Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mother's Extra Pair of Hands; Are You a Working Woman with No Time to Shop for Your Family? Our Agony Aunt Alice Hart-Davis Can Help Dear Auntie Christmas

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mother's Extra Pair of Hands; Are You a Working Woman with No Time to Shop for Your Family? Our Agony Aunt Alice Hart-Davis Can Help Dear Auntie Christmas

Article excerpt

Byline: ALICE HART-DAVIS

HELP, I'm a working mother and I find Christmas a nightmare. There are only three weeks to go and I haven't bought the groceries, let alone presents for the children, my husband and the in-laws.

Delegate. Busy People will do anything, anywhere (within the M25): from Christmas shopping (pound sterling10 per hour - tell them what the children want and they'll buy it), to cooking (from pound sterling15 an hour) and babysitting (from pound sterling10 an hour). Call 020 8981 8972, or visit www.busy-people.co.uk.

Or try Missellaneous (sic), who will dispatch a "personal assistant", at an "impulse" rate of pound sterling32.50 per hour. They will organise your Christmas, buy your tree, and write and post cards (020 7386 5104). Cushion the Impact do "anything legal" (020 7704 6922 or www.cushionthe impact.co.uk). They start at pound sterling20 per hour; the more hours, the bigger the discount.

For groceries, get acquainted with the internet: www.tesco.com (delivery pound sterling5) or www.sainsburystoyou.com (free delivery on orders over pound sterling50 until 19 December).

WHICH shops do the best wrapping paper, particularly varieties that don't tear?

With wrapping paper, you get what you pay for - and bargain rolls from charity catalogues are some of the worst offenders. "Thin, low-gram (40g-45g) paper rips very easily," advises Antoinette van Wyk, assistant stationery buyer at John Lewis, which has a huge range.

"Paper with a heavier gram is better quality, and will look and feel better.

Paper on a roll is usually 60g; flat wrap, more like 80g. If you're paying pound sterling1.75 a sheet or more, that will ensure excellent quality and strength."

Paperchase branches have a terrific range of funky, modern papers; from pound sterling1.75 a sheet, rolls from pound sterling2. …

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