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Hints, tips and information on many subjects including stain removal, ways to save money, DIY, car maintenance and motoring, hobbies, pets and animals, parenting, childcare, beauty and makeup, gardening, music, home making, finance, jobs etc.

Plan – to provide the answers

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“Hints and Things is my way of trying to share all those little pearls
of wisdom
that used to be passed from generation to generation

June Jackson

20th Anniversary

2000 – 2020

For all those pet matters and any animal related subjects, visit the KennelWhy not come out to the garden for tips and advice on many subjects relating to gardening and natureFor all things musical this is your placeIf it is culinary information you need e.g. recipes, shortcuts, weights and measure etc.My Games room includes puzzles, brain teasers, game cheats and much much moreFor hints and things for everyday life try hereBathroom contains information, hints, tips and advice on things such as hair, make-up, beauty, weight and much much moreFor reference matters try the libraryFor all those stain removal, cleaning and laundry tips everyone lovesThe workshop contains hints,tips, and information on DIY, hobbies and crafts Visit the garage for many hints and things relating to cars and motoringIf it doesn't belong in any other room, try here!For information, hints, tips, advice and help relating to raising children including games, nursery rhymes etc., to keep them amusedAnother great reference room with many subjects covered from small business and home finance to reference resources

In order to help you locate the information, hint or tip you are looking for, we have used a house plan format with information being placed in the most appropriate room. With so much information it is hard to give an indication of each rooms contents but hover over a room and a list of the hints and tips that you may find will appear. Of course you can always just search Hints and Things by using the search link below

Hi there, thanks for popping in, just click on the appropriate room in
the above plan OR the
room name at the head of each section below to be taken to a list of the articles available
within that section. There are 800+ pages within the site so it is impossible to mention everything but
that is the fun of it, go and explore you never know what you
may find behind the door.

If you are looking for something in
particular use the search facility
below to search the whole site.


Beauty tips
, health, exercise, make-up and bathroom DIY, accessories

How to make the
most of your make up


Bronzer is sort of a wonder product when it comes to different uses.
First off, you can use bronzer to create the illusion of thin legs; all
you have to do is apply a little bronzer on your calves and thighs, and
you’ve got skinnier-looking legs.

Brunettes can really
appreciate bronzer as a hair product because dusting a little over the
head creates a beautiful shiny effect.

One more thing you can do
with bronzer is mix it with matte nail polish to create sparkling finger
nails. Just don’t go overboard when mixing in the bronzer!

read more


Garden, gardening,
plants and planting, garden structures, hard landscaping, hot

gardening tips

such as …….

A piece of wood placed upright
in a plastic water barrel will prevent the barrel splitting when it freezes.

An old plastic sweet jar
(available from most sweetshops) makes an ideal propagator.  Lay sweet jar
horizontally and place plant tray inside.  Replace lid.

To “age” new garden
statues, smear with natural yoghurt.  Algae will quickly cover the item making it
look older.

Coffee grounds are high in nitrogen so good as
plant fertiliser.

Banana skins around roses gives them a boost.

Cola around plants also give them a boost.

gardening tips…….


Cars, vehicles, motoring, fuel,
driving, car maintenance.

What to look out
for when buying used cars


This is always a mine field and nothing guarantees success
but there are a few things to look out for before parting with your hard earned cash.

Read the whole

Should you buy new or used?

To avoid MOT re-test charges for minor reasons check lights,
windscreen wipers, tyre condition and pressure, seatbelts and
that all doors open and close correctly BEFORE getting the MOT.

There is also information on what to look
out for when buying a used car, a
fuel conversion chart
, and
fuel saving tips


Soft furnishing, furniture, decor, entertaining,
cocktails, decluttering,
storage, weddings.

Storage Ideas

Flat topped
trunks, storage cases, boxes with lids
, can double up as coffee
tables and storage.

If this is to be frequently used as a
table it would be best used to store items that are not required
too often otherwise it may be slightly inconvenient.

It is
also important to remember not to store any items that can harm
children e.g. craft items, unless it can be locked.

Read the rest of the
to find out other useful storage ideas……


The living room section also contains some more unusual pieces
covering subjects such as
to avoid accidents in the home
how to serve cocktails
non-alcoholic cocktails



Pet, animal and bird related
information, hints,
and tips as well as some more unusual articles such as lists of
Collective Nouns
and special pages for more inventive
collective nouns many of which have been contributed
by visitors.

Aadvarks to Butterflies
Car mechanics to
Dung beetles

Editors to

Hair stylists to

Magicians to

Painters to Rock

Sailors to System

Talk show hosts
to Urbanites

Vampires to


You can make a dog
basket out of an old suitcase by cutting off the lid.
Paint the base ensuring any paint used is safe for pets.
Make a pillow case from some pretty fabric e.g. old
curtains or duvet covers. Put the pillow case on an old
pillow or cushion and place this in the newly painted
base.   Hey presto – a unique and economical
dog bed.


Books, reference,
language, words, spelling, learning,
countries, capital cities, currency,
differences between
American and British English

name pronunciation
and much, much more.


(a word or phrase that reads the same backward as forward) –

Neil, a trap! Sid is part alien!

Was it a rat I saw?

So many dynamos

Lager, sir, is regal

Go hang a salami, Bob, I’m a Lasagna hog

More Mnemonics,
Palindromes and word related items of interest.

How to make
paper look old and other book related tips.


Some libraries are now ‘self service’. Unless you remember to
press ‘receipt wanted’ you go off without any note of a return
by date.

Notable dates and
bank holidays for 2020.


interviews, business, paper
sizes, property, finance etc.


There are
several articles on the
complex subject of insurance within Hints and Things.  Home
and general insurance can be found in the ‘Office’
or ‘Library‘ section and those covering motor and vehicle
insurance can be found in the Garage section.

Paper Sizes – A lot of us are familiar with A4 size paper
(some of us even remember Quarto and Foolscap), but  what about the less common sizes
such as A1, B2, C5, executive, legal, letter, Government Legal etc.?

How to avoid home working


Indoor, outdoor and online games; sports and puzzles.

Tips on how
to improve your golf

Here are a few tips which may help to improve your
golf but I make no promises:-

To help get your balance right practice by standing
on two bricks (one under each foot).

To improve the speed of your stroke
practice with a
bamboo cane instead of a golf club – the cane allows you to hear the speed of your swing.

If you place your golf bag close to your side this
will help to correct exaggerated hip movement.

The Games Room also has other
useful information such as:

to Set Up a Dartboard

9 Ball Pool Trick Shots

Number magic


In the middle of cooking and find you don’t have a specific
ingredient, sometimes there is a suitable alternative you can
use, e.g.

Need sour milk or cream  

Just add a tablespoon of
lemon juice or white vinegar
to each half pint of fresh milk or cream and stand at
room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Or use natural yoghurt or

Recipe requires self raising flour and you only have plain. 

Plain flour can be used
with the addition of
baking powder.   The amount to add varies depending
upon what is being cooked, however, a usual amount would be 1 level
teaspoon of baking powder to 4oz. flour.

substitute suggestions

How to make a
little go a long way.

Release juices from a hard lemon by microwaving
on high for a maximum of 30 seconds.

Don’t rinse raw meat or poultry under the tap
before cooking as bacteria can splash on surfaces and/or
utensils. Correct cooking will kill anything untoward.


Bedroom related information and all other sundries
including travel, weddings, party tips, shopping and fashion.


To check if an item is real amber drop it in a glass
of cola.  If it floats it is amber but if it sinks it is

To make it easier to untangle a knotted necklace chain, dip it in a little cooking or baby oil.

Re-string a bead necklace or bracelet using fishing line, which is easy to thread, inconspicuous and very strong.

If you drop and can’t find a small earring or fastener, secure a piece cut from an old pair of tights/pantyhose over the end of your vacuum cleaner pipe with a rubber band. Vacuum over the area and the earring will stick to the tights/pantyhose.

More of the

10 girly
holiday holiday tips


parenting, rhymes, education, training, head lice,
development, children and child care.


Have a sheet of paper laminated (this can be done very cheaply),
and then this can be used over and over again if used with dry
wipe marker pens. This is especially useful when travelling or

To help young children to change quickly from shoes to plimsolls
(pumps, daps, gym shoes, trainers – whatever they are called in
your part of the world); use elastic instead of laces.

To get children to divide something fairly, let one child cut
the item in question and then let the other child have the first
choice as to which piece they want.


Some children these days seem to have a lot of
toys, some of which never see the light of day.  To keep
children interested and to get the best out of their toys divide
them into two different toy boxes and rotate them every two or
three weeks.

To encourage finicky eaters put a variety of
food in a dish to make it interesting for them.  For
instance you could use an ice cube tray and put things such as
nuts, raisins, currents, cheese etc. into each compartment.

Pieces of bread soaked in milk and baked in the
oven until crisp, make ideal rusks especially for babies that
are teething.  As well as being cheap they have the added
bonus of no added sugar.

More of these tips can be found

Unfortunately, cyberbulling and
seems to be getting worse,
check these pages out f
or some ways to deal with the problem
and so very useful resources from experts on the subject.


Pepper neutraliser
– to take the sting out of your hands after handling chilli
peppers, rub in surgical spirit.

Windowsill cleaner – To brighten up rain spotted
or discoloured wooden windowsills, wipe with a soft cloth and
little surgical spirit diluted with water.

Bathroom cleaner – surgical spirit will remove
hair spray from mirrors and restore the shine on chrome taps.

Crystal/Porcelain cleaner – carefully clean
delicate crystal and porcelain objects with a cloth dampened
with surgical spirit.

Stainless Steel cleaner – use
surgical spirit to remove spots from stainless steel.


*When using bamboo skewers on a BBQ or grill,
soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before using to
prevent them catching fire.

*Stop meat sticking on barbecues by wiping some
cooking oil over the bars with kitchen paper BEFORE the grill
gets hot.

*Light coals well ahead of time and pile them up
towards one side of the tray as this provides an area on which
to cook items more slowly or to keep them warm.

*Do not keep turning or touching meat on
barbecues.  Leave to cook on one side for about 60% of the
time before turning and cooking the other side for the remaining

*To remove a white ring on furniture, cover
stain with dry, clean cloth and iron over the stain using a dry
iron on a MEDIUM setting.

*Hydrangeas are renowned for drooping once
picked they can, however, be revived by placing them upside down
in deep water for 3 hours.

*To remove bird droppings from vehicle body work
put some undiluted shampoo onto the droppings;  leave for a
few minutes then was the vehicle in the usual way.

*To freeze fruit, skin bananas, wash berries and
put lemon juice on apples and pears (prevents browning).

*To make your own sun dried tomatoes cut
tomatoes in quarters and remove seeds.  Place in a single
layer in a NON metallic dish (tomatoes react with metal).
Cover with cling film, pierce holes in the film and leave in
direct sunlight.


One of the most
useful musical mnemonic I have ever come across;

Down  And
Ends Battle

or even in reverse.

Ends, And
Goes  Charles’

music notation explained.

3 things to consider before
buying your first acoustic guitar.


DIY, decorating, tools, refurbishment, tradesmen, security,
hobbies and crafts etc.

Money Saving Tips

We all know that one of the cheapest and yet
most effective ways to
save money
and energy
and yet keep your home warm, is to buy insulation
such as loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. There are,
however, many other things we can do to
save on heating

Did you know that a cut side of a raw potato can
be used to remove rust?


clear instructions, including illustrations, on how to deep

clean an Aga
or other range cooker.

, laundry, home
and stain removal.

*If you place half a cup of bi-carbonate of soda (baking
soda) in the washing machine with your detergent
brightens and whitens.

*Soaking in salt prior to washing prevents colours

*Try removing stains on upholstery using white vinegar
then use a small amount of foam from a soapy liquid on a
clean, white cloth and leave to dry.

*Clean canvas shoes with dilute washing up liquid (hand
dishwashing liquid) and an old toothbrush. Rinse with
clear water.  Pack with paper and leave to dry.

Other uses for Tumble Dryer Sheets*

are the fabric conditioner sheets used in tumble dryers.

To remove baked on food from a
pan, fill with very hot water and one dryer sheet and leave to soak for
an hour or two.  Pour off the water, toss the sheet and wipe out the pan.  All
the baked on food comes off easily.  If it does not come clean, leave to soak

Thank you
“bluejayfoxy” and also Doreen and Craig Stocker

When cleaning dust and animal
hair from free standing fans, window unit air conditioner filters or venetian blinds, use
a dryer sheet.  It not only removes dust and hair faster, but after
prolonged use it creates a protective coating on the wires of the fan for even easier dust

George, Doreen and Craig Stocker

Dust your television and
computer screens with a used dryer sheet as this will reduce the static and prevent dust

Clean shower doors with a used
dryer sheet to dissolve soap scum.


1:  If you knit first and last stitches of knit row and purl first and last stitches of purl row it will produce a firm edge and ease the toils of sewing up.

2:  Yarn should never be knotted.  Always add yarn at the beginning of a row, ends can be sewn in later.

3:  Neck bands and ‘V’ necks
Always pick up the stitches with a finer needle even than that which is going to be used for the ribbing as this will avoid holes.

4:  Striped knitting – Always change the colour on a knit row.  This will avoid the two colours mixing on the right side.

More detailed knitting tips.


An instant and inexpensive way to rejuvenate old pine
floorboards, kitchen units, wooden furniture and wall
claddings etc.

A fashionable “distressed” or “weathered”
look can be achieved by using gloss paint which has been thinned
down with white spirits.

Cream, white, pale green and blues are the
most successful colours.

Wear rubber gloves and protect your
clothing and surrounding area when applying the paint as this
thinned down solution is inclined to drip everywhere.

Method – mix 2 parts gloss paint to 1 part
white spirit.

Prepare the woodwork by stripping off the
old paint and sanding down any rough surfaces. Wipe clean and

Work on a small area of approximately
3ft/1m area at a time

Apply the paint mix with a wide brush.

Allow this paint to sink into the wood
(about 5 minutes)

Soak a rag in white spirit and wring out

Use this cloth to rub off excess paint
from the newly painted area.

Allow to dry, then sand any uneven paint
streaks and patches to give a uniform look.

When choosing wall paint colours, instead of just painting
small areas onto a wall, paint a whole test pot onto some lining
paper.  This can then be moved to different areas of the
room to see how the colour looks in all types of light.

Richard Keane, one of my
site visitors, has kindly contributed the following tips which
were passed on to him by a ‘pro’ :

1. Between sessions of painting with gloss/oil based products
keep the brush from hardening by immersing it in water for the
full length of the bristles. It works – a little shake to rid it
of droplets and off you go again.

2. Keep rollers between sessions in Pringles tubes – obviously
only if the tube can be closed tightly with the original lid.


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updated on 4th January, 2020

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