November 2010





Do you want to give a gift to someone who has everything? Do you want to give a gift to someone who always seems to be rushing from one task to the next task without making headway?  Some days are like a juggling act no matter how organised you are.

Why don’t you consider giving my services as a gift – be it Christmas, births, special occasions, or corporate events. I’m a Personal Concierge who provides home and lifestyle assistance.

I take care of all of the details that fill up your day.  I get rid of the clutter from your lives so that you can actually get out and enjoy yourself.

I can mind your house, feed your pets, organise your special events, pay your bills and fix up your paperwork.  You can use me by the hour or book a set time each week.

Just think of me as a gift voucher that your loved one can redeem when he or she needs helps.  (I fancy myself printed on up-market paper, of course!)

I come in very handy during those stressful times in life.  If your friend is having a baby or moving house they will bless the moment they met you if you share my services with them.  You know what a difference I can make in a life.  Why not give me at Christmas to someone who could do with a hand?

Call or email me, would love to hear from you!

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Gift hampers are suitable for any occasion and making them yourself will add a personal touch that will certainly impress the receiver. Creating a clever hamper can be surprisingly easy with a few simple tips:

1. Set a budget. Purchasing all your little goodies for your hamper can add up so set yourself a budget and don’t forget to include the cost of delivering it.

2. Think of a theme and brainstorm ideas of what to include. This is where the fun begins. Here are some suggestions:

Wine Lovers Basket – bottle of wine, fancy cheeses, bottle opener, glasses, a wine journal.

Coffee Lovers Hamper – assorted coffees, plunger, chocolate coated coffee beans, biscotti, coffee appreciation book.

Car Care Hamper – car wash, polish, chamois, sponge, tyre gauge, car magazine subscription, toy matchbox car.

Movie Hamper – vouchers to a cinema or DVD rental store, popcorn, jaffas, book – ‘1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.’

Chocolate Addicts Hamper – anything and everything chocolate! Include chocolate sauce, hot chocolate and a chocolate cookbook.

3. Chose your basket or container. You can use anything – a terracotta pot, wrapped box, colander, ice bucket or wicker basket.  The more imagination you use the better the gift will look.

4. Lay out some cellophane, place the empty basket on top and line with tissue paper.

5. Assemble the items in the basket so that they are pleasing to the eye.  Make sure that the labels can be seen, too.

6. Gather the corners of cellophane, tie together with a big ribbon and add a gift card.

7. Deliver your item personally, by your favourite courier or carefully packed in a big box and sent in by Australia Post.

I love to give gift hampers and watch the look on the recipients face as they dig into the treasure trove to see what other goodies are stashed inside.

If you find you haven’t the time to assemble these yourself, contact your personal concierge to do it, she might just deliver it for you too!

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You spend months and months preparing for the arrival of your baby. But when you come home from the hospital with a newborn in your arms you will need to be prepared in a different sense. Here are some tips for those first few days and weeks after arriving home with your baby:

Clean your house and change your sheets. You will be too tired and consumed with your new baby to worry about vacuuming and cleaning but you will be thankful coming home to a clean and tidy house and fresh sheets.

Cook extra food and freeze it. While you are still pregnant prepare extra large meals and freeze half of them. Freeze portions of pre-chopped vegetables and meat for easy preparation.

Rest when you can. You will probably often hear “rest when the baby does” and this is very wise advice. You will be exhausted when you first arrive home from hospital so take time out and get as much rest as you can.

Accept all help and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Your close friends and family will be very willing to help anyway, so delegate tasks like laundry, ironing and grocery shopping.

Ask your partner to take on more of the regular domestic chores than normal.  Most are very happy to help out but they need to be pointed in the right direction.

If your partner offers to cook dinner, just be happy that you don’t have to do it.  It’s worth a couple of overcooked meals just for the opportunity to relax for a while.  Of course, if he’s a great cook you can encourage him to keep cooking!

Don’t be afraid to ask people to go home. You will get lots of visitors so you have to be prepared to say things like “it’s time for us to rest now” when you have really had enough. If you are comfortable with the idea, leave a note posted to the front door something like “Hi, it is nice of you to visit, but my Mum and Dad are very tired. Please stay no longer than 15 minutes.”

Finally, I would like to suggest that when you are thinking of birth gifts for your wish list, you add me to it.  I can make a huge difference in your life for those first few days.  I can do anything from shopping to cooking and cleaning.

Now go and put your feet up while you can.

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Sometimes the amount you spend at the grocery store can vastly differ from one week to the next, which makes accurate budgeting very difficult. With a few simple points and a bit of practice you can perfect the art of shopping on a budget.

  • Unit pricing – recently introduced in all supermarkets, this means the cost of all items are now broken down into one base unit price, making it easier to work out most cost-effective brand to buy.
  • Plan Ahead – planning your menu for the week and writing a list will not only avoid buying items you don’t need, it will also mean you don’t forget anything. You won’t impulse buy and if you plan really carefully you can ensure no food goes to waste.
  • Buy in bulk – items such as meat (to freeze), flour, cereals, nuts and dried fruit.
  • Buy seasonal – visit your local growers or farmers market where you will not only notice a significant difference in the cost of fresh fruit and veg, the quality and freshness is far better as well.
  • Try alternatives – instead of using meat for every dish, which is the most expensive item on the grocery bill, try using lentils, beans, tofu or just add more vegetables.
  • Take advantages of specials from weekly catalogues – stock up on staples when they are on special. Once you get into this practice you will never pay full price for any of these items.
  • Shop around – get to know where certain items you buy a lot are always cheapest eg baby formula.
  • A healthy diet is usually low in processed items.  Take pre-made biscuits and packaged goods off your menu and replace them with fresh foods and you will notice a big saving.
  • If you have a busy lifestyle make sure that you stock your fridge and pantry with food that is fast to prepare.  Pasta and stir fries are fast to make and you won’t have to resort to takeaways.
  • Pay attention at the register.  Make sure you are getting your purchases at the advertised price.
  • Just because it is ‘home brand’ doesn’t mean it is bad.  Some of the staple items are actually quite good.
  • Shop towards the end of the week.  All the specials will be marked and often there are discount items beginning to appear.
  • Shop towards the end of the day (or very early in the morning depending on the way your store works) and you’ll find things which are getting close to sell by date which have been marked down.  Most items can be frozen for later use.
  • If you find that you can’t resist the treats that you see whenever you shop, think about having someone like a Personal Concierge do your shopping for you.  You’ll save on stress, time and kilojoules.

If you follow these tips and make a few adjustments to your purchasing, the amount you pay at the checkout will leave you pleasantly surprised!

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