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Penelope Alice

From the desk of Penelope Alice: a love story in Fitzrovia

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When I met up with our readers to sample some Indian food at Lokhandwala, neatly tucked away just a stone’s throw from the BT Tower, I didn’t expect to be taken away into a secret world of dinner, drinks and a story of love.

Sitting unassuming in central London, I almost walked past the building at first, the restaurant fits in perfectly on Charlotte street among bars and restaurants of every variety. Downstairs, the dining room offers Indian cuisine, served tapas-style and spectacularly bright sauces and accompaniments while sipping on elegant and colourful drinks. The room itself is muted and quietly stylish, letting the food pop on the plate.

Upstairs hides the event space, a secret speakeasy hiding access to exotic spirits and wines, complete with a four-poster bed. This is where the love story comes in; Lokhandwala is home to a Victorian London scandal where it draws its inspiration. Named after a historically infamous district of Mumbai, Lokhandwala was home to Vijay, a suave crime boss who caught the eye of Lady Charlotte Louisa Fitzrovia, the fourth Earl of Rockbourne and a Governor of Colonial India.

Sent away from India and set up in London, the restaurant now stands as a tribute to forbidden love within their ‘British House of Exile’. Upstairs, even sitting on the secluded roof terrace felt cosy and intimate, and surrounded by intricate décor really gave me the feeling of being taken away to another time, another land, away from the busy reality outside.

If you’re looking for a central London venue with class, charm and style, swing by Lokhandwala for a unique chance to meet with colleagues, clients and friends be it hidden away in the speakeasy, sat down for a meal or just propping up the bar.

And don’t forget to follow PA Life on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for more updates.

PA Life and The Black Tomato Agency at Ten Trinity Square

From the desk of Penelope Alice: Networking with The Black Tomato Agency

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With Mr P stepping up his affinity for treating clients to international adventures, I was so happy to see an invitation from PA Life to meet the folks at The Black Tomato Agency during a networking event at the gorgeous new Four Seasons Hotel Ten Trinity Square.

If you’re unfamiliar with the property, it’s one of London’s hottest new hotels, housed in the former Port of London Authority building opposite the Tower of London. It has taken the owners seven long years to lovingly restore the venue to its former glory and the care they’ve taken really shows. The façade is impressive enough, but then you enter one of the most beautiful lobbies I’ve ever seen – stunning marble floors and accents, a soaring domed ceiling and a classy bar located at what they call the Rotunda.

Upon arrival, we were swooped up to the second floor. Our event was held in the UN Ballroom, which was the venue for the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946. It’s the largest of the hotel’s five spaces, accommodating up to 250 people. The restoration works are most obvious in this room, with incredibly detailed, carved wood panelling covering the walls.

The service matches the setting, with attentive staff bringing a constant stream of canapés, bowl food and bubbles – three things I’m a big fan of. The food is of a high quality and definitely the kind of options Mr P would be happy with for our company events.

But last night wasn’t just about the venue, for we had been gathered there as a joint venture with PA Life and The Black Tomato Agency. The group’s Head of Sales David Heron explained how the team has taken their expertise in luxury travel excursions and turned it into a great tool for the corporate world. They offer a range of services, organising incentive trips for teams, designing the ultimate experiences to give away as prizes and helping clients get the word out about upcoming trips.

The experts at Black Tomato Agency work with you to ensure every part of the trip meets your brief and matches your objectives. They take all of the information you give them and look at different options to present to you, then continue to support you through the entire process, from booking to the moment you get back home. It sounds like the ideal way to keep your stress levels to a minimum when it comes to trying to get a group of people organised enough to go abroad together.

All around, I had a lovely night and enjoyed hearing more about the hotel and the agency in kind.

If you’re looking for a central London venue with class, check out The Four Seasons at fourseasons.com/tentrinity. Organising a group trip abroad, give The Black Tomato Agency a try at theblacktomatoagency.com.

PA Life Club members experience the best of Tudor Park

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A group of PA Life Club members recently travelled to Kent to network and experience everything on offer at Tudor Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club.

Attendees were welcomed with a glass of Bucks Fizz before being treated to a buffet lunch with a twist. Head Chef Alfonso Salvaggio teamed up with Hotel Manager Nick Hawkes to bring the outdoors inside with their ‘Garden of England’ theme, which features healthy salads served in flower pots arranged in a pop-up greenhouse and hot food kept warm on a barbeque grill, as well as freshly made waffles with sweet toppings and Starbucks coffee.

PAs were also able to unwind with a relaxing back massage and nail treatment between touring the venue and learning about the benefits of live plants in the office from Chic Flowers, which also provides arrangements for events.

Later, the group picked up some clubs to get a quick putting lesson from one of Tudor Park’s PGA pros before competing to win a bottle of champagne. Members were offered use of the hotel’s pool and leisure facilities to round out the day.

Find out more about Tudor Park HERE.

Nominations for the London PA Awards now open

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Nominations are now open for The London PA Awards for you to put yourself or a colleague up for recognition. Nominations close on 9 May, so don’t miss out.

The London PA Awards are the brainchild of Amy Law, Director of Sales and Events at The Hippodrome. Having worked with countless PAs during her career, she soon came to realise that they were the unsung heroes of the industry and she wanted to put this right. So together with support from The Hippodrome Casino, London Launch, Tate Recruitment and The London Chamber of Commerce & Industry, she launched the awards back in 2014 to great success.

The first year saw 170 nominations with more than 10,000 votes cast. The following year saw 300 nominations and 17,000-plus votes, but 2016 saw that number smashed with more than 1,000 nominations and 30,000 votes.

Each award category is assigned a champion and sponsor who, together with the event committee, source a venue for a networking event to promote the specific category and the awards in general. This gives the PAs the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals, plus the opportunity to sample some first-class venues. The venues benefit from being introduced to upwards of 50 PAs, all with the ability to hire the venue for future events – all in all a win-win situation. For a full list of upcoming events, visit londonpaawards.co.uk/events.

The awards are a simple idea but with a far-reaching effect not to be under-estimated. Nominations close on 9 May at 6pm, so be sure to get yours in as soon as possible. Visit londonpaawards.co.uk to submit a nomination or for more information. PA Life is sponsoring the “Above and Beyond” category.

Penelope Alice grooves to the beat at Karen Hardy Dance Studios

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A group of PAs got to cut a rug last night with a taster of Strictly Come Dancing life at Karen Hardy Dance Studios in Chelsea Harbour.

Readers and PA Life Club members gathered at the venue for some bubbles and delicious canapés at the in-house champagne bar before putting on their dancing shoes to learn the ever-popular cha-cha. Our instructors Honor and Eddie looked fabulous in their glitzy, glittery costumes as they ‘walked’ the group through the steps of the cha-cha. I even joined in the fun, channelling my inner Karen to twist and twirl to the beat of Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson songs – check out our Twitter page to see videos of us in action.

The studio space is perfect for corporate events such as drinks receptions, and the dance lessons provided by the instructors offer a unique team-building experience. You can even round out an event with a live demonstration by the experienced team of award-winning dancers.

Karen Hardy Dance Studios was established in 2008 by the eponymous professional dancer and winner of Strictly Come Dancing, along with her husband Conrad Murray. From the moment you walk through the door you are greeted with luxury and glamour – from the Swarovski crystal-encrusted wallpaper and chandeliers to the bespoke furniture, this riverside Imperial Wharf studio is the perfect venue for your next corporate or team-building event.

Check it out at karenhardystudios.com.

PA LIFE CLUB MEMBERS TEST THEIR OSCARS KNOWLEDGE AT SEARCYS 30 PAVILION ROAD

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PA Life Club members gathered for a networking evening at Searcys 30 Pavilion Road this week, where they tested their knowledge of the silver screen – past and present – to compete for three magnums of champagne.

The evening began with networking and delicious canapés and a selection of bowl food that showcased the catering talents of the Searcys team. Meanwhile, PAs sipped Searcys brand champagne and had the chance to take a look at the venue, which is the original Georgian townhouse of the Searcys family. The property – which is the oldest in the Searcys family of venues – is available for exclusive hire and has hosted famous events such as the marriage of Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit.

Later in the evening, guests were invited to take their seats in the ballroom, where the Searcys team put on a fantastic ‘Silver Screen’ quiz featuring questions themed around the Oscars, testing the PAs’ knowledge of films both past and present. Each table worked as a team, while the winning table was entered into a lightning round to determine the three PAs who would win the ultimate prize – two magnums of Piper-Heidsieck and one of Searcys champagne. Throughout the evening Club members were able to sample a charcuterie board followed by flavoured popcorn and ice cream served from usherette baskets, just like the old days of cinema.

Those who attended the event will now be entered for the chance to win two tickets to the exclusive London Oscars party taking place on 26 February at Ham Yard Hotel in Soho.

Searcys will be hosting another event later this year, so be sure to watch your inbox for your invitation.

View the picture gallery from the event HERE.

To find out more about 30 Pavilion Road, visit 30pavilionroad.co.uk.

Silver Screen quiz at Searcys 30 Pavilion Road

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6 tips to help you win at a performance review

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Performance reviews are a necessary evil for office workers. They allow you to keep in touch with how your boss feels you’re doing so you can set clear objectives for yourself every year. These meetings also give you the chance to prove you’re worth the investment – and perhaps bargain for a pay rise along the way. Here are some tips from Glassdoor for winning at your next performance review.

1 Establish and enforce your boundaries
Saying yes to every task handed to you regardless of whether or not you can actually do them is a very bad idea. If you genuinely don’t think you’re capable of delivering on something, don’t take it on board. That way you don’t make false promises, which will save you having to make excuses during your performance review.

2 Prepare yourself
Performance reviews often devolve into your boss telling you everything you’re doing wrong. Take matters into your own hands by compiling a list of your accomplishments and successes ahead of your meeting.

3 Stay positive
A performance review need not be something that scares you. Stay upbeat and make sure that attitude comes across during your meeting. Your boss will appreciate the fact that you can remain positive even if he or she brings up a few concerns.

4 Put yourself in your bosses shoes
Conducting a performance review is not a fun job, especially if you have several team members under your wing. You can make your boss’s role in the meeting easier by pointing out the ways you’re helping them achieve their goals. Give him or her as much information as he or she needs to conduct an effective review, saving them time and giving them something to shout about if they have to provide a report to their own manager.

5 Provide solutions
That being said, don’t be tempted to divert attention away from your mistakes by bombarding your boss with the positive things you’ve done. If there wasn’t a problem, he or she wouldn’t bring it up, so accept responsibility and offer tangible solutions to fix the situation.

6 Gather support
The role of the PA can be very isolating, but that doesn’t mean you’re a lone wolf in your company. Gather a support network of colleagues who can help you achieve your goals and lend them a hand in reaching theirs. The ability to collaborate with your co-workers will look very good when it’s time for your performance review.

Above all else, your review is a chance to improve, so never look at negative feedback as a bad thing.

Read the original article at bit.ly/2kjxxZa

4 THINGS YOU SHOULD REMOVE FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE

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If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile but you’re thinking of looking for a new job, you need to create one immediately. If you do have one but haven’t updated it recently, it’s time to freshen it up a bit. Here are four things you should consider deleting from your LinkedIn profile if you’re hunting for the perfect role, according to The Muse.

1 Old experience
If you have plenty of professional experience to validate your skills, it’s probably a good idea to remove older items from your profile. Unpaid work experience is the first thing to chop, followed by jobs that aren’t relevant to your current career path.

2 Unendorsed skills
Those familiar with LinkedIn will know that your connections can “endorse” you for certain skills. Ask your colleagues and bosses both past and present to do you this small favour. If there are any skills left untouched, consider removing them to avoid seeming like you’ve only got them on your profile as keywords.

3 Uninspiring accomplishments
LinkedIn profiles have been streamlined, which on one hand is great but on the other means you need to be careful that your accomplishments don’t get swallowed up by each other. Only keep the items you really want potential employers to notice, such as awards and successful projects – and only those that are relevant to the job.

4 Ancient recommendations
Just as people can endorse your skills, they can also leave a detailed recommendation on your profile. While it seems counterintuitive to delete any of these comments, those left years ago might not apply to the direction you’re taking your career. If a recommendation was left by a colleague about a job that is no longer relevant (or that you’ve deleted from your experience list), give it the chop.

With a finely tuned LinkedIn profile, you’ll soon find employers chomping at the bit to get you on board.

Read the original article at muse.cm/2jTUTUP