How to choose your perfect Caribbean island destination

How to choose your perfect Caribbean island destination

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If you have set your sights on a Caribbean holiday, you will be faced with the difficult decision of choosing the perfect destination. Although all the islands are beautiful, they each offer something different.

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Let’s look at some of the nicest all inclusive Caribbean resorts to help you make up your mind.

Ease of access

If you are looking for a straightforward option, you may want to consider the islands offering regular direct flights from the US or Canada. One of these is The Bahamas, which boasts beautiful beach resorts and allows guests to hop between its multiple islands. Similarly, the Cayman Islands provide an array of waterside resorts where visitors can try their hand at diving and snorkelling.

If you are keen to discover some new cultures, why not take a trip to Jamaica, famous for its mouth-watering food? You can enjoy some reggae music and soak up the urban culture. St-Martin has two distinct cultures across its territory: Dutch and French. Although a relatively small island, it is very lively and accommodation is not that expensive. Other islands to consider are Aruba, Dominican Republic, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Travel further for new experiences

Although the next islands are not so easily accessible, this should not deter you; after all, you need to get in touch with your sense of adventure! Travel agents and resources such as can help to make the journey easier and save you time and money.

Anguilla is one of the most beautiful islands you will ever visit, and its population the kindest. Unlike islands such as Antigua and Barbados, you will feel far less isolated and less like a tourist. It has lots to offer, such as wildlife, history and water sports.

Most people will have heard of Cuba, St Lucia, British Virgin Islands, Dominica and Granada, but what about Bonaire, Haiti, Curaçao, St Kitts, or St Vincent and the Grenadines? The first and last are perfect for divers, while Haiti, Curaçao and St Kitts are well-suited to those who like to hike and explore their surroundings.

Add Guadeloupe to your top three if you want to taste some amazing seafood, or Trinidad if you are a fan of the pulsing Creole culture. Finally, Martinique features huge, unoccupied beaches and French-speakers will get by well.

6 benefits of buying custom furniture

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Most people are so used to buying furniture in a store that they don’t even consider the possibility of custom furniture. It is surprisingly easy to commission a piece of unique, affordable custom furniture.

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Here are six benefits of buying custom furniture.

It Is Normally Better Quality

Big companies that create mass-produced furniture are focused on reducing the business’s overall costs, which is why most in-store furniture is flat packed or made with cheap materials. Custom furniture requires a higher level of care and focus, so the materials are normally higher quality.

It Is Personalised For You

According to Chicago Business, custom furniture gives you a way to control what your piece is made of. You can work together with the carpenter to create a totally unique item for your home, and you can choose the style and the material. The piece of furniture will perfectly represent your tastes, and no one else will own the same piece.

You Avoid International Supply Chains

Most furniture suppliers buy products from across the globe, so it can be difficult to know where exactly the furniture came from. If you buy custom furniture, you know exactly how and where it was made, and you can even find out where the materials were sourced from.

It Is More Sustainable

In the last 40 years, the amount of furniture that is thrown away each year has increased by 385 per cent. This is shocking, especially when you consider that the population only grew by 50 per cent. Lots of store-bought furniture is made cheaply and does not last many years, but custom-made furniture is built to last for generations and the pieces are normally made with sustainable wood.

If you want bespoke commercial desks, check out websites such as for high-quality custom desks.

It Supports Local Talent

By choosing to buy from local carpenters and artisans, you help to increase the demand for an important craft that has existed for centuries. For most people, this is preferable to supporting a huge company that already has hundreds or thousands of customers.

It Is More Sentimental

Custom furniture holds more meaning and sentimentality than store-bought furniture as you are involved in the process of choosing styles and materials. This makes it an investment piece that you will treasure for years to come.

Benefits of a Forest School

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The idea behind Forest Schools has a long history. Scouts founder, Baden Powell, and educational theorist AS Neill both proposed the concept a century ago, to use the natural environment as part of the educational process. This is not the nature walks of most parent’s childhood, but a structured learning experience, with performance indicators and attainment targets.

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The Scandinavian model which is becoming widespread today is based on real pedagogical research in education systems which are the envy of the world. Finland, for example, has regularly been in the top three in the Pisa rankings for the last decade, and all of the Scandinavian countries’ education systems have outperformed the British since the rankings were introduced. So, there are real benefits to the concept, and the idea is growing in popularity in the UK.

Building confidence

The idea is to build a child’s confidence and allow them to develop independently as learners. This improves both communication and social skills. Group activities, sharing tools, and sharing knowledge in a natural environment all build up pupils’ learning skills.


Boredom is the bane of educational development. By engaging children in a natural environment, Forest Schools stimulate natural curiosity, and, because they are enjoyable experiences, they keep interest levels high. This makes the children active participants in the lessons, and active learners make better learners. This is particularly good for children with special educational needs, or those who struggle in the traditional classroom environment.
Of course, lessons need structure and learning outcomes, which are overseen by trained practitioners. When space is an issue for a school, there are recognised companies that can create bespoke education buildings and spaces to facilitate learning, such as

Positive outcomes

There are measurable longer term outcomes from Forest Schools. These include improvements in physical skills, fitness and ability, the development of gross and fine motor skills, a development of environmental awareness, and improved knowledge and understanding of the natural world. It also allows teachers and educators to provide different learning experiences to pupils and to gain a better understanding of their class’s educational needs.

Perhaps the most positive outcome is the impact that Forest Schools can have with children’s wider educational engagement. As pupils share their experiences with family and friends, it not only reinforces their own learning, but also encourages environmental engagement in the wider population.

Moving on to the Street

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Despite our uncertain weather, street food has become increasingly popular in the UK, and the variety of cuisines available from individual traders is amazing. If you are thinking of joining this idiosyncratic crowd and creating specialist gourmet food for your customers on the street, here is a brief guide to starting out.

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Legal Matters

Whether you decide to be a sole trader or to set up a limited company you will need to register with your local authority as a food business. They will inspect your operation and, in conjunction with the Foods Standards Agency, give you a Food Hygiene rating. You can find further information about the requirements on their website.

Other paperwork you will need includes public liability insurance, and the relevant gas or electricity safety certificates. Depending on where you intend to trade there may be other documents such as risk assessments that you need to produce – the manager of the market, festival or other venue will tell you their requirements.

What Food to Serve

You may already know what you want to cook, but bear in mind that whatever you choose has to be popular enough and quick enough to produce to make you money. Have a look at the competition, watch which stalls have the longest queues, and decide where your product will fit in. Then you have to make sure you make it better than the competition. The specific catering supplies that you need will depend on the specific foods you are supplying, but refrigerated storage is a must for everyone.

Consider your Venue

It is up to you to decide where you want to trade. Music Festivals are often a good bet, as tickets are sold prior to the event and they are usually busy whatever the weather. Markets can be a good regular source of income although customers at town markets are often more on the lookout for a bargain than a gourmet experience. Speciality farmers’ markets will attract more foodies, but they are usually held for just a weekend and you can expect takings to be lower than those you would get at a small music festival. Street food collectives are found in most major cities and attract people looking for unusual dishes. According to the Guardian many Street Food providers are moving indoors to venues such as Market House in Altrincham or Trinity Kitchen in Leeds.

Your Rig

If you need to set up your operation on a shoestring, a gazebo is probably the cheapest option. For speed and ease of setting up, a food van is the set up of choice, although they can break down or go wrong in other ways. Alternatively you could consider a trailer which would be more versatile and can be customised by installing the appropriate equipment from combination ovens sold by suppliers such as to commercial microwaves. Whatever you choose, it is important to make it stand out by a distinctive and easily recognisable paint job or banners to attract customers to your outlet.

Whatever you are supplying, you can improve sales by employing social media to promote your street food. Facebook and Twitter are the new “word of mouth” by which businesses have grown in the past.

A brave but absent King

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Richard I, also famous as Richard the Lionheart has gone down in history as one of England’s finest and bravest warrior kings. This was mostly due to his exploits across the continent and not really anything to do with his achievements in this country. In fact, he spent very little time in England, preferring to lead the battles against Saladin, the leader of the Saracens, as they had occupied Jerusalem. Read More

Promoting your New Year’s Eve party online

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Lots of businesses host their own events and New Year’s Eve is a great time to do so. Nobody wants to be left with no plans on what is often considered the biggest night of the year, so people are always on the lookout for things to do on New Year’s Eve. If you can get the word out about your party or event to enough people, it’s bound to be a great success.

For that to happen, you need to consider the channels through which your audience might hear about your party. While word of mouth is still a great way to raise awareness of a party or event, some of the other, more traditional means of advertising, such as radio/print, are not as successful as perhaps they once were. Of course, much of this depends on your demographic, but there is research to suggest that online advertising is now much more effective (and often cheaper) than traditional advertising.

As we draw closer to New Year’s Eve (now just a few weeks away), you may be starting to feel a little bit anxious – especially if you’re looking low on numbers. But don’t worry, there is still time to drum up a few extra attendees, and you can do so right from your computer at work or home. Just keep on reading to find out how…


Advertise on your website

If you own a website, make sure to mention your New Year’s Eve party on one of its most popular pages. You may even want to add something to the homepage, as this is where the majority of visitors will land when they come to your site. If you have access to edit your website, doing this shouldn’t cost you anything, and should take no more than a couple of hours to sort.

If you don’t have a website, get one! There are hundreds of benefits to having a business website, so why not speak to a local agency such as MA Design, web design in Cheltenham, to find out what’s available to you.

Run an AdWords campaign

Once you’ve put your advert onto your website, driving traffic to it with an AdWords campaign can be a great way to make sure it gets seen. While AdWords can be expensive and only works for as long as it is paid for, it can work wonders as a “quick fix” for online marketing. For something like promoting an event or party, AdWords can be very effective.

Post to social media

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great places to promote things like events and parties. In addition to providing you access to some of your existing customers and those who already follow you, most social media sites now allow post “boosting” that can help you to achieve an even wider reach. As social networking sites allow you to communicate with your audience on a more personal level, advertising your event or party here can be a great way to get more bums on seats.

Sell tickets online

You don’t need a full-blown eCommerce website to sell tickets online, just a PayPal account and a way to be able to send them out. If you can make it as easy as possible for people to buy tickets, you’re likely to sell more of them.

Kinky and comfortable

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Good quality bras don’t have to be dull. You can find many bras that will tap into your sexy side and leave you feeling comfortable and flirty. For the Prima Donna Deauville White Bra, visit . Comfort and sexiness can go together and here some different styles of bra that every woman should know about: Read More

Secret Santa Success!

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Whether you are on the naughty or nice list this year will depend on how generous your colleagues are feeling when it comes to Secret Santa gifts. There have been some truly awful gifts given in the name of Santa and here are some of the worst: Homemade sausages, Ceramic Sheep, Duct tape and leftover sweets from a previous Christmas. These are the kinds of presents that would be better off not given and make you wonder what an earth that person was thinking (or not thinking!). So if you’ve got the task of buying a gift for someone in your family or place of work this year, don’t get a dud. There are loads of great ideas out there so there’s no excuse for shoddy gift-giving!

For a fun desk toy that a sporty colleague will love, take a look at the desktop mini bowling set. This is such a lovely looking gift with a wooden base and little pins and a metal bowling ball that launches off the rotating launch ramp. A guaranteed laugh when the boss isn’t looking. Of course, wrapping up real Bowling Balls would be fun but maybe a bit obvious! For the fan of the real thing though, visit

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There is usually a cat lady in every office and so for her you could choose a box of 4 milk chocolate cats or a cute cat mug. Another adorable idea available online for all animal and wildlife lovers out there is a picture frame bird feeder. When hung from a branch, the birds that land in it will be sweetly framed in a picture. For the men, a range of metal construction toys are available featuring kits to build a Batmobile, a Star Wars AT-AT or an X Wing Fighter. Perfect boys toys!

A USB mini fridge for the desk is another quirky idea that will go down well. Big enough to put a soft drink can inside so drinks can be kept cool all day in the office. Chocolate lovers might appreciate the deluxe chocolate pizza that comes presented in a pizza box and those with a sweet tooth will love a mini jar of retro sweets or Grow your own Chocolate Flowers set. There is also someone in the office who is always cold so why not buy them a pair of fluffy hot boots so they need never moan about the draft under the desk ever again!

For the avid gardener or nature lover, Grow your own Bonsai Trees gift box is a cool idea that won’t break the bank. They can even grow the tree on their desk at work so you can all watch the progress. And for the techy person, I absolutely love the chopping board that looks like the Motherboard of a computer. Other quirky ideas include a set of light bulb glasses and a Queen of Awesomeness mug. Don’t get this for your boss though as you’ll look like you’re sucking up way too much!

5 great membership marketing ideas for successful campaigns

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When you’re planning a marketing campaign, there are some steps you should be taking from the outset to ensure that your marketing is as effective as it can be.

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Membership marketing forms a vital part of a campaign for non-profits businesses, whether it is through email or social media, print, or any other methods, but the key is to make it relevant. That must be the primary goal for any plan to engage membership; without it, content will not be interesting enough to make the reader take further action.


Be clear about what you are offering so that you know how to pitch it to the various segments of the audience. Consider whether you want to incentivise members to take action, such as making a donation, by offering enhanced benefits. With careful thinking and planning ahead, businesses can develop their story and then work toward bigger and better donations.

Check out PC Magazine’s Business Directory for more tips on membership management systems, which you can get from companies like

Targeting and Segmentation

Split your members into groups so you know who you’re talking to and can tailor your message. The more you can personalize it, the better response rate you’ll get, so it is worth taking the time to get this right at the outset.

Call to Action

Finally, be sure to include a call to action at the end of any marketing so there is a clear next step for your members, and create some urgency.

Measure Success

How will you know if your campaign is doing well? You need to build in an element of measurement so you know how many new members have signed up and how many have renewed. Campaigns must be planned on fact rather than intuition if there is to be prolonged success.


Once finished, it is vital to the success of future campaigns that you review and look honestly at what went well. Allow yourself time to review and assess, and generate ideas for future campaigns.

If you allow yourself time to review, you must be prepared to implement your key findings and not take things personally. Fine-tune messages if required, and ensure your next plan includes more of what has worked to get the best return on investment.

Canadian diamond mine completely relocates HQ to another state to save $19 million CAD

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The trend for global relocations is growing, driven by efficiency measures, an increasingly globalised world, a mobile workforce and ubiquitous connectivity, which makes it easier to do business across the world. Most large companies now will have operations across the world, with HQs often sited to take advantage of generous tax regimes, rather than being the philosophical heartland of the brand. One interesting example of this is McDonalds, who has only just announced that it will be relocating its non-US operations HQ away from Luxembourg to the UK.

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Meanwhile, in Canada, Dominion Diamond Corporation, the diamond giant, is planning to relocate its Yellowknife HQ in the Northwest Territories, down to Calgary in Alberta. Once fully in place, the move is expected to save the company $19 million CAD annually.

Concerning news for the Northwest Territories?

The move will cost around a hundred jobs in the Northwest territories though, and will strike a real blow for the local population, where employment is specific and can be scarce in some industries. The move is expected to be finalised in the middle of next year, without any expected interruptions to the Jay pipe project or the Ekati mine.

For those roles which are being transferred, it is not yet known whether any personnel will relocate, potentially aided by a corporate relocation company, such as

Ekati Mine operations to continue

This news will partially soften the blow at least for the NWT communities, as the Ekati mine is a key employer and economic driver in the area. Dominion Diamond has said that the cost savings made from the relocation will allow it to continue to commit to employment opportunities in the future. It has already stated that the majority of its workforce in the Northwest Territories will be retained, and that Yellowknife will still be a key operational area.

The news shows that corporations will no doubt continue to assess the viability of their operations in the coming year, to ascertain whether cost savings can be achieved by moving key sites to other locations, so long as local skills, trading conditions and infrastructure are adequate. This means that corporate relocation companies are likely to see growth in business, as key staff are transferred to new sites.

World headlines from the FT

Dozens of protests around the world push back against Trump presidency

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Hardline Sunni militant group claims responsibility for attack

Release of potentially explosive Odebrecht revelations in the balance

Children’s magazine Bamse to teach children not to believe all they read online

President sets sky-high expectations with promise to ‘forgotten man’

Tycoon turned politician says in populist speech that ‘American carnage’ will end

Leader of 22 years buckles to diplomatic and military pressure

Big European banks cutting back on some lending ahead of elections