TIPS & TRICKS

ENTERTAINING: Charcuterie Board for the Win!

ENTERTAINING: Charcuterie Board for the Win!

Sometimes it is difficult meeting many dietary needs in one seating, in addition to offering a wide selection of foods. One of our solutions is to offer a charcuterie board where guests can assemble their own plates to suit their fancies.

char·cu·te·rie Noun.
Pronunciation – SHärˈko͞odərē
Cold cooked meats, collectively.

–the Oxford Dictionary

At the White Rose Manor, we have found a charcuterie selection, complete with aged cheeses, crackers, fresh fruits, olives, nuts, and more, a beautiful complement to an afternoon gathering. We have one of our guests to thank for the full table charcuterie concept. It was well received.

Dietary preferences and/or restrictions are becoming more common. While in the 1970s Burger King touted, “Have it your way!” and gave consumers an opportunity to customize their hamburgers, it was a new concept. Since then, special requests have become the norm. Often we hear requests for “no onions” or statements like “I do not like . . . ” There is also the serious concern of true allergies where an ingredient can make a person seriously ill or worse. An individual’s allergy to gluten, soy, and/or nuts easily fall into this course. There are many more allergens as well.

Since 2018, some of our own family members have entered into the food allergen arena. We have: one who has a gluten sensitivity; one who has celiac disease (gluten allergy); one who needs to be lactose-free; and one who is allergic to soy AND black pepper (well, all peppers, but black seems to pack the hardest punch). If you are, like I am, living with no food allergies/sensitivities, we are fortunate. Others, not so. My experience with cooking from scratch has helped me easily adapt my recipes to meet these special needs.

My love for hospitality and lifelong investment in being a part of the industry has helped me understand the “wants” and “needs” of our guests. At the White Rose Manor, we do our best to meet both. Appetizers and small plates are available for our guests to add to their overnight reservations. A charcuterie plate is one of the selections. Mind you, the small plate size is not quite as grand as the full charcuterie board pictured, but we hope you get the idea.

Wonderfully yours,

Alice

TIPS/TRICKS: Tying a Classic Bow

TIPS/TRICKS: Tying a Classic Bow

We love the holiday season! Getting everything ready is an important part; however, sharing is the BEST PART!

December 1st is Decoration Day at the White Rose Manor. We keep Thanksgiving completely separate. This year (2019), Thanksgiving weekend and December 1st fall on the same weekend. It is a busy time here.

Without further ado, I am sharing how to tie a classic bow. The following three, short videos should help guide you to tying your own. I am happy to help answer questions.

Tying a Classic Bow – Part 1 (YouTube video)

Tying a Classic Bow – Part 2 (YouTube video)

Tying a Classic Bow – Part 3 (YouTube video)

Post photos of your classic bows! We want to see!

Wonderfully yours,

Alice

CLEANING: Laundry – Keeping Whites White and General Stain Removal

CLEANING: Laundry – Keeping Whites White and General Stain Removal

We have white towels. We have white washcloths. We have white hand towels and bathmats. Then there are our white napkins, tablecloths, sheets, and pillowcases. While all of these can be “standard issue” in a household, the white can be an underlying issue. Fair warning—long post.

When I was growing up, I thought everything should be white because you could bleach it clean. Put in washer. Add soap and bleach. Wash. Ta da! White again. This, however, was not how our housekeeper saw it. She believed that everything should be dark colours. Her rationale? “If it stains and the spot does not come out, you will never see it on dark colours.”

Enter, my grandmother. Apparently, NOT the right thing to say. And so, the lessons began.

Today, flipping to the back of Grandmother’s cookbook, the secrets of old are shared; many I learned as a young girl. Here we go–

  1. Lift any solids from the fabric. Do not rub as this only presses it further into the fibers of the fabric.
  2. Be sure to rinse the area(s) in cold water making the water flows through the fabric the reverse way the stain was created to keep it from permeating further into the fibers. Rinse as much of the residue as possible.
  3. Pre-treat and wash. Aside: We will forgo the discussions of boiling whites because that is not happening at my house.

End Grandmother’s notes. Now enters Alice and her cleverness, aka, tips/tricks learned through trial and error, and a few friends along the way.

I fully check tablecloths and sheets before they are ever removed to launder. I pre-treat simple stains with Spray ‘n’ Wash® stick where the fabric lays, then I remove and wash.

Some stains are tough! Depending on the stain type, there are ways to fight back. Chocolate, blood, lipstick, mascara, and rust (from hard water and old pipes) have always been challenges. So, here is what works for me—

Yes, definitely complete steps 1 and 2 above.

Protein stains like oil-based lipstick/make-up, blood, cooking oils, meats

  • Dawn® dish washing liquid (safe for the environment, so great when camping, too) – Rub concentrate into stain until stain is mostly/all gone. Wash as usual.
  • Spray ‘n’ Wash stick – So there is a story behind this. It does tend to work well if you act quickly. Sometimes I can even let it sit in the laundry basket until more pressing things are washed and out of the way; however, the stick does not work as well as the original Spray ‘n’ Wash aerosol from years ago. The reason? Phosphates, which were exceptional for destroying proteins, were removed from cleaners when deemed they were not safe for the environment. Nevertheless, with proper attention, the stick works well. Other people I know use Tide® sticks, but I stick to tried and true for me.
  • Wash with laundry soap and a full cup of baking soda. We will come back to the baking soda part.

Chocolate

  • LOTS of cold water until you get it ALL out, if possible.
  • Pre-treat any remaining visible signs with liberal amounts of Spray ‘n’ Wash stick.
  • Wash in cold water, laundry soap, and a full cup of baking soda.

Blood

  • LOTS of cold water until you get it ALL out, if possible.
  • Depending on the fabric and freshness of the blood, hydrogen peroxide works great! I learned that at a hospital when I wanted to save a little baby’s cap for a keepsake. Old blood is more of a challenge.

Old blood/rust/age spots – These are the awesome ones!

  • Efferdent! Yes, Efferdent—the denture cleaning tablets. Get a tub and liberally use the tablets, possibly, multiple times or even starting again with new tablets. Do not worry if the Efferdent is blue, the colour will dissipate. Believe me, I panicked the first time I saw the blue. I have never had any issues with the blue adversely affecting the fabric. Be patient! It could take a few days, but if the item is important to you, it is worth it to do it right. I brought a family heirloom Christening gown back to white with absolutely no distress to the gown.
  • Hydrogen peroxide—Depending on the fabric and freshness of the blood, hydrogen peroxide works great! I learned that at a hospital when I wanted to save a little baby’s cap for a keepsake. Old blood is more of a challenge. Persevere, but be prepared for less fortunate results, just in case.
  • Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover—Use as directed. It even removed dried blueberry juice from my grandmother’s damask napkin; I missed one when initially washing the tea napkins. Warning, in this case, the stain turned black as soon as the spot remover was applied. I shrugged, figuring it would work, or not. No risk at that point. I could not use the napkin with the stains. And, it worked! Absolutely no sign of the stains.

Back to the baking soda discussion . . . This helps keep everything fresh without fragrance and can help keep your washing machine smelling fresh, too. I buy it in large bags and use about two per month; I use it on all the laundry in the house. With regular use, it also helps neutralize body musk in clothing and sheets.

Just for fun, here are renditions of some similar tips I found. Let me know what works for you!

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the stain and rub it gently into the fabric with a clean, soft cloth until the stain is gone. Do this before laundering as usual.
  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and water and pour it over the stain. Allow the area to saturate for 20 to 30 minutes before gently scrubbing the area with a clean, soft cloth. When the stain is gone, launder the garment as usual.
  • Rinse the garment immediately with warm running water to remove as much of the stain as possible. Apply 3% hydrogen peroxide to a clean, white cloth, and dab the area to remove the rest of the stain before washing the garment as usual.
  • Cut a lemon in half and rub it all over the stained area making sure that it’s completely saturated. Place the garment outside in the sunshine for at least an hour. Launder the garment as usual.

Please share your tips/tricks in the comments!

Wonderfully yours,

Alice

TIPS/TRICKS: Staying Connected

TIPS/TRICKS: Staying Connected

The White Rose Manor Bed & Breakfast is decorated in ways to harken toward a simpler time. This means soft lines, turn-of-the-Century antiques, afternoon tea, and no electronics. But wait! We are in the 21st Century and may be very attached to connectivity. At the Manor, we cover that, too.

The parlour at the Manor has soft music, but also a turntable with albums our guests can play. Frank Sinatra seems to be a popular choice as well as the instrumental jazz albums. We are also “connected” with guest WIFI for phones and other devices; some guests just cannot ignore them; therefore, being easily engaged also means having power to keep everything charged.

In effort to keep guests relaxed and not crawling around on the floor looking for outlets, we have anchored extension cords to the bedposts– one per side. Using a split, flat plug extension cord keeps it simple. Guests have their phones/alarms/calendars at bedside reach. Then again, if they get too relaxed, it may be better for them to put the phones across the room. 

When discovering the easy-reach extension cords, one guest exclaimed, “Brilliant! I am going to do this at home.” Now it seems appropriate to share the tip/trick with you to do the same.

Hint: Take care to buy the grounded extension cords if you need the extra prong.

Wonderfully yours,

Alice

TIPS/TRICKS: Tissues

TIPS/TRICKS: Tissues

Growing up, facial tissues were a luxury in our home. It was usually grabbing a tissue from the bathroom roll (typically, Scott Tissue). How I loved decorating my first apartment! Having the coveted “hope chest” open at my feet and ready to unpack, I rediscovered gifts lovingly placed in the chest for when I flew the nest. There was a spice rack with bottles to fill*, matching towels and toilet seat covers, new sheets, blankets and coverlets, candles . . . and a tissue box holder needing to be filled. For my first home, I was buying the real thing–Puffs Plus with Lotion!

To this day, I love pretty, decorative things, including tissue box holders with soft, easy-on-the-nose, tissues; however, there are the busy household and never-ending refills to consider. So–consider this! Choose an elegant, whimsical, or plain tissue box cover and place a “soft” roll of toilet issue inside. The dispensing trick is to remove the cardboard core and feed the tissue stream from the center. Voila!

*By the way, spices are expensive, especially compounded with needing all of them from starting with nothing. Spice collections make a great housewarming or shower gift.

CLEANING: Laundry – Bleach Spots

CLEANING: Laundry – Bleach Spots

I love coloured sheets and towels! I took great care to colour-coordinate our guest rooms so I would know, at a glance, which sheets fit which bed– buttercream for the bed in Molly’s Room, sage green for the Middleton Room and cornflower blue for the Grandstaff Room. Now let me set the stage for what came next . . .

Each room at the White Rose Manor has one bed–queen with two sets of sheets for each. Additionally, each room has its own wash cycles when it comes to laundry; I wash all of the bed linens for these rooms in separate loads, no combined loads. Also, I do not use bleach. You can imagine my frustration when my beautiful sheets were speckled with bleach spots, both large and small. I did mention I do not use bleach. What was happening?

The bleach spots first appeared on my blue towels in my guest bathroom. Next, they appeared on the Grandstaff sheets, our most frequently booked room– all soft and romantic, so you can imagine. Now, beauty marred with bleach spots? Of course, I could hardly stand it! I bought replacements. Then, it happened again. Next, the sage sheets began showing and, finally, the buttercream, though hard to see with the lighter shade.

What was happening? Miss Marple/Nancy Drew/pick your favourite is on the case. With a little sleuthing, plus having a college-aged son and a guest with a son a bit younger, the culprit was discovered. Now mind you, there is no negativity in this post about the product that caused the problem, but rather a problem that needed a solution. My solution was white sheets which I started buying after the second round of sheets began showing bleach marks.

The culprit was . . . cleanliness! More specifically, facial cleaning products, like ProActive leaving remnants of the product on hands, in hairlines and on faces! I suspect it mostly happened when guests washed their faces in the sink vs. the shower which might result in a more complete rinse. While great products can produce great results, lack of rinsing away all of the product can result in the residue bleaching anything it touches, especially towels, pillowcases and edges of sheets where someone pulls the sheets around the shoulders when settling in for a good night’s sleep.

So, the problem has been identified. White sheets, pillowcases and towels purchased, but I still prefer colours. Now what? A friend sent me a link for bleach-resistant sheets. I am not sure if they work, but I may try them when it is time to replace the latest purchases.

I am including the Bed, Bath, and Beyond link here: https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/s/bleach-resistant-sheets . If you try them, let me know if they work. If this article helped you identify the same culprit in your home, let me know that, too! Then, pass the information to someone else.

Wonderfully yours,

Alice

So, I own a B&B . . .

So, I own a B&B . . .

. . . and there are so many questions people ask about B&B Life. Here is my chance to share. Where to start? That is a good question. I will start with the back of Grandmother’s cookbook. Without further ado, indulge in your best British accent and read on.

Era Gone By

I am one of the lucky ones. At least, I think I am. I have my mother’s cookbook, and in that cookbook is a section that might have been what my grandmother wrote in the back of her cookbook–all the hints and recipes gathered through years of experience, IF, she thought to capture it in writing.

Here are things I hope to share with you in some sort of organized fashion. To help me gather my thoughts and to give you quick access to things that may interest you, I will do my best to put a HEADING at the beginning of each blog post, so you can quickly find them.

I will crosspost the link to our B&B page on Facebook (http://facebook.com/WhiteRoseManor). I do hope you enjoy perusing this page and find some tidbit of usable content. Also, I hope you will share it with others! Feel free to share your own tips/tricks and comments with me. I love hearing new things.

2023 Updated

  • TIPS &TRICKS – helpful hints (like Hints from Heloise of which you probably have never heard)
  • STORYBOOK – anecdotes about our visitors (the names will be changed for privacy protection)
  • RECIPIES – we have quite a following for our recipes. They are free and downloadable
  • TEA – we have our own custom-blend, loose teas
  • SUNDRIES – until I determine other categories, I will toss some things in this bin

Graciously,

Alice