Charity begins at ‘Holme’

IMG_6005 (1)You have probably heard the phrase that charity begins at home. Well, for me charity begins at ‘Holme’.

Holme is a tiny village, in North West England, that my grandma lived in whilst I was growing up. It is also a source of contention as i used to get into trouble with my teacher at school when asked where my grandma lived as ‘Holme’ was often misinterpretation as me being a little facetious! This week my grandma, who is 91 years young, donated over 50 hand knitted hat & gloves sets to a charity that distributes them to people who have no real defence against the cold, like the lovely cosy house that a lot of us take for granted. She is an incredible person, with so many tales that I could sit and listen to all day. She is also fiercely independent, like so many of our clients that are a little bit older and a whole lot wiser than me. We were talking recently about her experience as a type 2 diabetic and the support she had received, particularly the diabetic nurse who seemingly had a financial interest in a certain high street giant. The nurse asked my Gran if she cooked. (She does, and her signature dish for me is syrup sponge……..oh yes!) Its kind of like her exercise. It keeps her motivated and ensures she structures her day too. The nurse said to her that perhaps she should consider a M&S ready meal, the fish pie is apparently very good. My gran looked at her confused and the nurse spoke a little more slowly and pronounced. My grandma let her know that she was perfectly capable and that me and my mum put home-cooked food in her freezer for her if she was having a particularly tiring day. The nurse persisted, and suggested, that at her age, she should be taking it easy and perhaps she could stock up on some of the ready meals when they were on offer. My gran listened politely and suffered her out as the nurse mentioned salt content etc. and the conversation wore on. As the appointment drew to a close the nurse asked my grandma if she would like to book another appointment. My grandma may be advancing in years but she is still as sharp as a tack. ‘No Thank you’ she replied, ‘I would rather see someone who doesn’t have shares in M&S’ or words to that effect.

Going shopping with my dad, planning her meals and prepping them helps my grandma to retain her independence. We have a lot of clients who value our services for the very same reason. They need a bit of a hand to keep on top of their home in order for them to concentrate on other areas of their life, whether it be an awesome sponge pudding or just getting out of bed and dressed. The team love to provide housekeeping services to all our clients. It doesn’t matter to us why our client signs up to our unique Housekeeping brand, just that we can create the bespoke package that they require to help them out.

If you know anyone who would benefit from a bespoke Housekeeping package, drop us a line here at Bright & Beautiful.

Going back to the charity element I mentioned before, our core values include giving something back to our local community. We really enjoy this aspect of being a small local business allowing us to choose causes that are close to our heart. In September we took part in a BBC DIY SOS Big Build project, helping a local family make life changing alterations that they needed for everyday life to their home. Not only was this a fantastic way to support a local family, the team requested that their wages from that day to be donated to a charity too.

Following my Grandma’s lead, we have donated some of our unused rucksacks full of toiletries and essentials to a homeless charity this winter. But the biggest thing taking precedence at the moment is my training for a White Collar Boxing Event in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Everyone seems to have a story of how the big ‘C’ has impacted their nearest and dearest, and indeed if recent headlines are to believed, we can now expect one in every two people in our lifetime to be affected by Cancer. That is a lot of people. A Macmillan Cancer nurse supported me when I needed it most, in fact, she really fought for me. So in return, I am swapping my rubber gloves for boxing gloves on 8th December at Preston Guild Hall in order to fight for Macmillan, and raising vital funds to help support people battling the disease. You can contribute by donating using my link here or if you would like to attend, you can purchase a ticket direct from Bright & Beautiful. Having never stepped into a boxing ring in my life, this is quite a big challenge for me but I will be training hard, aiming for ‘clean’ punches and a clear win. As clean and clear as our windows when the team have finished with them!


Image credit: V_Rae Photography.

‘Values’ for Money

IMG_2837Have you ever heard someone (usually my dad) say that something is only ever worth what someone is willing to pay for it? Value is a funny thing as we all value different things! So what happens when you put a price on the way a company is run & a service is delivered, rather than solely on the service itself?

Last Christmas I was waiting for a parcel to be delivered. Amazon had apparently dispatched it to my house but as I was not the purchaser, I didn’t have the tracking details. It arrived when I was out but the delivery guy helpfully left the huge squishy bundle outside by the bins with a note through the door explaining where it was. When I arrived home, I was questioned about what I had bought that was so big and squashy. So instead of revealing the true contents I decided to have a bit of fun. I explained that I had received something that I had been waiting eagerly for, something made from the finest feathers. Now I had been jokingly lusting after an obscenely expensive goose-down coat for Christmas, and my audience clearly thought I had given in and bought myself one, the week before Christmas. Horrified looks were exchanged in the hallway. It was now clear that I had been bought something similar and warm for Christmas. The atmosphere changed instantly and I realised that I had just, unwittingly, spoilt my own Christmas surprise. You can imagine the confusion then,  when I then unwrapped the delivery to reveal the contents to be a brand new single duvet that a client had sent me for the holiday rental property that we service for them. There was no coat but the game had already been given away, and so there was no ‘surprise’ on Christmas morning for me either when I unwrapped a rather lovely and warm body warmer.

So exactly why was a client sending me items of bedding to me in the post? Well, the client lives part of the year outside of the UK and we like to ensure that as a housekeeping service we make our best effort to understand and appreciate the customers needs in every situation. The client was having a tough time with the property in that a previous occupant had left it in a undesirable state and we were tasked with turning it around in time for the festive guests arriving. We really felt that it was important to go that little bit above and beyond to ensure the incoming guests were not disappointed with their festive ‘digs’, thinking it would spoil their celebrations.

Its not just bedding that has us in a spin! We have been known to delay deep cleans so that our client could wait for the weather to break in order to get their seedlings off their dining room floor and into the garden (and the resultant potatoes were divine). We have helped clients with crosswords, taken recycling to the waste recycling centre (we were going past), left bubbly in a house that we ‘trasnformed’ as a post honeymoon surprise and sent flowers to those in need. This is part of our values based approach, which you can learn more about here. I am sure that you have heard other organisations mention having a code of values but here at Bright and Beautiful we believe in integrating these values into the way we run our business. They are just our way of life, our identity I guess, and the way we ensure we maintain our brand reputation by delivering our service with respect, integrity and customer focus. Of course, we don’t always get it right but we strive to live by our code of values whilst having fun in the process. If you are looking for a housekeeping service with a strong values, drop us a line here and we will get in touch with you.


  1. Pillow Talk – A common discussion topic when we train our professional housekeepers is around whether a pillow should be tucked in or placed on top of the duvet. We find that pillows ‘stood up’ on top of the duvet offer a more contemporary look.
  2. We believe that the best dressed beds are all down to the detail. Ensuring the pillow buttons, edging or openings are facing away from the middle of the bed can make all the difference.
  3. Layering is very easy way to change up your bedroom look without having to spend lots on a whole new set of linen. Try adding a throw, cushions or even a bedspread to change the overall appearance of your boudoir.
  4. For a really crisp and precise finish, you can’t beat the old school ‘hospital corners’ approach with a flat sheet. This is a great way to make your guests feel like you have really gone ‘all out’ for them. Just click on the short video here for a masterclass.


The Apprentice – Bright & Beautiful Style

IMG_2404Our October has been ‘Sugar’ coated!

Yes, this month really has started out like an episode from a popular BBC entertainment programme, headed up by one of our favourite entrepreneurs. The main differences have been that we have had to do our own hair/make up/styling; we have roll cages of equipment lined up against our wall not suitcases ready for the boardroom reject; and we do not hold our phones at a 90 degree angle from our mouth when talking to our team colleagues. We are still very excited business professionals though (just like the person who gets voted in for ‘week one PM’, thinking they are safe but can get an early start to prove their worth).  And the reason that we are so excited is because we have a ‘Chorley Works’ Volunteer!

Chorley Works is an initiative that I happened across when I met a lovely lady from our local council at (another) networking event. The idea is based on the fact that there are people out looking for work that struggle with gaps on their CV for very genuine reasons, and this impacts their job search. The initiative supports individuals to get back into work and as part of this comprehensive programme, participants can volunteer for short work placement in order to gain valuable experience to add to their CV and interview repertoire. Businesses can offer a placement to a suitable individual after undertaking an interview and that is just what we have chosen to do. My contact at the council is a charismatic, efficient and understanding lady who clearly cares about her role and the people that she is helping. She popped over and we had a short meeting, undertook some risk assessments and completed some paperwork. Once we were both satisfied that Bright & Beautiful was the perfect fit for the scheme, we were good to go. My council contact sent over some CV’s of the potential volunteers that we had already discussed and we interviewed prospective candidates. Thankfully there were a lot less brags and cliches on those CV’s than the ones Lord Sugar has to wade through to pick his apprentice candidates. In fact, not one person mentioned ‘Rolling with the punches’, ‘Winning not Whinging’ or  ‘World Domination’ in their interview with us, phew!

Our newest recruit started last week in an office based role, and seems to be settling in well. She has a wealth of transferable skills having previously worked in childcare, and we have a lot to offer her too in order to build up confidence in an office based role.  We are still searching for a prospective volunteer housekeeper but as we have very strict requirements for any of our team members, paid or voluntary,  we are taking our time to get it right. To be able to offer someone who is in a position that I previously have been in ( having all the skills but not the line on your CV with the ‘right’ job title) feels great. It certainly fits right in with our Bright & Beautiful values. On a temporary basis, we can definitely say ‘Your Hired’!

TOP TIPS if your having a smashing time:

This week my daughter dropped a glass which smashed into smithereens on our kitchen floor. I am sure most people have experienced that moment where everyone freezes and looks around wildly at the floor and their bare feet, and back to the debris on the floor. Luckily we both had our slippers on but the cat had to be scooped up quite quickly in order to protect his paws from sharp glass shards. This weeks top tip is to use a piece of bread to help pick up the pieces. Sweep up the debris and remove the larger pieces. A single slice of soft bread from your everyday loaf will surprisingly pick up the smaller slivers, shards and dust much better than many other standard kitchen equipment.  Always use a wet cloth to wipe down the area thoroughly afterwards and check the families feet and paws just in case.

We might not be there for every broken glass but we are certainly available to make your week run a little smoother. Contact us here if you would like to speak to us about your Housekeeping requirements. Money can not buy happiness but it can buy you some of your time back to go find your happiness! (Or go purchase a replacement glass so your partner doesn’t find out).

The Future is Bright, The Future is (Pink &) Orange!

fullsizeoutput_39Did you miss us?

Hello! We have been rather quiet on social media for a month or so. We’ve missed out on all the baby shark videos and all those adorable school uniform first day pictures. In fact we are a little bit horrified to see all the autumnal leaves swirling about on social media, I mean, how on earth did October creep up on us already?

But is’s all been worth it. You see, we’ve been earning ourselves quite a reputation over the last few months for providing the best housekeeping and cleaning services in and around Chorley. And so, all of a sudden we’ve had an influx of requests for us to make people’s homes sparkle.

And more business means we get to bring more people into our team. It’s an exciting time for us because we get to pick out the top talent to come and join us. (And also exciting as obviously we get to do the Lord-Alan-Sugar-dramatic-arm-pointing-gesture……….. ‘Your Hired!) It really is an enviable position to be in. We’ve been getting ourselves five star reviews from our clients, and that means we need to recruit five star housekeepers.

But finding people who embody our company’s values can take time. We are looking for a particular type of person that will fit with us and our Bright and Beautiful ethos. Because we are offering a career, rather than a job, we need to get it right.

Not only do our housekeepers need to be able to drive, be professional and prompt, we also demand a high level of customer focus, integrity and respect. And we won’t budge on that.

If you’re reading this after contacting us about a position with Bright & Beautiful, here are a few things you might want to know before you come along for an interview:

You will be someone with a keen eye for detail, who is a great people person. Our team are proud of their meticulous standards and we are looking for someone who can bring energy to the team whilst helping us to maintain this high level of work. If this sounds like you, and you would describe yourself as positive and polite, read on to find out what we can offer the right person.

We have hours to suit your family life and we do not work evenings, bank holidays or weekends. (Yasss!!!) We love to share our trade secrets with our team and so full training in our proven methods will be given, along with a Bright and Beautiful company uniform. All our drivers are entitled to  mileage allowance when using their own vehicle and all team members receive a full employment contract – no zero hours contracts here! Our team offer a supportive environment, and the managers are great too…… all whilst having fun in the process.

If this has left you wanting to know more about life at Bright & Beautiful, why not visit our Instagram or Facebook pages. If your really serious, you can apply for one of our coveted Housekeeping positions here by filling out our short online application form.  Either way, it would be great to hear from you.

Our future is Bright (& Beautiful)! Is yours?

Life in Pictures

Pink camera

Yesterday, July 17th, was ‘World Emoji Day. Love them or hate them, it seems emoticons & emojis are here to stay.

Having originated from the Japanese market and adopted the world over after Apple introduced an ‘emoji keyboard’, even my 90 year old grandma is quick to comment on the smiley faces etc. when we share messages from my cousin in Canada. But are we getting lazy with the ability to click ‘like’ on a social media post rather than engage in a more meaningful way? Or is just a quick ‘like’ enough to let someone know you have spent a few minutes on something that is important to them? Either way, it seems that we have become a much more visual community, based on the popularity of apps such as Instagram and Snapchat.

We have a client who often greets our team at the door wearing full suit attire on their upper body and lounge wear on their bottom half, complete with novelty slippers. The client is a renowned professional, and spends a lot of the time (when we are around) on conference calls to various worldwide agencies, unbeknown to their audience, clad in bright fleecey pyjama bottoms with a cat on their knee. Our client isn’t changing reality, they are still wearing a suit (in part) but just modifying their audiences perception, or providing the image that they expect to see.

You might have heard of the instagrammers hiring private jets for little over 10 minutes in order to take the all important photo to post showing their supposed Champagne lifestyle. Most of us have at one point or other arranged the table of drinks or added a filter to make our social media post look a little more appealing. However, the picture of the cocktail doesn’t always tell the full story. The story that starts with the blisters on your heels after you walked for miles because the train you should have caught was cancelled, and then getting soaked when a taxi drove through the puddle as you waited to cross the road and receiving a painful elbow in the ribs as you hustled in the queue at the bar to be served your cocktail. We just see the cocktail. The exotic-looking-fun-time-with-friends-in-a-bar-in-Manchester-on-a-week-night cocktail. We all know that looks can be deceiving but by predominantly sharing the glossy, glittery, filtered images are we slowly filtering out ‘real life’?

At Bright & Beautiful home, part and parcel of our services is the presentation and dressing of our clients homes. Our ‘hotel feel’ finishing touches means that our clients are greeted with the ‘wow’ factor when they arrive home, and not just a sparkling clean house. Luckily, there isn’t a filter needed for this but my blog musings have made me wonder whether we are promoting this fake version of reality by providing the the ‘hotel feel’. I know that this is not really the case though. We are providing a service that is real. The property is clean and the cushions are arranged in a way that the client may very well have done them selves if they had enough time to devote to this. There is not way to put a filter on the feeling you get when you walk into your Bright and Beautiful home. This is our reality.

So perhaps,as a community, we do ‘over share’. My grandma certainly wouldn’t have taken a picture of her bed on a camera, sent the film off to Super Snaps for processing and a week later shown her friends her 6×4’s of her bedroom, back in the day. Imagine if every significant life event still required a formal announcement being sent to the local paper. ‘Births, deaths, marriages & ‘in a relationship with…’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it? It is very easy now though to snap a picture, add an emoji and post it on social media or send as a direct message in a matter of seconds. I guess it is only ‘over sharing’ if the recipient is not interested or feels that there is too much information being offered, and clearly for some of our clients friends, its a welcome interruption to their day. (We have won clients through social media and picture sharing). For us, it really is all about the picture perfect home.  As for our clients, we will encourage every hashtag, share, like, recommendation, review and post because without our clients, we would definitely have FOMO.

Decorate like a Designer.

Decorating a room can be so exciting until you have to stop dreaming and narrow down your ideas. It can get even more tricky when you start to make decisions and big purchases. Try following these simple tips below to channel your inner Kelly [Hoppen] or Lawrence [Llewellyn-Bowen]:

1. Before you start decorating, plan your room using a mood board by collecting pictures of items, colours and fabrics that you like to help you keep on track. This can be so easy using an electronic mood board on Pinterest or Houzzz website/app.
2. When arranging items out on display, try grouping them in odd numbers as it is more pleasing to the eye.
3. Avoid excess matching of colours for a more natural, relaxed look. Instead, try using colour themes. A few similar shades of the same colour adds a bit of variation to the room whilst avoiding a very formal look. If your feeling a little daring, why not brighten up a neutral scheme by adding a bright pop of colour in the form of a couple of statement pieces of furniture or artwork. This week I have seen a few brightly coloured Chesterfield sofas doing exactly this, incredibly well!
4. When choosing key pieces of furniture, think about practicalities such as how you will clean that beautiful but intricate chandelier you have your heart set on, or a whether a mirrored tv stand will drive your crazy when it is covered in sticky finger marks or puppy wet nose smudges.
5. If you have too many lotions and potions in your bathroom or on your dressing table, invest in some extra storage to draw the eye away from clutter and focus on the areas you do want to give attention to. Stand at the door to the room and see what you notice first, if its a pile of clutter then you perhaps need to find another home for it.

If you are interested in our picture perfect finishing touches, why not book a quote and see what we can achieve in your home.

‘It’s Coming Home’


‘Football’, unintentionally, seems to be a reoccurring theme in our house this week.

I have been focusing on networking recently which led me to a fantastic breakfast club event at Chorley FC. I have met some really interesting people, and the keynote speaker (James Cole from was truly inspiring.  I am still getting over the shock of how much I am enjoying this part of my work, although as I will happily talk to anyone about anything, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise. I have also been pondering how much informal networking we do in our spare time as we socialise, and this is making me question whether we do properly ‘switch off’ from work. This train of thought started at a BBQ that we held this weekend. You know the score; a few friends and their little people, sunshine, a paddling pool, ice lollies, a certain quarter final match on the TV, the quashing of any primal notions of which gender is better at cooking on an open flame, etc. etc. I was in the kitchen slicing up the brioche burger buns (eye roll over the ‘brioche’ part of that sentence but they were all that was left when I got to the supermarket) and a friends husband commented on the antibacterial spray I had out on the counter. He said that he had always wondered about the brand of cleaning products I used in my house ‘being a cleaning expert’. Before long we were chatting away about the myth that eco-friendly/no bleach content means inferior cleaning power – and yes, it really is just a myth as we get fabulous results with our eco-friendly products! Later on, when my best friend turned up, our conversation covered my blog sharing on ‘Linkedin’ and someone else arrived with a leaflet booklet that had come through their letterbox. They were very excited to show me as they thought it might be a useful marketing tool for Bright & Beautiful. After a little bit more research, our Housekeeping team admit to having friends that use them as a ‘cleaning encyclopaedia  and they often get asked advice about which products really do get crayons off walls and how to remove some interesting stains. Indeed, I have even been asked how to remove emulsion from a family pet, amongst other things.

The more I think about it, the more I am grateful for these interactions and the constant, unwavering support from my friends and family. But, if I am being really honest with myself, I think that my 2 hour response time to enquiries on our company social media page is probably a good indicator that I have stepped over the line. I think that I have moved on from enjoying social banter/dishing out the cleaning hacks to really needing to make a conscious effort to switch off from work. I would love to say that I haven’t always been like this. However, the burden of ‘on-call’ responsibilities and the necessity of people to divulge all their personal medical history at parties to me when I said that I worked for the NHS in the past, is probably an indication that it is not true. I have also been known to sign blood donors up in the checkout tills at the supermarket. (By the way, If you haven’t considered donating blood before, check out here to see if you could help save a life)

I think that I can safely conclude that I need to work a little harder on my work life balance. That said, as a small local business, and a business owner who is passionate about the service that we provide, it can be really difficult not to be constantly watching out for our next opportunity to improve our services. So tonight, I will be switching on the football, and switching off from work for at least 90 minutes! Come on England! And lets be grateful that the match is being shown on the BBC tonight as this means there will not be any new cleaning products being featured in the commercial breaks to distract me! **UPDATE – The match is being televised on ITV, so I must be strong throughout the commercial break**

(FYI there are a few ‘Magic Eraser’ products out there that are eco-friendly and will do the job when it comes to dirty hand prints and wax crayons on walls)

BBQ Clean Up – Top Tactics:

Did you know that the ability to cook on a BBQ is not gender specific! And the clean up is definitely a job best undertaken soon after the event, not when you remove the BBQ six months later from storage. Here are our favourite tips for keeping your BBQ looking ‘champion’.
1. Heat the BBQ up slightly as the grease will be easier to remove if warm and less solid, but obviously be very careful of touching any hot areas.
2. If it is really bad, Fabric Conditioner will soak off the worst grease! Put the removable pieces of the grill in a plastic ‘under-bed’ storage box or similar and leave them to soak in Fabric Conditioner.
3. Always keep raw meat on one side of the BBQ and cooked food on the other to avoid cross contamination. We like Astonish ‘Germ Clear’ spray which can be used to sanitise food prep areas,especially those that have had raw meat near them. Use separate cloths too for each area.
4. Invest in some melamine plates and cups. This will help you to be environmentally responsible as well as saving money on disposable alternatives, and there are no safety worries about smashing your regular plates and glasses on the patio if dropped.

If you fancy enlisting a world class team of housekeepers to help you with your pre-party clean up or to tackle your BBQ left over cleaning needs, just drop us a line on our online contact form. There are no penalties here – we will free up your free time so you can enjoy the match.


Packing Heat

I have ‘form’ for getting searched at Airport Security. It goes way back to being strip searched when I was travelling to America with my parents as a teen.

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Perhaps I look ‘dodgy’. Perhaps I have very metallic blood that sets off airport scanners (just kidding). Either way, my most fond memories of travelling abroad do not include endless security checks, especially ‘That’ time in Jamaica. We were supposed to be having ‘one last family holiday’ before my brother and I were deemed old enough to prefer holidaying with friends instead. As a souvenir I had purchased a ‘rain stick’, which is essentially a piece of bamboo filled with rice which makes a sound that imitates falling rain when turned over.

On arriving at the departure hall ready for our flight back to the UK, I was directed to security after being informed that I was not allowed to take the rain stick on board with my cabin luggage, instead it would have to go in the hold. I was told to go and see the ‘packing man’ who would help me to wrap my treasure for a small fee, whilst my family had to stay in the queue to check in. Clearly this guy had a good sense of humour as he wrapped up my piece of bamboo with a triangular piece of cardboard at one end, meaning my innocent rain stick now looked like a cartoon wrapped shotgun. So I tucked my parcel under my arm and started to wheel my case over to the check in desks.

Needless to say, I now looked supremely suspicious in a very comical way and was attracting the attention of some burly security guards. In the departure hall there was a row of tables and random spot checks were being carried out which is pretty common in the Caribbean. I didn’t make it past the tables. In fact, I had by now gained the attention of a few more security staff with huge, scary looking (genuine) guns casually slung over their shoulders. I probably looked really guilty too as I often feel like this when I pass a police car even though I have nothing to hide! As we are not really accustomed to seeing guns on display in the UK, the whole situation was getting more and more terrifying, and I couldn’t see my family now as they were at the very front of the check-in queue.

Mr Security demanded that I open my case, and I felt really nervous as I struggled with the lock on my prized turquoise hard shell suitcase. As I opened it, there was a collective gasps from everyone around me. I looked up confused, and glanced across at the other cases either side of me to try and figure out what was wrong with mine. I have never seen contents of a suitcase quite like it – You would be forgiven for thinking it was like everything had been bundled into my neighbours cases, but that description would be far too kind. The contents actually looked like they had been plucked from a washing machine, mid cycle. Some wet and some dry clothes, all screwed up into one big ball with a couple of aerosols and an odd shoe thrown in for good measure. I looked back at my case and realised that the gasps I had heard were in admiration for the neat segregated piles of ironed and folded clothes. The toiletries and make up were in their own little labelled bags, and my shoes in pairs with socks stuffed inside. Clearly this was not a normal occurrence and the security guard refused anything further than a cursory lifting of one corner of folded clothes, reluctant to disturb the uniform layers. It turns out, on reflection, I have always been a neat and tidy holiday maker.

Pack Like a Pro:

For the avid traveller to the occasional holiday maker, my top tips for a smooth trip have to include:

  1. Write a packing list. This to me is invaluable now that I have to pack for my little girl as well as myself. It can help you evaluate whether you have included too many outfit changes. When you have a list that you can check off against, it doesn’t matter if you have to go back to finish off your packing once you have completed the laundry of any items that you want to take with you, as you can keep track of what has already been packed. It is a great way to make sure that you remember the items that you are unable to pack ahead of time too, such as items that you use everyday.
  2. Roll your clothes to reduce space and avoid creases.
  3. Pick out the clothes you think you should take and then halve the amount! Think about taking similar colours which can be worn a couple of ways to increase your outfit options.
  4. Place tumble dryer sheets in-between layers of folded clothes to keep that freshly laundered scent rather than the odour from travelling in an aircraft hold or car boot.
  5. Always pack a spare outfit and essentials into your carry-on hand luggage bag in case your suitcase doesn’t arrive at the same time that you do.
  6. Use packing cubes or re-use carrier bags to segregate items so they are easier to locate. I have been known to pack whole outfits for my daughter in freezer bags in order to be able to grab a complete change of clothes easily, down to the socks, vest and a bib.
  7. Arrange your housekeeping service to ‘Deep Clean’ your home whilst your away. There is nothing nicer than returning home from the chaos of an airport to a clean and tidy house, fresh smelling fridge and perfectly made bed, just like the ‘hotel feel’ that you have been used to on your trip!

They say that ‘Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer’ but here at Bright and Beautiful, we disagree. For busy professionals, we offer the ability to buy your time back and give you more free time to do the things that you love to do whether that is at home or away. For a deep clean or a regular cleaning service, check out our website and see how we can  make your home even more inviting to return back to this summer.

The White Stuff

Christmas in June and baking ingredients in the wash – Has the world really been turned upside down just because the weather is warm and sunny in England?

Untitled-1Yesterday was National Leon day. Yup, that didn’t really mean anything to me either until I googled it. It turns out that Leon is an anagram for Noel……. Can you see where I am going with this? Yes, we are talking about the ‘C’ word in June. Now anyone reading this blog who knows me personally will be floored, as I dislike Christmas with a passion. I have some good reasons for my festive negativity, mixed with a hefty dose of ‘scrouge’. I am repeatedly told that my festive outlook will dramatically change and I will grow to love Christmas as my toddler becomes more aware of this magical time. (Yeah right). I just don’t think people realise how much I do actually dislike it.

But exactly what has this actually got to do with housekeeping in June I guess you are probably asking? Well, the concept of having a successful small business (which is kind of where Leon day comes from-crafters having to start creating festive merchandise in time for December sales) is all about the planning and looking ahead to landmark dates throughout the year. By talking to our clients, we are finding that this is not just a small business thing and that a successful household needs planning all year round too. At home I have a white board with our meal plan written on it for the week. Am I super organised? Well actually this weekly practice was born out of weakness for all things ‘take away’ and tiredness from working stupidly long hours in a corporate role. I would arrive home, peer into the fridge uninspired, and in an attempt to deflect the thankless task I would ask my husband what he wanted for tea. After 60 minutes procrastinating and a few raised voices, we would often plump for a ‘quick-and-easy-but-nutritionally-poor’ meal, or worse still, a takeaway. To reduce costs (and waistlines), now I write a menu for the week and then do my weekly shop based on that menu. It stops us buying masses of exciting looking carbs or veg that go to waste and takes the decision making away at a time when we are possibly likely to make poor choices.
I have to be honest, I was mocked for my white board when I introduced it years ago. Mocked by both my mum and my friends. It is tucked away in the utility room, my dirty little secret, set out with tape gridlines and lots of magnets. Nowadays though, on a Tuesday night when my mum arrives for ‘Grandma’ duties, she checks the board to see what delights we have in-store for her this week. And it’s the same friends who now do exactly the same (albeit not everyone has a white board) to keep this part of their evening simple and on track, allowing them to actually enjoy their free time without arguments over what is for tea (we are northern so it really is ‘Tea’).

Top Tips:

We wouldn’t be British if we didn’t talk about the weather. The fantastic sunny days that we are currently experiencing usually bring out questionable fashion choices for a few, and the whitest of white T-Shirts for the masses. For some though, a white T-Shirts also mean unsightly sweat marks that linger long after the sun has set. In the war against yellowing ‘whites’ try adding a spoonful of Bicarbonate of Soda to your washing machine (just pop it in the drawer with your washing powder) and just like the sun disappears as soon as you get your suncream out, sweat marks and other unsightly stains will vanish as if by magic. Did you know that ‘Bicarb’ can also be used to fluff up your towels too. Use in place of fabric conditioner and you might just be surprised.

You could leave the laundry to Bright & Beautiful if you prefer. We don’t just provide domestic cleaning services – we can help out with all manner of housekeeping tasks including Ironing and Laundry as we do for a lot of our clients. Click here to make an enquiry about how our services could free up your time.

The ‘Superhero’ in my life

As we celebrate fathers day in the U.K. there will be many cards and gifts being given stating ‘best dad’ and ‘world’s number 1’ but there is something that you should know – my dad actually has a superpower!


My dad is a true superhero in my eyes. Not just for the most obvious reasons like; lending me money in days gone by, supplementing my driving lessons with practice sessions in my aged Ford Fiesta on icy January roads, or attending every sports match I played in (often shouting encouragement from the sidelines in a very embarrassing way). My dad also did the other standard ‘dad’ things like casting his opinion on my chosen ‘going out’ outfit, and telling me in no uncertain terms was I to go collect a kitten from the farm up the road and bring ‘that ferrel animal’ back to his house. (I still have that same kitten, going strong at the grand old age of 14, and his brother from the same litter lives with my parents too). What you should really know though, is that my dad actually has a super power. One that he managed to keep hidden for about 13 years before his hidden talent was exposed by my grandma to the world. My dad was a policeman, you see. He spent his days collecting crime scene evidence long before the CBS network cashed in on the (not very glamorous) world of DNA testing, footprint casting and finger printing CSI sleuths. But as an old school copper, and having started his career as a police cadet, he also had his fair share of parading around in his ceremonial uniform etc. and presentation had to be ‘en pointe’.

Thirteen years or so of being married, my dad had managed to keep his superhuman ability a closely guarded secret until my grandma came round for tea one Sunday.  A proper Sunday roast was a regular, weekly, family gathering  for us and I have lots of fond memories around our dining room table laid out with the Sunday best crockery, a gravy boat and ‘proper’ napkins. My dad however, will remember one particular Sunday as the day that his cover was blown. We had migrated into the front room for the Coronation Street omnibus and, as most of us had watched the episodes anyway during the week, there was a little chat going on. My mum had brought the ironing board in and set up in the corner of the room to crack on with the shirts for the coming week. It started off innocently enough as my grandma is quite conservative, and will not get involved in other peoples business as a general rule. On this occasion my grandma just dropped into the conversation that she didn’t often see my dad (her son) ironing. My mum looked up, surprised, and replied that this was probably because he wasn’t able to iron. My dad looked a bit shifty but his ego took over and he had to defend his position. Yes, my dad was forced to admit to my mum (and his mother-in-law as both my Grandmas were there) that for 13 years he had been withholding vital information. You could even say he had been perverting the course of justice by not offering up relevant facts in due course. My dad is actually really quite impressive at ironing. He earned his ironing stripes due to the precision required for his work shirts with epaulettes that he used to iron as a bachelor. Anyone who can iron like my dad can iron, is a superhero in my eyes. Needless to say, my dad has been ironing in their house ever since.

Top Tips from the boys

Having seen and heard a lot of stereotypical gender related content in the news and on social media in the run up to Fathers day, we naturally considered our client base here at Bright and Beautiful in Chorley and noticed that over half our clients are in fact men. Does this mean that men are worse at housekeeping than women? No, and that nugget of blatant sexism is a conversation for someone else to tackle on a different day. What we do think, is that both men and women are getting more savvy with how they spend their precious few hours of leisure time and are choosing to let us look after their home and housekeeping so that they can concentrate on their family and friends. Regardless of your gender, you can not buy happiness. But, by getting some help with your housekeeping, you  definitely free up some of your time to help you pursue the things that make you happy.

The other ‘daddy’ in my life, is my husband. He is a brilliant dad and not one for spending hours folding clothes when he could be having fun with our daughter. So when I spoke to him about this weeks blog he was insistent that I shared his favourite clothes folding hack. He said that if there was one thing that he could go back and tell his  student self about ‘adulting’, it would be the 2 second T-Shirt folding hack which you can catch in this short video. Happy folding!

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads who can iron, and of course, also a very Happy Fathers Day to those that can’t iron, or choose not too!

As Safe As Houses

Keeping the smallest members of our household safe can be a real challenge, but one client had a simple solution…

private padlock imageAs we offer bespoke housekeeping solutions, the only real way to ensure the service we offer reflects the needs of a potential client is to visit them at home. I really enjoy this part of my job as I love to meet new people, (and often) their family and pets too. Needless to say, you never quite know what you will encounter when you are invited to tour a home, as we are invariably shown the rooms that other guests do not see.
A few weeks ago I had been invited to quote a family home, around tea time, not very far from where I live. I was greeted at the door by a lovely man who let me know that everyone was out except him, and invited me in. It was a modern new build property on a lovely quiet estate, tastefully decorated and clearly a family orientated home. We began our tour around the neat and tidy home, and he showed me every nook and cranny. (By the way, I don’t really need to see the cupboard you keep your cleaning supplies in although most people like to show off their collection as proof that they do actually clean!)
There were quite a few rooms, and I was making notes on my clipboard as we go round so that I could provide a structured quote for the client. We were chatting away and I had mentioned a few things about the way we work. After the family bathroom, we reached a regular interior door which was bolted shut and my tour guide paused, raises his eyebrows and said ‘Oh you don’t need to see in there’, blushed and moved on. Hang on….. you have shown me the interior of your wardrobe (very neat!), the inside of your fridge (clean and methodical), yet this seemingly normal white door that has a huge silver bolt at the top corner, is out of bounds? The architrave had been chiselled out to make way for such a big bolt at the top, and my 5ft tall best friend would have struggled to reach the bolt as it was positioned at the very top of the door. I am feeling a little uneasy now, almost as uneasy as when I had my toes nibbled by someones pet ferret whilst quoting last year. Are the contents of this room suggestive of 50 shades of grey? Does he have a stalkers picture wall dedicated to a single celebrity female? Maybe he is into time-travel? We continue but I have to say, my mind keeps flicking back to that room, and the reason for such a big bolt.
We finish the tour and as we are headed back down stairs, and I am just recapping which rooms the client wants included in the deep clean and which will also be included on the regular cleaning schedule. To check, I say, as we approach ‘THE’ door, ‘So we are leaving that room completely for now?’ The owner turns to look at me, with a very sheepish look on his face and dramatically reaches up to the bolt. ‘Well you could give it a deep clean I guess’ he says, throwing open the door, to reveal his Ironing room.  ‘I am so embarrassed’ he goes on to explain, ‘its so messy in here, there are clothes everywhere and our ironing isn’t very good. We just keep it bolted because we are so worried that the toddler will hurt himself in here as you hear such horror stories about accidents in the home. We probably go a little OTT as we worry about safety a lot.’ And just like that, I gained myself a new ironing contract and dissipated the mystery of the bolted room.

As national child safety week comes to an end, remembering this encounter made me consider how many different obstacles the small people in our lives have to navigate in our homes and the masses of products on the market that we have available to help us safe guard them. Some of which are impractical, expensive and not necessarily as effective as a nice big silver bolt on the top corner of a door.

Top Tips

They say that the best form of prevention is to remove the danger, but if we think about household cleaning products often this isn’t practical. If you can’t eliminate, then substituting for something less harmful is the next best thing.
When your next in the supermarket, consider picking up an Eco-friendly alternative. Bright & Beautiful pride ourselves on achieving perfect results with eco-friendly products without the use of bleach or other nasties. Eco-friendly doesn’t mean reduced cleaning power. Think about where you store your cleaning products – are little hands able to open the cupboards? What about paws and jaws? Family pets are often as inquisitive as children. There are lots of different types of cupboard safety locks available to help if you are unable to store your cleaning products out of arms reach.

Children often copy us through imaginative play, a toy vacuum may be a better alternative if your little person likes to help with the household chores so that they can feel involved without encouraging them to reach for the something that they may hurt themselves with.
If you would like to see the results that we can achieve with our Eco-friendly cleaning products in your home, or even if you have an ironing room you would like to show us, feel free to contact Bright & Beautiful (Chorley) for a no-obligation quote visit or take a look at our Bright & Beautiful website.