Have you noticed how everything has to be done in double quick time these days ? Microwaves will provide you a warming meal within a few seconds, instant messaging means you can get answers immediately wherever you are, even finding the man or woman of your dreams has to be done within a miniscule timeframe thanks to speed-dating ! Well, one area where I am really glad to see that this "get it done right now and quick as a flash" mentality works is for cleaning. There is far too much to fit into a day to waste half of it looking after the house, so this guide from DK books which promises to explain "How to speed clean", "How to Lighten the laundry load" and "Tidying Tricks & Tips" sounds like a great place to start.
The first thing that appealed to me was the cover. Housework is not a particularly glamorous or appealing activity, but the funky, bright-coloured cleaning accessories almost make you feel enthusiastic about getting out there and tackling the spring cleaning !
The second thing is the mentality - this book is ideal for overstretched working mums who just haven't got the time, let alone the inclination, to spend their precious days off cleaning and dealing with other household chores. The book strikes a chord straight away, declaring : "At last! There's no need to spend half your life cleaning your home. With the expert tips, tricks and time saving strategies in this book, you can get it all done with speed and efficiency - most of the tasks in the following pages take less than 10 minutes to do." The press release enthuses : "Do you dream of being a domestic goddess but the reality is more of a domestic disaster? Don't despair! Express Housekeeping shows you how to blitz your home in no time at all. From cleaning and stain removal to decluttering your wardrobe and efficient recycling, this illustrated, essential manual reduces the toughest jobs to minimum effort chores - allowing you to have more time to relax in the comfort of a pristine home." Well, with three kids under ten and two dogs, our house is never going to be pristine but I do love the ideas that the book has given me for saving time and doing things that I already do in a much more efficient way.
It would be a brilliant book to offer to your almost grown-up offspring who are about to fly the nest and head off to university or their own flat for the first time. (How strange that I chose the "how to remove a red wine stain from carpet" page to illustrate this part !) I can remember finding myself, aged 18, in halls of residence in the first term, not having a clue about the proper way to do the ironing or what all the washing symbols on the clothes labels meant ! I remember one of the boys running up to our room in a panic, saying that he'd washed his England rugby shirt with a red pair of socks and what could he do to stop it being a lovely shade of pink ? We didn't have a clue but it did give us a good laugh !
It's a great book to keep on the shelf as a reference book for emergencies, but is also really interesting to browse through as a coffee table book, as you're sure to pick up interesting and helpful tips and ideas along the way. I love the way it aims to cut down the time you spend on each task, but also helps you to be more economical and ecological, using ingredients like white wine vinegar and water in place of harsh, ungreen detergents. The layout is well organised, using lots of photos, step-by-step guides and checklists to help you find the answers you need quickly.
The first daffodils are getting just about ready to open so Spring Cleaning has to be on the cards pretty soon. I'm quietly confident that this book will help me get through it all this year in double-quick time !
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £12.99
Hardback : 01 Mar 2011
for more information : http://www.dorlingkindersley-uk.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9781405363075,00.html?/Express_Housekeeping_DK_Publishing
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