Saturday, March 16th, 2013
Sunday, February 24th, 2013
Guests were treated to an interactive and educational morning with Alexandra as she demonstrated all of the important aspects of organising a cocktail party for friends, colleagues and family.
From guest lists and invitations to canapé recipes, décor to hostess gifts, all aspects were covered. Guests also had the opportunity to participate in a hands-on lesson in flower arranging.
The event took place at Miele’s award winning Gallery in Dubai. The Miele Gallery is spread over two floors, the ground floor dedicated to showcasing the latest Miele domestic and professional appliances, and the mezzanine level being a fully equipped, state-of-the-art presentation facility and live kitchen.
Future themed events for later in the spring are being planned between The English Manner and Miele.
Click here to see pictures from the event.
Friday, February 15th, 2013
I have just arrived in Nairobi to work for a couple of weeks with LeaderGen.
CEO Marilyn Comrie OBE and I travelled out last night; we had to change planes at Doha as there is no direct flight from Manchester. Unfortunately the Manchester plane was a bit late taking off, so although WE managed to change planes in Doha our cases didn’t! Travelling to Africa can sometimes be a bit problematic – this is Marilyn’s third experience of losing her luggage, I have only had it happen twice so far, but that experience should have told me to pack a change of clothes in my hand luggage.
When training abroad there is always lots to take with you; I need a number of smart outfits to work in as well as casual clothes (especially if I am lucky enough to go on a short safari, which I am hoping to this trip) and books and manuals etc for courses, so I decided to take those with me and trust my clothes to luck – bad decision! We had been told to expect our cases this afternoon as there was another Qatar Airways flight expected around lunchtime, but it is now 5.30 and still no sign……one thing I have learned though, always travel in smart clothes. You get treated with more respect and you can at least go to meetings or deliver training looking reasonably smart until, hopefully, your baggage arrives!
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012
P – PRESENTS: plan ahead so that you are not trying to think of things at the last minute. Try to start wrapping as soon as you get them so that you are not up until 3am on Christmas morning STILL surrounded by paper and gift tags! Decide on a budget, especially with family and friends – you don’t want to be paying for Christmas all year. It really should be the thought that counts, and the gifts must be appropriate. If you know some family members or friends cannot afford to spend a lot on presents, don’t give them extremely expensive gifts that will make them feel uncomfortable or patronised. Always write thank you letters, even if the gift is something you will never use! It is a good idea to make a list as children open their presents so that you know who gave what. The day after Boxing Day is often quiet, and the offer of treats can be a good incentive to make writing Thank You letters fun.
L- don’t LEAVE things until the last minute – especially Christmas cards. If you are going to send them, make a list and try and send them early in December, which gives you plenty of time if you suddenly find you have forgotten someone. Many charities rely on Xmas cards as a substantial part of their annual revenue, and although many e-cards contain a donation to charity they are just not the same! There is nothing nicer than brightening up the house with colourful cards, but as postage is expensive, it might be an idea to send them only to those you don’t see very often. I tend to hand deliver cards to local friends and only post the ones who live a distance away. If Christmas is at your house, order the wine, the tree and the turkey (or whatever your Christmas fare) in good time. Also make sure you have enough oil and logs so that if the weather turns suddenly cold outside – you will be warm inside!
A – have an ACTION plan. It is much easier to spread the load. If you celebrate a big family Christmas, get others to contribute, both to the work and to the expense. For instance, someone can bring the wine, another could bring the Christmas puds, someone else can provide cheese, crackers etc. Also, it is important to make sure that you get help to clear things away. In Britain we tend to finish the day by watching what are (hopefully) good programmes on TV, so make sure the younger members of the household get into the routine of clearing the table, putting stuff into the dishwasher and generally helping to put the house back the way it was.
N – NEVER let disagreements get in the way of a lovely day, Christmas should be a time for mending fences and friendship. If you have had ’words’ with family or friends, sending them a card can be a way of getting back in touch, and if you have a lonely old auntie or neighbours who are going to spend Christmas on their own, why not ask them to join you – even if it just for a drink before lunch?
Monday, December 3rd, 2012
1. Domestic staff are hard to find so treat them with respect, but keep the relationship between employee and employer clear. Your nanny or au pair, for instance, may live as part of the family, but they work for you, so give them a clear idea of what you expect from them.
2. Ladies can wear hats indoors until 6pm. Unlike men who have to remove them when indoors (at all times), a woman’s hat is part of the outfit and not an accessory.
3. Ladies never leave the dining table during a meal as it means the gentlemen have to rise from their seats, which disrupts everybody, so make sure you go to the loo before you go to the dining room!
4. When visiting your friends’ estates, it is good form to leave a tip for the maid who cleans your bedroom. £5 per day should suffice, or ask your host how much you should leave.
5. Many dinners at Downton are White Tie affairs, although in recent times Black Tie has been creeping in. When White Tie is the order of the evening, long gloves and jewels should be worn.
6. The hallmark of a true gentleman is that he knows how to tie a bow tie, so ladies, make sure your sons start to learn early!
7. After dinner the ladies repair to the drawing room, so when your hostess says something like “ladies, shall we?” don’t linger at dining table, even if you are having the most fascinating conversation.
8. Some country houses can be a little chilly, so some warm underwear can make the evenings more comfortable!
9. When invited with your husband to go shooting, make sure you take some warm country clothes and suitable boots if you are to join the gentlemen for lunch.
10. ‘How do you do’ is still the correct greeting when meeting someone new. This is a not a question, so the answer is also ‘How do you do’.
11. Think about the clothes you will need for a weekend away so that you don’t take too many suitcases. You should not look as though you are coming to stay for a month!
12. Today, when you are asked to stay for a country weekend your hostess says, “we dress”, it means that they wear Black Tie for dinner. This means you will need to ask your maid to pack at least two evening dresses. It is also as well to take something smart to wear on Sunday if you are taken to church.
Coming soon: William Hanson’s guide on how to be a Downton gentleman!