ZOË BALL TO HOST TESCO MUM OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2015

Tesco Mum Of The Year

Zoë Ball has been announced as the host for the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards’ glitzy ceremony, which will take place at London’s iconic hotel, The Savoy, on Sunday 1st March.  Marking its 10th anniversary year, the Awards celebrate ordinary mums who do extraordinary things for others.

The TV and Radio presenter – seen most recently on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour  – will join a stellar line up of celebs at the awards, including celebrity judges radio DJ Sara Cox, sports presenter Denise Lewis, Tesco Mum of the Year Ambassador Fearne Cotton and Celebrity Tesco Mum of the Year 2015 winner, Dame Esther Rantzen.

The mum of two will be helping to give recognition and celebrate the achievements of eight winning mums, all of whom have been recognised for their individual efforts in helping others, whether that is through their charity work, campaigning efforts, inspiring achievements or supporting others.

Zoë said, “I am really excited to be part of these awards – especially joining in the 10thAnniversary year and helping to celebrate these inspirational mums. Being a Mum is the best job I’ve ever had, our kids are everything to us. I know how much love, strength and patience it takes to be the best Mum you can be. I’m super chuffed & quite honoured to be part of the celebrations of some truly extraordinary mums who have given so much time and love to so many and have inspired us all”

Zoë’s presenting career first started on The Big Breakfast and Saturday morning children’s programme Live & Kicking, but she is best known for her co-host slot on The Radio 1 Breakfast Show. She has since gone on to present on BBC Radio 2, The Voice UK’s spin off show The Voice: Louder on Two and Strictly Come Dancing’s sister show It takes Two. Zoë has also co- hosted BBC One Children in Need.

Since the awards started 10 years ago, Tesco has supported the causes of over 80 mums who have shared their personal stories of achievement, selflessness and courage.

Debbie Chernin, Tesco Mum of the Year Manager, said: “We’re thrilled to have Zoë hosting this year’s Tesco Mum of the Year Awards. She’s a fantastic presenter and will certainly add to the event’s entertainment!”

For more information on the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015, please visit tes.co/10years Keep up to date with all the news on the awards on Twitter #MumoftheYear

Tesco Mum Of The Year 2015 – Esther Rantzen

Dame Esther Rantzen has been recognised for her tremendous charity work by being awarded Tesco Celebrity Mum of the Year for 2015.

Esther Rantzen

Esther will be presented with her award at a star-studded ceremony, at London’s iconic hotel, The Savoy, on Sunday 1st March. Marking its 10th anniversary year, the Awards celebrate ordinary mums who do extraordinary things for others.

Esther has had a golden year, and she can now add her Celebrity Tesco Mum of the Year award to the Damehood she picked up in the New Year’s Honours List. Both awards recognise her fantastic work to help improve the lives of children and older people.

Esther, a mother of three and grandmother of one, founded child protection charity ChildLine, which has now been replicated in 150 countries worldwide. In 2013, Esther launched a new initiative called The Silver Line, the only 24-hour, free, confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people. Esther was inspired to start the charity by her feelings of loneliness after her husband, Desmond Wilcox, passed away in 2000. In its first year, the helpline received more than 300,000 calls.

Commenting on her win Esther said, “Being chosen as Celebrity Tesco Mum of the Year winner is a real honour. And I am so proud of our ChildLine and Silver Line teams who are transforming the lives of children and older people, many of whom are isolated and vulnerable. I love the fact that although I am a besotted grandmother, Tesco also recognises that I am a devoted mother, too!  I am thrilled to have been recognised alongside the other Tesco Mum of the Year winners, who are just incredible and a real inspiration to women everywhere.”

Dame Esther will be joined on stage, at the ceremony, by seven other Tesco Mum of the Year winners. All of them have been recognised for their individual efforts in helping others through their charity work.

Debbie Chernin, Tesco Mum of the Year Manager, said: “It is a privilege to be able to recognise the achievements of such an amazing charity founder, campaigner and now Dame.  Her drive and determination in setting up two of the most influential and significant charities of our time, ChildLine and The Silver Line, is just incredible.”

For more information on the Tesco Mum of the Year Awards 2015, please visit tes.co/10years. Keep up to date with all the news on the awards on Twitter with the #MumoftheYear

Celebrate Chinese New Year 2015 In Manchester

Chinese New Year Manchester

Chinese New Year is always a fantastic celebration to be part of – especially in Manchester, with the amazing annual party and activities set to be even better than ever between 19th and 22nd February 2015.

Not only will the huge party centre around the Manchester Chinatown, but will be spread across the city with many activities going on – definitely fun for all the family!

Chinese New Year Manchester

With a food fair in St. Ann’s Square, lanterns dotted around the city, the Dragon procession, Chinese arts and many more, Manchester will certainly come alive! The Northern city certainly knows how to throw a party and the Chinese New Year 2015 will be a spectacle to behold, if you have never experienced Chinese New Year in Manchester before, try and visit between 19th to 22nd February 2015 to join in!

Chinese New Year Manchester

 

A Picture A Day: Freshly Baked Scones

Food… oh I absolutely love food… give my savoury over sweet any day.

For me, an absolute treat is Afternoon Tea… who does not like freshly baked scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream?

We were able to fill up on glorious food recently on our Scarborough break away at the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel.

A Picture A Day: Freshly Baked Scones

 

Ox Pasture Hall Hotel

A Picture A Day – CanFranc, Spain

Copyright of SFR and Sim's Life.

Copyright of SFR and Sim’s Life.

The rather stunning, disused train station, based in Spain that once ran through to France. Opened on 18th July 1928, CanFranc is steeped in history and was widely used in World War 2. Definitely a place ticked off on my bucket list!

More of the images I took at CanFranc can be viewed over at Sim’s Life.

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TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Right Back At Square One… AGAIN!

Here I am, staring at my computer screen, with my phone beeping away constantly. The thought of turning my phone off completely  is so appealing right now, but in reality I know I cannot… just in case I am needed and for that one moment I am not available.

After a tumultuous, ridiculously confusing couple of weeks, I have found myself back in the rat race that is dating… more specifically online dating. Quite frankly my head is screwed, nothing has made any sense and still doesn’t, but I need to literally get back on the horse and ride the shizzle out of it again. Only time will tell if I’m rushing into it too quickly. The old clichés of taking time out for me have become slightly old and tiring and I’m too stubborn to sit around twiddling my thumbs.

My phone book has doubled in size in a week and I am getting to the point where I am forgetting what people do, how old they are, their height etc… that’s not good right?! Well, it kind of is… it shows I am speaking to a wide net of people and surely one will be deemed worthy of my precious time?

I’m just feeling like my heart isn’t quite in it yet, everyone is boring me, no-one is appearing to challenge me enough. I guess I just don’t know what I want from love any more. I’m not willing to settle for second best and my penchant for playing with fire does not help.

I have several dates lined up… with several men. I know full well it’s all going to go wrong, this is me we are talking about, anything and everything that can happen generally happens to me. The timing of recent events have proved that for sure and have placed me right back at square one again. My cross to bear and I will end this post with a tune that gets my through it and with a cliché I’ve also heard too many times… ‘you live and learn…’ Check out Sim’s Life for other posts!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukCyt47eIkA

Top Tips For A Traditional Scottish Wedding

If you or your partner are Scottish and are planning to get married, you might want your nuptials to be a traditional event that emphasises your rich northern heritage. Read on for some tips and advice about staging the perfect Scottish wedding.

scotland

The right venue

Thoughts of Scotland call to mind the sprawling, rugged countryside and grand, imposing castles, and this might be something you’d like to work into a traditional Scottish wedding. There are numerous fortresses in the nation that are licensed for weddings, so do a little research into these venues.

Not all castles have an unfinished stone appearance – some are painted white and have an elegant air, so you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes, whether you prefer historical ruins or somewhere with chic appeal. You’ll also need to give some thought to the sort of backdrop you’d like for your photographs; the castle would add drama to your wedding images but you may also want some natural elements in your pictures, like landscaped gardens or a mature woodland backdrop. This is something to consider when you’re browsingvenues.

Another consideration may be whether the venue has overnight accommodation, as it’s customary in parts of Scotland – especially in the Shetlands – to hold wedding celebrations over two nights.

The right entertainment

Live music is commonplace at wedding celebrations, and you might decide to hire a band or some bagpipe players to reflect tradition on your big day. The music will be especially important at the reception if you plan to arrange some traditional dances like the Lang Reel or the Grand March.

The Grand March is usually the first dance of a Scottish wedding and involves the bride and groom marching to bagpipes or a band. The maid of honour and best man join in next, followed by the parents of the happy couple and then everybody else. The Lang Reel, meanwhile, takes place in fishing communities and involves the wedding party beginning a dance from the harbour and through the village, with guests leaving as they pass their homes until only the bride and groom are left.

The right traditions

If you want to make sure you include the traditional Scottish wedding customs in your big day, you might want to ensure that the bride has a sixpence – or another coin – in her shoe, as this is supposed to bring her good luck, as is a sprig of heather in her bouquet. Another custom is for the father of the bride to throw a handful of coins into the car as his daughter gets in and invite any children at the wedding party to collect them, which is known as a scramble or a warsel.

Other traditions include creeling, which sees the married couple ‘creeled’ at the end of their ceremony. This involves tying a fishing basket across the door which the newlyweds cut down as they leave the venue. This is hoped to bring the couple good health and prosperity.

The bride’s cog is another element of customary Scottish weddings, in which a vessel for holding ale is filled with a potent alcoholic mixture – often combining whisky, brandy, gin, sugar and pepper – which the bride drinks from before passing the cog around guests. The vessel is filled routinely so that everyone gets a taste.

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Small Business Guides – Latest Customer Service Innovations

With increasing costs for small businesses, from electricity price hikes to higher rental costs, it is becoming more important than ever to keep expenses under control and maximise sales. Customer service is a key part of any business, and there are now a host of exciting innovations that small business owners can take advantage of. There are also some fundamental tenets of customer service that should not be lost in the race for profit. A peruse through any online customer review site, from reviews of restaurants to energy suppliers such as Ovo reviews, will give clear indications as to what customers expect from a particular business.

customerserviceCustomer service has come a long way since face to face contact was the only way to do business. Today, customers expect, at the very least, an online presence in the form of a company website. Depending on the business, customers may also expect to be able to view special offers, make reservations, find out more about the business’s credentials and access various other services from the comfort of their desk or sofa. Many people use smartphones and tablets, and business owners should be aware of how they can make this technology work to the advantage of their customers while also seizing an opportunity to promote their business.

For any business to succeed, they also need to be aware of their customer base. And while companies have long handed out feedback forms for customers to fill out, there are now a growing number of ways in which businesses can measure and analyse their customers’ experiences. Online review sites should be kept track of and steps taken to improve any areas found lacking in negative or mixed reviews. Businesses can also provide incentives for customers to provide direct feedback, such as entering them into special promotions or competitions. Follow up surveys, where a company calls the customer back to inform them of progress on a particular issue, is an invaluable way to improve customer loyalty and relations.

Several tools in the management information toolbox are available to small businesses. Dashboarding, for example, is the process of combining data onto a dashboard screen to give an overview of company performance. It is also a resource for real-time customer service – while on the telephone to customers, employees can have instant access to a range of customer enquiries and be able to provide consistent and accurate information. The amount of information that can be contained in a dashboard should be concise enough to not be overwhelming or difficult to navigate, but at the same time should be comprehensive enough to cover all common queries. Depending on the business, this might include prices, product availability, special offers and promotions, maps, transport information, contact information, and up to date competitor information.

Role playing games and activities can be useful ways for employees to put themselves in the customer’s shoes. Coaching sessions, where employees are shadowed and their performance analysed, are also good ways for constructive feedback to be passed back to the employee. Employees may not realise that they are failing to inform the customer of a particular offer, or there might be room for improvement in their phone manner. Comparing examples of “good” and “bad” calls can provide employees with the knowledge to provide a more effective service.

When it comes to productivity, there are a whole range of measures and statistics that can be employed. With regards to customer service, it can be helpful to measure factors such as sales conversions, take-up of special offers, customer satisfaction and net income per employee.

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