Business travel tips from Sir Richard Branson, a chap who knows travel

You can’t log onto your Google+ account without a post from Sir Richard Branson floating past in the stream. LinkedIn, his website – the bloke’s everywhere online as well as off-line. So when he publishes his top five business travel tips, it’s time to take note.  Go get yer pencil…

branson on virgin business travel flight

Branson’s business flight acumen is Virgin on the ridiculous

1. Make a Travel Plan

My good lady wife likes lists. Got to do two jobs, take the rubbish out and do the washin’ up? She’ll prioritise it. As it happens, that’s good advice for business travel, too. If you know you’ve an arduous business trip ahead, plan how to fill the time effectively.

Ideally, you’ll have a PA to assemble your business travel itinerary. Even if not, get your rough draft(s), background research or seminar speech onto your tablet and hone that baby en route.

2. Are you feeling sleepy?

One downside of not planning your business travel arrangements adequately is loose ends. If your mind’s whirring faster than the plane’s turbines, you’re not going to be settled when you arrive.

Conversely, if you use your flight to get rested, ensure that you’re fully versed about your forthcoming appointment before you get to check-in. Clear your inbox, put the cat out, cancel the milk and you’ll drift off, no sweat.

3. Don’t succumb to ‘Fret’ Lag

Sir Richard Branson believes that much of the ado about jetlag is the fear of the condition itself. When making your business travel schedule, make sure there’s something planned to relieve incumbent executive stress after landing.

If you’re looking for type of thing a billionaire gets up to, just follow Sir Richard Branson on Google+. I’m convinced the bloke’s retired and just not told anyone.

4. Water, water, everywhere

When you’ve reached senior management, executive director or CEO level, business travel often involves a jaunt to a coastline (and golf course), somewhere or other.

Take how popular Barcelona, Rome, Monaco, Athens and even London are as convention-hosting cities, for example. There’s confirmation of how much business is conducted within a stone’s throw of the drink.

But it’s the water that’s naturally mineralised and subsequently bottled that Sir Richard advises we get used to for business travel purposes. For sure, share a drop of bubbly; but make sure there’s some Buxton Spring Water in your hand luggage to dilute the heady effects.

5. Ask to upgrade your business travel reservation

Your PA may not have taken into account the fact that you may actually want to do some work en route. Travelling on expenses, providing your company’s in ship-shape Bristol fashion, is the dog’s bollocks.  Oh, yes.

Business class seats may not have sold out, meaning upgrades can often be booked at a snip. As Sir Richard states, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

When checking in, there’s no harm in asking to upgrade. But hold back on that lame excuse explaining why you need that plushy seat; it appears Virgin staff have heard it all.

What constitutes your business travel tip 101?

Do you have an invaluable secret for arriving refreshed and ready to face the competition?  Or worse, the boss?

Or do you have any funny business class travel stories to share? Drop ’em in the comments below and share the love and wisdom with our FeckTV audience.

Have Your Say:

  • Many G+ users think Sir Richard Branson is pretty full of himself – would you say so?
  • And if you had that much cash, would you give a feckin’ shite what people thought of you?

Photo Credit: dlprager via Compfight cc


Mohammed is England’s number one name for new-born males

Alf Garnett would be tearing his hair out (had he any). Enoch Powell is sticking his two fingers up at Ted Heath’s Government from beyond the grave. Officially, Mohammed is the most popular name for new born males in England.

Mohammed in Islamic calligraphy

Mohammed in Islamic calligraphy; also very much in demand in English

Well, not quite officially. If you look at the information presented by the ONS, Oliver holds the title as top choice for new born baby boys’ name.

Information gathered by CNN, however, gives the list a whole new complexion. Taking variant spellings (incl. Muhammad and Mohammad) into account, Ollie is demoted to number two whilst Mohammed(s) leapfrogs into the top spot.

Mohammed is revered in the Muslim community

It really is no great surprise. The Muslim community worship the founder of their religion, the Islam Prophet Mohammed. The only profit worshipped under the Union Flag has been monetary for centuries.

Adbdullah al-Hasan explains the situation further. Mohammed, the prophet and founder of Islam (c. 570), has a teaching and wisdom so strongly admired in the Muslim community that parents want to copy Him not only in deed and thought, but in namesake, too.

And let’s be blunt; what would happen if all of the Church of England males followed in their founders’ footsteps? They’d all die of syphilis and there’d hardly be any women left to bear the next generation.

So is it a surprise that Mohammed, as a religious name, should be top of the new-born name list? Not when you dig deeper into the growing Muslim population inhabiting the UK and Europe.

Muslim population up 70% in 20 years

The Pew Forum on religion and public life puts the number of Muslims in the UK just shy of three million. That’s equivalent to just over 4.5% of the population.

That accounts for more than a sixth of all Muslims in Europe, according to the Forum. Over the last two decades the number of European Muslims has shot up to seventeen million.  That’s a rise of 70% over the period.

It took thirty years for Ted Heath to concede that Enoch Powell had made valid points in his Rivers of Blood speech. The Tory stalwart belatedly said of the Wolverhampton South-West MP’s rhetoric that the “economic burden of immigration” prophesied were “not without prescience.

How understated does that summary seem now?  Especially in light of the UK and Europe’s crippled economies under the duress of the growing number of immigrants from all global nations inhabiting our shores…

Have Your Say:

  • Are you surprised that Mohammed is the number one new-born male name in the UK?
  • And is Enoch Powell’s prophecy of the “economic burden of immigration” coming to fruition with Europe being crippled financially, as it is?

photo credit: Nevit Dilman via Wikimedia Commons under GNU Free Document license

Triple-dip recession threat for UK economy as GDP shrinks

If investors thought 2013 was the year the market might finally start to turn around, it’s time to look for a plan b. Despite the MPC resisting further quantitative easing and keeping the lending base rate at 0.5%, the UK economy faces the very real threat of a triple-dip recession.

A UK triple-dip recession could genuinely damage your savings

A UK triple-dip recession could genuinely damage your savings

The UK economy has already seen £375bn flooded into the market as part of the quantitative easing program. The MPC has decided, for the time being, that’s quite enough, thank you.  That’s despite fears of a triple-dip recession following figures from the final quarter of 2012.

The abatement of extra cash flowing onto the High Street will strike a chord across many sectors. Even worse news is that the Services Sector shrank in December, sounding even greater alarm bells.

Triple-dip recession more than just a threat

In many experts’ opinions, it is the Service Sector that’s staved off constant recession this last two years. However, with the sector contracting at the end of 2012, triple-dip recession is not just a threat, but a probability.

The CBI Business Group isn’t panicking. Yet. In its summary of the latest decision from the Bank of England, however, it didn’t completely rule out a change in monetary policy if things got tougher.

“The [UK] economy continues to send out mixed signals”, a spokesperson for CBI stated. As such, no change in monetary policy is expected “for the next few months”. That is unless there are damning signs that the UK is headed irreversibly towards a triple-dip recession.

Feckin’ “negative growth”? GDP shrank, man!

We are only two months away from the fourth anniversary of the all-time base rate low of 0.5%, imposed in March 2009. All things being equal, it’s certain the MPC won’t adjust it between now and the end of this first quarter.

That milestone, if the Service Sector does not recover, could well be marked with aforementioned triple-dip recession. That’s stone-wall guaranteed if this year’s first quarter ends similarly to the last of 2012 – achieving negative growth.

The change in fortune in the UK GDP was quite astonishing in December. Autumn saw GDP rise 0.9%, firmly signalling the end of recession.  Hurrah!, thought we.

But by the end of December, that positive reversed (or achieved ‘negative growth’, as the politicians like to put it), ending down 0.2%. That’s a swing in fortune of over a point. To say it was unexpected is something of an understatement.

If you want my advice, if you’ve got a stash of cash set aside, spend or invest it. While inflation remains so much higher than interest rates, the money you have in savings becomes worth less every single day.

I’ll counteract that statement by stating that, with even the Service Sector in contraction, there may not be that much worth investing in. Certainly not in the UK. If you’re looking for an offshore investment, however, it’s true that writers perform better in sunnier climes…just sayin’!

Have Your Say:

  • Should the Bank of England flood more money into the UK economy to add buoyancy?
  • Or should we just ride the storm out and keep the cash in our coffers for more clement market conditions?

photo credit: @kenteegardin via Flickr under cc 2.0 (sharealike) license

Hangover cure mystery officially solved: the bacon sandwich

It’s official – a bacon sandwich after a night on the lash is now a scientifically proven hangover cure. That’s according to scientists at Newcastle University. How they put the Broon Ale away up there, they know hangovers.

'miracle' hangover cure: bacon sandwich

‘miracle’ hangover cure: bacon works on senses before entering GI tract

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap /

In Portugal, the bacon sandwich is being dubbed as the ‘miracle medicine’. And surprisingly, it’s not the absorption quality of the bread that counts – it’s far more scientific than that.

You don’t need reminding that, after a night on the razzle, you feel a little lethargic the morning after. Depleted neuro-transmitters, low sugar, dehydration – it makes us wonder why we’ve done it. Again.

Carbs & protein key to ‘miracle’ hangover cure

This particular hangover cure, however, works on the metabolism. The bacon, packed with protein, is broken down into amino acids. The carbohydrate in the bread acts as the carrier, taking the amino acids to where they’re needed.

As well as your head pounding, your muscles ache through lack of hydration and sugar, too. The double-edged whammy of both carbs and protein being availed of your system massively speeds up your metabolism.

This helps to get rid of the detritus from a night on the piss a lot quicker than many a cure for hangovers that have gone before it. Even Black Cherry Thunder Ice Cream. One weekend in Newquay – don’t ask.

Bacon works on senses before entering GI tract

The interesting thing scientists have discovered is that your metabolism is revving up even before you take your first bite. The very smell of frying bacon alerts your senses, readying your body to be cured of its hangover. It’s true.

The new discovery is thought to be a breakthrough in complex chemistry. Furthermore, as we start to understand more about good fats, bacon containing a high percentage of them, the news only gets better.

However, the hangover cure message does come with the caveat that, as the nutrition industry is still in its infancy, the ‘evidence’ may well be contradicted by further study.

But if you’ve got a choice of trying to drink two pints of water on top of sixteen pints of Guinness before you go to bed or thinking

‘Feck it, I’ll just have me a bacon sarnie in the morning!’,

I’ve a good idea which one you’re gonna plump for.

Have Your Say:

  • Is cured bacon the hangover cure we’ve been looking for for millennia?
  • Or is this just Geordies looking for an excuse to get stuck into a bacon sarnie after a night on the piss?