Running a B&B | My top 5 gadgets for B&B ownersAug 22, 2020
One post that is sure to get a lot of comments in the Facebook Group for Past Course Attendees, is the one that asks for recommendations on the best gadgets to use for the B&B. Everyone has their favourite!
I wish the group had existed 16 years ago when I set up my own Bed and Breakfast, as it would have saved me an awful lot of money. It's painful to think of the money I've spent on gadgets over the years, either to have them sit in cupboards unused or to end up at the rubbish tip.
If you've been following me for any length of time, you'll know I hate cleaning and I love knitting. So most of the items I've bought have been about minimising the time I actually have to work and maximising the time I can sit and knit!
Here are my favourites.....
By the way, as part of the online course I include a 27 page room design checklist you can download, which covers all of the items you'll need in your B&B bedrooms and bathrooms
1. Corded Vacuum Cleaner
I have been through many vacuum cleaners; Dyson, Henrys, Panasonic and more, but none beats the Miele Cat and Dog. It's got a bag, which isn't ideal, but I've yet to find a bag-less one that doesn't result in great clouds of dust everywhere.
They are fairly light and make easy work of carpets, hard floor and stairs etc. If your B&B is over several storeys, and budget allows, I'd recommend you get one per floor.
Click image for more details.
2. Steam Cleaner
Like vacuum cleaners, I've owned many steam cleaners over the years. Most are now in sitting in a steam cleaner graveyard somewhere. However, with the need for extra cleaning due to COVID, a steam cleaner is a bit of an essential, especially if you want to avoid using too many chemicals.
Whilst there are environmentally friendly cleaning products for cleaning hard surfaces, I've yet to find any that will sanitise soft furnishings - think sofas, cushions, bed bases - that don't contain nasty chemicals. One chemical to watch out for is Benzalkonium Chloride. It's relatively safe at low doses but if a cat or dog gets a lot of it on them and then they groom themselves it is poisonous.
I do have a VAX steam mop which converts to a handheld. It's fine but I find it quite heavy when I need to lift it up to clean above shoulder height ( for curtains ) and it needs refilling often.
I did a bit of research and found the DUPRAY NEAT steam cleaner. I'm a bit more excited about this than I should be really. And I'm not alone, it's gaining a bit of a fan club in our Facebook Group!
It has a long cord - I can clean a whole B&B room from one plug socket. And a long wand - which means you clean high up without reaching up or hurting your arms and at floor level - grout on floors etc - without bending down. It holds a litre of water and has about 45 minutes of cleaning time.
It is more expensive than many other steam cleaners, but I think it is worth the extra expense for time saved.
Click the picture for more details
3. Bread Machine
After my B&B course was first reviewed in the Guardian, a lady emailed me a long email all about B&B breakfasts. She said she had stayed at some lovely B&Bs that served amazing breakfasts and all of them had been let down by their toast! She was very keen that going forward I should tell every B&B owner that toast was a very important element of breakfast and that they should not skimp on the quality of their bread.
Bread making is much more popular that it used to be - as anyone who was trying to buy yeast in lockdown will know - and artisan breads and sourdoughs abound! I've been down the sourdough route and killed more starters, through neglect, than I care to remember.
If you have time to make your bread from scratch, then please do. Or you may be lucky enough to live near an artisan baker so you can buy it in.
Unfortunately for me, the nearest amazing baker is a 16 mile round trip away. And I just found I ran out of time and energy to make my own sourdough with everything else that needs doing. I'm all for making my life as easy as possible! There's knitting to be done!
Instead, I make both granary and white dough in the bread machine. I never use it to bake the bread, but instead I shape the bread into 3 loaves, leave to prove overnight ( or more ) in the fridge and bake in the oven in the morning. You fill the B&B with the smell of fresh baked bread, get more digestible bread and it's cheap even with expensive bread flour.
My bread is probably the most commented item on my breakfast menu. I will devote an entire blog to the recipe and process soon!
For me, there is no other bread machine than the Panasonic. I've owned 2 machines in 16 years and they are used at least once a day.
Click on the image for more details
4. Citrus Juicer
I've always served freshly squeezed orange juice at the B&B. I'm not suggesting everyone does this. It depends on your market really and there are some excellent ready squeezed alternatives. But my guests do quote it as one of the "little extras" that they really appreciate.
I've looked at more expensive juicers over the years, but I keep coming back to this cheap electric one.
Click on the image for more details
5. Mini Chopper
Another transformative kitchen gadget - one of the cheapest on my list - is the Kenwood mini chopper, recommended by Delia Smith.
It has transformed the way I make hollandaise - sooo much better than using a liquidiser - and is also great for making crushed avocado and chopping herbs.
Important note - if you want to make hollandaise sauce you will need to get a lid with a feeder hole. This is so you can slowly drizzle the lemon/vinegar and melted butter through.
I've been searching the internet and can't seem to find the complete machine that comes with a lid with a feeder hole anymore, so you may need to buy separately! Both are available on Amazon - see below.
OK I have far more than 5 favourite gadgets. The ones above are my top 5 but there are lots more.
Please note that this blog contains some affiliate links through to AMAZON. If you buy via this link I get a small percentage of the sale, which I use to help pay for the software that hosts this blog :-)
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