Monday, 2 May 2016

Virtual Assistant 397 at your service!

A big hello to my lovely readers! Today, I have a post that is a bit of a promo for me, as I tell you all about my home based business, Virtual Assistant 397. You may have noticed in my Google+ profile that I also enjoy working part time, remotely, offering administration and business support to small and medium sized businesses, as a virtual assistant. No, you hadn't noticed? Well let me explain.
Just over 3 years ago, I set up this business to enable me to keep my skills up to date and allow me to earn an income around my family commitments. At that stage, 2 of my children were at school but I still had one at home with me. I didn't have the freedom and flexibility to leave each day to go to a workplace without serious disruption to my family's routine and I didn't want to pay huge child care fees. So Virtual Assistant 397 was born.

My tag line is..........

Professional, reliable, accurate, cost effective business support to save you time & money

......and that's exactly what I do. With over 20 years professional experience in both the public and private sectors, I have extensive experience in business administration and support. I am Tertiary qualified and pride myself on being thorough, accurate, dedicated and having a high attention to detail.

Examples of services I offer to assist business include:
Media Monitoring
Internet Research
Data entry
Assisting with the development and promotion of events held on-site or on line
RSVP management
Sponsorship management
Travel bookings 
Data entry
Manage your enquiries in box
Take appointments and organise your diary
Type and format letters, proposals, agendas, minutes of meetings, reports
Creating templates, eg: faxes, letterhead, presentations
Manage your social media 
Editing and reformatting documents
Mail merges, eg: labels, form letters, invitations and name tags
Producing newsletters, flyers & brochures
Collating reports and produce Board Report
Desktop Publishing
Customer Surveys
Mailing Lists
Job Applications
Financial reporting and BAS
Web site design & maintenance

The major benefits of outsourcing tasks like this to me is that, firstly, the work is done promptly, accurately and to a high standard. Secondly, it is very cost effective for business owners as they don't have the expense of employing staff at their workplace, on a permanent basis, with all the costs associated with this.
For lots more information, please visit my website 
Recently, I have decided to build up this business once again for basically the same reasons that I started it. So, please look no further for superior business administration support and contact me today! Please also feel free to share this post amongst your networks :) xxx

Professional, reliable, accurate, cost effective business support to save you time & money

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Living and loving a lot in fantastic 2015!

I have not made the time to write for a while now and this is not good! So let me fix that. Today, the idea struck me to take a look back over 2015, now that the New Year is here. As I am a bit camera happy, I have a great collection of photos from all through the year that have made it really easy to see just what I have been up to with my family and friends. And what a sensational year it was! Join me now as we walk back through 2015, month by month, as I create another entry in my 'living journal', my beloved blog, recording the living and loving that I adore.
January was hot, like it is every year. It is Summer, my favourite time of year for many reasons. My garden grows the best, I can enjoy the outdoor life that I love, everything comes alive and is vibrant. My children are all ready to hit the beach, posing in my garden that is flourishing in the warmth. My kids spend a lot of time with me outside in this glorious climate and love the beach and the pool in Summer.
Last January was my first experience of a Summer veggie garden. I had many, many tomatoes and here you can see some of them. I am outside, working in the garden a lot in Summer and here is the perfect example of why. I love the way my plants grow and thrive, I love to feel the warmth of the sun, it makes me feel alive and gives me energy.
February was an exciting month. I had my fourth Art Exhibition at a local cafe. I enjoyed looking back over my work that I have collected over many years and displaying it for the world to see.
The only problem was that I exhibited work from my own private collection and this was a mistake. Of course each piece was for sale and this was a bit painful. Looking back, I should have taken the time to paint all new pieces for display and sale, that I could easily part with. I will do that next time. Anyway, it was lots of fun, gave me a big thrill and I received lots of positive feedback on my work and encouragement to keep painting. This felt good.
On Opening Night, I invited my family and friends to join me for a little celebration. We packed the place that night, it was a full house. Later on, some good friends joined me for a meal, it was a great night and a wonderful experience.
In March, my husband and I travelled to Phuket in Thailand for the second time. We love it there, we love almost everything about the place. We always have an amazing holiday when we travel to Thailand and have created some wonderful memories.
It was my husband's birthday the day after we arrived, so we went out to celebrate at one of our favourite venues in Phuket. A fantastic night, in fact, the whole 10 days we were there was brilliant. We can't wait to go back again. Next time, we are planning on taking our kids with us for a real family holiday. They will love it too, we are sure.
Not long after we got back from Thailand in April, it was Easter and we drove interstate to Adelaide to stay with a close friend and her kids. We had beautiful weather and again, lots of fun.
This friend of mine is very dear to me and we really know how to enjoy ourselves when we are together. It was sad when she moved far away but we are still in touch and very good friends.
It is now May and Autumn is most certainly here. I enjoy watching the leaves on the trees change colours and fall. It is starting to get cold as Winter approaches.
In May, it is also Mother's Day in Australia. I always celebrate the day with my mum. We usually get together, have lunch and a laugh.
In June, we start our kids' birthday celebrations. For Adam's birthday, he had a ride in his all time favourite car, a Lamborghini. This gave him a big thrill and he couldn't stop smiling all day.
I made Adam's birthday cake, just the way he wanted it and he was a very happy boy.
July saw our daughter turn 5. She is growing up fast and will start school this year. Julia makes us proud with her bright and bubbly personality.
She had a birthday party with her good friends. They are all as cute as each other and have a lot of fun together.
We also had a party of our own for fun in July. It was a fondue night and the theme was 1970's. Any excuse for me to dress up is a good one and I had a great time with my friends.
I decorated the place and put on a good meal. There was plenty of everything and Winter is the perfect time to enjoy fondue.
A great night was had by all and I love getting people together to let their hair down a bit.
In August, we celebrate our second son's birthday. Here I am with my adorable Marc, the cheeky one. Last year, we celebrated at home with a family dinner.
That night, we celebrated in fine style with an Italian banquet of fresh, home made fettuccine with a trio of sauces, veal schnitzels, garlic bread and a green salad. I also made Marc a Tiramisu cake and he loved it all.
In September, it is my birthday. I had a wonderful time with my husband who spoiled me rotten with champagne and dinner at one of our favourite restaurants. You can see how happy I am on this day.
The following weekend, the family and I stayed at a place called Anglesea which is a coastal town along The Great Ocean Road. It was nice to get away with the kids and enjoy the beach.
It was very cold, but that didn't matter. I love the beach all year round and we spent hours walking along it. This was a really good family weekend getaway and we all had fun.
In October, my brother came to visit us. He also lives interstate. We don't get to see each other very often but make sure that we keep in touch throughout the year. We always enjoy each other's company and he really likes to spend time with my kids.
The following weekend, we flew to Tasmania to visit my brother-in-law. He has just moved there so we wanted to go and see the place that we had heard so much about. He works at sea so is only at home for a few months at a time.
He showed us around Hobart while were there and it was so good to see him again.
It is November now and things are starting to warm up. I am back out in my garden, dancing like no one is watching.
I am loving the fact that I can get back into short sleeved tops and thongs again. My garden is starting to get that Summer feel about it and I couldn't be happier.
December was a very busy month with my eldest son graduating from Primary School. Here he is looking very smooth, standing next to a friend's Mustang. He was so thrilled to make his grand appearance at his Graduation in this car.
And then it was Christmas again! I went to town, with a fresh Christmas tree, lights and all the trimmings. I love Christmas time with my family.
I cooked a traditional Christmas lunch and it was a beautiful day.
Well, if we hadn't already done enough this year, we certainly finished it off with a bang and went camping at Bendigo. We have a great set up and thoroughly enjoy the great out doors.
I love to cook outside in the open air and here is my effort for breakfast each morning, bacon and eggs.
It was hot while we were there and we all had a ball.
Wow! See what I mean? What a fantastic year! We had plenty of travelling and family celebrations, great experiences and good times. We saw family and friends that we don't get to see very often......and most importantly, we had a lot of loving. So when I decided to start this blog just over 3 years a go and had to give it a name, I couldn't have picked a better title than 'Live a Little, Love a Lot'.......because that is exactly what I do! Happy New Year, my dear readers, I look forward to sharing many more good times and laughs with you this year :) xxx

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The Bountiful Barbecue

You might have worked out by now that we love barbecues at our place. I have even named our BBQ Bertha! A few weeks ago, I felt like getting a bit creative and made what I like to call 'The Bountiful Barbecue'. I want to show you what I got up to as you may get some ideas for your next BBQ from this post.  I usually reserve my cooking posts for my 'Little Italy' blog and when I was trying to work out where to put this one, I decided on 'Live a Little, Love a Lot' because this is exactly what I was doing, putting a lot of love and passion into the evening meal that my husband and I enjoyed alone. We had the weekend to ourselves as our children were away and had a bountiful BBQ for two.
I started off with making my own tzatziki. This is so very easy and when you know how, you will never buy this from a supermarket again. Simply grate one cucumber, crush garlic and mix this through some Greek yoghurt. It is that simple. This is also great to have on hand when you cook lamb, the perfect addition to your own home made souvlakis.
Enjoy your own tzatziki dip with some crusty bread for a pre dinner nibble. It is delicious.
My first barbecue item was Asian inspired meat balls. These provide a nice change from your usual hamburger mince. Here are the ingredients: soy sauce, ginger, black pepper, garlic, brown sugar, finely chopped spring onions, beef mince, one egg and bread crumbs.
Blend these ingredients together and form meat balls that have a really interesting flavour.
You can then put them on to skewers to make cooking them on the barbie easier.
Who could have a barbecue without a succulent pepper steak? Here I have some lean sirloin steak covered in crushed black pepper.
To make a sensational sauce for your pepper steak, try this. Combine cream, beef stock, brandy, horseradish and brown sugar in a pan over medium heat. This tastes fantastic over a barbecued pepper steak.
I really enjoy mushrooms cooked on the barbecue and these ones are superb. I stuff them before cooking with chopped spring onions, bread crumbs, chopped smoked ham, Parmesan, olive oil and oregano.
Here are the mushrooms ready to go. Again, this is a really interesting mix of flavours and they taste great on the barbie.
Another all time favourite of mine that is very easy, is a hot roast tomato salad, cooked on the barbecue. Lightly cook your tomatoes on the hot plate until soft. Then combine olive oil, honey, capers, garlic and soy sauce, pour over your tomatoes. This has a real tangy bite to it and is a great addition to you plate.
And last but not least, try some honey soy chicken skewers. These are the ingredients for your marinade: olive oil, soy sauce, honey and ginger. Combine in a bowl.
Cut up your chicken breast fillets into cubes and marinate in this blend for an hour or so.
Then skewer the chicken pieces with chopped spring onions and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Yummy!
Here is the bountiful barbecue for two. Usually we eat outside, but on this night it was too cold. Add to my barbecue creations some greens and a glass of red, and you have one super special BBQ! As I always say, it never hurts to live a little and love a lot, even when you are having a barbie :) xxx