Friday, December 16, 2011

Gift Wrapping 101

Well here we go, getting ready for the holiday season. Once you have bought your gifts it is time to wrap them. On this segment of the Marilyn Denis Show watch how Charles the Butler teaches Marilyn how to wrap perfect looking presents. It is actually simpler than you think, all it takes is just a few techniques that work every time!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Household Management & Housekeeping 101 Returns to Chicago

I am very excited to let everyone know that I will be back in Chicago teaching another round of Household Management 101 AND Housekeeping 101. Erin Krex from First Class Care, Inc. has made these 2 minute video's available on YouTube and it even has some testimonials from past students! I hope you enjoy and more importantly I hope to see you in March! We will be at the Sheraton Hotel in Northbrook.

For more information and or to sign up for either of these courses you can go to and register! Looking forward to seeing you in Chicago in March!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Perfect Hotel Butler

Well I don't know very much about this commercial and when or where it played, but I think it is just wonderful, and had I known about it sooner, I would have posted it. What I love is how the director was able to correctly translate the impeccable qualities of a professional Butler. In fact I love this short movie so much, I am going to use it in my training, to help teach Butlers how a professional Butler is in every space and always available, but yet never the centre of attention. It's really hard to teach the difference from hospitality vs. Butlering and subtle differences.

Please watch the movie, and let me know what you think, all comments good or bad are welcome!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cocktail Party Etiquette

Here we go again! Charles the Butler and Marilyn Denis prepare for the holidays with Cocktail Party etiquette, do you know what to do? Have a look, I'm sure you will have a good time!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Butler Stick arrives in Amsterdam

Hello from Amsterdam! I thought you would all enjoy seeing our table for the market place with our Butler Sticks. We gave one to everyone at the convention last night. When the delegates came home from dinner they found one on their pillow! Each stick has instructions on how to use it, if you would like to see how to use a Butler Stick simply log onto

Thursday, November 17, 2011

View In Amsterdam

The view from my hotel window in Amsterdam this morning! No its not a dirty window, it's just thick as pea soup fog.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cookbooks of the future?

GREAT article from the New York Times, as many of you know this is one of my all time favourite newspapers and this food article on the proposed future of cooking and cookbooks is wonderful. What do you think?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Stain Removal

Today on The Marilyn Denis Show I shared with Marilyn and the audience the Butler's perfect stain removal kit. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


What could be better than being 35,000 feet in the air, snuggled under a warm duvet and Julia Roberts on your private movie screen? Makes the 13.5 hour long flight home so much easier don't you think?! What are some of your favorite airplane movies to watch?

Airplane Bathrooms!

OK this might seem like a strange and weird posting, but I just wanted to share this FABULOUS airplane bathroom that I experienced yesterday on my flight home from Shanghai to Toronto (Air Canada flight 88) It turns out that all Boeing 777 long range aircraft in the Air Canada fleet have windows in the bathroom. Now this might not seem like a big deal, but I have to tell you I think this is FABULOUS, it takes away the claustrophobic feeling and it just makes the space such a nice place to be that you almost just want to sit there and look out the window and read a book. Anyway, if only all airplane bathrooms were like this.

Air Canada Flight 88

Yesterday while flying home on Air Canada flight 88 from Shanghai to Toronto (13.5 hours but who's counting!) I meet the fabulous Donna a flight attendant who not only was tons of fun, but she made my trip so much fun, that the flying time just flew by! Thank you to the fabulous Ms. Donna, and the entire Air Canada flight crew. You know the difference between a good flight and a bad flight is ALWAYS about the cabin crew!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I just wanted to share this amazing dinning table at the Grand Park Hyatt in Beijing. It's on the top (66th floor) and it seats 12 people. I love how the chairs slide into the table when
It's not in use! The lamp shade above is also amazing and the light at night is really great!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

View in Beijing

While in Beijing this past weekend this was the view from my hotel room on the 43rd. Floor. So the question is this fog or pollution. Let's me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Butler Stick Trailer

As many of you already know, I am in Dubai, UAE working with The Protocol School of Washington. We are training an advanced course of Protocol for the Senior Royal Household and Government. One of the topics I have is VIP service and teaching the Protocol Officers about accuracy of the formal table. This is a fun 30 second teaser I produced earlier today, for my section of the four-day program which is tomorrow. I hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

DEMA in Los Angeles

Recently I was asked to speak at the monthly DEMA meeting in Los Angeles. The turn out was amazing, we had over 70 members turn out. The topic I was asked to speak about was Household Manuals. I love this topic!! Thank you to Mr. Bryan Peele, the local chapter President who both organized the event and requested this specific topic. What a great evening, and what a great local chapter. I also wish to thank my friends Michael Wright and Matthew Hack, founders of the Domestic Estate Managers Association for inviting me to speak.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Arrived Safely in Dubai

Arrived safely in Dubai with one of three checked bags. Because of the fuel spill in Toronto before we left, we were delayed by almost 2 hours, this made my connection in Amsterdam very tight (20 minutes) so they know where my luggage is, resting in Amsterdam, and will arrive here tomorrow late morning.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Stuck at the airport!

Well as many of you know I was leaving for Dubai this evening. However as the plane was pushing back a fuel spill was discovered and we are all now sitting in the airport waiting to see if the problem can be fixed. As my travel neighbor said, "better now than at 35,000 feet over the ocean!". More to follow once I have some news!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, September 25, 2011


It is Sunday morning and I am now preparing to leave for the airport to return to Toronto. I was honoured and very proud to be the Key Note Speaker at this years Association of Premier Nanny Agencies. It has been a very exciting event. My address was called "How to meet and exceed the expectations of High Net Worth Employers"

Thank you to the board of directors and APNA members for such a warm and kind reception.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Fun Picture!

Last week I was doing a photo shoot for Canadian Business Magazine and this was one of the out takes when we were done. I LOVE this picture and wanted to share it with all of you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Clean Dishes Get Their Start In A Clean Dishwasher

Do I really need to clean my dishwasher, why and how does one clean a dishwasher?
Signed Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,
Believe it or not, you actually really do need to clean your dishwasher, and ideally this should be done monthly. But the good news is that it is simple to do.

1. Remove all dishes from the dishwasher including any debris you may find in the bottom. Pour the white vinegar into the empty dishwasher. Do not use soap.

2. Turn the dishwasher on to the highest heat setting and run a full cycle.

Ideally the temperature should reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for a full seven minutes to fully kill all of the bacteria and disinfect the dishwasher.

3. Clean the door gasket, door edge and seal on a weekly basis with a damp cloth to remove food particles and other debris.

4. Check for hard water deposits and clean spray arms on deep cleans to ensure that the spray arms are unobstructed.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Marilyn Denis & Her Butler Charles

While we spend the last few weeks of summer relaxing and enjoying what quiet time we are able to get, I thought you might like to see this new link to ALL of my segments with Marilyn Denis! The new season is not far away and we will begin live Monday September 12th! See you then.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Treat Mothers Equally

Hi Mr. Butler:
I’ve never been a fan of my boyfriends’ mothers … bad luck maybe? I’ve been seeing someone new for two months now and I’m wondering how long I can avoid meeting his mother. Please say a year or longer.

Daddy’s Girl

Dear Daddy’s Girl,
When I first read your question, I thought that you needed to toughen up and go meet your boyfriend’s mother soon or else your new man may take offence and you run the risk of losing him. Upon further reflection, however, the answer became clearer to me.

You should meet his mother within a month or so of him meeting yours. It’s always prudent to treat mothers equally. Please give your boyfriend’s mother a chance, she just may turn out to be the fabulous mother in-law of your future. Ask your new boyfriend to share with you a little about his mother and her interests.

Perhaps this will allow you to find a topic of interest ahead of time so both of you can begin your relationship on the perfect foot and you can actually enjoy each others company!

Have a question? Email

Monday, August 8, 2011

What an honour!

It is with great excitement and honour, that I have just received the following email,

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the members of Protocol & Diplomacy International-Protocol Officers Association (PDI-POA), it is my pleasure to welcome you to our organization. PDI-POA was founded in 2002 in Washington D.C., with the cooperation and sanction of the United States Department of State. It is the first officially recognized international association of professionals who work in the field of protocol. The association is unique because membership is limited to those currently working as protocol officers, those who have been protocol officers in the past, diplomats and consular officers, and the law enforcement partners of protocol such as the U.S. Secret Service, State Department Diplomatic Security, and airport protocol officers or liaison officers.

Vice President, Membership
Protocol Diplomacy International-Protocol Officers Association

Your morning Smile!

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm on Vacation!

Please note that Charles the Butler is going to be resting July 19 through July 24, looking forward to more next week!

Cleaning Formulas

Since this morning we have had over one-hundred emails asking for the cleaning formulas from today's show, so here they are one more time!

Baking soda paste: 5 parts baking soda, one part water

All-purpose cleaner: 2 Tablespoons pH neutral soap (any dish soap) and +/- 4 cups of water

Household Disinfectant
: Pure white Vinegar (5% acidic level)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wedding Engagement Announcement Dilema


Our daughter is getting married and we wanted to put a notice in the paper.

We figured we would say something like my husband and I (our names) are please to announce the engagement of our daughter (her name) to this young man (his name) of (where he is from), son of (naming his mom [who is not a widow]).......

And now here is the hard part............his mom was married before and divorced, then remarried another man who adopted him.....but later then divorced him as well.................what do I do with that. How do we mention the 2 fathers and their now wives..............or do we just not mention them at all. His natural father will likely be at the wedding but at this point I don't think his adoptive father will be able to make it. Any help will be very much appreciated.

Mrs. Taylor

Dear Mrs. Taylor,

I have read your email numerous times and consulted both several books and called an expert I deal with in the United States on invitations. We are all in agreement that the wording and announcement should remain simple and based on the original parents.

You have neglected to give me all of the names of the participants below, so I have had to make some up to put the announcement sample together for you. I trust this helps and may your daughter be blessed with a wonderful wedding and a happy and healthy marriage. Please let us know how things turn out.

Mr. and Mrs. John Taylor announce the engagement of their daughter, Miss Carol Jean Taylor, to Mr. Bob Henry Groom, son of Mrs. Betty Grooms Mother of Toronto, Ontario and Mr. Howard Grooms natural Father of Montreal, Quebec.

Miss. Carol Jean Taylor was graduated from Ryerson University and is a veterinarian at Forest Hill Animal Clinic in Toronto, Ontario. Mr. Bob Henry Groom was graduated from University of Toronto and is working with Air Canada, Toronto, Ontario.

With most sincere and kindest regards,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ending Dish Drama

My husband and I have argued about this since the day we got married. Can you please share with us the proper way to load a dishwasher?
Frustrated Housewife, Vancouver

Dear Frustrated Housewife,
I know exactly what you're talking about! We had that same argument in my household when I was a kid, and it was only resolved when I became a Butler and learned the correct way! Here are nine golden rules that work no matter what type of dishwasher you have.

1. For the cleaning cycle to work correctly, water needs to be able to circulate around all of th dishes.
2. Overcrowding is the most common problem.
3. Rinse dishes before loading them.
4. Use racks for their intended purpose i.e. glassware on the top rack.
5. Items requiring more robust cleaning should be placed on the bottom rack.
6. Always use the the amount of soap recommended by the manufacturer.
7. Always use a rinse aid. This really does help keep the dishes spotless (no gimmick here, I promise!)
8. If your dishwasher has a salt dispenser check to see if you have hard or soft water in your area. The harder your water the increased chances that you will need salt in the dishwasher to avoid residue buildup.
9. If your dishwasher isn't full. don't run a full cycle. Run the 10-minute rinse cycle. This will rinse your dirty dishes and you can continue to fill the dishwasher until you have a full load.

How to Load the Dishwasher:
Loading dishes with room around them allows for the water to circulate and clean them.

How Not to Load the Dishwasher:
Overcrowding prevents the water from circulating around all of the dishes, a main reason for dirty dishes at the end of the cleaning cycle.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Prepare yourself for the face-to-face job interview

Dear Charles,
I am about to embark on the most important interview of my business career and was wondering if you could provide some helpful tips for a successful interview.

Shaking In My Boots

Dear Shaking In My Boots,
Congratulations on your upcoming interview. What a great opportunity. While each interview is always different — corporate culture and individual interview style play a big part — below are some tools I have used successfully.

1. Have a professional-looking resumé and bring multiple copies with you.
You may be asked to meet with several people or in front of a group. If this is the case, present each person at the table with a copy of your resumé.

2. Be ready to listen.
Often, when we get nervous, we don’t pay attention to what others are saying. Always focus on the person speaking, listen carefully and let them complete their question or statement. Only then should you respond.

3. When answering questions make sure to give examples.
Never answer a question like “Tell me about your keyboarding skills?” by simply saying, “They’re great.” Instead, demonstrate your skill level with good examples — “I can type 100 words a minute — with no errors. In fact, I used to prepare the management team’s weekly reports. They included confidential subject matter that was for management’s eyes only.”

4. Dress appropriately.
To do so, know the culture of the company you are interviewing for. If you are going to an interview at a conservative mutual fund company, dress in a suit and tie. If you are interviewing for a hip and cool guerrilla-marketing firm, dress in a professional manner that is consistent with the culture of the firm.

Remember, if you dress correctly you will feel comfortable and feeling comfortable will help you to interview successfully!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Removing Ink Stains from Cotton Clothing

My husband managed to stain his best shorts with pen ink. How do I get out the stain?
Laura, Victoria

Hello Laura,
Good news - this is a relatively easy stain to remove. Pour a few capfuls of pure rubbing alcohol into a little dish. Now dip a clean cotton swab into the alcohol and slowly and gently rub it onto the alcohol and slowly and gently run it on the ink stain in a circular motion.

As the cotton swab starts to absorb the ink, change it for a clean one, Remember: be patient.

Non-removable ink stains will not come out, and please do test the fabric with the alcohol in a hidden area before you start working on the stain.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Let The Summer Sun In

With summer finally here - I want to let the sunshine in! What's the best way to clean filthy windows outside?
Betty, Edmonton

Dear Betty,
Firstly, you should remove any excess dirt and grime from the windows. Do this with a watering hose or a pail filled with lots of fresh clean water and a capful of dish soap. Once you have removed the surface dirt you are ready to clean the windows to a streak-free shine. Here are several options to consider:

1. A good commercial cleaner (with ammonia) and newspaper does a wonderful job.
2. A solution of 50% water and 50% vinegar is great! Spray this onto the window and then use either newspaper or microfiber cloth to wipe the window dry, thus avoiding streaks.
3. A pail fill of warm, clean water with a capful of dish soap will also do the job. Use a sponge to wash the window and then use a squeegee to leave the glass crystal clean.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thank You Notes Are A Must

I’m a second-time bride getting married the last week of July. I work full-time, will be going on a two-week honeymoon and have two children from a previous marriage to take care of full time. Based on the fact that everyone knows how busy I am, are people honestly expecting me to send thank you notes for their presents?
Carole, Nova Scotia

Hello Carole:
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I know the answer to your question is one you don’t want to hear, but it’s "Yes." You do need to send everyone a thank-you note and here’s why:

1. People have gone to the trouble of spending time and money shopping for you — and they are just as busy as you.

2. It would be hurtful for guests who might think that your lack of communication means you don’t care or value them or their gift.

That said, don’t pressure yourself to write all of the notes at one time. Pace yourself. Send one or two per day, or 10 or so per weekend, and soon enough they will be done — I promise. As grandmother MacPherson taught me, you will never be criticized for sending a thank you note, but you will always be criticized for not sending one.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July to our American Friends

May this holiday be the start of a safe, happy and healthy summer to all of our American friends, thank you for all of your support. It is both a pleasure and honour working with you.

World's Worst Welcome Fruit Display & Hotel Room

This past weekend I stayed at what I was told, sold and payed, as a luxury hotel. I booked a suite which was the most expensive room category for this property. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and this was what they felt was appropriate for a welcome fruit amenity!

2 sad looking oranges
1 knife
2 paper cocktail napkins
2 bottles of water

Noticeably absent from the presentation, a tray holding the entire grouping, glasses for the water, ice bucket, cocktail napkins, two knives (one for each person), cloth napkins, better selection of fruit, or at least better quality oranges, plates for each person to eat on, small finger bowl with water to rinse your fingers and a personal note from the General Manager or Duty Manager welcoming you to the hotel.

But it gets better! The hotel room had not been vacuumed as the lint on the carpet and furniture told the story, but when we found a pair of children's pants under the chair in the front hall, this was the icing on the cake that the room really had not been cleaned! I have never been so disappointed.

As you know I often post wonderful things that I find here in hotels, to my knowledge I have never posted the negative, but in this case I was so surprised by this display, I just can't help myself, and needed to share this with everyone. This disappointment could so easily have be avoided with the attention to detail and mandate from the General Manager and the Executive Housekeeper about training. To be honest I expect greatness from people and hotels, and I have absolutely no room for mediocrity!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Toilet Paper Roll, Over or Under?

If you read my column on Tuesday, you know I’m a professional Butler — and I’m here to help you sort through life’s how-to’s. On Tuesday, I’m answering your social etiquette questions, and every other Thursday, I’m offering my best advice on managing your home. So, please send your questions to and remember to look for this column every other Thursday.

Let’s start with our first question!


Is there a correct way to place toilet paper on the toilet paper holder?!


As a matter of fact, there is! The toilet paper roll is meant to go over not under, that is UNLESS you have a cat. If you are a cat owner, you will want the toilet paper to go under to save yourself lots of grief. Having the toilet roll go over provides nothing but encouragement to a playful cat to make a mess and unroll the toilet roll so that you have a mess when you wake up in the morning!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dining with the Boss, 101

Dear Charles the Butler,
My wife and I have been invited for the first time to my boss’s house for dinner. We are both very nervous. We live a casual lifestyle, but my boss and his wife live very formally. Tips please!
Nervous Couple

Dear Nervous couple:
Going to your employer’s for dinner is stressful at the best of times. But alas, one must overcome social fears, especially if one wishes to succeed in long-term business relationships.

Etiquette is about confidence building, allowing you to be comfortable in most situations. As a child, my parents laboured tirelessly to teach me table manners — no fingers even for chicken wings! I fought them both tooth and nail.

Soon enough I noticed that when I went to my friends’ houses for dinner, their parents would say, “Why can’t you learn to eat correctly like Charles?” And that made me feel proud and confident.

Here is all you need to know to enjoy dinner with your boss — with confidence.

1. Take the time to learn how to correctly hold and use a fork and a knife — and practice, practice practice. If at any point you don’t know what to do, take a deep breath and follow the hostess.

2. Read the newspaper for one week prior to the dinner. This will allow you to be aware of what is going on in the world and add to the discussion.

3. See what the dress code is. If it’s not clear don’t be afraid to call and ask. If you are dressed appropriately you will feel more comfortable at the dinner.

4. Last but never least, be yourself! Don’t put on any pretence — being sincere and genuine is by far the most important. Now go and have a great time!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When do you light the candles?

When entertaining for a sit down meal, when is the right time to light the candles on the table? Before the guests arrive or before everyone sits down?
Elaine, Saskatchewan

Hello Elaine,
Although as the hostess you can do what you want (it is your party), a really good rule of thumb is to light the dining room candles once dinner is ready to be served and just before you invite your guests to the dinner table. This signals to the guests that the evening is shifting from the cocktail hour to the dinner hour. Once the dinner is over and your guests have left the dinner table traditionally the candles are blown out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Introducing My Weekly Newspaper Column

Ask Charles the Butler
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Intro Column #1

Hello and welcome to my new weekly column. As you can read from the title, my career is that of a professional Butler. You might be wondering what a Butler could possibly have to write about on a weekly basis? Well, I would like to introduce to you my new advice column based on my many experiences, the people I’ve met and the situations I’ve encountered as a Butler.

So first, why don’t I start by telling you a little about myself? As a Butler, I have had the honour and privilege to work privately for one of Canada’s most famous and gracious families. After many years, I left their employ in 1996 to open my company -- Charles MacPherson Associates. It is based in Toronto where we have the only registered Butler Academy in North America. In addition to our Academy, we also place domestic and hospitality staff both in North America and globally. As well, we provide private training around the globe for luxury hotels and private residences.

In the past year alone, I have travelled and worked in London, Paris, Tokyo, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Dubai, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Johannesburg. My travels abroad and exposure to the ultra high net worth individual lifestyle have afforded me diverse experiences. I invariably come home with a plethora of great stories and interesting cross-cultural knowledge. I have had the opportunity of meeting world leaders, movie stars, super models, royalty, millionaires and billionaires, and I’m now here to share my knowledge and experiences with you, the readers of Metro.

So how does all this relate to my column? Well, as Metro’s new expert on social etiquette, I am here to answer all your questions relating to these issues. From “Do I need to send a thank you note or can I just email or call?” to “What kind of gift is appropriate for a 2 night cottage visit” or “My mother-in-law to be insists on being involved in all the decisions for my wedding and I don’t know how to deal with her without making her feel bad” or “I drive a pretty beat up old car and wonder if it’s appropriate to pick up a “first-date” in it?’ We all experience social etiquette issues on a daily basis and I am now here to answer my fellow Canadian’s questions every Tuesday.

So where do we go from here? I need you, the readers, to start submitting your questions by sending me an email to and remember to look for my column every Tuesday starting next week!

Read Article Here

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Packing Your Suitcase

Earlier this week Marilyn and I spent some time packing suitcases using the three different methods,

- Rolling
- Layering
- Hanging

As always we had lots of fun during our segment and I'm sure you will too!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Savoy Hotel

Last Friday, I had both the pleasure and honour to meet with a dear friend and fellow colleague Mr. Sean Davoren, the Head Butler for the newly renovated Savoy Hotel in London. This charming hotel is a wonderful combination of design between Edwardian and Art Deco. The renovated hotel has 278 rooms. After a tour of the hotel including the Royal Suite, I was treated with a special hello from a Butler who I had the honour of training at a hotel in Paris. Mr. Nicholas, the Butler who I trained in Paris, is one of the senior supervisors of the team of Butlers at the Savoy. What a great day it was and true pleasure.