Nurture Creativity: At-Home Activities for Children

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As families settle into the new year, with the holidays behind us and summer still months away, it is a great time to encourage children to explore their creativity at home. Sit down with your child and ask them if there are any new skills they'd like to try or ideas they'd like to pursue; with plenty of time at home and more virtual options than ever, it could be the time to learn an instrument, pick up a second language, or add more creative play to each day.

 

Escape into Story Time 

Reading is a wonderful way to encourage creative minds. Consider signing your child up for a kid's book club; there are plenty of online options now. For curated monthly book shipments, we love both Literati and Reveal Book Box. Both offer customizable options for a wide range of ages, and Reveal even donates a book to charity for every box sent. For readers who are also aspiring artists, we recommend KidArtLit; the monthly box includes a new age-appropriate children's book along with a related art activity, and enough supplies for two children to participate. Little Bookish Wardrobe is another fun choice for young children - each month, your child will receive a new book, as well as costume pieces to match, and related crafts and activity ideas. 

 

Music 

Exposure to music and music education at an early age offers a myriad of benefits for children as they grow. For young children, Kindermusik now offers both online and in-person classes all over the world; the classes combine music and movement to keep children engaged and active. Dea Music and Art matches children to talented musicians for private virtual classes in guitar, piano, voice, and more. For older children, the NYC based 343 Labs offers live, virtual classes for kids 9-17 years old in music theory, songwriting, performance, and more. For music lovers of all ages, a fun family-friendly option is The Met Opera's weekly "Free Student Steam"; each week a different child (former students in the Met's opera summer camp) chooses their favorite opera to live stream and offers some insight and things to watch for. We think it's a lovely way to spend the evening together as a family! 

 

Play Outdoors

If you live in an area where your family can easily spend time outdoors this time of year - or if you don't mind bundling up - consider ordering Jane Worroll and Peter Houghton's book Play The Forest School Way: Woodland Games and Crafts for Adventurous Kids. The book is filled with whimsical outdoor crafts and activities, as well as practical information for children spending time in nature. It has specific games, crafts, and more for children of all ages, from jewelry crafted from leaves to "journey sticks" made with mementos from a child's day in nature. The book is a great alternative to screen time - it encourages children to spend time outdoors and use their imaginations. 

 

The Magic of Museums 

While it may not yet be safe to visit many museums around the world, some of the best are bringing their collections and programs to the homes of children worldwide online. The Boston Children's Museum has done a wonderful job of accumulating resources for parents and children alike - you'll find everything from guidelines for speaking to children about tough topics to craft videos (click here to make a spinning top) to activity kits you can pick up if you live in the Boston area. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has created an interactive MetKids page, featuring a "time machine" where children can explore the collection based on interests and geography, as well as kid-friendly videos answering a range of art related questions. LACMA has created a Youtube Channel, Make Art @ Home, featuring videos instructing children on how to make various projects with common supplies. The Tate UK is another great resource for creative kids; Tate Kids features art projects, games, quizzes, and educational videos. 

 

Try New Things 

For curious and creative children who want to try their hand at something new this year, consider Sawyer or KidPass; both websites offer a variety of virtual kid-friendly classes, with free and paid options, for various time zones, ages, and interests. Consider Sign Language for BabiesBallet & Jazz for 4-6, or Kids' Intro to Baking
 

 

As always, we're here to assist with all your household staffing needs during this challenging time. Both childcare and cleaning professionals are considered essential workers and we have implemented strict protocols to make sure your family is as safe as possible. Contact us today to learn more.


We Are What We Eat

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What should I be stocking up on during this season as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues?

Buying the right foods can not only help you feel better but also makes it a lot easier on you in the long run by helping you cut down on the number of trips to the store during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’ve noticed you’re stocking up on groceries every couple of days and don’t understand why all the bags of chips, cans of soda and microwave dinners aren’t lasting as long as you anticipated. Don’t worry, we are here to guide you with what to buy and what to do to curb that appetite and make your groceries go the distance!

Our immune systems need constant nourishment and maintenance to fight off colds and viruses more than ever. We can't control every outcome, but we can do our best to prevent sickness and weakness by strengthening our bodies and boost immune systems ahead of time.

 

Pantry must haves:

Canned and packaged goods are all great options for creating a base for fun meals. These items will also last up to a month or so and are often quick and easy to prepare.


Cereal, crackers, pasta, canned soup and rice are some staple products we should try and always keep as stock in our pantry. These are all also very standard items that can come in handy and keep us going.

  • Pasta
  • Crackers
  • Low sugar cereals
  • Beans (dried or canned)
  • Grains (farro, couscous, quinoa, rice, etc.)
  • Canned fruits
  • Cooking sauces
  • Trail mix
  • Oatmeal
  • Shelf-stable milks
  • Jelly
  • Sweet potatoes (yams)
  • Tins of soup
  • Teabags
  • Coffee beans
  • Spices and seasoning
     

Frozen Foods:

Frozen food is a great way to make sure you're still getting plenty of nutrients during a potential long stay at home.

Stocking up on things like frozen fruits and veggies allows you to whip up colourful meals without worrying about the sell by date.

  • Mixed Berries
  • Frozen Yoghurt
  • Frozen veg (for stir frying)
  • Edamame beans
  • Fish
  • Meats 
  • Quinoa and rice blends

 


Food is Our Best Medicine.

Eating nutritious whole foods is without a doubt our best defense against illness.

By limiting junk/processed foods and sugars which can be difficult to digest and also play havoc with our energy levels and moods, try to absorb healthier nutrients to boost our immunity and our moods.

Healthy eating does not have to be boring or overwhelming - simply add more fruits and vegetables to meals and try to reduce the processed foods which fail to fill us up and cause bloating and breakouts.

What vitamins should we be taking?

It is important to take probiotics regularly as well as daily vitamins that you may not always be sourcing from your meals.
Vitamins to help with immunity include:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D3
  • Zinc

 


Daily Tips for Body & Mind:
 

Hydrate - by drinking water every couple of hours. It will cleanse your body of toxins, keep your skin clear, your mind alert and flush out anything in your system that could become problematic.

Get going - at least 30 mins of exercise a day.

Fresh air and sunlight - it will replenish your mental health being outside in the real world, even if it’s just sitting on the balcony or deck for ten minutes on a morning while you call a friend or catch up on some reading. When we’re working from home and living with constant air conditioning and central heating it’s easy to forget that your body craves vitamins and minerals from nature itself.

Digital rest - Give your eyes a break from that glaring light on your phone or computer and allow yourself a couple of hours without being online. This will benefit your mind and reduce stress and anxiety.

Sleep - is our best healer.

 

Now that we’re not commuting to the office as much or travelling into the city as often, we can use these bonus hours to set that alarm clock for a couple of hours longer rest. Don’t be afraid to have an evening of pampering or an afternoon nap. There’s no such thing as not having enough time. Make the time - as your body and mind should come before any diary commitment, especially to reboot your eyes, your mind and allow your body to physically heal.

 

How Much Sleep Should I Be Getting?
according to Web MD

Infants (ages 0-3 months) need 14-17 hours a day.

Infants (ages 4-11 months) need 12-15 hours a day

Toddlers ages 1-2 years) need about 11-14 hours a day.

Preschool children (ages 3-5) need 10-13 hours a day.

School-age children (ages 6-13) need 9-11 hours a day.

Teenagers (ages 14-17) need about 8-10 hours each day.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours, although some people may need as few as 6 hours or as many as 10 hours of sleep each day.

Older adults (ages 65 and older) need 7-8 hours of sleep each day.

Women in the first 3 months of pregnancy need several more hours of sleep than usual.

 


Remember, we can’t prevent everything but taking simple steps to reduce risk can benefit us all when done as a daily pattern in our daily life:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Wash your hands often
  • Sanitize areas using natural cleaners or disinfectants to keep germs at bay


Above all, remember to use your intuition and to trust your instincts when deciding for your family, your home and your peace of mind.


Winter Weather: Destinations to Escape or Embrace the Cold Months

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As we settle into the winter with several months of cold still ahead of much of the U.S. and Europe, many of us are looking for safe getaways to unwind and relax after the busy holiday season. Whether you'd like to escape to Hawaii until the sun comes out in New York again, or just slip away to ski for a long weekend, we have recommendations for your family. As always, please check the most up to date CDC travel advisories before making any travel arrangements, and frequently in the days leading up to travel. Bon voyage!

 

Santa Fe, New Mexico 

There's a reason Santa Fe was voted number 2 on the list of best small cities to visit in 2020 by CNN Traveler, and regularly places on their best of the U.S. lists. The city features a range of outdoor sporting options, a flourishing art scene, plenty of historical sites, wineries, and the World Heritage Site of Taos Pueblo. If you plan on settling in for the winter months, look into Adobe Star Properties and Two Casitas; both companies offer long and short term luxury rentals with full kitchens, outdoor areas, and more. For families who'd like to stay in downtown Santa Fe, we love Adobe Star's Lincoln 402; the apartment, located within a luxury high rise, features two bedrooms, three private balconies, a full kitchen, and a gas fireplace. For shorter visits, we love the Encantado Suite at the Four Seasons Santa Fe. This 1,100-square-foot suite, set at the highest point on the property, includes a private patio, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, heated floors, and exceptional views. The hotel, set on 57 acres in the Sangre de Cristo foothills, is the perfect place for an outdoor escape; choose from daily hikes, skiing, snowshoeing, horseback riding, hot air ballooning, golfing, or simply spend a day soaking in the heated year-round pool. 

 

Palm Desert, California 

For those in Los Angeles or San Francisco who'd like to settle in and enjoy the warm weather and sweeping views of Palm Desert, consider booking a luxury home through Cuvée; in addition to vacation rentals, the service can book exclusive tours, classes, and more. The Kempa Villa offers a private helipad, a pool, a hot tub, outdoor firepit, and an 8-bedroom estate set among 5-acres surrounded by blossoming orchards and groves, all with sweeping views of the San Jacinto mountains. As of mid-December, the Living Desert has reopened to the public; the nature reserve and trail loops offer an adventurous way to spend time outdoors, while staying safe and socially distanced. For those outside California, please note that hotels and lodging facilities are currently unable to accept out of state reservations for non-essential travel, unless the reservation is over 14 days and the traveler intends to quarantine at the hotel/vacation property the entire time. 

 

Vermont

If some quiet time in nature with good food and wine sounds like the right escape for you, consider Twin Farms in Barnard, Vermont. The hotel, set over 300 acres, has only twenty guest accommodations, the majority of which are private and freestanding, which makes it the perfect place to safely unwind for the winter. The property has adjusted its amenities to offer as many as possible in a safe way, including in-room champagne and canapé happy hours, contactless private dining, and safe outdoor activities including hikes, biking, fly fishing, and watercraft experiences. Here, each of the freestanding cottages have their own style and personality; choose from an authentic log cabin, a fisherman's paradise situated above a stream and beaver pond, or a Moroccan style suite, complete with a mosaic tile fireplace and tented ceiling. 

 

Aspen, Colorado 

For ski enthusiasts looking to escape to the slopes for the next few months, we recommend Cuvée for luxury vacation rental properties throughout Aspen (and Vail, as well). Choose from a variety of ski-in, ski-out homes and lodges from Red Mountain to downtown Aspen. Our favorites include Four Peaks Estate, featuring panoramic mountain views, a Jacuzzi tub, a private movie theatre, and a chef's kitchen, as well as Willow, a Red Mountain escape complete with a wine cellar and billiards room.  

 

Hawaii 

If you'd rather spend the winter months on a beach than the ski slopes, head towards Hawaii; the state now offers a pre-travel testing option that allows travelers an alternative to the previously mandatory 14-day quarantine. It also consistently ranks as one of the states with the lowest Covid-19 levels in the U.S. Note that Hawaii’s counties each have different, and regularly changing, rules for vacation rental properties. These can be difficult to navigate and, unfortunately, many websites online offer listings illegally. To avoid headaches and cancellations, we recommend booking through a reputable hotel or resort. Reserve one of the residences at Montage Kapalua Bay for a comfortable, longer term family stay. All residences boast full gourmet kitchens, laundry facilities, multiple bedrooms (accommodating up to ten guests), and ocean views. 

 

Bermuda 

Although the temperatures do drop slightly this time of year (expect mid to high 60s °F with the occasional day in the 70s through the early Spring), Bermuda remains high on our list of easily accessible and beautiful travel destinations. A quick flight from New York City, Bermuda offers pristine, blue waters, and pink sand beaches. Make sure to review the up to date testing and travel restrictions (with a negative COVID test, you should be able to travel freely around the island within 24 hours of arrival) before making arrangements. Please note that the Covid-19 level in Bermuda is now rated as very high by the CDC so visitors must be vigilant about safety precautions. Once there, consider staying at The Loren; book a villa with a private pool and you won't have any reason to leave the hotel!

 

Bahamas 

Please note that the Covid-19 level in Bahamas is now rated as very high by the CDC; for this reason, we do not recommend scheduling travel there unless you can be sure to travel privately and spend time only in your accommodations. Luckily, the Bahamas has over twenty private airports so guests can charter a flight to the closest location to their final destination, without the crowds of a public airport. Just 15 minutes by private boat from North Eleuthera lays Cuvée's private island with five luxury bungalows on the beach, accommodating 18 guests total. This would be a wonderful place for your family or quarantine pod to escape to together. Complete with a pool, beach access, volleyball court, ping pong, and jet skis, there is no reason to leave the island. Another secluded option is to rent a villa at Kamalame Cay; our favorite is Rock House, perfect for a family of four. The villa features a private plunge pool, an outdoor shower, a fully stocked (to your specifications) kitchen, and multiple outdoor spaces. 

 

Verbier

Ski resorts across the French alps were forced to close during the holiday season due to Covid-19; some have been given the okay to reopen this month and are slowly doing so. However, the Swiss village of Verbier remains open and welcoming guests with new safety precautions in place. Private charters can fly into Sion where guests can then arrange a quick helicopter ride to Verbier or a one hour drive. Once there, Cordee des Alpes is a lovely choice if you're seeking an intimate and quiet getaway; the boutique hotel is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World Organisation. Book one of the apartment style suites for extra space, a full kitchen and outdoor space, without sacrificing the hotel amenities. We also love Le Chalet d'Adrien, which offers luxury service in the rustic setting of an authentic chalet - and don't miss the incredible swimming pool with mountain views!


Our Expert Answers Your Questions about Household Staff

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We caught up with British American Household Staffing’s very own Estate Management Consultant, Kristen Reyes.

 

As a lead estate manager and domestic staffing expert, Kristen’s expertise in managing multiple properties give her incredible insight for knowing how to maintain the important details relating to high end homes.

 

Here she shares her advice to some of our client's most common questions.


How do I open and close 2nd or 3rd properties, and what are your tips to keeping them maintained during absences?

Opening and closing a home is different for each property.  

Sometimes it is actually wiser to keep the home opened and running even if it’s at a minimum level. This is sometimes more cost efficient because the maintenance will end up being less. A home that sits completely closed up with no one turning the HVAC on and off, no one running the water, no one checking for leaks, no one doing a walk-through on a weekly or even monthly basis, can cause more damage to a home then a home that remains open.  

Turning equipment on and off will actually help the machines function properly then letting them sit without being used for several months. 


We are currently in between homes, how do I handle hiring temporary staff for a temporary home?

This will not work for every situation, but I usually start by suggesting your current state manager or house manager check in on your other properties. The reason for this is because they know your preferences, your maintenance schedule and how your home should be kept. You also trust them and have built a relationship with them. However, depending on the new location, this is not always feasible for your current staff.

You can always bring in a third-party person to handle your home. They usually handle multiple clients, making it a full-time job for themselves. They will walk through the home on a weekly, monthly or as needed basis and make sure that everything is running properly. They will test the HVAC, run the water, check for potential leaks and anything else that would be a normal red flag needing attention. 

 

What should I be looking for in a housekeeper?

A good housekeeper is one that has longevity with clients, one that has worked in a high-end home before and has worked on their own in a home ranging from 3,000 -5,000 sq ft.  This means they had to maintain the entire home on their own.  Ones that are experienced and trained to deal with specialised items like understanding the protocol of the handling and the cleaning of art, marbles, woods, etc is essential.  The last thing you want is to have a hand-woven, one-of-a-kind rug that has a red wine stain on it handled by someone who has never dealt with such high-end quality pieces before. Never skim on the quality or salary of a housekeeper, as in this department you truly do get what you pay for!
 

With restaurants continuing to be closed, how do we hire a great chef for the family home?

Private chefs have been one of the top requests that I get from clients.  Whether its general everyday meals, Michelin level or even dietary restriction based cuisine, private chefs can make life simple by helping out in the kitchen. They can do anything from prepare daily meals on site and delivering carefully prepped meals to your home as well as prepping for further days’ worth of food. It really depends on how often you require them in your kitchen. Private chefs are great as they source the local goods, keep your kitchen inventory fully stocked and help with those times you just don’t have a chance to throw something together for dinner.
 

For more information or to begin your hiring search, contact us today.


Start the Year Off Right with a Properly Staffed Home

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As we enter 2021, many families are reassessing their home staffing needs. The pandemic has changed the way we do nearly everything, including staffing and household structuring. What worked pre-COVID may no longer be suitable with changes in schedule, location, and lifestyle.

Here at British American Household Staffing, we have experienced a huge increase in families searching for specific types of staff as of late, particularly childcare and learning support, newborn specialists, housekeepers, chefs, and temporary/travel staff. We understand our clients' needs are changing rapidly and we are working hard to meet growing demand. We have top quality staff in every state in the U.S., as well as across Europe, the U.K., and Switzerland. For families who are uncertain what type of staff is right for them at the moment, we offer home assessments and property visits. 

For those expecting pandemic babies, please rest assured that we work only with the highest quality maternity specialists, both British and non-British, and many are ready to begin working immediately. However, we are experiencing unprecedented demand, particularly for newborn care, so we recommend starting your search as early in the pregnancy as possible.

As always, we're here to assist with all your household staffing and educator needs during this challenging time.

Contact us about your hiring needs.

 

Nannies and Private Educators

As we enter England's third lockdown, including school closures for most students, as well as changing restrictions across Europe and the U.S., many families are seeking additional childcare, particularly nannies with teaching or tutoring experience. Virtual schooling is simply no substitute for one-on-one time with a dedicated teacher. British American Household Staffing can help ease these concerns. We offer several options for in-home education, including full-time in-home educators, governesses, certified teachers, and private tutors. We have nannies and educators ready to work nationwide and internationally and many are willing to relocate and/or live-in with your family. We can also assist in forming safe and small learning pods with other families.

 

Newborn Care 

As the first round of quarantine babies make their way into the world, the need for newborn care is on the rise across the country and abroad. If you are expecting or adjusting to life with a new baby, we encourage you to consider hiring newborn help to provide some consistency and support. Newborn care specialists can allow new parents to rest, can teach and advise on the latest and safest sleep and feeding methods, and can assist with all tasks related to caring for the newest member of your family. We recommend starting your search as soon as you know you are expecting as top specialists tend to be booked well in advance by returning mothers and referrals; however, we can often accommodate last-minute requests, as well.

 

Executive Housekeepers

As we spend more and more time in our homes, their appearance, cleanliness, organization, and maintenance have become more important than ever. We can assist you in forming an efficient and productive team to make sure your home meets the highest cleanliness and safety standards during this challenging time. Every family's needs are different; you may need a single housekeeper or a whole team run by an executive housekeeper. The distinction between a housekeeper and an executive housekeeper is the latter's experience managing other household staff. An executive housekeeper will have worked on teams of household staff and overseen other housekeepers. When beginning your search for a housekeeper, consider your home(s) and unique needs. Our expert team is happy to guide you through the entire process.

 

Chefs

Outdoor dining has once again shut down in California, temperatures have dropped into the low 30s in New York, and indoor dining has been deemed unsafe in most of the country and in many cities internationally. As a result, we have seen a great increase in families requesting private chefs for their homes, for both permanent and temporary positions. Our chefs, with a huge range of specialties, make it easy to save time, eat delicious and nutritious meals, and entertain small groups in your home with ease. 

 

Temporary and Travel Staff

Many families are spending time in second homes, either for more space during the pandemic, or for a change during the winter months. Whether you're staying warm in Florida, enjoying the snow and winter sports in Aspen, or spending time on a yacht in the Mediterranean, we can assist with hiring temporary or travel staff in all areas. We have nannies, educators, chefs, yacht staff, and more ready to relocate and work immediately.

 

Home Assessments

If you are not sure what your home may need in terms of staffing, training, maintenance, or new protocols, we can assist. We offer home assessments, property visits, training refreshers for current staff, and more. 

Contact us about your unique hiring needs today.


Happy, Healthy & Nutritious New Year!

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It’s that time of year again where we set goals and goodwill resolutions in the name of a clean slate as January 1st arrives. 

While we reach for more leftovers and loosen our belts after an indulgent festive period, chances are it’s not just Christmas, but Covid pounds you’re dealing with on the scales!

I think it’s safe to say that 2020 has been more shaken and stirred than a James Bond movie. Those bursting diary planners we once carried littered with scribbled plans for lunches, classes, appointments and meetings are now thrown into a junk drawer since the abandoned pages became increasingly less inked.

Our comforting rituals and social interactions have now been on hiatus longer than the promised Friends reunion.

Our appetite for life seems to have been replaced with an appetite for several servings and midnight snacks thanks to such a stressful and emotionally charged year.

The ever mentioned social distance rule we’re constantly reminded to keep has also regrettably made its way between us and our diets!

That’s right. I’ve spent 2020 socially distancing my way from the morning healthy Nutribullet juices, my power walks around the park and the hot yoga classes I’d attend with friends.

As we watched our freedoms diminish, you wouldn’t be alone in noticing your waistline’s has increased. The one thing that the government can’t restrict has been our binging at home whilst waiting for this tidal wave of resolution and order to be restored.

 

I write this after my third trip in the last hour to the fridge which has become my most frequently visited location in our home during the latest lockdown. You’re not alone in reaching for the snacks, ordering in for four consecutive nights and treating yourself to the entire box of sugar cookies meant for sharing.

After all, what else is there to do as we try to compensate for the activities and habits that have been taken away from us.

With indoor dining banned until further notice, our favourite sushi place having closed down and the fitness classes being unavailable due to health and safety regulations, it’s no wonder we are making our way to the kitchen more frequently for some fulfilling festive food!

“My real clothes don’t fit me anymore so thank God there’s no Xmas party this year” I overheard a woman in the store tell her friend on the phone yesterday.

Oh good! So we’re not alone in finding that sweatpants are the new dress code!

 

This is what happens when balance is taken away. We’ve had so many rules and restrictions that it’s no wonder it’s beginning to show on our hips, our face, our scales! But with change comes realisation and we can absolutely restore the balance back into our lives while this pandemic continues to restrict us. If we can adapt to making masks part of our outfits we can absolutely adapt to nudging our bodies towards a more healthier route. “It’s all about maintenance” I was told by a former nutritionist. “It’s looking at calories in versus calories out and how you maintain your body’s natural metabolism even during a lockdown”

Sounds simple enough .

So where do we start if we do want to get back to how we felt and looked BC (before Covid!)

 

In a word - exercise. If you just heard ‘extra fries’ then you’re not alone!

Exercise is a word that has been shelved over the last few months, though it’s about to push its way back to the front of the line to be seen and heard again along with its pivotal partner ‘nutrition’.

Our nutrition is so important when it comes to physical, mental and social well-being, that now more than ever, it is vital for maintaining a healthy state of mind as well as strong immune system to prevent potential disease.

More than ever physical activity and movement are extremely important, with exercise being vital during the coronavirus pandemic as it can keep us focused, provide us with purpose and routine and benefit us from the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke

 

Exercise can improve your sleep and your cognitive function too - which during a global pandemic and so many conflicting pressures from financial to political, can be a welcomed release and comfort.

We caught up with personal trainer Jack* who initially struggled with uncertainty during the pandemic’s early months as the gyms began to close. However, since the summer he has now become one of the most sought after personal trainers in the city, having developed personalised support and private training programs for his clients.

He tells us, “This pandemic has changed the fitness industry as a whole. The limited capacity in each facility has drastically reduced the number of options for people to attend gyms and workout in groups and classes which was what motivated them. People are looking for private training now more than ever. Outdoor one to one training sessions are the most sought after methods now of maintaining your physical and mental health, with online virtual classes coming a close second as people can do them from the comfort of their own home.”

30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week is what we should all be striving for.

The 3 most important daily vitamins that are recommended to help your body stay strong and fight against respiratory infections are:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc

 

As we begin our new year with optimism and organisation, let your well-being from fitness to nutrition be the priority.

It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme.

Try taking small steps towards little goals and set aside a little time each week for well-being routines like yoga or walking which will benefit your routine, body and your mind. 

Our top 3 Fitness & Nutrition apps for 2021:
Fitness Blender
Shred
My Fitness Pal

We are also loving Charity Miles - the free app that allows users to raise money for charity by walking, running, or biking. For every mile tracked, the app will donate between 10 and 25 cents to a charity of your choice.

Introduce this to your friends or family to join with you and see how much you can raise for a charity you are all passionate about!

 

From all of us at British American Household Staffing.

Wishing you a happy and a healthy nutritious New Year!


Last Minute Gifts for Everyone on Your List

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It's been a busy year for all of us and many of us haven't had the time to find the perfect gifts for everyone on our lists. The team here at British American Household Staffing has put together our choices for thoughtful last minute gifts that are sure to be a success, whether in person or over Zoom! Happy Holidays!

 

Cameo is a service that allows you to create personalized videos from celebrities, athletes, and other entertainers. With a huge range, from Santa and Buddy the Elf impersonators for children to singers like LeAnn Rimes and Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz to NFL star Brett Favre, there is sure to be something for everyone in your life. Prices range from $25 to $1,000+ depending on the celebrity; many videos are complete in less than 24 hours and delivered straight to the recipient's mailbox. 

 

MasterClass has a holiday special offering 2 for 1 memberships at the moment; the site offers a huge variety of streaming classes led by experts in their chosen fields. Courses include cooking with Gordon Ramsey, creativity and leadership with Anna Wintour, and acting with Natalie Portman. 

 

Give the gift of music! For the hard-to-buy-for teenager or college student on your list, consider gifting a subscription to a music streaming service, such as Apple Music or Spotify Premium. Both services are currently offering three months free to new subscribers. 

 

For the aspiring chefs in your life, consider gifting a live online cooking class. Sur La Table currently offers affordable (starting at $29) group classes hosted online; we love the vegetarian Indian course featuring curried cauliflower, and the class on winter gnocchi. For a more personal experience, we recommend giving a private class from Pasta Social Club; Meryl Feinstein, trained chef and Resident Pasta Maker for Food52, offers customized one-on-one pasta classes from her home in Texas. The classes are personalized to the individual's skill level and preferences; she offers beginner classes with no special equipment necessary, as well as speciality pasta classes, such as handmade penne, tortellini and farfalle. 

 

For a friend or loved one who needs to take a moment and slow down, we recommend giving a year of the HeadSpace meditation app. The user-friendly app offers guided mediation, articles, videos, techniques, and more. The site is currently extending a 30% discount on new memberships. 

 

Book of the Month Club is an ideal last minute gift. Each month, the club sends a book (subscribers can choose from a monthly selection or be surprised!) to your front door. It's easy to pause or skip a month if you aren't ready for the next book. It's a great way to take a break from screen time and encourage friends and family to read more in the coming year. For kids, we love Literati, a similar service, which sends 5 age appropriate books the child each month, plus stickers and other fun extras. 

 

Rosetta Stone, one of the leading online language services, is now offering a lifetime membership for $179. The membership includes unlimited languages, no limit on classes, and no expiration date. Choose from Spanish, Greek, Hindi, French, and more - the service offers feedback on pronunciation, coaching on real-life scenarios, and live lessons for quick feedback and help. 

 

Send a taste of home! For family members who cannot travel home for the holidays, send food gifts (or gift certificates) for local restaurants that ship speciality food items directly to their front door through GoldBelly. Send dinner from Momofuku, macarons from Paris's La Durée, New York bagels and lox from Zucker's, or Wolfgang Puck's smoked salmon pizza. Bon appétit! 

 

For those shopping for a new scent - or perhaps young adults who haven't found their signature scent yet - we love Debonair. Each month, the service sends a customized selection of 3ML bottles of designer brand perfumes or colognes to the recipient's door, based on their likes and dislikes. Brands include Dolce and Gabbana, Burberry, Gucci, and more. The service will continue sending samples monthly until the recipient finds their perfect match. 

 

We mentioned in our last newsletter that the team here at British American Household Staffing is planning on giving to charities this year, in lieu of traditional cards and gifts. A charity donation in a loved one's name is a lovely gesture this time of year. For our list of recommended charities, click here

 

 

As always, we're here to assist with all your household staffing needs during this challenging time. Both childcare and cleaning professionals are considered essential workers and we have implemented strict protocols to make sure your family is as safe as possible. Contact us today to learn more.


Make This Season Special with a Private Chef

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As restaurants close down and we spend more time than ever at home, many families are choosing to hire private chefs, either on a permanent or seasonal basis, to make meal time a little more special. Whether you're planning a cold weather staycation or are looking for restaurant quality meals daily in your own home, we can assist. We have chefs across the U.S. and internationally and many are ready and willing to relocate. We still have a limited number of chefs with holiday availability; contact us today to hire the chef that's right for you. 

 

Contact us to hire a private chef today.

 

What is a Private Chef? 

A personal or private chef is hired on either a part or full-time basis by a family or single person. According to the American Personal & Private Chef Association,

 

“A private chef is employed by one individual or family full time, and often lives in, preparing up to three meals per day. A personal chef serves several clients, usually one per day."

 

A private chef will hold a degree from a reputable culinary school and will typically have a minimum of four years experience in a domestic setting. Their main responsibility is to prepare meals for an individual or family. They may live-in with the family to provide on-call service or plan weekly meals according to a set schedule. A common schedule for a private chef is to work mid-morning to evening in the home preparing lunch, dinner and breakfast for the next day. They will also be essential in planning any events in the home. 

 

Flexible to Meet Your Needs

To meet the changing needs of our clients, we offer part-time and full-time chefs for temporary and permanent placements. Many of our chefs are willing to live-in with your family, or travel as needed. We also have a roster of chefs with yacht experience if you have travel at sea planned in the coming year. As pandemic restrictions change and affect the way we eat out, shop, and spend time together, we have seen an increased demand for long-term placements, either to replace restaurant outings or to free up the principal's time, as well as short-term seasonal and holiday placements. 

 

Find the Right Speciality 

It is important to think about your family's unique needs when hiring a chef. Do you love French foods? Are members of your family vegan or vegetarian? Are you looking for a chef with farm-to-table experience? Extensive wine knowledge? Should the chef have experience with children? Many kid-friendly chefs will create healthy recipes to accommodate picky eaters, as well as invite the children to help out in the kitchen from time to time. From pastry chefs who make elaborate desserts and host chocolate tastings to experienced chefs who have the connections to source the best vegetables and seafood to classically trained French chefs, we can assist with finding a chef to meet your family's tastes. 

 

Stay Fit 

As gyms close, the holiday season nears, and most of us are busier than ever, it is easy to lose sight of our health and fitness goals. Many of us reach for the easiest - not healthiest - option when it comes to meal time and these choices affect our overall physical and mental health, as well as our weight. A private chef can help you and your family stay on track by providing nutritious and delicious meals without any of the stress of time-consuming preparations. Many of our chefs are trained to cook a variety of specific meal plans, including paleo, keto, low-carb, low-fat, and gluten-free. 

 

Save Time, Eat Better

The number of families employing private chefs has grown in the last decade. What was once considered an expendable luxury is becoming more and more popular and integral to the lives of busy families. For most, the convenience and support of having a private chef, as well as the health benefits, more than outweigh the cost. As an alternative to full-time in-home private chefs, some chefs will prepare meals in their own kitchen and deliver them to the client's home, as well as stock the refrigerator and pantry. 

 

See more about Staying Healthy with Meal Deliveries from Top Chefs


Hiring Household Staff During the Pandemic

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I think we can all agree that 2020 will be well and truly the year that we all take a well earned deep breath! It will also be the year that forced us to reassess our lives amidst the chaos of what we could and could not control. It broke work commitments, projects, deadlines and family get-togethers. However, perhaps once the dust has settled, this year may be actually remembered as the making of us rather than the breaking of us. The year that took away our comfort, our freedom, our variety, but in return, gave us back the seclusion and space to explore new directions.

 

When our GPS discovers a problem up ahead, it simply re-routes to get us to where we are going. At British American Household Staffing we pride ourselves on being a navigation that can re-route you when lost or struggling to get to where you need to be.

 

At British American Household Staffing we make it our priority to find the silver lining in the cloud that has disrupted so many lives this year. Being one step ahead of the unpredictable nature of life, we have developed an impressive roster of reliable, responsible, and recommended staff to service your household at this crucial time more than ever.

 

At the BAHS agency you can lean on us during a time of change and uncertainty in finding assistance and relief for your family and your household.

 

Now that most of us are working from home it can be very difficult to navigate the workload whilst being under the same roof as your family. Trying to manage your business and run a household, especially if you have a child or children, proves to be a great juggling act that even the most focused multi-taskers would become frustrated with after a while.

 

We recognised that this new normal has not only impacted the way we work, but how we view the household positions which could perhaps help take the workload off us even further.

 

At the BAHS agency we begin by determining what staff your home needs in relation to your life, both personal and professional.

 

Do you feel like a live-in nanny may help you with childcare now that the availability in daycares and schools are being constantly unreliable?

Do you feel a housekeeper could give you some breathing space with taking a load off your list?

Would adding a chef to your home give you those well deserved extra hours of freedom and peace to focus on work and family time?

At BAHS we consider three areas to be the most valuable when looking at making your household run more efficiently.

  • Childcare
  • Cleaning
  • House Management

 

 

Childcare

Childcare covers any position regarding children.

 

This includes nannies, governesses, tutors, newborn care specialists and maternity nurses. Additionally, some light general tidying and meal prep when it relates to the children are perfectly reasonable expectations for these roles, but no deep cleaning or home management is included unless specified and agreed.

 

A nanny will have a substantial amount of childcare expertise and experience, often holding a degree related to childhood education, such as Early Childhood Development or a Master’s degree in Education. Some nannies specialise in specific age groups such as infant or school age. Those who specialise in school age children are often referred to as governesses and will often be qualified to tutor certain academic subjects.

 

Nannies specialising in newborn care have extensive training and experience with newborns, infants and toddlers allowing them to understand the specific needs of each child’s development stage. Newborn nannies are often referred to as newborn case specialists, maternity nurses or baby nurses.

 

Cleaning

Cleaning refers to several specialised skills which fall on the duties of a housekeeper.

 

These include: deep cleaning, cooking, laundry, pressing, ironing, clothing care, wardrobe care and maintenance, couture clothing care and household organising.
Basic cooking or meal prep responsibilities are sometimes given to a housekeeper as well as general errand running. 

 

This is open to discussion and again, a personal choice between you and your chosen staff.

 

What exactly is the difference between a Housekeeper and a Cleaner?

While many cleaners are great for last minute tidying or once-over deep cleanings, there is a distinct difference between a housekeeper and a cleaner.

 

A housekeeper’s skill goes beyond deep cleaning - in addition, they also excel in organising closets by colour, style, season, their attention to detail in organising the home and their deep understanding of clothing care (steam, clean and hand wash) They will also be familiar with formal service including serving and formal table setting.

 

Management

A house manager is responsible for planning events, coordinating renovations and training other staff. They organise staff schedules, including the housekeepers (executive housekeepers and regular housekeepers or laundresses) and nannies. A house manager is usually responsible for attending to most staff-related issues within that particular property.

 

Where there are large or multiple homes, the estate manager will carry out the wishes of the principals at each location. Estate managers will have authority over all household and estate operations, managing extensive property and staff issues on a daily basis.

 

At times, a domestic couple is commonly hired to look after a seasonal or secondary property.

 

The most popular type are those of a housekeeper/cook and a driver/handyman which collaborate as covering all areas of running and maintaining the property.

 

There are also estate couples where one manage the estate and one is often a chef, however most clients value the domestic couple as they prefer having a couple to clean, organise, cook and drive collectively.

 

A domestic couple are usually either given a separate cottage/lodge or provided a separate living area for their time spent employed looking after the residence. Together they run one large home successfully and can often save the employer from needing to hire further or multiple staff.

 

house manager is typically responsible for all staff in a single property with their responsibilities at times overlapping with those of a butler, property manager or personal assistant. They deal with overseeing maintenance issues and making sure the running of the household is smooth and efficient.

 

Butler duties often vary but may include managerial responsibilities, keeping accounts, marketing, and maintaining the wardrobe for the principals of the residence. They often act as House Managers but rather than deep clean as housekeepers do — they often cook which is a perk valued by the client.

 

personal assistant role can vary from managing the family calendar, personal shopping, planning events, paying bills and arranging travel to handling investments.
Many, when required, even work in the office of the family business.

 

Now that businesses are slowly re-opening, you may be considering leaving the working from home scene behind and heading back to the office. The COVID-19 pandemic has more than just provoked a new focus on household employment with hiring in-home domestic and household staff as a more convenient option for those now working from home but also provides a safer option for childcare with many daycares and schools closing or operating with limited availability. You may choose to secure a live-in nanny for private, in-home care to limit the number of people exposed to your family.

 

One thing for sure is that there is no price on your peace of mind when it comes to your family and your home.

 

At BAHS we are here to listen and advise in support of your next step. Whether you’re making the permanent move to now fully work from home or you’re planning a return to the office, we have the incredible staff to provide you with the reassurance and the resources to bring organisation to your household. 
From household inventory to childcare, we can manage your most important needs and create a household harmony that you’ve been searching for.


Safe Holiday Destinations

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As we head into the holiday season, a time when many of us are accustomed to traveling with family and friends, it can be difficult to navigate the changing travel restrictions and safest options. Below we have put together a list of destinations that currently meet the criteria important to us: low COVID risk and relatively simple regulations for entry. We do recommend private travel, via chartered plane, yacht, or vehicle, whenever possible. As always, British American Household Staffing can assist with yacht and aviation staff as needed. 

 

British Virgin Islands

As of December 1, the British Virgin Islands are open to international visitors. The islands are currently marked as Level 1: Low Level of COVID-19 by the CDC; they have had only 73 cases since the pandemic began.  All visitors are required to take a PCR test ahead of arrival, followed by a 4 day quarantine in a hotel or villa and then a second test. After that second test is returned negative, visitors are allowed to travel freely. For a private, luxury experience, we love Oil Nut Bay on the eastern tip of Virgin Gorda, set on 500 stunning acres. The island, accessible only by boat or helicopter, offers accommodations ranging from single bedroom suites to 6-bedroom villas. We love the Water's Edge Villa, featuring a private infinity pool, 4 bedrooms, full kitchen, and spectacular ocean views. If you need a complete break from screens and the media, consider Guana Island. The 850 acre private island hosts just 35 guests at once, plus seven beaches, lush mountains, gardens, orchards, hiking trails, and even flamingos! There are no televisions on site and there is a heavy emphasis on nature, meditation, and well-being.

Email reservations@guana.com to book your stay. 

 

Bermuda 

We've mentioned it in previous newsletters but Bermuda remains one of our top recommendations at the moment - it is one of the safest and easiest places to travel to, with direct flights from London and New York City, and simple restrictions once visitors land. COVID tests are required but once the results are returned (usually within 24 hours), international visitors are not restricted in their movements around the island. Once there, enjoy the pink sand beaches, clear blue water and friendly locals. Stay at the Hamilton Princess for convenient access to beaches and downtown. For a secluded, luxury experience, consider the Rosewood. Make sure to spend an afternoon in historic Royal Navy Dockyard, where you'll find authentic hand-blown glass souvenirs, the National Museum of Bermuda, and gorgeous ocean views. 

Click here to view all travel protocols for Bermuda.

 

Vermont

Hawaii and Vermont are consistently ranked as the U.S. states with the lowest COVID case count. Be sure to check current quarantine restrictions per state before making plans as they change frequently; in most states, visitors with a negative COVID test can move freely around the state within a matter of days. For a stress-free stay in Vermont, we suggest Woodstock Inn and Resort. Here, traditional New England architecture is complemented by beautiful garden suites and hiking trails. For more privacy, book The Morgan House, a fully equipped house for eight just a short walk from the main inn. As snow is already in the forecast for much of Vermont, this would be a lovely choice for travelers seeking a picturesque escape for the holidays. 

 

Hawaii

We highly recommend considering Montage Kapalua Bay for your next vacation; the luxury hotel has created a partnership with Vault Health to simplify travel restrictions and make testing easier. Through the partnership, the hotel offers guests guidance on current restrictions, as well as the convenient option of an at-home COVID-19 test prior to their arrival in Maui. Once on the island, book one of the residence-style villas, complete with full kitchens, and access to all the resort's amenities. From outdoor spa treatments to pools, hiking, paddle boarding, golf and more, there is plenty to entertain the whole family. 

 

As always, we're here to assist with all your household staffing needs during this challenging time. Both childcare and cleaning professionals are considered essential workers and we have implemented strict protocols to make sure your family is as safe as possible. Contact us today to learn more.

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