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Have Yourselves a Very Whitstabley Christmas

Have Yourselves a Very Whitstabley Christmas    Nigella Bites in West London – but Jules Serkin is bringing BBC cooking right home to Whitstable.   Christmas With Jules Serkin will feature the former Whitstable Times columnist and broadcaster as she scours purveyors of our finest local food and drink – from Surmon’s Butchers and the Tankerton… Read more

Organic Sisters are Spilling the Beans

Sisters Caroline and Liz Asteraki are on a mission for food to help bring people together – cooking it, eating it, sharing it and talking about it. “The best conversations I can remember having with my mother and sister were while shelling peas and beans,” said Liz, from Old Wives Lees, Canterbury. “Keeping the hands… Read more

Why is Kent Playing Catch Up to Essex?

Why is it my student son finds it cheaper living in Essex than at home in Kent? And his girlfriend – also a student from Essex – is aghast at the expense? The reason – plain and simple – is our transport costs are about double those across the Dartford Bridge. Take the bus from… Read more

Internet Radio is a Whole New World for Listeners

  Last Wednesday night, just as I was getting into my jim-jams, I had company: America.Or at least some Americans. I had a call on Skype from “The LinkedIn Lady,” Carol McManus in Manhattan, on the LinkedIn Lady Show. Fortunately for transatlantic relations it wasn’t a video call and I was able to maintain a… Read more

We should do more business in Europe

I’m just back from a short excursion to Bucharest. I snuck along with my new husband, Gavin, who was speaking about his book just launched  “Frontier: Exploring the Top Ten Emerging Markets of Tomorrow,” which includes Romania among ten go-go places for the coming decade. Apart from the wonderful Latin weather and feel of the place… Read more

Tardy Payers Drain Small Businesses

    In its first survey since the election, the Federation of Small Businesses has drawn up a wishlist of 10 priorities. As you might expect, reducing red tape and simplifying tax come top. Next on the agenda: reforming business rates, improving the employability of young p eople, boosting broadband connectivity and helping businesses create… Read more

2020 Vision

  On the sunniest day of the month so far I found myself interviewing  thousands of visitors to the 2020 Vision event at the Detling showground. With a name like that, the event was bound to have a futuristic feel to it. In fact, the keynote speaker calls himself a futurist. Rohit Talwar from Fast Future… Read more

Speaker combines Rock and Roll Lifestyle with Managing Top Brands

The keynote speaker at the Kent B2B in Ashford in July is an adventurer who has climbed Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro and walked unsupported to the North Pole and the South Pole to raise funds for charity. He’s also renowned in international cricket and plays in a rock band, The Hods. But what does he know… Read more

Construction Expo Returns in October…

    The Construction Expo returns in October to the Kent Event Centre, Detling, near Maidstone. With the construction sector in the South East forecast to continue to be at the helm of productivity, the Expo is the place to be if you are connected to the sector. Alongside 120 exhibitors will be a conference programme… Read more

Huge Pool of Creative Talent to be Found in our Midst

My husband, Gavin Serkin, has just published his first book, Frontier: Exploring the Top Ten Emerging Markets of Tomorrow. It’s a travelogue-style diary of his journey across four continents with some of the world’s top performing investors. As a journalist by profession, he also probed the darker side of the countries he visited. He encountered… Read more

SOS Computing at cutting edge of WiFi projects

My lovely 84-year-old mum does her best. But try as she might, she confessed she couldn’t make her nor tail of my recent column on internet domain names. Well, mum, here I go again… You see, I had a small problem with my wi-fi and it brought me into contact with the future. As usual, I… Read more

Plenty of pros and cons to conducting business in your local community

Doing business in the community where you live can be emotionally rewarding. Seeing your clients going about their daily lives outside of a work context lends an extra satisfaction to the business relationship. Conversations flip from business to social. Your families become friends. There’s a downside too. When an ongoing business relationship comes to an… Read more

Manston Sceptic? No. Manston cynic? Yes!

It appears I’ve been labeled a Manston “sceptic.”   When I offered my support to locals making the trek to the House of Commons for a select committee inquiry, I was told “thanks” but “I seem to remember you are a sceptic where Manston is concerned!” Listening to the House of Commons inquiry, it’s a… Read more

KEiBA

It’s coming up to that time of year when we flip pancakes, get all lovey dovey for a day and start thinking about the Kent Excellence in Business Awards. KEiBA aims to recognise and reward excellence in Kent and Medway businesses of all sizes and across every sector – as well as individuals. For inspiration,… Read more

What is it with .com?

The business world obsesses over these three letters. If they weighed anything at all, they’d be worth their weight in gold. For now, at least. Like snobs paying a premium for a house with a fashionable post code, we turn our noses at the colloquial .co.uk’s, not to mention those cheap awful .biz’s. We’d all… Read more

Reality TV star thrusts Canterbury into the limelight

Canterbury’s nightlife was thrust into a national media frenzy when reality TV stars descended on the historic city not previously known for its party scene! Now it’s happening all over again. It was one particular Geordie lass – Vicky Pattison, the former Geordie Shore cast member turned diet entrepreneur – who took the limelight last… Read more

Apprenticeships are help for youngsters and their employers

Lord Sugar’s got a lot to answer for. Millions of our youngsters are growing up with their formative impression of the grownup world of work being a place where a grizzly boss in a big black executive chair growls “you’re fired!” once a week. The apprentice is normally thrown into a bewildering array of impossible… Read more

UKIK game causes a political stir

Canterbury has had its fair share of national media attention of late. First the reality TV stars of Geordie Shore revelling in the town had the paps out in force. Next a bunch of 18-year-old student entrepreneurs came up with an app that caused a political stir. The phone game, called Ukik, features a character… Read more

Frontier – Exploring the top ten emerging markets of tomorrow

Gavin Serkin has been writing about developing economies for the best part of two decades as the Editor of Portfolio International Magazine and more recently as the head of the emerging markets international desk at Bloomberg News in London. His work keeps him in touch with some of the biggest investors and world leaders, chairing… Read more

Like turkeys voting against Christmas

Like turkeys voting against Christmas, the Marine Parade Residents Association decided it was fine to let a fine piece of our Tankerton heritage be demolished. No doubt the nod for plans to remove the quirky Peggotty House with its spacious gardens will send home prices rocketing as another slice of green turns to concrete. I… Read more

Shop local for the personal experience

Just as Whitstable is welcoming Morrisons to the High Street and planning a third supermarket for the Thanet Way, we consumers are apparently turning our backs on the weekly trolley dash. Waitrose Chief Executive Mark Price told the Sunday Telegraph that a change as fundamental as supermarkets coming to the UK in the 1950s is… Read more

What makes something go viral?

Ever wonder what makes a Tweet or a YouTube video go viral? Here are three favourites courtesy of India Minns at Giraffe Social Media. 1. Real Beauty Sketches – Dove Dove wanted to generate sales by making a positive social impact, and so their marketing team focused on women – their biggest consumer group. Dove’s… Read more

New smartphone applications are on a roll

Every so often, a new technology emerges that radically changes the productivity landscape. The assembly line, telephone, fax machine and the Internet all played their part. The smartphone is the latest and the applications for business are only just getting started. While businesses use smartphones for communication, the trend is what’s American bizgeeks call Mobile… Read more

Rice work if you can get it

My Scoff & Quaff radio show is normally – as the name suggests – focused on eating and drinking. Our debates don’t tend to get more serious than whether a Macaron is really a Macaroon, a scone a scon, and whether the jam or cream goes first? So it was a quite a departure to… Read more

A Lidl More Democracy

I’ve been entertained – and at times irritated – by the comedian Russell Brand’s campaign for direct democracy through his “Revolution” YouTube channel. Entertained because he’s incredibly funny but irritated because the issues are more complex than presented. A “Big Brother” or “X Factor” style popular vote on the NHS would clearly have everyone demanding… Read more

Be brave in your business ventures

I was tickled last week by the story of Joseph, the ghost of old Whitstable Station. It turns out the old station master and his son frequent the Moroccan restaurant that now stands in its place under the railway bridge. What amused me most was the way Alimo’s owners, Ali Ouachou and Mo Elassri, conscripted… Read more

The importance of blogs

According to a report released by a catalogue and direct marketing specialist, only 12% of UK businesses currently use a blog as part of their overall marketing strategy, whilst only 4% are looking to start one over the course of the next year. The report, put together by direct marketing, design and print specialists Catalogues… Read more

A century of aviation ends at Manston

And so it is. A century of aviation ends at Manston. All their huffing and puffing makes our political leaders look more like the domestic servants fussing about Downton Abbey while Lady Grantham purses her lips and does just as she damn well pleases. Ann Gloag has made buffoons of the politicians and fools of… Read more

Old tech can help Frontier Markets

My husband recently returned from Nigeria, where he’s been researching a book about investing in Africa and other “frontier markets.” Among the most moving accounts is his visit to a slum in Lagos, where he met a young man whose father died in ethnic fighting and whose mother travelled seven hours to work as a… Read more

Tweet works wonders when complaints are given a cold shoulder

I was listening on my wireless to the BBC Empire Service last week. Well, actually it was the World Service, but it might just as well have been its forerunner from a century ago. The programme was one long moan about how companies treat people complaining like morons, hiding behind a “digital defence” of automated… Read more

Apps for business

In modern-day business, with success determined by tweets and web hits, geeks are the rock gods. You can glean a lot from studying their tricks of the trade. After my column a couple of months ago on the top apps for small businesses, here’s another techno hit parade: some top tools recommended by Edouard Rosenblum… Read more

Grants unlock potential

I often think of all the great music out there humming in the heads of people without the musical ability to record it, and the funny things people think without being able to express them as jokes. It’s the same thing in business. You think of the amount of people who say they’ve got a… Read more

We should be making more of local airports

Schlepping to Gatwick, Stansted or Heathrow for the summer holidays? Spare a thought for more local airports. Thanet council has been appealing for expressions of interest in running Manston airport. The search is part of the local authority’s consideration as to whether the compulsory purchase of the airport would be a viable option. We should… Read more

Who is fighting Canterbury’s corner?

In the 1800s, Canterbury was the centre of the universe for public infrastructure, with the world’s first regular steam passenger train, the Crab & Winkle. So how is it that this great city has been cast aside in the battle for resources today? Last weekend, I had to call an ambulance to the scene of an… Read more

Kent startup goes from strength to strength

On last week’s Business Bunker, as we sweltered in our studio in sunny Dymchurch, our guests Steve & Anny Lowe provided an inspiring story of a great Kent business starting up. They met working for a  textile company. Anny was in Bangladesh, Steve in the UK, Steve  as sales manager travelled out after four months of… Read more

Local doesn’t mean slow

While I was strolling around Canterbury on some business one sunny Thursday, son number one texted me. “Mum, what’s the name of that Steve guy you use, that delivers your electrical stuff?” Excited that son No. 1 had actually listened to Mummy, I texted the number of Steve Marley of Advance Electricals in Oxford Street,… Read more

Observer Ethical Awards 2014

I have spent the past two weeks banging my head against the brick wall of a major UK company that hoodwinked me into buying something on the pretence it was a freebie. As I was fobbed off repeatedly by call centre automatons reading scripted apologies and blanket procedures, and calls, I was reminded of Little… Read more

The Construction Expo 2014

Ever wondered who gets to compete for all those lucrative development projects doled out by the councils and government? Well there’s a good chance to find out. The Construction Expo 2014 is the forum for companies to find out just what’s coming up and how to get involved in the bidding process. London and the… Read more

Apps of my eye

While just about every adult with an Ipad seems to find slicing digital strawberries and oranges endlessly entertaining, there is more to life online beyond Fruit Ninja. New geek about town, Christian Jackson of Get IT Qualified, lets us in on a few of his favourite business apps. 1. Evernote One that I’m particularly fond… Read more

Choo on this

We’re coming up to our 5th anniversary! Yes, it was five years ago that the smart navy blue Javelin – the fastest train in the world – arrived from Japan to zoom locals to London at 140 mph. Hornby made their models for children to play with the latest in high-tech transport. Canterbury house prices shot… Read more