congregate - family, friends and our two dogs - and where all the decisions are made,” reveals Mary.

“I have collections displayed, from china hens to vintage christening mugs. There are all sorts of easy tricks to making a space more practical. For instance, if you have good quality cupboard doors, fixing spice racks to the back of them is very useful. That’s the perfect dark place to store them, because light causes spices to fade and lose flavour.”

Here are Mary’s top tips: Mary Berry

My Recipe For A Happy Home By Gabrielle Fagan, Press Association

The 82-year-old reveals 10 favourite household tips in her new book, Mary’s Household Tips & Tricks - Your Guide To Happiness In The Home.

“My focus may have been on cooking, but it’s always centred on the home. In my books and TV programmes, I’m always keen on sharing tips to help people,” says the cook.

“This book’s not about creating more work, or telling people what to do, it’s just passing on a collection of tips, things I learnt from my mother, my own ideas gleaned from years of practical experience, as well as helpful hints from friends and family.

“Home should be a place where, if you have a family, they want to visit and can come in and instantly relax,” Mary adds. “We’re very lucky - my husband and I have been married 50 years and don’t really argue - life’s too short. Never let the sun go down on a row is our motto.

“The one thing Paul and I really disagree about is how the house is decorated,” she says. “My husband likes the style he grew up, which isn’t exactly mine! For example, I’ve got tie backs on the curtains, but if I go away, he removes all the tie backs and puts them away in the cupboard. Similarly, he’ll move cushions he dislikes out of sight. Then gradually I put them all back again. It’s a farce really!

“Our kitchen is a practical, attractive space where everyone tends to


1. Sort it out - “My house is tidy but definitely not immaculate! I like to keep on top of things though, so every so often I’ll sort out the chaos in my wardrobe and clear out some clothes. I also clean out kitchen cupboards and drawers every six months - I empty them, use a clean cloth and hot soapy water to wash all surfaces, and dry thoroughly. I’d suggest lining pan drawers with ridged rubber matting (available from online catering companies).”

2. Iron candle wax off a carpet - If wax has got onto a wool carpet, place kitchen roll or grease proof paper on top of the affected area, then iron it. The wax will melt and stick to the paper. (Take care with synthetic carpets as they don’t take well to heat!).

3. Clean your machines - To clean a dishwasher, run a wash with white vinegar. Use around 250ml placed in a container on the bottom rack - just run a normal cycle and it will be like a new machine. For the washing machine, run an empty cycle to clear the drum, and add a cut lemon to a short empty cycle, to keep the machine fresh. To pep up your microwave, put a cut lemon in a bowl of water and microwave on full

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