac­uum cleaner, se­cure it with a rub­ber band and, hey presto, when you hoover, you’ll see any tiny items.

Open­ing a bot­tle of wine — with­out a corkscrew

There are a few ways of do­ing this, but for God’s sake, be care­ful:


7 Oc­to­ber 2017

Push the cork down into the bot­tle by us­ing an ob­ject such as a pen, or a lip­stick tube. You can do this by putting your bot­tle down on a flat sur­face and by ap­ply­ing down­ward pres­sure with your ob­ject.

You can also use a knife in the same way as a corkscrew, push­ing it gen­tly into the cork, then work­ing it gen­tly from side to side un­til it goes all of the way through the cork, then pull. Do this very gen­tly, to avoid ac­ci­dents.

You can put the bot­tle of wine into your shoe — which you have re­moved from your foot! Then, hold­ing the bot­tle in one hand, tap your shoe firmly against a wall or tree. Do this a few times and the pres­sure should push the cork out.

Four clever ways to clean sponges

Put them in the dish­washer when you have a load on and let all that hot wa­ter give them a good clean. Use a cup of bleach in litre of wa­ter to soak sponges for five min­utes. Ac­cord­ing to Good House­keep­ing, this is the method that re­moves the most germs.

Put your wet-but-not-soak­ing sponge into the mi­crowave on ‘ high’ for 10–20 sec­onds — keep an eye on it though!

Soak your sponge in vine­gar overnight. Smelly in a dif­fer­ent way, but ef­fec­tive.

Dry­ing leather shoes

There is no quick way of do­ing this, be­cause all of the quick ways will dam­age your shoes! You’ll need news­pa­pers with­out dark ink or pic­tures, which you will ball up into the toe, and con­tinue un­til your shoe is stuffed with pa­per. Leave for an hour and come back to check. If the news­pa­per is soaked, re­place it and con­tinue do­ing so un­til it stays dry. Leave your shoes to air. This method isn’t fast, but it re­ally is the only one that will pre­vent fur­ther leather dam­age. Fran­cis Bren­nan’s ‘Book of House­hold Man­age­ment’, pub­lished by Gill Books, is out now priced €16.99

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