I have to say I have high hopes for this series, particularly since Nick Hewer’s eyebrow raise has been replaced by Claude Littner’s scathing brand of management training.
But, year upon year, the candidates seem to be more media-savvy and more desperate for a job in TV whilst demonstrating an ego which would make Kanye West look shy and retiring.
That ego is usually combined with the worst the British Education System has to offer, that is zero general knowledge, a complete absence of people skills and absolutely no street smarts.
The fact that they are actually there to sell their business plans seems to be forgotten.
Courtesy of BBC.co.uk
This, of course, is the joy of the programme. We love to sit in our armchairs, tutting and muttering.
We criticize their lack of business acumen.
We practically combust with laughter at their arrogance.
We, of course, can spot a basic business error from 20 paces and become expert negotiators even if we would struggle to take a pair of socks back to Marks & Spencer.
And those quotes. Oh, those quotes.
Here’s a quick trip down memory lane – can you remember any of these judged by www.myvouchercodes.co.uk to be the top ten best / worst quotes from The Apprentice?
This list certainly contains some cringe-worthy reminders of old favourites such as Luisa Zissman and Katie Hopkins.
I’d also include this classic from the late Stuart Baggs (who sadly recently passed away) – “everything I touch turns to sold” and this, from this year’s David Stevenson – “you’ve got age and beauty and those two go hand in hand all the time. Sugar’s got the age and I certainly am beautiful”.
This may be a little bit of PR to oil the wheels of a series which, so far, has been a little ‘same old, same old’ but, if true, shows just how desperate some candidates are to secure their 15 minutes of fame.
The sad truth, of course, as anyone who has worked in a corporate environment will tell you, is that personalities like these do indeed often rise to the top, by dint of ruthless ambition rather than concrete talent.
There are many David Brents in waiting it seems.
But, the prize here is to be Sir Alan’s business partner and, one suspects, no amount of hot air, waffle and posturing will pull the wool over his eyes.
I can’t wait for the legendary “interview” episode and I wonder who will replace Claude in the interviewing panel.
Whoever it is, I’ll bet they won’t be a soft touch and will bring the candidates back to earth – with a bump.
I’m also enjoying Jack Dee on the sister show “The Apprentice – You’ve Been Fired”, although I think he could be a little more of the sardonic Jack we’re all used to.
Bonding with my children is essential for me, as I’m sure it is for you too. I try to make sure I spend one-on-one time with them, as well as doing things with them together. Our bonding time can be anything from sitting down to do their homework to running around at the park. But what is the best way to bond with your toddler?
A lot of newer parents can worry that they’re not doing enough to bond with their kids. Once they start to explore and observe the world, you might wonder about the best ways to help them experience it. I’m here to tell you not to worry too much!
Although I’m very careful not to play it too loud, I love enjoying music with the kids. Sometimes we put something on and dance around, just for the fun of it. Music is a great way to connect with your children in lots of different ways. And it’s especially good for toddlers to help them learn rhythm, language and other skills.
There are so many ways to introduce music into your daily activities. You could sing some nursery rhymes when you get up in the morning or just have music on while you go about your day. Some basic musical instruments like drums and xylophones are fun too.
If you want to do something physical with your toddler, swimming is an excellent option. Unlike chasing them around the park, swimming can be quite relaxing, as well as fun.
You can take them to your nearest pool on your own. However, if you want them to start learning to swim, swimming classes for toddlers can be a good option.
They can start using the pool soon after they’re born and can look amazingly at home in the water. If you think about it, they did spend 40 weeks swimming about! Getting into the pool with your toddler can be a fantastic way to bond with them.
I’m a big believer in doing lots of reading with your children, from as early an age as possible. There are so many benefits to reading to and with your kids. Even if they’re not old enough to understand what you’re doing, it can help them to engage with your voice.
Story time doesn’t have to be saved for just before bed. You can read with them at any time of the day, and it’s a great excuse for a cuddle. You can also do funny voices and actions, turning the story into a more immersive experience.
Bedtime is one of my favourite times to bond with my children – if they’re cooperating, that is. Having a bath, getting into PJs and enjoying a story and a cuddle help them to wind down at the end of the day. There are no other distractions, and you can create a little bubble of just you and them.
You have lots of opportunities to bond with your toddler, but it’s up to you to make them. Sometimes you have to put in some extra effort to keep your relationship strong.
You can find loads more tips and tricks for parenting by clicking HERE.
We were recently sent a ColdZyme mouth spray to try. This claims to be a “revolutionary mouth spray which targets the cause of the cold, not just the symptoms” and is also clinically documented to help reduce the duration of a cold.
Since we are all recovering from the latest horrid virus the kids brought home from school, I was very interested to find out more about this product!
It is an easy to use, pleasant-tasting mouth spray which works immediately by forming a protective barrier in the throat and it also helps to lessen the duration and severity of symptoms when used in the early stages of infection.
Unlike other over the counter remedies, ColdZyme actually targets the virus itself rather than just alleviating the symptoms. The product is suitable for use by adults and children from the ages of four and up.
If you do not have any symptoms of a cold but are likely to be exposed to the cold virus, you are advised to spray 2 puffs (1 dose) into the throat every 2 hours up to 6 times a day while you are exposed to the cold virus.
ColdZyme was tested in a blind, placebo-controlled study under advice from a UK expert in respiratory disease, Professor Sebastian Johnston from Imperial College, London.
The study was conducted on 46 volunteers who were all infected with the most common virus that causes the common cold. Half of the volunteers received ColdZyme and the other half received a placebo product.
The study showed that ColdZyme mouth spray reduced the virus among those infected by more than 99% compared with the placebo and the duration of the symptoms was also reduced from 6.5 days to 3 days.
I think the biggest challenge with this product will be to know exactly when to start using it but if, for example, you work in an office where your colleagues have colds, that would be a very good time to give this product a try.
If you notice coughs and sniffles among your children’s friends, again, I’d be tempted to break out the ColdZyme mouth spray.
And if you travel via public transport, you may want to stock up!
We were certainly be using ColdZyme mouth spray this winter because you can bet that a cold will strike at the most inconvenient time possible and if one of us gets it, we all get it.
Preschoolers are very determined little people. They don’t want to wear scarves and socks, and good luck getting them to wear a jumper!
If your preschool has a uniform, I would recommend buying it, if your budget can stretch to it. You may have more chance of getting them to wear things like jumpers and hats if everyone is wearing the same thing.
Snow boots are the big thing in footwear right now. They’re warm and robust, and muddy puddles are no cause for concern!
Once kids are at school they are determined to be wearing the latest thing but I avoid V-necks and Tees at this time of year. Long sleeves and warm collars help keep chesty coughs at bay.
Gloves, hats and scarves get lost a lot, but if you choose a set featuring their favourite movie characters, the kids are more likely to keep them safe!
With the bad weather coming in, I prefer to stick to clothing I can run through the tumble dryer.
When we take the kids out for the day, we like to look for educational things they can enjoy. A lot of places like museums are free to enter, which is always a bonus. Plus, I like to think that they’re learning something on a day out, even if they don’t know it.
It’s not difficult to turn a day trip into an educational experience. Even a trip to the shops can be a chance for them to learn some valuable life skills.
I like to look for things where they can expand their knowledge and interests. We love visiting castles and museums, in particular, and learning about all the history there. These are some of my favourite activities to do as a family when I want to sneak some education into our trips.
Some museums can be boring for kids, but thankfully most of them make an effort to entertain them. The best places to go are the ones that have exhibits that kids can participate in. Even though they should learn to look at and admire things from afar, it’s also fun when they get to touch and do an activity.
We love our local museum, the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff, but there are many more around the country that are great for kids. For example, there’s the Motor Museum in Beaulieu or the Science Museum in London.
Castles and Palaces
We’re lucky in the UK in that we have a rich history. Go to America and you won’t find many castles! We love visiting castles and palaces on our days out, and you can find them all around the country.
Naturally, a lot of them are in slightly more rural places, but there are lots to see from cities too. London’s palaces are fun to visit, and there are more of them than you might think.
Then there’s Edinburgh Castle, which sits on a hill above Scotland’s capital. Our nearest castles are Castell Coch and Caerphilly Castle, both of which the kids love.
Museums and castles can be great trips for rainy days. But when the weather is a bit brighter, or even if it’s raining, it’s nice to get outside for a walk. We try to stay active and spend some of our family time outside.
If you want to get your children interested in nature, going for a walk is a great way to do it. You can find your nearest park or wander off into a forest to explore. There are lots of things you can do, from playing Pooh Sticks to having a scavenger hunt or foraging for edible plants.
A walk along the coast can be great fun too – it doesn’t have to be a sunny day to enjoy the beach. The kids can peer into rock pools and dig through the sand to see what they can find.
There are lots of ways to make your family days out educational. If you do it right, no one will even notice that they’re learning.
We have all had the latest bug this week which has been going around the school like the plague. Caitlin had it and gave it to Ieuan. Unfortunately, I have succumbed to it too and, as I lie festering in my bed, unable to move or even think straight, I find my thoughts are far from productive and, dare I say it, even a bit odd. Yep, it’s no joke when a mum is sick and has kids to look after.
Do you think anything like this?
Should I get up?
Do you feel guilty at having to lie down? Even though I know the Husband is fine looking after the kids, it still feels like my ‘job’. And if he’s away on business, I have to get up.
Have I given it to the rest of the family?
In which case it’s likely to go round and round… and round.
Have I failed to bleach/detox/ wet wipe sufficiently?
Has the current miasma of dust and spiders webs lurking in certain, ahem, corners created a cauldron for a nasty virus?
Will it ever go or is this the start of something worse?
That’s the thing about being in your 50’s. You do start to become a little more, shall we say, neurotic, about bits of your body starting to malfunction.
Should I reschedule all my meetings now, just in case I’m not well enough to go?
Even if the meetings are days ahead, I still find myself obsessing about not being well enough to go. The idea of being taken ill whilst out and about terrifies me. The Husband, on the other hand, carries on regardless – and a positive mental attitude must work because he is very rarely ill, and then only mildly.
Do I need to see a doctor?
Ah, the biggie. I think we probably all rush to see a doctor (if we can get an appointment, that is) when a few days “watch and wait” would probably see the back of the illness altogether – particularly if it is the latest virus which is doing the rounds.
Should I eat something? But I don’t really want to eat.
I find in times of sickness, I can usually manage a glass of milk or a lump of cheddar, but that’s about it. We have a sort of family cure of Oasis drink (banned the rest of the time because of its sugar content), cheese & onion crisps and chocolate – which also doubles neatly as a hangover cure – but it does seem to work.
Is it safe to hug the kids? (I probably shouldn’t in case I pass the bug back to them)
Ironic that at the time you need comfort most you should probably have an “avoid at all costs” sign around your neck.
Is daytime TV the answer?
I don’t but the mindlessness of morning TV is kind of soothing.
I think though, that when we are under the weather, rather than berate ourselves, we need to be kinder to ourselves – even if that just means an earlier night or cooking a healthier tea (and leaving the wine in the fridge).
Sometimes we don’t realise how run down we have become until a bug strikes – and even though we feel horrible, it is a good opportunity to look at our self-care and to take a step back and ask ourselves what we need.
Sometimes, we may also need to ask the family for their support in this, and that can’t be a bad thing because a happy mum is the lynchpin of a happy family!
Everyone wants a memorable wedding, don’t they? Both for the happy couple and their guests. We all plan to get married just the once (although that might be a little optimistic these days!), but here are some ideas for making your big day as special, and as romantic as possible.
Photo by Tom The Photographer on Unsplash
I know that when I got married, my main concern was that my big day wouldn’t be memorable enough. There was no need to worry, however, as mine and my husband’s wedding is still reminisced about often, by us, and our friends.
The key to making your wedding unique and special, as well as memorable, is planning. If you want a day that is talked about for all the right reasons, here’s what you need to do:
Photo by Photos by Lanty on Unsplash
Serve delicious food
Have you ever been to a wedding where the food wasn’t great? The chances are that the fact the food wasn’t very nice was the thing that you remembered most about that wedding. Believe it or not, one of the best ways to make your wedding a success is with the most delicious food.
Choose a venue for the reception that comes highly recommended for its yummy food. Look for somewhere that not only serves tasty food, but that also presents dishes well and has a high hygiene rating. We’ve all heard that story about the wedding where every guest came down with food poisoning – don’t let your wedding go the same way.
Hire a band
Yes, hiring a DJ might be cheaper than booking a band, but every couple has a DJ. If you want your big day to stand out, hiring a live band could be the way to go. No one is going to remember another party with a DJ, but one with a fantastic live band will be easily remembered.
Not only will hiring a live band make your wedding more memorable, but it will also give a better atmosphere. People will be more inclined to get up and dance if you have a band playing, instead of a DJ.
Photo by Bin Thiều on Unsplash
Pick somewhere unique for your wedding
While a church or hotel is a great location for a wedding, picking somewhere a little more unique could be a good idea. Art galleries, museums, beaches, and all sorts of other places, can make great wedding venues.
If you want to wow your guests, you need to choose a location that’s different to the norm. Weddings abroad can be a good option, as they are not only unique but also incredibly memorable. No one forgets attending a wedding on a tropical beach, do they?
Be creative with traditions
While following traditions can be nice, if you want a celebration that’s memorable, get creative. For example, instead of giving each guest a glass of bubbly for the toasts, give them a cocktail instead. Or, instead of having traditional music or entertainment, opt for something a little bit different.
When it comes to making your wedding day as enjoyable and memorable as possible, thinking outside the box is key. If you take the time to come up with some unique ideas, you can ensure that your wedding is as memorable as possible.
I find that unless I plan something to do in advance, we end up getting up far too late and then wasting the morning – and potentially the rest of the day. It’s good to kick back at the weekend and spend some quality time together, isn’t it? But without spending a fortune. If you’re looking for some things to do with kids in Cardiff this weekend, read on. A couple of my suggestions are outside the city but well worth the visit.
Things to do with kids in Cardiff this weekend
Dyffryn Gardens, Vale of Glamorgan
(Free Entry To National Trust Members)
Dyffryn Gardens, St. Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan CF5 6SU
Visitor information is available on the Dyffryn Gardens Website HERE.
Cosmeston Lakes Country Park & Medieval Village, Penarth (Free Entry)
The country park has a variety of habitats covering over 100 hectares of land and water and is home to a reconstructed 14th-century medieval village, where costumed guides show visitors around the period furnished buildings.
St. Fagans Natural History Museum, Cardiff (Free Entry)
Bute Park & Arboretum, Cardiff
Bute Park offers an extensive area of mature parkland within Cardiff’s city centre, including play areas and 3 cafes.
Roath Park, Cardiff
Roath Park is a large Victorian park with a lake, botanic garden, adventure playground, cafe and sports facilities.
and if you’re looking for somewhere family friendly to eat, why not choose one of these?
So, you’re thinking of becoming a landlord. It isn’t easy. You might think that all you need to do is get a buy to let mortgage and you can start seeing that extra income in your account each month, but that isn’t the case.
If you want to become a landlord, a lot more thought needs to go into it. Here are some tips you can use and valuable advice:
Choose a reliable company to help you
A reliable company will always make your experience as a landlord that much easier. It’s up to you whether you want to do this or not; you might not think it’s necessary when you only have one property to handle. While this is true, you need to bear in mind that it’ll be up to you to handle emergency calls in the dead of the night. If you find a reliable company to help you, they’ll sort any issues out as fast as possible and all you need to do is pay. They can help you with lots of different things, so it’s a case of discussing your needs and setting something up that suits your budget.
Don’t assume your property will always be occupied
So, you think the money is just going to keep rolling in every month? That’s highly unlikely. There will be times your property is not occupied, whether that’s for a few weeks or a few months. You should have money in reserve in preparation for this, so you don’t end up left in the lurch. It all depends on how long it takes to get somebody living there again – a company could help you with that too.
Ensure your property meets expected standards
You can’t just rent out any property. If you’re going to do this legally, you need to make sure your property meets the standards expected and that it’s safe for the occupants. If not, you could get in big trouble. You’ll need to arrange for it to be checked over as often as required and make the repairs necessary.
You may need to arrange something small like communal dish installation, or something more complicated like an appliance replacement. Whatever it is, you need to make sure it gets done in a timely fashion.
Go out of your way to be a good landlord
Not only do you need to be a good landlord by following the rules and making sure everything is legit; you need to make sure you’re a good landlord to your tenants. Keep them informed on things they need to know about, wish them a merry Christmas. Buy them some wine when they move in. When they like you, they’ll be more likely to respect your property and give you lots of notice if they decide to move out. You should get your rent on time too!
So, do you still think you have what it takes to become a landlord? It can be a lucrative opportunity but only if you do it right!