My Boyfriend Barfed in my Handbag. . . and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha

5M4B disclosure


We’ve all been there. Calling our mums to ask, “How do you get out grass stains?” Or googling “how to get rid of horrid streaky marks all over stainless steel appliances.” The fact of the matter is that most of us aren’t walking around with all that knowledge in our heads, although I am much more of an expert now than I was in my 20s.  I’ve glanced at books by people like Heloise or Martha Stewart but haven’t been very inspired.

Jolie Kerr’s new book My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag offers a great resource to anyone in any stage of life. She teaches the basics, everything from bathroom to linens to refrigerator insides to, yes, those pesky stainless steel appliances. (Seriously, why is it so hard? I only have a dishwasher, but it is perpetually streaky) Her style is humourous and conversational, and she clearly explains not just the how but the why. She goes into great detail, recommends products (spoiler: her favs are ammonia and white vinegar), and clearly spells out step-by-step processes.

For me, though, the best parts were the things that you just would never in a million years ask your mother, unless your mother is far younger and hipper than mine (which is possible. Actually it’s probable. Still, some things just might be embarrassing). Everything is addressed, from how to clean aids to intimacy to how to remove certain unmentionable stains on sheets, from pee stains on popcorn walls to bong water in the carpet to explosions amongst the bottles storing home-made beer which result in sticky shards of glass all over the kitchen.

The stories are hilarious in a schadenfreude kind of way, from the drunk groom spilling red wine down his bride’s gown just before the much-photographed first dance to the boyfriend who actually did barf all over and into an expensive leather handbag. Jolie Kerr either knows how to clean it or she’s willing to do the sometimes unsavory research needed to find out. And her advice is given with humor and a lack of judgment that your mother, honestly, might not share. (Because seriously. Don’t get drunk at your wedding before the first dance and spill red wine all over your bride’s gown. That’s not cool. And I’m not even the bride’s mother.)

My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag . . . and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha has many uses. It’s a lovely gift to a young person just starting out on his or her own (I firmly believe, all evidence to the contrary, that men can clean), especially as she goes into basics such as how to mop or how to sort laundry. It’s also a great resource for your own library. I ended up reading the entire book start to finish, although since it’s a reference-type of cleaning book I imagine most people will just look up specific answers they need. I learned things, I laughed and groaned, and I was inspired to try white vinegar on the stainless-steel dishwasher.

Enter to Win

If you’d like to enter to win, follow the instructions below. I’d love to learn your most pressing cleaning question, but you might rightly sense that I probably wouldn’t know the answer.


  1. says

    My most pressing cleaning question right now is how to get permanent marker out of clothing. I am not happy with my middle daughter right now – she came home from school with permanent marker on a new white shirt. Ugh!

  2. Elizabeth says

    How do I keep a boys’ bathroom from smelling funky all the time? Even when it’s clean! I really need this book…

  3. joanna garcia says

    Cleaning the floor with natural stuff but that really cleans that when you walk on it your feet and sock do not get dirty! would love to use something besides clorox for that!

  4. Mary Beth Elderton says

    How to get the smell of boiled eggs out of the fridge after the lid was left off the container. The baking soda–which is the extent of my knowledge– is not working *sigh*

  5. says

    I can ask my mom about a lot of things but there are definitely some things I would NEVER ask her … sounds like this book would be a great resource!

    Thanks for being a part of this tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

  6. Benita says

    My most pressing is getting the water in the tub to go down smoothly and quickly. Liquid plumber and human plumbers aren’t helping much.

  7. Lance Pearson says

    I have a 5 year old that I thought would be less messy as she gets older and she’s worse…with markers and crayons

  8. Kathy Pease says

    My question would be how to get the grungy soap scum out of the tub without having to scrub until my hands cramp up

  9. MARIA simon says

    I have bad stains in oven..don’t know how in the world to get that out. thanks and grease stains are bad too :)

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