For someone who associates “clean” with the smell of antiseptic infused with a fruity or flowery fragrance, accepting the fact that “clean” has no true smell was a tough one.
Dishes were deemed clean only if they were slicked with the tell-tale fake lime fragrance from the dishwashing soap, floors had to emit an essence of cinnamon but most importantly, clothes just had to be coated with that fresh flowery scent of fabric softener.
Whilst the fresh fragrances of laundry let me pretend to be one of those women in the commercials, laughing as they hung clothes to dry and have their dreams come true because of their choice of fabric softener, little did I know that all those fragrances were actually toxic.
I am not sure of how much of toxins they leave behind on the fabric but this is about the smell. They were keeping the linen fresh but harming our lungs with their gorgeous fragrances.
This discovery led me to look for natural alternatives. Although I did find a non-toxic brand, the store was not very consistent with stock and the price tag was not very reasonable.
After surprisingly few trial and error, I settled on this recipe. I did not actually come up with the solution but read about another who had but that did not work out for me. The following mix is an altered version of the original that I liked and I call it nearly natural because it still contains some undesirable ingredients in the hair conditioner. You may opt for a natural kind but I used a more economical one; this batch lasts me quite a while and can be mixed in no time at all. I was surprised at how simple this actually turned out to be!
The DIY Nearly Natural Fabric softener contains just 3 basic ingredients: white vinegar, hot water, and hair conditioner
The vinegar is the active ingredient and the hair conditioner is essentially for the fragrance; you can customize the mix till you find what works for you. Try it out and feel free to leave suggestions below.
DIY Nearly Natural Fabric Softener
900ml white vinegar
1.5l hot water
360ml hair conditioner(get a bottle with the exact measurement for ease of use)
An old long handle spoon or a whisk
Funnel(to pour the finished mix into container)
Bottle to store(I used an empty softener bottle but looking out for good glass containers)
Squeeze out all the hair conditioner into the bucket and add the hot water. I pour some water into the empty bottle to shake out any remaining conditioner too but do be careful since it can be too hot to handle. Once the hair conditioner is completely mixed in, add the vinegar and mix again. Let it cool and pour into the bottle using a funnel. Use as regular store-bought fabric softener.
When the clock strikes 5pm, the only cuckoo bird rushing out will be me because it means that I need to have dinner ready in an hour. The temperamental little beings I am nurturing like seeing their hot dinner ready by 6, complain about it till 6:30, pick at it till 7 and start eating it once I turn from Mary Poppins to Professor Snape (I promised them to control my yelling but didn’t make any promises about toning down the glare). This cream of tomato soup is a nourishing but quick recipe that saved one such evening.
Despite their eccentrics, they are kind souls and never fail to give their honest opinions, albeit kindly.
Soup is always a reason for moaning because my eldest does not like certain textures but I knew I was on to a winner when she drank it without a peep. She did tell me not to make it everyday but I’ll take my compliments wherever I can.
Cream of tomato soup with fresh tomatoes
• 8 medium size ripe tomatoes (I used Roma but the vine ripened ones will be even delicious),chopped
• 1 medium onion, sliced
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 carrots, roughly chopped
• Handful of corriander leaves with stalks, chopped
• 1litre of vegetable or chicken stock (use homemade or organic stock)
• 250ml thick cream (you can reduce this according to your palate and dietary requirements)
• Salt to taste
• 2 tbsp regular olive oil
Heat a saucepan with the oil. Add the onions and garlic and let it cook till the onions are golden brown. I let it caramelise a bit because it adds more depth to the flavour.
Throw in the carrots, toss it around for a minute, add the tomatoes and corriander leaves, and pour in the stock. Season it and let it simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Take it off the heat and blitz it with an immersion blender, stir in the cream, correct seasoning and heat it slightly before serving.
You can serve it with a dollop of sour cream or regular thick cream on top but we just had it with a side of toasted bread because this mommy was exhausted to even consider garlic bread or croutons.
1. Say “yes” to the house without remembering that you were only “window-shopping”; sprawling kitchen and a zillion windows are successful enticers.
2. Return to current house in a state of escalating panic at the realisation of the imminent shifting amidst the organisation of a double celebration on a single day for two different personalities.
3. Curse at the lack of space to put things away in current house and be glad of the move.
4. Number and list out the major and minor tasks ahead, and split them up into two. Include the purchasing of essentials such as dainty tea cups to sit amongst the existing but rarely used cups and bottles of essential oils to concoct some potion or the other, for one has all the leisure time in the world.
5. Lose list.
6. Realise the predicament of list when digging through an overstuffed diaper bag.
7. Blame the situation on the spouse as you see fit and jog through the aisles of over scented shops and return with yet another baking pan and more sheets.
8. Experience the dreadful sinking realisation of the things left to pack and gobble up dinners in an effort to begin immediately. Watch through half a season of an enticing contemporary drama and call it a night. Do not blame yourself; you had to learn the fate of the heir of the abbey.
9. Make another list. Tear up list since you forgot to begin with Bismillah.
10. Call your mother to ask a recipe.
11. Sip on decaffeinated coffee, also known as, gunk, and make another list.
12. Send a message to spouse to get boxes. Call to emphasise message and discuss yet another scary piece of legislation in the papers.
13. Begin sorting things meticulously into boxes and tape boxes before labeling them. Stick the printed labels anyway and hope for the best.
14. Slap yourself for forgetting a cupboard. Dump entire contents of said cupboard unceremoniously into a box and faithfully put off unpacking it as long as possible.
15. Get emotional about saying goodbye to the kitchen you never failed to complain about.
16. Forget to bid adieu to your neighbours and return to do so, two months after moving away.
17 Take your sweet time to settle in and ensure to not unpack previously mentioned box. Find reasons to miss your old house and remind yourself to shut the zillion windows at the new one.