March 2011





Packing the kids in the car and driving off to see the countryside can be a wonderful experience or a nightmare and it all depends on the preparation that you do beforehand.

Kids love to go places and explore new things.  They are excited at the idea.  Do you remember how it used to feel?  Your breath would come faster and you’d feel tingles up and down your spine as you piled into the car.  The problem is that excitement and impatience work in inverse proportion.  The more excited you were the less patient you became.  Your kids are no different.

It doesn’t matter whether you are driving or flying, the best thing to do is to keep your children amused and comfortable on the way.

Here are some great tips that will make your next family outing more pleasant.

1.  Make a simple map and mark on it some of the things you will see along the way.  It gives your children something to watch out for and lets them track their progress.

2.  Scour the internet and your memory for some games that you can play along the way.  You can only play “I Spy” for so long!

3.  Take a stash of little travel games and puzzles.  If the only time your children are allowed to play with these it makes them seem very special and adds a novelty value.

4.  Pack a picnic lunch and stop somewhere along the way so they can use up their energy with some running and play.

5.  Keep a snack pack with you as you travel.  A drink, a piece of fruit or even a lolly will distract them for a while.

6.  Go high tech.  Some cars have built in DVD players so your kids can watch a movie on the way.  You can also buy portable DVD players or download movies onto your smartphones.

7. If your child is really young, make sure he or she has their favourite toy or cuddly to snuggle up to.  They are more likely to settle in and even sleep part of the way.

8.  Take your child’s favourite CD’s and have a sing-along.

9.  Buy a backseat desk.  It’s a plastic desk that attaches to the headrest in front and when opened, can be used to rest colouring books and pencils.  Some come with built in activities.

10. Camera’s are cheap now.  Let your kids take photos of interesting things along the way.  You can try disposable cameras or even play ones if they are too young for the real thing.

With all these ideas up your sleeve, travel will be fun.

If there is anything I can do for you around the home while you are away, call me!

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Whenever I see those shows on TV where people win a fortune and plan to spend it all on their wedding, I wonder if they are crazy.  I know that we all want the perfect wedding and reception, but does it have to cost us the money we could otherwise use as a home deposit?

I read somewhere recently that the average cost of a wedding is $25,000. How many couples do you know that would have that sort of money lying around?  It’s no wonder so many put off the wedding and just move in together.

If you don’t want to go broke over your wedding day, here are a few ways that you can cut back on your expenses.

1.  Ask each other what is most important to you when you think of your wedding day.  Work out a list of priorities.  You might be surprised to find that budget breakers like fancy reception venues aren’t seen as important by either of you!  Cut back on what you don’t value.

2.  Involve your friends and family.  You never know who has a contact somewhere – a cake decorator, a dressmaker or a florist.

3.  Choose a simple theme for your wedding.  Use flowers that are in season and take the wedding outdoors if the weather is good.  Picnic weddings can be elegant and relaxed.

4.  Save on your decorations.  Fairy lights and gauzy material strung around the roof and tables will give your reception a magical feel for little cost and both can be used again later.

5.  Skip the wedding presents and ask your guests to pay for their meal instead.  After all, you can only have so many toasters.  This is becoming more common these days and it saves your guests the worry of what to buy.

6.  Hire your dress instead of buying it.  You won’t ever wear it again and it will just hang in the cupboard going yellow with age.

7.  Remember that ‘less is more’ and don’t try to do too much.  You don’t need flowers on every table or fancy chair covers.  You don’t need a band.  You don’t need a big cake.

8.  Ask your friends to take the photos and videos of the event.   It saves hundreds on photography fees and will give you lots of photos to choose from for your album.

It isn’t the ‘things’ that will make your wedding day perfect, it’s the people.  Remember what is important and enjoy your day.  You’ll save money and stress and start your married life off in the company of people you love.

If you are planning a wedding and need a hand, contact me, I’d be thrilled to help you. After all, everyone loves a wedding!

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It’s the age old question, isn’t it?

You’ve probably heard someone say “In my day we would never have done that!”  You might even have said it yourself.

The world changes and so do our lifestyles and the behaviours that go with it. We live a much more casual and relaxed lifestyle than our grandparents did.  We live in a more multi-cultural society and are far better travelled than our grandparents.  This sort of change is bound to bring with it some changes to our behaviour and in turn, to manners and etiquette.

Manners are the standards of behaviour which show that we are polite, and respectable people.  They are the ‘norms’ of regular social interaction.  Manners aren’t something we are born with.  We have to learn them from our parents and through living in the world.  We learn to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and to wait our turn.  We are taught not to eat our food with our fingers and that belching in public is not socially acceptable.

Etiquette, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game.  It’s a set of social standards that apply to specific situations.  Etiquette tells us how to behave at a formal dinner or when meeting a person of importance.  Etiquette tells us which set of manners we are required to use in specific social situations.

Are good manners and etiquette missing in today’s society?  Or is it that in today’s society there is a more diverse set of norms and social situations?

The tendency is to say yes, based on what we see in the news, our use of manners and etiquette has slipped.  We seem to be very casual about whether or not to bother with them.

But next time you stand at the coffee bar or deli counter waiting for your turn to order, pay attention to what goes on around you.  I guarantee you will see good manners and social etiquette as the people waiting with you check to see that they aren’t queue jumping.

I don’t think manners and etiquette are missing.  I think they have just changed their appearance to fit the modern world.

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Why is it so hard to ask for help?  I often wonder about that, especially as it is my job to give people help when they need it.

I decided to ask that question and see what I could find out.  These were some of the answers I got.

“I feel like a failure if I have to get someone to come and help me.”

“Everyone else seems to manage so I should be able to.”

“No one will understand what I need.”

“I guess it could be pride?”

“I’d rather give than take.”

“It feels like I’m giving up on myself.”

“Why should someone else have to do it just because I can’t?”

“I don’t want people to know that I am struggling”

Isn’t that a sad collection of answers?  Why are we so much more concerned about what others think than we are about our own needs?  Do you realise that by not asking for help you are only digging yourself further and further into a hole?  You just won’t get anywhere or, if you do, it will take you ages.

If there is one thing that successful people have in common, it’s the ability to recognise when they need help and to ask for it.  They understand that it’s an opportunity to learn something new and to grow.

Heavens, if Branson can ask for help, can’t you?

The best way to ask is to be direct and specific.  That takes your emotion out of the situation and it becomes a very business-like process.  If it makes you feel more comfortable, offer your help on a project of theirs in exchange.

Day 2 Day Personal Concierge was created so that I can help shoulder your load.  There is no shame in asking for my help.  It’s a practical decision that lets you achieve far more than you would have done while you struggle with what is holding you back.

Don’t sit there and worry.  Just pick up the phone and call me. Together we will get you moving forward.

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