It’s Tuesday afternoon, shortly after lunch, Amy is in bed and I’ve got an hour or two to crack on and get some work done. Mostly this is a time to write, to catch up on blog admin and edit photos. This is often to the detriment of the housework. I’m never sure how to class my work situation – am I a stay at home mum, a work at home mum or am I neither of these because I actually teach part time? Any which way you look at it; between my supply work, looking after three children and writing this blog my life is busy.
Our house is generally pretty clean but it’s rarely tidy. Anyone who visits us will be familiar with the cluttered kitchen surfaces or the dining room piled high with stuff. With three kids and a dog along with a general lack of storage, it’s a constant battle to keep things where they should be. Ben and Chloe are getting much better at tidying up now and we are starting to assign them set tasks, for example it’s now Ben’s job to wipe the table down after every meal.
It can be hard to prioritise my time – should I be cleaning, washing, writing, sitting on the floor doing jigsaws with Amy, reading books with Chloe or building Lego with Ben? I try not to write when the kids are around, though I do often check my social media and send emails. Blogging is generally saved for when they are sleeping and I can concentrate. Washing, cleaning and ironing? These are all things I do whilst they’re playing or watching tv. Sometimes I feel guilty that I’m doing stuff like that when I could be playing with them but then I remind myself that they need those clean clothes and clean home to live in and it’s also setting a good example to them for doing these things themselves one day.
At the moment Amy is very demanding of my attention. She likes to be near me, to cuddle, to be picked up, to climb all over me. If I’m trying to tidy in the kitchen she will follow me around saying “Miss you Mummy, you sit down, love you all day Mummy” until I sit on the sofa with her. Of course the moment I do sit down, she’s off to do something else. She just wants me to be near by, so she can see me and talk to me. I find myself saying “Just wait a minute love, Mummy’s got to do her jobs” but then I have those moments where I realise she isn’t going to want this forever, there will come a time where she’s more than happy to leave me to clean the kitchen and iron because she’s all grown up and doesn’t need me to play with her any more. I sit down. I cuddle her. I let her make me cups of tea and bring me dinner from her kitchen in the playroom.
Today I haven’t had to make any of those decisions. Today Fantastic Services came and did all my cleaning jobs for me. During the three hours that they were here they have cleaned, scrubbed, polished, mopped, tidied, wiped, hoovered and even washed up.
I’ve never had someone in to do the cleaning before so I was unsure what to expect and I must admit I was a little nervous. Would I feel comfortable having someone in my house? Would they do a good job?
The booking experience was simple, a quick phone call to discuss timings, to check the parking situation outside our property and also to check my priorities for the clean followed by a confirmation email explaining what I should expect from the cleaners on the day.
Bang on the allotted time Alex arrived at my front door and introduced himself. He carefully put on blue over shoes to protect my home before asking me to show him around the house and talk to him about what I needed doing. I had mentally prioritised my bathroom and kitchen and explained that I really wasn’t bothered if they didn’t do anything in the bedrooms as they weren’t particularly tidy and only really needed a dust and hoover anyway so I was happy for Alex and his cleaning partner to focus their attention elsewhere. Alex was keen not to miss the rooms out and explained they would still hoover and dust if that was OK with me. Once I had finished showing him the rooms they got on quickly, bringing their equipment in from the car and making a start on the bathroom and kitchen as these were the rooms I had highlighted as being the most important.
I wasn’t completely comfortable being in the house whilst Alex and his partner were cleaning – mainly as I just didn’t want to get in their way, especially with Amy at home. Amy thought Alex was wonderful and was keen to chat to him so I felt I should probably get her out of the way. We took ourselves off for a cheeky hot chocolate and a bit of window shopping which was a lovely way to spend our Tuesday morning, especially knowing that someone was cleaning our house for us! I must admit it felt a little strange going out of the house leaving behind people I’d never met before – it does rather go against your natural instincts!
Amy and I were able to take ourselves out for a cheeky coffee date and come back to a clean and tidy house. When we got home the Fantastic Services cleaners were about two thirds of their way through our allotted time. The kitchen was sparkling – our high gloss cupboard doors, which are the bane of my life with smudges, smears and finger prints are now streak free and shiny. All the surfaces had been thoroughly cleaned and it was clear that things like the toaster had been moved to be cleaned underneath rather than just quickly wiping around them. Any bits and pieces which had been left in the kitchen had been carefully arranged and tidied up into a neat pile to allow me to put them away quickly later.
Our bathroom is a notoriously dusty room, I think it comes from a tiny gap in the wall which is awaiting an extractor fan. Today, however it’s bright and sparkly right down to the silver tile trims. The floor isn’t quite up to the standard of the rest of the room, I’m not sure if it was missed completely or if it just dried funny and needed an extra wipe once the job was done.
The bedrooms, which I hadn’t really expected to be done within the time, have all been hoovered and polished including the mirror in our bedroom. Even the beds have been made and the children’s toys picked up and put neatly on the window sill.
The living room and dining room were the last to be done and as such probably suffered a little from the time starting to run out – at first glance they’re pristine, the mirror is clean and streak free, the perpetually dusty tv stand is now clean and shiny. On closer inspection some of the picture frames haven’t been polished but as I say, I think this is more due to a lack of time than poor workmanship. I was really impressed that the sofas were pulled out and cleaned underneath as this could so easily have been missed!
Over all I’m absolutely thrilled with the service provided by Fantastic Services. Three hours of cleaning by Alex and his partner has cleaned much of my house to a higher standard than I would ever have time for myself – it would have taken me at least a full child free day to clean as thoroughly and effectively. And, more than just the clean house, they’ve given me time. Time to spend with the kids, to get my work done or to sit on the sofa in peace.
The three hour clean we have experienced today would have cost £79. I particularly love that, unlike other local services I’ve researched previously who insist on a regular booking for a minimum time, Fantastic Services offer a one off cleaning service so that you don’t have to commit. Just every now and again when you’re time poor or have a spare few quid, you can book in as many hours as you like and just prioritise the jobs which need doing. If at the end of your time there’s still work to be done you can even extend your booking for an additional fee. Would I have them back? Absolutely.
Should you wish to try out Fantastic Services yourself I’m able to share with you a special discount code – use Colette10 to receive £10 off your first service (Min charges apply. Subject to availability and area coverage. This code cannot be combined with other offers and discounts)
*Disclaimer – We were provided with a one off three hour cleaning service from Fantastic Services free of charge for the purposes of review however all thoughts and opinions remain our own*