How To Achieve A Stress-Free Christmas – Yes It Can Be Done!

How To Achieve A Stress-Free Christmas – Yes It Can Be Done!

It is that time of year when Slade and Wham are on repeat 24/7; decorations are piled high in dilapidated boxes dragged out of the attic and you know that time is running out! But what can you do? Before you reach for the eggnog/mulled wine/vodka let’s get organised! Giving you that stress-free Christmas and a season to truly be jolly!

One-month preparation begins now:

  • Give yourself enough time to prepare, plan & deliver invitations for a Xmas gathering
  • Be brutal and use November to declutter and clean the house ready for the swarm of activity
  • Give yourself time to test and purchase new Christmas lights and make your tree truly sparkle!
  • Always buy more Christmas cards than you need – they really are timeless
  • Better still, start writing those cards pulling in relatives and friends to help with writer’s cramp!
  • Christmas lists will help assess who you need to buy for and what budget you need to accommodate
  • Shop around before you commit. Chances are if one shop stocks an item, five others will too!
  • Try to wrap your gifts little and often, in front of the TV, listening to music; making the tasks joyful!
  • Start looking around for that perfect Christmas outfit – there will be plenty around!
  • Plan and prepare your meals and snacks for Christmas, buying a piece each week to save that manic shop!

The month is upon us:

  • Assign a weekend preferably at the beginning of December to put up the decorations and spend the days listening to music for motivation
  • Schedule online purchases to be delivered at the beginning of the month giving contingency time frames!
  • Research and ask around for local butchers or tree yards – supporting your community in the process
  • Get in contact with friends and family and confirm gathering dates and times
  • Delegate Christmas responsibilities – who will cook, who will buy gifts for whom – help is always available if you only ask!
  • Purchase last minute snacks and more perishable foods – you can never have enough food in the house
  • And breath – always find time for yourself to immerse yourself in the season and enjoy the festivities

Christmas will always be a stressful time of year but the key is to manage and prepare for the big day! Note taking and list making can help offload the stress and give you a good night’s sleep! Prepare and execute little and often – Christmas can truly be the most wonderful time of year…if only you let it be!

If this all seems too much and you’d rather spend  more of your precious time doing the things that make you happy ,please do get in touch as I love to organise!  especially at Christmas time. I can help with  gift purchsing, wrapping, decorating, ordering, arranging, party planning and much more.

If you would like me to help you achieve a stress-free Christmas, please contact me on:

Telephone: 07863 235 901
Email: maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle
Why is having a wedding planner important?

Why is having a wedding planner important?

For most couples, getting married is one of the biggest adventures they have ever embarked upon and, quite naturally, they want their wedding day to be the best day of their lives. However, getting from the ‘would you’ to the ‘I do’ moment can take a lot more planning, organisation and preparation than most couples can imagine.

After that first bottle of champagne and the happy news has been shared with the nearest and dearest, the next big question is: what do you want your wedding day to look like? There are many different incarnations and ways to get to that perfect moment; whether you envisage being on a sunny beach in Mexico or in your cherished local church.

For a wedding day that is truly special and reflective of your bond as a couple, it can be an absolute blessing to have some help and know-how along the way. No one wants to be procrastinating over place-settings after all, the key is to keep it fun, relaxed and exciting.

The big three

Which is why we have given you three main reasons as to why having a wedding planner can be incredibly useful:

They are in the know

Need to find peonies in Autumn? Or source bridesmaid dresses which match the colours on your mood-board? Whilst miracles are usually few and far-between in real-life, having a wedding planner in the know, with the right connections and knowledge, can help make the impossible a reality.

They understand the budget


All too often, it is easy to get swept up in the glitz and excitement of wedding fairs. Before you know it, you have been talked into blowing the budget on a whole load of ‘necessities’. Having a wedding planner can allow you to be more objective in your spending decisions and offer budget-friendly solutions that are just as impressive as the ones on show at wedding fairs.

They share your vision

Having someone in your corner from day one who shares your passion and drive to make your wedding day the day of your dreams can be a godsend for the busy couple. Whilst friends and family can offer their ideas with the best will in the world, often this can leave couples feeling like they are having to water down their dreams.

A wedding planner’s main priority is the couples’ vision and that will remain foremost in their minds as they help the couple to navigate the exciting journey to their wedding day. There should be no politics or pressure to reach a particular decision, the focus remains on the couple and making the whole process fun!

For more information on how to make your big day a beautiful reality, contact Maxine on 07863 235 901 or maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk for wedding planning expertise and much more!

If you would like me to help you, please contact me on:

Telephone: 07863 235 901
Email: maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle
Back to school feeling – dread or delight?

Back to school feeling – dread or delight?

Why is it, as adults, some of us get that ‘back to school feeling’? The change of season and that crisp autumnal-chill in the morning makes us realise the summer is finally over. Light summer nights are coming to an end; darkness of winter will soon be upon us. Don’t despair! Think of it as a positive. Season change is great opportunity to get organised, set yourself goals and challenges similar to January; why wait until the New Year to face things head on?

Whilst on holiday, I read a book called ‘Eat that Frog’ by Brian Tracey. It teaches you how to face your biggest tasks (those you’ve been procrastinating over for a while). The book describes this as your biggest ‘ugliest frog’. I have been following this approach to my work and it has made a difference in my productivity and assertiveness. My biggest ‘frog’ was actually this blog! Tackle your biggest task first, do not do tasks that have little impact on your day or week and do not get distracted by technology. This method makes you feel more motivated and therefore you achieve great results. If you’re finding it tough to beat the holiday blues and get back into the swing of things, take a look at the guide below.

How to set and achieve goals…

  1. Write a list of all the things you’d like to achieve by a certain point in time. Start with something that will take a few weeks or months at first.

  2. Write down all the steps you need to take to achieve your goal.

  3. Write down all the tasks that are stopping you achieving your goal.

  4. Look at that list and identify things that make little impact or are low down on the list in helping you achieve your goal. What has the least impact? Does it really matter if you do not do a particular task for a few months or ever?

  5. Re-look at Review/Revisit (might be better than re-look) the important tasks.

  6. Make a daily, weekly and monthly list of the important tasks (things that will enable you to reach your goals).

  7. What is your biggest and most unpleasant task? Start with this first or ‘chip away’ at it breaking it down into smaller tasks like a piece of cheese; one bit at a time!

  8. Always start your day with your biggest task (your biggest, ugliest ‘frog’) once this is achieved you will be naturally motivated to do more.

  9. Don’t be a slave to technology; switch off your phone. Once you’re doing a task stick with it and complete it. Do not be tempted to check messages or emails; they will still be there in an hour. This distracts, and you will not complete you biggest task as you will be sidetracked.

September is the ideal time to declutter or have an ‘Autumn Blitz’. Focus on one thing at a time. For example: the kitchen – what is the worst cupboard? Start with that, then move to the next cupboard and then change rooms. It’s a great time to pack away those summer clothes and pull out those snug jumpers or change to a thicker duvet. Don’t forget to keep a few summer items out for those out-of-season days – we all love in autumn!

If you’d like help to alleviate your stress-levels and reduce your busy agenda, freeing up time for yourself, hobbies and people that matter the most Contact Maxine on:

07863 235 901 maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk and we can have a look at what your ‘biggest ugliest frog’ is and make a plan to tackle it together one day at a time!

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle
It’s the holiday countdown….!

It’s the holiday countdown….!

Mary Poppins meets holiday planning

Have you ever felt that one minute you have all  the time in the world to plan a holiday and the next minute, time has simply run out and you’re left with a bucket full of stress!

Wouldn’t it be great to take a leaf out of Mary Poppin’s handbook, click your fingers and voila you have bypassed the prep stages!

Planning your holiday should be fun and exciting, but for many it can be very stressful. You feel pressure to create that ‘perfect’ trip, visit five thousand landmarks, museums & seven wonders of the world not to mention dining in the crème de le crème of restaurants. The pressure to get it just right can over shadow what the trip was for and quite often, you need a holiday to recover from the actual holiday.

Don’t despair, holiday planning can be stress free!

If you are seeking the perfect holiday countdown, look no further! Giving you a top tip rundown of holiday planning 101 without having to invest into a carpet bag:

Prep, plan & pinpoint:

  • Documentation is essential: check dates & validity of all passports & visas before you even begin!
  • Mood board for holidays: Map out countries you love, sights you want to see & attractions you want to visit on a large sheet of paper; helping you visualise where you want to go and what you want to do (Blue Peter fans, you will love this!)
  • The who & what: Find out what your fellow travellers want out of the holiday and brainstorm ideas together (great to add to the mood board too!)
  • Eat & Watch: Create a list of the type of foods you love as well as your entertainment preferences. This will help with the holiday schedule!
  • Check the weather: The picture may look lovely, but is there a tornado on the horizon?
  • Shop around: For every provider there are at least three more that are cheaper! Spreadsheets are handy at this stage!

The key essentials

  • Passport, visas & plane tickets: originals & photocopies (hidden in your suitcase)
  • Hand luggage that doesn’t weight the same as your suitcase!
  • The 2:1 technique: pack two tops for every bottom!
  • Plastic bags for the airport! Don’t forget to read the specs before you leave home!
  • Travel itinerary: write out the times and dates of every mode of transport you use!

And don’t forget to…

  • Leave a key to your house with the neighbour
  • Give the holiday details to a trusted friend
  • Sign up for travel & health insurance!
  • Breathe!

If you’d like help in taking your holiday planning to a stage that has you bursting with excitement, email me at :

Maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk or call 07863 235 901 and I’d love to map out those holiday joys, one day at a time!

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle
Holidays from home – Your staycation

Holidays from home – Your staycation

Holidays: stress in a suitcase

Have you ever felt exhausted after prepping for a long-awaited holiday? Felt discouraged or even demotivated to go on the trip which has felt like it’s had a lifetime’s amount of planning?

Holiday prepping can be incredibly tiring if not expensive. From the accommodation to flights, activities to meals, and not least the packing essentials, costs can run high! And then suddenly, whoosh, you’re off on the plane, one drink, a disastrous beach outing and a dose of the common illnesses and the holiday is up leaving you pining for a break to recover from the holiday break you just had!

Close the purse & run for the hills

That’s not to say a holiday abroad should be avoided but to ease the stress levels (and the purse) below are our top three reasons as to why a stay-cation may be your ideal choice for this year.

Local history: From churches to cathedrals, historical towns to ancient ruins; staying at home gives you the opportunity to explore your local history easily & without excessive costs. Most cathedrals and museums will offer annual passes for under £20.

Theatre & cinematic trips: With school holidays reducing popular Blockbuster films to a fraction of the cost for children, to August’s ‘buy an adult, get a child free’ on selective stage productions; day trips can be incredibly entertaining. And better still you can return home, content and still have enough change for a little dinner treat!

National parks: The UK is full of quintessential and glorifying national parks across the English countryside’s. Explore nature’s finest with families, friends or even work colleagues; giving you time and spectacular surroundings to rejuvenate and reenergize.

Holidays from home can be the perfect getaway without going over the budget; giving you the opportunity to break up the year in mini, affordable breaks.

To help explore the best of the best from your very home, I can help plan, source & set out day trips doing the things you love at a fraction of the cost. It is always better to be prepared so you avoid any unexpected surprises. This way you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey.

If you’d like help to alleviate your stress levels and reduce your busy agenda, freeing up time for yourself, hobbies and people that matter the most, email me at

Holiday staycation

Holiday Stay cation

Maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk or call 07863 235 901 and I’d love to plan out those day trips and stay-cations, one day at a time!

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle
Wardrobe refresh

Wardrobe refresh

Giving your wardrobe a well-earned makeover

So Spring has finally sprung! Those sunny days which saw half the nation packing their winter clothes away, dusting off those shorts and pulling out those slightly tight summer tops may seem like a distant memory but don’t despair!

Although the winter breeze is throwing our hair styles off balance, every wardrobe is always in need of a well-earned makeover and what better time than to start when the rain pelts against your window! With the long-awaited bank holidays coming up, put a spring in your rail of clothes and let’s hit the next batch of sunny days in style!

Wardrobe health check

But why the need for a declutter and a refresh? Is it really necessary? The simple answer is yes it is! Not only does it give you chance to revaluate what you have hanging up, but gives insight into what needs updating, changing or even donating to your local charity shop.

From bold shades to comfy loafers, spring fashion is setting the way for striking clothes that sit comfortably against our bodies as well as our feet!

Six tip lowdown

So dig deep and let’s talk you through the top six tips when revamping your clothing collection:

Modify & stylize old garments: have an old dress, t-shirt or pair of jeans? Turn up the sleeves of the top, make cut off’s in the thighs of the jeans and accessorize the dress with a bold coloured belt or necklace. Upcycling made easy!

High five to tie-dye: 90’s must have but not completely archaic! Trying experimenting with dyes and elastic bands on last year’s top which you love but don’t want to discard due to that persistent wine stain! Trusted top kept, redesign complete and all through a simple jar of dye!

PJ’s into clothes: Have an overgrown t-shirt or knee length top that almost looks too good to be PJ’s? Don’t stop at the thought, try it on with a curtain rope wrapped around the middle. Hike up one side of the top and sew a running stitch about 10cm long. Believe me, it looks more stylish than you think!

Faded & tired: If the garment is beyond repair of upcycle capabilities, it is time to donate! Donate everything that you know you will no longer wear, but don’t forget to save the pants for the actual bin!

Trusted cardies: Don’t discard all those winter clothes just yet. Cardigans and jumpers come into use at any time of the year. Instead, why not keep a handful of trusted favourites in the wardrobe or on the top shelf and store the rest in the attic for our actual winter season!

List-making: Finally, once you have sifted through your current collection, make a list of what is needed and where you could get them from. This gives you focus when shopping especially if you are on a budget!

Can’t face doing this exercise alone? Have no fear, clothes are my ‘thing’ especially other peoples! There is nothing I love more than going through my client’s wardrobes, helping you organize, revamp and revitalise. I can even take your charity items to the shop giving you time to relax!

If you’d like help revamping your wardrobe, boosting your confidence and that opportunity for a well-earned treat, email me at Maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk or call 07863 235 901 and I’d love to bring fun to your door, hanger by hanger!

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle
A Lifestyle PA is more affordable than you think.

A Lifestyle PA is more affordable than you think.

Stamping out the PA illusions

Lifestyles Personal Assistants (PA) tend to be seen as runarounds for the rich and famous. We know celebrities have one but we never see their name or photo in the paper. But what is the reality of having a PA at home and do you really need to earn a certain income to employ one?

In today’s society; stresses are mountable. From juggling work, combatting transport links, busy home life with parenthood, often time spent socializing is pushed to the bottom of the agenda; as for hobbies or something ‘fun’ it becomes as dormant as the screensaver on your laptop.

Although we may dabble in hiring cleaners or gardeners our reluctance to employ someone who can help us manage our stress loads is palpable but it doesn’t have to be. Lifestyle PA’s offers the chance to focus on what is really important, be it your career to your role as a parent, friend or a relative at a special occasion. A Lifestyle PA helps you to turn your efforts to what time otherwise passes by on; helping you with errands, jobs around the house, party organization, travel bookings etc.. It gives you the chance to breathe a little and do the things you love!

Stress Awareness Month

Stress can have an catastrophic impact on your health as well as your relationships. In light of April’s Stress Awareness Month; give yourself opportunity to identify the stresses in your life, isolating what is stressful, how you could manage it and time constraints. You will be surprised by the answers you write down.

I conducted a similar exercise with a pilot group of ‘busy professionals’ asking how stressed they felt, what were the main stress conductors and how they would destress/or like to destress from them.

Their answers? ‘Getting on top of their ‘to do’ list, not enough hours in the day and too much time spent at work’. After working, they just wanted to come home and relax, creating a mountain of extra jobs come the weekend. A weekend that would otherwise be dedicated to socializing, day trips or hobby events.

Affordability and Time saving

Delegating mundane jobs can significantly alleviate stress levels; helping you to focus and concentrate on what is important, what you enjoy and what is paramount in your life. The most common questions I get asked is ‘how much is a Lifestyle PA’, and ‘I can’t possible afford someone to do what I can do for free’. My advice is always the same: how much do you truly value your time? For the price of a takeaway not only can you reduce stress to concentrate on more exciting and profitable tasks but it can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Lifestyle PA’s are not for the rich and famous; they are for any one person who wants to reduce stress and make time for what is precious in life.

If you’d like help to alleviate your stress levels and reduce your busy agenda, freeing up time for yourself, hobbies and people that matter the most, email me at:

Maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk or call 07863 235 901 and I’d love to bring happiness to your door, one day at a time!

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle
Spring forward into happiness

Spring forward into happiness

The snow may have consumed the UK, but Spring is actually here!

From little lambs jumping (albeit in snow) to the subtle changes in mother nature, (oh and my birthday), Spring is a fantastic month to kick start that go-happy attitude!

With those daffodil bulbs popping up everywhere (always around Mother’s Day!) to the sudden wardrobe change; Spring jumps into action like Peter Rabbit!

And what better a season to celebrate National Happiness Day then in Spring. Come March 20th; people everywhere will be declaring their odes to happiness. In commiseration of this fantastic event, I asked a group of people the following questions; with some remarkable answers:

What makes you happy?

Most people told me it was ‘spending quality time with their family and friends’ and ‘having a clean and de-cluttered house’.

What would make you happier?

‘Less focus on work’, more time on themselves in terms of health and fitness and hobbies.

Do you have time to do the things that make you happy?

‘No, not as much as I’d like’. ‘Spare time is very limited with a busy job and family’.

National Happiness Day is about making time to spend on things you love. Why not set aside some time on March 20th to take part in one of those happy moments; sharing your happiness with the one’s who mean the most, or finding time doing the things you love but never have time to do!

And even better?

Why not carry this on? Look at your week or month ahead and diarise key ‘happy’ time moments just like you’d schedule a meeting at work.

You will be amazed how a few hours help each week or month could improve your happiness!

If you’d like help making a plan to manage your time more effectively or taking care of the things you dislike, freeing up time for yourself, hobbies and people that matter the most, email me at: 

 Maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk  or call 07863 235 901 and I’d love to bring happiness to your door, one day at a time!

 

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle
Why you should review your finances

Why you should review your finances

 

Why you should review your finances

Wouldn’t it be great if we could grow our own money tree? Would you nurture it or just leave it to its own devises? No matter how much or how little disposable income you have it’s always wise to review what you are spending your hard earned money on. You could be wasting it on items you really shouldn’t. Busy people often waste money as they do not have the time to look into and review things. Always rushing and often making bad choices on purchases.

I’ve been working with a new client this month who, is currently on my gold service package. We’ve been working on an action plan for the year to make him more organised. We’ve covered everything from finances to staying healthy. I’ve saved him £350 pa on gas and electric and £200per month on his food and social life waste! My services have more than paid for themselves. I have now have a happy client who is healthy, wealthy and more organised than he has ever been!

Top things that are worth reviewing.

  1. Gas and electric – review yours when you come to the end of deal review it, set a date the month before as a reminder. It’s really easy to compare these days.
  2. Holiday and phone insurance – Review yours, some people have appliances like phones and tablets covered on their house insurance, check it out.
  3. If you have savings -Where are they ?Are they in the best place for your future , short and long term .
  4. Food -How much are you spending on your groceries, could you get them cheaper or better quality elsewhere? If not review what you are buying each week. Are you throwing several items away? Tot them up, it all adds up!
  5. Lunch – Are you buying lunch out alot? How about a few times a week make your own meal? Grabbing food on the go is expensive and usually unhealthy.
  6. After works drinks – Does a quick drink after work happen more than a few times a month? Does it turn into all night? Maybe a few times a week? Have fun and be social but set yourself a limit to how often.
  7. Coffee – How many times do you grab’Costa’? I have one client that goes 3 times a day! Try taking a coffee in a flask in the morning.
  8. Debt – Look at your  credit card deal? Is it worth balance transferring ? There are great deals around.

With all the savings build an emergency fund. What if things in the house or car start to go wrong. This fund could save you!

If you’re too busy to look into to saving money, let me do the research for you. Maybe you’d like someone to sit down with you, and go through ideas. If you need a helping hand please contact Maxine on:

Telephone: 07863 235 901
Email: maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle

New Year, New Action Plan

Plan Prepare Action

Personal Concierge Services Berkshire And Buckinghamshire

New Year Resolutions

Do you find yourself making yet another New Year resolution only to stumble at the first hurdle you come across? Most resolutions end up discarded, pushed aside or shelved for another year and why? Because the resolutions are unrealistic and simply not sustainable.

It’s almost as if we create ‘fantasies’ just to test ourselves. But that doesn’t mean they’re not achievable.

Prepare, plan and action

The beginning of a New Year is the perfect time to plan and prepare for up and coming events, topics and goals; outlining what you want to achieve, how you can accomplish it and how to measure the overall results.

It’s about setting a realistic goal and accomplishing it!

The key for any resolution is to make a list of what you want to do and the steps you need to take to achieve it. They don’t have to be set in stone, but give you a guide to work with. Think about:

  • Breaking your goal(s) into smaller chucks, take each smaller goal within the main one and give it them a time frame that’s much easier to maintain and achieve
  • Be specific with why you want to achieve each resolution and your main objective of reaching it
  • Listing potential hurdles that could get in the way of you achieving your goals, and create processes to overcome them
  • Being creative but realistic
  • Planning how you will achieve your goal including any cost implications or event clashes
  • Measuring the pros and cons of your resolution
  • Most of all, take that leap of faith, if you want it bad enough it’s worth working and planning for!

Make this year the year that you WILL fulfill that resolution, create your action plan first and succeed!

If your’e desperate to be organised, need help sticking to a healthy eating or fitness plan or you just  need an ‘extra pair of hands’ to make your life run smoothly;  resulting  in a happier  more organised you, then, leave it to Maxine Holmes Personal Concierge to spread the fairy magic. 

Contact Maxine for a friendly chat on :

07863 235 901

maxine@mhconcierge.co.uk

 

Posted by MHconcierge in Lifestyle