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Archive for April, 2010

#Labour have made college owners wealthy

April 29, 2010 5 comments

Many good colleges have been closed down because of UK Home Office politics. First of all the Labour Government implemented an immigration tier system wherein educational establishments were required to be licensed with the United Kingdom Border Agency. These establishments have their tier rating and licence published on a Government website which is updated on a daily basis. If a college is removed from the list for whatever reason, this has a profound effect on the students that are applying from overseas who may have paid thousands of pounds for their tuition.

A prospective student may have applied at the British Embassy on the day where the college has its name published on the Government Tier 4 Register. However if by chance the college has its name removed from the Tier 4 Sponsor Register the day after the prospective student has applied, the application is left on hold until an outcome has been achieved which from experience can last several months.

For students in the UK there is guidance from the UKBA that if a college has its license suspended the student can continue to study at the college but not all students are aware of this guidance and it causes unrest amongst the students who come to the UK to study.

Thousands upon thousands of pounds have been paid to colleges from genuine prospective students and genuine current students for their course fees yet when a college is closed down by the Home Office, I don’t know of any individual who has been reimbursed by their college. Many people have tried to get their money back. There doesn’t appear to be any onus or requirement from the Government to the college to reimburse any paid money to students.

What I personally have seen happen is:
Colleges close down. Owners leave. Owners take money. Owners get rich.

Home Office don’t take any accountability or responsibility for the foreign students and don’t hold the colleges to ransom to pay back any fees to students when they suspend or close down colleges.
Colleges aren’t immigration specialists. UKBA need to work with colleges to sort any issues the Colleges fall short of and take into account the needs of the students. If UKBA worked with colleges to sort out their shortcomings, colleges would still have to pay their TAX providing money for the economy and students would be able to achieve the qualification that they came to the UK for.
According to a Broadsheet Newspaper April 14 2010, the UKBA ‘lack morale and leadership’ and this is certainly reflected in their customer service. The UKBA staff are bullies and perceive and assume everyone is doing something wrong.  Click here for story UK Border critised by its own staff.

If the Government publish a list where Tier 4 sponsors are licensed should they not be accountable to the people who make a choice from that list? If only there was a group of people to take the Government to court to get back the money that they have lost for one minute the Government say a college is licensed and then the next minute they remove them. Where does that leave the student?

This a subject I feel very strongly about and would greatly value your comments so please feel free to write them below.

Mobile phones – business contract vs residential contract

April 28, 2010 1 comment

One of the biggest mistakes that I have made with my mobile phone contract was to go on a regular consumer contract.

I first took out a business contract in 2003 and always had one until 2008 where I took out a regular individual contract.  A mistake which I  regret profusely.  I decided to go for the latter thinking that I could get a better deal but boy was I wrong.  I would advise  people who have businesses, including sole traders,  to search around for a good business contract and NEVER go for a regular individual mobile contract.

I was paying around £65 a month for 1000 minutes (which I sometimes went over), unlimited texts with Blackberry service.  When something went wrong with my phone, I never got a like for like replacement which meant that I would have a bog standard phone whilst my phone got fixed and consequently I was missing important emails when I was on the move.

I’m now thankfully back on a business contract and paying £32.50 +VAT with 2500 minutes, unlimited texts, Blackberry service and unlimited data/internet usage and a free GPS application.

One other tip is don’t approach the networks directly, I found that I got a better deal with mobile business specialists who get various offers from the networks.

This has been an expensive lesson for me to learn and I hope that you never have to go through it.

Categories: Business Tags: , ,

Want to vote but don’t understand politics? Here’s a helpful guide #ukelection

April 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Everyone who is registered to vote in the UK should vote.  Why?  If you don’t vote, your vote will end up going to whoever has the most votes, which may well be someone you really don’t agree with.  So vote yourself and don’t let the majority vote for you.  

Listed below is an outline of each party's manifesto for 3 issues - Economy, Jobs and Welfare and Crime, which affect the majority of the general public.  I’ve only taken up the three major parties, Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats but it would be useful to you to read what the other running parties have to say.

 
 

ECONOMY 
 

CONSERVATIVE
  • Stop Labour’s job tax for employers
  • Only millionaires will pay inheritance Tax
  • Recognise marriage in the tax system.  Make Britain the most family friendly in Europe
  • Stop tax credits to families with incomes over £50,000;
  • Cut spending on Child Trust Funds for all but the poorest third of families and families with disabled children;
  • Cap the biggest public sector pensions above £50,000; and
  • Introduce a 5 per cent pay cut for Ministers, followed by a 5-year freeze, and a 10 per cent reduction in the number of MPs.
LABOUR
  • Help people who have lost a job or income stay in their homes by helping them with interest payments
  • Create 200, 000 jobs to help people who have lost their jobs get back to work
  • Support businesses by giving increased tax relied on business investment, allowing businesses to plan ahead and invest in their companies
  • Help businesses starting out by cutting business rates for one year from October.
  • Make sure that businesses are able to access the credit they need.
  LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
  • No income tax on the first £10,000 you earn
  • State pension will be increased in line with earnings, prices or by 2.5% whichever is the higher
  • Stop banks and energy companies charging unfair bills and charges.
  • Give grants to schools who want to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.
  • Ec Cashback for families who install green technology for one year only
 JOBS AND WELFARE 
CONSERVATIVE
  • Offer support to the young unemployed by referring them on to the Work Programme after six months of unemployment
  • Give young people the skills they need to get a sustainable job for the future by finding 200,000 apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships, work pairing and further education plans
  • Build a network of business mentors and offer substantial loans to would be entrepreneurs, supporting self employment and franchising as a route back into work
  • Create 10,000 University places this year and fund the cost by giving graduates and incentive to repay their student loan debts to the taxpayer ahead of schedule
  • Abolish tax on new jobs created by new businesses in the first 2 years of a Conservative Government
  LABOUR
  • Labour is investing £5 billion t help people back into work and guarantee a job training place for all 18-25 year olds out of work for six months
  • Achieve an 80% employment rate by helping people get back into work and keep that at work.
  • Build a fair and family friendly labour market where everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills and experience
  • Assess everyone receiving incapacity benefit or income support on the grounds of disability to move them onto Employment and support allowance so everyone who is able to work will have access to greater support
  • Provide better incentives for lone parents with younger children who want to work for just a few hours a week
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
  • Launch a £3.3 billion economic stimulus package that will create 100,00 jobs.
  • Support young people while they get valuable work experience by paying anyone undertaking an internship.  This will help employers who want to offer young people work experience but cannot afford to pay them
  • Work with employers in the private and public sectors to ensure that there are a wide range of opportunities available
CRIME 
CONSERVATIVES
  • Want to reduce the amount of paperwork involved in stop and search so that the police will have more time to get out on the streets
  • Give local people direct control over the way they are policed
  • Comprehensive plan to fix broken society and work with families to bring a stable upbringing that young people need to help them avoid a life of crime
  • Zero tolerance approach to knife crimes and drugs from our shores to our streets and introduction of Border Police Force to stem the flow of drugs into Britain
  LABOUR
  • Local neighbourhood police spends 80% of its time on the beat
  • Step up work to prevent low level crime and disorder by tightening controls around lap dancing clubs and the mis-use of alcohol
  • Tougher sanctions against parents of a person who breaches an ASBO
  • Invest in targeted campaigns against knife and gun crime and gang culture and tough new powers for the police.
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
  • Pay for 3,000 more police on the beat
  • Live local people a reals say over their police force through direct election of police authorities
  • Reduce the ill-health and crime caused by excessive drinking
  • Replace short-term sentences with rigorously enforced community sentences
  • Give people a direct say in how petty criminals and those who engage in anti-social behaviour are punished
Who will I personally vote for? Each party has something to offer but I am personally going to vote for Conservatives for the following reasons: 
  In relation to business  As a small business owner, the Labour Government did not help with the introduction of the minimum wage in 1999. Now with recession also hitting UK shores, as an employer, I have had to comply with UK legislation by paying the minimum wage and yet this year many boroughs will not be paying the usual 2% rise in line with inflation and running cost of client care.  Whilst I have been blessed to be able to stay afloat, more businesses went bust in Labour Government than at any other time. Now with this in mind, I want the country to get out of debt and I don't believe that the Labour Government will be able to do this at a pace that is required to keep mortgage interest rates low. In addition the recent raise on National Insurance is another blow on businesses as a whole. This is a tax on business. I want a Government who can create a stable economic environment allowing me to grow not hinder.    In relation to Europe  Imagine having a country where the final say is not with the British Government but rather by a group of countries who neither know the British people, its beliefs or its values. The Conservative Party believes that ultimate, final authority should stay in this country, in our Parliament and not with the European Government. The Labour Government broke trust when they did not allow a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.  Instead the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party supported the Lisbon Treaty and it was absorbed as part of European Law, which can now not be reversed. Not only did they break their promise of a referendum, they betrayed democracy. They made a decision without consulting and allowing the British people to vote. Would you allow the Labour party to do this again? Whilst some boroughs, where there is a Labour majority, have had their council tax knocked back (I believe this to be because of the upcoming election) I want council tax to stay low not just for the election period. The conservative party want to freeze council tax and raise the basic state pension. According to the Institute of Fiscal Studies Londoners are 'paying £1,200 more tax under Labour'.    Local Government  I have been most impressed with my local Conservative Councilor. Although I have only met him once, he endeavors to keep his ward informed with regular communication and he responds back with much efficiency. I haven’t met any of the other parties but in all the time that I have been living at my home, the Conservative Party is the most visible.

For a full manifesto of each party visit


Labour

Conservative

Liberal Democrats

For another useful site for comparing parties visit up my street

My travel saga caused by Icelandic Ash Cloud #getmehome

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Having arrived in Hungary on April 14 for a business trip, I was unaware of the Icelandic eruption or the chaos that it was causing around the world until I myself started to confirm my flight details back to the United Kingdom on the April 16.  I was informed by my hotel that the airport in Budapest was closed until the evening of the 17th which was when my flight was. My business partner and I checked with the airline to confirm that the flight was cancelled and requested that they put us on the next available flight to the UK. They were not able to do so because they already had a list of passengers who had made reservations before us and the next available seats were not until the April 23.  They had also informed us that they were not in a position to pay for any expenses such as hotel fees due to being stranded.

We then resigned ourselves to the premise that our travel insurance would pick up expenses the airline would not cover and stayed an extra night at our hotel.  We stayed at the Hilton Hotel, Budapest (Castle District) and the staff were very accommodating and helpful sympathising not only with our circumstances but also that of our fellow guests – some of whom (mostly Americans or people travelling to America) were told that air travel was not possible until April 21st.

This was the first time I had been away from my recently turned one year old ( I have two kids) and to have left her with my thankfully supportive husband, I was already feeling overcome with guilt and my arms longed to embrace my children.  I was therefore determined not to spend another day in Budapest even though my colleague was prepared to ride out the ash cloud in the hope that flights would resume soon.

I, on the other hand followed my heart and funnily enough, my colleague went along with my plans. The same evening at Eastern Railway Station, Budapest,  having waited in a queue that never seem to end I met a fellow Brit who had only come for a one hour meeting to Budapest on the 17th.  He was meant to have flown home the following day but ended up being stranded for 4 days.  He was no longer willing to leave it to chance and was eager to get whatever train went in the direction of the UK.  Having shared my story of being stranded, he just simply said “Do whatever you can to get back to your children”.  His words made a small knot in my throat and I could feel the tears start to well up in my eyes.

Finally, our number was displayed on the overhead monitor  and we were greeted by a very helpful ticket lady who helped us get train tickets for the following morning from Budapest to Munich to Mannheim. There were no available seats from Mannheim to Paris but the lady encouragingly said maybe that would change when we got to Mannheim.

Our journey started at 7am the next morning, with many anxious people striving to get to their final destinations.  All I could think of was at least I was on the move and not hanging around in Budapest for flights to resume.  The journey itself from Budapest to Munich and then to Mannheim was uneventful.  However when we arrived at Mannheim to get tickets to Paris, no seats were available until the following evening.  It felt as though I at least, was grasping at straws.  With desperation, I asked the lady to check if there were any seats on first class – nothing.  Then her colleague came behind her and asked us to speak to the conductor to see if we could get on the train when the train arrives at the platform.

My heart was really thumping in my chest and I turned to the social media and twittered asking fellow twitterers to pray that we could get on train to Paris even though there were no available seats – Thank God the conductor let us on and we were not the only passengers on board with no tickets.  The train was jammed packed with people.  My seat along with my business partner was outside the toilet, on the corridor of the train on top of my luggage. Still, it was a feeling of elation and I thanked the people who made the effort to pray on twitter.

I had been using my Blackberry to instant message my brother who was providing us with the very latest travel details and apparently we were unable to get on a train to London as we would arrive in Paris at 11pm and the last train to London would have left at 9pm.  The ticket desk in Paris was closed when we arrived, hence we were not able to make reservations.

We ended up looking for hotels near the train station in order that we could get up early to get tickets but all the hotels we went to were full.  Our last stop was at the Ibis Hotel which looked pretty decent but again we were told that they were completely full with no vacancies at all.  I then asked the receptionist if he would mind us staying in the lobby for a few hours as it was already midnight and we would need to be at the train station at 6am, he promptly informed us that it was forbidden for us to wait in the lobby and just as I was about to leave, my business partner sank into an armchair feeling tired saying that she just wanted to rest her feet for a few minutes.  I guess the receptionist took pity on her and said if we were sure to leave before 8am, he could give us a room.  I said we would take whatever he had.  We ended up with their top suite which was such a blessing and promised we would be out of the hotel by 6am.

The following morning when we arrived at the Paris Est train station, the queues were already long and we were told by the ticket lady that there were no available seats on Eurostar until 8pm that evening.  However, she said that we might have better luck at the Eurostar ticketing office located at Gare Nord.  So off we trotted to the ticket office from Paris Est to Gare Nord train station where we were confronted by Eurostar security who would not allow us to get to the ticket office saying that trains were full and there were no tickets available until Friday.  They directed us to the ticket machines as the ticket office were not selling tickets which I could not believe. Whilst my business partner debated with the security guys, I tackled the machines and it was true, every hour I punched into the machine, there were no available tickets not in economy and not in first class.  Another English couple I conversed with said that they bought tickets for Friday.  I must have been on the ticket machine for at least a good twenty minutes and another passenger, I presume must have thought that I was just messing around with the machine asked me to get off it so he could reserve his ticket.  I bluntly replied to him that there are other machines and I like him was trying to find a reservation.  We eyed each other for a minute or so as I was not willing to budge and he fortunately moved on.  With much determination and prayer, I did manage to get tickets for the 8:45pm train the same evening and felt sorry for the couple who reserved seats for Friday but I guess were not persistent enough with the ticket machine.  I did try searching for them afterwards but didn’t manage to locate them.

Having got our tickets from the machine, my business partner said maybe we could exchange them for an earlier train.  So with our train tickets to hand, we waved them at the security guards who let us through and started queuing at the ticket office.  Other security people approached us in the line telling us that waiting in the line was futile and a waste of time as there was nothing available but my business partner told them to just let us try as that was our right to do so.  We must have waited about an hour or so when they announced that there were tickets available from Brussels to London and that the train would arrive in London around 4pm.  We grabbed those tickets and refunded the ones that I bought from the ticket machine – The total ticket price of a one way economy seat from Paris to Brussels and then London was €333 Euros so I paid the difference of 90 Euros each.  But it was better than waiting for the 20.45 train.  With jubilation, we carried our tickets as if they were gold, protective of them, back to the waiting area where we saw people arguing with the same security guards we had debated with.  I told the ladies in front of the security guards to go upstairs as they were selling tickets.  The security guard was dumbfounded and asked who told us that they were selling tickets to which I replied “We just bought ours!”.  With that, the ladies pushed passed the security guard managing to get access to the Eurostar ticket office and I was happy for them.

I can honestly say that this experience has been such an eye opener.  One that I will definitely not forget.  However I feel for those who are stuck on the other side of the Atlantic who really have no other way of getting into Europe or the United Kingdom.  The stress was just unbelievable but my motivating factor was just to be with my family again.

How did I get through this? Faith, determination, sense of humour and a camera filled with pictures of my family.  There really is no place like home.

Hand me downs, do you accept them for your kids?

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve just spent some time sorting through my one year old daughters clothes. It’s amazing what she’s got through and some clothes she’s only ever worn once or twice.

Some people would never even think of allowing their kids to wear other children’s clothes.

For me, I thank God that I am never in lack and able to afford a lot of things. However, having hand me down clothing is actually a huge blessing. Both my 5 year old son and my one year old daughter have had hand me downs and they will continue to have them if people are willing to give them 🙂

Brand new clothing can be expensive and when kids only wear them a couple of times it’s a wonder why we would spend that money in the first place. A friend of mine just gave clothes that her daughter has grown out of. Some of the clothes are actually designer clothing whilst other garments are still in very good condition so I chose which I would keep and which I would give to charity.

There are some things that I wouldn’t accept hand me downs for and that’s underwear.

Oh and if your contemplating giving away clothes, choose clothes that are still in good condition and don’t look tatty and worn out.

5 secrets of a beautiful woman

April 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Women in general want to feel and be beautiful but unfortunately beauty doesn’t come naturally for most of the female population. A beautiful woman, will have taken pride and care in achieving their look.

Here are 5 secrets women do and use to appear beautiful:

1. Wear some kind of body support

Unless you are a celebrity or a model like Kate Moss and blessed with a figure that has gone near enough back to pre pregnancy or even able to afford a personal trainer, the woman who you think has a beautiful figure and has had kids is most probably wearing some kind of body support . You would be surprised at what’s available in the market. There’s support for keeping those tummys, bum and thighs in the right place and they work too. These body supports were commonly called girdles back in the day but by goodness do they work. You can achieve a great silhouette with the right body support and with technology now advancing you can get body supports which are seamless and don’t show the ugly VPL (visual panty line) even under tight-fitting clothes. They are a must for any beautiful woman’s wardrobe.

My personal favourites are Trinny and Susannah’s Magic Knickers (only at Debenhams) or there are some good ones available at Marks and Spencers.

2. Invisible gel pads for shoes

Now you can wear sexy shoes or sandals without bearing the pain when walking in them. We all know that heels make a woman feel taller and more feminine. Having these gel pads will make wearing high heels more comfortable whilst easing pressure off the ball of the foot. Therefore giving the illusion that you are wearing beautiful shoes without any effort- but we know otherwise.

I recommend Scholl.

3. Wear a good fitting bra

Beautiful women don’t have excess flesh hanging out either under or over their bra as this will show under their clothes.
Most lingerie departments offer a free fitting service which women should really make use of. Also be aware that bra sizes change after every pregnancy, and after breast-feeding.
A good bra will enhance your assets and tops will hang better.

4. Wear good foundation and knows how to apply it

If only we were blessed with baby skin well into adulthood and beyond but alas frown lines, spots, worry, stress, age effects of our environment can show on our face. To hide these factors and get an even skin tone, investing in a good foundation is a must.

5. Wears confidence

A beautiful woman projects unique grace and confidence.  She knows what her best features are and will promote that. When she is complimented she will not feign that she  is not beautiful but she will humbly accept the compliment.

Beauty as they say is in the eye of the beholder.

Categories: Health and beauty Tags: , ,

President Obama’s anti-Israel hysteria and plan to microchip citizens

April 7, 2010 Leave a comment

The following is taken from an email from catchthefire.com.au and is also published on their blog

Dear family & friends in Christ in Australia and around the World,

President Obama is definitely de-Christianizing America, making it an Interfaith nation to further the Antichrist’s diabolical agenda of a One World Government, Religion, and Economy.

He is planning to microchip citizens in America and trying his very best to divide Jerusalem. We must continue to pray that the Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will continue to stand strong and not let this happen.  Pray for Israel and especially Jerusalem!

I am shocked that thousands (perhaps millions) of Christians are so misled and do not support Israel. Thank God for the nameless and faceless remnant who will rise up and take a stand for the soon coming King of kings and the Lord of lords! These Kingdom warriors will prepare the way for the second coming of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We must remember that where there is darkness, the light shines even brighter. So let your light shine!

Following are 2 very interesting and alarming articles regarding President Obama’s anti-Israel hysteria and plan to microchip citizens.

Jesus is coming back very soon!!! ARE YOU READY TO MEET HIM?????? Please pray for the nations!!!

Your brother in Christ, Pastor Daniel Nalliah

Obama’s anti-Israeli hysteria dangerous and destructive  – The Australian – March 27, 2010 BARACK Obama’s anti-Israel jihad is one of the most irresponsible policy lurches by any modern American president. It rightly earns Obama the epithet of the US president least sympathetic to Israel in Israel’s history. Jimmy Carter became a great hater of Israel, but only after he left office. Click the following link to continue reading:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/obamas-anti-israeli-hysteria-dangerous-and-destructive/story-e6frg6zo-1225846153221

Micro-chipping To Begin In 36 Months Under New Health Bill

The new Health Care Bill, H.R. 3200, just passed by Congress has within it the requirement that all people there under shall be micro-chipped. The plans for this micro-chipping has been in the hooper going back to December of 2004.

Click the following to continue reading: http://catchthefire.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/micro-chipping-to-begin-in-36-months-under-new-health-bill.pdf

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Blogging is the ‘IT’ word

April 5, 2010 2 comments

As I sat at the hair salon, I was given Company magazine to read and needless to say the whole issue was dedicated to blogging – people who have made money from blogging to people who have used blogging as a therapeutic outlet.  It appears that blogging is the ‘in’ thing.

Anyone can virtually blog about anything. For those of you who don’t know what a blog is – it is a kind of website that is usually maintained by an individual. A blog has commentary, ideas, thoughts and opinions about any topic arranged in chronological order.

A very good blog will;-

Inform its reader – Bloggers usually have a lot of thoughts about a particular topic or even a few topics. A good blogger will know how to transfer their thoughts and opinions into written word and make a good read for the reader.

Not be complicated and it will have easy navigation. There are some sites that are quite fancy but you can’t make head or tail of it. I recently went on a blog and tried to find a little bit of info about the author (I like to know a little about the authors credentials) and I couldn’t find the about page. I had to squint my eyes to find the link, which was drowned out by a massive header.

Be easy to read. Some blogs are drowned out by the overall colour of the website. People tend to like simplicity by having a type/font and colour that is easy on the eyes. People also like lists. It breaks the text up and makes it easier for the reader to scan.

Have good spelling and grammar. Nothing puts a reader off more than wrong spelling. I must admit, I’m a notoriously bad speller (if there is such a word) but nowadays we have tools such as spell check to make our lives easier. Use these tools!! Also proof read your blog several times before you publish it. It’s amazing how many mistakes you can find when you read it over and over again.

Tools a blogger needs

Ideas for blogging can sometimes come up at the most inconvenient moments. Usually when we are not sitting in front of a computer. Hence, it may be useful to carry a tool to log down ideas. I use my blackberry to make notes and can even write a draft of my blog using the email function. That way I can email myself and voila a draft copy will end up on my Mac at home. Other than that you might want to use a voice recorder to give yourself voice notes or plain and simple, have a notebook and pen.

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Categories: Blogs Tags: ,