Thursday, 28 August 2014

Tis the season to be jolly!

Believe it or not, magazines are putting their Christmas issues together at the moment (some editorial newsrooms will even have a Christmas tree up and will be playing festive music!). Could your product be featured in a Christmas gift round-up?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


What the Great British Bake Off can teach us about marketing is one of the topics up for discussion by West Berkshire businesswomen at their September meetings.

The Newbury north group meets at the Donnington Valley Hotel on Wednesday, 10 September where Sarah Bromham of Radiance Therapy will speak on the subject "Stress management techniques from a therapist's perspective, for use in everyday life and business.”

At the Hungerford meeting on Friday, 12th September at Audley Inglewood, Caroline Matthews of CSM Financial Solutions will be discussing recent changes to pension rules and regulations.

At the Thatcham meeting on Tuesday, 16th September at the Regency Park Hotel, a representative of Enterprise First will explain the government-funded Growth Vouchers scheme which offers up to £2,000 to businesses for strategic business advice.

At the Newbury South meeting on Wednesday, 17th September at the Chequers Hotel in Newbury, Rachel Cox from Amica Marketing will speak to members on the topic “Is a Marketing Plan a piece of cake?”

Debbie Miles, regional director of The Athena Network in West Berkshire, said: “After a summer break, we’re ready to get down to business with an exciting line-up of speakers with topics that will interest and inform our entrepreneurs. We’d always like to see new faces and if you’d like to come and try our supportive brand of networking, then please get in contact.”

All meetings include lunch and networking and take place from 12pm to 2pm. For more details, email Debbie Miles on


Friday, 22 August 2014

Recruitment news

"Aim higher" = hire!

Monday, 11 August 2014


With up to a third of the population at risk of developing diabetes, a former primary school teacher has teamed up with health and education specialists to develop a fun card game which helps teach kids and parents to eat more healthily.

Foodeeze was developed by Russ Adlem from Caversham, in association with NHS specialists, a dyslexia expert and a speech and language therapist when he noticed that the more restless children in his class tended to eat chocolate and sugary drinks.
The characters and fun facts encourage children to learn about healthy food in an exciting and socially interactive way. The game challenges children’s problem-solving abilities and improves their food vocabulary and interest in different foods from around the world.

The game comprises a pack of cards featuring different foods such as Barney Banana, Carlos Cornflakes and Chantal Cheese, and includes nutritional values and fun facts.

Russ said: “After noticing that some children weren’t making these healthy food choices for themselves, I realised that they needed to understand why healthy foods are better than unhealthy ones and to make their own decisions. It occurred to me that this could be done with the help of a fun and interactive game to encourage children to talk about food, experience new foods and make their own healthy eating choices. Foodeeze was born!”

In 2013 Russ joined forces with Focus Games Ltd to refine Foodeeze and make it more widely available. Together, they’ve developed two different versions of Foodeeze suited to key stages 1 and 2 (KS1 and KS2). Priced at just £4.99, it’s being snapped up by parents to play at home with their children too.

In 2013, Russ approached Dale Campbell, a European Trademark Attorney from Trademark Tribe who trademarked the brand to ensure that the name was his to use. Now the company has officially launched, his first goal is to get the card game used by schools and councils.

He added: “Dale was fantastic and helped me understand where Foodeeze stood in the market and how it could easily fall into someone else's hands if it wasn't protected correctly. She also explained the difference between the 'R' and 'TM' symbols and it seemed like a 'no brainer' registering Foodeeze. Dale's fees were extremely reasonable so I opted for a mark on the logo and a mark on the word itself. Dale and TradeMark Tribe have been highly efficient, helpful, reasonable and have given great advice in helping to protect the Foodeeze identity and brand.”

Dale said: “As Russ was launching a new brand we wanted to make sure that the name and logo was free to use and so we undertook clearance searches for him to make sure that no one else had already registered the name as a trademark.

“Once the searches confirmed that the name was available we applied for trademark protection. This ensures that Foodeeze will maintain ownership of their brand which is vital to protect a brand that consumers grow to know and trust.

“Sometimes a business launches and grows and may not even know until too late that they are unwittingly infringing a previously registered trademark. Untold damage can be done if someone else passes off as your brand and pulls your customers away especially when they do not offer the same quality service. Based on our advice, Russ chose to register both the word Foodeeze and the logo so that both his name and visual identity are protected. “

Thursday, 7 August 2014


East Anglian motorists have a wealth of Renault cars and vans to choose from for the forthcoming 64-plate at Mitchells Lowestoft.
The good news is that Renault’s summer season of hot deals continues until the end of September, meaning that local motorists can enjoy fantastic value on Clio, Zoe, Captur, Mégane and Scenic.

The Clio is available from as little as just £139 a month on Renault Selections and subject to terms and conditions, there’s a deposit contribution of £1,500 on the popular Expression+ with standard air conditioning and 16 inch alloy wheels.
The electric ZOE supermini comes with a Plugged In Grant of £4,198 and a deposit contribution of £2,750 (subject to terms and conditions) when purchased on Renault Selections.

Meanwhile, the all adventurous crossover Captur, as seen in the striking multi million pound TV advert, is available from as little as £159 on Renault Selections and comes with a deposit contribution of £1,000, subject to terms and conditions. The Captur comes with air conditioning and 16 inch alloy wheels as standard.

Perennial family favourites Mégane and Scénic are available at 0% hire purchase over 48 months with no customer deposit on Renault’s range of popular family cars, starting from £13,478.

As well as great deals on Renault cars, there are also special deals on four Renault summer season accessory packs. Starting from £195 fitted including VAT, the ‘Freedom’ pack (roof bars and two roof bar mounted bike racks) costs £195; ‘Sunshine’ (roof bars and 380 litre roof box) costs £295; ‘Explore’ (quick release tow bar, electrics and dual bike rack) costs £495; and ‘Style’ (front and rear skid plates, tailgate protector) costs £295, meaning your summer needs are taken care off.

The offers also include the French brand’s award-winning after sales care package called 4+, worth at least £1,000, offering a four year/100,000 miles warranty and roadside assistance together with four years/48,000 miles free servicing with Renault Selections personal contract purchase.

Also available with the 64-plate is the New Twingo offering everyday versatility and a choice of four vibrant colours; light blue, white, yellow and red. The front end features the brand’s new trademark styling, including a prominent Renault logo set to a black background.

Meanwhile, for the area’s businesses, there are not one, but two new freshly updated commercial vehicles ready to drive away with the new 64 plate.

Firstly, All-New Trafic combines the strengths of its predecessor and is even bigger, more comfortable and practical than ever. Designed to serve as a mobile office, its cabin features a raft of bespoke equipment, including smartphone and tablet cradles, laptop computer storage, and a removable A4-size clipboard to simplify the lives of business customers.

Its bigger brother, the Master, has been renewed and its engine range now features Twin Turbo technology and its travelling comfort and safety credentials have been boosted, too, with the fitment of latest-generation ESC – incorporating Extended Grip, Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway Control.

In addition to all these new features, the latest version of the model comes with a redesigned, dynamic and modern front end incorporating Renault’s latest brand identity.

Matthew Huke-Jenner, owner and managing director at Mitchells Renault and Dacia in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, said: “Whether you’re looking for a brand new Renault van or a car with the latest 64 plate, come and have a chat with us to see which Renault is the best fit for you and your way of life.”

Friday, 1 August 2014

Mark Thomas - review of CUCKOOED (Work in Progress) show at New Greenham Arts - 18th July

They say the best way of getting over someone is to make a comedy show about it.

Mark Thomas’ work-in-progress show Cuckooed tells the story of his friendship with Martin – a kindred spirit that he’d met at the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) – a pressure group that Thomas describes as comprising “Quakers and Guardian readers”.

Back in 2003, The Sunday Times ran a series of front page exposés on a "spy network" run by a woman called Evelyn Le Chêne on behalf of BAE Systems.

The story claimed that Le Chêne had the names and addresses of 148,000 peace campaigners, environmentalists and activists obtained through spies posing as activists.

Someone within CAAT was sending them daily updates; could it have been Martin?

While CAAT produced evidence to back up their claims, Thomas and two other friends stood by him before eventually agreeing that the facts were irrefutable.

With clever interactive interviews with other activists on video screens, giving the impression of a live broadcast, Thomas tells the story of their friendship and detailing the betrayal.

It this all sounds dark and miserable, remember this true story is in the hands of Mark Thomas who has previously turned the subjects of his dying dad’s last encounter with opera, the conflict in Israel and the arms trade into comedy gold.

Thomas is an inventive activist and the first half was a recap of his 100 Minor Acts of Dissent tour which included a whistle-stop rundown of some of his successes; playing with toy Barbie cars outside the Saudi embassy, trying to get banned from Tesco, fighting Camden Council with a People’s Kazoo orchestra and a massive game of “What’s the time Mr Wolf” in protest at a council’s plans to charge people to participate in sport in its parks.

In a great piece of audience participation and a possible comedy first, Thomas explained how easy it is to set up your own arms firm (he’d actually done it); then at jaw-dropping speed, enumerating the successes he’d had with closing down arms firms.

As a work in progress, the story of CAAT was not only hilarious, but great theatre and as ever, Thomas is able to hold an audience in the palm of his hand, enticing laughter and gasps of disbelief in equal measure. Let’s hope that when he comes back with the full show that he has some answers to his questions.


(First appeared in Newbury Weekly News on Thursday 24th July).

From Generation to Generation in Candis

Lovely piece in Candis magazine (one of the best-selling magazines in the country!) about Prof Norma Raynes from Intergen. Very inspirational.