Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Posted: March 31st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Miscellaneous, Offers and competitions | Comments Off
We have got together with The Healthy Back Bag Company to offer you a free Baglett with every Healthy Back Bag you buy from us from today until 15 May 2010.
This mini version (20.5 x 11.5 x 9cm) of The Healthy Back Bag is truly smart, functional and fun whether worn alone or clipped inside its larger counterpart.
How to claim:
This promotion entitles anyone purchasing a Healthy Back Bag from us to one free microfibre or distressed nylon baglett (as described below). Only available colours within the microfibre or distressed nylon baglett ranges will be given away free as part of the promotional offer. Promotional bagletts as follows: MICROFIBRE Black, Eggplant, Flamingo, Midnight Blue, Red, Sea Moss, Taupe, Lemongrass, Mauve, Chocolate, Hunter Green, Graphite, Burnt Coral. DISTRESSED NYLON Black, Burnt Orange, Brown, Crimson, Desert, Electric Blue, Purple, Sage, Strawberry, Taupe. The Healthy Back Bag Company reserves the right to supply any of the bagletts as described above as part of the promotion depending upon availability. The promotion is limited to one baglett per purchase and is open to UK, CI, IOM and ROI residents only until midnight 15 May 2010
To obtain your free baglett: Purchase any Healthy Back Bag from us and send a copy of your receipt showing details of purchase to: Baglett Offer, The Healthy Back Bag Company, 90 De Beauvoir Rd. London N1 4EN. Indicate where you saw the promotion advertised. Please allow up to 10 days for delivery from submission of order. The Healthy Back Bag Company reserves the right to rescind an order where they believe it has been made fraudulently or not in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.
Posted: March 31st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Miscellaneous | Comments Off
Below is the latest Motoring Column from Ronnie Fox (courtesy of City Solicitor where it first appeared)
There are two books on my bedside table. One is called Intelligent Marketing for Employment Lawyers by Daniel Barnett and Eugenie Verney. More fun to read is the other book, TopGear’s Midlife Crisis Cars.
I have always wanted to drive a Porsche. Just as there are certain places everyone ought to visit, so you should not let life pass you by without driving a Porsche 911. The kindness of Arthur Marriott recently enabled me to achieve that particular goal.
Business life deals strange hands. In 2001 Enron, the seventh largest corporation in America, went bankrupt; it dragged down Arthur Andersen, the United States’ oldest accounting firm. In 2006 a friend of mine left a small firm for greater job security and joined Lehman Brothers. Imperial Chemical Industries PLC became a subsidiary of Dutch conglomerate AkzoNobel in 2008. The first Porsches were sporty versions of the Volkswagen Beetle, the best selling car ever (over 21.5 million were made). And last year Porsche AG came close to taking over the much larger Volkswagen AG!
The focus of my test drive of a Porsche 911 Carrera S was to discover what makes the 911 the iconic sports car. What is the nature of its appeal?
Looks are the starting point. No other car has the design purity of a 911. The design links between the first 911 introduced in 1963 and the very latest stripped-out GT3 RS are plain to see. The most recent BMW 6 series, Aston Martin DB 9 and Jaguar XF all exhibit design elements inspired by the 911.
Naturally Porsche have developed the 911 over the decades. The vicious oversteer of early models has long since been designed out. Water-cooled engines replaced the original aircooled powerplants more than ten years ago. There have been massive safety improvements in terms of airbags and braking. But throughout the years the reputation for outstanding build quality (coupled with high maintenance bills) has not wavered. The car feels as solid as if had been carved out of a single steel block. Coachwork is to the highest standards. But there has never been much space in the front luggage department and the rear seats are suitable only for carrying small children for very short periods.
The interior of the Carrera S which I drove was superbly trimmed in the highest quality soft leather with contrasting stitching. Perhaps the black suede roof lining made the interior a little dark; I would always specify a sunroof. The electrically operated seats were wonderfully comfortable, though there was little space between the side of the seats and the door trim in which to access the seat controls. Brushed aluminium switchgear looked and worked as befits a supercar. To allow a door to close without slamming, the windows drop an inch to release air pressure as the door is being shut. The cupholder mechanism was a work of art. I have never heard the Archers more clearly than on the sound system’s Bose speakers. As is almost always the case with German cars, the list of luxury options seems endless.
Most purchasers buy a Porsche for its dynamic qualities. The Carrera S is amazingly fast. The top speed is close to 190 m.p.h. (not tested in Cornhill because of roadworks). Slingshot acceleration from rest is accompanied by glorious sound effects. On the motorway there is a steady thrum from the 6 cylinder 3.8 litre boxer engine; the ride is firm but not
unpleasantly so. In town the car has a prodigious thirst for high octane fuel, but does that matter with a car costing between £80,000 and £90,000?
Despite the efforts of the present Government many senior executives and investment bankers still receive performance related bonuses. They should show the world that
notwithstanding the recession they have succeeded in earning a bonus by spending some of it on buying a new Porsche. Image concerns? On the front cover of the TopGear book is a picture of a Porsche. The accompanying article says, “The default supercar for the post-war European male is, was, and probably always will be the Porsche 911″.
Posted: March 31st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Miscellaneous | No Comments »
Here’s something I am meaning to check out over the Easter break.
The V&A is presenting its first ever exhibition of British quilts, with examples dating from 1700 to the present day – a unique opportunity to view the V&A’s unseen quilt collection as well as key national loans. The patchwork and quilted covers on show bring together over 300 years of British quilting history, from the spectacular bed hangings and silk coverlets of the 18th century, to the creative reinvention of the quilt by contemporary artists such as Sue Stockwell and Caren Garfen.
I have always had a soft spot for quilts. There is something special about the craft of quilting, the spending of so many hours to produce an object both beautiful and meaningful. And the often glorious patterns, colours and recycled materials add richness to even the most modest of homes.
For more information, go to :
Posted: March 31st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Designing for the Future Competition - University of Brighton, Inclusive design | Comments Off
Last week I took part in a Dragons Den style event for students at the University of Brighton who have been designing products aimed at addressing some of the challenges of ageing.
This event was both the climax of the second year course module on Subject Object Relationships and the precursor to the Designing for the Future competition being run by The Future Perfect Company in conjunction with the University.
Fourteen students were asked to pitch their ideas to a panel which also included Mark Beasley, from marketing communications agency, rhc advantage, and Nick Gant, principal lecturer.
The students had obviously thought very carefully about growing older and had explored themes such as social isolation, dementia, nutrition and well being. Many had drawn from personal experiences of older relatives to come up with designs which ranged from the purely practical to the conceptual. All of the students had appreciated that products for this market need to be attractive as well as functional.
Mark who has recently published an influential research report on marketing to older audiences was hugely impressed by the originality of the ideas presented. He told the students that their creativity was going to be very welcome in the 50 + market which moreover is set to grow exponentially over the next few years. It is good to be able to give today’s students some positive news about their future prospects for a change!
The results of the Designing for the Future competition will be announced in June 2010
Rhc Advantage’s report, entitled ‘Marketing and Older People’ is available free via the website http://www.rhcadvantage.co.uk
Posted: March 27th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: About retirement - Howard Croft | 1 Comment »
A few weeks ago my daughter, Helen, and her partner, Soren chose a black Labrador puppy from a litter of four and last weekend they collected him. Knowing from relatively recent experience how exhausting and isolating having a very young puppy in the house
can be I nipped down for a few days to give a hand. “Down” being Quendon, a village in west Essex not far from Stansted Airport. It’s a very nice village but there’s not much of interest to tell you about it, except that the next village along is called Ugley, which a few decades ago hit the headlines when the Ugley Women’s Institute, tired of the sniggering, announced a change of name to put a stop to it. The new name, astonishingly, was (and still is) The Women’s Institute, Ugley Branch.
Anyway, I arrived to find Helen showing all the signs of post-natal exhaustion and, not having been out of the house for five days, suffering from cabin fever. There had been much discussion and consultation about a name for the dog, in which I was involved. Soren is of Danish origin and was anxious that they avoid a Danish name. Someone, a Dane thankfully, once said that Danish is not a language it’s a throat infection and I was afraid that with a Danish name there would be a constant problem that whenever anyone within fifty yards cleared his throat the dog would go running up to him. The name they really fancied was Oscar, but it turns out that one of Helen’s schoolfriends had earmarked it for the son she may have and ruled it out – I think she’s an intellectual property lawyer, so not to be messed with. The possibility of confusion in the future with two Oscars in a close circle of friends was a concern.
This would not be a big problem. I called my dog Rosie, which happens to be Helen’s family name given to her by her brother Edward who, when at nursery school, took a shine to a classmate with that name. There has been little confusion. If I say, for example, “Rosie has been promoted and given a pay rise”, or “Rosie is going to the vet next week to be spayed” only the feeble-minded would take it the wrong way. But you do have to be careful – I have avoided telling people about one of Rosie’s idiosyncrasies: “When Rosie has a wee on the lawn she likes to hold a tennis ball in her mouth”. Too much risk of misunderstanding.
They have called him Rufus, a name popular among the Scots on account of their ginger beards.
He’s an enchanting little thing and has settled in well. Toilet training is progressing well, when anyone says “Where’s grandad?” he looks at me, and by the time I left we had him sitting to hand and verbal commands, reliably coming when called, and managing most of the time to cross a room without falling over his enormous paws. Surprisingly he is barking; Rosie was a year old the first time she barked, and so startled herself that she didn’t try it again for six months. His most endearing quality, however, is that he instantly bonded firmly with grandad and loves nothing more than to chew my moustache. I’m going back next week for Easter when I am confident that I shall be able to teach him to do the Telegraph ‘Toughie’ crossword and smoke my cigars.
When I got home Rosie (the dog) sniffed me all over in a suspicious way. I’m going to have to be careful.
Posted: March 23rd, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Miscellaneous, Retirement | No Comments »
With all this talk of an ageing population and soaring care bills, it is easy to be pessimistic. However, the future, as always, is in our own hands so let’s imagine for a moment what the world might look like for us baby boomers in 2025 :
People are increasingly moving to live nearer their friends and relatives so creating mutually supportive hubs. “Granny annexes” have not caught on because the wealthy baby boomers are resistant to downsizing to homes the size of their student flats of old. Similarly retirement complexes are still relatively unusual. Instead families and friends are buying adjoining houses in new housing developments and gardens are becoming more communal.
Government grants which first became available in 2009/10 to make homes more energy efficient have been extended to help people to “future proof” their homes. Unfortunately the housing industry did not respond to the changing demographic quickly enough and much of the housing stock is unsuitable for people as they get older. Government grants are now available for building a downstairs bedroom and ensuite big enough for a walk in shower, installing lifts, stair lifts, ramps and grab rails.
All adaptive equipment has to comply with a BSI British Standard which means that it must be discrete and attractive as well as being functional and robust. Designers are competing to bring out new designs in this lucrative market and the prestigious Conran Design Award for Inclusive Design is in its third year.
After years of debate, the compulsory retirement age has finally been abolished. People in their 60s/70s/80s now often have portfolio careers, combining part time or consultancy work with volunteering and helping with the extended family, be it providing child care or looking after older family members or friends. Caring and volunteering are both considered as valuable economic activities and recognised in the pension and benefits system.
Education no longer stops at 21. Increasingly people of all ages are returning again and again to education and skills training. Universities are no longer the preserve of the young as freshers are as likely to be 65 as 18.
What do you think? Is this a likely scenario? Is this your perfect future?
Posted: March 17th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: About retirement - Howard Croft, Grandparents | 2 Comments »
My grandson, Archie, is what my mother would have called a bit of a limb, a difficult child when he perceives some advantage in it. It gives me immense pleasure watching him give his parents a hard time. Recently at breakfast he was sat at the breakfast table scowling at his untouched toast. My son Edward asked, all reasonable, what the matter was: “There’s a problem with the jam”.
This took some sorting out and while this was going on I reminded Edward of the time, at the same age, when dissatisfied with his fried egg he picked it up between thumb and forefinger and gave it a good shake to demonstrate its sub-standard quality. Archie watched me closely and with great interest as I described this episode, making it clear that I thought it was hilarious; I cannot leave it to him to have all the best ideas.
It’s an odd business being a grandparent. Many of my contempories react against the title, saying that it makes them feel and sound old, but I cannot agree. What makes me feel old, insofar as I do, is having lived a while and what makes them sound old is their constant complaining about it and their transparent and vain strategies to defy the passage of time: comb-overs, wearing shorts when not on the beach, and sucking in their bellies whenever an attractive female shows up. I remember very well the pleasure my own children got from their grandparents who, in the case of my father, they were lucky enough to hang onto until their early adulthood, and I remember also being envious of the relationships they enjoyed with him. I have always rather looked forward to being a grandad. I have not been disappointed.
One of the hazards of being a grandparent is finding fault with your children’s child-rearing techniques, a cause of many fractured relationships. My own son and his wife are in my view making a rather better fist of it than I ever did. The discipline they exercise is consistent and rationally applied, they operate in unison, and they never make idle threats – the cornerstones of wise parenting. Working on the premise that only parents can spoil children, I take every opportunity to subvert their authority and encourage Archie into outrageous behaviour, a crucial feature of any grandad’s job description. Another hazard is boring friends witless with extravagant claims of cuteness, intelligence and physical beauty of one’s grandchildren. You know the kind of thing – toilet trained at 3 months, reading the Daily Telegraph by the time they are two, and parsing difficult passages of Xenophon’s Anabasis before they enter primary school. I cannot make such foolish claims on Archie’s behalf: he is not fully toilet trained, unless his peculiar enthisiasm for evacuating his bowels in the bath counts, his only interest in the Daily Telegraph is in shredding it and flinging it about the room, and the closest he comes to appreciating the achievements of the Greeks is in eating their yoghurt.
The other week I went into a room to find Archie alone, quietly playing with his toys:
Archie: I’m not being naughty, grandad.
Me: I’m sure you’re not, Archie.
Archie (with a sly look): I was naughty yesterday, grandad.
Me: Really? What did you do?
Archie (grinning): I did a fart, grandad!
Posted: March 16th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Miscellaneous | Comments Off
To get into the mood for Spring, we are offering free standard delivery on online orders until 15 April.
So go on, buy the perfect present or treat yourself! It’s a great time to get out into the garden. Have a look at our OXO Good Grips gardening range and our fabulous Bionic Gardening Gloves.
Posted: March 16th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Miscellaneous, Press coverage | Comments Off
We are delighted to report that Green People have been nominated for “Best Organic Product” in The Times Style Beauty Awards. Green People use pure plant extracts and oils which are gentle and soothing on sensitive skin to create exceptional natural face care products.
The glamorous Organic Body Spa range is a selection of luxurious natural products which allow you to indulge to your heart’s content. With organic Cranberry, Pomegranate and Rosehip central ingredients to this range, the Organic Body Spa helps you to combat the signs of ageing and be naturally gorgeous.
Try for example, the Reviving Day and Night Cream or the Firming Facial Gel. With free delivery for online orders until 15 April, why not treat yourself?
Posted: March 15th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Legal - employment, Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney | Comments Off
Let me introduce you to lawyer, Catriona Watt. As we all live longer, early retirement or indeed retirement at all, is likely to become the preserve of a lucky few. Many of us are going to need to, or may want to, work for longer. The law governing employment, partnerships and discrimination will be one of the areas in which the difficult issues raised by an ageing population will be most hotly debated. We are very lucky to have Catriona on board to guide us through this particular minefield.
- Name: Catriona Watt
- Born: Inverness, Scotland
- Lives: Clapham, London
- Occupation: Solicitor qualified in Scotland and England and Wales at Fox, an employment and partnership specialist law firm in the City of London. Previously worked at a large commercial practice in Edinburgh.
- Job description: Advising a wide range of employers and employees usually based in the City on employment and discrimination issues. We have seen and heard everything!
- Hobbies: Enjoying London life and its proximity to Europe, skiing and other outdoor pursuits and trips back to the bonnie highlands of Scotland
Introductions over, look out for Catriona’s regular blog postings over the coming months.