Body & Fitness

Grandma’s household hints that really work

Our Green Goddess, Wendyl Nissen, shares some handy domestic hints your grandmother forgot to tell you about.

I was sorting out my old books of recipes and hints (of which I have about 200) and came across an old Australian Women’s Weekly from 1978 which had an article called “The household hints grandmother forgot to tell you”.

I thought I would share some of them with you.

Say goodbye to housefly

Mix together 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, and 30g of cream. Put in a place where flies congregate.

To darken eyebrows

Use sage tea with a few drops of olive oil. Alternatively, I use dried sage leaves. Crush the leaves and mix with oil.

To clean dirt and grease-covered hands

Rub with coffee grounds.

Corn cure

Soak some young ivy leaves in vinegar for a few hours, then tie one of the leaves over the corn with a piece of thread. Change the leaves at night and int he morning, in a few days the corn can be lifted.

Stop doors squeaking

Rub with dry soap.

To take wine stains out of linen

Hold the item in milk while it is simmering on the stove – the stain will soon disappear.

To whiten linen

Crush eggshells and tie in a calico bag. Boil with the yellowed linen.

Nail solutions are at your fingertips

Some commercial nail polishes use toluene and formaldehyde, both of which are highly toxic and can cause headaches, nausea, asthma, rashes and throat irritation. I dislike the smell, as does everyone I know. There are alternatives to nail polish, such as buffing your nails with a buffer you can buy at the chemist.

Nail polish addicts will know that all those chemicals can take a toll on their nails and cuticles, so it is important to give them polish-free days. On those days, apply my nail replenisher to make up for the drying effect of the polish and remover.

Nail replenisher

2 tbsp wheatgerm oil

1 capsule vitamin E oil

Mix the oils together. Rub into the fingernails and cuticles every night before bed for a week.

Nail Whitener

To get any stains off your nails and make them a nice white, get some hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) from the chemist. Use a cotton ball to rub some of the liquid on your nails.

Polishing Paste

25g white blackboard chalk (like teachers used to use)

1 tbsp baking soda

Olive oil

Crush the chalk into a fine powder (I use a mortar and pestle), then add the baking soda and mix to a paste with the oil. Put some paste on a soft cloth and rub gently back and forth over your nails. Store in an airtight jar. This paste is great to use before buffing your nails as it will bring them up to a brilliant shine all on its own.

Nana’s retro recipe

Bread Sauce

It’s taken me a while to latch onto this traditional addition to any British Christmas Day meal. I’ve been making the sauce, then breaking an egg into it, popping the saucepan lid on and waiting until the egg is cooked and the sauce starts getting a golden crust. It is usually served with roasted poultry but it also tastes delicious with a side of bacon.

900ml full fat milk

25g butter

1 onion, peeled and chopped

8 whole cloves

8 black peppercorns

2 sage sprigs

2 bay leaves

½ tsp nutmeg

300g white bread (sourdough is perfect), torn into 2cm pieces

1 Put the milk into a saucepan with the butter, onion, cloves, peppercorns, sage, bay leaves and nutmeg.

2 Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes so that the flavours infuse the milk.

3 Strain the milk and return to the pan. Add the bread to the milk and cook on a medium heat. Stir until the bread absorbs the milk and the sauce is the consistency of scrambled eggs. Serve with roast chicken or turkey.

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