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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 196

Date:- 17 April 2005

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ECOVER, has discovered that in today's busy lifestyles both men and women think they do all the work in the home. In the North West 74% of women say it's always them scrubbing the toilet, while 77% of men say they're the ones who will actually move the furniture to clean. In a nationwide survey, the company discovered that 89% of men and 87% of women say it's always them who do the washing up and over half of men stated that they are responsible for cleaning the loo... however only 26% of women agreed with this, with 92% of women stating that its them who do the dirty work.

However, sorry men, it's women who are scrubbing those toilets and washing the kitchen floors more than their male counterparts with 89% doing do the most cleaning compared to a not so impressive 25% of men. Proving that gone are the days of 'help around the home nineties man, with the 'noughties' revealing a slip back to the traditional conjugal roles of the 1950's.

Ecover can understand the misconception, as their research has revealed that some household chores remain notoriously 'pink and blue' gender specific in terms of who tackles the task. A staggering 90% of men always tackle the traditional 'blue' jobs such as emptying the rubbish bin and moving furniture to clean, compared to over 90% of women proclaiming to always being the ones who cleans the bathroom and do the laundry which were all considered female 'pink' jobs.

Pink Jobs Blue Jobs
Cleaning the toilet Cleaning windows
Mopping the floor Un blocking a sink
Dusting & polishing Putting the bins out
Laundry Moving heavy furniture

With April being the traditional spring-cleaning season, Ecover have teamed up with TV professional cleaner from BBC's Houses Behaving Badly Stephanie Meadows, who reveals that neither gender is spending enough time doing 'proper' cleans. But, according to Stephanie, what's really important when we do clean, no matter how often, is what we use to do the job. "I am environmentally conscious of the harmful chemicals some products contain. I always use either 'eco friendly' household cleaning products or items I already have in my kitchen cupboards - vinegar, bicarb, olive oil and salt are my top cleaning essentials."

According to a recent report, in general, alternatives to cleaning products can perform just as well as shop brought products, however they are often not as easy to use and, in some cases, they are more expensive.
However a lot of this expense is self-inflicted as the research has showed that on average most people store around 17 products under their kitchen sink with two thirds of those products rarely getting used.

Stephanie's top tips for cleaning with regular household items and ingredients are:-

1. To clean dirty windows add half a cup of vinegar to half a bucket of water. Dry by using a wad of crumpled newspaper.

2. Clean brass with a wedge of lemon dipped in salt. The salt lifts the grime and the lemon juice cuts through the tarnish. Buff with a cloth.

3. Keep your stainless steel sink taps watermark free by polishing with a little olive oil on a cloth.

4. Freshen your room whilst vacuuming by placing a cotton wool ball with 20 drops of essential oil in the vacuum bag.

5. Bicarb is brilliant for cleaning your fridge. Unplug first then dip a moistened cloth in the bicarb and wipe. Rinse well and place a small tub in the back of the fridge to act as an odour absorber. Replace weekly.

6. Clean and polish wooden and wood effect furniture with a solution of one part olive oil to one part lemon juice. The lemon juice makes light work of grease and grime and the oil adds a gentle sheen.

7. To combat dust on the television and electrical equipment prepare a solution in a spray bottle of one part fabric softener to four parts water.

So it seems it is possible to protect the environment, and your relationship, by cleaning the house.


BIRTHDAYS are getting very big business now. 'Keeping up with the Jones' is starting younger than ever as birthday peer pressure sees kids ditching pass the parcel in favour of theme parks and craving seafood alongside jelly and ice cream. 

A new birthday monitor from leading confectioner, HARIBO reveals that party planning is no longer the light hearted child's play of yester year with almost half of UK kids, 49%, getting stressed out about their big day and nearly a third, 31%, of parents worrying about not meeting their child's expectations.

Kids competitive spirit seems to be driving these party wobbles with nearly half again, 46% of 5 to 13 year olds wanting to design a birthday bash that is bigger and better than those their friends have held. This may explain why 35% say they are unable to sleep the night before their big event. 

Hundreds of youngsters also fear they'll be left with cake on their face if their friends don't show, 56%, with 53% opting for safety in numbers by inviting 10 or more guests to their party.

Parents may be able to calm these fears by leaving their own party tricks under lock and key. Nearly half of youngsters, 43%, actively worry that their parents will embarrass them during the big day and 12% of kids feel that their parents don't listen to them.

The survey conducted amongst 1,572 kids and 1,041 parents shows that pass the parcel is passé and pin the tail on the donkey doesn't hit the spot anymore as over two thirds, 69%, of kids are stamping their feet for more sophisticated celebrations. 

Today's birthday girls and boys choose bowling, 12%, and theme parks, 17%, over musical chairs and dream of celebrity entertainment from the likes of Ant and Dec, 17%, or Bart Simpson, 15%, to help celebrate their special day.

And if it's not their guest list they're worrying about it's their wardrobe. Catwalk concerns start young these days as 30% of kids won't rest until they find the 'right' outfit whilst wearing the same get up twice is a complete fashion faux pas for 39%. 

With the increasing demands to deliver birthday bonanzas it's no surprise that a massive 65% of parents are concerned about costs. 21% are willing to spend over £200 on their child's special day, whilst Dads are an easy touch with 11% happy to part with over £300 to ensure their kids have the time of their lives. However, overall parents are united in the whopping 40% that agree their child's birthday is more stressful than when they were young.

Whether it's panicking over picking the right present, 25%, selecting a suitable venue, 46%, or managing the right menu, 29%, parental turmoil surrounding their child's big day is universal. 

Christian Freund, Marketing Manager for HARIBO says:- '"Whilst in some instances parents do understand their kids, it seems that in other ways they are poles apart when it comes to birthdays. To try and reduce this gap we have devised an annual birthday monitor, which will offer information on the latest party trends and preferences and hopefully help steer parents in the right direction."

Top ten UK party preferences - Haribo Birthday monitor 2005


1 Theme parks Pet
2 Ten-pin bowling Money
3 Bouncy castle Trampoline
4 Dancing Plasma TV
5 Trampolining PS2/toy/clothes
6 Swimming X-Box
7 Roller / In-line / Ice skating Sports kit
8 Cinema Music
9 Computer gaming DVD player/Robosapien/PowerRangers
10 Pass the parcel Tamagotchis or Giga pets


1 Ant & Dec Sweets/ crisps
2 Bart Simpson Pizza
3 Dick & Dom Chips
4 Sponge Bob Jelly & Ice cream
5 Girls Aloud Burgers
6 Cinderella/ Shrek Chinese take away
7 David Beckham Salad
8 Harry Potter Curry
9 Ronaldo/ Robbie Williams/ Brad Pitt Prawns/Seafood
10 Mr Incredible/ Kylie Sunday Roast

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