- If you pick things up off the floor and clean it you can get away with a multitude of sins. A hoovered rug looks like you care and the dusty skirting boards don't seem to show.
- Lots of lamps and candles beat overhead light every time: better for wrinkles, better for dust and piles of stuff, warm, atmospheric and kindly.
- If in doubt, cook something. The smell of a roasting chicken or a lemon cake coming out of the oven makes a far bigger impact than a clean washbasin and you can eat it.
- From the age of about 9 children should look after their own rooms. Clearly this means that some rooms will be a bit clean and tidy and some will permanently look like a bomb has hit them. When a room is a disaster hold your nerve. Close the door firmly, get a job or an overwhelming interest and leave the room alone. It will not be tidied by the offending child, or only a little bit when they are desperately looking for something, but it saves you loads of time, it is their responsibility which is good for them, and eventually they will leave home and you can put nine years of detritus in the bin.
- Try very hard not to let piles of stuff get higher than your head. Throwing things away, free cycling them or taking them to the charity shop beats any amount of polishing windows for making you feel good.
- Finally bring flowers inside, preferably from the garden and so in season. The sight and the smell lifts the heart.
I think we will have worked our way through everyone pretty soon but I tag Fennie and Littlebrowndog, if they feel like it.