Why good food really should be one of life’s pleasures

food-002I love to eat well. Food is one of life’s great pleasures; I really enjoy dishes that include lots of fresh, organic, locally sourced foods, and there’s nothing better than simple combinations of ingredients.

When spending time in our place in the South of France our favourite restaurant is The African Queen; it’s in a great spot with a terrace overlooking the yachts in Beaulieu-sur-Mer and serves an array of Mediterranean cuisine and sushi. The menu changes accordingly to incorporate seasonal specialities. The selection is diverse but always features plenty of colourful salads, mouth-watering fish dishes and the finest cuts of meat.

Great food doesn’t have to be expensive or pretentious, it’s all about choosing the right produce and cooking it well; authenticity is definitely the key when it comes to great gastronomy. Growing up I enjoyed braais, the South African version of the barbecue, with family and friends and still love this social and casual way of dining. Aside from that, the meat is prepared and cooked in a special way which makes it absolutely delicious! Continue reading

Why ‘overwork’ is widening the gender divide when it comes to pay

When starting out in business, people inevitably work long hours. When I set up my travel company, I spent countless hours at work trying to get it off the ground. And sometimes (often, actually) this was at the expense of quality time with family and friends. It probably didn’t do my health much good either.

It’s a fact of life that in our youth we sometimes choose to put our careers first, and those starting their own businesses have to put in the hours, as success is often dependent on it. However, as I’ve come to realise over the years, work is not the be-all-and-end-all; family, health and happiness are equally if not more important. Continue reading

Are cycling regulations helping or hindering the pedal power revolution?

bike ridingI truly believe in the restorative power of exercise, it’s so important to stay fit and healthy. Having an active lifestyle, eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and keeping stress levels under control all help to contribute to a sense of well-being, which benefits both individuals and their loved ones.
I make a concerted effort to stay active, but during our family holidays to the South of France, where the weather is always nice, I enjoy a particularly healthy lifestyle involving walking, swimming and tennis. I love to keep fit; it’s one of life’s great pleasures. But sometimes it can be hard to summon the motivation!

Many city residents find it hard to incorporate fitness into their busy lives, so I applaud incentives to encourage exercise. Cycling is one in particular. In London the introduction of the self-service bike-sharing scheme has given freedom to hundreds of commuters who can now easily use pedal power to get them to where they need to be. It keeps their hearts healthy, and eases traffic congestion. Continue reading

Anyone can go into business but not everyone will become an entrepreneur

Thousands of people launch new business ventures every day. Some are successful, some are not. But not everyone has the same drive to succeed. There are many incredible business men and women out there who run profitable enterprises, but there are few true entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship is all about finding a gap in the market, taking risks and being willing to go that extra mile, and then some more. It takes tenacity and courage to succeed, but it also takes insight and forward thinking. At a time when there are so many start-ups, business-minded individuals need more than just a good idea. And if anything, in many cases it is more the person, than the idea, which leads to success. Continue reading

Being near water really benefits your health and wellbeing

As I’ve mentioned quite a lot lately, I’ve had my share of health issues in the past, which thankfully are now not a big issue. While being sick is a horrible thing to go through, it certainly puts things in perspective and I try to live a very healthy lifestyle to ensure I remain fit. That involves healthy eating, avoiding stress and getting plenty of fresh air and exercise.

Since Lorna and I bought our boat, Amazing Grace, I have truly realised the positive effect being near water can have. We have a berth in the seaside town of Beaulieu-sur-Mer in the South of France and in the past few years have spent many months down there. However, it’s only in the last nine months that we’ve had our berth, and since then have enjoyed many happy days sailing there.

Amazing Grace docked in Corsica

Amazing Grace docked in Corsica

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A new development in cancer research is a huge leap towards prevention

Cancer is a disease which most people have had an experience with, whether it has affected them, or someone they know. It’s a disease that can have devastating outcomes but now has a deservedly high profile, and long may it continue. With their sponsored runs, walks, sky-dives, there are millions of people supporting this cause worldwide and we must all continue to raise awareness about this virulent but preventable and sometimes curable illness.

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As I’ve mentioned before, I myself battled colon cancer a number of years ago. I had chemotherapy, radiotherapy, stem-cell therapy, every kind of treatment you can imagine. I was very lucky and made a full recovery. Although it has been many years now, I haven’t become complacent and try to keep myself as fit and healthy as possible. I also am very interested in new developments and treatments in cancer research, so was excited to see an article on the BBC News Northern Island website about a new development in research. Continue reading

The changing face of South Africa – a new wave of immigrants now calling it home

Cape Town with the sun shining - as always

Cape Town with the sun shining – as always

South Africa, the place where I was born and raised, is a beautiful country; from big game viewing in the stunning Kruger National Park to the Cape Winelands, it’s a fascinating place – with a famously chequered past.

I left in 1977 to begin a new life in England. I felt I needed to get away from the conflict and trouble the country was experiencing under apartheid and I no longer felt this was a place I could be. I had left twice before, but had returned both times as my children were still there with their mother, eventually leaving a third final time with Lorna.

I eventually got my children out of the country, which was a huge relief. Before then I had no peace of mind, worried as any father would, about their well-being and safety.

Of course things have changed dramatically in the last couple of decades; Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid promised a new future for this beautiful yet troubled country, and changes have been and still are being made. But there is still a long way to go. Continue reading

Why education is key for developing countries’ survival

Like many people, I took my education for granted. Whatever social or economic background you come from, the chances are you went to school, learned skills in maths, English, history and science, and possibly went on to university before finding a job.

20359889_mIn the western world we’re obsessed by our children’s education; getting them into the best schools, finding them the best teachers, urging them to do well, and saving for their tertiary studies. We are in a privileged minority. In many parts of the world education is not mandatory, not available or just not good enough.

It’s a sorry state of affairs and in many developing countries it’s the children, especially the girls, who suffer. This is a real tragedy because, as Nelson Mandela once, said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Continue reading

How social media presence is vital for success

When I started out, publicising a business or enterprise was a vital part of success. From dropping leaflets through a letterbox to advertising in the press or on TV, this type of promotion was the approach people had to take. It was how you got your business noticed, which would in turn get the money flowing in. It was an expensive thing to do though. Businesses were often reliant on advertising agencies to promote their wares and those without money behind them could struggle to get seen.

But, how things have changed! Celebrities, businesses, writers, retailers, and just about everyone else, can publicise their ‘brand’ at a fraction of the cost simply by having an internet presence. You can connect with the world through platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and other social networking sites for free.

I read an interesting article in The New York Times about this trend and was surprised to discover that not only are there ‘celebrities’ created purely by publicising themselves on social forums such as the above, but even agencies that represent them and promote their online interests. It’s a whole new world of marketing and promotion. Continue reading

Investors are looking to the Middle East for opportunities in e-commerce

8725350_mThe way we shop has changed forever. Whether you’re looking for the latest blockbuster on DVD, a designer suit or a rare antique, everything can be bought online with just a few taps on a screen.

Now, I don’t think it’s always the better option necessarily. When travelling, I really enjoy browsing through a craft market, and when buying a car, I have to sit in it and take it for a test drive first, but e-commerce has really changed the way we shop and do business. And when it comes to new opportunities, it seems many investors are now looking towards the Middle East.

While the e-commerce bubble in the West may not burst for quite some time, the market is somewhat saturated. And some forward thinking entrepreneurs are now recognising the potential of the Middle East, an underdeveloped internet market that is changing very quickly. Continue reading