HIRE STAFF Owen Muir’s other company, Mrs Hunt’s Agency (020 7937 1788), can provide you with permanent or temporary staff Perfect if you want a lady who knows how to iron, launder and mend. It is also an excellent number to keep handy for cooks, butlers, waiting staff and housekeepers.
MEND YOUR WINDOWS There is a company called the Sash Window Workshop (01344 868668), that can overhaul, draught-proof, replace and double-glaze windows. The overhaul leaves you with sash windows that make an expensive “whoosh” sound rather than that all-too familiar rattle. And after paying to get them mended, don’t forget to get a window cleaner in, too.
FACE UP TO YOUR DESK Don’t be intimidated by the mountain of paper and unopened brown envelopes on your desk call Hire Intelligence to sort it all out for you (020 8487 9450). This excellent company will organise your life, download your address book on to your computer, book your travel arrangements, arrange your bills, and leave you with a working filing system.
HAVEYOUR CARPETS CLEANED Arrange for the carpets to be cleaned while you are away for Easter and, while you’re at it, have industrial cleaners wash all the walls and woodwork. Owen Muir (see above) can arrange this, and Hire Intelligence (see above) can even arrange Owen Muir…
BIN OLD POT POURRI AND ALMOST-FINISHED CANDLES and delight in replenishing them all. Current fabulous candles are Comme des Garcons’ Palisander and Diptyque’s Violette and Narcissus candles (best burned together).
CLEAN DUSTY CANDLES Do this with a little white spirit on a cloth and remove the black smoke from around the top of the glass. It is amazing how manky candles get. If their wicks have got lost in the wax and old matches have disappeared into the mix, then for goodness’ sake throw them away.
ARM YOURSELF WITH SPONTEX There are two essential tools for any spring-clean, both by Spontex. The first is called Window Wonder, a green cloth that cleans glass beautifully without using a product. You dampen it and it wipes off grime from your computer screen, pictures, the oven door or windows, without leaving Gnet any smears. It is amazing. The other is called Rub Out, and is a white block that removes marks from walls as if by magic.
RE-HANG YOUR PICTURES –and clean the glass in the frames at the same time. Spontex Window Wonder cloth is perfect for this.
HAVE YOUR SOFA CUSHIONS REUPHOLSTERED Very often a sad-looking sofa just needs its seat cushions replaced. Eighty per cent down and 20 per cent feather is a very good stuffing.
CLEAR OUT YOUR BOOKSHELVES Take any books that you don’t care about to a charity shop, making way for new reading. Use any gaps you have to wedge box frames of photographs or pictures between books. David Linley does a great box frame.
IMPROVE YOUR BEDROOM LIGHTING Bedroom lighting is often very bad, ranging from drab to austere. If yours falls into this category, you need to go shopping. Pretty lamps and good shades are essential to the overall loveliness of a bedroom. Light must be golden and not surgical. Shades should never be lined in white; instead, for bedrooms, use champagne hues.
CELEBRATE SPRING WITH FLOWERS Choose jugloads of daffodils and paper whites. Hyacinths are divine, too, and if you can find them in some of the more unusual colours, so much the better.
BUY CHEERFUL CERAMIC FLOWER NIGHTLIGHT HOLDERS from The Cross. A yellow one is perfect for a mantelpiece, or use masses of them in mixed colours down the dining table.
BUY UP BEAUTIFUL BOTTLES AND GET A STASH OF OLIVE-OIL DRIZZLERS Find the bottles at markets and get the drizzlers from any cookshop, then decant everything that comes in a nasty bottle or carton: milk, olive oil and washing-up liquid.
GET IN A STOCK OF FUNKIN FRUIT PUREES AND HALF OR QUARTER BOTTLES OF CHAMPAGNE These purees (strawberry, white peach, raspberry and passion fruit) are utterly delicious and perfect for Bellinis. Having drinks with friends before lunch or dinner at the weekends.