Expanding Law and accountancy firm Optimum move into new Swindon headquarters

Expanding Law and accountancy firm Optimum move into new Swindon headquarters

Expanding Law and accountancy firm Optimum move into new Swindon headquarters - the optimum team

Groundbreaking law and accountancy firm Optimum Professional Services has relocated to new offices in Swindon as part of ambitious expansion plans.

The company was created in 2017, uniquely combining legal services with accountancy services under one roof. Initially based in serviced offices in Regus, West Swindon, the firm has now moved to its own premises in Stratton.

The team of fifteen have taken on the previously empty Vicarage Court in Ermin Street. They have a three-storey building, offering space to grow, as well as a large boardroom area for hosting networking events, workshops and seminars.

Richard Mathews, CEO of Optimum – a contender in this year’s Wiltshire Business Awards for Start-up Business of the Year – said moving from serviced offices into their own building was a great boost to the team.

‘We are delighted with our new premises which better reflect us as a company,’ he said. ‘They are in a great location, and have the facilities we have been looking for to allow us to expand and also to run events which support the local business community.’

Optimum was the first professional services firm in the Swindon area to break away from the traditional mould by offering a suite of services under one roof

The Legal Team at Optimum

The legal team, headed by Iain Mason, deals in all areas of commercial and domestic property law, wills and probate. The accountancy team’s services include personal and business tax planning, business development and exit planning, as well as bookkeeping and payroll. The team are heavily focused on ensuring their business clients are ready for HMRC’s new Making Tax Digital regime, which is being rolled out from April.

Richard added: ‘We have already run an event here for clients to talk them through the implications of Making Tax Digital. We are also planning to run one for landlords on the changes affecting the lettings sector. Adding value to the service we offer to clients and local businesses is central to the ethos we have here at Optimum.’

For more information about Optimum Professional Services visit https://www.optps.co.uk/, email info@optps.co.uk or call 01793 538 198.

Pleased to note that Optimum have an excellent reading choice in their office! 😉

Secret Swindon of course!

Choosing your event stylist

Choosing your event stylist

Choosing your event stylist - table set ready to dine

Let’s first establish the difference between a wedding planner and a wedding and event stylist.

A wedding planner is the person responsible for every organisational aspect of your occasion. Depending on the level of service you’re paying them for, a wedding planner will, for instance, as this article in The Knot points out, help you with:

  • Setting a realistic budget for your wedding or party
  • Come up with a master plan to map out all the small details – from your music choices to your favours
  • Source venues/locations that fit your brief and budget
  • Fitting your budget, find great florists, photographers, caterers, bands and DJs and … wedding/event stylists …

… and a great deal more besides.

The Event Stylist

An event stylist  is the person that gives your venue the WOW factor. You know – that thing that makes your guests take a sharp intake of delighted breath when they walk into the room. But how to choose such a person?

NB: I’ve made a point of mentioning the word event because of course venue stylists are not only for weddings. From hatch to match and despatch – life is full of occasions that call for celebration, for rolling out the metaphorical red carpet. 

Choosing an event stylist

A wedding stylist can work absolute wonders for you. They’ll bring your vision to life in every detail of your ceremony and reception, liaising with your wedding planner should you have one, to create a cohesive story. 

Close your eyes and picture your party or wedding reception. Whatever your dream might be, from vintage tea party to winter wonderland, your event stylist will bring your vision to life.

To get your search started, Google is your friend. Browse for event styling services in your area. Check out social media too. Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are all great places to find event stylists and to get some visuals on what they can do. Not forgetting, if it’s a wedding you want styling, wedding fairs.

Once you’ve shortlisted some stylists that pique your interest check out their websites for their portfolio and costings. When you’re satisfied on those points all that’s left then is to make appointments to see them in person. As you start to discuss with them what you have in mind, you’ll quickly be able to gauge if they ‘feel’ right to you. It’s vital that you feel confident in them and comfortable with them.

Fabulous Functions UK

Fabulous Functions UK

Fabulous Functions UK:

Where It’s All About You

Before returning to the UK, Fabulous Functions UK enhanced the events with their flair and imagination in the Caribbean, Middle East and the rest of Europe. Drawing on that experience, they now offer a tailor-made service to Swindon, to Wiltshire and much of the south-west that is gaining bouquets at every turn.

choosing your event stylist - Bridebook Uk silver award

Proving that point, January 2019 saw Bride Book UK award Fabulous Functions UK a silver certificate of excellence.

In addition, they’ve been featured in Your Glos & Wilts Wedding magazine. 

Making the Mundane Marvellous

With well-chosen accessories, complementing your chosen colour scheme, Fabulous Functions UK will transform your venue and make your vision manifest. They have an ever-growing range of venue accessories for you to hire, of which the crème de la crème are their two fabulous flower walls.

So delay no more. For a celebration to remember call them now for a no-obligation chat. Telephone: 00 44 7511 842 451 or email hello@fabulousfunctionsuk.com

Check out their testimonials

From Tom Falding of Falding’s Fandangoes:

And from some jolly happy clients:

Fabulous functions logo - choosing your event stylist

Fabulous Functions on Social Media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ukfabfunctions/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ukfabfunctions/

Get Business fit with Business Village

Get Business fit with Business Village

29 December 2018

Get Business fit with Business Village

Free event will help businesses and their owners get fit for 2019

Getting fit for 2019, in personal and business life, will be the focus of a free event kicking off the New Year for breakfast networking group Swindon Business Village.

Ian Locke and Shirley Hensher will jointly deliver a presentation: ‘Fit for business: achieving personal wellbeing is key to your business success’ on Thursday January 10.

Get business fit for business village

Ian is a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He runs Thrive Personal Training, helping people move, eat and live in ways which improve their health and wellbeing. Shirley, under her business banner The Change Agent, enables corporate professionals and business owners to shape working lives which fit with their values and aspirations.

Shirley said: “The presentation is aimed at helping business owners who want to manage their health and fitness with the same level of energy and focus with which they manage their business. In other words, business owners who need motivation or support to create the opportunities for more ‘me time’ in their working week.”

Ian added: “For many of us, we are the most valuable asset our business has but we often ignore our own wellbeing in favour of the needs of the business. At the heart of our presentation is the question, your business needs you, but are you fit for business?”

The event, on Thursday January 10, is the first after the group’s Christmas break, and is free to anyone wanting to attend, as well as Business Village regulars.

It runs from 7.30-9am at The Campanile, West Swindon, and includes networking, one-minute introductions and breakfast. The usual charge for each weekly, Thursday meeting is £10 for booking online in advance (£9 early bird) or £12 on the door. The group charges no membership fee.

For more information and to book for the presentation, and other events on the Swindon Business Village calendar, visit https://businessvillage.org/.

In their separate businesses, Ian and Shirley both work with corporate executives and business owners seeking personal transformation.

For more information about The Change Agent visit https://www.thechangeagent.me/ and for Thrive Personal Training visit https://thrivepersonaltraining.co.uk/.

You really never know!

You really never know!

29th December 2018

You really never know!

I’ve never before bothered to write a reflective blog. Largely because I’m usually too busy, in my AA Editorial Services arm, writing them on behalf of clients to think about it. Besides which, I’ve not felt I’ve had much to reflect on. Or maybe I simply haven’t bothered? Be all that as it may, 2018 is a different ball game altogether – in respect of me having something to reflect on. As ever, my clients still keep me busy enough. Phew! Blessed relief there – Champagne to buy and all that.

Here, courtesy of the exquisite Eight Interactive, is a bite sized, You-Tube shaped summation of my super nova 2018.

you really never know

2018 saw me enjoy a range of unprecedented personal – yet business related achievements – that I couldn’t leave behind without recording. And anyway, as Fiona Scott asked of us in her own end of year blog, New Year, New You? New Business? New Goals? : ‘Do we all reflect in business too? I don’t think we all do if we’re really honest.’ I’ve been remiss there for sure. 

Four Full Financial Years

2018 marks my fourth full financial year as a small business owner. I think too, it’s taken me this long to reach a point where I’ve felt I’ve made enough progress to let me step back and look at what I can do differently now. Or at least try too. I’m not big on goal setting. Chiefly because life has leapt up and bitten me on the bum a few too many times now – I am quite old. And, I won’t lie, the thought of it all makes me tired! 🙂 Nevertheless, as Fiona also says, ‘If your business goal is to ‘maintain’ (and that’s one of mine) that’s a goal like any other.’  So – I’m reflecting! 

And what I’m largely reflecting on – and as cheesy and clichéd as it sounds – is that one really, really never knows where a thing might go, what a thing might lead to. That’s my big learning from 2018. I’ve said it and thought it often enough. But late 2017/July 2018 saw that particular cliché turned into solid paperback, book-form proof. 

Some recent book/blog feedback

All of which leads, in a roundabout way, to my big learning/takeaway of 2018: that of never knowing what something might lead to.

Born Again Swindonian – and how you never know where a thing might lead

I started writing this blog around five years ago now – when I was still at the University of the West of England studying for a joint English Hons degree. It began as a means to an end: to provide material for a travel writing module. But as I wrote, I fell head over heels in love with Swindon and so continued writing about Swindon. In particular, when the odious Katie Hopkins decided to join the long and tedious list of people to take a pop at Swindon. Where oh where do these misconceptions about Swindon arise? It mystifies me. That’s something I’ve worked hard on this blog to dispel. And ditto in Secret Swindon. I appear to have had some success in that.

Review left on Amberley website

Katiegate then (about 4 yrs back) prompted BBC Wilts to invite me into the studio in defence of Swindon. As I went in, I crossed paths with someone on her way out. She’d also been on air in defence of Swindon with an A-Z of fab things about Swindon shed written for the Swindon Advertiser. That someone was – well she still is – Carole Bent. I and this blog were unknown to her at that time and she took the trouble to seek me out – something she’s jolly good at – and we became friends. And I carried on writing about Swindon and giving shout-outs where ever and whenever warranted. Which, it delights me to say, is often!

So, when I had the book launch for Secret Swindon – and what a wonderful, joyous event that was, Carole was kind and generous enough to say that I had bothered to keep writing about Swindon when others might not have. And that I had bothered to speak up when some others didn’t.  Until that moment I hadn’t looked at it that way. But she was right. I did.  I did it out of love for this town and its people. And such joy both it and the ensuing book have brought to me.

I had no way of knowing of course, that a commissioning editor from Amberley Books would one day chance upon this blog via our old friend Google. Then, having found it, make contact apropos writing an addition to their series of local history books ‘Secret XXXXX’ – Secret Swindon. The key words in all that are one day – because this was no overnight success. FIVE long years of blogging to get to this point!

Yet that wasn’t a stroke of happy chance. No, no, no. This particular stroke of serendipity came about through several years of slog at the blog. I write on it regularly. Because I write on it on a regular basis the blog’s reach is pretty big and its SEO credentials strong. It’s those two factors which, when the man from Amberley did a Google search on Swindon, put this blog in front of him. He then saw the variety of the content and that I can construct a decent enough sentence. Thus the approach  came.

I had no plans to write a book – it hadn’t entered my head. It all came as a big surprise to me I can tell you. There’s more of all that below. And it all goes to show that you really never know. I sure as heck didn’t foresee becoming a first-time-published-author in 2018.

 Secret Swindon has done well and my winter project is writing ‘Swindon in 50  Buildings’ – a further commission from Amberley. So 2019 will see me published for the second time! Yay!

On that note – the best of wishes for 2019 from Born again Swindonian.

Secret Swindon Book

Gilbert’s Home Furnishings

Gilbert’s Home Furnishings

December 2018

Gilbert’s Home Furnishings

Gilbert's of Swindon

I don’t know if it’s astonishing or not, but it strikes me as being so, that there should be three long-standing retail businesses   within a few yards of each other. Anyway – be that as it may – having already covered Deacon’s Jewellers and Blaylock’s Shoes it seemed only right to have a look at another long-standing Old Town business: Gilbert’s Home Furnishings.

Gilbert’s then, established in1886, has been in the business of serving their customers for 150 years.

Originally established in 1866, current owner Graeme Gatrill took on the business in 1991.

William Gilbert (1831-1911)

Philip Gilbert, a sawyer by trade, married Sarah Chouls in Great Bedwyn in 1828. Their son, William Gilbert, entered the world in 1831 at Grafton, near Marlborough.

By the time William Gilbert married Susanna Caroline (née Beaven) in Calne in 1860, he described himself as a ‘cabinet maker journeyman’. The couple made their first home in Blowthorn Street, Marlborough. But 1865 saw them living at 12 Belle Vue Road in Swindon and Willian employed as a grocer. A trade he continued to ply at that address for the rest of the decade. In 1867 he added ‘upholsterer’ to his occupations and cabinet maker in 1869. Thus the status quo remained until an unspecified point between 1871 and 1875.

At the earlier date, William Gilbert described himself as a ‘cabinet maker one man’ – though still living at Belle Vue Road. By 1875 though, the Gilbert family, comprising five children with another son on the way, relocated to a house and shop on the Newport Street site. Once there he advertised himself as a cabinet maker, selling a variety of furniture, fixtures and fittings for the home. Alongside all that, and on land at the year, he set up his furniture warehouse on the premises.

By 1881, William had staff. By now he employed one man and two apprentices. Following in his father’s footsteps, Gilbert’s firstborn son became a cabinet maker. As tradition often dictates, the couple’s second child, Emily, did what her mother had done before her and became a dressmaker.

In 1186-1887, the Gilbert clan rebuilt and remodelled the Newport Street shop to provide 6,000 square feet of warehousing space. The family moved around the corner into Ingleside, at 40 Devizes Road. In 1889 the business became William Gilbert and Son. The son, Albert John (AK John Gilbert) became the effective business boss in 1900.


In 1904 the new-fangled trams came to Old Town and the Gilbert business found itself a mere few yards from the Old Town terminus. The canny business owner capitalised on his serendipitous proximity to the tram terminus by telling his customers to ask the conductor for fares to ‘Gilbert’s furniture please!’

The elder Gilberts were still at Ingleside in 1906 when Susanna died. The following year, William wed Rosanna Breakwell, 23 years his junior.

From their website:

‘Gilberts have been offering a superb selection of carpets and furnishings in Old Town, Swindon since 1866.
Today, we continue to provide our customers with a fully comprehensive service and knowledgable, well-trained staff, like no other. Our showroom is open every day except Sunday, where you’ll find our dedicated carpet & flooring room plus home furnishings & upholstery on display.

‘Gilberts is particularly proud to have served generations of customers for nearly 150 years.’

On both Gilbert’s own website and on Swindon Web here, you’ll find a nice bit of video chronicling Gilbert’s and the Great War.

Find Gilbert’s in the ether

Social media: https://www.facebook.com/Gilberts-of-Swindon-628212434035141/


Eight Interactive: Custom-made Animated Video, E-Learning & Software Demo Solutions

Eight Interactive: Custom-made Animated Video, E-Learning & Software Demo Solutions

Eight Interactive: Custom-made Animated Video, E-Learning & Software Demo Solutions

There’s definitely a place in your business communications for the written word. Engaging content, well-written, spelt properly, grammatically correct and SEO optimised to make Google love it. And when that need arises in your business please do remember that, with AA Editorial Services, your words are my work. 

That said, vlogging (video blogging), infographics and animations have an important role to play. Human beings are visual creatures. As this article points out, 65 percent of us are visual learners. It’s easy to see then why engaging visuals are superheroes when it comes to transferring knowledge and skills. This blog from Eight Interactive, using both videos and words, explains the key benefits that e-learning  brings to both the learner and the business providing them with the learning. 

Based in Swindon but serving the UK via the wonders of technology, Eight Interactive are UK leaders in e-learning video production and animated videos for businesses. 

Eight Interactive elearning and animated video

You don’t need elearning courses or software demos?

No problem! How about an animated video celebrating your personal and business highlights? One like this: https://youtu.be/1VVgw-QO9PA

Well, not one exactly like that #obvs. But something similar. And if you want words to go with it you know who to call huh? 

Find out more about getting a 2108 highlights animated video from Eight Interactive here.

Festive offer from Eight Interactive

Normally a video like this costs £150 + VAT.

Our festive offer for this video is £99 + VAT

So there’s something to rock your stocking.

Find Eight Interactive on social media

Subscribe to our news?

We send out a regular and frequent blog, the subject matter is usually Swindon or Swindon related, if you would like to receive the updates please leave your details below.