8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know the Queen Can Do

crown-imageQueen Elizabeth II is deemed to be one of the longest serving monarchs of Britain, reigning for 60 years.

It was in February 1952 that Her Majesty was acceded to the throne and she was only 25 years old at that time.

She is United Kingdom’s Head of State along with 15 other sovereign states which are referred to as Commonwealth realms.Her Majesty represents Britain all over the world.

All her life, she has been in the public eye however she is not like typical celebrities who like and crave for the public’s attention.She maintains a very private life.

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5 Key Points of the 2014 Budget


It’s that time of the year again! Yes, April is coming close and we all know what that means—budget announcements. To be honest I was anxious to know how things would be looking for us this coming year, so I couldn’t wait for chancellor Osborne’s 2014 budget.

When the news first came out the first thing that I looked at was the growth forecast. Okay so it’s not really part of the budget, but I wanted to know how our economy is going to look for 2014.

And it looks like it’s going to do pretty well this year—there is a .3% rise on the forecast. In December of 2013 it was 2.4%, but the recent announcement said that the economy is expected to grow 2.7% in 2014.

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Another 8,000 Jobs in the UK cut from HSBC

Here at Liz Blaine, we monitor most of the popular blogs and news sites to keep a finger on the pulse of the business and finance market.

Well today we read the shocking news that HSBC have cut yet another 8,000 UK jobs.  Part of the reason, we feel, that the UK banks are able to get away with these huge bonuses etc. is that they have a lout of clout in the UK employment arena … meaning they employ thousands of people from hundreds of different local areas.

HSBC Leeds

So every time we read something like this, it makes me think that it’s about time we stop looking the other way on a lot of their shady goings on that we have with the banks in this country.

A friend of mine over at NCBF Accountants in Rodley actually predicted this at the beginning of the year.

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Things You Should Know About the Lake District

district lakeSince summer is approaching and the Lake District will be swarming with people, I have decided to put together a little fact sheet of this treasure of the British Isles.

The most popular accommodation in the Lake District are cottages for rent
While the towns in the Lake District are well known for their bed and breakfasts, the most popular accommodation by far are the cottages for rent.

You can find lake district five star cottages starting at £265 a day, and you are guaranteed complete privacy and beautiful view of the lake or the of the mountains.

Wastwater is the deepest lake
Of the many lakes in the area, the Wastwater lake is by far the deepest, reaching 243 feet at its deepest point.

However, it is not the longest lake, as the longest lake is the Windermere, which stretches out to 10.5 miles. Because of its length, it is a popular destination for kayak and canoe boaters, as well as steamboat cruises.

There is only one officially recognized lake
There are about 12 lakes in the Lake District in Cumbria, yet there is only one officially recognized lake in the area. The lake is called Bassenthwaite Lake, which is one of the largest bodies of water in the area. All of the other lakes are called “waters” or “meres”.

district lakeOnly 40,000 people live in the area
The Lake District is home to just 40,000 people, which makes it one of the most sparsely populated places in the entire UK.

The majority of the population focus on tourism as a source of income. Some focus on the hospitality businesses, some are in the food business, while others provide activities such as boat rentals, cruises, and tour guides.

In fact, on average, 10 million tourists visit the Lake District every year.

The Lake District has unique traditions
The Lake District has some very unique traditions to the area such as Westmorland wrestling.

It is very similar to the Scottish backhold style of wrestling, and athletes generally wear white overalls with pants. It is a very ancient tradition that has been developed from the Celtic wrestling styles centuries ago.

Another tradition that us unique to the Lake District is hound trailing. This Cumbrian dog sport where hounds, typically fox hounds, are made to follow a trail marked with aniseed oil over a course of over 10 miles. It is a sport similar to horse racing, and many tourists bet on the winners. Of course, the sport is strictly regulated to prevent injuries and abuse to the animals.

Lake District Expedition:

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What After School Clubs are Great for Kids with ADHD?

ADHDI have read on the news that there will be new programs available for children who have ADHD, to help them with their condition. ADHD is a very common, if mild form of autism, and may lead to some learning problems among certain children.

When I read about the Department for Education’s new programs, I wondered whether I should ask my brother to join. You see, my little brother, who is only eight years old, has ADHD, so it is a subject that is quite close to home.

My little brother cannot focus on anything and has an immensely difficult time learning how to read. He is also irritable and temperamental, which is just a form of frustration because of his inability to express himself freely.

Before the DfE has announced its new programs, my parents and I were searching for an after school clubs for kids that have ADHD. We wanted him to be surrounded by other children so that he will learn to communicate a bit better and feel more included.

Choose something that will interest them
Activities for Kids with ADHDA lot of children who have ADHD will have at least one or two activities that they really enjoy. My brother for example, loves building things and working with his hands. It is one of the few activities that he can really focus on.

We decided to enrol him in a science after school club which focused on building and physics experiments. It proved to be a hit because he would come home after every session with a big smile in his face with today’s little contraption in his hands.

Avoid activities with long waiting periods
Kid with ADHDKids with ADHD will not stay still for a long, boring lecture. I know that I tried to bring my brother to try a new kung-fu lesson as an after school activity, but it did not turn out so well. For one thing, beginners at kung-fu will have to sit through a long lecture explaining how everything works, followed by repetitive motions of the different forms and stances.

This was extremely boring for my brother, and after just a few minutes of punching in the air he was off and wandering about the studio. It is better to avoid activities with long waiting periods in between.

Try other sports
Sports that are forms and discipline focused tend to be a bit boring for kids with ADHD. It is better to start with a sport that they can get into right away. A great school activity would include either a team sport such as football, baseball, and even hockey, or a solo sport such as swimming and tennis. Try to figure out what appeals to the child.

How To Succeed In Sports If You Have ADHD

Even though my brother is thriving in his science after school club, I am excited to see what the DfE has in store. It would be great if he gets to meet children with a similar condition to him.

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What The Government Can Do for Our Health

Aside from the healthcare system, I think that the government can improve on a few things because I’m really noticing a lot more people becoming more and more unhealthy.

I see it on my walk to class every day, in the supermarkets, in the fast food places even I often have to frequent because I can’t quite afford to eat any better.

Expanding waistlines and growing dress sizes has become more and more common these days, to the point where people have coined the term “obesity epidemic’ to describe the fact that yes, globally, peoples’ weights are truly starting to climb.

I think this has to do with our current food choices, being as they are quite unhealthy, coupled with the fact that most jobs these days are done with computers which means people end up sitting all day to do their work.

Naturally people will not be able to stay fit this way, which means that the unhealthy food will make them grow bigger faster. This is why I think the government should help to make people more aware of their health so that they can take better care of themselves.

Here are some of the things I think that the government can (and probably should) do in order to help us citizens stay healthy.

Better Information Regarding Food and Nutrition

I think that more programs should be started in order to give people more information regarding food and nutrition. I think people need to know that they can eat healthy on their current budgets, or at least cut down on junk and unhealthy foods and add more healthy options while still staying within their monthly food budgets.

Personally I would really appreciate a program like this. As a student in university it’s no secret that I’m almost always certainly flat broke, so ideas on how I can eat clean while staying within my minimal budget can really be helpful in keeping my body not only slim, but also healthy.

Free Public Exercise Options

Another thing I (and probably a lot of people around) cannot afford in the moment is gym memberships. I think that the government can create options for people in order to allow them and help them to stay healthy.

One idea is that they could put some outside gyms in public parks that people can use at will without having to pay for anything.

I can already see this becoming a hit, especially in parks in densely populated areas It’s free, it helps people stay fit…people will come, maybe even flock to it.

And of course, they can also create programs where a fitness class can be taught at the park in certain days (this can be done by people they hire or by volunteers, I don’t really care as long as it happens!).

Okay, so maybe my feeling unhealthy has sparked my inspiration for this little blog post. But truth remains—I’m really hoping that the government does these things. Wishful thinking?

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A Look into the Policies of the Department for Education

The Department for Education or DfE is the branch of the UK government that is responsible for the educational system. They deal with educational policies as well as children’s affairs that deal with skills and welfare.

It is this branch of the government that specializes in educational reforms and policies. It is also responsible for handling issues that affect children below the age of 19.

The DfE typically is run by people with education jobs who were elected as civil servants. People who apply for positions in the DfE preferably should be individuals who have experience in handling children and working in academic settings.

As such, many members of the DfE were teachers and educators before they took on their current positions. Right now, they are the ones in charge of all the state schools in England.

As of 2014, the department is lead by the current Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan.

He is responsible for the overall governance of the department, while several MPs specialise in handling school policies, improvement, teachers, apprenticeships, and children’s services such as adoption and sports, among other things.

There are currently 21 policies that are placed into effect by the DfE, but we will only touch upon them briefly in this article.

People are currently in educational jobs can benefit from knowing more about these policies, so here is a quick summary to get one started:

Improving the quality and range of education

The DfE is responsible for improving the quality of education from birth to college years. Generally, they are the ones who put up the educational standards that govern school.

They determine what is essential to a British education and what to include in the general curriculum that schools follow.

They are in charge of providing a more well rounded education.

Naturally, they also focus on other skills, including problem solving, intuition, and even motor skills which can be honed using sports.

Improving the quality of teaching

Teachers are the backbone of the educational system so the DfE is constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of teaching.

The techniques used by teachers to improve retention, increase understanding the subject matter, and to promote learning outside of the classroom are all sanctioned by the DfE.

The DfE also handles issues with the employment of educators, addressing shortages in the education sectors so that there are more jobs to apply for.

Improving behavior and attendance in school

Delinquent behavior and school attendance is promoted by the DfE through various means.

To help students adjust to schools and to curb anti-social behavior, several steps are taken to help children let off some steam through the introduction of playgrounds, sports competitions, and other extra curricular activities.

Social Justice and Child Welfare

The DfE also handles social work and improving the lives of children that are in abusive or neglectful households.

The basic rights of the child are taken into account so that children are properly educated and raised, giving them more opportunities as they get older.

These are just some of the many policies that are enacted by the DfE.

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How CRM Improved My Workplace

My readers are well aware that I am still a student and work part time at a local coffee shop to earn a bit of money. Now, the work load at the coffee shop that I work for is generally quite light  (except on Monday mornings where all the stressed, coffee crazed clients show up), so I usually have a pretty relaxed work week.

However, my boss approached me for some extra work, asking if I could help him find one of those CRM software programs that his niece suggested to him. Now, while this is not part of my job description, my boss is an elderly gentleman who has been making coffee since the sixties.

Naturally, I wanted to help him upgrade his customer relations and modernize the way we operate. I called up the software provider and a hosted CRM consultants helped me  choose a program that was right for us. It was easy to use and I was able to help my boss learn how to operate it as well.

Since I also write about economics, I wanted to share how CRM benefited my company. Economics is something that interests me greatly, so I wanted to share how something so simple fixed a lot of problems within the company I work at.

CRM image

1. The staff’s time is managed more easily

One thing I noticed after the CRM was implemented is that my work noticeably became easier. I have more time to attend to customers and less time is wasted having to constantly update the orders. The program always sent us follow ups and notifications so that it is easier for us to multi-task.


2. It helps create a value system for aspects of the business

The software is great at helping us determine which of our assets are the most valuable, and which ones simply waste money. It made it much easier to protect our customers because the CRM program directs us to whatever aspect of the business is most important right now.

3. Menial tasks are streamlined

The most menial tasks such as data entry and other time consuming tasks are streamlined, which helps save us time. We no longer have to slave over long excel sheets that are prone to human error. All of the boring, menial tasks are now automated and made that much more accurate.

Meanwhile Here is a video discussing the benefits and advantages of CRM:

4. Communication between staff

Another great aspect about CRM is that there is better communication among the staff. Notifications, shared work entries, and unfinished tasks are all equally distributed among us, allowing us to improve our work flow.

It certainly makes it much easier to keep track of our client’s bills and to avoid duplicates. We have not served a client the wrong drink in ages ever since the CRM software was installed.

CRM software is definitely something that you need for your business. Just make sure that you ask a CRM consultant first so that you get the correct program that suits your company’s needs.

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Government Playground Projects are at a Stand Still

David Cameron, the Prime Minister, announced earlier last year that he has approved some plans to provide better sporting facilities and programs to school children and communities.

Part of the plans included the development of new playgrounds and outdoor gyms. The plan originally included up to 3,500 schemes, spread out over several hundred councils.

Many of the playgrounds are designed by youngsters and were expected to start construction earlier this year, and the schemes have been in the talks for nearly two years now.


The councils were supposed to provide government funding to purchase playground equipment from suppliers in the UK and help promote a more active lifestyle for the British youth. They allotted £235 million.

Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, education secretary Michael Gove has elected to freeze the grants of up to 132 councils to stop the construction of new playgrounds.

So far, only the playgrounds that have already started production are the ones who were allowed to keep their grants. The official statement of the government is that they had “unrealistic spending commitments” and that they are shutting down operations.

The original schemes called for 3,500 playgrounds, but the Department of Education will be reducing it down to approximately 1,300 playgrounds, managed by 93 authorities in the local councils.

The department might push it down further, as they are unsure over which schemes have already started construction and which ones have not.

However, they have already advised the local authorities not to ask for more funding or to produce more costs on their construction until they have been thoroughly reviewed by the department.


Mr Gove has announced to the children’s services that the lack of funding will specifically affect the play projects, and will instead focus on improving education services. Unfortunately, the government’s decision was not received warmly by the affected communities.

Many campaigners at the local communities believe that it is a waste considering that the playgrounds make up such a small percentage of the government’s funds and that it is not a logical decision to make it the focus of their budget cuts.

Steve Chown of Play England, who was commissioned as a charity to aid the local councils in the construction of the playground schemes has expressed his disappointment at the government’s decision.

He maintains that many of the local communities that he has been working with are going to be heart broken to hear that all of their hard work has gone to waste and that the play areas that they have been working on will not be cancelled.

Other campaigners echoed his sentiments, and have added that the government is contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic by cutting out important play projects that benefit the community’s health overall.

The Department of Education has put forward their spokesperson and has announced that even though play and health is important for the children and their families, the current economic climate simply will not allow an investment of this scale to push through.

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