Suffolk – county of countless beautiful locations

Here in Suffolk we have some of the most beautiful villages in the country. Colourful cottages, village pubs and duckponds, gorgeous scenic walks and  winding country roads: we have it all.

The EADT Suffolk magazine has chosen 10 of the prettiest places, in it’s opinion, to live in Suffolk.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 16.04.18The list is impressive (not least in its decisiveness – we wouldn’t want to have to choose merely 10 locations!); beginning with Coddenham, where in spring you can spot bluebells and snowdrops from the footpath.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 16.04.38Cavendish is the second choice, a true English village –  lots of local clubs and plenty of fun to be had, including the annual village bonfire!

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 16.05.07Kersey, notable for its rare birds and wildlife, is full of narrow winding roads and beautiful historic properties. It’s also home to‘Kersey Mill’- a rural hub of local businesses.

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Beautiful medieval Lavenham in West Suffolk, takes it’s well-deserved place in this list. Its quiet country roads, lined with pretty Tudor cottages, have been specifically safeguarded – in 1967, the telegraph poles were removed and replaced with underground wires, to preserve the historic look of this charming village!

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 16.05.31 Long Melford – the village where the houses tell tales of medieval wealth. Large timber-framed buildings, a grandiose church and spectacular Tudor architecture: this village is full of fairytale stories just waiting to be  discovered.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 16.05.40East Bergholt, a pretty hamlet just south of the county town of Ipswich, is one of the largest villages in the Stour valley. Once home to painter John Constable, it’s easy to see why the rural beauty of this village was a strong influence in his work. The enchantment of nearby Flatford Mill, is also a must see.

For peace, tranquillity and a slice of the rural life, Shottisham has a tiny population of approximately 200 people and it’s surrounded by miles of picture-perfect countryside. Shottisham is so rural that there isn’t a public bus service, but the cosy local pub with a grassy beer garden is a great place for the local community to catch up over supper and real ale.

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The village is adorned with tiny cottages with thatched roofs and colourful doors, and the neighbourhood has a tight community. Make the most of the bucolic location by enjoying a peaceful G&T in the garden, or a long dog walk in the surrounding fields.

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 16.06.13The end of this impressive list contains some real gems. The whimsical seaside village of Thorpeness, transformed (only last century) from a fishing hamlet into a private folly, by wealthy Scottish businessman Stuart Ogilvie, has buildings based on mock Tudor and Jacobean architecture. An artificial lake known as ‘The Meare’ was dug and it is believed to have inspired J.M Barrie’s Pater Pan! Today, no longer private, the village is tranquil for the majority of the year, outside of the bustling summer season. The ‘House in the Clouds’ is a must-see!

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 16.06.39This list’s penultimate entry, the pretty village of Somerleyton, with its thatched cottages and village green still boasts a delightful village duck pond. Near the village are the stunning pleasure gardens, open to the public and a joy to explore!

Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 16.06.55Finally, bringing up the rear on this breath-taking list is  Polstead. A typically Suffolk village, Polstead has colourful thatched cottages, wide open greens and country houses lining the banks of the River Box.

A beautiful ending to a stunning catalogue of must-visit spots, here in our very own county of considerable charm.

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Suffolk: the new ‘must go’ destination for stay-cationers

“Holidaymakers are showing signs of swapping ‘soggy Cornwall’ for ‘weatherproof’ Suffolk, as Brexit fuels the region’s booming staycation market, a tourism chief has said”

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Latest news tells us that Suffolk is ‘the place to be’. According to this article in the EADT this week, us Suffolk-dwellers could find ourselves increasingly popular with the great British public…

…which is of course, great news for our local economy, jobsmarket and jobseekers themselves. In fact we can all benefit.

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A booming tourist industry can generate jobs directly – through hotels, restaurants, taxis, souvenir sales – and indirectly – through the supply of goods and services needed by tourism-related businesses. It can be a significant part of the local economy.

Jobs in Suffolk
Ipswich Waterfront

Additionally, growth in local tourism can contribute directly to the conservation of sensitive areas and habitats. There are examples in many parts of the UK, of donations from local businesses revenue (entrance fees/special events and similar sources) being allocated specifically to pay for the protection and management, or even development, of environmentally sensitive areas.

Suffolk employment
Aldeburgh beach, Suffolk

Sustainable tourism can add to the vitality of communities in many ways> Community events and festivals, where locals have been the primary participants and spectators, are often refreshed, reincarnated and developed in response to tourists’ interests.
Furthermore, jobs created by tourism can act as important motivation to reduce emigration from rural areas. Something we would all benefit from!


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Rule breaking whilst job-hunting: don’t do as you’re told!

Don’t follow the application process as prescribed!

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One of the most common approaches to recruitment currently is: “Apply online. If you’re a good fit, we’ll call you.”

Ok, so occasionally applying online works… but, all too often, it doesn’t! So if you apply online (and do nothing offline), you could be setting yourself up to lose.

So, what’s a job seeker to do? Well, think back to the way you were looking for a job before the internet. Most likely, you had in-person conversations with people in your network. You went to lunch. You made calls. The internet doesn’t change that. Quality relationships happen offline. Trust is built offline.Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 17.13.03

Use the internet for research. One of the biggest gifts the internet has given today’s job seekers is transparency. Use the web to find out how much you’re worth. Learn about a company’s culture. Research how satisfied employees are.

Use the internet to get a leg up on your competition. Then, get a real leg up – offline.

Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 17.11.38The bottom line is, today’s job market requires persistence and creativity. You can’t assume the way things worked yesterday is the way they’ll work tomorrow.

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Take a risk, break the rules and find a career that you truly love.

After all, if you want to win in today’s job market, you can’t play by yesterday’s rules.


Carers – support is out there

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Having met with a number of local employers recently, I have been struck by the difficulty in recruiting for Carers positions in Suffolk.  

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Last month I met a woman I’m going to call ‘Anne’. She cares for her husband ‘Ted’ who has a hereditary eye condition – he is also registered blind. Anne has been caring for Ted for many years, but recently has struggled with her own physical and mental health.

Anne felt that her health and wellbeing needs should come second to Ted’s, as he has suffered for so long… and this is a very common syndrome amongst home-carers. But the truth is that when the wellbeing of the carer deteriorates, so too does their ability to care.

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Happily, Anne’s GP was quick to spot this and referred her to a carer’s support group. There were many people from all walks of life in this group; some, like Anne cared for relatives and spouses, other were professional carers, working in this sector and determined not to stop – and were therefore seeking the support they needed at crucial times, when they otherwise may have stopped doing this work altogether.

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Anne worked with her support group for around 12 weeks. She was monitored for both her physical and mental health and offered support and advice in both areas. She told me that the most significant part of being in that support group, was the realisation that she was not alone.

She received one-to-one support and her confidence grew. Anne now volunteers at the support groups and speaks to others in a similar position to herself and also this employed as professional carers.

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She has also spoken at events for the social work students at various universities, to illustrate or them the realities of being a carer.

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As Anne says, this is the hardest job in some respects – but it’s also the best job in the world!

if you’d like information regarding support groups for carers, please go to:


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We all have our ups and downs – even those in dream jobs have off-days. So how can we tell the difference between a ‘bad patch’ and the need for change?

Well, we’ve compiled a nice little list to help you work this out… so if any of these sound familiar  maybe your job isn’t such a good fit for you any more.


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 1. Are you bored with your job?

Doing the same thing at work day in, day out, can effectively kill your passion. There’s nothing wrong with doing a job you’re good at, but if there comes a point where you have to ask a little more of yourself, it’s time to move up the ladder before you burn out.

Burnout affects your mental and physical wellbeing and is a clear indicator that something has got to change!



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2. Have you stopped learning? 

If you can see no opportunities for further growth and development – you possibly need a change. No longer gaining new skills and experience in the workplace, in addition to affecting your own wellbeing and integrity, will leave a hole in your CV!

It could be high time to find a change that challenges you and increases your knowledge base.



Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 02.03.46 3. Have your earnings flatlined?

Do you feel underpaid for the role you’re in? If you’re giving your all to your employer but receive little in return, maybe you have been in the same job too long?! Don’t settle, don’t under-sell yourself!

The longer you go without a decent pay rise, the greater the likelihood that you’re being underpaid.



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4. Do you feel underrated?

Do you feel your work is thankless and that you’re unappreciated? Do you find it difficult to see eye-to-eye with your boss?

If you’re getting frustrated at work and feel that you need a change, tensions can arise which then impact on your job satisfaction and performance.



Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 02.06.06 5. Are you overworked?

A highly competent, more than capable, employee who always delivers results is always going to be in danger of being taken advantage of.

Alternatively, there’s also the possibility of being taken for granted… which can have a huge impact on your self-esteem and thereafter the quality of your work.



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x6. Are your skills being used, exploited and extended? 

If you’ve got skills you’re not using in your current job, it’s a waste. Sometimes we find ourselves falling into a job that is there when we need it, but doesn’t utilise our strengths.

If you have niche skills – those which few other people possess – there may be an organisation out there that is willing to pay handsomely for your services.



Screen Shot 2017-06-27 at 02.07.15 7. Are you fulfilled every day, any day?

‘Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life’ – a popular phrase nowadays and one that rings true.

Having a strong sense of purpose is what drives passion in the workplace, and if you can’t stoke the fire, you’ll burn out!



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 8. Do you shout it from the rooftops? 

Do you talk about your job with enthusiasm, with pride?

If you lack confidence your work, or feel embarrassed or disinterested – the time may well be upon you to seek change!



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Do any of these signs sound familiar?

If so, it might be time to make that change… 


You only get one professional life, so it’s up to you to make the most of it!

Top Tips for Job Interview Success – PART 2


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4. Be positive

Your interviewer will be thinking about what it would be like to work with you, so the last thing they’ll want to hear is you talking about your boss or current colleagues behind their back. Interviewers like to see someone who enjoys a challenge and is enthusiastic.

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5. Develop rapport

Show energy, a sense of humour and smile. Jean Smith, a social anthropologist says: “It’s infectious, being positive and enthusiastic.” Ask your interviewer questions about themselves and any issues the business is facing.

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6. Speak clearly and concisely
…there’s nothing worse than waffling on.

Answer questions properly – even if you need a few moments’ silence to collect your thoughts. Anderson advises, “It’s better to say you need a minute to think about your answer rather than speak instantly and regret it afterwards.”

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7. Why should they hire you?
Most job adverts will list qualities they’re looking for – a team worker, a good communicator – so it’s up to you to think of examples of how you can demonstrate these skills. Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills. Have at least three strong points about yourself that you can relate to the company and job on offer.

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Top Tips for Job Interview Success.

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So you’ve done it: you’ve secured the interview!

You spent hours labouring over your application, CV and covering letter. You kept everything crossed they’ll like you enough to want to know more. And now, here’s your chance.

Too many people fail to see the opportunity in a job interview; instead they see the test.

This is the big one – your Warhol-style 5 minutes of fame.

Make the right impression, demonstrate with flair and this one could be the game-changer!

To get ahead of the game and win the ultimate prize you need to be seriously on the ball… so here’s the first 3 of 10 top tips, to help you ensure you are in the best possible shape for that interview:

1. Preparation is the key

…to your success on the day.

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  • Checkout the company website – and any social media channels. You may have the opportunity to refer to this on the day, so take note.
  • Have a clear idea of the salary you are expecting – especially if it isn’t advertised. Prepare to justify this with specific reasons if necessary.
  • Discover if there are any local (or national if appropriate) competitors you may need to be aware of. if so ensure you are acquainted with their work/details/website. This often comes in useful when asked what you can bring to the role.
  • Ensure you have read your CV throughly – contradictions in interview do not make a good impression!
  • Also, re-read the job advert / job description just before the interview; be clear about the role you are applying for!

2. You will be judged

…from the very first moment.

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Enter the building smiling, speak confidently and politely to any reception or support staff.

  • Handshakes should be firm and accompanied by a genuine smile – with good eye contact.
  • If you walk with your interviewer to the room, make engaging small talk: don’t moan about weather, traffic, parking etc. instead speak confidently and positively e.g. about the building, the ethos or the company website.

Remember that you need to sell yourself – and experts say that it takes a mere 30seconds for another person to decide whether or not they like you and if you will be a good fit with them or their team.

Use every one of those 30 seconds wisely!

3. Think about your body language

…it’s saying all sorts about you even when you’re not speaking.

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There’s lots of info on the internet about good body language – assertive versus aggressive etc.

If you don’t know much about this it’s definitely worth doing your research.

Body language is highly powerful and can put off or attract potential employers without you even realising what you’re doing.

Top Tips:

  • maintain good eye contact throughout – do not look at the floor!
  • do not fold your arms across your chest – instead lay them in your lap calmly.
  • don’t lean back in your chair, sit upright and to the floor! Sit upright and remain an active participant at all times.
  • when emphasising or illustrating a point, don’t be afraid to use gesture and expression.
  • use your hands, lean forwards when you talk – and engage your interviewers.
  • don’t hang back when walking with anyone else, maintain a pace with them and show them your are equal to it.
  • relax your shoulders but keep you chin up – literally!

You need to prepare and practice your body language – when panic, or nerves, kick in you wont be able to think about it. So practise, practise, practise until it’s perfect!

More tips to follow – check back soon and find out more useful info on preparing for your job interview………

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Writing THAT Covering Letter

covering letter First impressions. So incredibly important.

We all know that. It’s uppermost in the minds of most of us when we are preparing for interview.

But – what if we’ve already missed that FIRST ‘first impression’ opportunity?

Don’t forget, in many cases, the all-important-but-much-maligned ‘Covering Letter’ is actually our FIRST chance to make that first impression.

If you talk to experienced interviewers, seasoned managers and recruiters; they have, in some cases, laughably crazy stories to tell of the weird and wonderful cover letters they have seen over the years. Everything from brief one-liners, or indeed a total absence, to those clearly cut-and-pasted – referring to a completely different job!

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 00.40.59Back in the days of paper and pen there are even more horror stories, of scribbles on torn notepaper and verbose passages written on scented, personalised notelets.

covering letterYou may think that this simply wouldn’t happen now: it’s 2017 – and with all of the supportive info/how-to blogs across the web, there’s no excuse for people to get it so wrong. You’re right of course – there is no excuse. So don’t be one of those who do.

You may not get it wrong as those described earlier did… but there are other ways of going ‘wrong’ too.


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Your covering letter is your first communication with a prospective employer. It really is your ‘first impression’. So make it count.

  • Begin by introducing yourself; don’t be afraid to show your personality, your skills and your enthusiasm!

Studies have shown that managers hire people that fit the company culture best.

  • Next, provide two or three solid examples of your skills and experience; be sure not to undersell yourself, but also not to oversell. Be honest!

Phrases like “I’ve never worked in advertising, but …’” show them what you haven’t done. Better to say what you have done and how it applies to this job.

  • HR managers read hundreds of applications every day, they should all mention the business/company being applied to. General phrases that are not company-specific impress no one!

Include specific facts about the company and tie them in with your skills and ambitions.

  • To make your cover letter effective, be as accurate as possible. Vague claims like “I have excellent interpersonal skills” may make the HR manager fall asleep!

Use action verbs, make yourself sound dynamic – “I implemented” “I prioritised” “I streamlined”

  • Ensure the letter is not longer than one page –  make every word count.

Always check your letter for mistakes and ideally get another person to proof-read it for you. Ensure the layout is clean and that the letter reflects you and your ambitions accurately.

Remember – a good covering letter should stand out. It should be informative, yet ideally somewhat intriguing. This is what will lead an interviewer to think ‘I want to see this person’.

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Make your next covering letter your best yet!