Finally the waiting is over.  Britain has a new heir to the throne and the new Prince has arrived safely into the world.  Both Kate and baby are said to be doing well and they expected to be allowed home from the hospital today and the world will hopefully get its first glimpse of the youngster.

Whilst we now know the weight (8lb 6oz) and sex of the future monarch, we are still to find out the boy’s name.  Whether this is because Wills and Kate are simply teasing with us and making everybody wait for the announcement, or the fact that they are still stewing over which moniker is best befitting a King and waiting for the royal seal of approval from Her Majesty.

Getting a name right is paramount for any child.  One has to ensure that it works well with the surname, the initials don’t spell out something bizarre and random that will haunt the child forever, and that hopefully all the extended family will come to love.  However, when your child is the future King of England it is even more important to choose the right name, to almost brand it into the royal family.

King’s names tend to be very solid, traditional names that are steeped in history.  Will the new Prince take on a previous King’s name or will Wills and Kate come up with something new and more modern for their first born?

James and George are currently the bookie’s favourites, which would make the Prince become James VIII or George VII when he takes the throne.   Other favourites include Henry, Arthur, Louis and Alexander.

It is unlikely that the couple will choose a more fashionable name such as ‘Tyler’, much to the delight ex-Apprentice candidate Katie Hopkins, but you could imagine that at least one of the boy’s names might be something less regal and formal, a reflection on the modern couple that they are.  They might also opt for a name that is prevalent in Kate’s family history such as Francis.

Whatever name the young Prince is bestowed with, the name will almost certainly become one of the top 10 names for boys born later this year and next as throughout history royal names have quickly been adopted by the general public for their own offspring.

Whilst the world waits with baited breath for the announcement of the latest edition to the Royal Family, we take a look at the team of people whose job it is to work together and ensure the Duchess of Cambridge has a smooth delivery and that security is at its tightest.

It almost goes without saying that her closest family and husband, William, will play a large part in ensuring that Kate is as comfortable as possible during her labour.  No doubt William will be going through all the emotions of any expectant father whilst his wife is in labour; not really knowing what to do, wanting to take some of the pain away, and even, dare we say it, a little bit bored at times.  Let’s hope that Kate doesn’t have a long and arduous labour.

It’s been reported that Kate’s mother, Carole and sister, Pippa are already at the hospital.  I imagine they are offering words of support during painful contractions and trying to keep her spirits up while she practices breathing exercises taught to her by antenatal expert, Christine Hill—a favourite for many A-listers and celebrities.

As far as the medical team is concerned, Kate is in extremely good hands.  Two of the country’s top surgeon-gynaecologists are in attendance; the royal gynaecologist and obstetrician Marcus Setchell will be delivering the heir to the throne.  Mr Setchell has already delivered many royal babies over the past few years and was the Queen’s personal gynaecologist.  The consultant Alan Farthing will be aiding him on his first royal birth.  Also in attendance at the birth will be a senior nurse and midwife.

Security around the St. Mary’s hospital in Paddington will be incredibly tight; the hospital will probably be well-versed in security measures as Princess Diana gave birth to both William and Harry in the same unit.   It is expected that the hospital exterior will be guarded by armed police until Kate and the new baby have left, with palace appointed security on watch outside of the £6,000 a night suite Lindo Wing.

With first-time active labours tending to be around eight hours on average we can expect the news of the new royal to be announced anytime soon.  We wish the Duchess a speedy and uncomplicated birth and look forward to seeing the new heir.

Country Pursuits5Are you getting set to partake in an outdoor team building event? If so, be prepared for a day that’s quite different from your regular work routine. Check out these valuable tips to be prepared for a day of fun and (hopefully) sun with your coworkers:

Day in and day out, many of us trod to work and experience the same old office environment, which quickly becomes a familiar, comfortable routine. Team building events are designed to try to break up that monotony in a workforce and really get teams excited about their work and roles once again.

Particularly with the record hot summer we’ve been having in the UK, many businesses have been opting for outdoor team building events, since the added extreme “climate change” from an indoor office to outdoor climes is the perfect opportunity to really invigorate a workforce. That being said, there’s plenty to prepare for before your outdoor team building excursion.

Crystal Maze 5Brave The Elements of Outdoor Team Building Events

As mentioned, the warm weather affords businesses a prime opportunity to get a workforce outside, far, far away from the mundane environs of the office. If you’re going on an outdoor team building event, however, you have to come prepared to brave the elements. If you’re thinking that walking out the door will be the same as it is every day going to the office, then thing again.

Sunscreen is a definite necessity, particularly if you have fair skin that burns easily. remember that, even on a partly or mostly cloudy day, the summer sun can leave you with a burn, especially if your team building event is set to run for a good portion of the day (and during midday).

Along these lines, a brimmed hat isn’t a bad idea, either. Often times, outdoor events are held in fields and in places where there is very little shade. There is a good chance that a lunch break could take place in a tent or even inside a venue, but for the most part, you’ll be braving the sun for much of the day.

With summer sun comes heat, so being sure to wear cool, breathable clothing also makes a lot of sense. Sometimes businesses keep the theme of an event a secret, but try and find out if your event will involve any water. If so, the obligatory swimsuit should be a part of your ensemble, with it being easiest to wear it under your regular clothing. The idea of not having to “button up” and go to the office can take some getting used to, but just enjoy it!

Finally, when it comes to the elements, know that whatever kind of event you’ll be doing, it will probably involve some degree of athletics. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be running a triathlon, but making sure you have athletic sneakers or running shoes is a good idea as well.

team building event - it's a knockoutPrepare Your Mind

It isn’t just your body that will be in for a change on the day of your outdoor team building event; such a dramatic shift in your workday can also throw you for a bit of a loop. Of course, this is in part the whole idea of a team building event: get people out of their element and thinking differently. However, it’s important to prepare yourself for the excursion so that you can get as much out of it as possible.

The first step is to get a good night of sleep. Seeing the outdoor team building event day as part of the “extended weekend” can be a major thinking error; hitting the pub hard the night before and getting in late, thinking that you won’t have to perform can be a recipe for disaster. Remember: your company is paying for this event, and they expect their employees to particulate in it properly. Thus, get a good night of sleep. In fact, try to get to sleep even earlier than you normally do, since you’ll probably be exerting yourself more vigorously than usual the next day.

It's a Knockout

BJSS enjoy It’s a Knockout at Whittlebury Park

Second, once you are at the event, try to clear your mind of what normally concerns you at work. every day as I begin work, I’m filled with a kind of dread for things that I know I have to get done. If you feel the same way, then the day of your outdoor team building event is a day to leave that feeling behind. Going into the experience with an open mind and a sense of fun and ease is critically important.

Finally, try to look at your coworkers in a different light. You may in fact have likes and dislikes in the office that have much less to do with people’s personalities, and more about how people perform while at work. Now, in the midst of a fun outdoor team building experience, you’re bound to see them in a different light. It’s a wonderful chance to put to rest any preconceived notions you have about your co-workers, and begin to build new, more productive professional relationships.

Thanks for reading our article! Be sure to check out the wide range of UK-based outdoor team building events that Accolade has to offer!

The final episode of this year’s The Apprentice was finally upon.  Lord Sugar had to choose between two very strong women in Leah Totton and Luisa Zissman, and ultimately decide which business idea would net him the most money.  Would Botox clinics win over baking accessories?

Luisa and Leah had much in common in reaching the final; glamorous women who were both very strong-willed and decisive throughout the entire show, but with good business ideas backed by in-depth knowledge of the area of expertise they wanted to work in.  However, their personal journeys through the process were very different.  Luisa started out by being manipulative and Machiavellian, whereas Leah was quieter.  Luisa proved to be a better leader of people than she was a team player, in contrast Leah’s time as project manager showed her inexperience in business.

The program started with the two ladies ringing around ex-candidates in the hope they could secure themselves the best team.  Leah managed to persuade Alex, Francesca, Myles and Uzma to join her in her final venture, while Luisa was the first to call Neil she was disappointed that she didn’t manage to get all the people she wanted and begrudgingly invited Jason, Zee and Natalie to be on her team.

If the episode had been a team building exercise it would certainly have thrown up some of both of the women’s character flaws.  Neither showed particularly good listening skills—something essential for the success of any business, and both could do with working on their leadership skills as they came across as snappy, blunt and uncompromising, and in Leah’s case, often rather rude.

However, one could forgive them their faults as it was undoubtedly a very high pressure environment and they were working against the clock.

Both ladies had very clear ideas about how they wanted to brand their businesses, but paid very little attention to their team members or feedback from the general public.  This stubbornness also ran over into the making of their videos, although Luisa seemed more relaxed and able to let others take some of the creative strain compared to her competitor.

Luisa’s ‘Baking Tool Kit’ was an online wholesale business selling all the ingredients and tools required for professional bakers.  However, the branding led itself more towards the home consumer with the overuse of pink and the caricature of herself on the products.

Leah’s wanted a very clinical and clean brand for her cosmetic enhancement clinics, and came up with the name ‘Niks’—a play on the word ‘skin’.  She stuck to her guns about the brand despite people telling her it looked boring and the word ‘niks’ conjured up images of being cut.  Leah did however bow to opinion and made a slight concession, she decided that she would keep ‘Niks’, but refer to it as N.I.K.S. medical instead.

When it came to the launch of their businesses—which involved a pitch and the play of their corporate video to 100 assembled experts from the cosmetic and baking world—both ladies delivered good presentations.  Luisa faltered slightly at the beginning with nerves but recovered well and both were challenged by difficult questions from the floor.

With nothing much between the ladies’ performances, it was down to whether Lord Sugar thought he would be best investing in Botox or cupcakes and in the end he was swayed by the bigger margins promised by Leah’s enterprise.

Unsure as to whether the decision may come back to haunt him, he declared Doctor Leah Totton this year’s Apprentice and we can all look forward to a Botox clinic coming to a high street near us very shortly!

Did Lord Sugar hire the right candidate?  How would your teams fare on one of our Team Apprentice team building events?

Last night’s episode of The Apprentice was the much anticipated interview round.  The usual interviewees were in attendance: Margaret Mountford, Claude Littner and Mike Soutar with newby Claudine Collins making up the numbers.

This episode is always fun, not only because of the squirm inducing interviews the candidates have to go through, but because of the ineptness displayed, in fact this episode should be called the ‘what not to do in an interview’ or ‘what not to write on your CV’, because any little misdemeanor is discovered, devoured and spat out.

Gems this year include Francesca admitting that she plucked the £5 million turnover figure in her business plan out of the air, Leah pointing out all the cosmetic surgery Mike Soutar needs doing and then saying that she was only in the process because she ‘needs the money’, and Luisa calling her old boss ‘an idiot’.

Margaret gave, as usual, great eyebrows, particularly when Luisa (rather cleverly I thought) sniped back that you needed a personality in business, Francesca admitting the most interesting fact about herself was her shoe collection, and Jordan was questioned as to why he said David Beckham was his business role model.

The gang didn’t fare too well with newcomer Claudine Collins, who wanted to suss out how media worthy they were.  She quickly established that Francesca wasn’t really boring because she said so and that Jordan considers himself more intelligent than anyone else and that his only business he has conducted was selling stuff on ebay.

Overall I thought this year the candidates were treated quite kindly in the interviews, in fact despite the fact that all the interviewers hated Neil’s business plan, you could tell they quite liked him as a person.  Luisa composed herself very well in the interviews and was even complimented by Claude and Mike on her business success.

But of course, the episode wouldn’t be complete with one of the candidates being visibly chewed up and spat out as a disheveled version of their former selves—step forward Jordan.  First he was put on the spot by Mike to live up to his claim that he could complete a Rubik’s cube in under 3 minutes, which he failed to do.  He was then banished from his interview with Claude when he discovered that not only was the business idea he was floating to Lord Sugar already established, he didn’t actually own any part of it.  If Jordan needed any more nails in his coffin, the fact that he was only willing to part with 15.39% of the equity with Lord Sugar slammed down the lid and threw the dirt on top.

Unsurprisingly, back in the boardroom Jordan was very swiftly dispatched from the process.  More surprising was Neil’s firing; despite both the interviewers and Lord Sugar trying to get him to come up with a contingency plan to his flawed online estate agency idea, he clung desperately onto his beliefs and this cost him dearly.

With just the three girls left in the process, it was a no-brainer that Francesca would be the next person to hitch a ride home in a taxi.  Her lack of business nous along with her made-up figures made sure that she wasn’t a serious contender for Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment which left Leah and her cosmetic surgery clinics and Luisa’s baking business to fight it out in the final.

How would your people shine in one of our Team Apprentice team building events?

As the nation starts to recover from its Pimms fuelled hangover and the arguments of whether Andy Murray is Scottish or British rage on, we look at how Team Murray finally helped break the hoodoo of British tennis and led Andy on to become the first British male to lift the Wimbledon trophy for 77 years.

Andy beat Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the blistering London sunshine, whilst over 17 million tuned in at home to cheer him on.  With the cameras alternating between the on court action and the expressions of the rich and famous seated at SW19 we also got to see a lot of the people who were actively involved in Murray’s emphatic victory.

To achieve his best in the sport, Andy isn’t alone in his quest.  To get to the very pinnacle of his game he needs help; from emotional support from his parents and girlfriend to the army of behind the scenes professionals who make sure that he is mentally and physically in the best shape he can be.

Whilst most winning sports stars will pay homage to their parents in some way, it was Andy’s mum, Judy, who first started him on his course to becoming the Wimbledon champion.  A proficient tennis player herself, she coached Andy and his brother Jamie (also a Wimbledon champion having won the mixed doubles title in 2007) from an early age.  Judy has proved to be a rock to Andy and is often present at his games when her work as captain of the British Federations Cup team will allow.

Like most professional tennis players, Andy has changed coaches often throughout his career, with each new coach bringing on his game and developing him more as a player.  However, many pundits will agree that employing the coaching services of tennis great, Ivan Lendl, was probably the turning point in his career.  Under Lendl’s guidance Andy has become the Olympic champion, US Open champion and now finally the nation’s sweetheart as Wimbledon champion.

Along with Lendl, Andy also has two fitness coaches and a hitting partner who work along with psychotherapists, masseurs and nutritionists to ensure that his is as physically as fit as he can be in both body and mind.

Another vital component to the Team Murray is the great British public.  Andy praised the crowd at Wimbledon, both on centre court and up on Henman Hill (will that now be changed forever to Murray Mount?  It should be!) and thanked everyone in the country for their support saying how much it had spurred him on to victory, so if you watched and cheered yesterday you can also consider yourself part of Team Murray’s victorious triumph.

Week 10 of The Apprentice and another candidate has to bite the dust.  This week the candidates have to ‘grow a business’.  Each team is given £150 to buy stock with to sell at Spitalfields Market in East London, they need to ‘smell what sells’ in order to restock quickly and make more money.  The second day of the task they have to move from their market stall to a shop, the team with the most assets at the end of day 2 is the winner.

Lord Sugar decides to go back to the start and pits the boys against the girls for the challenge. Myles and Jordan put themselves forwards as project manager and it’s up to Neil to have the casting vote.  He concludes that smooth-talking, Monaco-living Myles is better suited to flogging stuff on a market stall than Jordan.  Over in the girls’ team both Leah and Luisa put themselves forward for the main role and Francesca decides that Luisa is the woman for job given her retail experience.

Straight away the girls get down to business and decide they want to sell fashion items on their market stall, in particular low cost items such as hats and leggings.  Luisa seems to be leading her team well and for once the girls appear to be getting on very well, all agreeing on the direction and strategy of the task.  Luisa sends Francesca off to do some market research on markets while she and Leah go to buy stock.

Myles’ team has less direction and the boys spend a long time deciding what to sell, in fact they almost have to be pushed into making a decision by Karren as the clock ticks away.  They reluctantly decide on homeware for their store and look to seek out relatively high value items to sell.  Chancing upon a bespoke ceramic maker they buy a few over-priced butter dishes, ceramic note pads and ceramic rubber gloves.  In all they purchase 16 items for their market stall, let’s hope it’s a small stall!

The girls’ hats and leggings stall appears to be doing a brisk trade, the same cannot be said for the sparsely laid out ceramic stall.  Whilst Neil and Myles struggle to get anyone to look at their goods, Jordan goes in search of some cheaper items to sell and comes back with greeting cards.   With dismal sales, the team decide that Jordan should take the greetings cards and try to off-load them as wholesale to another stall or shop, he manages to raise £25 doing this, although it takes him about 4 hours to do so.

Day 2 arrives and the teams swap the market for a pop-up mall in Shoreditch.  Each team has an empty shop (or converted shipping container) to fill with stock to sell to the unsuspecting public.  Although in Myles’ case, filling the shop or even a shelf with stock is proving to be a tricky business so he comes up with a master plan of abandoning the shop and using an old mirror as a stall at the entrance of the shop.

The girls decide they need some higher prices items to sell in their nicely stocked and decorated shop, so dispatch Francesca to buy some dresses.  She comes back with some nice tea dresses which the girls hope to sell for £65.

Jordan is again sent off to find some more cheap items to sell and at 1pm comes back to the stall with some candles.  Meanwhile, somehow, Neil manages to get people to part with real money for their ceramic nick-nacks.

The girls’ shop is busy, but no-one seems interested in the dresses so it’s back to the wholesalers for more hats.  Myles and Neil ponder over whether to blow their money on a single high-end item to sell, after much umming and ahhing Myles finally takes the decision to send Jordan back to the ceramic maker to find something they can sell for a high price.   Jordan typically takes ages on his mission and then comes back with a unique looking vase (so unique it doesn’t actually resemble a vase in any shape or form) that they hope to flog for £190.  Not unsurprisingly, Myles and Neil immediately wash their hands of the product once they see it and instruct Jordan to try and peddle it in nearby shops.

Back in the boardroom and Lord Sugar is finding it difficult to come up with any terrible to say about the girls, and with good reason as they easily win the task by around £300.  The boys argue about whether Myles or Jordan is to blame for their fiasco and are sent to the café to lick their wounds.

With all three boys in the boardroom Lord Sugar takes the opportunity to find out a little bit about their business propositions.  Neil wants to set up an on-line estate agents, Myles want to set up an on-line luxury marketing company and controversially,  Jordan wants to set up a business with a third person involved—something that Lord Sugar instantly dislikes and we get to watch Jordan squirm so badly he almost vomits.

However, Jordan is let off the hook—one imagines because the interviews next week will get to the bottom of this three man business—and Myles is sent back to Monaco.  It’s a hard life for some!

How would your people fare in a Team Apprentice team building event ?  Could they grow a successful business from scratch?  Will they be able to hone their leadership and decision making skills like Luisa, or find themselves floundering like Myles?

Team work is key to the smooth running of Wimbledon.  I’m not talking about the teams that look after the individual tennis stars; the coaches, nutritionists, agents etc., I’m talking about team work at the most fundamental level, without which Wimbledon would be chaos; matches would take forever, players would lose their cool (and probably more matches) and fans would get annoyed.  Who can I possibly be talking about?  Why the ball boys and ball girls of course!

These young people display tireless dedication to their work.  Around 250 successful ball boys and ball girls are selected from around 1,000 applicants from schools in the South West of London.  They typically start their team building training for the prestigious event in January and it’s a rigorous test of fitness, stamina and precision.  Not only do they have to be able to stand stock still (or kneeling on one knee if they are at the net), for lengthy periods of time—which they must do with a straight face—they also have to be ultra-alert, always watching the game so when they are called into action they can respond with lightning speed.  They must know the rules of the game inside and out.

These 14 and 15 year olds, who are usually budding tennis players themselves, also need to learn how to work together quickly.  Their main aim is to get the tennis ball back to the relevant player as soon as possible.  Often this involves dispatching the ball to another ball boy or ball girl first – particularly at the net.  This must all be done via non-verbal communication, because a ball boy or ball girl must be seen and not heard.

All balls delivered either to the tennis players or to their colleagues must be done in a very precise motion.  For balls across the net to another ball boy or ball girl, this must be done by rolling along the ground at a precise trajectory to enable the other person to catch it cleanly—tennis players and fans alike would not tolerate wasting time watching a ball boy chasing an errant ball around the court.  Balls delivered to the tennis player for service must be delivered from waist height with a single bounce, these techniques take a long time to perfect, hence the long training schedule before the tournament.

As the competition heats up, the ball boys and ball girls must be careful not to show any emotion on the court, they cannot be seen to be cheering on their favourite player, even if Andy Murray is having a storming game they have to wait until they are off-court before they can crack a smile of admiration.

So, while you’re watching Murray and Djokovic each try and make it to the semi-finals today, spare a thought for the young people in green and purple and how they help make the whole Wimbledon experience run smoothly.

C’mon Andy!

> Quick Contact
close slider