by Debbie Alford
I really should have called this post “the art of the surprise weekend away” because that is what it is about.
I know how hard you both work and how difficult it is to spend time together, let alone have a holiday. Hard work and neglect of each other can really damage your relationship and it’s one of the causes of some professional couples breaking up.
Relationships can get lost in the demands of dual careers and that is sad.
The time when you both have the same weekend free is probably rare so why not schedule it ahead of time? Book it out in your diaries and commit that weekend to yourselves.
Now that you know your dates, surprise your love by taking them away for the weekend. Can you imagine their face when you pick them up but don’t head home? Gradually the smile will spread across their face as they realise what is happening.
Wouldn’t that be a wonderful gift to your partner and to yourself?
I know you are busy so I can do the organising for you. All I need to know is where you’d like to go and what kind of weekend you would love to have. Do you like to laze around or do you prefer action? Do you like the beach or the hills? Do you prefer city or rural places?
I will find the perfect place and book it for you. I can arrange for champagne and flowers on arrival, or perhaps you’d enjoy chocolates. I can research local restaurants and book you a place for dinner. I will book you a hire car or, if you don’t want to drive, arrange a driver for you.
All you have to do is pack your bag (and one for your partner) and run away from the world for a magic couple of days.
Refresh your bodies and minds and rejuvenate your relationship. Weekends together are rare so make them memorable.
by Debbie Alford
Is your career causing your property value to drop?
We’ve all heard of the term “curbside appeal” and we know that is what draws potential buyers in to look through a house which is for sale. Did you know that a home with no curbside appeal is actually valued at a lower price?
One of the biggest turnoff’s for potential buyers is an overgrown garden.
An article called “7 Ways to Devalue Your Property” says “Letting your property fall into disrepair, such as having guttering falling off, unmowed grass, overgrown gardens, peeling paint and cupboard doors hanging off in kitchen will all detract from your home’s overall value.”
Now I know that you might not be planning to sell your home at the moment, but it is important that it is maintained regularly. Small jobs become big, expensive jobs if they are not tended to quickly.
When you open your front door, what do you see? If you see weeds and unweeded garden beds, then it’s time you did some work out there.
I know that you don’t have the time to work in the garden and, even if you did, that’s probably not the way you would choose to spend your day off.
A gardening and maintenance service can be worth its weight in gold. How good would it feel to arrive home after a long day at work and see a neatly mown garden waiting for you? In the warm weather you might even be able to test out that BBQ that was waiting patiently for you behind the overgrown plants.
Call me to organise the maintenance of your property. I find local, reliable tradesmen who will care for your property and make it look fabulous and I will supervise them as they do it.
Home maintenance is not just a lifestyle choice. It’s a sensible investment in the long term value of your property investment.
It probably comes as a bit of a shock when you realise that neither you nor your partner has an appointment that night. You will be able to spend some time together, at home, in total peace.
How long has it been since you enjoyed that luxury together?
Imagine sitting at home, curled up together on the couch, glass of wine in hand and music playing in the background…
It could be romantic and it will certainly be restful. As a busy professional couple you need to treat these rare times together as precious and not let anything interrupt them.
Turn off your mobiles. Unplug your landline. Turn off the computers. Turn off the TV.
Let nothing come between you and your partner for the night.
Time alone together is rare and the last thing you want to do is to spend hours in the kitchen cooking the evening meal, but there is something so routine about ordering takeaway that it doesn’t fit the mood of the night.
All you need is some carefully selected canned food stocked in your pantry and you can whip up something simple like this Thai Style Salmon & Noodles from John West.
Heat oil in a saucepan, add ginger, lemon grass and chilli; stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
Add frozen Birds Eye Garden Peas or Sliced Beans, drained John West Red Salmon and coconut milk; cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in cooked noodles, heat through for a further 1-2 minutes and serve.
Canned salmon and coconut milk, noodles in the pantry, frozen vegetables in the freezer and jars or tubes of herbs in the fridge – that’s all you need.
by Debbie Alford
Nooo! It can’t be your turn. Surely you hosted the last party But no, it was months ago.
Now the problem is how to set up and host a fabulous party while you and your partner are both buried in work and short on time.
Themes, catering, planning, organising… Thank heavens your Personal Concierge can take care of it for you. You can get all your work done, meeting your deadlines, and then swan home to the party without a care in the world. You will look like you are superwoman.
Managing events at home take just the same amount of skill as managing events at work. You need to know what to delegate when, and to whom. You already have those skills so why is it that you are reluctant to use them at home? You don’t have to BE a superwoman. You just have to LOOK as though you are.
There will be much of the preparation that you can’t manage so the wisest things to delegate are:
Delegating these tasks will take the burden away and your stress levels will be back to normal. You will be able to focus on your work, which is handy seeing it pays the bills!
Even better, though, is that by the time the party arrives you will still have enough energy left to enjoy it.
Give yourself a break. No one needs to know what your secret it. All they need to do is to enjoy the party, and so do you.
by Debbie Alford
It’s great to be organised at the office, having your calendar in front of you, your to do list meticulously planned to fit in with your daily goings on and your diary neatly filled out.
What do you do, though, when you walk away from your desk or you are out of the office for longer than your coffee break? When you can finally squeeze in a night away with your partner, how do you keep an eye on things?
We often blame technology for the breakdown of our relationships but if it is used properly, technology is a wonderful thing. It gives you the best of both worlds – time with your partner as well as the ability to check in with your work.
You can do amazing things with your Smartphone to ensure you stay on track, turn up to every appointment on time and don’t double book yourself.
Starting with the basics, there is your Google calendar which can be synced to various accounts (your co-workers or your partner, for example) and can easily be set up on your phone. Reminders can be readily set, and you have the capacity to display not only your own calendar, but other’s calendars as well, as necessary.
There are some great desktop tools that also have associated iPhone and Smartphone apps, such as:
Then you have those that are suited to the phone itself:
There you have it, your day organised and secured neatly in your pocket, ready for use whenever you need it. You can book your night away and relax, knowing that everything is under control.
What is your favourite tool?
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