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June Newsletter

Lola’s Apothecary

Fancy a luxurious treat this weekend? We’ve fallen in love with Lola’s Apothecary, handmade natural beauty wonders from North Devon. 

At the heart of Lola’s Apothecary is a vision of beauty and grace. They believe a holistic lifestyle can be enhanced by moments of sensory indulgence. They are inspired to create couture beauty products that marry fine fragrance with effective natural skincare – to bring the sophistication and decadence of luxury cosmetics back into the realm of natural beauty.

Their naturally fragrant things are free from synthetic fragrance, mineral oils, sulphates, parabens and other undesirable chemicals. Most of their products do not contain any preservatives at all; they only use natural preservatives and antioxidants where necessary.

Lola’s Apothecary believe wellness springs from a well of self love, and living kindly includes being kind to yourself. Here is a little message from the founders:-

“To love yourself is a life-long romance, an incessant work in progress that deepens with routine self care. We hope that our fragrant things will inspire you to fall in love with yourself by establishing touch with your skin. Our dream is that our lovingly handmade products will become a blissful part of your daily self care ritual, that they not only bless you with gorgeous skin, but also provide you with a momentary retreat from the vivid dance of life.”

If you’d like to treat yourself, or someone else use code POLLY for 20% off their range, valid until 15th July.

www.lolasapothecary.com

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CLAW

Now, have you heard of CLAW?! CLAW is a casual restaurant brand specialising in sustainable British seafood. They started life back in 2015 when Fabian Clark discovered that, as a country, Britain exported approximately 80% of its crab to the rest of Europe and even Asia.

CLAW believe that crab and other British seafood is undervalued and want more people to realise that it is fresh, healthy, high in protein and most importantly – delicious!

Taking out the middle men. CLAW deal directly with fishermen to ensure that they receive the best produce. Their crab and lobster comes from Favis in Salcombe and their trout comes from the chalk streams in Hampshire.

Over the last two years, they’ve done markets throughout London, festivals across the UK and pop-ups at various restaurants and bars. But their permanent takeaway spot is now in Finsbury Avenue Square, EC2M and we would highly recommend a visit!

www.claw.co.uk

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The Louisa Drake Method

Louisa very kindly invited myself, YNAV and YNANT to come and enjoy one of her training sessions recently at The Detox Kitchen so we could try out the LDM (the Louisa Drake Method) – and it was….. FANTASTIC! After a lot of moaning and groaning from us all, each declaring how unfit we were and that we were actually allergic to sweat, she managed to keep us all going through a full 45 minute session!
It was so varied, we used lots of different pieces of equipment, which kept all of us interested for the duration! YNAV has a bad back, so Louisa adjusted certain exercises so she could still take part in everything.

I would highly recommend a session, and for more information, please check out the below!

www.louisadrake.com

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Bio:

Louisa Drake is a fitness expert and founder & creator of The Louisa Drake Method, a unique fitness-fusion approach to working out. The Method was created by drawing upon her illustrious industry experience and background as a professional dancer and choreographer, to provide creative and varied sessions that generate lasting results. Having worked in the industry for over a decade, highlights include training some of Hollywood’s leading ladies, Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham as part of Tracy Anderson’s elite team in LA and NYC, it was time for Louisa to launch her own method in London. With her enviable career history and qualifications in Pilates, Barre, Strala yoga and dance – in 2015 Louisa fused her experience and skills to create the “The Louisa Drake Method”. In two short years, it has taken London by storm now teaching LDM sessions at Shoreditch House, Studio by Detox Kitchen and at Adidas LDN, with sell-out classes and celebrity fans. Balance Magazine named LDM “One of the top fitness trends of 2017” and Women’s Health and Women’s Fitness magazine both are fans of The Louisa Drake Method.

Class description:

LDM currently offer weekly session’s of the renown Shape Changer by LDM aka Signature workout around London’s hot spots. Access the Method at Studio by the Detox Kitchen, Fitzrovia, at Shoreditch House and at Method Movement in Chelsea.

Shape Changer by LDM

The Louisa Drake Method (LDM) brings you Shape Changer, which generates a longer, leaner and strengthened body. A LDM session takes its participants through the most transformative elements of existing fitness disciplines, delivering seamless and choreographed transitions between resistance, conditioning, cardio and stretch. Expect a 60 minute total-body workout which will transform your body, boost your metabolism, burn fat and lean out your physique. You will discover muscles that you have never worked before, your skin will glow and stress levels will drop. LDM promises to leave you energised and wanting to come back for more! Suitable for all levels.

Private Training by LDM

Our elite team of LDM trainers give you the opportunity to access LDM in your own home or workspace by delivering the Louisa Drake Method one-to-one private training sessions. We will help you reach your fitness, health and lifestyle goals by taking you through a bespoke programme designed to challenge and change you in the most effective and balanced methods. We specialise in transforming your body shape, strengthening after injury or injury prevention, correct postural and biomechanics issues and pre and post natal training.

LDM Corporates 

The LDM team offer a range of corporate fitness across London. It’s an opportunity for companies all of shapes and sizes to transform their work place through health and fitness. LDM has everything your company needs for a healthier, fitter, happier more productive team.

To find out more about her method visit Louisa’s website www.louisadrake.com

phonesnatchers

BE ALERT, BE SAFE!

I was walking across a pedestrian bridge last week, where out of nowhere, 2 guys on a moped came from behind me and attempted to snatch my phone out of my hand as I was walking. I was so shocked, but luckily managed to keep hold of it and they drove off. 

I know some other people who haven’t been so lucky, so I just wanted to give a word of warning. Please try not to walk around London with your phone out, texting etc, as you are a really easy target. The number of phone snatches around town is going up and up, and it is such a shocking experience! 

If this does happen to you, please report it to the police.

Stay Safe!

April Newsletter

Living Images Design

If you, like me, have hundreds of photos sat on your computer, taking up huge amounts of space on your hard drive, then why not let Living Images Design transform them into stunning bespoke, hand bound and digitally printed photo albums.

A perfect gift idea and a unique way of capturing those treasured memories from a family celebration, special holiday, or landmark birthday. They edit and curate your photos, enhancing them and producing fantastic layouts. These are then emailed to you for approval before going to print. Each commission comes with a guarantee of complete confidentiality.

Four sizes are available, and you can choose from either linen or leather covers in a selection of gorgeous colours. Images are digitally printed directly onto each double page spread.

For more information, please head to their website
www.livingimagesdesign.com
or contact Claire to arrange a meeting to view their samples and discuss your ideas.

Wear the Walk

Wedding season is upon us and it’s time to find the right outfits! Dreading having to splash the cash on something you might only wear once? Well, we have found the perfect solution!

We came across this wonderful ‘fashion library’ that grants you unrestricted access to the next generation of designers which you can rent for all your show-stopping occasions.

The concept is so simple.

1. Browse the collection, or fill in a style request

2. Let them know when you need it. They’ll personally deliver it and be on hand for any advice.

3. Wear it, own it, and share it. If you fall in love you can choose to buy it, if not they’ll come and collect it after your event!

Start browsing now…!
www.wearthewalk.co.uk

MURO – A traditional toy, with a very modern twist

In our busy world full of technology, lots of parents are seeking entertaining toys which don’t end with their child gripped tight to a tablet or phone. Although technology has its place, it doesn’t have to be a replacement for good old fashioned play.

MURO, a traditional toy company, have created a tactile wooden toy which gives children, of all ages, hours of fun and can be modified to suit a child’s interests and growing needs.

The company currently have a Kickstarter campaign in the hope of funding their first production of toys, due to be completed by the summer.

The MURO plug and play toy is made from Scandinavian birch plywood and consists of a wall-mounted frame with a circular grid on its fascia (the product also comes in a portable cube design.) The fascia allows plug in game accessories to be added, allowing children hours of fun playing with add-ons from mini xylophones to complex beaded patterns.

For more information and to see how it works, head to the Kickstarter Campaign here

March Newsletter

The Sweet Reason Company

Flowers are always appreciated, but we all know that the secret to making our mothers really happy is in the thought and love you put into choosing a gift that’s just for her.  So for this Mother’s Day (Sunday 16th March!) how about a pretty box of delicious chocolatey brownies in her favourite flavours to enjoy instead?

The Sweet Reason Company, founded by Suzie Godfrey, are delighted to present their brand new Mother’s Day afternoon tea gift boxes. With the brownie and tea company’s luxury gift boxes ranging from £6.75 to £59.00, there is something there to suit all budgets.

These gorgeous gift boxes are available now and delivered full of delicious handmade brownie bites with wonderful flavours such as honeycomb, salted caramel and Baileys! With Teapigs teas and pretty crystallised sugar sticks to compliment the bakes, your mother will love them!

This Mother’s Day, leave the petrol station flowers and supermarket chocolates to your siblings, and show her just how much she means to you by giving her something truly scrummy!

www.thesweetreasoncompany.co.uk

Zapper

As sad as it is to admit, DVD’s, books and CD’s are becoming a thing of the past. In this digital world and with Netflix and iTunes readily available on everyone’s tablets and computers, no one needs any of these things clogging up their space.

So we are delighted to have found this ever so easy app called Zapper.

Zapper offers the perfect solution to making money on unwanted clutter without spending endless hours uploading them onto Ebay or lugging them to the dump.

They have an extremely simple valuation system; you can get a quick price for your books, CDs, and DVDs through a barcode zapper app on your phone. You then proceed to sending it in the post, without any postage fees, and a few days later you will be sent a cheque.

We love anything that’s simple, efficient and geeky so this one ticks the box perfectly.

Sign up here and download the app. Happy Zapping!

www.zapper.co.uk

Curve

Curve is a radical new payment card that links all your cards into one, you then simply select which card you want to use for your next transaction on the Curve app. You can then use your Curve card in shops or in cash machines and even abroad. The transaction shows in the app and is recharged to your underlying card as a purchase.

Your Curve Card ‘wallet’ in the app contains – as well as your stored Visa and MasterCard products – a card called Rewards. Curve Rewards offers you instantaneous cashback when you use your Curve card at one of the 50 participating retailers.  No waiting around for ‘pending’ or ‘validating’ – the cashback will be available to spend as soon as you leave the store.

There are many benefits to the curve card, collecting points and no overseas charges, but we love it for the practicality. No more hour long phone calls to the bank trying to cancel your lost card. Having all your cards in one will give you a lighter wallet and less to worry about when out and about.

www.imaginecurve.com

The Joy Journal

Searching for the perfect, fun and thoughtful present for your best friend, sister or colleague? Well, look no further!

You only need to click on the website to fall in love with these quirky, colourful garments. The Joy Journal offers 100% cotton dyed dungarees with personalisation on the top right pocket, making it the ideal go to gift, because who doesn’t love personalisation?!

The dungarees are lovingly made and gift-wrapped. They are about creativity, colour, individuality and fun.

And we absolutely love them!

www.thejoyjournal.co.uk

Doris and Dicky

Doris & Dicky are all about bringing you the world’s best budget boutique hotels for around £100 per night. They help savvy-travellers cut through the overwhelming amount of choice they face when trying to find the best, small, charmingly authentic places to stay.

By boutique, they mean independent hotels with distinct charm. No more soulless chains that leave you longing for your own bed. And by budget, they mean that they have an average hotel price of around £100 per night – in some places it may be more, but in most it’s less.

In a world of so much choice, Doris & Dicky bring you a carefully curated collection of their favourite, handpicked hotels. So, whether you fancy a stylish beachside shack in Mexico, a B&B built into an ancient Turkish cave or just simply the best value Parisian bed, Doris & Dicky has got you covered.

Check them out and make your first booking here…

www.dorisanddicky.com

February Newsletter

The Proposers

With February being the month of luuurve, we had to introduce you to The Proposers, the UK and Europe’s leading Romance and Marriage Proposal Planners. Over the past 5 years, Daisy and her team have created over 1,000 marriage proposals, each as unique and creative as the last.

Whether you need help coming up with the initial idea, the logistics on the day, or the full planning package, this super-star team are on hand to help you every step of your engagement journey.

From hiring the actual speedboat used in James Bond and abseiling into a cave to set up a romantic meal, to dressing cats as waiters (yes, this actually happened), exclusively hiring castles abroad and even getting celebrities involved… The Proposers love a challenge and nothing is off limits.

The Proposers find out all about you and your partner so that they can create a completely personalised idea that has never been done before.

With a 100% success rate… what are you waiting for…?!

www.theproposers.co.uk

Watch their latest You Tube video here

Couture Community
Your fashion revolution starts right here!

Couture Community is the UK’s leading luxury pre-loved fashion destination. Buy and sell the world’s most coveted brands including Chanel, Gucci, Dior and many more.

Unique, fully curated and updated daily, the collection is brimming with desirable items. The range includes rare and exciting one-off pieces that you simply won’t find anywhere else!

And why not let someone else fall in love with the pieces you have fallen out of love with? Clear your wardrobe of all those past purchases that you haven’t worn in ages. Selling with Couture Community is really simple and secure. Even better, if you are too busy living the high-life, and just want someone to do the selling for you, just try the VIP service. They will handle the whole process for you, start to finish. Heaven!

The real beauty of Couture Community is that you can be absolutely assured that the range is fully curated and authenticated. Each piece is individually assessed by the experienced team to provide a safe, simple and secure service for your authentic pre-loved items. So, whether you are buying or selling, you can be assured of a high quality product and service.

www.couturecommunity.com

Pssst….See below an exclusive invite to their Designer Flash Sale on Thursday 2nd March!!!

Pemberly Fox

We would like to introduce you to Pemberly Fox, a young stationery brand which was founded by a couple of industry stalwarts and morphed out of the London operation which they set up in 2011 with the Bavarian stationery brand Prantl. Situated in Chelsea, near Imperial Wharf station and Chelsea Design Centre, the team at Pemberly Fox has years of experience behind them and are able to cater for the majority of your stationery needs.

As well as some lovely greeting cards, and ready-to-write designs, Pemberly Fox also produce quality business stationery, personal writing paper, and correspondence cards, all manner of party invitations and some great wedding stationery and birth announcements too!

There really isn’t much they can’t do, so if you know someone who is getting married or if you need a few invitations for a drinks party, Michael and Anthony would be delighted to help, and, to encourage you to give them a try they are offering YNAPA subscribers a discount of 15% off your first order!
Please use voucher code: PEMBPA

Why not give them a call or pop in to discuss your requirements with Michael.

Pemberly Fox, Worlds End Studios, 132-134 Lots Road, London SW10 0RJ
T: 020 7349 7225
www.pemberlyfox.com

 

Wimbledon Tickets

We have 2x debenture tickets for every Wimbledon match this year, excluding 5th July and the Men’s finals.

Please get in touch with Milla for prices and more information if you’re interested.

E: milla@youneedapa.com

 

Our Planet

I was recently sent this information from a friend who, like a lot of us I’m sure, has been in a self improvement/social responsibility/abject terror mode over the past few months as a result of Brexit/Trump/impending Armageddon, and wanted to share some eco-wisdom that I hope you all find useful – I certainly did!

‘Vivienne Westwood recently did a speech where she mentioned that switching to GREEN ENERGY for your home was one of the best and easiest ways to take some active responsibility for the future of ye ole planet. It often sounds and seems overwhelming, impractical, complicated or expensive to make life changes for the planet – but this is so simple.’

‘It is so easy to switch, and most likely cheaper than your current energy supplier. It’s available everywhere in the UK from many different green energy companies and you definitely won’t be able to tell the difference when you turn on your lights. Some companies will even make the switch for you and contact your current energy supplier to make it happen so you don’t have too.’ (or you can always call us and we are more than happy to do it on your behalf!)’If you currently get your power from one of the Big 6 energy companies (nPower, British Gas, EDF, E.ON Scottish Power or SSE) your power is coming from nuclear, gas and coal power stations all over the UK. There are plenty of companies out there who are using wind, hydro, solar, etc instead and they are also committed to investing in infrastructure, building solar farms and investing in wind generation. Many of the companies also provide carbon offset in their tariffs. I think obviously we would all choose the more eco-friendly companies if only we knew it was an option.’

I’ve had a look online for comparisons, and for a client of ours who is living in Kensington & Chelsea and uses nPower at 19.17p per kWh, switching to Octopus Energy it would be 15.05p per kWh – so not only is it far better for the environment it is also much cheaper too. You also have the bonus of feeling smug about saving the world!

https://octopus.energy/

Here is a great comparison website for all of the different green energy companies available in your area, just put in your post code and they’ll guide you:

http://www.greenelectricity.org/

‘In the UK, about two thirds of our electricity is generated by burning coal and gas in power stations. This releases millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for climate change, every year. The other third of electricity mainly comes from nuclear power, which has other worryingly severe environmental impacts.’

‘Green Electricity’ means electricity produced from sources which do not cause these impacts upon the environment. Of course, every type of electricity generation will have some impact, but some sources are much greener than others. The cleanest energy sources are those which utilise the natural energy flows of the Earth. These are usually known as renewable energy sources, because they will never run out (wind, hydro, waves, solar, geothermal, etc.)’

For more info, head here

It’s these small changes that make the big changes.

 

January Newsletter

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Agent Engagement

There’s a new lady in town. For years she’s been helping haphazard marriage proposers get it right; providing trusted and independent advice on engagement rings and sourcing jewellers with diamonds only ethically bright.

To elicit a secret briefing covert enough in operation, it became important to meet clients on the steps of St. Pauls within a hidden location!

Together, they see designers others struggle to meet, get dusty in antique markets or wear a disguise down Old Bond Street.

What started simply as a passion, began to save a lot of people’s hard-earned cash. The men and couples she advises are so relieved they could’ve kissed her!

So if you’re thinking of getting down on one knee in 2017, then get in touch! You will have a free telephone or email consultation and she will be sure to save you money, while all the time celebrating British craftsmanship and encouraging the ethical purchase of diamonds and gemstone jewellery.

www.agentengagement.co.uk

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Squirrel Sisters

The only thing that gave us the energy to fight through the January blues were these scrummy snack bars from Squirrel Sisters! We are addicted!

This health and wellness brand, which started as a blog by sisters Sophie & Gracie Tyrrell, has already won recognition for their Raw Snack Bar range (launched Nov 15) by leading health and beauty retailer Boots UK.

Their mission is to bridge the gab between healthy – but often tasteless – snacks and tasty – but not so healthy – treats.

The Raw Snack Bars are made with 100% natural ingredients – they are gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free and completely sugar free. As well as suitable for those who follow vegan, low GI or paleo lifestlyes.

The four flavours available are; Cacao Brownie, Cacao Orange, Raspberry Ripple and Coconut Cashew, and each bars are under 91 calories.

Get your hands on these delicious bars which are stocked in over 100 stores, including Boots, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, Revital, Holland & Barrett (online) and lots of other lovely independent stores and cafe’s.

www.squirrelsisters.com

 

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Accurate Reputation

Your online reputation is your image on the Internet and it is hugely important that it represents you in the best possible way.

Accurate Reputation will restore your name or your companies good standing, by eliminating any negative material found about you on the Internet.

Accurate Reputation will diligently remove unflattering news, pictures, negative reviews, blog posts and comments about individuals, businesses, brands or services.

Please take a look at their video on their website for more information
www.accuratereputation.com

If you have any concerns or would like to chat this through further, get in touch with Hervé for a free consultation:
HL@AccurateReputation.com

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VetBox

Do you struggle to stay on top of your pet’s flea and worm treatments? VetBox is here to make pet health easy!

Pets need to be treated regularly against parasites such as fleas and worms, but this can often be both expensive and confusing. With a VetBox subscription, your dog or cat will receive the correct treatments exactly when they need them, all for less than you pay at the vets.

VetBox was founded by veterinary surgeon Dr Will Woodley. Will guarantees that the contents of every box are chosen by a qualified vet.

Get 50% off your first month with code YNAPA50
For more information, head to the website
www.myvetbox.com

Would you hire a PA to the stars to ease your festive stress?

pollyTHE very best part of the four hours I spent this week with glossy, shiny, silky, super-posh elite PA Polly Hadden- Paton was the moment I handed over a pair of ruined red velvet Alexander McQueen sample shoes.

They’d been lying in shame in a plastic bag under my desk for more than a year — ever since they’d been chewed by a dog at my husband’s over the top Seventies Brazilian- themed birthday party. They aren’t even  mine. They belong to my favourite neighbour who’d taken them off to perfect some particularly ambitious dance moves. But it was our party and our friend’s dog (who brings a Jack Russell to a fancy dress party?), so I felt responsible and promised to get them fixed. And then didn’t.

That was 15 months ago. Another birthday has passed. Still the shoes languish. Every so often, I catch sight of them and feel sad and bad. And when I see my neighbour, they hang between us; a small invisible cloud of awkwardness. But then I handed them over to Polly the PA — and all that disappeared. ‘Stop! Oh my gosh!’ she gasps as she marvels at the savage teeth marks. And then regains her composure. ‘Sure, sure, sure. Not a problem! Not a problem!’ she chirps, and urgently taps at her shiny laptop.

‘I’ve got this brilliant woman who does bags and shoes. She’ll be here at 11am. Don’t worry, she can sort anything.’ So can Polly. Quite literally, anything. She can get your son into Eton, charter a private jet, coordinate your house move and switch over your bills, stand in line for your new iPhone, do your Christmas shopping, snag tickets for sold-out shows, order your takeaway lunch, remove chewing gum from the crotch of your designer jumpsuit, helicopter you off a mountain, book Botox appointments, get the chocolate off your sofa and rid your house of unwelcome ghosts (yes, really). She’s not, you see, any old PA, though
she does love to type an old-fashioned letter (‘If only I had time’).

No, she’s one of a new brand of super-  PAs who can solve any problem with a couple of taps of their beautifully manicured fingers.

Her clients include Premier League footballers, rugby players, hedge fund managers, actors, pop stars,sheiks . . . and, now, busy working mums like me — and you.

Because Polly now runs her own business, youneedapa.com, with fellow PA Vicky Silverthorn. They met when they were both working for Lily Allen, (as you do), and charge £40 an hour to harassed mothers like me who wouldn’t dream of having, let alone be able to afford, our own PA, but have dispiriting ‘to do’ lists that never seem to get any shorter.

It was when they parted company with Lily (‘We’ve not seen her for ages,’ Polly says discretely) that they realised there was a whole world of potential clients out there desperate to access their unrivalled contacts and ruthlessly organised brains. A few days before we meet, we spoke on the phone and she asked me to send her a list (‘Not a “to do” list — an action list,’ she says. ‘It’s more “C’mon, yeah!” ’), told me nothing was too small, silly or shameful and that ‘everyone has different needs’.

At the end, she promised that, together, we would ‘conquer it all’ and I would feel ‘physically lighter, more mindful and relaxed’. Wow! So I got started. Onto my list went our lapsed house insurance, a shepherd’s outfit for my son’s Nativity show (a week late for rehearsals), the mountain of mending and drycleaning that’s been stuffed in the bottom of my wardrobe for months, three broken handbags, advice on the best place for laser hair removal and scraggy neck smoothing (without surgical intervention), turning up a pair of ‘new’ jeans bought in June and our monumental moth problem.

I emailed all that, and back she pinged: ‘Super! Let me know if you think of anything else xxxxx.’

So I did. ‘Help choose new glasses. Sort out cat insurance. Worm tablets. Flea collar. Source a sold-out Hatchimal [this year’s cult kids’ Christmas present], book holiday flights to Menorca. It was as if a blockage had been removed. I couldn’t stop.

Each time her response was so upbeat — ‘Not a problem! Of course!’ — that I became ever more ambitious.

‘Table for four at the Chiltern Firehouse. Tickets to see Strictly Come Dancing. A Glastonbury ticket for someone who’d missed the deadline to register.’ ‘No problem!’ she chirped back, and enquired about parking. Naturally, I’d run out of council parking permits — so onto the list they went. When we finally meet and she hops onto a broken stool at my scuffed kitchen counter I feel both daunted by her posh swishy glossiness and embarrassed I’d displayed my horribly disorganised underbelly to a stranger.

But she and Vicky have seen it all. Houses overflowing with rubbish, post unopened for three years, unpaid bills, stains of all sorts on clothes, carpets, sofas, curtains. Men who can’t order their own takeaway lunches. People incapable of Christmas shopping.

They’ve booked bikini waxes, back, sack and crack waxes and endless appointments at STD clinics — usually under their own names to protect bashful clients. On paper, Polly must be the most thoroughly tested lady in London. ‘I’m just happy that everyone’s being safe,’ she says. ‘Everyone has their own needs.’ For me, she limbers up on a few unpaid bills, the house insurance, a moth prevention kit and some vitamins recommended for me by a doctor to make me sleep better, be less tired and more efficient.

They’ve been on my ‘to do’ list for months. Along with new glasses — one of my two pairs has only one arm and the other is so scratched I can barely see. I’ve been wearing my contact lenses for so long each day that I’m damaging my eyes. But Polly’s here, so tick, tick, tick — off the list they go. Along with the shepherd’s costume, the Hatchimal and pretty much everything else.

Next she sets me up on a website that takes a video of my face and then pops hundreds of virtual pairs of specs on my slowly rotating face, to help me choose. She prowls among my towering piles of papers like a lion on Planet Earth II — pouncing when she finds an unpaid paper bill. ‘What’s this? How do you usually pay? Do you have a direct debit? Shall I set one up right away?’

She ’s a machine. But so she should be. Most of this stuff she could do standing on her glossy head with her beautifully manicured hands tied. Because she and Vicky are members of the PA SAS — an exclusive, self-selecting club of about 100 elite PAs.

The top secret club’s been likened to Jeeves and Wooster’s ‘club for gentlemen’s personal gentlemen’ and The Society of the Golden Keys — the real life network of top hotel concierges. In comes a problem; one email pinged out to club members usually solves it. A taxi for a client filming in Outer Mongolia? Done. The latest sold-out handbag? Not a problem. They help each other out, swap contacts, swoop to the rescue with a private jet or tickets to Adele or the mobile number for the best stain remover in London (Kareem, the sweet-smelling saviour from Kynance Dry Cleaners in Kensington, if you’re interested).

Naturally, Polly can’t give the name of the club because ‘everyone would want to join’, and becomes pink and flustery when I pry. But she will confirm that members are both male and female and have to be both nominated and seconded.

It’s astonishing how log-jammed our lives have become. How, week after week, month after month, some of us — I know I’m not alone — write the same lists, then berate ourselves for failing to action them We’re busy, we’re juggling, we feel like we’re going round in circles, and an un-actioned action list just adds to the stress. Which is presumably why, along with our cleaning, ironing, gardening and DIY, more and more normal people like me are outsourcing their admin to people such as Polly.

‘It’s all about valuing your time,’ she says. ‘Sometimes there are better uses for it than sitting on the phone to British Gas for an hour.’ Polly and Vicky spotted the gap and practise what they preach. Vicky is head of de-cluttering and so fastidious she used to hide mismatched plates at her childhood home when friends came to stay.

Polly ‘adores’ admin — her handbag contains a label-maker, holepuncher, sticky tape, scissors, various chargers and, occasionally, a shredder and portable printer. At home, her own wardrobe is a colour-coded, season-sectioned pleasure. She lights up when talk turns to throwing things away — ‘It gives me a sense of relief. It makes me happy.’

So does being busy. She’s on call 24/7 and never ever turns her phone off. When she pops to the loo in the night, she books flights, cancels unused gym memberships and tees up dog walkers.

It goes without saying she has endless Christmas shopping spreadsheets, finished hers in November and has wrapped everything. Though she sheepishly admits she’s yet to decorate the parcels with stencils and bows. Oh, the shame, Polly! There are some things they’ll baulk at — ‘anything rude or that might harm someone’ — and, rather surprisingly, thank-you letters. ‘I’d be happy to type a template, but I really think they should do it themselves,’ she explains.

It’s lovely having Polly tap-taptapping through your backlog. Even nicer when every few minutes one or other of her SWAT team turns up to whisk away my broken or stained detritus — Vanessa Jacobs, the bag and shoe lady with her very white teeth and can-do attitude, and the fragrant man from Kynance, who says darkly: ‘You should see some of the things we get. We could write a book,’ and then whisks my mending and stains away with no mention of return date or cost.

Ah, yes , costs. Which are ratcheting up at an alarming rate. Because within five minutes of arriving, Polly had her pretty hands on both bank cards and all my passwords and has been hard at it with them ever since, though she does assure me they’re ‘super-conscious of cost’ and ‘always try to find a cheaper alternative to the £500 handbag’. But then, some things are priceless, such as the moment she’s on her phone sorting out my expired cat insurance and says, in her wonderfully crisp, posh voice: ‘Hello, I’m calling on behalf of my boss . . .’ I am a boss! Just the sound of it made me feel efficient. Organised. In charge, for once.

And, two minutes later, our fat black cat was insured for the first time in four years. Having a PA for day sounded a ridiculous luxury at the beginning of the week. Not now. In fact, I’m going to treat myself to a quick blast of Polly for Christmas, for my birthday and maybe Easter, too. And I recommend that every stressed-out woman bowed andbroken by their ‘to do’, sorry,  ‘action’ list, does the same. Because Polly is the gift that keeps on giving.

In the days after her visit, I receive endless emails reminding me of how great she is. There are confirmations of various insurance policies, flights, tickets and my table for four at Chiltern Firehouse; Hatchimals and shepherd’s outfits arriving by Amazon Prime and long-overdue vitamins and moth deterrents in the post. Her efficiency is contagious. I find myself buying glasses, getting my shoes resoled, returning unwanted items and (almost, but not quite) looking at my bank statement to  see how much she’s spent.

For now, though, I’m just waiting for those Alexander McQueen shoes to come back, so I can make it up with my neighbour.

Evening Standard Magazine – The A List Fixers. November 2016

THE PA TEAM

They can book you a seat on the FROW or get your kid into Eton — just don’t ask them how they do it. Kate Wills meets Polly Hadden-Paton and Vicky Silverthorn, the A-list’s ultimate fixers.

I first heard about Polly Hadden-Paton and Vicky Silverthorn during one of the worst mornings of my life. I’d woken up with a hangover of epic proportions to discover that the Isabel Marant jumpsuit I’d borrowed from a friend to wear to a party the night before was now caked in chewing gum all over the crotch area (don’t ask).

In my state of inebriation, I’d thrown said jumpsuit into my freezer — something in the recesses of my mind said this would fix everything. But the gum was now stuck hard and fast and the jumpsuit was also covered in frozen fish-finger crumbs to boot. Tears welled up. I called the only friend I phone in a crisis, who suggested I try a company called ‘You Need a PA’.

At first I baulked at the idea — didn’t PAs book meeting rooms? — but my friend had met Hadden-Paton at a dinner party and assured me she would know just what to do. I fired off a panicked email to Hadden-Paton and a couple of hours later, an elegant man in a cream linen suit called Kareem, from Kynance Dry Cleaners, was at my door picking up the jumpsuit. Fast forward 24 hours, and he was returning one gum-free, good-as-new jumpsuit. It was nothing short of miraculous. ‘That was easy compared to some of the requests we get,’ laughs Hadden-Paton, 28, who is petite and polished, with perfect flicky eyeliner and a mini-dress that could be Mary Katrantzou (but, which she delightedly tells me, is from New Look).

 ‘Whether it’s a Russian family who want to get their first-born into Eton, or a pop star who wants to throw aFifty Shades-themed dinner party for 120 people with two days’ notice, no matter what a client asks, we instantly say “Not a problem”, and then find a way to make it  happen.’

It’s fair to say this is not your average PA service. Recent jobs have included moving Nick Grimshaw’s entire house for him and chauffeuring Suki Waterhouse out of Burning Man when all the flights were booked up for three days. Oh, and then there was the case of not one— but two — American clients who felt there was a spirit possessing their living room.

ThreeAnd before you picture them googling ‘ghost hunter’, you should know that Silverthorn and Hadden-Paton have a secret weapon at their fingertips. They are part of an elite web of hundreds of London’s top PAs, who share their best contacts on one magic email chain in order to deliver the impossible.

 ‘If we’ve got a client filming in Outer Mongolia and they need a driver, we’ll put out a message and within seconds someone will reply with exactly the contact you need,’ explains Silverthorn, 36, who’s sleek and charming in black jeans and a simple vest. ‘They’ve saved my bacon so many times. And of course, we all get competitive with each other to see who’s going to be first to find the answer.’

If that sounds like a butler buddy system, akin to the ‘club for gentlemen’s personal gentlemen’ in Jeeves and Wooster or the Society of the Crossed Keys in The Grand Budapest Hotel, that’s because it is. In fact, Wes Anderson’s film is based on a real network of elite hotel concierges, The Society of the Golden Keys.

The dynamic duo won’t reveal the name of their mysterious PA society, despite much begging from me. ‘They’d be inundated with requests if we did,’ says Hadden-Paton, apologetically. ‘You can’t just say “Hey, I want to join!” — you have to be nominated by at least one other member and then approved. All the top celebrity and high net-worth PAs are members. It’s the best of the best. We all meet up around once a month at hotels or clubs and swap stories.’

Although they had different upbringings — Hadden- Paton was a boarder at Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset and Silverthorn went to her local comp in Berkshire — the pair bonded while working as PAs for Lily Allen in the Noughties. Silverthorn fell into PA-ing by chance after working at her local golf club and then becoming a PA to pro golfers, footballers and, eventually, pop stars. Hadden-Paton did a nine-month PA course at Oxford Media & Business School.

They set up ‘You Need a PA’ in 2013 after realising that the demand was out there for a flexible PA service which people could use as and when they needed it. Their clients range from doctors to bloggers to DJs, and tasks include buying forgotten birthday presents (and handwriting the cards), standing in line for the iPhone 7, securing tickets for sold-out shows and booking bikini waxes and STD tests. If the latter is for a well-known client, Hadden-Paton books appointments under her own name. ‘I’m probably on more sexual-health clinic databases than anyone in London,’ she jokes.

‘People have this image of PAs as secretaries in skirt suits typing away in an office, booking a table at The Ivy,’ says Silverthorn. ‘But we’re not like that. We’re running around London with a backpack on our back, Marigolds and trainers on, getting 10 things done an hour.’ Trainers probably came in handy when one of their girls had to sprint and then hitch-hike 15 miles down the M4 to hand-deliver a green card to a client — an A-list actor — who was waiting at Heathrow Airport and due on set in LA in eight hours.

Ha d d e n – P a t o n a n d Silverthorn are so discreet that several of their clients pay them in cash and don’t tell their other halves that they use the service. They will come to your home — or they work remotely out of Hadden-Paton’s flat in Primrose Hill (they have two assistants, Alicia and Milla). There’s no subscription fee or minimum number of hours (unless they’re working on-site, when it’s four hours) and their lack of overheads mean that it’s surprisingly affordable — services start at £40 per hour. Often clients will simply email them a to-do list they’ve had for months, and watch in awe as it gets ticked off in a day. Just don’t call them to-do lists. ‘I prefer “action list” now,’ says Silverthorn, who lives in Richmond. ‘It’s so much more positive.’

It’s an incredibly intimate business, requiring a huge amount of trust. They’ve never even met some of their clients, and yet they have keys to their home and their credit-card details on file. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are regularly signed. Hadden-Paton has even been hired as a rent-a-guest for a clients’ weddings. She turns up in formal attire and mingles, but is also on hand to fix any detail the bridesmaids are too busy/ drunk to handle.

While once having a personal assistant was the preserve of celebrities or chief executives, the business of subcontracting the boring parts of your life is now booming. Economists call it comparative advantage: even if you’re brilliant at paperwork or ironing, if you could be spending your time on a more valuable activity, then you should.

Fifteen thousand applications are received by outsourcing service TaskRabbit each month from potential ‘Taskers’ who want to hang up your shelves or design your party invites. Apps such as Laundrapp will do your washing, UberEATS will pick up your kebab at 3am, and Bizzby will send someone for all the other odd jobs you can’t be bothered to do.

“I’m probably on more sexual-health clinic databases than anyone in London”

plConsidering the changing nature of the way we work — 4.6 million Brits are now self-employed, including 17.3 per cent of Londoners — and the rise of the gig economy, it was only a matter of time before a pay-asyou- go PA service took off. And virtual butlers won’t be far behind. Amazon recently released the Echo to the UK — a voice-activated personal assistant which will book restaurant tables, put your preferred music on and control your appliances for you. What’s more, Google has come up with Google Home, a smartspeaker that allows you to control the music and lights in your home among other things. But, of course, none of these apps or gadgets can get you tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Disasters do occasionally happen, though. ‘I remember once Lily Allen asked me to get her tickets to the Céline show in Paris,’ recalls Silverthorn.

‘I said, “Sure, no problem” and sent the email. A few weeks later, Lily asked me about it and I said: ‘I’ve not heard back and actually I was a bit surprised that you wanted to see Céline Dion.’ Luckily, Silverthorn was able to get the tickets to the fashion show, and Allen took it in her stride. ‘She found it hilarious, but I was mortified.’

As well as the PA service, Silverthorn runs ‘You Need A Vicky’ — a professional decluttering service, and the two are about to launch ‘You Need An IT Guy’ — after realising clients needed a really good on-call technology support person to set up the Sonos, sort their Wi-Fi coverage or ensure their life’s work is backed up securely. They even jokingly suggest a plan to train up an army of mini-mes. ‘A PA academy!’ says Silverthorn gleefully. As we’re finishing up, Hadden-Paton gets a text from a client who’s in LA and has just got chocolate on a friend’s white Chesterfield sofa. ‘Not a problem,’ she taps back instantly. We’ve all been there. (youneedapa.com)

November Newsletter – Part 2

Christmas Edition 

Here are a few more products and services that we enjoy and wanted to share with you –  we hope you love them too!

Don’t forget to get in touch if you need any support in the run up to Christmas, from decorating your home to organising last minute travel and reservations! We’re here to keep you organised and make your Christmas stress free!

Love,
Polly & Team

Maimie

Welcome to Maimie – home of sheer luxe, stretch-silk leisurewear handmade in London. Inspired by the feminine tailoring of the Hollywood Golden Era, but given a contemporary and wearable twist. Maimie London leisurewear is created to perfectly balance comfort with glamour.
Maimie offers a bespoke service, monogramming and personalised packaging for that special someone…
www.maimie.co.uk

Nourish

Kit Keyser set up Nourish a year ago, providing healthy, creative dishes which take the hassle out of entertaining. The menus can include gluten and dairy free dishes which don’t compromise on flavour. Once defrosted, every option can be cooked within 30 minutes with no extra work involved… Feasts at your fingertips!
Part of the ethos behind Nourish is to give people who dont have the time or passion for cooking, a way of buying healthy yet delicious feasts for their party. Feasts which just need to be cooked and served. No stirring, chopping, stress involved, leaving the hosts to enjoy entertaining with great food too! (which you can pass off as your own culinary delights…. shh no on needs know!)
Great presents for new mothers, or anyone in need of some health and replenishment based on the Paleo diet. Nourish also do small private parties too!
www.wearenourish.com

English Utopia

Give the gift of classic British style with a contemporary twist this Christmas or simply keep warm and stylish yourself with a jacket from new luxury country wear brand English Utopia. Fashion designer Gary Newbold aims to bring beautifully designed tweed and wax products to a wider audience,  as the English countryside belongs to us all!
Use code Nina15 for 15% off via brand ambassador Nina Motylinski-Davies.
www.englishutopia.com

‘A Peninsula Christmas’ at Greenwich Peninsula

From 3rd – 22nd December 2016, Greenwich Peninsula will offer London a new twist on Christmas for anyone who hasn’t grown up yet! Greenwich Peninsula makes its own traditions, and this year the Peninsula has partnered with Secret Productions – the creatives behind Wilderness Festival – to create the first ever Winter Festival.
It’s free to enter, apart from Santa’s Grotto of Wonderment where prices start from £12.00
www.greenwichpeninsula.co.uk/Christmas

Kate Braithwaite Millinery

Kate Braithwaite is a London based milliner making hats from everyday to Ascot. She is offering you all a special Christmas discount of 10% on her gorgeous fur felt fedoras, just email her your request! Each hat is made from the highest quality material, allowing you to wear them to all occassions, come rain or shine!
www.katebraithwaite.co.uk

Lewa Wilderness – Some Winter Sun Inspiration

Starting to plan your winter sun holidays, or perhaps dreaming of a hot African Christmas next year? Why not head to Lewa Wilderness, one of Kenya’s original safari experiences. Overlooking the magnificent Mount Kenya, in the heart of the colourful Laikipia plateau is The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, famous for it’s abundance of wildlife and for being the biggest conservation success story in East Africa. Endless ‘Out of Africa’ style activities await you from flying in an open cockpit biplane, to horse riding among giraffe and zebra, and taking long walks through the bush with your Massai guide. Lewa Wilderness appeals to families and the more active safari guest who appreciates breathing in the wilderness up close aswell as from a game viewing vehicle.
www.lewawilderness.com
reservations@lewawilderness.com

Tea & Tequila

Tea & Tequila was set up in 2015 by two friends who wanted to bring the best of Mexico to the UK, and vice versa.
Sourcing from skilled craftsmen from across Mexico, they design and create Mexican-inspired, London chic accessories and jewellery.
The brands ethos is on sustainability and the development of Mexican craft, giving it a contemporary edge and access to new markets. They also trade in a niche market spirit – representing Mezcal Amores in the UK and Elephant Gin in Mexico.
Check out www.teaandtequilatrading.com and buy the perfect Christmas present now!

BNV Couture

Set up by Samantha Benveniste, she has just opened a shop on Kensington Church Street and is offering a ‘Made to Order’ service, whereby customers can walk in, without an appointment, pick a dress from the AW collection and then have it fitted and altered to match their requirements there and then, including changing the colour, length, adding a trim or removing some buttons – anything is possible and the dress will then be ready in under 14 days, so still in time for Christmas! The quality and service is impeccable!
www.bnvcouture.com

Here are a few festive tips to ensure you have a warm, problem free winter – from our plumber, Chris!

1. LOW PRESSURE
(combi boiler and systems that have pressure guages) check that your boiler/system has a minimum of 1bar pressure when COLD. If it is below 1bar you can re-pressurise the system via the filling loop. This is most commonly found under the boiler or if you have a hot water cyclinder, where this is sited. Tip: fill the system slowly and don’t over fill the system (1-1.5 bar maximum). If you are unsure on what to do or do not feel confident, please contact me or a trade professional for assistance.
2. FROZEN CONDENSATE PIPE
In winter, this pipe can become frozen in cold weather. This happens due to incorrect sized pipe being used (too small diameter) or the pipe has not been insulated. Click here to find out what to do if this happens. This should only be carried out if this is the problem and by a competent person!
3. CONSUMERS TURNING THE MAINS POWER OFF TO THE BOILER/SYSTEM
Most modern boilers/systems have programmes which periodically run system checks and help to minimise heating pipes from freezing in cold weather conditions, even if the hotwater/heating is not in use. So leave the mains power to your boiler/system on especially if you are away for the festive period.

Should you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact Chris direct to discuss further – 07590 764715

Contact Polly

Whether it's booking urgent flights or organising your house move, Polly and her team are at hand to help. With many years of experience dealing with daily problems from the little to large, Polly has the answer and, being a pay as you go service, you only pay for problems solved.