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The merits of engaging an Interior Designer early on.

"My name's Jojo Macnamara and I'm an interior designer. Even though I've been providing VIP clients with an interior design service for over a decade, I never fail to get a buzz out of seeing the joy on a client's face when they first see their home totally transformed into an amazing, luxurious space they'd previously only imagined.  The secret? A good brief, sound planning capabilities, great communication skills, an aptitude for plate spinning (metaphorically speaking!) and the right team on board. The right team … That last bit is absolutely crucial to the success of any renovation, new build or refurbishment, whatever the size and scope of project.  We're currently working on a newly built 6-bedroom villa, or as the clie...

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It’s the little things that make a big difference.

When I caught up with Jayne Walder, Director of Walder Events earlier this month, it became apparent that a big part of what she does is focused on giving back, here's how.  "We live a modest life, we work hard, long hours and we want the best for our family, but we appreciate the stability we offer our kids is a dream for some, for many they just aren't as lucky.  So, we're big into giving back. We have such an extensive contacts list and when an opportunity comes up to make a tiny difference, we grab it with both hands.  We're very honoured to work in the luxury market, in such a wonderful environment, working in beautiful hotels with their stunning grounds and buildings steeped in history, so it's important we give back personally wh...

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The Luxury Events Planner

I met with Jayne Walder last week, director of Walder Events. Self-effacing, bubbly yet incredibly understated, Jayne walked in troubled by the impact Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having on the corporate and private events market.  However, as soon as we started chatting about the pressures of corporate event planning, she absolutely lit up and I couldn't imagine anyone better placed or more capable to take over the organizing, facilitating and negotiating of any event.  From sourcing a flotilla of yachts to race up the Solent on the south coast of England, to gun-dog handling at the celebrated Chewton Glen or facilitating a fundraising gala dinner at a glitzy London hotel, her extensive list of contacts would shame any little black book! How many people do you know with...

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Seamless transition from superyacht to household

The team from www.yotspot.com are thrilled to announce the launch of www.VillaRecruit.com, an online jobs board for household and private estate staff.  Anything from housekeeping and security to grounds maintenance, estate management and childcare.  Private household and private estate vacancies from all over the world will be posted, continuously updated and immediately accessible via an easy-to-navigate online jobs board. Founders Steve Crawford and Daryl Bradley explain more.    STEVE "Villa Recruit has been on the cards for a while.  With the success of our sister company Yotspot, where superyacht captains, agents and owners advertise jobs and meet thousands of potential crew, it was the natural progression to create a similar shore-based pla...

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Make Time for Wine

Whether your wine cellar is the charge of the butler or sommelier, the overseeing and maintenance of a fine wine management system requires a certain set of skill, knowledge and expertise.  How and where the wine is stored, bottle history, vintage, provenance, travel and purchase details are rudimentary of course, but also a knowledge of which wines are to be stored and which are ready to drink.  The best wine management team build up a knowledge of wine regions, variations and have an expert eye for which wines are best paired with which dishes. Working closely with the kitchen staff over menu plans, recommending the best wines to complement individual courses and the tastes of your guests. STORING WINE Keeping wine stored at a consistent temperature is crucial, so make ...

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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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