I have a filthy confession to admit. I’m not a domestic goddess. In fact I am what older generations might call a domestic sloth. I literally hate cleaning and I think my abhorrence for doing anymore wiping than the very basic (and never ending) requirements of motherhood is probably the reason why whatever my work is, I throw myself into it with gusto. If I’m busy ‘working’ then I have an excuse for the chaos of my home and to avoid dusting the high surfaces for months (ahem, years.)
There you go – my secret is out, CheltenhamMaman lives in filth! It’s not that bad. Fortunately the Cheltenham Papa has strong grease scrubbing elbows and a better understanding of the science of cleaning than I do but my house is not one you can safely just pop round uninvited for a cup if tea to – you never know what you might find.
This time of year is particularly trying. My home was built in the early 1800s and to those who don’t know better it’s a gorgeous chocolate box, Cotswold stone cottage. Step inside and you see that though very sweet it’s high maintenance (like it’s owner perhaps?)
So when I received a call from a relatively new cleaning firm in Gloucestershire, My Cleaner Home, run by Cheltenham Maman Rachel Brierly-Jones it took me all of three seconds to decide that a one off spring clean would be a really special treat and would hopefully free me up to avoid cleaning guilt free for another month or so.
Rachel is a mum of two gorgeous children. She is a former City executive, who, six years ago, together with her husband, took on an almost derelict Georgian house with a huge garden, and has turned in into something worthy of the interior glossies. Her beautiful home has made her very house proud, and through research she became concerned about the toxic chemicals in everyday cleaning products.
When Rachel arrived with her team Liz and Sarah I asked her for her thoughts on the general cleaning products available in mainstream stores.
‘I knew when I first set up the company that I would only ever want us to use natural products that would be safe for my clients and their families, as well as the environment. I went through months of intensively researching and testing traditional cleaning methods and techniques. This was huge fun and enormously revealing; to my surprise the homemade, traditional products were more often than not more effective than modern, commercial alternatives. As commercial products often contain chemicals that can compromise our health, I was even more convinced in our approach.
I came up with a range of products that we now make by hand. Though the exact ingredients are a closely guarded secret, I can say that they contain many items that many people find lurking at the back of kitchen cupboards, such as beeswax, vinegar, glycerine, bicarbonate of soda or lemons. One important feature of our cleans is that we also incorporate essential oils. Not only do they contain combinations of antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, they add a bit of luxury which both staff and clients can enjoy! We change the oils with the season to make it relevant for the time of year. I have just finished our blend for the New Year, which will be uplifting and refreshing to help banish potential January blues!’
Rachel pointed me in the direction of an article in The Telegraph explaining the positive changes green cleaning has had on the quality of life for many celebs such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba – improved eczema and allergies being one of the main improvements noted. Let me tell you ladies – if these natural alternatives are good enough for Gwynnie – they’ll do me just fine.
Rachel told me that if home feels chaotic then life can feel chaotic and I couldn’t agree more. After a good tour of my home we talked about my expectations, any areas that I needed particular care to be taken on (natural stone floors for example) and any areas that I really struggled with. She discussed a plan of action with the team and off they went and the results are outstanding and I’ve been left one happy Maman.
You can take advantage of a one off clean like I did if you feel your home could do with a bit of a seasonal spruce up or Rachel can quote for regular cleans. She also offers gift vouchers and I have to say with Mothering Sunday only weeks away I would MUCH prefer a useful gift like this than a box of chocolates and a pastel teddy bear.
Here’s some pics of my sparkly home which smells subtly but deliciously of rosemary and grapefruit essential oils. I now have to go and collect the kids from school and nursery. But I don’t want to let them back in. It’s not that cold in the shed now that it’s March – surely? ……..
To get in touch with Rachel and talk through any natural cleaning requirements you may have you can drop her a line directly on 01452 855898 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s offering CheltenhamMaman readers 10% off cleans during the next three months (offer ends end May) – just mention that we sent you.