Post archive

Last posting dates 2012

Make sure you get your presents and cards off in time, so you're not stressed, and none of your family and friends are disappointed.

UK

Last recommended posting date

Service

Tuesday 18 December

Second Class

Thursday 20 December

First Class

Saturday 22 December

Special DeliveryTM

International Surface Mail

Last recommended posting date

Destination

 Friday 28 September

Non-European destinations except Middle East, South Africa, Far East, USA and Canada

 Tuesday 02 October

Middle and Far East (except Hong Kong and Singapore)

 Tuesday 16 October

South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, USA and Canada

 Tuesday 06 November

Eastern Europe, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Malta and Iceland

 Tuesday 20 November

Western Europe

International Airmail

Last recommended posting date

Destination

Wednesday 05 December

Asia, Far East (including Japan), Australia, New Zealand

Friday 07 December

South & Central America, Caribbean, Africa and Middle East

Monday 10 December

Eastern Europe, USA and Canada

Wednesday 12 December

Western Europe

British Forces Post Office (BFPO)

Last recommended posting date

Destination

Friday 30 November

Airmail to Operational BFPOs

Friday 14 December

Airmail to Static BFPOs


Gardening rubbish?


It's that time of year when there are piles of leaves to be tidied up, or lots of pruning to do in the garden.  So if you're wondering how you are going to deal with all the garden waste, this might help.

If you have an old duvet cover, put the leaves and cuttings in the duvet cover, then fasten it up.  This will keep your boot clean while you transport it all to your local recycling centre.  And you can use it more than once, so it's 'greener' than using bin liners....

Christmas present suggestion

I planned to post the following just after Christmas last year, but then my Mum's health caused some problems, and I had other priorities.  But I kept it, and thought that it might spark off some ideas for presents this year......yes, it is time to start thinking about Christmas 2012!

Problem solved – and my question answered!   
Do you ever look at quotes in papers or magazines, especially those purporting to be from readers and wondered if they were real?  I know I have, but now I know the answer – at least as far as Sainsbury’s magazine is concerned.  And how do I know?  Because my solution to one of their problems is in the January 2012 edition!
Every month, their psychotherapist answers a question sent in by a reader.  A couple of months before publication, the question is put to their ‘Readers’ Panel’ for their views. 
The question I answered was ‘How much should I spend on my nephews at Christmas?’
It was the thorny question of what happens when some of your family can afford to be more generous than you can, and how you reciprocate.  My solution was to think of giving a present the whole family could enjoy, such as a trip to a pantomime, or a family photo session. 
And that was one of the three solutions they printed.  OK it was from ‘Brenda, Dunblane’, not Timesavers, but that’s one and the same thing..........
I‘m pretty pleased that one of my ideas is published in a national magazine, and it’s not even a time saving one!  But don’t worry, I won’t let it go to my head – Timesavers will still provide the same friendly, local service, at the same rates as before I became famous!!

Something for the weekend



The nights are drawing in, and from the look of the weather forecast I've seen for this weekend, I don't think there's going to be much opportunity to get out and about.  So this weekend is the ideal time to do some batch cooking.  Not only will you have family meals ready at any time, but it's not that long until Christmas (have you seen the changes in shop displays already?) so it's a chance to remove some of the stress we can all feel in the run up to Christmas when we all have too much to do.


So if you think a nice warm kitchen sounds good this weekend, while the men in the family commandeer the television to watch football, here are a few tips that I hope you find useful -

  • Keep the sink full of hot, soapy water - you can wash up as you go along, and keep your hands clean
  • Keep your cook book flat by putting a glass casserole dish on it.  You'll be able to see through it
  • Or, Blutack recipes to a convenient cupboard door - at eye level, they are easy to read and don't take up space on the work surface
  • When you're putting 'liquidy' type foods in a freezer bag, prop the empty bag in a jug (with the sides overlapping).  It's easy to fill the bag, and it takes up less freezer space than a container

And one last thing - don't forget the cook's glass of wine!

Sunday is noteworthy because.....


......it's 100 days to Christmas.  Don't say I didn't warn you!!!

As promised................


....here are some tips for things to do inside the house at this time of year.

The nights are drawing in, so it’s time to make the house cosy and warm, so you enjoy spending more time in it over the next few months, so here are a few things you might want to think about now.

  • Check the central heating boiler and radiators – has the annual maintenance check been done?
  • Spray perfume on COLD, switched off light bulbs so that when you switch them on later in the day, the fragrance will fill the room.
  • When weekend weather turns nasty, use the opportunity to batch cook and freeze portions so that you always have a family meal available.  Think of the money you’ll save on takeaways!

And a tip to make you feel better when the turns nasty (again!), use a red umbrella – it gives even the dullest day a rosy glow…


And finally, it’s time to think ahead and prepare for the busiest time of year.  Have you seen the cards and wrapping paper starting to appear in the shops?  Wonder when the first Christmas catalogue will appear?  Bet you it’s not that long……

 

Get ready for autumn & winter


Think you'll agree with me that there has been a real change over the last week, and there's a definite autumnal feel now.   While I am, still, living in hope of an Indian summer, it's time to think about the months ahead, and getting ready for the darker days ahead.

The weather hasn't really let up all year, so our homes have continued to take a battering, from wind and rain.  Spending half an hour now could prevent future problems, so have you checked -

  • the drains, especially, after all the rain and flooding there has been
  • the gutters, even though you might have to check them again, after the leaves have fallen
  • the seals round your doors and windows
  • and if you have an open fire, does the chimney need swept?

These are just some of the checks you might want to do on the exterior of your house.   I'll follow up with some tasks for the interior in a couple of days.

Summer in the kitchen



Here are a few tips that I hope will help keep your kitchen a pleasant place to be in this warm, muggy weather -

Keep your kitchen bin nice to be around - as well as using old plastic bags as bin liners, lay a tumble dryer conditioner sheet on the bottom.  Cheap, effective and easy  to replace when needed!

Sprigs of mint in the kitchen keep flies and insects away - and smell nice too

Use old 2 litre ice cream containers to keep packets of food tidy on cupboard shelves.  Keep sweet and savoury packets in separate containers.  Not only will this save you time when you're planning meals and cooking, but means less time spent cleaning kitchen cupboards



2 weeks to go before schools go back



As well as it being a good time to buy the new school bag, it's a good idea to think about what needs to go in it!  As well as the usual binders, pens, pencils and highlighters, what subject specific items will your child need?


There's no doubt that any medical conditions, allergies or requirements will be at the forefront of your mind, but make it easy for their school, and write everything down so that you can discuss them with the teacher - and put a copy in the school bag.

More Back to School tips.....


As well as organising clothes and cupboards, it's a good idea to set up new calendars, or a wall planner, so that everybody in the family can add to them when school starts to them.  Then you'll have Brownies, judo, swimming lessons - and your keep fit classes? - all listed in the one place.  That should prevent any double booking of your time!

And if you're like me, and want to keep the kitchen tidy, stick the calendar to the inside of a kitchen cupboard door.  Although out of sight, it will still be handy.


If any of your children are changing schools this term, have you worked out the best route to their new school, and how long it will take?  A couple of practice runs will help settle any nerves, and make the first morning of the morning of the new term a bit less stressful.

The end is nigh........for the school holidays!

It hasn't been much of a summer, but the end of the summer school holidays in the Stirling area is approaching.  In case the dates aren't already burned into your memory, primary pupils go back to school on 21 August, secondary pupils on 22 August - only 3 weeks away..... 

So to make t
hings less stressful for everyone, now is the time to start planning for the new term, the first of the new school year. 

First thing to do is clear out the clothes and toys that your children have outgrown.  Recycle, donate or bin them as appropriate, to make room for the clothes and equipment they will need for the new term.

Once you've cleared space, reorganise your children's wardrobe, drawers and shelves so that they know where everything is, and to let you see how you can best use the available space.

Next step is up to you - buy it all!   And while you're at it, order name tags, either in the shop or online.


Modern birthday planning


Am off to post a birthday card - no panic & in plenty of time for my friend to receive it on, or before, his birthday.

There are 2 reasons I can be sure about this -

Firstly, I make sure I always have a stock of birthday cards because I buy several cards, once or twice a year.  That means that I don't have to scramble around for a card, or make a special trip to the shops, when a birthday approaches.

(The same applies for anniversary, new baby, sympathy, congratulations cards.....any occasion you can think of, or might need).

Secondly, I have set up automatic reminders on my electronic calendar, so I get an e-mail alert to remind me of an upcoming event.  These reminders are great - I can alter the timescale so that I get plenty of time to post cards overseas, and I've set the reminders so that they are produced, automatically, every year from now on, until I physically stop them.

But what I can’t plan for is the Scottish summer weather – so the question is to take a coat or not???

Some gardening tips



In the hope that the sun shines long enough for us all to get the garden furniture out - if it's PVC, clean it with car shampoo.   Not only will it gleam, but it protects it from the rain!

And to help you move heavy pots around, use an old skateboard.


Sit with your feet up, in the sun, with a glass of your favourite tipple close to hand......


Whatever you do, have a good weekend!

Does this sound familiar?


Yesterday was a glorious day in Dunblane, after weeks of seemingly endless rain.

And it wasn’t just me that appreciated the warm sunshine – the changes in my garden were amazing.  Roses that had been buds for weeks bloomed, sweet peas shot up inches and ‘buds’ became colourful flowers, sea hollies that had formed, but remained green, turned brilliant blue.

I was lucky, because I was able to organise things so that I could spend the day enjoying the sunshine……I even managed to take a few weeds out of my garden!

But did you have time to ‘stop and smell the roses’ or even look at your garden?  Or were you too stressed, tired and just have too much to do to enjoy that simple pleasure? 

Wouldn’t it be good if you could have a few extra hours in a week……

Another holiday tip


Tying in with yesterday's tip, are you like me and love reading up about your destination before you leave, as well as having your guide book to hand to refer to while you're out and about?

I have a whole library of guide books, but these days, there's no need to carry a heavy guide book around.   If you have enough room in your luggage for it great, but on a daily basis, do you really want to lug a book around, as well as water, sunscreen, camera etc.....

If you're lucky enough to have a Kindle, see if you can download your guide book, or before you go, photocopy the pages that you will actually refer to and put them in your day bag.  One less thing to lug about!

Holiday tip


Sorry I've been a bit quiet recently - but here's the first of some tips I'm going to post over the next few days.   Hope it helps you have a happy holiday.


Check, and recheck, before you leave for the airport that you know what your airline's baggage limits are, both hold and cabin baggage.   Then check that your luggage is within the limits, you don't want to start your holiday on the wrong note by having to pay excess baggage charges.

And remember with some airlines, everyone's baggage is weighed separately, so you can't rely on all your cases being with the total allowance.

It's that spring cleaning time of year!

I’ve had a real dose of the spring cleaning & decluttering bug over the last few weeks.  I’ve filled bags for the charity shop, given friends unwanted (new!) makeup and toiletries and shredded a rainforest of paperwork!  I definitely feel the better for it – and it’s set me up to carry on throughout the house.

So in case the bug hasn’t struck you yet, but you know you need to tackle it, here are a few thoughts.

  • ·         Storage doesn’t have to be expensive – towel hooks can be used for belts, a mug tree for necklaces
  • ·         Organise all your drawers – bedroom, kitchen & lounge. If you know where everything is, think how much time you’ll save, and it won’t take long to do.
  • ·         To clean tiles high up on the bathroom or kitchen walls, use a microfibre mop with a long pole.

There are a couple of jobs that will take a minute or two to do, but will have definite long term benefits.

  • ·         Put up 2 sets of coats hooks, one at child level. Encourage them to be tidy from an early age, from the moment they come in the front door.
  • ·         Keep a concertina file for all the instruction manuals you gather.  Staple the receipt and/or guarantee to the manual to keep everything together.

 

And, finally, if you don’t have the time (or inclination!!) to do a ‘proper’ spring clean, take a feather duster around the ceilings, walls and lampshades – it’s amazing how much of a difference that will make.

Forward planning for summer............


There's still time to sit back and relax with seed catalogues and plant brochures to decide what you want to do with your garden, so that when (and note I said WHEN, not IF) the warm weather comes you know exactly what you need to do and buy.

But remember to make life easier for yourself.   Buy plants that will thrive in your type of soil and group together plants that need similar kind of care - don't put a plant that likes drought conditions next to one that needs lots of watering, for example.   And lastly, think about how big the plants will grow - you don't want to have to spend time in a couple of years thinning them out!

Let's hope that we all enjoy a glorious summer, in our stunning gardens.


How easily the wheels can fall off..................

It’s been a while since I updated my blog, so I thought I would let you know why.

As a concierge, some people might say that I should set a good example and always appear well organised and on top of things.  Otherwise, why would people choose to employ me?

A valid point, but I given how the ‘wheels fell off my life’ for a while, I decided that I would share it with you, because I think it’s an ideal example of why we all might need a concierge at some point in time – and why there is nothing wrong in using one.

My mother, aged 80, hadn’t been feeling too good for a few weeks, but she had been to the doctor and investigations were under way.

All good and well, but on Thursday 22 December, Mum was in such pain that she had to be admitted to hospital.  A diagnosis was made, and she was discharged from hospital on Christmas Eve, even though she wasn’t worth a button.

We had to cancel Christmas, Mum didn’t even have the energy to open her presents.  On Boxing Day, we had to call 999, and Mum was taken back into hospital.  We had a few scary days, but Mum was finally discharged on 9 January, after our New Year had been cancelled too.

Everything seemed fine for 10 days, but then Mum had to be admitted to a nursing home for emergency respite care.  Last week, we heard that she is to stay there permanently.  The right decision- it’s that time in her life.  In fact, it’s a great relief to all of us that she is now safe, secure and being well looked after by lovely, caring staff.

But on 22 December, the wheels fell off my life, and it’s taken me until now, the end of February, to get them back on again.  Mum had to be our priority.  But that meant hospital visits, meetings with Social Services, extra trips to shops to buy all sorts of things for Mum.  All of this added up to ‘not enough hours in the day’, as well as a whole lot of stress.  That in turn led to a lack of sleep, inability to concentrate and distinct lack of concentration on my business, or anything else I was involved in.

Fortunately, things were quiet over the Christmas break and January, but it has meant that some things have slipped, and I am having to build them up again.

From my own personal shopping through to my charity work, but especially to feeling guilty about not being able to spend time on my business, take calls or answer e-mails, I definitely could have done with an extra pair of hands.

That’s what we concierges do – step in when you need us.

It might not be as dramatic as in my case - maybe just a new working pattern, partner working abroad for a few weeks, or a new baby – but there is nothing wrong in admitting ‘my wheels have fallen off’ and asking for some help.

So the next time you’re wondering where to turn next, think of employing a concierge.......

Christmas preparations

If you're expecting family or friends to stay over the festive period, now is the time to get the spare room ready, with clean linen and towels, check lamps are working etc.

You'll have lots to do, shopping for and preparing food and drink nearer Christmas, so tick this off your list now, and save yourself a last minute panic.

 

Christmas posting dates


It'll be the Big Day before we know it, and Santa can't deliver everything, so we need to make sure we give the postie plenty of time to deal with the millions of items we post at this time of year.


Here are all the dates you'll need to make sure no one is disappointed because your cards and parcels haven't arrived in time for Christmas.


Method of posting

Last date

Where to

 

 

 

International Airmail

 

 

 

Monday 5th Dec

South & Central America, Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, Asia, Far East (incl Japan), Australia & New Zealand

 

Friday 9th Dec

Eastern Europe, USA & Canada

 

Monday 12th Dec

Western Europe

 

 

 

British Forces Post Office (BFPO)

 

 

 

Friday 2nd Dec

Airmail to Operational BFPOs

 

Thurs 15th Dec

Airmail to Static BFPOs

 

 

 

UK

 

 

 

Wed 14th Dec

Standard Parcels

 

Sat 17th Dec

Second class & Recorded Signed For™

 

Tues 20th Dec

First Class & Recorded Signed For ™

 

Wed 21st Dec

Parcelforce express48

 

Thurs 22nd Dec

Parcelforce express24

 

 

 

Special Delivery

 

 

 

Thurs 22nd Dec

Special Delivery™

 

Fri 23rd Dec

Special Delivery™ with Saturday Guarantee

 

 

 

 


Christmas medicine cabinet


It might not be the sexiest thing on it, but a fully stocked medicine cabinet for the holidays should be on your Christmas list.

We all know the over the counter options, so I’ll assume you have plenty of plasters, headache and indigestion tablets etc but in case you’re caught short, did you know you might have some alternatives in your kitchen cupboards?

Plaster points

Kids ripping open presents, you tackling the turkey or veg, the chances are sometime over the festive period you’ll need a plaster.

Alternative: Honey is a great solution too, helping to ease the pain and calm down irritation.

Tummy troubles

You know you’re going to eat and drink more than you do normally, so your tummy will probably won’t like it at some stage.

Alternative: Keep your tummy happy with a daily probiotic drink.

Hurting heads

Just thinking about visiting neighbours and family dropping in, never mind the odd hangover and your head is probably already hurting….

Alternative: Raid the fruit bowl and eat a ripe banana – the magnesium eases your headache and sugar tops up your natural sugar levels.

Cold cures

Crowds in shops, crowds at home – you might not enjoy them, but bugs love them and the opportunity to infect everyone!

Alternative: Try gargling with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water four times daily to bring temporary relief to nasty colds.

 

And one final thought – about your children.   Make sure you have the age appropriate over the counter remedies for them.……if they are suffering, you won’t be able to enjoy yourself.

 

Less than a week to go.............


....if you want to send Christmas post, surface mail, to Western Europe.   Last posting date is

Tuesday 22 November

Christmas Parcels to post abroad?

If you want your family & friends in Eastern Europe or Iceland to get their Christmas parcels in time to add them to the pile under the Christmas tree, and you want to send them surface mail, then you need to get them in the post tomorrow, Tuesday 08/11/11, at the latest.

However, if you can send them airmail, you have until Friday 9 December............

 

November Special Offer.........getting ready for Christmas


You can't avoid it - Christmas is just around the corner, so the quicker you get organised, the better.

Just think of all the things you have on your To Do list......
do you want to spend your Saturday afternoon warm, at home with the family, or out battling crowds?  

Timesavers would like to offer an alternative - o
ur special offer for November is 3 hours shopping - whether for food, cards, presents (and wrapping them) all for £50.00.  

Just think what you could do with a spare 3 hours!

Are you ready for Halloween?


Have you got the children's costumes?   The sweets for the 'guisers' (that's what trick-or-treaters are called in Scotland)?

If not, never fear, it's not too late, even now.

Supermarkets and department stores have lots of costumes for children, and adults.   But in these tough economic times, why buy a costume when you can probably put one together from what is already in the wardrobe?   Combinations of coloured tights and sweatshirts can be the basis for lots of children's costumes.

I googled 'homemade Halloween costumes' and was amazed at how many sites there were, and the ideas they came up with.   So go on, be creative!



Stop Press!!!!

As you might expect, the supermarkets have started to reduce the price of the Halloween costumes they have left.   So if you still haven't kitted the kids out for Halloween, you might be able to snap up a bargain.

Autumn Tip

Has your central heating had its annual check?   Now it's turning colder, you don't want it to break down......better to arrange the check up now than freeze while waiting for a busy engineer.

And if it's difficult to get an appointment at a time that suits you, a personal concierge will do the waiting for you.

Forward planning - Christmas

There are 100 days to Christmas - don't say I didn't warn you!

September's Special Offer

I'm a wee bit late this month - note to self, do better in future! - but in September, we're offering 4 hours decluttering at the special rate of £60.00.

We   sort   your clutter   into 'bin, recycle or donate' - and will take it to the charity shop for you.

Look out for future special offers, I'm going to post them here from now on.

Think about it...........

Now & again, just stop and have some fun!!

Timesaving Tip

To prevent 'interesting' meal combinations, use masking tape to label freezer containers.

Timesaving Tip

Just think how much time you spend on a computer these days, and therefore, how much time you waste if you're a bit slow on the keyboard.  Wouldn't it be worth learning to touch type, so you spend less time at the keyboard dealing with all those e-mails and bills?

Now's the time to investigate evening classes, or online resources, like the BBC - their typing course for children is really good fun!

The Apprentice - is any publicity better than no publicity?

The Apprentice - is any publicity better than no publicity?

As I’m not a ‘The Apprentice’ watcher, I had to catch up on iPlayer, so maybe I didn’t get the full flavour of Helen’s idea, in the snippets I watched.

But I agree with the panel – it didn’t appear that she had thought through her idea.......or maybe she just didn’t explain it very well?   One good thing is that more people will at least have heard of personal concierges now, but I think they might have been given the wrong impression.

I asked for feedback from an ‘Apprentice’ watcher who had just learned that I was a concierge.   Her immediate response was ‘Why would I ask anyone to phone the dentist for me?’

And I have to agree – unless I had full access to my client’s diary, and knew them and their lifestyle REALLY well, there’s no way I would offer that kind of service.   Why did Helen give that as an example?   Was it the best one she gave?

I would have used as an example anything that takes up time on the phone, frustrating, wasted time, that you’d rather spend doing things you enjoy – that’s the kind of mundane task that a personal concierge can take off your shoulders.

Things like phoning the gas company to arrange the annual maintenance check (the one I will be in the house for, so you don’t have to waste a day’s holiday), researching items on the internet – so you can enjoy the party, without spending time sourcing the supplies.   Those are the kind of things I would say a personal concierge does for their clients.

So, a poor presentation or slanted editing?   As a personal concierge, I just hope that any publicity is better than none.

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