Series of free events aims to help Swindon businesses

Series of free events aims to help Swindon businesses

15th June 2018

Series of free events aims to help Swindon businesses

Rombourne hosting Free events for Swindon businesses


Rombourne serviced offices in Swindon are to stage a series of free events to support businesses across the area, as well as those based in the centre.

Shirley Hensher - The Change Agent

Shirley Hensher – The Change Agent

The first event will be on July 3, and is a two-hour afternoon workshop with business and career coach Shirley Hensher, of the Change Agent, focusing on helping business owners rediscover their direction and priorities so they can manage their time more effectively.





On July 18, Jo Smyth, who runs PR and copywriting agency Word Worker, will hold a drop-in copy clinic, where business owners can call in and ask for help and advice on anything from how to write and where to send a press release, to tips on blogging and crafting web copy.

Jo Smyth - Word Worker

Jo Smyth – Word Worker. Photo credit Stuart Harrison Photography

Other events will be planned in for later in the year.

“I am keen to integrate and support the local business community. I really wanted to try something different and I have the facilities to accommodate varying size workshops,” said Danielle Mottram, business centre manager at Rombourne’s Kingston House, Lydiard Fields, West Swindon. “Shirley Hensher is one of my newest clients at Kingston House, and this is a great opportunity for us to work together in supporting the local business community. I also hope Jo Smyth’s copy clinic appeal to the businesses in our centre and further afield.”



Shirley Hensher, who helps provide fresh perspective to her clients so they can shape their working lives, spent 25 years in corporate life, as an employee then freelance project manager, before starting a coaching business. She said: “I am really looking forward to running the workshop in July and helping business people rediscover their sense of direction and purpose so they can align their daily activities with what is really important to them and to their business.”

Jo Smyth works with SMEs and uses her journalism skills to craft press releases which hit the mark with online and offline media. She said: “I always enjoyed copy clinics when I was a young journalist, and received some really fantastic advice from my editors, so I am looking forward to helping business owners unlock their own writing potential.”


Danielle Mottram of Rombourne Serviced Offices

Danielle Mottram of Rombourne Serviced Offices

For more information about the events at Kingston House, email or call 01793 683550.





14th June 2018



Well this is something of personal interest dear listeners, having recently written a book myself. Mine though is a different sort of a paperback being non-fiction. Secret Swindon is out mid-July and you can find out more about it here. 

Now to the purpose of this post which is to tell you that another Swindon author offers help to would-be writers.



Naz and Sarah

LOCAL author and radio presenter Naz Ahsun has launched a new publishing company which aims to help would-be writers get into print.

Naz has teamed up with graphic designer and illustrator Sarah Ray to launch Vision Maker Press, which offers authors a variety of packages to help them on their self-publishing journey from manuscript to book.

The company aims to be an independent publisher with a difference, offering writers a bespoke service to help them produce the best book that they can.

Naz, who presents the paranormal show, The Outer Limits and The Good News Show on Swindon 105.5, has recently published her own second book, The Little Book of Animal Wisdom – through her own company.

She said: “Sarah and I have known each other for some time and a chance remark led to the creation of Vision Maker Press. Our skills work well together, and we realised we could help others who want to self-publish – yet be efficient and effective in doing so.”

Vision Maker Press will specialise in working with first-time or second-time authors who are serious about writing and publishing their book yet need some guidance to take the right steps.

‘We’re looking to work with anyone who feels they have a story to share which could help or inspire someone else. It can often feel, when you are going through an experience, that you are the only person going through it and knowing someone else has been through something similar can be very empowering and open up new possibilities,’ Naz said.

Sarah said: ‘I work with many authors already in my graphic design business. As I got to know Naz, I found her books to be well written and fluent with strong content and, in my experience, this is unusual. I made an off-the-cuff comment that we should help other authors as I’m the visual person and Naz is the content person. Here we are some months later, launching our publishing company for those who wish to self-publish their stories. It’s amazing.’

Naz, who lives in Faringdon, and Sarah, who is from Llandissilo in Pembrokeshire, have worked together on several projects since 2012 but had not met in person until May! For more information visit

NB: In The Little Book of Animal Wisdom, Naz Ahsun explores how observing how animals overcome obstacles in their environment can give us clues as to how we can overcome ours

It is £6.99 from or from www.visionmakerpress.comand Amazon. £1 for each copy sold will be donated to Oak and Furrows Wildlife Rescue Centre in Cricklade.


The Prosecco Party

The Prosecco Party

The Prosecco Party: Making a Party Pop

One can’t have failed to notice how, over the last five years or so, the Italian tipple Prosecco has out-popped big brother Cava in the affordable-celebration-fizz stakes. Before we have a look at how that’s happened let’s be clear on what Prosecco is.

Prosecco, like it’s big sister, Champagne, takes its name from its place of origin. In this case the village of Prosecco, a suburb of Trieste. Even if you knew that you may not know that, as this Vine Pair blog all about the stuff points out, ‘the name ‘prosecco’ is actually Slovenian, from prozek, or “path through the woods.” Prior to being called Prosecco, the region was known as Puccino. Today, Prosecco production extends beyond the small village, but that’s where it all began.


DOCG and DOC are quality classifications. Italian wine law states that DOCG – Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantia –  is the highest quality designation.

DOC – Denominazione di Origine Controllata – is an Italian assurance of quality for wine and food. To get this label a product must stick to the quality assurance rules and the location defined in the rules. Since 2009 Prosecco has had to have at least DOC accreditation.

Fizz is fizz right? What makes Prosessco different to Champagne?

The chief difference here is the method of production. For a bottle of bubbly to call itself Champagne it has to be made with the MÉTHODE CHAMPENOISE. And Prosecco isn’t.

Having made that statement I now need to explain that there is one exception to that rule. Isn’t there ever? The Conegliano Valdobbiadene in the DOCG may use MÉTHODE CHAMPENOISE – the rest though uses the charmat method – aka the tank method.

Tanked up

In the tank method, the fermented wine goes through its secondary fermentation in steel tanks rather than the bottle. According to Vine Pair.Com this production method means there’s less contact with the ‘lees’ or yeast sediment. Though a winemaker might make intentional contact to create a particular flavour.

The pound in your pocket puts more Prosecco in your glass

The tank method of secondary fermentation is an efficient one. Because of it, the resulting Prosecco is less expensive to make and therefore more affordable. As the astonishing rise in the popularity of #FizzFriday demonstrates.

Even though Prosecco is kind to your pocket your palate doesn’t need to suffer. Don’t think that the tank method produces uncomplicated wines. Au contraire – or whatever the Italian equivalent of that is. Prosecco is made with gorgeous aromatic grapes and this cleaner tank method lets those aromas effervesce their way to top of your flute glass.

Three fun Prosecco facts

Vine Pair blog is stuffed with great information about Prosecco. Here’s three things you might not know:

  1. The original Bellini recipe used Prosecco and not Champagne.
  2. Not all Prosecco is bubby. ‘Prosecco comes in three levels of “perlage,” basically a fancy word for delicious bubbles. There’s the bubbliest,spumante, the second-most, frizzante, and the entirely still (that’s right) tranquillo.’
  3. Prosecco didn’t fizz until the 19th century. ‘ … it wasn’t until Antonio Carpenè first subjected the still white wine to a second fermentation that Prosecco acquired it’s now lasting association with bubbles. The Carpenè Malvolti winery was the first to produce Prosecco as we know and guzzle it today.

Prosecco Party time

So we’ve established that Prosecco is a Champagne alternative that is cost-effective and delizioso in its own right. We know too that for an end of the week treat perfectly presentable Proseccos are available at a range of prices on every supermarket shelf. But what to do when you want to serve Prosecco for a special event? Big birthday, wedding, graduation or even a corporate function? It’s a big job buying enough Prosecco, keeping it perfectly chilled, serving it and having enough glasses and the rest of it. In this situation the catering cavalry – aka the Prosecco Party is called for!

Based in Wiltshire, The Prosecco Party is a gorgeous mobile bar service crafted from a Tuk-Tuk van. As you can see from the images below, The Prosecco Party is a fun yet sophisticated addition to your special event that saves you, or a family member, from being on bar duty leaving you free to have a good time. And I’ll drink to that!

They offer a range of packages the details of which you can find here:  And check out these gorgeous photos to get a feel of what they offer and the WOW factor The Prosecco Party will bring to your event! 

The Prosecco Party van

The Prosecco Party van


Contact them on their web form –  Alternatively get in touch via email on: or telephone 07432 628545 or 01672 540874.

Find them on social media:

PS: If you’re in the habit of drinking Prosecco on a regular basis at home then why not do it in style with one of these gorgeous crystal flute glasses from The Fab Gift Boutique?




Swindon’s Famous Duck Race: It’s Quackers!

Swindon’s Famous Duck Race: It’s Quackers!

24th April 2018


Swindon’s Famous Duck Race: It’s Quackers!

Swindon Old Town Rotary

Right then listeners! I’ve been trying to get something written on here about the Old Town Rotary (one of them) and their world famous, in Swindon, duck race for I don’t know how long! And as the time is drawing near for this quackers event I thought I’d best get on with it.

Here’s the when and where part:

Bank Holiday Monday May 28th 2018

at Westcott Recreation Ground (opposite ‘The Runner’ pub)

Wootton Bassett Road, Swindon

supported by

Nationwide Building Society


McArthur Glen Outlet Village

featuring the Blue Cross Fun Dog Show

Swindon's Famous Duck Race


Find the Duck Race on Facebook:

Public Duck Sales

Please note you will be able to get your duck tickets for this year’s race from us at Asda Saturday 31 March,10am to 4pm, The Co-Op Old Town 14 April 10am to 4pm, GWH 25 April 9am to 3pm;

Christchurch Beer Festival 11, 6pm to 10pm & 12 May

10.30am to 4.30pm GWH 9 to 3pm; Co-Op Old Town 19 May 10am to 4pm

It’s a fun day out, all in a great cause – and you never know – your duck might win!

 And now to Swindon Old Town Rotary


‘The Rotary Club of Swindon Old Town meets every Wednesday morning to share breakfast with likeminded friends before work.

We meet on Wednesday mornings at Hotel 20 (formerly the Kings) in Wood Street SN1 4AB for breakfast. In just over an hour a week, you’ll have the opportunity to meet other professionals who want to offer their service in the community, share ideas for fundraising, hear great speakers and get connected with the local community.  Together we can do so much more.  For more details contact us at


Now a bit about the Rotary Club in general: You might not be aware bit the Rotary Club is an international, global organisation of:

‘1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.’

The Rotary movement began in 1905 in Chicago when Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney, formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on the 23rd February. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of its members.  Who knew? Not me.

The Rotary International Logo



Pop-up Business school comes to Swindon

Pop-up Business school comes to Swindon

11th April 2018


Pop-up Business school comes to Swindon

Free places are on offer for business masterclasses

If you’ve ever thought about setting up your own business this information is for you.

The PopUp Business School in Wiltshire will be at:

Emery Gate Shopping Centre, Chippenham from 16-27 April

The Brunel Shopping Centre in Swindon from 30 April to 11 May 2018.

For more information and to book a place see

Pop-up Business school comes to Swindon


See the YouTube video:

Wiltshire Council is setting new entrepreneurs on the road to success by backing pop-up business schools in the county.

Ambitious go-getters are signing up for the free two-week courses in Chippenham and Swindon, which are run by experts in launching small firms.

Emerging entrepreneurs can learn tried-and-tested tips and tricks for establishing a business, with a wide range of sessions including:

  • Finding and pitching ideas
  • Marketing, selling and pricing
  • The web and social media
  • Law
  • Negotiating and networking
  • Money

Baroness Scott of Bybrook, OBE, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: “This is a brilliant opportunity for the job creators of tomorrow to get their business off to a flying start. We are delighted to support these enterprising courses.”

Henry Nicholson from PopUp Business School said: “We help people start small businesses and to make money doing what they love. We’ll show you how to start without spending any money, make a great website for free, and get you to your first sale. ‘30% of the people who come on our course start their business before the end of the workshop and 27% make their first sale.’

Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council have worked together to bring the business school to the county.

The initiative is part of the £1.2m EU-funded SME Growth project which is already helping 416 businesses across the county to grow.

The project offers 12 hours of free business support and help from a network of experienced advisers.

If you have a business with fewer than 250 employees and would like to know more about how to receive support please visit: or call 01264 848311.



Nail your smear with Honestly Ombre

Nail your smear with Honestly Ombre

24th January 2018


Nail your smear with Honestly Ombre

A Swindon-based beauty business is encouraging women to get themselves a smear test by offering a free manicure in her treatment room in Old Town, Swindon.

From Jessica’s ‘About Us’: 

‘I’m Jessica, the Creative Director and Author of Honestly Ombré, a vegan lifestyle blog. Honestly Ombré aims to inspire its readers in all aspects of life, including product reviews, life experience, occasional advice and vegan health and wellbeing.

In May 2017 I launched my company Honestly Ombre Holistic Therapy. I offer a range of relaxing and pampering body & beauty treatments, all of which are vegan and cruelty free. If you would like more information, you can find out more here or click the ‘Holistic’ link at the top of the page.’

Jessica is highlighting the importance of getting your smear test with her campaign #NailYourSmear

Beauty therapy company gives free manicures to encourage smear tests

nail your smear with honestly ombre

‘Honestly Ombré, a local beauty therapy company, is promoting a #NailYourSmear campaign to encourage women to have – or at least book – smear tests by the end of March 2018.

The Swindon based business is offering completely free manicures to those going for check-ups.

Smear test screening has fallen to an all time low with only 62% of women attending a screening in 2017. Yet in the UK, cervical cancer affects 3,000 women every year and is the biggest killer of women under the age of 35.

Honestly Ombré’s Founder Jessica Wallbridge had precancerous cells removed that were identified during a smear test.

“I have personal experience of precancerous cells being identified and removed at a young age that were picked up during a routine test. If I had waited much longer to get a test I might not have been so fortunate.’

“By offering a simple incentive such as free manicures, I want to encourage others to get checked. There is no limit to the campaign. If I end up doing 100 free manicures, it will be worth it, knowing that I might have saved somebody’s life.

“Almost 1,000 women in the UK die from cervical cancer every year. This is tragic given that the disease is treatable and the prospect of a complete cure is good if it’s diagnosed at an early stage. If I can contribute in some way to making the smear test experience a positive one, I’ll count the campaign a success!”

Honestly Ombré is encouraging other businesses to become involved in the campaign by using the #NailYourSmear hashtag to raise awareness and by creating their own campaigns to help increase smear test screening attendance. The campaign began on the 2nd February and will run until the 31st March 2018.

Jessica adds, “The feedback on social media so far has been amazing, and I’ve had lots of women contact me, sharing their experiences.

“I want to break down the perceived social stigma regarding smear tests that can often make women feel embarrassed or avoid going for these critical check ups.

“We need it to be normal for women to talk about their smear tests, and if I can encourage just a handful of women get past the hurdle of booking or going for their test, then I’ll be pleased.’

About Cervical Cancer and Screening

Cervical cancer often has no symptoms in its early stages.Yet smear tests can detect cell changes at a very early stage, and this is crucial for early treatment to reduce the risk of cervical cancer developing.

The NHS offers a cervical screening programme to all women from the age of 25, and recommends women are checked every 3 years between the age of 25 and 49, and every 5 years between the ages of 50 to 64.

nail your smear with honestly hombre

About Honestly Ombré

Honestly Ombré is a vegan and cruelty free beauty and holistic therapy company based in Old Town, Swindon.


If you’d like to know more about the #NailYourSmear campaign, or Honestly Ombré, email or visit’

Find Jessica on Facebook:  and Twitter: