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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

November Newsletter – Part 1

With Christmas fast approaching, we wanted to put together for you some of the products and services that we love and will be using in the run up to the festive season! Hopefully there’s something in here for everyone and we’ve also included some lovely discounts!

If you need any help preparing yourself for the busy few weeks ahead, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Whether you need help planning the perfect party, or assistance with sourcing and wrapping original gifts for your family and friends, or perhaps just want an extra hand with your home admin – we can help!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Polly & Team xx

Pines-and-needles-green-elves-you-need-a-pa

Green Elves | Pines and Needles

Get your home Christmas ready and have a beautiful Christmas tree delivered to your doorstep (and put up and decorated if needs be!) by the fabulous Pines & Needles.
Use ELVES at the checkout to get some extra’s thrown in too!
www.pinesandneedles.com

Nonie London

Give something totally unique this Christmas. Nonie London provides a bespoke embroidery service. They specialise in embroidering bugs onto shirts, but can take on personal commissions too. Just post the item you want embroidered direct to them with your instruction and they’ll get started!
www.nonielondon.com
cb@nonie.co.uk

Prestige Cars and Couriers

As one of London’s longest established full service logistics companies, Prestige are on hand to help you with anything this festive season, from that last minute Christmas present delivery, to providing you with a chauffeur to take you to the airport. They will also collect your dry cleaning, or deliver your croissants! Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
T: 020 7 384 2300
sales@prestigecarsandcouriers.co.uk
www.prestigecarsandcouriers.co.uk

Tom Parsons Photography

Introducing Tom, a portrait photographer based in Kent, working with both natural light and studio lighting. Specialising in portraiture, he offers headshots, corporate and personal portraiture.
With the Christmas season fast approaching, why not treat your loved one or family, or even yourself to a fine art portrait? Something special, maybe even an heirloom for the future! Prints can be provided mounted, and all sizes up to A1.
For gift vouchers or for an informal chat, please visit his website for contact details.
www.tomparsons.co.uk

My Shimmy

Shimmy is a revolutionary garment, that was designed and developed to bring freedom and choice to women who previously would not wear sleeveless tops and dresses. Not only is it the perfect gift, you can bring a whole new look to your favourite party dress this season and all year round.

Enter discount code YNAPA10 at the point of checkout, for a 10% discount (valid until midnight on the 1st December)
www.myshimmy.com

Kalinko

Kalinko has arrived from Burma, just in time for Christmas. Head over to their website for all sorts of Christmas present ideas. There are reams of beautiful handwoven cushions and colourful plant pots for mums, sisters and aunts. Or giant shoe horns, umbrella stands and desk trays for dads, brothers and uncles! Our personal favourite is the stunning Strand Ice Bucket – it comes in 6 colours, and is totally necessary to ensure your Christmas Gin & Tonic stays ice cold!
www.kalinko.com

Isabel Bradshaw Yoga

Time to de-clutter the mind and welcome in the New Year with a rebalancing yoga session lead by Izzie at Your Yoga Friend.
Specialising in Vinyasa flow, she is delighted to offer you a Christmas and New Year deal of 2 group sessions for the price of 1. Expect creative sequencing and harmonious music that will leave you feeling revitalised and glowing!
All levels welcome
isabel@youryogafriend.co.uk
Reference YYF001 for discount

Max Baccanello

Looking for something unique for a loved one this Christmas? Maximillion Baccanello, a figurative artist in London, is now offering his one off paintings and drawings as prints. Whether you’re looking for something large or small, the prints are high quality and can be mounted or framed.
Max is offering a 10% discount to YNAPA subscribers for prints and any commissions.
www.maxbaccanello.com

The Wine Butler

Foodies, fashionistas and healthistas alike will love a special delivery from The Wine Butler this Christmas! Providing a hand-picked selection of beautiful, organic wine, The Wine Butler can be given as a one-off gift or as a monthly subscription, ideal for discerning and health-conscious wine drinkers. Free from chemicals, preservatives, flavouring additives and other nasties, all of The Wine Butler’s wines are sourced from the most sustainable, organic and environmentally responsible independent wine makers from around the world. A one off Gift Box starts from £55.
If you enter YOUNEEDAPA when purchasing, you will be given a 3 month upgrade!
www.thewinebutler.co.uk

Sophie Breitmeyer Jewellery

Sophie Breitmeyer creates eternal British luxury, her jewellery is bespoke at its core. Handmade in the UK, the label produces pieces that are set to become future heirlooms.
This Christmas, give them a one of a kind gift. Monogrammed fine jewellery for him and her.
Exclusive 10% discount for You Need A PA readers: youneedapa
www.sophiebreitmeyer.com

Charlie Waller Memorial Trust Carol Service

As part of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust Carol Service Committee, I would love to invite you to join us on Monday 12th December, at St Luke’s Church.

The trust was set up in 1988, by the parents of Charlie Waller, who took his own life whilst suffering from depression. They set up the trust to educate young people on the importance of staying mentally well and increase the awareness of the signs and the dangers and to encourage those who may be depressed to seek help.

The carol service is such a lovely evening, with some fantastic readers and will be sure to put you in the christmas spirit! Ticket’s are on sale now through the website, please head there for more information.
www.cwmt.org.uk

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.

ynapav3I 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 a Fifty 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.

ynapav5And 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.’

No matter what a client asks, we say ‘Not a
problem’, and then find a way to make it happen

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.

Hadden – Paton and 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 anyonein London”

secondv10Considering 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.

October Newsletter

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Caper

Introducing Caper – who offer the best food in London, at your fingertips!

Caper have searched out and partnered with some of the city’s best-loved independents and artisans including La Cave a Fromage, Parson’s Nose Butchers and Partridges (to name a few) to bring you a selection of the finest fresh produce, meat, fish and wine the UK and Europe has to offer.

With delivery priced at just £3.95, Caper is the perfect way to get everything you need for your dinner party, night in with friends or loved ones, or a convenient way to re-stock the fridge after time away – all available to order in just a few clicks through their custom built app.

Caper delivers 7 days a week, so you can pre-book one hour time slots in advance, or simply choose ASAP for delivery in as little as 60 minutes!

In the run up to the festive season they will also be offering an extensive range of exquisite gourmet hampers, which make for the perfect Christmas gift for friends and family, or even end of term thank you’s for teachers! And they’d be happy to put something custom together for you, if their range doesn’t quite cover requirements.

Enter promo code ‘ YNAPA10‘ at checkout to get £10 off your first shop with them (valid until end of Nov 16)

Download Caper here
www.shopwithcaper.com

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Vallie

We’ve recently discovered a new app called Vallie which will, quite literally change your life!

How many times have you found yourself late for appointments  or meetings due to the dreaded parking search? Or had to walk 30 minutes to your destination because the free space was a mile away? Vallie solves all of this for you…. Much like Uber, you can set your location with a pin and someone will come to meet you and collect your car. The car will then be taken and parked in one of their safe, commercial car parks, whilst being fully insured.. And if you didn’t think it could get any better than that – upon request they can put it through a car wash, change your oil, or even do your MOT!

When you’re meetings finished, or you’re done shopping, you just set your return point on the app and Vallie will aim to return your car to you within 15 minutes or faster!

It’s the friendliest on-demand valet service we’ve found, making roads less congested and your city trip that little less stressful!

Prices start from £5/hour – £25/day

Enter promo code ‘ youneedapa‘ when you sign up for £10 free credit!

Download the app here
www.vallie.co.uk

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1Tap Receipts – Self Assessment Sorted

Are you Self Employed? Sometime’s it isn’t easy. And when it comes to your Self Assessment with the HMRC it can take a lot of time, effort and even money from you, which is why you need to be using systems that help you get things done quickly and with as little hassle as possible.

1Tap receipts makes running your business so much easier. Whether your receipt is paper or digital, you just photograph it with your mobile phone and 1Tap do all the work for you.

1Tap extracts all the key information from your receipts, such as the amount, categories, dates and supplier then files them, ready for your HMRC Self Assessment form.

On top of that, they are connected to some of the UK’s top accounting firms, so you can instantly share your receipts with your accountants in real-time. No more chasing around, gathering your receipts at the end of the year and panic sending to your book keeper!

Download the app here
www.1tapreceipts.com

September Newsletter

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Tilly Sveaas Jewellery

Tilly Sveaas is the living embodiment of her brand – a laidback, sun-loving, beach bunny – part rock chick, part health fanatic with a penchant for foreign travel and an Aperol Spritz. Addicted to denim and her miniature dachshund Mitty, she posses an inquisitive mind, passionate energy and boundless enthusiasm for the next adventure.

Tilly is the jewellery designer behind the hugely successful Silver Service brand, which many of you will know that I was a HUGE fan of and she has just started her newest adventure by launching her first collection designing under her own name. And its ah-mazing!

Already a firm favourite with the London style set, TILLY SVEAAS JEWELLERY represents a more complete distillation of Tilly’s signature style. Remaining true to the off-duty luxury look for which she is known, her new work introduces a more irreverent urban attitude, resulting in bold authentic pieces laced with unmistakable ‘ rock chick’ petulance.

With a collection of padlocks and arrows, tusks and stars, along with other whimsical trinkets in both gold and silver – which she encourages you to wear stacked together, all flirting against a backdrop of leather, lace and leopard; everything oozing laid back attitude and alluring charm.

The full TILLY SVEAAS JEWELLERY collection is available at www.tillysveaas.co.uk and do head over and check out  her Instagram page for some gorgeous snaps  www.instagram.com/tillysveaas

TILLY SVEAAS have offered YNAPA Newsletter readers 20% off first orders! Use discount code: YNAPA20 at checkout 
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BCP Homes

As many of you will know, searching for a property can be a real hassle. You have to spend all your precious free time looking at places that may or may not match your requirements and on top of that Estate Agents have a tendency to bombard you day and night with calls and emails, often about properties that are little or no interest to you.

If you don’t have the time (or the patience) for this then BCP Homes will do all the leg work for you. They will source and preview all the properties that match your requirements and then get you to come out and view only the very best. Once they have found you your dream home or rental investment, they will guide you through the negotiation process from beginning to end and be on hand to give you advice; organising everything from solicitors to surveyors to mortgage brokers. Their job is not over until you have happily moved into your new home. Unlike Estate Agents, who work for the vendor, BCP Homes only have your best interests at heart and want to make sure that you are not only getting the best property at the best possible price, but you enjoy the experience at the same time too.

A great friend of mine recently bought her first home through BCP and raves about them!

For a bit more information on what they do, then head over to www.bcphomes.com and get in touch with any questions you may have.

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Smart Works

One of the joys of You Need A PA is that we come across an amazing spectrum of different companies, services and charities almost every day. We recently heard of the work done by the wonderful charity Smart Works, who do fantastic work helping women on low incomes get jobs and become financially independent. With extensive knowledge of the problems that these women face, Smart Works provide interview clothes and interview training, enabling them not only to feel more confident but also to help them believe in their own ability to success and move on with their lives.

Smart Works have a team of over 75 trained volunteers who work with cllients, helping them to make them look great and feel confident for their job interview. They rely on financial contributions, volunteer time and clothing donations from committed individuals and organisations to enable them to carry on with their work. So if you’re having a post summer wardrobe clear out, or have recently changed from perhaps a corporate job to somewhere more informal, then please do send what you can to Smart Works as these women could really do with your support.

To find out more information, to make a donation or to check out some case studies, then please do head to www.smartworks.org.uk

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Love Cocoa

James Cadbury, the great-great-great-grandson of the legendary chocolatier John Cadbury has recently launched an ethical chocolate start up. The inspiration coming from the historic brand’s British heritage. In 2010, Cadburys was subject to a hostile takeover by American corportation Kraft, and many have noticed that they have adapted and ‘Americanised’ the taste of the once iconically British brand.

James unveils Love Cocoa; a range of artisan organic chocolate bars firmly fixed in British tradition and handmade here in the UK. The first series of chocolate bars comprise of a number of British icons; Classic Milk (37% cocoa) and Dark (70% cocoa), as well as Earl Grey, Maldon Sea Salt, Honeycomb & Honey and English Mint. So far my favourite being… ALL OF THEM! They really are delicious and he’s constantly trialling new varieties with some new ones to be coming out soon – so watch this space!

Furthermore, in a bid to shake up the market and cater for the new generation of ‘letterbox friendly gifts’ the chocolate is delivered directly to you or your loved one with a personalised message, in beautifully designed wrapping, making an ideal and hassle free present.

Love Cocoa have offered YNAPA Newsletter readers 20% off first orders! Use discount code: YNAPA20 at checkout 

To order your bars, head to his website www.lovecocoa.com

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.