Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wow! I wish I'd thought of that*

This week's Top Tip comes from Enid of Horsham, who has a fabulous suggestion now that we're hurtling towards what the Daily Mail would have us believe will be the worst winter since the Ice Age (but Emma Thompson's had a haircut, so things aren't all bad).....

"For something different at picnics, try sandwiches with a mashed potato and onion filling."

I'm sure you'll agree with me that, on those bracing winter picnics, there's nothing guaranteed to cheer everyone up like an onion and mashed potato sandwich, as as they sit hunched in leaky cagoules on some godforsaken hilltop.

Or how about Maureen from Stoke on Trent's handy hint for avoiding the tiresome bother of only buying as many vegetables as you need:

"To keep carrots fresh, wrap them tightly in newspaper like a pack of sausages, with the pointed ends to the middle. Put the parcel in a plastic bag, secure it with an elastic band and place in the bottom of the fridge. It'll keep for weeks!"

Well done Maureen! Without your helpful tip I'd simply shop to suit my requirements, and where's the fun in that when I could spend many happy hours knocking up complicated storage for my root vegetables? Instead, your labour-saving suggestion will free up the time to try out Linda of Newport's idea for keeping my handbag tidy:

"Throwing out an old pair of jeans? Cut off the back pockets and stitch them together. Now you have a handkerchief pocket to keep in your handbag".

I've done mine already, Linda, and it's been a real boon. And my kitchen has never been cleaner or looked more stylish since I learned from Joan of Warrington to.....

"Keep sandwich makers and other small kitchen gadgets dust-free by covering them up with a shower cap".

Perfect, Joan! And now I have so much more cupboard space free to store the gross of aubergines that I've individually wrapped in old pillowcases (lined with four alternate layers of tinfoil and cotton wool), secured with a complicated yet vital arrangement of knotted shoelaces, and boiled gently in freshly-squeezed lime juice (thanks once more to Maureen in Stoke).

Do any other readers have any labour-saving tips to share?

* These are all genuine** tips from this week's rich source of blogging material.
** With the possible exception of the one about the aubergines**
*** I know that aubergines are not root vegetables. Thank you.


Blogger Aginoth chimed in with...

Please please please share the source with us?

27 October, 2005 20:47  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

is anyone else having trouble trying to work through the carrot storing recommendation?

p.s. SG: are you still buying 'bella' magazine? please let me buy you a subscription to 'easy living' for crimpers - PLEASE

27 October, 2005 21:16  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

all i will say is that it's not bella....

and where are your top tips?

27 October, 2005 21:23  
Blogger Tabby Rabbit chimed in with...

Seeing as it's only (I-don't-know-and-can't-be-arsed-to-count-or-look-it-up) days until Christmas how about these. Courtesy of Mary Rose: Penny-wise perhaps but other than that obviously a total loon with too much time on her hands (and batteries baking in her oven, hope she doesn't live next door to me):

"Wrap dead batteries in tin foil and leave in a moderate oven when baking to make them useful again. A small battery should be left in for 20 minutes while larger ones need 30 minutes.

To make rubber gloves last longer, when new turn them inside out and stick a strip of sticking plaster across the top of each finger. This also protects your nails.

Make snow for Christmas decorations by using a large handful of soap flakes or powdered detergent. Add a little water and whip with a mixer. Put on trees and windows, mirrors, etc. When it dries, it looks like real snow and lasts for weeks.

For Christmas decorations, wash holly leaves thoroughly and leave until completely dry. Dip the leaves in melted margarine and cover with sugar. Dry well in front of the fire."

27 October, 2005 21:32  
Blogger Tabby Rabbit chimed in with...

<< Dry well in front of the fire<<

Which has mysteriously started in your kitchen, with your oven going KER-BOOOM.

27 October, 2005 21:34  
Blogger S.I.D. chimed in with...

My top tip of the week is to take all the top tippers, and tip them over the nearest toppest cliff.

28 October, 2005 01:04  
Blogger Lee chimed in with...

Bwah! I love you, Sturdy Girl.

I did know a woman who, not only did all these sorts of tips, but also cut them out and pasted them into a scrapbook.

I took against her; she had a doily over her sandwich maker.

28 October, 2005 08:57  
Blogger Stef the engineer chimed in with...

Can I just re-emphasise tabby rabbit's comment re: the battery tip. Batteries WILL go "boom" in an oven. (The "do not dispose of in a fire" warning is a clue.)

On a positive note, empty loo roll holders make a useful biodegradable planting/protector for young garden plants. (Official "Gardener's question time" tip.) The other good one they gave, which was especially relevant to us, was "If your garden has Mare's Tail growing in it, move."

28 October, 2005 09:23  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

Lee - I feel I should point out that it is Surly Girl, not Sturdy Girl.

Sturdy Girl is what my understanding mother called me in my late teens.

28 October, 2005 09:38  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

I love mashed potato - but I feel the addition of some cheese too would make it a truly delicious sandwich.

28 October, 2005 10:14  
Blogger Cheezy chimed in with...

"A next door neighbour's car aerial, carefully folded, makes an ideal coat hanger in an emergency."

"Avoid cutting yourself while clumsily slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away."

"Vegetarians coming to dinner? Simply serve them a nice bit of steak or veal. Since they`re always going on about how tofu, Quorn, meat substitute etc `tastes exactly like the real thing`, they won`t know any difference."

OK, it's a fair cop. I nicked those from the Viz 'Top Tips' page...

28 October, 2005 10:29  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

my favourite viz top tip was

"to find your way to the toilet in the dark, simply tie a piece of string round your bedroom door handle and affix the other end to the toilet seat. straddle the string and move forwards - when your genitals touch the toilet seat, you're there!"

28 October, 2005 10:42  
Anonymous Pat chimed in with...

Thank you for a body shaking chuckle. Some of them a bit near home!

28 October, 2005 12:09  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

Mashed potato sandwiches sound absolutely revolting! and I love mashed potato...

Bigger Minx's (age 3) Top Tip of the day: Place a small red garden chair, a dolly's pushchair, a wicker basket and a Balamory helium balloon and make a fabulous pretend train that you can play on happily all day long.

28 October, 2005 12:24  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

One behind each other I meant to say...

Might try that thing with the carrots by the way.

Take a Break?

28 October, 2005 12:29  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...


28 October, 2005 12:37  
Blogger Aginoth chimed in with...

...what about if you deepfried the Mash Potato sandwiches as well?

28 October, 2005 13:11  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...


28 October, 2005 13:25  
Blogger Wyndham chimed in with...

As a nice change I sometimes like to pat down two slices of mashed potato and put a bit of bread between them.

28 October, 2005 15:34  
Blogger Juggling Mother chimed in with...

Some of my favourites:

Put a dab of clear nail varnish on the buttons of a new shirt to fuse the threads together. Buttons won't fall off. (anything to get out of sewing!)

To keep a fridge smelling fresh after cleaning add some (approximately 1-2 teaspoons) vanilla essence to the water as you are cleaning the fridge. It will stay fresh for about 1-2 months after this with normal usage but longer if it is not used often. (what do you mean AFTER cleaning, fridges don't need cleaning do they?

Release jammed vacuum cleaner tubes by pouring hot water over the join (unplug the cleaner first). (very sensible advice - the unplugging bit anyway)

Hang a carrier bag on a coat hanger along with your coat and place gloves, scarves, hats etc inside. No more frantic searching. (alternatively, buy new ones each time you go out

I can do this all day. It's better than actually cleaning things anyway.

vw = szxwlyb that's got to be the worst scrabble hand I've ever seen!

28 October, 2005 15:47  
Blogger Whinger chimed in with...

The battery thing is a bit alarming.

I must admit that I am a faithful reader of Heloise's Hints in Good Housekeeping. But she usually doesn't go beyond the club soda, baking soda, ammonia type hints.

Wrapping carrots like that would take longer than going to the shop to get more.

28 October, 2005 16:24  
Blogger Whinger chimed in with...

Also, what a fashionable kitchen when all your appliances are sitting on the counter looking as if they just emerged from the bath.

28 October, 2005 16:26  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

they get £25 a time for suggesting these you know (the magazine readers, not you lot). tempting, isn't it?

i might take a number of those on here, make up some names and rake in some cash in time for christmas....

i'll buy some biscuits to share out tho, so don't feel used.

28 October, 2005 16:40  
Blogger spindleshanks chimed in with...

how about use empty lipstick tubes to carry tampons in on a night out. that way when you go to the bathroom, you can just take your lipstick with you and no one will know you are off to shove some tightly packed surgical cotton up your hoo-ha.
i might submit that - i could do with £25.

28 October, 2005 22:04  
Blogger elvira black chimed in with...

Shower caps for gadget storing? Must be from the folks who brought the UK tea cozies. Hmmm....

29 October, 2005 19:29  
Blogger bedshaped chimed in with...

Make your bananas last up to 6 weeks longer by simply coating them in anti-freeze (diluted 1 part anti-freeze to 3 parts sour milk), then bury them in a 4 foot deep hold in the corner of your garden for 10 days. Once recovered, they should be repeatedly thrown up a wall in time with the drum beat of "Rock DJ" for the duration of the track only (over throwing completely ruins them at this stage) and then placed inside an 83 year old man's slippers and placed in the fridge, next to a torch which is left switched on, for the remaining 4 1/2 weeks, turning every Wednesday, unless it's December in which case switch to turning them every 6 oclock.
After 6 weeks...voila!

Can I have a medium T-shirt instead of the 25 quid?

30 October, 2005 17:36  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

now then bedshaped. you've neglected to mention the procedure for re-warming the bananas and as such, not only do you not get a prize, you're regrettably liable for prosecution.

i blame the blair administration. fucking police state.

30 October, 2005 19:08  
Blogger bedshaped chimed in with...

Shit, can I try again?

30 October, 2005 21:23  

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