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 ‘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!