The Last Post

I started A Woman’s Lifestyle on the back of my first blog, EA Confidential.  EA Confidential was a blog designed as a tool for personal and executive assistant’s, to assist them with organisational and administrative skills, which my boss had asked me to set up after I spoke at a number of conferences on the subjects.

When I started maternity leave, I was enjoying blogging, so A Woman’s Lifestyle was created.  Blogging the way I had before – a ‘How To’ tool essentially, designed to be a place for Women to assist them in day to day organisation and lifestyle tips.  So many people saw photo’s of my house, and asked me all about it, from organisation to design; people ate the food I made and asked for the recipe.  A Woman’s Lifestyle became a space where I could share all of this to others easily.  And mostly, it was a place to chronicle the growth of my children that just didn’t fit into the work blog.

Frankly though, I’ve outgrown both.  I’ve made some pretty pitiful attempts in the past few months to revamp it, to get excited about it again, but it’s all a bit lost.  A Woman’s Lifestyle is not who I want to be in the bloggerverse.  It’s not what I want to be when I write.  I’m bored of it, so I can’t imagine how very bored the readers must be, if you are still reading.  YAWN!

So here is my last post.  I will be starting a new blog, and if you are keen to follow it, I would love that.  It will still be a place to chronicle the growth of my kids, but no ‘How To’ in sight.  I want to write.  I want to take beautiful photographs of my family and our life and create a beautiful online space.  A personal blog, not a lifestyle blog. So that’s where I’ll be.  If you would like the link to the new blog, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  You can post a comment with your email and I will send you the link.  I would love to stay in touch with the beautiful blogging community I love so much.

Thank you for reading.  It means a lot.  A lot, a lot.

Lauren xoxo

The Organised Domestic Housewifey Challenge – Master Bedroom

Given the WIR and Ensuite have now been done, let’s finish off the Master Bedroom.  This one should be quick and easy.

You will need…

– Vacuum Cleaner
– Duster / Micro fibre Cloth

Checklist
– Change the sheets if you are feeling up to it!  Or just make the bed if it isn’t made already :)
– Wipe down window sills, shelves, and furniture
– Clean the ceiling fan, if you have one.
– Clean the blinds you have on your windows.  We have holland so I don’t have to do much here.  If you have venetian, this could take awhile.  Good luck.
– Wipe down anything you have hanging on the wall, as well as light switches.
– Wipe down the doors to your bedroom, including the doors to the WIR and the Ensuite
– Sort out your bedside tables
– Vacuum, trying to get as far under the bed as you can.  If you can move the bed and clean under it, fantastic.  But definitely wait until you have someone who can help you with that, I do not want to cause any injuries.
– Wipe down your skirting

– You may want to clean any windows you have as well, but this is a job I’m paying someone else to do, mid February :)

You might also want to…
– Replace your pillows.  I generally only keep pillows for two years, and this may be pushing it a bit if they are used everyday.  Most pillows now come with an expiry date written on them…
– Buy new sheets!  I love Kip & Co, and Bed Bath and Table are having a sale right now that you just can’t miss.  I just purchased 1200 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets.  I usually buy sheets once a year as our Valentines Day gift.  I also love Country Road throw rugs, and it’s nice to have a few on the bed, or ones just for summer and just for winter…
Quick Poll
What is in your bedside tables?
I tend to use the drawers for my bra’s and undies, then books and lip balm and my iPad.  What about you?

The Organised Domestic Housewifey Challenge – the Walk in Robe

I’ve decided to keep going with the jobs that are the most work, instead of having a flow to this. For example, it would make sense for me to tackle the wet area’s, I’m continuing to just take on the biggest and hardest area’s of the home, so once these are done it’s going to be a breeze. In theory. My next stop is the Walk In Robe, and I have a lot to do here. So less time blogging about it, more time doing it. You can read my previous post on this, when I did a big spring clean – to help with organising this space; http://awomanslifestyle.com/2013/09/26/spring-cleaning-your-wardrobe

I hope you find some clothing pieces you have forgotten about to make this worthwhile!

The Organised Domestic Housewifey Challenge – The Ensuite

I decided to tackle the ensuite next.  Still a big job, but not as big as the Kitchen, thank goodness!

You will Need: 

Paper Towel
Pine-o-cleen / Dettol Wipes
Vinegar and Water in a spray bottle
Toilet Cleaner
Ajax
Windex

Checklist

– Fill sinks with Ajax and then Warm Water, and leave to soak.

– Fill your toilet with the toilet cleaner / bleach and leave to soak

image

– I cleaned out my cupboards first, which meant removing everything, cleaning down the shelves and cleaning everything before it went back in, in a more orderly fashion.  Usually I have all of my creams, and perfumes, deodorant etc packed away, so nothing looks like a messy display, but I found that they are hard to access and I’m just not using them.  The more and more busy I become the beauty routine gets scaled back further and further, so just by having these now easy to grab, I am able to get back to my usual beauty routine and make sure I’m using the beautiful products I buy daily.
– Clean the shower and mirrors with Vinegar and Water, and finish with a Glass Cleaner, such as Windex

image

– Use Nifty or Ajax, or your preferred surface cleaner, to clean the face of the cupboards and the bathroom bench top

– Update your towels, or wash and dry your towels

– Thoroughly clean your floors.  This time (I needed to get some breastmilk splotches off mine!  How embarrassing!) I used the Pine-o-cleen wipes.

– Wipe down the surfaces of your toilet, including the base of your toilet.  I use the antibacterial wipes for this as well.

– Wipe down the wall tiles, light switch and bath (if you have one), as well as the towel racks, toilet roll holders etc.

– The next time you shower, use a scourer to get rid of any dirt, grime or mould build up.  Get rid of the products you are keeping in your shower that you aren’t using, and take the opportunity to replace your shaver head, looters, dry brushes etc.

Extra things to Consider…

– I keep a tub of all the cleaning products I use for the ensuite, in the ensuite, so I use them more regularly.  I will upload a picture of this when I do the laundry clean out.  By having every product I use available to me, I find that I can spot clean and keep the bathroom up to date without any excuses.  It’s not hard to buy two or three of everything to have them in each wet area, you are always going to use the products anyway and it ensures that you never run out of something, when you have a few backs up handy.

– Cheap tubs can be bought anywhere, so you can store all types of different products and keep them easy to reach. I bought a cheap pack and kept the big one, and gave hubby the two smaller tubs for his side. I bought a large one from IKEA for my hair appliances and products, so I can just lift this out each time I’m doing my hair. Howard’s Storage World also has so many options.

– I am waiting on a few of my cleaning supplies to arrive from my Mumgo or Grocery Run order.  I love the White King products, their Toilet Bleach Gel, as well as their wipes which they have designated for the toilet, shower, glass screens and other wet area’s.   Kleenex also have a huge range which I love as well.  Will upload a picture of all of these when they arrive too.

The Organised Domestic Housewifey Challenge – The Kitchen

As I have previously posted, I am starting the Organised Domestic Housewifey Challenge to get your home into shape and running smoothly before February!  It’s where I will be completely revamping and cleaning a room a day for as long as it takes to make me feel and make you feel like your living space is brand new, in less than two weeks.

We are having a big 30th birthday bash for my hubby at the end of January and I am having it completely catered (eeeek exciting!!) so I am focusing on getting the house ready for guests, as good an excuse as any to do a thorough clean.

So I had a good think about which room in the house to start with.  It had to motivate us to keep going.  It had to be the best place in your house to reap that initial reward of your hard work.  It has to be the heart of your home.

And then I realised the room was the Kitchen.  And it is a massive job.  Like this is a mammoth task, I feel like this is a mammoth post.  Please don’t be put off by either.  The next posts won’t be this long, and I can guarantee once you have done this to your kitchen, you are going to want to keep going with the rest of your home.  AND you are going to be happier to cook in the space you have.  I just walked into my pantry before and I thought ‘ahhhh so niiiiice!’ So worth it.

Nooooo.

So I got to work.  It took me a little longer than one day, but if I can get this done over two days, with a Toddler and a Baby, you can too!

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

Here is the checklist…

Pre Start

– Put all dirty dishes in the dishwasher and turn it on (or the equivalent of cleaning and drying dishes if you don’t have one) You want to have everything put in its place so you don’t clean and have to find room for everything that was in the dishwasher later.
– Fill sink with hot soapy water.
– I am a firm believer that your kitchen has to flow for you to enjoy using it.  You need to seriously and strategically think what function your Kitchen has.  I’m a big believer that the Kitchen is meal prep only, so to be a dumping ground for anything else (keys, wallet, bills) is a no no for me, so I don’t have area’s in my kitchen set up for that.
I have in the drawers and cupboards near my coffee machine and kettle, tea bags, tea cups, mugs and anything I can easily grab that I might need to use to make a hot beverage.
There are meal prep area’s, appliance storage area’s, saucepans near the oven, and utensils near the stove.  Before you start, have a good think of where you want everything to be.  If it doesn’t flow well and you want to completely re hash the area, the best idea is to pull everything out of the kitchen so it’s empty, wipe down and every surface and then gradually put everything back into its new place.  You need the bench space to do kitchen work, but it should also be a beautiful workable space.  A sparse kitchen may give you a good mental space to prep, but I believe in having a beautiful environment, and I also believe in having appliances accessible so you will use them more.

You Will Need

Paper Towel
Sponges
Spray and Wipe / Windex / Jif
Vinegar and Water in a spray bottle
Stainless Steel Cleaner (Spray or Wipes)
Pine-o-cleen / Dettol Wipes

Checklist

I like to start from the top down, so then I don’t clean the floor four times before I’m finished.

Upper Cupboards
Remove all items from inside the upper cupboards
Wipe down the cupboards, including the face and inside face of the doors.
Restack and rehash your cupboards
Wipe down the top of the fridge, the face of the fridge, and give your rangehood a good clean

Bench Tops
Remove everything from your bench tops.
Wipe down your bench tops thoroughly.  I used the hot soapy water, then spray and wipe followed by the water again.
Wash your splashback thoroughly.  I have glass so I used hot soapy water, then spray and wipe, followed by windex, followed by vinegar and water spray.  It’s a lot, but it is sparkling!
Clean down your stovetop.  If you have glass, I would do the same as I did for the glass splashback.  If you have stainless steel, I would sponge it down, clean it with vinegar and water, then finish with a stainless steel cleaner.
Clean your oven.  Wipe down the outside and clean the inside with a good wipe down as well.
Wash everything on your benchtops, and place them back onto the bench.  Re-hash if necessary.
– Fill your sinks with some bleach and water and leave to soak for a short period of time so they come up sparkling.

Lower Cupboards
Remove everything, cupboard by cupboard, drawer by drawer
Wash down the cupboards, including the faces of the cupboards and drawers
Clean appliances and place back into cupboards, organising them as you go
Bin / Give Away / Sell anything you haven’t used in awhile.  If there are appliances you don’t use anymore, it’s time to hit up gumtree or give them away.
Take out the insert in your cutlery drawer and give it a good wash.  We put clean cutlery in this drawer and forget that it tends to get quite dirty, and we are putting that straight in our mouths.

IMG_7333

Utensil Drawer AFTER

Utensil Drawer AFTER

– Your tupperware cupboard / drawer, and the cupboard / drawer under your sink, tend to be a catchment area for crap, they can fill up and look messy really quickly, and be a real frustration point in your kitchen.  There is no way to solve this, but my best advice is to keep both area’s to a minimum.  Remove anything you don’t use and find another place for it or get rid of it entirely.  No point wasting precious storage space for things that don’t get used, or rubbishy things like excess plastic bags and old containers.

Cupboard under sink - BEFORE

Cupboard under sink – BEFORE

Cupboard under sink - AFTER

Cupboard under sink – AFTER

Pantry
Remove everything from your pantry
- Wipe down the shelves, including the pantry door
Remove expired items before putting them back in the pantry
Group items in your pantry.  In my case I have alcohol, baking, dinner items (such as pasta, rice quinoa), breakfast items (such as spreads, toast, breads and cereals) and a snack tub.  Howards Storage World has great solutions for your pantry needs, including these great tubs, that can be stacked on top of each other.

Pantry Before and After

Pantry Before and After – totally ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’ now…  Only the people who have seen this old Julia Roberts film know what I’m talking about!

Fridge
Remove everything from your fridge
Wipe down the shelves, including the pull out fridge drawers
Remove expired items before putting them back in the fridge
– Keep healthy snacks, like your fruit and veg visible.  You’ll eat more, so they won’t go off more in the tub.  And it’s healthier for you.  Win win.  I keep mine in a large colander on the shelf that’s at my eye level and it works really well.

Freezer
Remove everything from your freezer
Wipe down the shelves, including the pull out drawers
Remove expired items before putting them back
Invest in a sharpie and proper storage bags, so you know what your frozen stuff is and how long it’s been in there for.

I love my kitchen, but it hasn’t always had all this storage space.  What helped hugely (other than putting in the top row of cupboards) was buying a hall stand and a buffet table, both kept out of the kitchen.  The hall stand houses keys, wallets, sunglasses and bits and bobs, like bills, that usually end up on the kitchen counter.  The buffet houses an entire crockery set, some cookbooks, my good cutlery and placemats and coasters.  It is so handy t0 have right near the dinner table, as it makes setting it a breeze, and I gained THREE drawers from the one small furniture item.

Extra things to consider…
– heavy items should not be kept in high or hard to reach places
– See through cabinets have to be immaculate.  That’s why glass wear works so well for this space.  Dark items in these cupboards especially will just mess up the feel and look of the kitchen.  So show off your gorgeous champagne and wine glasses.
– Clean your bin.
– Clean your lighting, such as pendant lights.
– Replace your sponge and replace it regularly.  There is nothing mankier.  Ugh.

Kitchen - AFTER

Kitchen – AFTER

Kitchen - AFTER

Kitchen – AFTER

AWL Book Club – January Edition


Zoe Sugg Girl Online

I went with a Lifestyle blog, and hence the ‘Lifestyle’ name, because there was SO much I wanted to blog about, it didn’t fit in the ‘food’ ‘fashion’ or ‘reading’ categories.  So you get a jumbled mix of everything and anything that’s happening in my life.

This year, I’m trying to read at least 12 books.  Can you believe one year I read over 70!!  Yes, I’m a book-worm from way back and I do get a bit upset when I don’t have a book on my nightstand, or worse still, when it’s been sitting there untouched for months and months on end.

Sigh.  And so is the life of a Mother.

However, to help me and motivate me to get my reading mojo back, I will be posting about my reads.  I used to be in a Book Club and my inner (and not so inner) nerd LOVE these clubs, because I love talking about novels.  I just adore novels!  So if you like the look of the book I choose each month, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE for you to read along with me and let me know what you think.

I am starting with a very easy read to throw me into the reading lifestyle again!  Believe it or not my nieces are reading this book right now, and because I like to try to stay up to date with everything, especially the stuff that they are going through and dealing with, I asked if I could borrow a copy.  What a world I was opened up to just by researching this book!  I had no idea that vlogging was HUGE – I know Where Have I Been – and that this girl has close to 5 million followers!  If only it was this easy to get a book deal!  You can read more about Zoe Sugg on wikipedia here, or you can follow her video blog by signing up here.  Synopsis of the book is here.  So this is what my teenage and tweenage nieces are doing when they are on their iPads.  I’m not going to lie, I have scrolled through a few video’s and it’s fascinating viewing.  The world of vlogging is fascinating and eye opening.  But anyway, enough talking about it, I’m going to get reading…  An easy teen read is a good start I think.

Will let you know what I think of it in a month :)