party planning




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:

  • Finding a caterer
  • Sourcing decorations for your theme
  • Arranging the delivery of the cake
  • The purchasing of gifts if required
  • Set up of the event
  • Sourcing and delivery of hired crockery and cutlery if required
  • Set up of the event space

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.

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When several of my friends turned 30, it was as though they’d completely and utterly disappeared off the face of the earth.  Ignoring calls of those who wanted to help them celebrate they silently let their birthday slip by.  Needless to say, this was incredibly boring.

Who wants to hide away?  Not me.  When we’re getting older and have fewer reasons for a night out, if there’s a good excuse for a party, use it.

Of course, it’s not about the party – it’s about you.  Birthdays are a celebration of everything you are and everything you still want to be.  Ok, so they do also coincide with getting older, but before drowning yourself in a litre of gin at the thought, consider the convenient fact that you are only ever as old as you feel.

And if there’s one way to feel good, it’s being surrounded by your favourite people at your favourite place, doing all of your favourite things (yes, it’s all about you!).  In stark contrast, choosing to shut yourself away from the world and devouring your own body weight in chocolate will not make you feel good about yourself by any stretch of the tracksuit pant.

Why not let it all hang out, so to speak?  If you’re having a milestone birthday, make it memorable. Do something you’ve never done before.  Try something (or someone) new. Make the party last all weekend.  No one ever said that you have to act your age so forget the number, put on the glamour and strut your stuff like a star.

Feeling despondent about hitting thirty or forty might be an easy trap to fall into but don’t be fooled.  In another ten years from your milestone birthday will you want to remember it for the night you hid at home with the lights off, hoping no one would think you’re in?  I thought not.  For your next milestone birthday make it one to remember – get out there, live it up – party like the star you are.  You only turn that age once!

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All of us enjoy an excuse to get together and have a few drinks with the girls, but whether you are putting on cocktails or mocktails, you can cater for a girl’s night at a fraction of the price if you make your own rather than buying pre-mixed drinks.

Here are some easy and delicious drinks that you can mix in seconds and dazzle your guests with:

Champagne Cocktails: Place a sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute, add three dashes of bitters and allow to soak into the cube then pour in one measure of brandy and top up the rest of the flute with champagne.

Brandy Alexander: Fill a cocktail shaker to ¾ with ice then add one measure of brandy, one of crème de cacao, and one measure of full cream. Shake and pour liquid only over fresh ice, or serve with no ice in a martini glass.

Pina Colada: Add 4-6 cracked ice cubes to a cocktail shaker, pour in 3 measures of rum (different recipes call for different combinations of white and dark rum, but using one or the other works fine) 3 measures of coconut cream and 3 measures of pineapple juice. Shake well.

Manhattan: Stir one dash of bitters, 3 measures of whiskey and one measure of sweet vermouth over 4-6 cracked ice cubes. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and decorate with a cherry.

And for some fun mocktails:

Virgin Mary: Pour tomato juice over 3-4 ice cubes, add a dash each of lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce (or black pepper sauce) and Tabasco (chilli) sauce, stir well and serve in a long glass with a straw and a stick of celery to garnish. This is also touted as a great hangover cure.

Cinders: Add 4 ice cubes, juice of 1 lime, ½ an orange, 150 ml pineapple juice and a few drops of bitters to a cocktail shaker. Shake well and serve with soda water or dry ginger to taste.

Muddy Puddle: Juices of ½ lemon and ½ an orange poured over ice, topped up with cola and garnished with a slice of orange and serve with a straw.

Sparkling non-alcoholic apple juice makes a great champagne substitute, try it instead of champagne in your favourite mocktail recipes, or serve it on its own in a champagne flute.

There is nothing as good as a night with your best girls and lots of laughter.  Make sure you do it often.

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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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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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