School

So here we are again. Though I can hardly believe it, it is September again, and as sure as eggs are eggs I am once again aching to wipe the slate clean, scrub till I’ve worn my fingerprints thin and of course get myself a spanking brand new housekeepers uniform.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for some puttery treats. Choose  one and do it today…

1. Gather all your most precious Summer clothes, wash in scented water, sprinkle with peppercorns to discourage moths and then store between layers of tissue in a vintage suitcase on top of your wardrobe…

2.   Sharpen every pencil you own. Then find a  pretty  little tumbler  to put them in and  leave  them wherever you usually find yourself grasping  for something to write  with.

3.   Start a new diary. Find a blank journal and wrap it in a scrap of something beautiful or collage with vintage photo’s. Tie with a length of old  lace, find a postcard that makes you smile  to use as a  marker et voila!  A place to store your dreams…

4.   Stock up your cupboards with wintery spices, yeast and bakers grade flour, the darkest most enticing brown sugar,  dried orange peel,  and all those other things that just spell cosy autumnal afternoons in the kitchen.

5. Put a few pieces of aluminium foil into a stock pan full  of water,  and  boil. Now  add your collection  of  vintage silver cutlery and  allow to simmer.  Then spend a  meditative  hour or two  gently  buffing  your silverware to a beautiful shine, before displaying it  in  something worthy of it’s shiny distressed glory…

6. Make a block of coffee soap:  melt old fashioned  household soap flakes, or grate a small bar of white soap into a pan and heat. Add four tablespoons of   rolled oats and four tablespoons  of finely ground coffee and allow to set in a mould. Then display on a tiny flowery saucer and use to banish yukky smells on your hands after baking…

7. Make a ready brek tray. Fill enormous glass jars with porridge, rolled oats and homemade muesli, along with a jug for warm milk, enough deep cereal bowls for the whole family, a crystal bowl full of sugar, and a pretty plate for fruit and leave on the kitchen table for impromptu cosy breakfasts…

8. Create coming home stations for the kids to dump their stuff as they run in from school. A couple of deep labelled baskets? Hooks tagged with their name?  Be strict with them about what is allowed to live there.

9. Get organised! Gather every piece of mail, bill, letter or coupon you have not got around to dealing with and sit down with a glass of wine and resolve to deal with it there and then, one way or another. One night- that is all it takes to stop the burden of paperwork weighing heavily on your mind and quite frankly no-one would blame you if you suddenly felt the urge to inspire more regular sessions by purchasing the kind of files, pens and paperclips that make your heart sin. Yes, I hereby give you permission to spend money on pretty stationery. It is I think essential for our welfare in September…

10.    Sometimes the most refreshing changes are the teeniest. Swap tired old bits of soap for new blocks, replace blackened candles with fresh ones, remove at least one item from every surface in the house, throw a quilt over the back of your armchair for late night snuggles, buy a new toothbrush, get thee to the recycling station with every mostly empty shampoo, conditioner, bubble bath, or cordial bottle you own, (there is no room for dregs in this housekeepers life!!), and change the photograph in the frame beside your bed.

11. Get online and order all the catalogues you are going to need for the Winter: from traditional toys for stocking fillers, seed catalogues for next years planting, by post only boutiques for the occasional treats and  Christmas catalogues to wile away an hour or six dreaming of just how perfect you are going to make the festive season this year…

12. Start knitting snuggly hot water bottle covers  and scrumptiously silly bedsocks for when the world gets that little bit cosier in the coming month’s.

13. Get in the garden and cut some lengths of ivy. Add to boiling hot water and use to soak dark coloured delicates.

14. Wrap bundles of firewood in newspaper and string and soak in pine scented oil. Then store in a large box or tin in a dark place till the nights draw in…

15. Empty out your comfort drawer and start to fill it week by week with cosy autumnal treats. Re-line it with yummy paper, spray with scrumptious scented linen water, layer it again with all your old comfort favorites and leave space for new snuggly treats: a self heating face mask? Teeny tiny bottle of brandy? Rose scented turkish delight? A card to send to your loved one when you have finally got the time to tell him how you feel? A smily summery photograph of yourself for rubbishy days? Really decent cocoa? A book of poetry to make you cry…

16. Make brushing your path a morning ritual.

17. Buy yourself a pair of flannel pyjamas, or change your summery cotton sheets for wintery flannel because there is seriously nothing cosier…

18. Order personalised stationery (how utterly elegant!) for next to nothing at Vista Print and delight your friends by inviting them for an "after the school run, really rather formal brunch"  on the most innocuous of Tuesday mornings…

19.  Mix up a brand new batch of Brocante Store Cupboard Recipes ready for the Seasonal Scrub coming very soon…

20. Bake batch loads of cookie dough and freeze ready to be whipped into the oven at a moments notice when the kids are on their way home from school. The scent of chocolate chip memories will forever after be associated with home…