quick trick

My Top 10

Quick Tricks is one of my favourite sections of Maison Bailey as they are the epitome of what it's all about: home ideas for busy people. I only share the tricks I really love and use time and time again in the hope that you find them just as useful too.

Excluding the ones I've already shared with you e.g. paint pot trick, spice labels, getting ready zones, etc, I thought I'd do a quick fire round up of my top 10 new tricks I've been using the most in recent months:

1. perfume dish

Keeps all your scents together, plus it looks pretty.

2. Bulldog clip cable organiser

Not the prettiest of solutions but it's worth it for the extra time you save not faffing around hunting for cables behind furniture etc (especially with a bulging baby bump).

3. Pinboard

Place in your most walked-through part of the house. Perfect place for reminders.

4. Iron wall storage

Also the perfect place for bags for life. Grab one from IKEA for just £4.

5. Lipstick box storage

Next time you receive a cute gift box, use it to store your lipsticks in, whether in a drawer or on your dressing table. While you can get specialist lipstick storage products (like this) I find my lipsticks always topple over like dominoes in them - plus they're a huge dust collector.

6. Memory jar

A place to store special tickets, gift tags, notes etc. Why not display it in your living area as a regular reminder of happy times?

7. Card storage

I buy so many cards during the year - I love sending pretty things in the post, especially when people aren't expecting anything. I store them in a pretty gift box rather than shove them in a drawer to be forgotten.

8. Microchip cat feeder

When you have more than one cat, this makes life much easier. The feeder only opens for one specific cat based on reading its microchip. This is particularly useful if your cats eat different types of food e.g. adult vs senior. While we no longer have Elvis with us (miss him so much), we're still keeping Mog's feeder as it prevents next door's cats venturing inside when we have the french doors open on a hot day. Mog 'doesn't share food'.

9. Coffee table tray

Keeps things neat and helps avoid mug marks on your coffee table top.

10. Tealight basket

Located down the side of a sofa, including a lighter. Quick access for living room candles. Much easier than venturing to a kitchen cupboard. (Not recommended if you have kids!)

Do you have any Quick Tricks you use time and time again? I'd love to hear them! Let me know in the comments below or over on Twitter.


Fresh Mango Chutney

I love this Quick Trick because it's super fast and makes such a lovely addition to a curry. Rather than the jelly-like gloop that comes from the supermarket, simply follow the recipe below for something fresh to lift the heaviness of your curry. It also works great as a dip with mini poppadoms.

I can't claim ownership - this is:

Mama B's Mango Chutney

  • 1 fresh mango, diced
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely diced
  • Small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • Splash of lime juice (to your taste)
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Mix together and serve fresh!

The recipe above makes enough for 4 people to go with curry. I'd suggest doubling quantities if you're planning on making it more of a feature of your meal - whether it's a dinner party or chips and dips with the girls. I love eating mini poppadoms with this dip at our kitchen counter while L finishes cooking the curry. It's so fresh it really gets your taste buds going for the main meal.

Love cooking with spice? You'll love this other kitchen Quick Trick...


Getting Ready Zones

This is literally a quick trick as both solutions help L and I get out the front door quicker in the mornings-! It's all about zones: L has his, I have mine - designed specifically for what we need. We catch early morning commuter trains so speed is of the essence...


Simply fix an IKEA RIBBA picture ledge to your wall, underneath a mirror, and you've got a place for all your daily essentials immediately to hand - moisturiser, deodorant, aftershave, etc:

It's the perfect space-saving storage solution for anyone who's short on time in the mornings. It's particularly perfect for L as he only has a few daily essentials.


I use an IKEA HEMNES chest of 5 drawers with a vanity mirror on top - as I prefer to stand, but also need storage for my products etc. I also get ready much quicker when standing (I tried a dressing table once and it just didn't work for me - I was far too comfortable, making me slower to get ready-!).

I updated the handles to give it less of an 'IKEA' feel:


The top drawer is particularly handy for:

  • Nail polishes
  • Lipsticks / lip balms
  • Kirby grips / hairbands
Use shallow dishes and boxes to store items that need containing.

Use shallow dishes and boxes to store items that need containing.

The taller drawers can fit products in really easily:

  • Hairspray
  • Deodorant
  • Moisturiser
  • Make-up
  • Hairdryer
  • Straighteners
  • Make-up bags
  • Hair & make-up brushes


  • Vanity mirror: magnified on one side to help with makeup application
  • Radio: early morning news & travel updates to keep me up-to-speed
  • Lamp: extra light during winter
  • Clock: helps me keep track of timings (much easier than constantly checking my phone)

If you can, try and position your mirror or chest of drawers on the same wall as your window so you're getting the best light as possible on your face. (Much easier when applying make-up / doing hair!)

For more storage ideas, take a look at my bedroom Pinterest board


Kitchen Storage Ideas

There's always so much you need to store in a kitchen: food, crockery, containers, utensils, appliances, cleaning products... tea towels! After a recent kitchen clear out, I decided to revisit my Pinterest kitchen board for some quirky reminders of just how clever kitchen designs can be to accommodate the modern house chef. Before I share my favourites, here's my personal, tried and tested not-so-cutting edge Quick Trick for kitchen storage:

Bear with me - while it's simple, it's SO effective and super quick. Simply buy a clear plastic box (keep the lid for a rainy day) and use it to put all your hob essentials in such as pepper, salt, oil, worcester sauce, silicone pan handle, etc. We purchased the one above from HomeSense. It'll not only keep everything neat and contained but they're all easily accessible. I found trays didn't work - I kept knocking the bottles over. This is a much better solution, which I also use in the fridge (lunch box from IKEA):

Containers also keep bottles etc from marking surfaces. Just make sure to give them a rinse out every couple of weeks.












What are your favourite kitchen storage solutions? For more ideas, take a look at my Kitchen Pinterest board.


Paint Pot Trick

I hate it when paint pot lids are glued shut - a result of all the excess paint being wiped off your brush when painting. But - not any longer. All you need is one simple item: an elastic band! Simply fit it around the tin and wipe off all excess paint onto the band rather than the edge of the tin. Your tin is spared! - Thank you Pinterest for this top tip!

You can also balance your brush on the band if you need to:


  • Try to use a thick(ish) elastic band - a thin one runs a higher risk of snapping and paint could splash everywhere!
  • Be very careful when removing the elastic band. Use both hands and ensure both the top and bottom is removed together to avoid paint splashing everywhere (again!).

Love a Quick Trick? Try this potting on tip in your garden...


Potting On

L and I have been on a gardening mission recently, as it's one of the final parts of our renovation that needs some final refinement. As you'll see in our before and after, our garden needed a lot of work. We finally filled the gap at the back with a greenhouse, where we've been growing lots of different vegetables and flowers from seed ready to go into our allotment. (VERY excited about this.)

With this mission in mind, I've been watching Monty Don's Big Dreams Small Spaces to pick up some tips. The series is perfect as Don deals with people similar to L and I - amateurs who love gardening, but don't really know that much. This Quick Trick is courtesy of Monty Don, which we've used over and over again as we pot on our plants into bigger pots or into the ground.

1. Dig a hole
2. Put your plant pot into it
3. Fill around the pot with soil
4. Remove the plant pot
5. Remove the plant from the pot
6. Pop the plant in the hole.

You now have the perfect sized space to pot on your plant. This way, you avoid squeezing the roots into something too small or moving soil back into a space that's too big. It's so quick, simple and does the trick. It's like making a sandcastle, but inverted-!

Pop your plant pot into a hole and fill soil around it so there are no gaps.

Pop your plant pot into a hole and fill soil around it so there are no gaps.

Remove the pot.

Remove the pot.

Your plant should slot nicely into the soil. Firm down gently.

Your plant should slot nicely into the soil. Firm down gently.

Make sure to water in your plants once potted on (try doing this early morning or after sunset otherwise the sunshine and heat will cause the water to evaporate before the plant can absorb it).

Make sure to water in your plants once potted on (try doing this early morning or after sunset otherwise the sunshine and heat will cause the water to evaporate before the plant can absorb it).

For more behind-the-scenes snaps of the Maison Bailey greenhouse & allotment, follow on Twitter here.


Desk Storage


Tealight jars

- Make the perfect desk storage for those bits and bobs that can never quite find a place: 

  • USBs
  • Erasers
  • Paper clips
  • Ink cartridges
  • Drawing pins
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Post-It Index Tabs
  • Mini staplers / staples

I don't use these items all the time, so these jars sit on my home office shelf within easy reaching distance. They also have the option to be hung - so if you're stuck for space you can add hooks underneath your shelf (like this) and hang them!

Spice Jars

IKEA spice jars also offer similar storage, however they're better for smaller items as they have a narrow top and come with a lid:


Desks have seriously upped their game in recent years. What used to be basic work stations are now beautiful additions to your home, which you can customise around your style and work motivations. Here are some of my favourite from the aspirational world of Pinterest (select image for source):

For another savvy storage idea for your home office, take a look here.


Easy Art

What you hang in your house is a big reflection of who you are and what you like. Whether it's a picture you bought on holiday, a vintage map of your hometown or a special photo capturing a happy day. But sometimes there are certain designs and colours you'd love in your home, which you don't have on hand ready to hang, or can afford! 

Step up: CARDS!

This is one of my favourite Quick Tricks because it saves a lot of money, especially if you get frames from IKEA. There are so many cards out there featuring beautiful designs and colours, why not give it a go?

A few of our favourite things: London, Paris and (for L) cycling (Paperchase cards, IKEA frames).

A few of our favourite things: London, Paris and (for L) cycling (Paperchase cards, IKEA frames).

Why put wedding cards in storage when you can display them and remember your happy day, every day?

Why put wedding cards in storage when you can display them and remember your happy day, every day?

Wise words for our kitchen.

Wise words for our kitchen.

A scene from one of my favourite stories (glumptious - great word).

A scene from one of my favourite stories (glumptious - great word).

Inspirational card art for when you need it.

Inspirational card art for when you need it.

In-joke: We framed this card I bought L a few years ago as he accidentally did this once (he singed his eyelashes when trying to light the BBQ...!).

In-joke: We framed this card I bought L a few years ago as he accidentally did this once (he singed his eyelashes when trying to light the BBQ...!).


  • Oliver Bonas (especially birthday, wedding and new home).
  • Paperchase (such a big variety - artistic, modern, comedy).
  • Department stores always have big ranges but I really love the cards in Fenwick.
  • Not on the High Street (especially when you're looking for something in particular or personalised).


Take a look at the Maison Bailey gallery wall over on Instagram.


Cake Stand Storage

This quick trick is really simple and helps avoid food wastage: Simply display your vegetables in a wire cake stand (this one's from Homebase) and you'll be able to quickly spot what needs using first when meal planning. This is a particularly handy trick for small kitchens, as the three tiers offer stacks of storage without taking up too much precious surface space:

You can also use this idea for fruit (although avoid bananas, apples, kiwi fruit, figs, pears and tomatoes as they release ethylene, which can speed up the ripening process of other fruit).


Homemakers are wising up to the multiuse functionality of cake stands, whether you want to store your treasures or display daily essentials for quick access. Here's some of my favourites:

For another smart kitchen storage idea, why not try this?


Crate Tables

This quick trick is a simple solution to living room storage. Simply buy a couple of apple crates off eBay and you've got yourself a pair of rustic side tables to pop drinks on and store sofa essentials inside. Magazines, books, remote controls, reading glasses, blankets - they offer bags of room. 

We kept ours rustic however you can paint them to match a room scheme (wheels are a great addition for coffee tables), or paint the inside a bright shade to jazz it up.

(Elvis was determined to be part of this particular photoshoot...):


Coasters will ensure your drinks don't topple (it'll avoid wine glass bases falling in between the wooden slats).

Why not try this handy living room storage idea too.


Fajita Spice Mix

I LOVE Mexican Food

  • It's quick to make (perfect weekday meal)
  • Big variety: tacos, enchiladas, nachos, fajitas...
  • A lot of it is self-assembly so you can get yours just right (I love soured cream - L doesn't) 
  • It's spicy! (We love food with a kick).

Our favourite dish has to be chicken fajitas with homemade guacamole - so much better than the gloopy shop-bought stuff. With this in mind, we decided to try out this homemade fajita spice mix recipe to see how it compared to the supermarket sachets, which can cost around 80p-£1 each. We multiplied the recipe ingredients by 10 to make a big batch. Not only does this Quick Trick taste better, but it costs less, is easier to store (we keep ours in an air-tight Kilner jar) and it lets you add as much or as little as you want. 

Don't forget to add a  spice label  to your Kilner jar.

Don't forget to add a spice label to your Kilner jar.

We tend to use one flat tablespoon per person.

We tend to use one flat tablespoon per person.

Pop the spice mix on the chicken once it's sealed in the pan.

Pop the spice mix on the chicken once it's sealed in the pan.

Happy days!

Happy days!


  1. Homemade guacamole (avocado, lime juice, red onion, coriander stalks, fresh chilli, cherry tomatoes and salt/pepper)
  2. Salsa (Discovery is tasty and lasts well)
  3. Jalapenos (we put a few of these small jars into one big Kilner jar in the fridge)
  4. Grated cheese
  5. Soured cream

Top tips

  • Roll a chicken breast in approximately 1 tablespoon of this spice mix before grilling. It makes the perfect addition to a healthy lunchtime salad
  • It may be called 'fajita spice mix' but you can add it to anything to give it a Mexican twist.

Love spicy food too? Try out this spice label Quick Trick.

Craft Storage

I love IKEA hacks as they're a creative way to challenge a product's intended use. The ones I've seen online are true genius. You can also alter items to fit your taste / home style better (like this idea).

This quick trick is one of my favourite hacks: turning an IKEA STENSTORP plate shelf into the ultimate craft storage. Ours is fitted onto a wall in our home office and stores fabric, wrapping accessories and jars of buttons and ribbons. It's the perfect storage solution as it reminds you what you have, everything is easily accessible and essential surface space is kept clear.


Follow Maison Bailey on Pinterest for more home office ideas on-the-go.

Furniture Handles

This is one of my favourite quick tricks as it's an affordable way to completely transform your furniture. Simply swap furniture handles with ones of your choosing! I did this with my IKEA HEMNES chest of 3 drawers, 5 drawerswardrobe and bedside tables:

Porcelain swirls:

Crystal Faceted Glass Diamond:

Sister S also used this trick to update her HEMNES chest of 8 drawers with these Anthropologie handles:


Pushka Knobs on eBay is our go-to brand for handles as they're really affordable and offer a huge choice. Pink swirls were only £2.95, and crystal faceted were £4.00. Bargain!

Other versions I'm loving right now:

The Best Part

If you fancy a change, you don't need to buy new furniture - simply swap the handles! From sparkly gems to quirky brass - it's amazing how much impact handles can have on a room.

I would recommend keeping handles similar per room - whether from the same range, a similar colour or material - otherwise it could look a bit busy.

More decor inspiration can be found on my Bedroom Pinterest board.

Spice Labels

This quick trick is for those who store their spices in a drawer or a low cupboard, meaning you only get a bird's-eye view of your spice jars. Most brands label their lids in very small text, which makes it difficult to tell your cayenne from your cumin.

Simply purchase one of these (the perfect gift for organisers) and voilà: one seriously sorted spice stash:


(A culinary high five to M&S and Tesco for being contrary to the norm.)

I think a person's spice collection says as much about them as a handbag or man-drawer would. What are your go-to spices?

Garden Shoe Storage

This quick trick will ensure your back door floor area is kept clear and that your garden shoes are easy to grab and go. Simply use an IKEA FINTORP rail and hooks (£10 in total), fit it to the side of a cabinet near to your back door and hang your shoes on it!


Cheap, quick and useful.

For more kitchen ideas, take a look at my kitchen Pinterest board.