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Helen’s top tips


Hot water is just as good at cleaning floors of dirt and bacteria as a cleaning fluid. I know; I’ve tested it.

White vinegar is very cheap and great for cleaning windows, baths and sinks and de-greasing kitchen blinds and appliances.

Bicarbonate of soda is a multi-purpose cleaning product. You can even use a small bowl of it as a room de-deodoriser. It even absorbs the smell of fresh paint.

When your spray bottle of anti-bacterial household fluid runs out, make your own with 500ml of water, a drop of washing up liquid and six drops of tea tree oil.

Invest in a good micro-fibre mop. They absorb dirt very efficiently.When it gets really grubby, pop the head in the washing machine.


Don’t think you need to rush out and buy something for tea. Look at what you’ve got in the fridge and work out how to make a meal out of it. Most of the time, it is possible.

Plan in advance what you’re going to eat each night. But don’t be too inflexible; menus can swap days and times can change to suit the family.

Grow as much of your own food as you can, even if it is herbs on your windowsill.

Put leftovers into plastic containers and treat them as ready meals. Grab one from the fridge or freezer and have a home-made meal in minutes.

Be sensible about sell-by dates. There’s not a lot that’s going to spoil in a bag of flour.

Home organisation

Keep only the things that mean something to you

Keep the house tidy by assigning each family member their own basket or bag. Put anything you find around the house into the appropriate bags. Everyone knows where to look when they can’t find something they left lying around – and the house is tidier.

Design your own home filing system. It will help you keep on top of bills and you’ll be able to find every piece of paper you need.