Luxury Natural Cleaning Products for your Home

Spring is traditionally the time in the UK to freshen our homes and prepare for the seasons ahead. Here are some of our favourite luxury natural cleaning products on the market.

Caring for delicate fabrics

Laundress is an American eco-friendly brand that specialises in detergent, fabric care and home cleaning products. Their ‘Wool and Cashmere Shampoo’ keeps your delicate clothes in the best possible condition – a god send at the moment whilst the dry cleaners are closed!

Laundress, Wool and Cashmere Shampoo
Available at Selfridges

The Sweater Stone was designed epecially to help remove pilling and lint from your clothes. The natural pumice renews the finish of jumpers, cardigans, blankets and upholstery. And we think it is an essential addition to any laundry room or wardrobe to help keep your clothes looking good for longer.

Non-toxic products for the kitchen and home

Tincture is a London based brand which has created a range of high performance, natural cleaning products. All the ingredients are 100% natural, sustainable and non-toxic. And best of all, the products are safe to use around babies, children and pets. Essential oils and botanical extracts are key ingredients in these products and they’re chemical free too!

Ashley & Co. is another luxury brand who have created a range of beautiful products that are naturally plant based. They’re also 100% biodegradable and free of SLS & parabens.

‘Benchpress’ is an all round surface spray which includes essential oils like citrus, clove bud and cinnamon bark. It is effective without the use of harsh ingredients; is gentle on skin and leaves surfaces spotless and fresh.

Reusable Towels

These reusable and sustainably sourced Bamboo Reusable Towels from Eco Egg completely replace the need for paper towels in your kitchen and home. Each sheet becomes softer and more absorbent with each wash. They won’t scratch any surfaces or leave any lint or residue and can be used for both wet spills and on dry surfaces. And for every pack sold, the company promise to Plant a Tree with Ripple Africa.

A guide to domestic staff

Private Domestic Staff

Domestic staff play an important role in maintaining the smooth running of private households. We work with each client to truly understand their needs and requirements which enables us to place the perfect employees for your home.

What’s the difference between domestic staff and housekeepers?

‘Domestic staff’ is the broad term which encompass all staff that are employed by a residential home. Housekeepers will fall into this category as they are a type of domestic worker.

How many members of domestic staff do I need?

It really is dependent on your lifestyle and the size of your house or estate. We can work with you to guide you on the number of private staff members that you may need. We place all types of domestic workers: Butlers, Chauffeurs, Private Chefs, House Manager, Housekeepers, Domestic Couples and Groundsmen.

Some clients express a need for domestic workers to live in, others prefer for staff to live out. Sometimes it is possible to consolidate several tasks with a ‘Domestic Couple’. The duo would be able to cover a full range of roles, both inside and outside the home.

How do I manage domestic employees? 

Our luxury domestic employees are fully trained and will have a wide range of experience working for clients in private homes.  However, each client has different expectations, so ensure that you walk through your home with the staff member on day one and fully explain what you require from them. To create a smooth working relationship, make sure that the brief is fully understood. 

How should I treat domestic staff?

Sometimes domestic workers often become an extension of your family, so we encourage you to treat any employee with the utmost respect.

How do I recruit domestic staff?

At AJA Partnership, we recruit the highest quality of domestic employees. We ensure that references and checks have been made so that you have complete peace of mind, and recruiting is a stress free process. Please contact us today and we will be happy to help you find the perfect candidate for your home.

How to host a virtual interview

Luxury marble desk with laptop, great space to conduct virtual interviews
Image credit – Roses Interior

Virtual interviews are an excellent way in which we can recruit for domestic and household staff in these current times of self-isolation and social distancing. We have put together a short guide which could useful for both interviewer and interviewees.

Scheduling

It’s important that the time and date has been properly scheduled and communicated to both parties. And if you have any queries, please check details ahead of time to make sure that the call runs smoothly, and it will avoid any unnecessary rescheduling.

Most virtual interviews will take place using Skype, WhatsApp video call, Zoom or Facetime; so it is vital that both parties check that they have an account to the relevant software. The log in details and passwords should be easily accessible so that you can log in promptly when the call is due to commence.

The Basics

Make sure that you have a fully charged battery to minimise any disruption during the interview.

We advise that you find a quiet space to conduct the call so that any unnecessary background noise is kept to a minimum.

Make sure that you are sitting still and facing the camera and find somewhere suitable to rest your laptop/mobile so that there is limited movement. This will make the interview run smoothly and avoid any disturbance for both parties.

Try to limit multitasking whilst the video call or interview is taking place, and make sure that you are fully engaged in the conversation at all times.

Our candidates will approach the interview dressed as they would for a face to face interview. They will be well briefed on the job description and what the client is expecting from the role.

Tips for Interviewer

Be prepared and review your questions ahead of time and make sure that you are going to cover all aspects of the job role.

If you can, use the same question for all candidates so that you know that you are interviewing all candidates fairly.

Tips for Interviewee

Practice making sure that you are comfortable in front of a camera. Use a mirror to rehearse or record yourself and play the recording back. It will be easy to spot any habits that the client may find distracting.

Look at the camera and make eye contact at all times.

It would be advisable to have a glass of water to hand in case you are suffering from any stage fright!

If you are seeking your next role, please view our current vacancies here.

Luxury gift ideas for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is almost upon us, and what better time to show the important lady in your life how much she means to you!

We have put together our top tips to buying a perfect present this Mother’s Day, as well as showcasing some of our favourite luxury gift ideas…

  • First of all, it is important that you take into consideration the taste and style of the recipient. Don’t buy a gift that you would like to receive; it should demonstrate that you know their tastes and personality
  • Secondly, remember that it is the final touches that can make a big difference. Always make sure that the gift is well presented and it should be placed within a gift bag with tissue paper or decorated with a ribbon tie. Make sure that the present includes a gift tag, and perhaps the gift receipt
  • To avoid causing any offence, it is advisable to gift an item that isn’t size dependant – accessories are a great option in our opinion
  • Finally, the most important thing to remember is that regifting is never appropriate!

We think that these luxury gift ideas will make the perfect present this Mother’s Day.

Burberry Grainy Leather AirPods Case, the perfect luxury gift for Mother's Day
Burberry Leather Airpod Case
Chloe Darcey Earrings
Chloé Darcey earrings
YSL Lou Belt Bag
YSL Lou Belt Bag
Chanel Camélia Ajouré necklace
Chanel Camélia Necklace
Mulberry Postman's Lock Agenda - a gorgeous luxury gift idea for Mother's Day
Mulberry Postman’s Lock Agenda

RING IN THE NEW YEAR CHANGES

2020 – So it’s the start of a new year and we’ve all become a little more intent on making new changes for the good. We reflect on the year gone by with nostalgia and sentimentality, keen to make the year ahead a good one with regards to health and happiness.

ALCOHOL – Drinking alcohol is one of the main resolutions people make on January 1st. Dry January is a public health campaign that encourages the masses to abstain from alcohol and realise the benefits of an alcohol-free body. Weight loss, clearer skin and improved sleep together with an improved sex life, sharper memory and professional performance are all there for the taking. But should we all abstain permanently? Most people do not but a month off feeling fabulous is often enough to remind us that wine o’clock became more of a habit than a pleasure and cutting back the intake might not be a bad idea moving forward.

SOCIAL MEDIA – As a nation we check our phones every 14 minutes. It’s become such a habit that it’s no surprise that mental health issues are escalating at an alarming rate, particularly with our teens. It’s clearly not a wise idea to pour over the posts of celebrities and influencers in the manner in which we do. It can induce a feeling of self-loathing and dissatisfaction amongst the more vulnerable and lead to obsessional levels of phone use. So what can we do about this very modern addition? Giving up social media entirely is not going to work, however, we can certainly adjust our approach and this is easier than you think. It takes 30 days only to adopt a new habit which is handy given we are in the month of making changes. So, try this for starters. Do not check your phone after 9pm and leave your device downstairs charging when you’re in bed. This is ESPECIALLY important for children. Do not reply to any messages beyond this time – tomorrow will come around soon enough. Disconnect whilst eating dinner and engage in good old-fashioned conversation for a change. You never know this new way of working could leave you feeling overall a much happier and content person.

FITNESS – More than half of us want to make positive bodily changes. But getting the body you want involves a change in mindset. Like I mentioned earlier, 30 days rings in new habits so start right now. Take the stairs, walk your 10,000 daily – you’ll be surprised how little time that takes. Set some fitness targets, couch to 5k is a great start. Skip for 5 minutes every day. Join a gym and go at least twice a week to make it financially viable. Fitness and exercise are the basis for a happy and healthy life. I cannot recommend Bikram yoga enough but this activity deserves a blog entirely of its own.

MINDFULLNESS – It isn’t difficult being a charming and positive person, it’s an outlook that will wholly benefit you in the long run. Try and understand the benefits of smiling more and listening to others. Kindness is a gift that ought to be shared and this in turn supports the whole mindfulness movement. Take some time out every single day and learn to mediate. 10 minutes a day is enough to ring in some positive changes for the good. Taking very good care of your mental health it is the foundations to long term happiness.

WHY WE NEED TO RE THINK OUR HOMES

Our homes are an extension of who we are and how we live our lives. From the moment you step into someone’s house you get a measure of the character that resides there. A messy environment can have a negative impact on our mood and therefore our health, so what simple changes can we make to adjust our outlook on life and therefore promote happiness and harmony within the home?

1. Making your bed in the morning is proven to be the simplest of tasks that has a positive impact on your day.

2. Clutter causes stress – order creates a haven. Spend 3 minutes on each room first thing in the morning to get the room ready for the day ahead, don’t add to yesterday’s chaos as an out of control environment breeds negative energy.

3. Sentimental photographs and objects enhance mood, surplus items create mess. Make your home a gallery of positivity.

4. Gratitude is key to attracting wealth and well-being. At the end of each day, spend a minute or two reflecting on the positives of the day, maybe write down a line or two and save in your journal.

5. We all overstretch ourselves and people please. Try to make fewer plans and don’t stress about saying no. Being true to yourself allows for a richer and more fulfilling life.

6. Ensure children have an active role in the maintenance of their home. One day they will walk in our shoes and simple adjustments now with ensure they respect the home place as much as they should.

7. Paperwork is a curse of all busy households and unopened post and piles of bills create ill feeling amongst family members. Ensure you create a simple and effective filing system and utilise it every single day.

8. Writing lists is key to decluttering the mind. Ensure there a pads around the house to write down ideas or must dos. You will be amazed at how sleep is enhanced when you have off-loaded the mind.

9. Spend a minute or two everyday connecting with something greater than yourself. Meditation is proven to improve happiness. Take a spiritual walk through nature, create a home spa, whatever, soothes your soul, indulge and take the time. You deserve it.

10. Time with your loved ones cannot be underestimated. It’s the richest part of our lives and we must invest the time in the people we care about. Simple tweaks and adjustments to the way we live our lives can create a haven to allow special moments to happen without the added clutter getting in the way.

RELOCATING ABROAD – WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY

So a new job beckons and the opportunity is too good to miss – trouble is, the job involves the entire family relocating overseas – oh dear!! All sounds very overwhelming doesn’t it? But not so. In the right hands your overseas move should be a seamless exercise in moving home and embracing change. So what’s involved?

RESEARCH YOUR MOVE

This should be a given, a move to a new country needs thought and you should research your new home land thoroughly. Collect as much information as you possibly can regarding laws, customs, cost of living and anything else that gives you a feel for the culture you’re entering. Engage in local schools, requests brochures and check online feedback and forums. Engage a relocation company to support in the early days. Don’t forget your insurances and all the health coverage you will need. DENTISTS!! Register with doctors and investigate your nearest medical rooms. Hopefully these won’t be needed but you never know.

RELOCATION COMPANIES

Consider reaching out to a relocation company ahead of the move. They can offer you great local knowledge, ensure you don’t miss out on a rental opportunites and arrange the meetings and walk rounds with schools. They will support with all doctors, medical rooms and any form filling that needs to be done. On hand for all that support ahead of the move.

SHIPPING AND DRIVING

Dependent on where you’re heading you may need to obtain an international driver permit. Check online and make the application. If you plan to ship your vehicle overseas, dependent on where you’re going it could be a far more cost-effective option than buying a new car. Remember to check local driving laws and pay attention to which side of the road you’ll need to drive on before you take the plunge with regards to shipping.

VISAS/PASSPORTS

You can’t just turn up without the correct visas/passports and making an application for new ones can take months. Be prepared.

REMOVAL COMPANIES

An international move is far more complex than a local one. Take time to research companies with a track record of overseas relocation. Again check online reviews and forums. Get a minimum of three quotes as these costs can spiral out of control. Take this move as an opportunity to declutter the home. You will be surprised at how much we collect over the years that serve no purpose in our lives. Get rid of what you don’t need. Remember this is a fresh start.

MENTALLY PREPARE YOUR CHILDREN

Children can often worry about the unknown when it comes to a big move so make sure they are fully involved in all the plans. Ensure they have a say about what type of house they’d like to live in and what sort of school would suit them. Of course you are the parent so ultimately you will make the decisions but always incorporate any views your children may have. A new language barrier can add to the anxiety of the move so again be prepared and ensure you seek out any expat communities to make sure your children understand they are not the only ones in this position. The more play dates you can arrange in the early days of your move, the easier the adjustment.

EXCITING TIMES

Moving to a new place abroad is exciting, it’s an opportunity that should not be overlooked. Buy guide books and plan trips and outings. It’s family bonding time and should be embraced. Be excited it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

IT’S ALMOST THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN

It’s hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner and no matter how prepared you think you are, a good housekeeper is always one step ahead.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Even if you’ve not invited guests during the festive period, you should always expect the unexpected at Christmas. Whether it’s family turning up unannounced, or a friend popping over with a bottle of Christmas cheer. It’s all about being prepared.
So, what is the key to a stress free festive season and how can we achieve it whilst remaining calm, collected and fashionably on trend?

Pick a theme for decorating your house, choose a colour way that enhances your home and pick out items in stores as soon as you see them. The wow factor is what you need to impress.

An organised housekeeper will make a note of the last delivery times for your online shop. Fill your digital basket as and when you see festive treats. It’s all about saving time.

A clean home lifts your mood, if you have a housekeeper on board, this is a given, a little extra polish goes a long way especially at this time of year.

No matter what’s on the festive menu, a holiday table deserves a special touch. Add sparkle and shine with a showstopper of a centre piece and if you really are out to impress, hiring a chef for that one special day really does raise the bar whilst allowing time for a little well deserved self-indulgence.

When hosting Christmas lunch for family and friends, it a good idea to buy small individual table gifts to add to the fun… isn’t it nice to make people feel loved?

You’ll agree that nothing beats getting into a freshly laundered bed whilst ensuring you have ample linen available at all times. A good housekeeper will go that extra mile with little festive toiletries to make your guests feel extra special.

Having an experienced helping hand at this time of year is all part and parcel of a wonderful holiday season for everyone. One last and important note to remember… allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy YOUR Christmas.

For more information on recruiting domestic staff contact:
info@surreyhousekeepers.co.uk
Tel: 01372 469378

CYCLING IS THE NEW OBSESSION

Every week there seems to be a new story about “Cycling being the new golf”.

So why has cycling become ever increasingly popular with men and women alike and why has golf become a little more of a second rate cousin?  The appeal of golf has almost become it’s undoing.  Modern life thrives on a fast and frenetic paced choice of exercise whereas golf’s appeal is a little more meditative and doesn’t tick the box of the busy mind.

Cycling is a beautiful sport and more and more people have caught the cycling bug.  So why is this? What is it about being on 2 wheels that makes so many people happy?  Firstly the health benefits are clear to understand.  Participants feel healthier, physically fitter with generally happier.  Anxiety can be alleviated and depression can be lifted.

We all know the golf course can replicate the boardroom and some of the best business deals have been struck in this environment.  Cycling is no different for networking, a group of 20 cyclist can involved 20 industries, what a way to professionally connect.  It’s a sport that literally anyone can do, it has no class and it is certainly not elitist.

Sounds like we should all park the car, dust off our bikes and ride in the saddle of this sport that’s taken over our roads.