Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Six weeks to Christmas

With only 6 weeks to go until Christmas I'm sure like me you are wondering where the year has gone? I have just returned from 2 weeks relaxing in Tenerife before the Christmas rush and while I was away the clocks went back and the trees changed into their glorious autumn colours. How lucky we are to live in such a beautiful part of the country and after watching the devastation that hurricane Sandy brought to New York recently I feel we should never complain about our weather again but I expect we will!

I haven't been able to report on the last Wessex Women's Network meeting that we had in October before now as I left for Tenerife the following day. Our speaker Viv Oyolu gave us a very interesting and entertaining talk about her life and how she came from Nigeria to England to make a career for herself. Her ambition was to always be a radio presenter and at last she has achieved her ambition because she is the presenter on Dream Corner a radio programme and online hub inspiring women of all ages to follow their dreams and passions. Her bubbly personality lifted all our spirits.

Our next meeting is on Tuesday November 27th when Charisma of Fawley boutique is presenting another fashion show and if it is anything like last year's fashion show it is an event not to miss. It is getting booked up so if you want to come and see this year's autumn and winter fashions book soon to avoid disappointment.

There are still some places available for the Christmas Dinner that is being held at the Cloud Hotel on Friday December 14th cost is £30-00 and all proceeds go to Macmillan Cancer Support. To get us into the Christmas spirit the Highcliffe Junior Choir will start the evening with a selection of Christmas Carols. There will be a raffle so come prepared to buy some tickets and boost the funds.

Our pre-Christmas lunches and dinners start on December 1st until 24th so if you want to give a member of your family or friends a pre-Christmas treat in true traditional style book before it is too late. The menus can be seen on our website www.cloudhotel.co.uk

In spite of all the doom and gloom reported in the papers [that's if you read them, I try not to] there is alot to be thankful for in this country and I really do believe that positive attitudes create positive people and positive people create positive results. I personally love the challenges of running a business even though some days can be very stressful but with the twin elements of knowledge and power anything is possible.

If you are bored with life, if you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things then you don't have enough goals.     Lou Holtz

Every day you should get up, dress up and reach for your goals.

Bye for now


Sunday, 14 October 2012


I must apologise for taking so long to report on the last Wessex Women's Network meeting held here at the Cloud Hotel on September 25th. The speaker was Chrissie King who told us how she worked as an artist's model and muse and eventually became the wife of the artist. She illustrated her talk by showing slides of her work and how it had progressed over the years to the professional standard she has reached today. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting presentation, I love to hear stories of women who have found a talent and become successful through sheer determination and hard work.

Speaking of which I was one of the judges on Thursday for the prestigious 'everywoman awards' that are celebrating their tenth year. I have been a judge for 6 years and every year I am blown away by the talent, determination and perseverance the finalists have. This year was no exception and the winners will be announced on Dec 5th at the Awards Ceremony held at the Dorchester Hotel Park Lane. If you would like to attend this very exciting event go to www.everywoman.com

The World's Biggest Coffee Morning held at the Cloud Hotel in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support raised £435-00 and thank you to those of you who supported it. Numbers were way down this year as more and more people are holding coffee mornings so I think you were all very generous and thank you.

The next charity event is the Christmas Dinner for members and their partners to be held at the Cloud Hotel Brockenhurst on Friday Dec 14th 7 for 7-30pm. The Highcliffe Junior Choir will start the evening off with a selection of Christmas Carols followed by a three course traditional Christmas Dinner and a glass of wine at £30-00 per person. All proceeds go to Macmillan Cancer Support, places are limited so do book early to avoid disappointment. To book call 01590 622165 payment is by cash or cheques only and cheques should be payable to Macmillan Cancer Support.

I am really looking forward to welcoming our next speaker to the Wessex Women's Network dinner meeting on Tuesday 23rd October. Viv Oyulo is a radio presenter on Dream Corner a radio show and on-line hub of interviews inspiring women of all ages to follow their dreams and passion. My daughter Amanda and I were interviewed by Viv earlier this year and it was a very enjoyable experience. Viv has a bubbly personality and is inspirational herself and great fun.  I hope I shall have the pleasure of welcoming you on October 23rd  to hear Viv's story.

I can't believe the clocks go back at the end of the month and winter is on the way, where did the summer go? Or did it come at all?

Don't forget if you want to get together with other members of the network the conservatory is a secluded area where you can enjoy morning coffee [ cappuccino, latte or espresso] or afternoon tea or in the winter months sit by the log fire in one of our cosy lounges.

Finally  'Use the talents you possess because the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except the best'

Enjoy the Autumn

Bye for now


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Patience, Persistence, Perseverance and Passion

I have no academic qualifications but what I do have is a determination, perseverance and a desire to be the best I can be in whatever I do. I'm also not an athlete but my ballet training was as demanding as an athletes and I was always striving to become a better dancer.  The whole country has enjoyed the success of the Olympic and now the Paralympic athletes who have worked and trained tirelessly for often several years to achieve their goals. Some have won medals, some haven't but every one of them has a determination to succeed, perseverance and a desire to be the best they can be. Many have had to overcome adversity but I just love their positive attitude and we could learn alot from them as a Nation  by having their winning mindset in business and seeing Great Britain grow quicker. Patience, persistence  perseverance and passion make an unbeatable combination for success and every competitor in the Games has these qualities.

I think we should strive to be the best we can be as women and as business leaders. We could learn alot from these athletes, be inspired by them and take their steely determination into our own businesses. Go that extra mile and have that competitive edge.

On Wednesday 26th August Judy Clements MP and Lena Samuels JP [of BBC Radio Solent] gave the   Wessex Women's Network a most entertaining and interesting talk on being a Magistrate. The next meeting is on Tuesday 25th September when Chrissie King will give us an insight into her life from  model to artist.

The Cloud Hotel is once again taking part in 'The World's Biggest Coffee Morning' on Friday September 29th from 10-15 to 11-45am. All proceeds go to Macmillan Cancer Support please come along, bring your friends and help us to raise as much money as possible for this very worthwhile charity.

This year we are holding a Christmas Dinner for members and their partners on Friday December 14th 7 for 7-30pm and all the proceeds will be going to Macmillan Cancer Support. The price is £30-00 per person and will include a three course Christmas Dinner and all the trimmings. The Highcliffe Junior Choir will start the evening off with a selection of Christmas Carols. Book early as places are limited. Payment is either cash or Cheque made payable to Macmillan Cancer Support.

If you would like to meet up with friends or business colleagues why not meet at the Cloud Hotel and you can now enjoy cappuccino, latte or espresso coffee in one of our lounges, the conservatory or the secluded garden when it's fine!

I look forward to seeing you


Monday, 6 August 2012

Going for Gold

How fantastic it is to see the Women GB Team achieve such wonderful results and win so many medals at the Olympic Games. Just think it was only in 1900 that women were allowed to compete in the Olympics for the first time in Paris at that time there were 997 competitors and only 22 were women. This is the first year that women have been represented in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei and even then only a small minority of women were in their teams. They have taken one small step in the right direction to open more opportunities for other women in their countries making a strong statement that women from these countries are determined to be allowed to take part in these events. However there is still a long way to go before all women can say we have equal opportunities in all areas of our lives and we have to keep fighting for it. I have three daughters and two granddaughters and I want them to have  real equal opportunities so they can work hard and be proud of their achievements.  I am proud to promote women and believe that women should have the same opportunities as men and have a choice. All the time we sit back and let the men control us nothing will ever change for the future generation of women.

Unfortunately the meeting on August 1st had to be postponed due to the lack of response, Jan felt that it wasn't really fair to ask a speaker to come to speak to such a small group of women so we will book David Saunders again sometime next year. The next meeting will be on August 29th when Judy Clements JP and Lena Samuels JP will  discuss their work as Magistrates I hope to have a good response to this event and look forward to welcoming you as their talk is set to be a fascinating insight.

I have just returned from a week in the sun with my eldest daughter and feel refreshed, relaxed and ready to go back to work. I believe everyone should take time out of their business and have the confidence that it will continue to operate without you being there. It is also important for your wellbeing as holidays recharge our bodies as well as our minds and give you time for yourself and with your family.

A date for your diary is Friday September 28th when the Cloud Hotel will be taking part in the Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Please do come along and bring your friends to help boost the funds for a very worthy cause for which I am an Ambassador.

Finally wouldn't it be lovely if the spirit of the Olympics continued after they had finished and we all had a much happier and positive attitude to life! You never know how close you are so never give up on your dreams.


Friday, 20 July 2012

Smell the Coffee at the Cloud

For many years we have only served filter coffee at the Cloud Hotel but we are now able to offer a selection of  popular coffees. Come and unwind and catch up with friends and family in a relaxed environment and smell the coffee at the Cloud. Enjoy either a cappuccino, latte or expresso coffee in one of our cosy lounges, conservatory or secluded garden on a warm summer's day!

The Charity Cream Tea we held on Sunday 15th July as part of Hampshire Fare was a great success and even the sun came out. We raised £800-00 that was shared between Jacksplace at Naomi House children's hospice and the Variety Club Children's Charity. Thank you to everyone who supported us and a special thanks to Linzi Luker of Linzi's of Lymington who donated the scones, 3663 who donated the strawberry jam and Wrights Dairies who donated the clotted cream. Barry Rickman organised a successful raffle that helped to boost the funds.

It's the last call for the NatWest everywoman Awards for inspirational female entrepreneurs. If you have a story to tell now is the time to share it by either nominating yourself or someone else who you think deserves the recognition of their achievements. You have until 5pm Thursday July 26th to get your nomination in so don't miss this opportunity for you to shine. I am one of the judges for the awards and have been for the past 6 years and I know that winning an award or even being shortlisted can help to drive your business forward. More details  NatWest everywoman awards.

Speaking of successful entrepreneurs I am reading Richard Branson's latest book 'Screw it Let's Do It'. Lessons in life and Business. For those of you who have goals and dreams and have challenges you want to chase however big or small this book is a great read and will help you to achieve things you never thought possible. I'm loving it.

The next Wessex Women's Network meeting is on Wednesday August 2nd 6-30 for 7pm. The title 'Drs Who Kill'   but don' be put off by the title because I am assured that David Saunders gives a very amusing and entertaining talk.

Earlier this year Susan Bentley asked if anybody had any pillowcases they didn't want as she makes dresses for the girls in Africa. She has sent me some photos of the girls in their dresses and they just look so happy they make you want to smile. These children are from Kisumu in Kenya which is a notorious slum area in the city. Susan would like more pillowcases if possible as she is hoping to make another 60 dresses in October. I will have the photos of the girls in their dresses available at the next meeting for you to see. If you have any pillowcases for Susan please bring them to The Cloud Hotel and I will make sure she gets them.

This terrible weather has affected some businesses badly but if you stay positive and control your costs rigidly you will survive these difficult times. They say the sun is on it's way so stay positive!!

'Surround Yourself Only With People Who Are Going To Lift You' Oprah Winfrey 

Negative people crush your dreams


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Here comes Summer!

On Wednesday June 20th Wessex Women had the pleasure of hearing Chris Morley tell us about a day in the life of being the Butler to Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. It was not only very interesting but also amusing and we all thoroughly enjoyed his talk, it opened our eyes to how much is involved in the position and the long hours he works but he obviously thoroughly enjoys his job.

As I reported in my last Blog I was shortlisted in the Women 1st Shine Awards 2012 for a Lifetime Achievement. The award went to Jill Stein the ex wife of Rick Stein who between them have built up a business to include restaurants, a cookery school, a shop and it all started with one fish restaurant in Padstow. I felt honoured to have been shortlisted and I had a lovely evening at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London catching up with friends and enjoying a delicious meal.

I attended the Women 1st conference during the day and again met some interesting women and listened to some inspiring women speakers. All in all a great day.

Just a reminder that we are holding a charity cream tea on Sunday 15th July from  4pm until 5-30pm as part of the Hampshire Food Festival. All proceeds will be divided between Jack's Place at Naomi House and the Variety Club Children's Charity. Both charities do wonderful work for children and are worth supporting. To book your place tel 01590 622165. I'm hoping the weather will have improved so some of you can sit in the garden. The scones will be supplied by Linzi Luker of Linzi's Patisserie

The next Wessex Women's Network meeting is on August 1st when we will welcome David Saunders as our speaker. The title of his talk 'Dr's who kill',  apparently it's a very amusing and entertaining talk so don't be put off by the title! I expect some of you will be on holiday and if you are I hope you have a very relaxing and enjoyable time and find some sunshine!

Those of you who were at the last meeting will have noticed that the Garden Room has been refurbished by Jo from New Forest Interiors in Lymington. I am delighted with the result, Jo is one of our members and took over New Forest Interiors at the beginning of the year. If any of you have a special family celebration coming up maybe you would like to celebrate it in the Garden Room, it has direct access to the secluded garden where you can enjoy a pre-lunch or dinner drink in the summer months.

I continue to be a speaker at various events and meetings and get quite frustrated at the lack of confidence women still have. You all have enormous talents so believe in yourselves and use them.

One of my favourite quotes 'Use the talents you possess because the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except the best'

'If you cannot do great things do small things in a great way' Napoleon Hill

Hope to see you soon


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Your Voice

On Tuesday May 22nd Amanda Smallbone gave a very interesting and entertaining talk to the Wessex Women on the 'voice'. Amanda impressed upon us how important your voice is and what it says about you as an individual and the impact it can make on another person either in your business or your personal life. Amanda is my eldest daughter and is the head of voice and choral studies at Winchester University. She is passionate about the voice and how so little importance is given to it. Although her talk was not about making us all singers she ended her presentation with getting us all to sing and raise the roof at the Cloud. It was great fun and we thought maybe we could form the Wessex Women's Network choir!!!

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations are in full swing and it is lovely to see the way these celebrations bring the community together with street parties and Jubilee lunches. We are all so busy with our lives that we are inclined to lose touch with our friends and neighbours but these events give us the opportunity to get together again.

Business is tough at the moment and it is only those companies who give 5 star service, control their costs and look after their staff who will survive this economic downturn. There is business to be won out their but you need to work hard at it and I really get fed up with all the negative people I meet. Negative people can crush your dreams and I really do believe that positive people create positive results and are a magnet for success.

'Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher' Oprah Winfrey

I only believe in reporting positive news and although I'm not a great fan of TripAdvisor the Cloud Hotel has earned the 'Prestigious 2012 Certificate of Excellence Award' from TripAdvisor for consistently good reviews and recommendations from travellers who have stayed at the Cloud. Praise must go to my hard working staff. 

After 36 years in hospitality and alot of hard work I have been shortlisted for a Lifetime Achievement Award. Women 1st Shine Awards recognise female achievement in hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism I am up against 4 other very strong candidates but I'm just thrilled to have been shortlisted. The Awards take place on Tuesday June 19th at a glittering gala dinner at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel in London hosted by Emma Forbes of radio and television. Details of all the awards can be found on www.people1st.co.uk/women1st

The next Wessex Women's Networking meeting is on Wednesday 20th June when Chris Morley - Butler to Lord Montagu of Beaulieu will tell us about "A day in the life of a Butler". 


'You can't fall if you don't climb but there's no joy in living your whole life on the ground'  

The first step is the hardest but if you don't take that first step you will never know what you might have achieved!


Monday, 7 May 2012


In my last Blog I told you all that the speaker Dennis Tomlin for the March meeting did not turn up and that if anyone had any news of Dennis Tomlin could they please let me know. Jan Hoy has just heard from his son that he collapsed on the day he was due to talk to us and he was rushed to hospital in a coma, sadly he has since passed away. It was such a mystery to Jan as he didn't seem the sort of person to let us down. I thought those of you who were at the meeting that evening should know what had happened
Of course Jan sent his family our sympathy and thanked him for letting us know and for solving the mystery.

I look forward to welcoming you to the next meeting on Tuesday May 22nd when Amanda Smallbone will be the speaker. Amanda will give you an insight into how to build your confidence when making a presentation. Read Amanda's profile on the Wessex Women's Network website to find out how important your voice is and how you present yourself.

A date for your diary is Sunday July 15th when we will be holding a Cream Tea at the Cloud Hotel between 4pm and 5-30pm. All proceeds will be shared between Jack's Place at Naomi House and The Variety Club of Great Britain who raise money for disadvantaged children. Booking is essential and you can book by calling the Cloud Hotel on 01590 622165.

I hope the weather will have improved by then and we will be-able to sit in the garden!

One has to be optimistic, even about the weather

'What a stumbling block is to a pessimist, is a stepping stone to an optimist' Eleanor Roosevelt

Best wishes


Thursday, 26 April 2012

The Wettest Drought for Years

It's been a few weeks since I last wrote my Blog and I apologise for that. In March we were expecting Dennis Tomlin to come and speak to us about being the Queen's Bodyguard. It was a full house of 36 members and as the time went on and there was no sign of him and no response to Jan's phone calls we realised he wasn't coming! However that did not stop us from having an enjoyable evening because as women we are used to dealing with a crisis and the evening gave the members an opportunity to really present their business or charity event. The amazing thing is we haven't been able to contact Dennis since so if anyone can let us know what has happened to him we would like to know.

I had a really enjoyable day on March 15th when my eldest daughter Amanda joined me for an hour's interview with Viv Oyolu on Dream Corner. Dream Corner is a radio show and online hub of interviews inspiring women of all ages to follow their dreams or passion. A subject I'm quite passionate about myself. Viv is full of fun and enthusiasm and in fact it was a more like a chat than an interview but these opportunities do give you the chance to promote your business, an opportunity you should never turn down if you want to succeed. On the same day Amanda appeared on the 'One Show' on BBC TV in her role as head of voice and choral studies at Winchester University, needless to say I was a very proud Mum.

'Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune or temporary defeat'  Napoleon Hill

On April 1st I had a wonderful birthday party with family and friends  and I was able to catch up with so many of my friends  I hadn't seen for years.  My 4 children made it a day to remember and the weather was perfect too! I am very lucky to have such a lovely family and I am proud of them all.

I'm pleased to say that the speaker Mr John Cockran  did turn up on Tuesday 22nd April and gave a most interesting talk and slide show on The Role of Women in the New Forest in Both World Wars. It was a full house again and I am really delighted to be welcoming so many new members to the Wessex Women's Network events.

The next meeting is on May 22nd 'Your Voice, Your Message: creating an impact through your voice" presented by Amanda Smallbone who is currently head of vocal and choral studies at Winchester University. More details are on the Wessex Women's Network website www.wessexwomensnetwork.co.uk. This is a subject I'm most passionate about as your voice can say so much about you.

The weather in March was warm and sunny unlike April that has been cold and wet! I haven't even spotted a foal this year I think they must feel it is better to stay put and wait for the warmer weather before they face the world. The rain has been persistent, in fact I think it's the wettest drought for years!

"However "Persistence, patience and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success"
 Napoleon Hill

I hope you possess all of these qualities and you especially need patience at the moment with the weather! I look forward to welcoming you to the Wessex Women's Network however large or small your business is or even if you are retired and would like to share you experiences with other likeminded women.

"Remember" If you cannot do great things do small things in a great way' Napoleon Hill


Thursday, 8 March 2012

International Women's Day

It's been a beautiful Spring day here in the New Forest National Park a wonderful day to celebrate International Women's Day. I hope you have all shone and sparkled like the sun and are proud of being a woman. Women have enormous talents and more and more women are running their own businesses and are being appointed to the boards FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 however there is still some way to go before women will be truly represented equally in the workforce.

I am passionate about encouraging women to reach their full potential, very few of us do reach our full potential in our lifetime but in order to be successful we first have to believe that we can and that is the biggest obstacle most women have to overcome. We are our own worst enemies allowing those internal feelings of self doubt to paralyse us and stop us moving forward. So today, International Women's Day, why not take the decision to take that first step towards achieving your goals. The first step is the hardest but once you have achieved something you never thought possible it's very empowering.

I am also a great believer in Networking because many of my opportunities have come from Networking events and not always immediately. I met Lisa Carden from A&C Black publishers at an 'everywoman' conference and 2 years later she contacted me and asked me to write my book 'Delighting Your Customers' which is available on Amazon.

The next Wessex Women's Network event is on Tuesday March 20th when we will hear Dennis Tomlin             talk about his experiences as the Queen's bodyguard, a topical subject as it is the Queen's Jubilee year. These evenings also give members an opportunity to network and exchange ideas with like minded women. I believe business should be fun and that's what we strive to have at the Wessex Women's Network events as well as giving members the opportunity to present their businesses.

I hope you had a wonderful day and your future will be happy and successful.

All of our dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.  Walt Disney

The only limitations we have are those we create ourselves!

Dream big!


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Spring is in the Air

What a lovely evening we all had on Thursday 24th February listening to Susan Symes showing us some of her amazing collection of buttons and their history. I didn't know how interesting and entertaining buttons could be so those of you who weren't there missed a good event.

I also had the opportunity to tell the ladies of my really bad experience of TripAdvisor. As we all know TripAdvisor is unreliable and has had some bad publicity recently. I advertised for housekeeping staff a couple of weeks ago and a local Brockenhurst resident applied for the job. He was not successful as the position had been filled internally by a part time member of staff who requested full time hours after the advert had been placed. I received abusive emails from him followed by unpleasant phone calls to my staff.    He then put an 'AWFUL', as he put it, review on TripAdvisor saying and I quote 'my hotel was dirty, the sheets were stained and the owner was only good enough to be on her knees cleaning the toilets' He had never stayed at the hotel. I then discovered he had done the same to Forest Park Hotel in Brockenhurst after he had been asked to leave their employment in October. After alot of hard work and perseverance I managed to get TripAdvisor to remove it from my site. Here is another example of how unreliable TripAdvisor is and how it can damage a business.

Looking at the positives I was on a panel of entrepreneurs at the Business South event at the Rose Bowl on Thursday 25th February. 'Entrepreneurs Tales' was the title of the session and I had been invited by Peter Czapp of  the WOW Company to take part with three other entrepreneurs to share my experience of how I have grown my business into a successful hotel. The Wow Company are a national firm of accountants offering a genuine proactive service to small businesses across the UK and who sponsored the event. I was the only woman on the panel and didn't feel I gave my best performance but I was surrounded by women from the audience afterwards who obviously had enjoyed it. My passion in life is to inspire women to reach the top of their profession and to believe in themselves and I think I achieved that on Thursday.

As I write this the sun is shining, the crocuses and snowdrops are out in the garden and the daffodils are beginning to come into bud. Spring is on the way, a lovely time of year in the New Forest National Park and it won't be long before the foals will be appearing.

The next Wessex Women's Network meeting is on March 20th when Dennis Tomlin will be telling us about his experience as the Queen's bodyguard. This should be very interesting as well as topical as it's the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this year.

For those of you who are interested in ballet, and I'm sure some of you must be! I have just finished two fabulous books I was given for Christmas. 'The Everyday Dancer' by Deborah Bull and 'A Dancer in Wartime' by Gillian Lynne Although these are not business books I lived every page of both books as I was trained in ballet and ballet is my passion. In fact I am a Life Member of the Royal Academy of Dancing and had a fantastic training at the Arts Educational School! Both books tell you of the hard work and dedication needed to succeed in the ballet world, an attitude that is needed if you want to succeed in business too.

Finally a quote for the month

'Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered you will never grow'

Ronald E. Osborn

Until the next time


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

How to be Brilliant!

Wouldn't we all like to think that we could become brilliant and that is why I stayed to hear Michael Heppell's presentation at the Innholders Conference at the London Hilton Hotel last week. I was so tempted to come home early partly because I felt so rotten with this endless cough I have been suffering with since before Christmas and secondly because most of the speakers at the conference this  year bored me to tears. How pleased I was that I stayed because Michael's presentation on 'How to be Brilliant' was just that -- BRILLIANT. I just didn't want it to end and came home determined to try and become brilliant myself and put some of his ideas into action. I'm still trying but I never give up!

Why is it that so few people can really present well? I have a real issue with presenters speaking too fast, muttering and just spouting out facts with power point. A presenter should be a performer and leave his audience wanting more not watching the clock and wondering when he is going to finish! If you have a company or do presentations it is always worth investing in some voice training and presentation skills.

Maria Darling was the speaker at the Wessex Women's Network meeting on Tuesday January 24th. She told us how she has built up her franchise business 'Shoes Glorious Shoes' and she certainly presented her story with passion. It was a full house and as well as enjoying listening to Maria we were able to have some retail therapy and buy some of her beautiful shoes and handbags. These evenings are always such fun, as well as listening to very good speakers that Jan Hoy manages to book [thank you Jan we couldn't do it without you] it gives the ladies an opportunity to promote their business or charity event they are organising over dinner and wine and generally network.

The next meeting is on February 22nd when Susan Symes will be talking about 'Art in Miniature' another very interesting speaker.

Romance is in the air at the Cloud Hotel on Tuesday February 14th and you can enjoy a candlelit dinner in a romantic setting with your loved one. Dinner is £40-00 to include a glass of bubbly so book soon to avoid disappointment.

I always try and recommend a book for you to read and this month I just have to recommend Michael Heppell's Book 'How to be Brilliant'.

I have just finished reading 'The Everyday Dancer' by Deborah Bull. Deborah became a soloist with the Royal Ballet and I lived every page of the book as it brought back so many memories of my days at ballet school in London. The discipline and determination instilled into a dancer still remains with me to this day.

Never Give Up, For That Is Just The Place And Time That The Tide Will Turn. 

Good luck in chasing your dream.



Friday, 13 January 2012

Looking forward to a New year

A belated Happy New Year to everyone and I hope like myself you are looking forward to a successful New Year filled with fun and good health. Christmas at the Cloud hotel was a great success and somehow I managed to juggle time with my family and the guests at the hotel. The weather was kind to us this year enabling everyone to enjoy walks in the New Forest or by the sea and to walk off all the food they consumed over the Christmas period!

The hotel closed on December 27th for a couple of weeks to en-able the staff to enjoy a well earned break. It is the time we do most of the decorating, maintenance and spring cleaning in the hotel as it is impossible to do it while we are open and have guests around. The hotel re-opened today and we welcomed the first guests to the hotel in 2012, it was a cold day but the glowing log fire soon warmed them up and helped them to relax.

I took the staff to see the Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium on December 29th. We always have a meal in London before the show, this allows the staff to relax together away from the work environment and enjoy themselves after a long and busy year. It's my way of rewarding them for not only their hard work but also their loyalty. The show was fantastic and it's worth going to see it just for the effects alone although all the artists were excellent. I particularly loved the scarecrow played by Paul Keating, he was brilliant.

I attended the Women1st networking event for the 100 most influential women in hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism at the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane on Tuesday January 10th. It was a fantastic evening and after listening to Shaa Wasmund's talk about her life, her struggles and eventually great success I came home motivated and inspired. I just love hearing how women have succeeded in their careers often against all the odds.

The next Wessex Women's Network meeting is on Tuesday 24th January. Maria Darling is going to tell us how she set up her own business and grew it through franchising. The title of her talk 'Shoes Glorious Shoes' I look forward to welcoming you all.

I would like to recommend Shaa Wasmund's book to those of you who want to start a business 'STOP TALKING START DOING A kick in the pants in 6 parts!

Finally it's a New Year, a chance for a fresh start so I would like to leave you with the following quote