A brave but absent King

A brave but absent King

Christopher Walker No Comments

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

Christopher Walker No Comments

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

Christopher Walker No Comments

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 http://www.orchidlingerie.co.uk/white-prima-donna-deauville-full-cup-bra . Comfort and sexiness can go together and here some different styles of bra that every woman should know about: Read More

Secret Santa Success!

Christopher Walker No Comments

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 http://www.petesproshop.co.uk/acatalog/bowling-balls.htm

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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 http://www.ofec.co.uk/Membership-Management-Systems.aspx.

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 http://www.dtmoving.com/relocation-services.

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.

A secret Derbyshire timber home sold for £400,000

Christopher Walker No Comments

A quaint stone cottage, along with a timber-framed hut and five acres of woodland, recently sold for twice its guide price at auction. The cottage is hidden deep in the woods around an old quarry in Derbyshire.

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The property was purchased at the auction conducted by SDL Graham Penny at Derby’s iPro Stadium by an anonymous middle-aged buyer, who competed against online and telephone bidders for the unique house in Milford. The eventual selling price was £400,000, which was double the guide price of around £200,000.

Unique property

Before the auction took place, the stone cottage and timber hut had generated considerable interest, with more than 60 potential buyers viewing the hidden site. It only took minutes for the price to start skyrocketing.

Properties such as this do not come onto the market very often, and buyers who want the perfect timber property will typically have to work with a timber frame construction company to achieve their dream. This Derbyshire site will need complete refurbishing internally, but it does have a lot of potential and is set in superb surroundings.

The original builder of the house is said to be the Old Quarry Wood’s former owner, and the timber hut was once used by local Scouts. It is around 20 years old and was constructed by a bricklayer who has carried out some beautiful brickwork on the main property.

Growth of timber frame homes

Timber frame properties, such as those designed by http://www.qtfhomes.co.uk/, are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners who want to construct their own home that is ecological and cheap to run. The Timber Trends report estimates that by 2017, 27 per cent of all new homes will be timber framed, which opens up plenty of opportunities for construction companies and buyers.

The benefits of this type of construction, which allows both commercial and residential buildings to be ready sooner than they would be with other methods, are now being recognised more widely, particularly by the relevant Government departments. This means that timber is being used not just by a specialist timber frame construction company; it has also been adopted by some of the larger developers.

Constructing properties from timber creates a range of unique design opportunities and allows home owners to make their own little woodland hideaway or something a bit more central if they’d prefer.

Marketing predictions for 2017

Christopher Walker No Comments

This time of year always sees marketing professionals looking ahead for the big trends that are likely to dominate the profession in the year ahead. What is likely to be in store for 2017?

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It is certainly a truism that digital will continue to dominate. Although print retains its use and value for specific marketing applications and campaigns, the role of digital is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and changing at a pace that can challenge some marketing professionals.

Cross-device functionality uptick

This will pick up speed, improving lift and offering more accurate attribution by targeting users across a range of devices and engaging them across video, display, mail, social and more.


More programmatic spend will be in place across the full customer journey, helping spend on marketing activities to become more accountable. This will be key in an environment in which budgets are more constrained than ever before and the pressure is on for marketers to prove ROI.


Brands will implement third-party solutions for identity, such as to help with regulations around consumer data collection. This will be more important as brands rely on a range of different devices to market to customers. Many will use a brand and strategy innovation agency such as www.lightbulbinnovation.com/ to ensure they are compliant and developing digital assets in the right way.

First-party data

First-party data refers to specific data held within a company that is not shared by anyone else and is used to gain insight into customer profiles and combined with third-party data as required. More of this functionality is expected in 2017 to improve analytics and data collection for decision making.

Artificial intelligence

This coming year is being heralded as the first that artificial intelligence (AI) will really come into its own. This will put the pressure on marketers to tie all the necessary data elements together, ensuring the right creative, audience, device, message and timing. As data is gathered on an ever faster, grander scale, AI will provide a means of processing it and provide usable analytics for informed decision making.

The question is, can your business say it is ready to take on this year’s marketing channels? Does it have a robust strategy and delivery plan in place to keep ahead of the competition and stay ahead of the curve?

A time to wait

Christopher Walker No Comments

So you’ve locked yourself out of the house, frustrating yes but try not to get stressed about it. Lots of people do it and some do it repeatedly! Once you’ve called a locksmith, here are some things that you can do to pass the time:

If you have a car and you’ve not locked yourself out of that as well then this is the perfect refuge especially at night at if the weather’s cold. Stay warm and relatively comfy and try not to focus on all the things that have gone wrong about your plans that evening or afternoon. These days you can catch up with anything that you’ve missed on TV with the simple press of a button so no need to worry about missing your favourite soaps.

If you don’t have a vehicle to shelter in then what about access to a garage or shed that might be unlocked. OK so the shed might be stretching a bit as I wouldn’t fancy snuggling up to all those spiders but I guess it depends on how bad the weather is out there. If all else fails then find a porch, overhang or even a tree would do. If it’s night and you feel a little vulnerable then see if you can call in at a neighbour’s house and ask to shelter and maybe use their phone if you haven’t got your mobile with you. For a Belfast Locksmith, visit http://www.belfastlocksmiths247.co.uk/

Now you’ve sorted out where you are hunkering down to wait for assistance, what can you do to pass the time? If you have your mobile phone then great, you can play games, catch up on emails, read a digital book or check the news. Escape with a bit of retail therapy or update social media with your latest escapade! If you don’t have any digital distraction then just relax and use the time to think things through or meditate. Don’t decide to drive off and grab a coffee just yet though as the locksmith needs you to be present when they arrive. Get comfy but try not to nod off as you don’t want to miss the locksmith and have to call them out again!

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If it’s a beautiful day then forget about all the things you could or should be doing and feel blessed that you’ve been given some free time to chill out and catch some rays. People tend to forget how to relax in our busy modern lives and find it hard to take time out to do, well, nothing. Thing of being locked out as an opportunity to clear your thoughts and relax.

If you are with others then there are loads of great games that will occupy you so much, you’ll be disappointed when the locksmith lets you back in! Depending on the age group, kids will enjoy I-spy, 20 questions, A-Z or anything that they can imagine. Of course big kids can enjoy these too but grown ups might enjoy the movie game where you connect actors through movies they have appeared in or the ‘fortunately, unfortunately’ game where you devise a story and take it in turns to start sentences with those two words.

A bumpy or smooth ride?

Christopher Walker No Comments

Being a taxi driver isn’t easy, long hours, endless driving and dealing with the public can all take its toll. Contrary to popular belief, the customer isn’t always right and some of the ways the public act can be downright annoying to those who choose a career in transporting us from A to B. What are the top pet peeves for taxi drivers?

  1. Customers who treat the driver like a personal slave. Some people whistle to get the attention of a cabbie and this can be considered very rude. Also people get into the vehicle with no greeting and just bark directions at the driver. This is not the best way to endear people to you and a taxi driver deserves the same respect as you would expect to receive yourself.
  2. You are backseat driver. As someone who spends their working life navigating the streets of a particular town or city, they should be pretty savvy on where everything is. If they aren’t sure they will ask so there’s no need to constantly shout out directions at the last minute. If you want to take a specific route, tell the driver before the journey starts.
  3. Telling the driver to go faster because you are late. The thing is a taxi is subject to exactly the same laws of the road as any other vehicle so doesn’t have the ability to jump that red light or break the speed limit just because you have poor time management skills. A taxi driver will not risk losing their livelihood by breaking the law for you.
  4. Drunk people. Nothing is worse when you’re sober and at work than dealing with extremely inebriated individuals. They will either mouth off at you, vomit all your cab or try to run off without paying. They might be so drunk that they fall asleep and can’t be moved or simply no longer have the ability to find any money and pay you. For a Taxi Chester, visit http://www.chestertaxiservice.co.uk/
  5. Lousy tippers. A taxi driver isn’t in it for the love of ferrying you around, they are trying to earn a living and so people who refuse to tip or leave tips that are just plain embarrassing will not become a favourite customer.

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  1. Uber has come along and reduced earnings for cab drivers significantly in many cities. Taxi drivers simply do not like Uber.
  2. The short ride is another annoyance to the taxi driver. You may think you’re doing them a favour but travelling a distance that you could have walked can actually end up costing the driver. If you need to do this then try offering the driver a nice, big tip to sweeten the deal.

Other things that taxi drivers don’t want to hear include, ‘Do you have change for a fifty?’, ‘Can we stop at a cash machine?’, ‘Busy this evening?’ and ‘Hey Mr Taxi Driver’ screamed at regular intervals for the duration of the journey!

World headlines from the FT

Federal prosecutor takes over case on terrorism suspicion following London attack

President fails to reach deal with party hardliners on landmark repeal bill

Agents given jail terms for death of dissidents hurled from helicopter into Pacific

Long march to World Cup with clash fuelled by tension over missile defence system

Ukraine accuses Moscow of role in attack on witness in Yanukovich treason trial

Ankara protests after sniper in Kurdish-held area kills Turkish soldier

Sri Mulyani Indrawati rises to challenge she insists Jakarta must win

Joint FBI and Israeli police investigation lead to arrest of suspect in Ashkelon

Politicians’ traditionally cosy relationship with the press crumbles