A good meal is the foundation of any social gathering and can make or break any event, whether it is a formal dinner dance or an informal dinner for one in front of the TV. The accompanying wine can make or break a good meal.

Choosing a wine to go with a meal seems a daunting task particularly when taking into account the preferences of others who may also be enjoying the meal.

It’s really not as overwhelming as it first appears.

First up, if others have very definite preferences and refuse to budge, let them have it. There are worse things to fight over than which wine you are about to indulge in.

Whilst there seems to be a bazillion varieties of wine, both in the red category and the white, not to mention bubbly and dessert wines, there is a simple rule of thumb when choosing the most suitable wine to complement a meal.

Red meats = red wine

White meats = white wine

Then you can start to play with varietals. A good quality steak, cooked medium rare goes extraordinarily well with a deep, rich red wine, such as a merlot, shiraz or cab sav.

Hearty reds are a great accompaniment to hearty dishes; roasts and beef pies for example. They’re also fabulous with good Italian food. Although a full bodied white such as chardonnay or sauvignon blanc, can work just as well.

Barbequed red meats, and even the white meats, go well with a lighter red.

Poultry works brilliantly with both whites and reds, but a dry white, such as a chardonnay or Semillon chardonnay are ideal. If you prefer something not quite so dry, a Riesling is a great choice.

Chinese and Thai food like a crisp white, like a sauvignon blanc or a chardonnay. These whites also complement salads and starters perfectly.

“White” meats, such as pork, duck and veal are set off by lighter reds, and some of your less dry whites, a Semillon chardonnay or a Riesling.

There is a very handy wine matching tool over at Wine Wheel and it will help you work out which wine suits what food.

And if you’re ever stuck for which wine is what, or would like to test a few out before serving up your next fine meal, be sure to contact Winery Driver (

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This week I thought I’d share this article by Katherine Giovanni with you….

Why should you hire a concierge?  I can think of a hundred reasons actually. Here are just a few …

People around the world are trying to squeeze thirty-six hours into a twenty-four-hour day, and when you do that you don’t do it very well. If you continue to do it on a regular basis, then eventually your body will resent it and you’ll get sick. Concierge are here to give you your health back. They’re here to give you the extra hours that you have been craving and will do what has to be done, so that you can do want to do like spending more time with your children or spending a few extra hours at work.

Companies around the world are also getting into the act. They are not only starting to use concierge, but they are making them a part of their corporate benefit packages. They are reasoning correctly that the less time people spend running personal errands during the workday, the more time they can spend at their desks and, subsequently, with their families at night.

Still not sure you need a concierge?  Here are a few more reasons why you need to hire us …

  • The average U.S. worker admits to frittering away more than 2.09 hours a day, not counting lunch, on personal business. This costs companies an estimated $759 billion a year.” – and AOL Survey.
  • The average worker skips 24 minutes of his or her lunch break every day, the equivalent of approximately two weeks more holiday per year (figures from Data Monitor).
  • Since 1969, family time for a working couple has shrunk an average of 22 hours a week. U.S. Government
  • Workplace stress is costing the Australian economy $14.81 billion a year. Medibank-commissioned research
  • Stress related presenteeism and absenteeism are directly costing Australian employers $10.11 billion a year. Medibank-commissioned research
  • According to the Health and Safety Executive, 6.5 million sick days are taken every year as a result of stress — costing £7m per week and £1.4m per working day.
  • Approximately 13.7 million working days are lost each year in the UK as a result of work-related illness at a cost of £28.3 billion per year – National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

When looking at these statistics, it is easy to see why time has become the commodity of the century and will be even more so in the decades to come. The popularity of concierge services stems from the fact that people are stressed out, overworked, and need help dealing with life so they can spend their free time nurturing themselves and their families. As good workers become harder to find, businesses are looking for concierge services to offer as perks to keep valuable employees happy.

That being said, below is a list of 20 ways you can use a concierge (the real list of what a concierge can do for you is endless)…

  1. Obtaining tickets to concerts, special events and sporting events
  2. Transportation Services – train, plane or automobiles … concierge can get it!
  3. Travel and Vacation Planning
  4. Business Referral Service – need a landscaper or a plumber?
  5. Restaurant Recommendations and/or Reservations
  6. Pet services
  7. Internet Research – need research done and you don’t have the time to do it?
  8. Personalized shopping and delivery
  9. Dry cleaning pick-up and/or delivery
  10. Grocery shopping
  11. Senior care
  12. Picking up or returning a gift
  13. Bill paying
  14. Auto Maintenance
  15. Home Organization
  16. Delivering a Meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner
  17. Prescription Pick-up and delivery
  18. Repair and Service Calls
  19. Sick Care – sick in bed? Call a concierge and they’ll do your errands, arrange for dinner to be delivered and can be on hand to help your family out

So get your life back!  Hire a concierge to do what has to be done so that you can do what you’ve always wanted to do.

About the Author: Katharine Giovanni is an award-winning author and the world’s leading concierge trainer and consultant as well as a Certified Concierge Specialist (CCS) and Speaker. She is one of the founders of Triangle Concierge and is the Chairman of the Board and Founder of the International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association (ICLMA) as well as the author of several business books including her award-winning book Going Above and Beyond and The Concierge Manual.

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On the 19th August I was lucky enough to be featured in the Melbourne Herald Sun. The article caught the eye of the producers of radio station 3AW and I gave my first interview with Ross and John at 6am that morning. They are both fun loving blokes so I proceeded to laugh my way through that one! Next a call came through asking if I had time to be interviewed by Denis Walter at noon – of course I had time! This interview was a little more informative than the first one (I am certainly not at my best at 6am…)

So please click on the link and enjoy!

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Divorce is difficult for everyone; however women often seem to manage better emotionally after divorce than men. Many men return to dating before they have taken the time to heal.

Divorce is the death of a relationship.  Any death brings grief with it and it has to be dealt with before moving on.  The worry is that men try to solve their loneliness before they resolve their grief and that isn’t healthy.

Women approach their post-divorce life differently.  Usually they allow themselves to cry, using their friends and family as supportive crutches for their emotions. They talk about how they are feeling and that’s a good thing. It’s as though once it’s exposed to the light, the load is easier to carry.

Unlike women, men have a tendency to keep their feelings to themselves, rarely confiding in their friends to help them through. They keep their feelings locked inside and the problem with that is that it eats away inside and makes it difficult to move on and form new relationships.

Unresolved emotion is a time bomb so it’s no surprise that the incidence of depression is high in divorced men yet the subject is hardly discussed.  Isn’t that sad?

Women tend to use the time immediately after divorce to positively reconnect with friends and family.  They know that they don’t have to put on a happy front all the time.  Having this social support in place is a big factor in being able to bounce back after such an extremely stressful event.

Men, this is a lesson you need to learn.  It is important for you to meet with others on a social level, even if you don’t particularly feel like it.  Accepting invitations from both family and friend is a great way to begin. Start out where you feel safe and with people who understand what you’ve been through.

Take a leaf from the female’s book and allow yourself to experience and express your emotions in a healthy way.  It’s the only way you’ll be able to move on as a happy and whole person.

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Setting up the pantry can seem pretty overwhelming, particularly when you walk into your local supermarket and there are thousands of items on the shelves; all of which you seem to need.  Well, that’s what the advertising tells you.

What you really need in your pantry at all times are what we call the staples.  These are the basics that form the core of most meals. With these in your pantry you will always be able to whip up something to eat.

Two fundamental items for the pantry are rice and pasta; both of which are highly versatile and can be utilised for the main or side dishes.

Depending on your food preparation and cooking skills, and your taste preferences of course, other essentials include things like:

  • Cooking oil and olive oil
  • Sauces; tomato, soy, sweet chilli and satay.
  • Herbs and spices; Italian herbs, curry powder and various other mixed and individual herbs and spices all make your meals taste nicer.
  • Packet Mixes; a small sample is fine, like Chilli Con Carne, although many dishes can be created without packets.
  • Tins; vegies (corn, carrots, mushrooms, beans and pulses) are handy for adding to dishes, and tinned tomato is versatile and highly useful.  Don’t forget good old standby’s like baked beans and canned spaghetti.
  • Bread and toppings like Vegemite.
  • Cereals
  • Instant noodles are great for late night snacks.
  • Other; tomato paste, fish or oyster sauce, tinned or tetra pack (long life) cream are also handy essentials to have.

If you’d like a printable list to help you when you shop you can visit Grocery Lists and download a good little shopping list to keep on your fridge. ( )

There you have it; stock up on your basic staples and you’ll be able to whip up a meal even when you haven’t managed to go shopping.

Can you suggest other essentials for your pantry?

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Going on Holiday and Need House Key Minding?

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