Charles the butler

Talkin’ table manners

At Christmas, our extended family used different eating styles including Canadian (switching knife and fork), British (fork in your left hand, knife in your right) and Filipino (fork and spoon).I was taught to use Canadian table manners at home and in restaurants, unless eating at restaurants of...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 3:43 AM

Vibrations aren’t always good

We have a Whirlpool Duet 4.5 cu. ft. front-loading washer and it sits on a Whirlpool manufactured stand.The washer actually moves as it vibrates very badly on spin cycle. Do you have any suggestions for reducing the vibrations? – Catherine, Orleans, Ont. Dear Catherine,Although it is normal for the...

Thursday, January 26, 2012, 2:57 AM

Chinese new year 101

As some of you know, I have just completed another 18-day Asian tour, which took me to Shanghai, Bangkok, Manila and Hong Kong, before returning to Toronto. So what does this have to do with today’s column?Well, it’s the start of Chinese New Year and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 3:29 AM

Give salt the boot

Although I am still travelling and am now in the Philippines, I have received numerous emails on how to deal with the salt stains on leather boots. With Old Man Winter in full swing, this is a source of irritation for both men and women.The good news is that this is relatively easy to deal with....

Thursday, January 19, 2012, 2:15 AM

The world can be a rude place

Good day. I had to write in about adult manners. While my husband was parking our car over by Tags MicMac Mall, myself and youngest grandchild was waiting for him by the entrance of Winners. My grandchild held the door open for about 100 adults and maybe five said thank you. The rest walked by and...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 1:45 AM

Contain your life’s chaos

What is a good new year’s resolution for something I can do within my house? - Suzy HomemakerDear Suzy Homemaker:After giving this very question some thought just a few weeks ago, I personally decided to call 2012 “the year of the container”. So what does this mean? Well for those of you who know...

Thursday, January 5, 2012, 4:04 AM

Being proactive to prevent poop

I recently moved into a new home, and was disappointed to find at least a dozen “housewarming gifts” from the neighbour’s dog in our backyard. Being the new kid on the block, I do not want to make waves so quickly and am hesitant to have my introduction to the neighbours be in the form of a...

Monday, January 2, 2012, 5:34 PM

Forgot to wish someone happy birthday?

What is the correct etiquette to acknowledge an important birthday you’ve forgotten while you are away and travelling?Interestingly, today I’m in Amsterdam on business and it happens to be my dear friend Wendy’s birthday. In a perfect world this problem is really easy to deal with, as you send a...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 2:32 AM

Holiday office gifts: Don’t go overboard

Now that the holiday season is fast approaching, I’m once again confused and, more importantly, stressed about office holiday gift giving. When to give, what to give and how much to spend. – Stressed for the HolidaysDear Stressed for the Holidays,The holidays are a stressful time for many people,...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 2:14 AM

Woollens want cleaning

My mother says I need to wash woollens for the winter. Is this true? I’ve never washed my kids’ woollens or any woollens for that matter. – Surprised MomDear Surprised Mom,Wool gloves, scarves and leg warmers all need to be cleaned on a regular basis. Remember anything we touch and use gets dirty...

Thursday, November 24, 2011, 3:03 AM

Job loss can be a touchy subject

I recently ran into a friend who I know has been fired from his job. I was very uncomfortable and had no idea what to say, which made things even worse and awkward. What should I have said or done? – JaneIn these economic times most Canadians know of a friend, family member and/or neighbour who has...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 1:18 AM

Vinegar isn’t just for french fries

I read your article regarding cleaning the dishwasher. How much white vinegar should I put into the empty dishwasher? – Thanks, YeeHello Yee,We received many emails like yours and I realized that, in error, I forgot to mention how much vinegar to use.So firstly I apologise to all of my readers for...

Thursday, November 17, 2011, 1:56 AM

Talking tips

This is my last article from my trip to China. While having dinner in Shanghai recently at a fantastic restaurant called The Bund, we started talking to the table beside us.This wonderful group of 10 turned out to be fellow commonwealth members, from Australia, vacationing through China. At some...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011, 2:39 AM

When rubbing it in isn’t a good idea

Dear Charles the butler,We recently purchased a Natuzzi sofa in beige microfibre. Unfortunately our cat vomited on it twice during the night and by the time we found out it had dried. I tried to clean it with water but the stains are still there. Are there any chemicals that would clean it? Maria...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 1:03 AM

We all need help sometimes

Last week I had an experience that I absolutely want to share with all of you.I was scheduled to deliver an important speech to the executives of several very prominent hotels here in Shanghai. As I arrived at the hotel I struggled to get out of the very small taxi. In my struggles, all of a sudden...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 1:03 AM

Sponging up cleaning tips

Greetings from Asia!Yesterday, while having lunch at the new Andaz Hotel here in Shanghai, I had the honour to be with three wonderful local journalists.Lunch started off as most business lunches do with pleasant conversation, but within the first 10 minutes one of the journalists leaned over and...

Thursday, November 3, 2011, 1:15 AM

Proper business card etiquette

How does one appear international toward other cultures without actually ever travelling? This is actually easier than you may think.I’m here in Shanghai, China, and as I observe international culture one thing is evident: local knowledge is power!In North America and many parts of Europe the...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 1:51 AM

Remember the trip, not the stain

Ni Hao from China.As some of you may know, I am currently travelling in China on business, so my column for the next 10 days comes from Beijing and Shanghai.Today from Beijing I wanted to share with you a laundry tip.Now I hope I don’t disappoint you, but my Tide To Go Stick is by far one of a...

Thursday, October 27, 2011, 1:17 AM

Don’t forget your manners on halloween

Is there such a thing as Halloween etiquette? – AnonymousInterestingly enough, yes there absolutely is good Halloween etiquette. Below are six simple guidelines to help you have a fun and great Halloween season.1. Never cross through the flowerbeds going from house to house. Always walk up the...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 2:34 AM

Dust up your cleaning skills

How do you dust furniture correctly and safely? – Signed, Betty in TorontoHello Betty,Firstly, did you know that the world has twice as much dust today as it did in the last century? So yes, dusting is both important and necessary.Secondly, when you don’t dust, you attract grease to the surface...

Thursday, October 20, 2011, 1:47 AM