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Everything you ever wanted to ask a housekeeper, but were too afraid to ask

Everything you ever wanted to ask a housekeeper, but were too afraid to askBy Georgia Tindale If you were to close your eyes and visualise a housekeeper, I would imagine this would look something rather like Phyllis Logan from the beloved British TV series Downton Abbey. Down-to-earth, at least middle-aged, and someone whose family has been part of the stately home furniture for decades.  Countering these expectations, however, is Alice*, a 26-year-old whose career journey included waitressing, luxury retail, customer service and sales administration until she finally landed where she is today, as head housekeeper at a private residence in the north of England. Here we get Alice's take on what day-to-day life is really like in one of England's stately homes,...

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The pros and cons of a domestic couple job

The pros and cons of a domestic couple job   By Georgia Tindale   So, you and your partner are thinking of taking on a domestic couple job. Your CV is polished, your interview answers are prepared, and your outfits are painstakingly pressed and ready to go. But before you take the plunge, you will certainly have questions you'd like answering about the day-to-day realities of a domestic couple position in 2021.   Here, we speak to Jeannette, who worked as a housekeeper for four decades alongside her husband Michael, who worked as a butler, and discover the pros and cons of a domestic couple job (and no, it's not all like Downton Abbey).     What are the best aspects of the domestic couple role?   I loved working alongside my husband...

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How to become private cabin crew?

  When it comes to careers in the private sector and working for high net worth individuals, what kind of jobs are out there, how do you get in and what's it really like working for the rich and famous?    We thought we'd take a look at private aviation this week.  Give you a bit of a taste of what a Private Flight Attendant does, what skills they ideally need to possess and how to land a fabulous job like that.    What does a typical day look like for a Private Flight Attendant? Exact duties obviously depend on your individual employer and your contract, but this checklist gives you a bit of an idea. The interior of the plane is your domain! Whether the plane is private or charter, you will have done your menu planning and grocery sho...

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Security is Prevention

The Financial Times reported this week that in Nigeria "the kidnapping industry is thriving." A combination of increased population, unemployment, underfunding, easy access to small arms and incapable security forces have enabled kidnapping to become a boom industry in an already struggling economy, leaving Nigeria with a serious security threat.  Simeon Rosset over at Rosset Bespoke Butlers recently interviewed one of Greece's foremost security officers George Sardelis, CEO at Defensor Civitatis and himself a victim of kidnap, about the role of security teams for high net worth individuals. George explains about how to find the right team, whether you can prepare for a kidnapping situation and provides exclusive insights into how to deal wit...

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"Upstairs Downstairs" divide replaced by the House Manager

Long gone are the delineating "Upstairs Downstairs" roles in the typical UK private household. Think not so much "Downton Abbey" as managing the lives of the international and elite globe-trotting UK jet-set. House Managers are the new "below stairs" staff.  More integrated into day-to-day family life, the House Manager is responsible for looking after the every need of globe-trotting families.  Michelin star Chef's responsible for cooking up 5-star meals or beans on toast while the tutors are responsible for making sure 4-year-olds get the best academic start in life. Back in the 1911 census, 1.5 million people recorded working in domestic jobs in the UK.  Elite households back then were run by a small army of domestic staff, much like a sm...

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How to structure your household staff?

The smooth and successful running of your home will be in part due to the right staff but also having the right staff structure in place. The right staff structure gives every staff member clarity on what everyone's individual duties are so they're more effective and efficient. It also gives you a clear measure later on when you come up to staff reviews. Where to start? Make a list of all the areas in which you need help and concentrate on each area in turn.  Might be housekeeper, cook, driver, nanny or butler. Now get into the nitty gritty. Take the role of driver for example. Write up the job description in detail. What hours they will be required to work, what duties are expected of them, majority long or short journeys, will they be transporting family, bus...

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What does an Estate Manager do?

That should probably say what doesn't an Estate Manager do? Every Estate Manager's role is different; according to the estate he or she manages, the number of staff under their supervision, the scope and complexities of the estate itself and the demands of their employer. Responsible for the upkeep, day-to-day running and profitability of the estate, he/she will oversee maintenance, supervise staff, manage budgets and events. Mainly household based estate managers will also need to focus on land and outbuilding management. One thing every estate manager has in common though, is an extremely varied and interesting workload. One of the main aspects of the Estate Manager's role is the supervision of staff who in turn are responsible for different areas of the estate.&...

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How do you set a silver table service?

Whether you're designing an entire table display or simply the plate, creating an enticing table, that sets the mood and gives your guests the wow-factor requires a meticulous eye for detail and an understanding of how to set a table properly.  Here you'll learn how to set the table, different types of crockery, mapping out a basic table setting or a formal table arrangement.   What's Silver Service? It's a dining service where food is brought to the table, traditionally on silver platters, and served to individual's plates, rather than plated up in the kitchen and brought to your table. Servers use either two forks, or a fork and spoon in one hand, in a similar grip to chopsticks, to pick up a serving of food and transfer it fr...

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What makes a great butler?

We posted a great role for a formally trained butler on our Villa Recruit jobs board this morning.  A full-time position based half the year in West Palm Beach, the other half the Hamptons. BUTLER ROLE:  "Responsibilities include serving at formal dinners, managing the home, assisting in the planning of events, dinner parties and running errands. Knowledge of beverages desirable. Other responsibilities include calling in repairmen and overseeing their work, as well as dealing with contractors and landscapers. Occasionally housekeeping when necessary." Posting the various responsibilities of the role, made me think about what it takes to be a really great butler. As Google would have it "chief manservant of a house," the reality of being a butler in t...

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Norland Celebrates 128 years

This month we thought we'd throw the spotlight on those fabulous Norland nannies who graduate from Norland College. With their instantly recognisable uniform, we wanted to find out more about the history, heritage and values of Norland College.  Norland College was founded in 1892 by Emily Ward with children's early years education in mind. Influenced by the ideas of Friedrich Frobel - creator of the kindergarten concept - Emily recognised that every child has unique needs and capabilities and should have access to childcare that facilitates that. As the first educational establishment in the UK to offer any kind of childcare training, Norland was focused on the need for early years childcare to be more structured.  Totally centred around the child. Prior t...

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