Renwed fascination with the royals is inspiring West Aussie women to get etiquette training. Class enrolments are up since Meghan Markle took royal lessons before getting hitched to Harry. Perth etiquette expert Elizabeth Soos runs “how to be a duchess” classes, which include lessons on proper manners and protocols.
Her pupils include Germaine Koh, of Fremantle, who said she felt outside her comfort zone at high-end cocktail events a few years ago for her fiancé’s work in Monaco, Italy and London.“ I felt really uncomfortable because the level of etiquette at the posh places we went to, particularly in Monaco, was beyond anything I had come across before,” Mrs Koh said. Not only has she learnt the high tea rules of engagement and other palatial requirements, but the Singaporean-born woman, who is stepping into real estate, was schooled on how to make the best first impression. Armed with the training and a new wedding band, Mrs Koh was ready to mingle with the Hermes bag clique when she again accompanied her new husband for overseas functions late last year. “I was so much more confident at these events compared to my previous trips, I just wish I had done the duchess course sooner,” she said. “To know the proper etiquette is good for everyone, it shows respect to your partner, respect to business. It’s not only a matter of my husband making a good impression but also for partners.”
Ms Soos said the royal wedding had helped return etiquette to the spotlight. She said Meghan had gone through a phenomenal transformation in a short period, with royal watchers noting her improvements in how she curtsied and interacted with other family members and the public. “People might think etiquette sounds old fashioned and they think of Queen Victoria or young Queen Elizabeth but etiquette is respect for other people and it goes back to treating people how you would want to be treated,” Ms Soos said.
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There is nothing like the aroma of a BBQ. For Australians, the summertime BBQ is a time-honoured, iconic institution. All of us crave the taste of a BBQ. I know I do! Australian BBQs are usually relaxed, jovial gatherings, which everyone loves to attend. How did Australians come to love the BBQ? Let us head back in time, back to when Australia was first being settled by the British.
The only way of cooking was to use wood, fire and the meat that was brought over on the first fleet of ships and thereafter. Those who became the stockmen, drovers and swagmen (shepherds in Australia), who would drive thousands of stock from feeding place to feeding place, in remote places over long periods of time, would cook and eat meat from the land. Perhaps it was kangaroo, wallaby or their own stock, like lamb or beef.
Though the term was somewhat known as a large, outdoor feast, the word, ‘barbecue,’ (or the shortened, ‘BBQ’) was rarely used in Australia. According to an Australian food timeline, backyard barbecues in Australia didn’t take hold as the social events that they have now become, until the early 1900s. The first use of ‘barbecue,’ for an Australian event is reportedly a notice for the Waverley Bowls Club’s Leg o’ Mutton Barbecue in 1903.
The term caught on for more social and civic events in the following years. It wasn’t until the 1950s though, that the idea of private BBQ's in outdoor kitchens really caught on. Since then, Australians have never looked back. Here are a few tips when you receive that very Australian BBQ invitation:
1. Reply back as soon as you acquire your invitation. A good Australian host will need to know how much meat, sausages and salad to purchase fresh on the day of the BBQ.
Popular beers enjoyed at an Australian BBQ? Traditionally seen at Australian BBQs are Coopers Brewery Original Pale Ale, Crown Lager, Little Creatures Pale Ale, Carlton Draught, James Boag’s Premium Lager, Victoria Bitter, Tooheys New, Cascade Draught, Tooheys Extra Dry, Hahn Super Dry, Corona Extra, and Heineken.
Salads commonly seen at BBQs are potato salad, rice, coleslaw, pasta, lettuce based salads with avocado, Greek or even Caesar style salads.
Cold vegetarian bakes can include quiches, vegetables with cheese toppings, vegetable and pasta bakes, roasted vegetables.
Desserts to finish the night are often Pavlova, trifle, fruit salad, cheese platter, Swiss roll or chocolate cake.
3. Being invited to a BBQ is an informal affair. No need to dress up. Casual, chic and comfortable is advised. You will be possibly standing on the lawn, it’s best to leave your heels at home and wear espadrilles, ballet flats and even thongs.
4. Arrive at the suggested time. When you arrive you may find a friendly game of backyard cricket or badminton. You may be encouraged to join in or watch the kids play.
5. Assist the host or hostess if you see that help is needed. Ask though, before jumping in. Many BBQ's are informal occasions and you’ll possibly receive a casual invitation on the day itself, or the day before. Don't be scared to pitch in, or to offer a hand. It can make for great conversation and it helps you to get to know others swiftly.
6. What you will find cooking on the BBQ will most often be steak, sausages, marinated chicken, mince patties, lamb chops, onions, seafood grilled and few vegetables such as corn, capsicum or pumpkin.
Don’t touch the BBQ while hot. For many reasons, at an Australian BBQ there will always be a designated cook. They will assume responsibility for cooking the meat to perfection. Feel free to gather around the BBQ and chat with your host, with a drink in hand. The cook or host will be more than happy to accommodate the way you like your meat to be cooked. Taking over, you might find that a further invite may not be forthcoming. Complimenting the chef, however, works like a charm and you’ll probably be invited back.
7. Every good Australian household will have mosquito repellent, in the form of coils that can be burnt away from the dining setting or you can spray repellent during the night. Your host will usually store this in the laundry cupboard, however, a polite guest won’t go through someone else’s cupboards without permission to do so. If you are eating inside, all windows and doors have fly screens to keep the buzzing enemies on the right side of the door.
8. Leave your phone in your back pocket or bag. Australians love to chat and tell stories and vice versa. If you are constantly on your phone, it will indicate that you are not interested in being there and you will be remembered by your hosts and other guests for all the wrong reasons.
9. Lastly, after thanking your host and or hostess, again compliment your cook, and leave at the suggested time.
Safety - It’s essential to listen to the safety briefing. It really does save lives. Give your captain and crew your attention at the bringing of your trip.
No ‘Shoe Rule - ’When you board and cross the passerelle or gangway, there will be a basket for your shoes. Reason for this, beautiful teak wood boards are laid and highly polished. Wearing black souled shoes to colour and scuff, any heel will leave indents and shoes generally will bring in dirt, dust, gum and even tar from roads and sidewalks. This is your chance for your pedicures to shine and don’t be afraid to show them off.
Service Staff - If you have boarded an American yatch, then service staff have been trained to interact with clients. European service staff will give you the service you need and require however they will keep invisible and quite.
Planning Ahead - The company you have booked through will provide a chance for you to fill in a preference sheet. This will list your likes and dislikes and what you plan to do while on-board.
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Today we are constantly flooded by messages from everybody about everything: email alerts, messages and ideas from friends, family. Yet when we don’t feel that tingle that comes from seeing a new message on our phone we wonder and wait for one, or send messages ourselves to provoke a response. We can take control of this. To help, here are a few phone etiquette rules you can follow yourself or for your family: