I recently read an article about Bobbi Brown, founder and CEO of Bobbi Brown cosmetics (www.bobbibrown.co.uk) who lives near New York with her husband and three sons. She made some interesting points and here are a few that I’d like to share with you.
She keeps her bedroom as a happy, simple place that she can escape to. An uncluttered refuge. As long as she knows her house is clean and everything is in the right place, then she can get through the day and keep her mind clear too. She admits that in reality this means spending part of every Sunday cleaning out the leftovers and takeaways from the fridge, but she can then start every new week with fresh, healthy food.
She’s also had to get good at saying no to many new projects because she needs so much time and energy for her life as it is. She’s someone who puts her family ahead of work – she already had a small child when she started the company so she had to learn to get her work and home life balance right from the beginning.
I recognise that we are all different and what works for Ms Brown won’t work for everyone, but I think we could all take something from what she says.
The weather has finally warmed up and we can dare to think about summer! The change of the seasons requires a few changes around the house. Maybe stocking the fridge with more fresh and healthy food as local produce comes into season and is available in the shops – asparagus and new potatoes anyone?
This could be the start of a healthier regime as we can finally removed the thick jumpers and just wear shorts and skirts. You might even have booked a holiday in the sun and are contemplating the beach – perhaps even a bikini diet is being thought about?
So it’s time to make sure your winter clothes, coats and shoes are clean and packed away. Now is a good opportunity to take a look at your summer wardrobe and go through all those t-shirts, tops and bottoms. With your own critical eye (or with the help of a friend!) decide if each item still fits, is in good condition and if you still like it. With your friend on hand you might even decide to swap a few pieces of clothing and the rest will be gladly received by your local charity shop.
As Bobbi Brown says, if everything in your home is in its rightful place and the fridge is well stocked, you too can get through the day – or should that be the month of May!
I received a call the other week from Steve Yabsley who hosts the lunchtime show on BBC Radio Bristol. He had seen my article in The Bristol 9 magazine and invited me on to his show.
It was my first time on live radio so I was pretty nervous. However, everyone at the BBC were very friendly from the lady on reception, to the lady who walked me to the studio, to the producer Martin and then Steve himself. I was made to feel at ease and Steve and I had a good chat. Apart from saying the same word a number of times (as we tend to do when we’re in a new situation), I think the interview went well. Maybe some of you heard it?
Steve really seemed to grasp the service I offer – making peoples’ lives easier at home by helping them sort things out so they are less stressed, a bit more organised and have more time to enjoy with their friends and family, knowing the chores are done.
The interview is available to listen again until 20th March. The main interview is about half an hour in at 30:38 until 43:55.
The third month of the year is here already. Resolutions written and started? Check. ‘Frog eaten’? Check (if you missed the February edition and you think I’m into eating tailless amphibians, you can read about ‘eating your frog’ on my blog below)
So now it’s time to start tackling the bigger tasks in the house. Spring cleaning is a well known and not particularly well loved activity at this time of year but does make a positive difference to the appearance and feel of your home.
So how about contacting your local carpet cleaner and asking for a quote? Or pick a room where the curtains are looking a little in need of freshening up and take them to the dry cleaners? Perhaps it’s time your wool blankets are washed. Most decisions don’t require extensive research – so make your decision and make it happen. These are jobs that are practical and not impossible – they simply require some dedication from you!
If you don’t have time to make that call or wait in for the carpet cleaner to pop by to do the quote or wait in for him to do the job itself, why not give me a call? I also offer a pick up and return service for dry cleaning.
Another ideal job this month is to turn out your kitchen cupboards and give them a scrub. This will also give you the opportunity to check your stocks of pots and pans, containers and bowls, baking tins and trays and so on. You may well find a few tired, slightly rusty and older items that you no longer use….and you may just find the strength to recycle them. And what about kitchen gadgets that you were sure would change your life but haven’t? Let go, clear the space and the clean slate will make it feel that spring is really in your home.
Thinking a bit more about space – do you have a collection of items that you’ve been meaning to ebay/sort out/give to your friends/take to charity for the last six months or more? Now is the time to just do it. This will not only clear some much needed space in your home/garage/shed but you will be able to walk around your home freely knowing that stuff that is no use to you anymore is out of your house.
Whatever task(s) you choose to tackle this month, I can guarantee that you will feel much better when it – or even they – are completed.
Having set your resolutions in January it’s time to actually get on with it and attempt to complete some of them! It’s likely some of your resolutions are not things you immediately wake up desperate to do, they may be time consuming and you just don’t know where or how to start. It might be sorting out your photos – printing off all those that you have saved on your computer, but would actually like to look at in an album, or sorting out your medicine cabinet or larder, or tackling that tricky email you really need to respond to.
There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do in the morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day. So if you tackle your most challenging task at the start of the day you will feel you have achieved and can do anything thereafter! There is a book by Brian Tracy called ‘Eat That Frog!’ which shows how successful people don’t try to do everything, but instead focus on the most important tasks. He gives tips on effective personal time management: decision, discipline and determination to help you get more of those important tasks done – today – without procrastinating!
It is always helpful to break the task down. So if it’s tackling the photo situation, firstly decide how you’re going to print them off – upload to a website; or save to a USB memory stick and take to a shop? If it’s the latter then allocate (i.e. find!) your USB stick. Make a cup of tea then just sit down at your computer and give yourself half an hour to make a start. You will enjoy reliving the memories when you go through the photos and select the ones you want to print out.
Writing a response to a tricky email straightaway relieves the burden hanging over you – you’ll feel relieved and invigorated and achieve more in your day as a result.
As a reward for ‘eating a frog’ there is another job you can do early this month: plant spring bulbs – maybe snowdrops or daffodils – this can be done during late winter and early spring. They make a big impression and are perfect for chasing away the winter blues.
It’s out with the old and in with the new, new new… I am a firm believer that the beginning of a new year is an excellent time to take stock; to reflect on last year’s events and establish some new resolutions. Last year I used eight sub-headings to help me focus my thoughts:
Friends & Family, Relationships, Health & Fitness, Travel, Education & Self-Development, Spiritual, Finance and finally House & Home
Establishing resolutions I could actually stick to was quite a challenge, so a friend and I sat down to do it together which made the task more fun! We committed our Resolutions to paper – I folded a piece of A4 into eighths (that’s in half, in half again and in half again!) and wrote a heading on each section. We made sure we reviewed it every few months throughout the year – we all know how much easier jobs are when you’ve got a helping hand. It is so rewarding to see how the changes I set out to make have had an impact.
Spring cleaning is a high priority in my House & Home section. As William Morris said ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’. Once Christmas has been packed away for another year, I go through each room and scan it. I make a focused effort to remove items that are no longer beautiful or useful, by recycling or taking things to charity where appropriate. Cold, wet afternoons are an ideal time to go through those cupboards and sort out those piles of paperwork; it really does make you feel so much better to have everything in order, and it will leave you with more time to work on your other Resolutions for 2013. Having a real blitz on jobs like these is immensely satisfying, so set aside the time to get the jobs done.
If you can complete a couple of the items on your list each month, in 12 months time you will feel you really have achieved. Here’s to accomplishing what you want in 2013.
Happy New Year!
There are so many things to think about in preparation for the festive period it’s sometimes hard to know where to start and easy to feel overwhelmed. So, this year why not make a pact with yourself? “I will not get stressed – I will keep calm and carry on.” Although this is a somewhat overused phrase, it is a good mantra. My suggestion for your Christmas preparation and planning is simple – make a list. This will immediately reduce your stress levels because if it’s written down you don’t have to commit it to memory.
I suggest you get a big piece of paper and draw up a table with the headings What, Who, and When along the top. Under the ‘What’ will be items such as cards, decorations, tree, presents, food, drink, Christmas Table. Use coloured pens for the different items and each person can choose a different colour – it will look more fun and less like a load of chores! Then decide Who will be sorting out each item, and When is the latest it should be done by. This will become your Christmas Masterplan and if it’s put up in the kitchen everyone involved can see it and be a part of it. By running through the plan weekly or as often as you feel is best, you will keep on top of the What, be able to encourage the Who and not get stressed by the When. There is nothing more satisfying than ticking off the items!
Your chosen purveyors of fine food and wine clearly advertise their ordering and delivery options and timescales so you can add this to your Masterplan. Check out the Post Office’s ‘Making Christmas easier’ at www.postoffice.co.uk/christmas-2012 to make sure your friends and relations in far-flung locations receive your Christmas greetings on time.
My final top tip is for Christmas Day itself – it’s called The Big Feast Time Plan. On this plan you have just two columns – the time on the left hand side in half hour slots, and the action on the right. Although this is to help with the timing of the meal, make sure you add items such as pop the cork, open one present, sing carols – again it’s all about having fun and enjoying the day. Merry Christmas!
There are mince pies and Christmas cakes in the shops. Although this may make you cringe, I’m sure you have started thinking about arrangements for the festive period. Do you know who’s hosting this year and who’s coming to stay? What about presents, food, decorations? So why not start thinking about how I can help with preparations. I am available until 22nd December to make your Christmas less stressful, calmer, easier and therefore happier. I provide Lifestyle and Home Assistant service that aims to free-up your free time.
How about a completely different idea for a birthday or Christmas present? What better gift than a professional organiser/de-clutterer for the day? Do you have a disorganised and pretty chaotic friend who needs a helping hand? Or a really busy and stressed out relative with an endless to-do list that never gets touched? You can give a gift that will make a positive difference to someone’s life. I will help them sort things out and jobs will be completed in their homes quickly and efficiently.
Vouchers are available from just £25. To purchase please send me an email or give me a call, and I will send you a gift certificate by post.
AA Lock and Key (www.aalockandkey-bristol.co.uk) came to the rescue for a family who moved into a rental property, only to find the back door lock was did not work. Although it was a Saturday, Craig from AA Lock & Key was on site within just a few hours. He assessed the situation and as the lock was beyond repair, he installed a new lock there and then. The tenants were happy that their new home was secure. A professional, quick and efficient service from AA Lock & Key solved the problem.
If you have any problem with a lock in Bristol or the surrounding area, call them on 07846 662889.
The team at Gogglebox recently mended a Sony Hi-Fi system for a client. From the first moment I spoke to them on the telephone through to picking up the repaired hi-fi, I received great customer service. They were clear, helpful and friendly. The repair cost £50 instead of my client having to spend £100s buying a new hi-fi.
They repair a huge number of brands of TVs, DVDs, audio equipment, microwave ovens and bread makers, pcs, laptops and notebooks.
0117 9358989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
I can highly recommend GT Plumbing and Maintenance – run by the lovely (and very professional!) Gary. One of my clients is selling his rental flat and there was no hot water coming out of the taps. He asked me to get it fixed before the sale, so I contacted Gary on 07917 876993. Gary met me at the property within a day and diagnosed the problem. We booked a convenient time for him to come back and replace the time switch (which was very old) and also the element in the hot water tank. He gave me the price before he started the work, which I OKed with my client and the job was completed promptly. Thank you GT.
Gary and his team are approved plumbing and heating contractors, they give free estimates and their services include:
- Heating & Solar
- Building works
- Domestic Air Conditioning
Call: 0117 909 3053