Last night I went to my friend Gill’s house for the evening. I love her place. It’s so welcoming, so reassuringly normal, about as far from Bonkers as you can get. It’s not just that it’s deliciously warm, it’s beautifully clean. Ordered. Uncluttered. But above all clean. Her kitchen gleams. No really, it glitters like a vampire’s skin. You can see the wood on her table. Open her fridge and you don’t recoil in disgust. There is no gloopy alien lifeforce colonising her cooker.
It was late when I got home so I didn’t really notice the house much, except for tripping over a pile of something someone had thoughtfully left on the stairs. Why didn’t I see it? Because there's no light on the stairs. Having hurled your entire body weight against the door to shoulder your way in (you wonder why I work out? I need the muscles), you are then plunged into darkness the moment you slam it shut and have to feel your way up two flights of stairs (incidentally passing the Loo of Doom and the Cellar of Spirits – renamed after Lorraine’s visit – and barging your way through the partying entities). Once through the door into the kitchen, you move from pitch darkness to a forgiving penumbra (there are lights but half the bulbs don’t work). Anyhow, shadows hide a multitude of sins.
But this morning, in the unforgiving glare of cool low winter sun? Oh hell. We live in a pigsty. And, given our homes reflect our minds, that what we see around us mirrors our inner world? Oh dear. L
So. I got cleaning. I know, I know. I was shocked too. But I hauled James off the Xbox, armed him with a timely sponge and pointed him in the right direction (ie told him to spin round, pick a spot, any spot, and start scrubbing). Now then, is there anything more beautiful than the sight of a teenage boy on his hands and knees, cleaning? Okay, so you do have to put up with the whole underpants showing over the low-slung jean thing (does ANYONE get that?) but hey…
Incidentally, do your children clean? My mother was adamant that all boys should know how to clean, cook and do the laundry. Just as she believed girls should be able to fix cars and use a drill. She said she’d never forgive herself for bringing up a man who couldn’t fend for himself; who expected women to do all the domestic work.
I’m following her lead. James is a good cook; is handy with mop, duster, scrubbing brush and vacuum cleaner. I’ve taught him the fine art of reading clothing labels and he can sort of iron (because that’s all his teacher can do).
Anyhow. The cleaning was actually relatively pleasant because we’d been given a whole bunch of Greenscents products to try out. Greenscents are a local company who make household products with absolutely no chemical nasties.
I didn’t think I’d get excited about cleaning products but really these are pretty fabulous. I love them mainly because they smell divine – I’m hard pressed to choose between the mint and the citrus scent for general cleaning. Lavender always wins me over in the laundry department. Even Adrian’s a convert. He reckons the wood floor cleaner is ‘the business’. ‘Tell ‘em I like the smell,’ he says. ‘And it does a really good job.’
Yes, I’m plugging these guys, I freely admit it. There are several reasons.
1. I like local. I like to support small businesses, particularly those that give a damn about the environment.
2. I don’t like harsh chemical cleaners. I don’t like what they could potentially do to my family’s health and I don’t like what they do to the environment.
3. They’re damn good products. They do the job and make your home smell nice.
They are more expensive than the stuff you get in Tesco or whatever but I think they’re worth the extra. Will I continue using them when this lot is finished? Yes, I think so. £2.50 for washing up liquid is a bit steep but the laundry liquid is a total keeper. At £4.75 it’s around the price of the conventional stuff and it washes a treat. I don’t usually use fabric conditioner – it’s a hangover from when my son was small and had appalling skin problems (conditioner can exacerbate eczema etc). But I’m hooked now on all our stuff smelling so damn…fresh. However, if essential oils cause irritation (and they can – natural isn’t always the answer!) there is also an unscented range.
Sheesh, all this domestic goddessery and nice housewifery business is a bit alarming. Time to strip off the pinny and get back to my usual slatternly ways.
If you want to find out more about greenscents, check out their website – www.greenscents.co.uk