Interview with Freddy – The Lido Spa & Restaurant

Interview With Freddy – The Lido Spa & Restaurant

Next up in our Spring Cleaning Week spotlight on Bristol’s institutions is The Lido Spa and Restaurant in beautiful Clifton. Gleem caught Head Chef, Freddy Bird between the busy lunch and dinner service to discover a bit more about this Bristol institution…

1. Can you give a brief history of The Lido – both it’s Victorian incarnation and in its current format?

Freddy
Head Chef and discoverer of the best ingredients the South West has to offer!

Of course! The current owner – Arne Ringer – bought The Lido in 2004, though it had lain derelict since 1991. Before that, it had been used solely as a pool since 1849. Initially, the structure was going to be developed into flats, but Arne then thought of the innovative idea of restoring the pool to its former glory; retaining as many original features as possible – such as the original Victorian changing cubicles – though adding the restaurant. In its present incarnation, there are over 700 solar tubes to heat the pool and we collect our own rainwater to fuel the showers and pool. We also have a ‘wash naked’ policy whereby we ask our guests to remove all perfumes and cosmetics so we can keep the chlorination of the water relatively low. Originally, The Lido was just a pool with snacks, but we’ve expanded considerably since then with a tapas bar, several restaurants, the spa and six dedicated treatment rooms. These extras make the site a viable business.

2. How do you think the unique setting impacts on the customer’s experience at the restaurant?

I see dining out as theatrical, and not just about food. With the pool open at night and clearly visible to our diners, there’s definitely more of a relaxed vibe, though at the same time ‘a hive of activity’. We wanted to create a certain atmosphere that’s not stuffy and formal, but relaxed. With the addition of water, this gives the restaurant a therapeutic ambience, absorbing the outside noise so you’re not aware that you’re actually in the buzzing area of Clifton.

Swimmers and diners alike enjoy The Lido's relaxed atmosphere
Swimmers and diners alike enjoy The Lido’s relaxed atmosphere

3.  What is the importance of healthy food to you? 

I actually avoid the word ‘healthy’, and prefer the term ‘natural’ as I think we want to avoid any branding as a health spa. We believe ourselves to be a little more hedonistic than that. Locally sourced food is definitely a priority – only this morning I was out and about visiting a local farm to source chicken and eggs, particularly investigating what they’re being fed. Recently I paid a visit to Frampton Cotterell, where we source our bucks. Key to me as a chef is knowing and trusting the suppliers – after all there’s no hiding if you meet them face to face! I’m a great believer in good animal husbandry, and spend a great deal of time sourcing ingredients physically and getting on the phone to possible suppliers. For me, good ingredients are the start of a good meal and distributors and chefs alike should prioritise the provenance of their food. 

4. Do you think your approach to ethically sourced food is particular to the South West, or can you see it expanding across the country?

I regard it as increasingly national. However, the West Country is typically known as the ‘larder of England’, with its food and farming traditionally its lifeblood. Bristol’s burgeoning food scene does make it unique, we’re not pretentious here and don’t use smears and foams, we simply want great quality ingredients and tasty food.

5. Any plans in the pipeline?

We’re currently busy creating the next Lido in Reading on the Thames, to open near the bridge at the beginning of 2016. The old abandoned lido there is the perfect base for our next project, where we are seeking to pursue the same ethos as at Lido I. The restaurant and spa at Reading will be slightly larger in Reading, but Bristol is ultimately my home so I will be based between the two, especially as I currently split my time between the other restaurants of ‘The Glassboat’ and ‘Three Brothers Burgers’.

The site of the next Lido, opening early 2016
The site of the next Lido, opening early 2016

Thanks Freddy! Glad to hear The Lido’s prospering and is expanding as coincidentally, Gleem’s expansion plans do extend to Reading, so our paths may cross in the neck of the woods too! To hear more from Freddy, do take a look at his blog over at http://www.lidobristol.com/blog/

 

Philanthropy & Frank Water (1)

Philanthropy & Frank Water

First up in our focus on Bristol ‘institutions’ is Frank Water. Frank is a magnificent charity trying to solve poor sanitation over 5,600 miles away in India, all from its Bristol base. We are very proud to count Frank as our charity partner – indeed, in our recent 1000th clean we decided this growth warranted a celebration, and donated some of their bottles to the recipients of the landmark service. 

Frank are tireless in their innovative campaigning – Joe was amazed to hear about Jon Shepherd – Frank’s Programme Manager – and his tale of a week on water, cutting out all caffeine and alcohol to highlight the significance of humble H20. We had a quick chat with Jon about Frank’s history and his story…

Jon - putting a face to the name!
Jon – putting a face to the name!

1. Can you give a brief history of Frank Water?

In 2005, Katie Alcott founded FRANK Water. On a shoestring budget, she bought a few cases of bottled water, sold them to local cafes and restaurants and donated the profits to an NGO in India. Today, FRANK Water is a small, successful safe water charity with a big impact.

There is still a child dying every minute from illnesses related to contaminated water – and India has the worst sanitation in the world, with half the population having no access to a toilet at all.  FRANK Water filter and pipe in water, build toilets and educate people about hygiene and sanitation. We work in the poorest communities, in hard to reach rural areas.

Over 10 years work in India, we have supported over 200,000 people to improve their health through increased access to water, sanitation and hygiene education.

A Frank Water collection point
A Frank Water collection point

2. Why did you decide to undertake the challenge of drinking only water for a week?

I wanted to do something to highlight the desperate state of sanitation in India. I think many people know that poverty exists in the world but are a bit lost on where it is worst and also what poverty means for the average person. A shocking 1 in every 3 malnourished children in the world lives in India (Source: UNICEF 2014)

Secondly, I work on community projects with people who are spending hours every day collecting water or having to walk for ages to find a quiet spot to go to the toilet. When I was asked to lead ‘Join Jon’ I thought it might be a bit of a struggle in the mornings but let’s face it, caffeine addiction is a very Western problem – if I can’t give up coffee for a week, do I really give a damn about others?

3. Very true! Any longer-term impacts of the challenge?

Join Jon highlighted to me that changing your habits is possible. They say it takes 3 days to start or stop a habit and it made me realise that maybe I should drink a little less coffee, beer and wine. It also made me realise that doing things for charity is easy, you just have to agree to do it and not over-worry yourself with how difficult it could be, or stress so much about the fundraising target that you don’t ever do anything. It also encouraged my wife to do something and a few weeks ago, she ran the Bath Half for FRANK Water.

Jon on the campaign trail
Jon on the campaign trail!

4. Wow! Though after the challenge of 2014, what have you got to top the 7-day detox?!

I’m thinking of doing an exercise based challenge like the Coniston Lake Swim in September or maybe volunteering at a festival like WOMAD. Karma Korma happens every March and is all about encouraging people to cook a curry, get together with friends or colleagues, raise funds and save lives. In September, we will be running Give It Up for Water – the initiative we piloted in 2014 where people are sponsored to only drink water for 7 days.

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Thanks Jon! As you will have read, Frank truly are a whirlwind of activity this month and Gleem would like to congratulate them on their efforts and wish them the best of luck for 2015 – their tenth anniversary! As Gleem grows, we will maintain our commitment to the charity. In fact, Gleem’s very own Emily is raising awareness and funds for Frank by running the Copenhagen Marathon in May – ‘Held Og Lykke’, Emily!

If you’re interested in fundraising for Frank, check out www.frankwater.com/fundraising-events/  for some frankly (!)  fabulous ideas!

(All images c/o of Frank Water)

The Landlord Expo 2015

Yesterday saw Gleem staff take a trip to Stoke Gifford as both Gareth and Joe hosted a stand at the South West Landlord Expo. The atmosphere was buzzing and it was the biggest year yet: with over 800 delegates and 80 (plus!) exhibitor stands present. The event was a decided success – now in its fifteenth year it offers everything a landlord could want in one place, with the presence of both industry professionals like cleaning services – Gleem! – and a variety of letting agencies alongside visiting property owners. This provides the perfect environment for the flow of advice between professionals and landlords to improve the property service market, all for absolutely free! Gleem was there as the top quality cleaning firm in the South West, offering property-owners the chance to check out exactly what Gleem can offer which many of our competitors cannot : competitive pricing and a comprehensive cleaning process. Of course, all of this is backed up by the unique Gleem Guarantee – which means if you’re not happy with our service, we’ll come back again for free!

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Although the exhibition was Gleem’s first show, the amount of feedback was phenomenal, with Gareth returning with a promising number of business cards and a positive impression of the prospective market.

Thanks Landlord Expo, we’ll definitely be back next year!

A spring in your step over the next week!

Good Afternoon! Although it may not seem like it considering the last few days’ rainy climate, Spring is officially on its way, finally blasting away the cold from the long winter. This brings the opportunity to start afresh, and indeed has been remarked upon particularly this week with Spring Cleaning Week dawning.

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Bristol is an amazing city, and Gleem are extremely proud to be based here, contributing to the local economy and creating employment. To coincide with next week, we’ve undertaken to get out and about in the South West, interviewing local businesses about what they’re up to, especially with this year being Bristol Green Capital – the city being the first European country to be awarded such an incredible accolade.

From the water charity, ‘Frank Water’ to locally-sourced food at ‘The Lido’, we’ll be investigating all that Bristol has to offer next week across our social media. This will be in keeping with our brand message as to the importance of a clean home, created with ‘clean’ products such as Earth Renewable. We hope you will also learn something new about this vibrant place, in preparation for the weather warming up and some socialising in the coming months!

See you next week, and until then: Happy Gleeming x

Low Funded Startup offering High Quality Cleaning – Startup Serial #5

Low Funded Startup

Bootstrapping

I had returned from my travels without much money and so starting a business would have to be done on the cheap.

This obviously wasn’t the ideal way to start a journey to a huge company, but fortunately cleaning has practically no barriers to entry – in the sense that with a bucket and a few different cleaning supplies, you’re pretty much set up to start!

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We would spend little, work hard and bootstrap by reinvesting any profits back into the company to achieve growth.

This meant decisions needed to be made carefully and frugally. I sourced cheap freelancers from other countries using www.freelancer.com, www.fiverr.com and peopleperhour.com, as well as investing hundreds of hours myself (some very inefficiently) into developing the business and the unique offering.

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We had to start locally (Bristol), as clearly our budget didn’t stretch nationally, but I knew in my head and my heart that there was potential to take this idea internationally.

The numbers looked solid and there is an untapped market that I estimate to be worth £2 billion per year in the UK alone.

I had a handful of logos designed from which I picked the best [attach original flyer], I continued taking any and all free business courses I could find, I started networking and I had flyers printed which I subsequently handed out myself (great exercise by the way!) .

On January 6th 2014 Tidy and Shiny began operations: time to put my (limited) money (and primarily time) where my mouth is.

Our website was up and running (built on the cheap by a mate), now it was time to wait for the bookings to roll in…

Next Serial>>

VISIT WEBSITE

Weekend Dinner Party Woes (3)

How to get rid of the eau de ashtray in your kitchen

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Many of us like a drink, but some guests may leave some unexpected hangers on if they’re smokers. Yes, we’re talking about the terrible odour of smoke, which is not something that many of us welcome when venturing downstairs in the morning to face innumerable dishes. Even after the general clear up is done, this smell lingers to haunt many a sore head. Of course, another cause of an unwelcome BBQ smell is overcooking that steak you planned to be the ‘piece de resistance’ of dinner – don’t worry, it happens to all of us!

But there’s no need to put up with this, here’s some excellently simple solutions to eradicate the smell and freshen up your eating area to remove the traces of the night before.

1. The Catch All: brilliant Bicarbonate of Soda

Lightly sprinkle chairs or sofas with some bicarb, allow it to sit for a few hours and then vacuum off.

2. The Air Freshener Approach

This deodoriser will firmly dismiss any persistent smells, all using products from your kitchen cupboard!

Simply take 500ml of hot water and dissolve 2 tablespoons of bicarb in it, and add 120ml lemon juice for a citrusy odour. This will leave your living space smelling crisp and fresh!

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3. Versatile Vinegar

Get a shallow bowl and fill 3/4 full with white or cider vinegar. Place in the room where the smell is concentrated and leave for 12 hours. By the end of the day, the smell should be gone

If yesterday’s party frock/favourite shirt is scented with a less than flavoursome odour, then mix 200ml vinegar with a bath of hot water. Close the door and hang the clothes able the steam and this should remove the smell.

With all these solutions, we guarantee at least one of them will be able to rid your dining room of its unpalatable smell – whether it be from culinary error or a chain-smoking relative!

Happy Gleeming x

 

How to be innovative – Startup Serial #4


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How to create an innovative cleaning company 

Finding a place in the industry

Right, cleaning!

I spent months researching the industry. I didn’t want to be like other companies, if I was going to do something, I was going to do it well and do it differently. I began looking into innovative ways of improving a service.

I connected with other cleaning companies – specifically ‘Maids in Black’- a cleaning company based in Washington D.C and run by Rohan Gilkes.

He shared his startup teething problems, his successes and techniques he found worked. He helped me with strategy, and every time I had an issue or an idea he ‘had been there done that’ and was always willing to share in a very selfless way.

After 6 months of planning, I still wasn’t running my business, but I was learning every day and energised by the opportunity in front of me.

I went to a business meeting with Rob Carter of Action Coach who summarised my actions at that point succinctly: I had been taking too look to ‘Ready, Aim, Fire’, when what I really needed to do was ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ and get out there and start growing, adjusting as we grew.

That was the push in the right direction that I needed, and soon after Tidy and Shiny – the original Gleem – was born, with the aim to craft out a new niche in the cleaning industry: Luxury Cleaning.

We dreamed up modern solutions to traditional problems the industry presented, such as the long-winded quote process, which we can proudly say we have successfully managed to overcome using the innovative 60 second booking process – have a look below to see just how simple it is!

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Our website is constantly being updated and improved – it’s testament to our progress!

If you’re a budding entrepreneur creating their own site, keep an eye out as we’ve got some ingenious, imminent developments planned all aiming to assist the consumer.

Next Serial>>

VISIT WEBSITE

Weekend Dinner Party Woes (2)

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Celebrating the new season of spring or simply glad this week’s over? Considering getting your friends together for a chat, some food and possibly a (few) good bottles of wine this weekend? We can picture the scene, the menu will be extensive – at least two courses of fare prepared by your own fair hand to impress the socks off your guests. A good evening will be had by all.

But the next morning, feeling slightly under the weather due to one too many the night before, you’re confronted with the horror of the remnants. That impressive passata which accompanied the magnificent parmigiana? All over the table cloth. Even the walls. How did this happen??

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But, take a step back. We promise this is not as bad as it seems! Follow these simple steps to ensure you’re pure white table cloth is restored to its former pristine glory.

1. Place the cloth over a bowl, secure with an elastic band

2. Pour boiled water over the affected area from a 2-3ft height (avoid burning yourself!)

3. Soak in warm water with a teaspoon of detergent for 15 minutes

4. Rinse with water and sponge with white vinegar

5. Rinse again. Repeat 3 & 4 if stain is particularly persistent!

And there you have it! Are you a frequent host of your own dinner parties and want to know more of our expert tips? Leave a comment concerning any post-dinner cleaning conundrums, and we can solve them for you over the next few weeks!

Happy Gleeming x

How Paying A Responsible Wage Can Bring You A Lot Of Benefits – Startup Serial #3

How Paying A Responsible Wage Can Bring You A Lot Of Benefits #3

A Working Wage

When I was researching my competitors, I found the reviews could be a little sketchy to say the least. I wanted to build a top-class product for Bristol and Bath, and to do this I needed top notch workers.

We currently use 15 professional cleaners across the South West area and I am happy to say that all of these have undergone a rigorous interview process to ensure they’re the right candidates for the job.

However, this is not the only factor in a successful business model – generous remuneration is an obvious incentive for an well-presented worker and a good job.

When planning Gleem’s service, I suggested paying well over the minimum wage of £6.50 and as a result, our reviews our pretty exemplary – read a couple here and here.

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I was shocked to hear that employees are not a priority for other companies, such as East Midlands Crossroads, a firm which provides supports for carers of the disabled and the aged.

According to a recent government press release, EMC owes a whopping £37,000 to 184 workers, and even more shockingly, the firm is one of 70 UK employees who underpay their employees.

Business Minister, Jo Swinson has undertaken the responsibility for naming and shaming these employers – a measure that first came in in 2013. She declared that

and as an employer myself, I can’t help but agree.

New legislation will see companies not currently paying their employees at statutory levels fined a punitive £20,000 per worker, I hope this will result in a fairer working environment.

I personally will uphold at least a minimum level throughout my career – I realise how much effort my workers put into each clean, and to short change them would not only be terrible business practice, but from a personal perspective, it’s just not the way I operate!

As Gleem continues to expand into the commercial sector, I will seek to calculate the best possible wage for our employees and promote the Gleem Guarantee.

Let me know how you feel and share your opinions here. Its great to hear from like minded people.

Next Serial>>

VISIT WEBSITE

Weekend Dinner Party Woes (1)

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It’s the weekend, which means a break from the 9-5 and a chance to socialise to the max to forget working worries. For the ambitious of us, this might mean a three course dinner – garnered from the hottest chefs in the Sunday supplements, whilst the more relaxed of us may rely on tried and tested staple meals – Joe swears by hot chilli beef and a mean sweet potato. However, to truly push the boat out, most of us will make a trip to the wine shop (we can recommend local Corks of Cotham!) or at least the local supermarket in order to compliment long-slaved over meals.

Of course, with so much delicious and tempting wine about, the results could be a little… mixed. As wine buffs at our office, we know this tipple can have unintended effects when you have a little too much, and have some disastrous tales to tell about how our carpets still bear the signs of that boozy, though hilarious night back in 2012.

Yet, we decided enough was enough, and as keen drinkers, but even keener cleaners, we would seek out the best way to ensure a night of socialising wouldn’t be marred by an unfortunate discovery on the cream carpet the next day – here are our tried and tested tips to remove that Malbec from your mat…

1. The Bicarb Solution

Blot up as much of the stain as possible, sprinkle a little bicarb over the spot and give the powder an hour to absorb the stain. Then use a trusty vacuum to retrieve the leftover powder.

2. The Big Guns: Hydrogen Peroxide

We say go for a weak solution (3% max) and add equal parts household soap, as HP is very corrosive! Use dry paper towels to blot the solution onto the stain.

3. Fight Fire with Fire: White Wine

Sounds a downright silly idea, but Gleem can verify this works – apparently the tannins in white wine cancel out those in the red. Clever, eh?

4. Shaving Cream (yes really – but only if you can put the offending item in the washing machine afterwards!)

Beware! Only use this if the stain has completely dried – work a small amount of foam into the area and then put in the machine on a short wash of low heat.

There you have it: a pick of the best to guarantee your home will be left ‘gleeming’ even after a raucous gathering of your nearest and dearest.

Gleem hope you enjoy your weekend, whatever/whoever it may entail! Of course, if you’re feeling a little under the weather after a successful night, then Gleem can take the hassle out of your hands – our Half Term offer is still running, just use the code ‘halfterm10’ in booking before Sunday 22nd February to get 10% off.