Looking for a pram in Oldham

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This is a bit of a change of direction from recent posts, but a few of my friends are recently becoming parents for the first time and they’ve been searching for places to get affordable baby stuff – cot beds, car seats, etc. It’s weird how so many of them are having kids at the same time.

One of my former uni friends lives in Oldham now, and he has just had a baby boy. The little lad arrived a bit earlier than expected and they were caught by surprise, so they are in serious need of a pram, so they can get out and about on the streets.

They found a company called Online4Baby, who are based on the web but also have a pram showroom in Oldham! That was handy. My friends tell me that there were more than enough prams for them to take a look at, which was even handier.

One pram looks pretty much the same to me, if I’m honest, but once I looked at the website one evening recently I was astonished at the varieties available. Travel systems seems a bit of a pretentious term, but once I checked out what they actually were, I could see why they call them that. There is a lot of different pieces involved. One, for example, even has an Isofix base included – everything from the first journey back from hospital to strolls in the park is covered.

So, I suppose I’ll be seeing many buggies and other bits of baby kit in the next few years as my friends’ little bundles of joy arrive. I might even end up pushing a couple of them around the park myself. A couple of my friends’ prams, you understand. I’ve got no plans for any kids of my own just yet.

Student Accommodation Sheffield

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I thought I’d get my blog going again with a look a the state of Student Accommodation in Sheffield. I’ve been a student in Sheffield for a while, and now after a working ‘break’, I’m back at Sheffield University studying  postgraduate course.

I’ve been in a lot of student houses in Sheffield over the last few year, both visiting student friends and in my own student accommodation.  I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to student accommodation.

I’ve seen properties with no living rooms and lots of box rooms, like my first place in Crookes. I’ve seen great student flats off Ecclesall Road and Broomhill. I’ve seen some very expensive, high end student pads in the city centre for those with wealthy parents and trust funds. I’ve seen some awful, damp and dank student houses in Crookesmoor.

My current student accommodation in the Broomhill area of Sheffield is pretty good, I have to say. I’m sharing with some friends, but the house in in a good condition and good value. Also close to some really good pubs and handy shops. We’ve got our current student accommodation through a company who specialise in student accommodation in Sheffield called Capland.

I’ve had a student property through them before, in my third year, and I’d recommend them to anyone. They actually answer the phone and provide timely services when the boiler breaks etc unlike the private landlord I had in my second year (I’ll never forget that cold winter!).

Anyway, I’d say there is quite a range of student accommodation in Sheffield. Being a city so dominated by two huge universities, Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam, there are a lot of students. Also, being a once a booming city of steel makers, there are a lot of old houses around, which are perfect for turning into well located student houses. Just be careful to look around and don’t take the first property you see. There are good student digs in the city, you just have to look around!

 

Apostrophes

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Following on from my look at collective nouns, I thought I’d blog about that tricky little critter, the apostrophe.

Apostrophe Rules

Many people are confused when it comes to the use of this punctuation mark. By following the guidelines below you can gain an understanding of when and why the use of an apostrophe is applicable. There are two main reasons to use an apostrophe:

To show possession

To show an omission

Using an apostrophe to show possession

An apostrophe can be used to show that a person, a thing or an object belongs or relates to someone or something. For example, an apostrophe can be used to write Tom’s party or last year’s weather, instead of the party of Tom or the weather of last year.

Below are some simple guidelines to explain the use of apostrophes to indicate possession.

The majority of personal names and singular nouns

To indicate possession with personal names and singular nouns you should add an apostrophe followed by the letter ‘s’.

We met at Tom’s barbeque

The elephant’s trunk was long and grey

This morning’s weather was awful.

The use of an apostrophe when a personal name ends with ‘-s’

You should include an apostrophe and the letter ‘s’ with a personal name that ends with ‘-s’ when it would naturally be pronounced with a extra ‘s’ when spoken out loud.

He left to go to James’s party before 7pm.

Thomas’s bus was late, so he would struggle to make it in to work on time.

Chris’s family and friends had organised a surprise party for his birthday.

It should be noted that there are some exceptions to this rule when it involves the name of an organisation or place. Below is an example.

St Thomas’ Hospital

If you are unsure whether to include an apostrophe or how to spell a name, you should look up how the name is spelled in an official place, such as an organisation’s website or directory.

If a personal name ends with the letter ‘s’ but is not naturally spoken with a extra ‘s’, you should not include any extra letters and simply insert an apostrophe after the ‘s’.

Connors’ homework was to be handed in tomorrow morning.

Plural nouns that end with the letter ‘s’

if a plural noun ends with a ‘s’, you should insert an apostrophe after the ‘s’.

The old stately home was converted into a private boys’ school.

He would be flying to South America in under two weeks’ time.

My job was to walk the dog and muck out the pigs’ sty.

Using an apostrophe with plural nouns that do not end with the letter ‘s’

For plural nouns that do not end with a ‘s’, you should include an apostrophe followed by the letter ‘s’.

The family’s pet dog was missing for one week.

Apostrophes should not be applied to signify possession when using a possessive pronoun.

His, hers, ours, yours, theirs

When a possessive determiner is used an apostrophe is also not required.

His, hers, its, our, your, their

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Collective Nouns

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I’ve been getting into that oddity that is collective nouns recently, and thought I’d share this summary with you.

Collective Nouns

Nouns form the names of people, places, animals and things. Collective nouns are a special class of nouns that form the names of groups of people, animals and things. The following are examples of collective nouns.

Collective Nouns for People

The following list contains collective nouns for groups of people. Many collective nouns for people are based on professions, family, nationality and gender.

Acrobats – A troupe of acrobats

Actors – A cast of actors

Athletes – A team of athletes

Comedians – A gaggle of comedians

Hedonists – A debauchery of hedonists

People – A crowd of people

Thieves – a gang of thieves

Experts – a panel of experts

Judges – a panel of judges

Directors – a board of directors

Idiots – a bunch of idiots

Collective Nouns for Animals

Collective nouns for animals in the English language date back hundreds of years. The list bellow contains some modern collective nouns used today and also some of the older terms that are not often used.

Bats – a colony of bats

Bees – a hive of bees

Birds – a flock of birds

Cattle – a herd of cattle

Crows – a murder of crows

Dogs – a pack of dogs

Dolphins – a school of dolphins

Elephants – a herd of elephants

Fish – a shoal of fish

Geese – a gaggle of geese

Gorillas – a band of gorillas

Insects – a swarm of insects

Lions – a pride of lions

Monkeys – a troop of monkeys

Owls – a parliament of owls

Rhinoceroses – a crash of rhinoceroses

Sheep – a flock of sheep

Wolves – a pack of wolves

Collective Nouns for Things

The following is a list of collective nouns for groups of things.

Bananas – a bunch of bananas

Cars – a fleet of cars

Cards – a deck of cards

Drinks – a round of drinks

Ghosts – a fright of ghosts

Mountains – a range of mountains

Notes – a wad of notes

Riches – an embarrassment of riches

Ships – a flotilla of ships

Trees – a forest of trees

 

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Verbs

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I’ve been swotting up on my grammar again recently, trying to improve my writing. This time, I’ve been working on verbs.

Now, what is a verb? Well, put simply, a verb is a doing word. You know, ‘banging’, ‘kissing’, ‘drinking’, ‘dancing’ would be great examples of the verbs I feel fond of. Verbs can be about mental things as well. For example, Marty was ‘thinking’. Hell, maybe I was chilling.

Anyway, I’ve been doing some research about verbs, and things get a little more complicated then the simple verbs bit I’ve covered. Let’s have a look at some of them:

Irregular verbs – verbs that don’t take on common spelling patterns (such as ending with ed). For example, get, go and see.

Linking verbs – these are the most subtle of verbs, words like turn, grow etc. Took me a while to spot these verbs.

Helping verbs – are kind of sidekick verbs. They help out the boss verb in sentences. Like ‘Marty is our partying’.

Intransitive verbs – mixing up the order of verbs, we see these little word beauties! Like this: ‘I was banging out the beats on the drums’

Anyway, that’s enough about verbs and grammar for now. I’m planning on getting better at writing this year, so more grammar will come.

Verbs out!

 

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Looking for a career in Asset Management

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So it’s time for me to seriously start thinking about my future career. What do I want to do and where do I want to be based? Well, the bright lights of London have always been appealing and I am pretty sure I want to work for an Asset Manager – what is that I hear you say, well according to Wikipedia ‘the term is most commonly used in the financial world to describe people and companies that manage investments on behalf of others’. There are several graduate career paths available for these companies and I am most drawn to Business development and client relationship roles. I really think it helped that the Asset Managers had the best careers evenings at Sheffield Uni!

I wasn’t really sure where the best place to start looking for these types of roles was, so resorting to the internet, I have found (unsurprisingly) several search results for business development roles, but there are also some results for financial recruitment companies that specialise in this area. For example www.nobledaviessearch.co.uk is a ‘specialist executive search boutique’ that focuses on Asset Management distribution roles for London based positions. Sounds impressive but I’m not 100% sure what ‘distribution roles’ are.  The types of positions they recruit for are consultant relations, marketing, product development, client services, corporate communications and sales, so exactly what I am looking for. However, the only downside for me is that they are looking for well-established and experienced candidates to place for their clients, so I definitely need to gain some experience in the industry before I can contact them.

On the plus side their website does say that they track up and coming individuals and bear them in mind for future career opportunities, so I guess it’s up to me to make my mark!! Better get back to completing all those application forms…

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What is an independent trustee?

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What is an independent trustee? I have heard the term before, but not really thought about what it means until now, as I have to write an assignment on the topic.

I have done some research into the term and the key points I have gathered are these:

An independent trustee is a professional with a complete pensions focus. Most independent trustees have previous experience of working in the financial industry and are often former actuaries, lawyers, investment managers or investment consultants, so have the benefit of experience which they can bring to a pension scheme (DB, DC and hybrid), along with a truly independent viewpoint, making them able to contribute to trustee discussions  and make better quality decisions that focus on the best outcomes for members.

Sounds good so far, so what does an Independent trustee do? Turns out, they do quite a few things, a couple of examples are:

They oversee the management of ever increasingly complex pension schemes. Pension schemes now have to deal with a variety of issues such as new regulation, greater diversity of investment products and scheme deficits, which can be very time consuming and can/do present conflicts of interest for lay trustees.

One of the benefits of hiring an independent trustee is that their experience and knowledge means that they can confidently approach/challenge external consultants and equally they can help to manage conflicts of interest within a company, for example, a finance director who is also a trustee has to make decisions regarding deficit funding and employer contributions which lead to conflicts of interest with the employer, can instead be passed to the independent trustee to tackle.

Independent trustees also look to work with trustee boards to review the governance (governance is making sure a company’s operational processes are robust and responsible) of the pension scheme and suggest changes that will either improve existing operations or make them more efficient and cost-effective.

However, there are lots of other types of work that independent trustees do, for example, they can be the Chair of Trustees, help with DC Governance, Pension or Sole Trusteeship, give Investment Committee Support and there are also other Governance roles. Check out www.bestrustees.co.uk for details on each of these services and further information on independent trustees.

Marketing hmmm…

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I was reading an article the other day discussing the differences between in-house marketing teams and marketing companies. Many large companies tend to have their own marketing teams, whereas smaller companies may have one or two people that are tasked with looking after marketing.

In-house marketing teams (typically) know their company and its business and associated products/services very well and focus on marketing them in the most appropriate way for maximum exposure and audience reach. However, in both large and small companies, there is sometimes a need for an external marketing company to assist with marketing projects, as a company may need specialist expertise in certain areas such as brand identity, marketing plans, company collateral, integrated campaigns, websites, digital and social media (to name a few) or may simply want to outsource a particular project.

Typically there are a few ways marketing companies work with businesses. For example an company would partner with a company on a project, or if required they can become part of the in-house marketing team to drive projects forward with the benefit of being able to communicate directly with the in-house team.

There are specific marketing companies for various fields, for instance in the financial services industry there are several companies that specialise in corporate marketing. HT Financial Marketing is one such company – their website says they have several years experience in the industry and can add value to your business. Sounds good and I can see why a marketing company can be an asset to in-house marketing teams.

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Hedge funds

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Hedge funds, I mean what are they? You read about on the news and in the papers all the time, and I’ve now got to write an assignment on them.

Met up with my mate in the pub, he is studying economics and explained it over a pint. Apparently, hedge funds can invest in anything around the world, stocks, fixed income (bonds), currencies, options, futures, exotic derivatives and other things. They are less regulated than other investments, making them more risky but potentially more rewarding. . They are made available only to certain investors and not the general public. Hedge funds seek positive absolute returns, so a positive return for the fund in both up and down markets.

Loads of people have invested in hedge funds and have made a mint. But, all still sounds a bit complicated to me. Examples of Hedge Funds: Markham Rae & Man.

What the hell is a Medi Spa?

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My mum has just started having treatment on her skin. She’s not looking too bad for her age (so many of my mates tell me!), but she’s started having these treatments to look younger. Why now? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis type thing. Maybe she’s trying to impress my friends (Nooooooooo!). Maybe after some of her friends have got divorced, she wants to make sure Dad appreciated her.

Anyway, I went with her to the place she gets her treatment as she was giving me a lift back from Football. I ended up in this super clean strange place called a Medi Spa in West Sheffield. I had to wait for her to have her laser treatment, so I had a look at all the things they do. There’s some pretty strange stuff that people get. I’ve heard of Botox, but never know where you’d go to get this type of treatment. Well, now I know. There were also things like skin peels, derma rolerz, skin tightening and stretch marks (urgh!).

There are some more noble services at the place, like hair removal. Boy, that’s an important one for the girls. I’d hate to have a hairy girl.  The acne would have been useful a few years ago as well.

Anyway, I learn new things all the time, and now I’ve learnt that mum must think she’s getting old, that strange places like Medi Spas exist in Sheffield and that while part of me thinks it’s mad, the other part of me is glad someone is removing hair from the lips of girls and making acne better!

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