Clean up with Anthea

Anthea Turner re­veals just how to get your house - and life - spick and span for the per­fect Christ­mas

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The thought of get­ting ready for Christ­mas with all that cook­ing, clean­ing and present-shop­ping is enough to leave any­one fraz­zled. But never fear, pre­sen­ter Anthea Turner has trans­formed her­self into our Christ­mas Clean­ing Fairy, to share her tips on how to have a stress-free fes­tive time…

Anthea, why oh why do we get so stressed with Christ­mas?!

We get car­ried away on a tidal wave of ex­pec­ta­tion. It’s ONE day!

What’s your ad­vice for mak­ing life a bit eas­ier?

Don’t be a mar­tyr – we’re all guilty of not del­e­gat­ing. If you have fam­ily com­ing, ask them to bring food.

Yes, peo­ple get over­whelmed by the food shop­ping…

I know! We have this bizarre no­tion that we have to get ev­ery­thing done be­fore Christ­mas, pack­ing our cup­boards like there’s go­ing to be an apoc­a­lypse. We need to chill out, and not feel guilty do­ing some shop­ping on­line.

What’s your typ­i­cal Christ­mas?

It used to be dif­fer­ent when I was with a fam­ily and chil­dren – more ‘nor­mal’. Peo­ple want the Christ­mas they see on TV, but that’s not al­ways re­al­is­tic. It an­noys me that we are bul­lied by the re­tail in­dus­try, like mince pies in shops in Septem­ber! I know Theresa May has lots to do, but could she make a law that we can’t speak about Christ­mas un­til af­ter Hal­loween?!

What are your plans this year?

I’ll be pop­ping in on dif­fer­ent friends and I’ll see my step­daugh­ters, too. We will all try to get to­gether at some point, but we won’t get our knick­ers in a twist too much about it all be­ing on ac­tual Christ­mas Day.

What’s your spe­cial­ity?

Roast pota­toes. I did a cook­ery course with Mary Berry and I al­ways do my roast pota­toes the night be­fore – they taste nicer. I do use goose fat. There’s noth­ing dif­fi­cult about Christ­mas lunch, ex­cept get­ting it all to fin­ish at the same time.

Clean­ing Fairy, what’s the se­cret to keep­ing your own house spot­less?

The most im­por­tant thing is al­ways turf­ing out junk. I have this mantra that if it’s not beau­ti­ful, use­ful or se­ri­ously sen­ti­men­tal, then get rid.

When’s the best time to do it?

Don’t wait un­til spring for clean­ing, start now – es­pe­cially if you have chil­dren to get ready for Christ­mas. You’re go­ing to have lots more toys soon, so you might as well start get­ting rid of some. Tell the kids, ‘Lots of chil­dren aren’t go­ing to have such a nice Christ­mas, so why don’t you choose some things you don’t play with very of­ten to give away?’

What do you do with presents you don’t like?

They go straight in the bag for the char­ity shop! Peo­ple keep things be­cause they think they should, be­cause they were presents. Don’t. Take it to a char­ity shop or car boot sale.

How do you avoid the stress of present-buy­ing?

Buy them through­out the year. You’ll save money if you take ad­van­tage of sales.

Are you good at choos­ing presents?

Yes, that’s why I’ve launched The At Home Box Com­pany. I love giv­ing and re­ally find­ing some­thing peo­ple will love.

What would you love to re­ceive? A plant, can­dles or red wine. Don’t buy me per­fume – I’ve got a par­tic­u­lar nose!

Any tips for wrap­ping presents?

I al­ways buy wrap­ping paper that I can use through­out the year. I also bulk-buy gift bags, which I can use for wed­dings and birthdays, too. Cel­lo­phane is amaz­ing for wrap­ping some­thing awk­ward.

Do you send Christ­mas cards?

No, what’s the point? You could spend £120 on stamps and you can’t buy a de­cent card for less than £3! A good friend of mine spends his Christ­mas work­ing at Cri­sis, so in­stead of cards I do­nate meals to them.

How will you spend New Year?

I haven’t re­ally thought about it. I do en­joy it, but I think it’s silly to worry about hav­ing an amaz­ing plan.

Do you make New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions?

No, I can’t wait un­til Jan­uary. If I am go­ing to do some­thing, I don’t put it off!

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