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How Virtual is a Virtual Assistant?

Celebrating her 6th year as a self-employed Virtual Assistant, Karen Brooks, founder of Pellings Business Solutions gave us a bit of an insight into what it actually means to be a VA, what kind of work she gets involved with and what top traits you need to be great at it!   What does a Virtual Assistant do?  A whole variety of work; could be anything from secretarial tasks, making 'phone calls, chasing up leads, credit control, checking ID information or might be creating and maintaining database or client management systems. My clients are all business owners with busy lives; travelling overseas, meeting with clients etc, so my role is to keep the business ticking over while they're away.  A safe pair of hands.   Where do you work from?  Depends...

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Far from the Maddening Crowds

  Booking a special trip, far from the maddening crowds, can sometimes be tricky to perfect. But it's a skill Travel Counsellor Jen Bekker has got down to a fine art.  We challenged her to uncover the lesser known gems that combine high end luxury with adventure, decadence and really and truly off the beaten track. Jen's suggested a mix of 5 unique and exclusive properties from across the globe. Not one to suggest the obvious, we wanted to surprise and wow you.  So, here's a variety of boutique locations, offering either a taste of the unusual, stunning scenery, wildlife, space, activities, relaxation but above all privacy.   Ultra-Luxurious Safari   The Geoffrey Kent Suite at Sanctuary Olonana, Masai Mara, Kenya   Overview: OM...

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How to be the perfect butler

Impeccable Manners Are your manners impeccable?  By that I mean not just minding your p's and q's, but knowing when to keep quiet and maintaining a degree of decorum. Consistently.  As your employer's butler you will be expected to remain polite, discrete and opinion-less at all times.  You should be kind, understanding, possess humility and be ready to listen carefully and agree whenever your opinion is invited. If your relationship with your employer is such that your opinion is one she/he genuinely seeks then express it honestly, without judgement or criticism. Exceptional Service Remember you are there to provide an exceptional level of service, consistently and without question, so it won't go down well if you make a fuss or point out your employer's faults. Utte...

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The Ski Chalet Host

With the European ski season in full flow and the mass exodus to the mountains, in search of blue skies and fresh snow, you might want a quick recap of exactly what to expect from your ski chalet host.  Not only are they your cook, washer-upper, baker, waiter and cleaner for the week, but they're there to make sure your time in the Ski Chalet feels like a break.  A relaxing, comfortable and enjoyable time in a 'home away from home."Preparing breakfast - by the time you wake the chalet host should already be in the kitchen preparing breakfast, with the tea and coffee on, having popped to the local boulangerie to pick up warm croissants and baguettes so that you and your guests can enjoy a lovely fresh breakfast before a full and exciting day&rsq...

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Think Twice Before Posting

If you've got access to the inner workings of the super-rich fraternity then you might want to think twice about: if, what, when and how you photograph, post and share images of what life is like on the inside, on social media.  In fact, it will probably be written into your contract that you absolutely don't!! One of the well known and extremely successful Knight Frank estate agents - agents to the super-rich - has recently come a cropper over one such incident.  Although he posted (publicly available) images of one of his client's luxury homes on Instagram, for 31,000 followers to see, he did so without the client's permission. Daniel Daggers, otherwise known as "#mrsuperprime", resigned from his position with Knight Frank in November last yea...

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The Chauffeur - Are you driven enough?

The role of the chauffeur is not just to offer personal transportation, but reliability, security and dependability.  Not to judge or express an opinion (unless specifically asked) but merely to make their client's lives easier, for convenience.  To offer a discreet, friendly, reliable transportation service so they can keep up with their busy lives and schedules. We met up with Russian born Serguei, founder of Red Bear Services based in Hampshire, who explained a bit about what it takes to be a great Chauffeur; whether yours is a demanding work schedule, shopping expedition, transportation to the station, airport or airfield, driving the family from A to B safely.  As a personal driver, your role is to provide a comfortable, reliable and meticulous transportation ...

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Estate Manager Explained

So, you might have a clear idea of the duties of housekeeper, nanny or gardener on a private estate, but the Estate Manager might seem a bit of an enigma?  What do they do? Where do their responsibilities start and end?  Here at Villa Recruit we advertise the latest Estate Manager roles but also recruit and place Estate Managers in private households all over the world, so we thought we'd give you a little overview of the "Estate Manager" and their typical duties. An Estate Manager is someone hired to work on an estate, typically a large house with additional buildings and several hundred acres of land.  Since estates tend to be larger and more complicated to run and manage than just the household, Estate Managers need a very specific set of skill...

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Why hire a domestic couple?

Ever thought that perhaps your staff would work more harmoniously if they already have a well-established bond of trust?  Ever considered the huge benefits hiring a domestic couple bring?  Well read on. It can be tricky deciding exactly which role to hire for.  Every house and family is unique, just like their needs, but essentially every employer wants their household to run smoothly and efficiently, so they have the time and space to organise and focus on the business of the day.  Could be running the household, tending the garden, looking after the children, walking the dogs or organising the latest events on the estate?  An individual will offer a certain skillset, but you might need more than one role filled.   That's why more and more hous...

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Buckingham Palace Seeks Trainee Butler

Buckingham Palace are advertising for a live-in trainee butler to join their prestigious team, working a 45-hour week, the successful applicant will be expected to work 7 days a week on a salary of £20,806 per annum, that's £1,733 per month but with your meals and accommodation thrown in. The salary works out at £8.96 per hour, but with London's living wage currently at £10.55, that's £1.59 below where it should be.  However, with access to training and guidance from one of the most reputable hospitality teams in the world, this is a role which could just kick-start the most amazing hospitality career.  With 33 days paid holiday a year, 15% employer contribution pension scheme, plus accommodation and meals thrown in this could b...

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How much security is enough security?

  If your employer doesn't have sufficient security measures in place you can all start to feel vulnerable.  Too much and you can feel your life's not your own and start resenting the security parameters installed to make you feel better!  So, how to find the right balance? For starters, it's about finding the right set of options to suit the family, property and lifestyle.  There's no "one-size fits all" solution, every individual's requirement differs so should be approached individually. So, what's the risk of threat? The lifestyle vulnerability?   LIFESTYLE Firstly, are you in a high-value home? Driving high-value cars?  Posting regularly on social media about fabulous holidays or trips aboard the la...

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