What is it like running a B&B? Well, for us it is the most satisfying job we have ever had and certainly the most enjoyable. We learnt a lot from running our previous business back in Manchester and it gave us many opportunities to figure out what we wanted from life – and thankfully we have found that running a B&B fits in perfectly with this. It’s not flashy or exciting but we love our new pace of life and our daily chores! Here is a breakdown of a typical day for us here at Rigg House B&B:
Right now we are still in high season so we are fully booked most of the time – this usually means an early start prepping food for the breakfast rush between 8 and 9am. Today we had 13 full cooked breakfasts to do for 8am, and get our 7 year-old ready for her school taxi at 8.15am, as well as keeping the 2-year-old occupied and out of the way! (easier said than done). Jay is Breakfast Master while I take care of the drinks and toast and, thanks to the life-giving power of coffee, as well as Jay’s organised and disciplined breakfast routine it all went smoothly and resulted in happy guests and minimal waste.
Our checkout time is 11am but guests usually check out around 10am, or earlier if they are off on a long day of adventures or they are catching an early ferry. Our first job is to clear the dining room and wash up and clean the kitchen, before stripping all the guest beds and starting the first load of laundry. On days like today where we had all 5 guest rooms (9 beds) to reset I usually end up doing 5 or 6 loads of washing, along with a bit of ironing. Jay and I make a great team with the rooms and we just get on with our tasks: he does the bathrooms, dusting and hoovering and I do the beds, tea trays, towels and toiletries. We sort of take it in turns with doing our jobs so that one of us is focused on the 2 year-old, although admittedly most of the time he ends up being entertained by our amazing babysitter, Cbeebies.
On really good days we try and get all the rooms done by midday so that we can have lunch and go out, but it is usually closer to 1pm by the time we are done. There are always little jobs which need doing which would tie us to the house 24/7 if we let them but it is also important to know when to stop! We only have a couple of free hours in the afternoons before we have to be back at the house for our 4pm check-in so we try and make the most of these opportunities when we can. Luckily there are loads of places to visit close by or within a 10 or 20 minute drive so we’ve got lots of options for places to go. Sometimes we’ll do a speedy shop in Dumfries or Kilmarnock if we need things for the B&B, or sometimes, like today, we’ll just spend a couple of hours down in the Fairy Woods opposite the house collecting pine cones and picking blackberries.
Guests can check in any time from 4pm so we always have to make sure we are back from our adventures on time! Sometimes it can be annoying when we have rushed back from a lovely afternoon out and then guests don’t arrive until later in the evening but it is a small cross to bear. During term time we have to be home for 3.30pm anyway for when our daughter returns from school so it is only during weekends and holidays when it matters. Some nights I might have a few evening meals for guests to prepare so I’ll make sure I’ve got all the ingredients and spend a couple of hours making pies and macaroni dishes. Every other day I also make a fresh batch of flapjack as a complimentary treat for our guests. I like to try out different ideas for my flapjack like maraschino cherry and coconut or whisky and orange – I’ve had an idea for a salted caramel and fudge version which I’m going to make tomorrow.
The kids are usually in bed by this time so is always the first chance in the day to relax. There are, of course, jobs to be done like cleaning the kitchen, sorting laundry, ironing etc but I have a strict rule of No More Jobs (standing up variety) after 9pm. Sometimes we have guests who want to spend time chatting in the evening so we’ll light a fire in the Guest Lounge and maybe, if the conversation steers towards whisky, Jay might treat them to a sample from his whisky collection! We have guests from all over the world so it is always interesting hearing about people’s lives and adventures.
From around 11pm-1am I am usually most alert and active when it comes to doing ‘internet stuff’ (it is exactly 12.12pm as I type) so I might do some social media work or catch up on emails and booking enquiries. Or we’ll watch something on Netflix and I’ll work on one of my many needlework projects (I’ve got 8 on the go at the moment) and do it powered by 4 or 5 cups of tea. Then it is time for lovely sleep.