Housekeeping

Puttery Treats For Spring Joy

Puttery Treats For Spring Joy

Spring has almost passed in the sniffle of a runny nose, but I, Mistress of the Puttery Treat, will not be deterred. Oh no, not I. I will lift my sagging spirits and thrust myself head-first into this gorgeous season with a list of lovely treats I hope you will be equally as inspired by…

* Wrap glass vases or mason jars in vintage silk-scarves and use them to display flowers on the kitchen table…

* Plant a set of wishes. Take yourself out on a creative excursion to a nursery and search for a packet of flowering seeds that speak to your heart. Take them home and make a wish on each seed as you plant it. Now commit to nurturing your wishes with your whole, bestest self…

* Start a promise quilt for a child. Embroider small promises on to an existing single bed quilt and wrap them up in your promises to them forever after.

* Create a cabinet full of Springtime curiousities…

* Stitch or buy a set of oilcloth cushions for durable comfort in the garden…

* Print out this lovely little quote and frame it by the kitchen sink…

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke

* Create an instant vintage family, by using pretty magnets to pin a selection of sepia vintage portraits to your fridge.

* Stitch a deep length of lace, petticoat style to the bottom of your apron.

* Start a “quiet hour” early evening ritual at home for frazzled Mums and revising teenagers.

* Take a long look at your diary and try to schedule in your very own two day at home retreat…

* Seek out a vintage baby quilt as a lining for your Granny-Cat’s bed…

* Add a tiny brass bell to your meditation kit and use it to chime the beginning and end of each meditation session. Sound resonates in the heart and deepens our connection to ritual.

* Start a running away fund…

* Fit a selection of vintage tins into a drawer and use them to store love letters, wish-lists and secrets…

* Guarantee that there is always cake in the tin, by whipping up this deliciously, simple Condensed Milk Cake as often as possible. Heavenly served with early berries…

* Start the search for a little vintage suitcase and fill it with your favourite journals and journalling tools. Make it one of the things you would carry out of the house if it were on fire…

* Make lemon curd tarts to serve as elevenses on Easter mornings…

* Embroider a row of whimsical flowers along the hem of a pretty, Spring coloured skirt…

* Make super quick bunting in happy colours by tying scraps of frayed fabric on to a long length of ribbon…

* Clear out your make up bag and treat yourself to one that looks glorious on your dressing table…

* Use drawing pins to create a temporary gallery collection of botanical watercolours torn from old books. Remember that not everything has to be offered the permanence of a frame…

* Add happy  floral corsages to the necks of busts, lampshades and other ornaments…

* Make sun-dried tomato bread and serve it warm with basil and black pepper butter for breakfast…

* Start the search for a happy little set of vintage egg-coddlers…

* Keep a handful of exuberant jewels in a china cup on your dressing table…

* Download Plantifier and go on a nature trail around the neighbourhood with the kids.

50 Apps For Happy Housewives

50 Apps For Happy Housewives

I am a vintage housekeeping geek. I want all the pretty with half of the bother and I want a life thoroughly integrated with all that is terribly modern so I can free my head up for more exciting, old-fashioned things…

In the past three years life as a vintage geek has become the kind of wonderful that sometimes threatens to overwhelm us, which is why my darlings I have taken it into my head to draw up a list of fifty fabulous apps (plucked from a cast of thousands!) for both the computer and the mobile, which can help us live a life less ordinary, without the faff of trying to keep track of routines and rituals, housekeeping plans, chore charts, financial management, child’s play and so very much more!

This is my first download of the New Year and it is an utterly scrumptious one: 

* A list of  more than fifty gorgeous apps which will TRANSFORM your housekeeping life!

* My top ten personal faves and how I use them at Chez Brocante…

* Instructions on integrating apps into existing routines and rituals and creating HOUSEKEEPERS CENTRAL online and mobile…

* And a collection of utterly lovely puttery treats to drag your inner housekeeper into the 21st Century!

This is a timely download because there are now so very many ways to improve our housekeeping lives with the help of technology and now, more than ever before, we have access to the phones, tablets and laptops we need to create one point on-line in which to manage our housekeeping lives…

So if you are struggling with budgets, kids chores, lifestyle balance, vision board planning, recipe planning, receipt management, routine tracking, vegatable garden planning or one of the hundred other little jobs that make for a balance, relaxed life at home, then this is the download for you, for I have spent a silly amount of time sorting out the wheat from the chaff JUST FOR YOU, so you can get organised and feel free to do something a little more creative than getting that budget to balance or making sure you are getting enough nutrients in your Paleo diet!

Half-Price Today!

The download goes live on Monday 28th April for the lowly sum of $20.00, but if you order it before Monday 21st April, then you can grab it half-price for just $10.00!

Just click the button below to order and your download will be delivered to your in-box on Monday 28th April.

Oooh and P.S: don’t forget that this download is ABSOLUTELY FREE for all my lovely Housekeeping Superstars

Happy Housekeeping Darlings! 

The Book of Knowledge

The Book of Knowledge

So um… yeah. I spent my weekend organising my books and gave myself a horrible fright. I am a book hoarder. While other people may well have already realised this truth about me, I was not aware until I took it into my head to count my books and discovered that I own more than 1500 thousand real books and have 962 virtual ones shoved into my Kindle. Nearly 2500 books! Even I can see that that is nuts.

One would imagine that most have been read and are lingering in my life because I love them so. But readers, oh dear, darling readers, this simply isn’t true. You see being terribly good occasionally at taking my own advice, I am rather fanatical about taking the books I have read and enjoyed and for the most part (unless of course they are life-changing!) passing them on. I give them to friends. I leave little piles of paperbacks on my neighbours doorstep. I take them back to the free book shops. I deliver them to charity shops. I delete them from my Kindle. And occasionally, if I have scrawled private notes in the margins I even bin them. (So shoot me.) In short I am a responsible book passer-on.

So those lurking on the book shelves are not the read, but a tempting mixture of reference, the revered and the many, many, many unread. It is a bookish scandal. I am not so much a reader, but an obsessive collector. A hoarder. I will die buried under a bookshelf weighted down by words I should have absorbed, for isn’t it true that lurking in my kindle could be the kind of words that could change the course of my life in the same way that simple Abundance once did?

And so over the course of the odd weekend that has just gone by, I took it into my head to set myself a project. To start with my real bookshelves and one by one to pick out each book and decide once and for all whether it is worthy of a place on my over-stuffed bookshelves. To scan each in turn and pluck from it’s pages the paragraphs, quotes, ideas and recipes for life I am inspired by and then write them down in a big blank pad I am christening The Book of Knowledge. And then give it away. Give it back. Or offer it to charity.

I should take this further. I should start an entirely new blog, called Adventures in the Great Un-read or something equally as inspired and make one of those curious resolutions to not buy a single new book, real or virtual for an entire year, until I have reduced my shelves to three books. But Darlings, I am Alison. Book-hunting is one of my greatest pleasures. I get giddy when I un-earth something wonderful. I make my Mum smile each and every Friday by meeting her in Southport already laden with a stack of cheap books from the remaindered store and oh too many blissful nights have been lost to prowling around Amazon and Gutenberg to even contemplate giving them up.

But I will be limiting myself. I will be operating a two out, one in policy and making a commitment to adding a little something to my Book of Knowledge daily. If only so that the bookshelves don’t cause the collapse of these 150 year old Victorian floorboards or indeed so that my darling Kindle doesn’t blow a fuse trying to keep up with my relentless downloading.

There now: a plan. I do love this kind of sensible, decisive Monday don’t you?

Practicing What I Preach

Practicing What I Preach

One does so hate to be the a kind of do as I say and not as I do kind of person and yet I so very often am. Yesterday I took it into my head to rectify this rather shameful state of affairs and squeeze in the little seasonal scrub I had to delay due to Finn being sick and all matter of other shenanigans that have had me rather distracted.

The sun was shining and as Spring is to housework as a good bottle of Rioja is to a lacklustre sex life, I threw myself out of bed with all kinds of mad ideas for re-arranging the furniture and evicting the dust bunnies lurking between the wide Victorian pine floorboards of this tiny little cottage of mine. I dug out my Seasonal Scrub lists and pulled on my tattiest combination of black garb and then I stood about surveying a land rather drowning in tchoickes and paper and books and batman figures and computer paraphanalia and plates that have no homes and it struck me that all these years I have been doing you, my darling readers. something of a dis-service by expecting you to launch into a scrub without tackling the chaos highly likely to have built up in-between-times.

And so I downed tools and lay down and had a good old-fashioned think and what I thunked was this: it is only possible to scrub if we start from a point where one will not lose days on end shifting nonsense around the house before we can really get the elbow grease going  because despite all our best efforts and dedication to Housekeeping 365 and other similar routines,  the amount of stuff we bring INTO the house usually outweighs all that we bother carrying out of it. A fact m’dears we only usually acknowledge when we cannot see the coffee table for all that we have been stacking upon it.

It struck me in fact, that before I insist we scrub, I should insist that we throw an extensive, intensive trashing session, in the same seasonal manner that we clean. That I should in fact have produced instructions for seasonal trashing long before I started throwing my weight around and insisting that you pull on your rubber gloves and clean the skirting boards.

And so me darlings, this is my mission this week: to get on with trashing before we start scrubbing and in the process to observe my patterns of trashing long enough to produce a new download for you, my dedicated Housekeeping Superstars, so you can both do as I say AND do as I do…

So watch this space: I am going to be away for a few days while I work myself into a tidy frenzy, but like Arnie, or Rambo, or some other muscly man once said, I will be back…

Happy housekeeping Honey Pies.x

Blue Days

Blue Days

It has been the oddest few days. Finley has been quite ill with a rather alarming case of FatFace and I have been torn between trying to keep us in food via BrocanteHome and pampering the heck out of a little boy dosed up to his eyeballs to relieve the pain. In the meantime Spring has sprung, without I think, giving me due warning: for if I’m not a women possessed by the urge to SCRUB then I don’t know what I am!

The problem with Spring is that one day the sun wakes up and decides to put her hat on, and the grime that Winter has been kind enough to hide from us, is suddenly revealed in all it’s greasy, dusty, glory. Spring. She is the cruelest Mistress!

Ordinarily the very first glimmer of sun has me screeching SEASONAL SCRUB and insisting that every Housekeeping Superstar in the land pulls on her rubber gloves and gets busy with a bucket full of lemon scented vinegar water.  But having a child permanently sprawled across my lap makes climbing step-ladders to brush cobwebby ceilings awfully difficult don’t you know, so yesterday I indulged my pressing urge for order and calm by spring-cleaning my browser: a little something I could manage in-between making bite sized toasties and force-feeding Finn with a super strong anti-biotic.

For as long as I can remember I have used the Cath Kidston theme available in the Chrome Store. Thus my virtual workplace was a riot of lovely, floral, cherry red joy and I did my best to make sure that everything from my Gmail to WordPress and all the apps I use to keep BrocanteHome in relative order (!), matched, so that my oh so delicate senses were not jarred from one tab to the next. Hell yes. That’s how much of an old fusspot I am. Anyways. There I was yesterday: desperate for change and so for wont of entertainment, I found myself browsing around the Chrome Store in search of something that tickled my fancy and suddenly my whole world went from Cath Kidston red to the darling delphinium blue of Royal Delft. Blue! For me. She who believes blue to be the colour of the devil, and raisins and Miley Cyrus and other things too horrible to contemplate.

Yes. For as long as I can remember I have had a deep-rooted aversion to blue. It is unreasonable. I avoid blue clothes and blue wallpaper. I won’t eat blue smarties (I will). I even avoid blogs with blue wallpaper. This is clearly prejudice of the most ludicrous kind and frankly it’s a good job people don’t come in blue. I have never even believed in the psychology of color when it comes to blue matters. Blue is associated with lower blood pressure, calm and serenity and will make me more productive in the armchair I call my work place? Bah!

Until today. Today I sat down in front of my computer while a much recovered Finley bounced off the walls, and suddenly found within the walls of my virtual office, an oasis of peace and blue tranquility. My Gmail is blue. My Chrome is blue. My Highrise is blue. And I’m not! I’m serene. A state of affairs that is frankly unprecedented.

So the moral of this rather long-winded tale? Blue is rather lovely, prejudice is pointless and there is always, always, always time to bring a little refreshing change, order and calm to a corner of your world. Even when you aren’t wearing an apron.

Shall we scrub next week m’dears?

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