Friday, 30 January 2015

Is Customer Service Dead? Not in John Lewis!

I made a promise to myself this year. I won't call it a resolution, because that will render it destined for failure, but I promised myself that I would no longer accept bad service. Until recently, Great Britain represented all that was correct and well mannered about human beings. Our expertise in etiquette and proficiency in politeness were the envy of the world. It was all about the customer who, until recently, was 'always right'. It was about care and thought and making people feel valued. Walking into a shop guaranteed you a friendly smile, a polite welcome, all the makings of an enjoyable shopping experience. Then, it happened. Slowly, but surely, austerity crept into the marketplace. Shavings were made throughout the retail industry and it showed. Shops lost staff, the remaining staff began working harder, longer hours.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

School Governors. Seriously, what do they do?!

Clipboard with title written on.
This is a question I get asked a lot, so I thought I would write about my experience as a School Governor and perhaps lift the lid on the mystery. It all began a couple of years ago, when two posts became available at my son's school. My daughter had already been through the same school and I had often considered how I could make myself useful. I always lacked the confidence to take on a role such as this, though, and didn't think I had enough to offer. However, since then I had completed a Level 3 NVQ as a Teaching Assistant, which I felt might give me a useful skill to contribute. Also, as a mother myself, and with my experience working in various schools in the area, I felt the time was right to put myself forward. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Swallows and Amazons at the Bristol Old Vic

A view of the stage from above"Better drowned than duffers, if not duffers - won't drown!" 

And so began a most original and enchanting rendition of this classic tale. Roughly translated, the telegram informs the young siblings that Father believes they would be better off drowned if they are fools and if they are not fools they won't drown! A rather sinister way of letting them know they can go on their longed-for camping trip across the lake! From the very start, it was hard not to be swept along in the excitement and enthusiasm of the adventure.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Leek and Bacon Tartlets

Bacon and Leek Tartlets
As the summer rolls on, it can become increasingly tricky to think up new and different ideas for picnics and days out. Ideally, you want something that everyone will like, that won't take a world of time, or complicated ingredients, to make. If you fancy a change from the usual scotch eggs and sausage rolls, these little pastries are a great addition to the family picnic basket. They travel well and are surprisingly easy to make. You can also mess about with the fillings, to create vegetarian or other options, depending on what everyone likes. If you are not keen on leeks, try mushrooms instead, just peel and chop, then add instead of the leeks. You could also substitute the bacon and have leek and mushoom for vegetatarians.
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