Tumble Circus Big Top Arrives In Writer’s Square

Winter Circus is back again for its fourth year with The Winter Circus Show.

The ever-popular show will be hosted in the fantastic, central location of Writer’s Square, Belfast. Never ones to conform, the Tumble Circus troop will treat you and your family and friends to a Winter extravaganza unlike anything else on offer in Belfast! The Winter Circus shows will run between December 13 and January 2 and will take place at Writers Square in Belfast; look out for the fully heated Tumble Circus big top tent.

The Winter Circus Show will be all human, all skill and all thrill event. Expect modern, high skilled acts, including acrobats, aerialists and jugglers in this one hour of hammer smashing Belfast inspired circus. The Winter Circus Shows will be spectacular with an inspiring modern soundtrack, international circus artists and comedy characters that both young and old can enjoy.

Forget what you think about circus and experience world-class acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and the unique humour that has made Tumble Circus an international award winning modern circus company.
Winter Circus is kindly supported by Department for Communities, Arts Council of N Ireland, Belfast City Council and Cathedral Quarter BID.

Gareth Neill, CQ BID Manager said: “Tumble Circus is a must see event in the city centre; it has grown successfully year on year bringing something very special, unique and  a good dose of hilarity to the cultural calendar of Cathedral Quarter. Here at Destination CQ Business Improvement District we are delighted to help support this fab event.”

Winter Circus Show
Doors open 15min prior to show time
Friday 13th Dec           –   6pm (preview performance)                  
Saturday 14th Dec       –  2pm & 5pm  
Sunday 15th Dec         –  2pm & 5pm
Tuesday 17th Dec        –  3pm & 6pm (Relaxed shows)
Wednesday 18th Dec    –   6pm
Thursday 19th Dec        –  6pm
Friday 20th Dec            –  5pm
Saturday 21st Dec        –  2pm, 5pm
Sunday 22nd Dec         –   2pm, 5pm
Monday 23rd Dec        –   2pm & 5pm
Tuesday 24th Dec.      –   2pm
Thursday 26th Dec      –    3pm
Friday 27th Dec           –   2pm & 5pm
Saturday 28th Dec       –   2pm & 5pm
Sunday 29th Dec         –    2pm & 5pm
Monday 30th Dec         –    2pm & 5pm
Tuesday 31st Dec        –   3pm
Wednesday 01st Jan . –   3pm
Thursday 02nd Jan      –   3pm

Relaxed performances are specifically designed to welcome people with a learning disability, Down’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Condition or sensory and communication disorders. There is a relaxed attitude to noise and movement and some small changes made to the light and sound effects.

TICKET COSTS (excluding booking fee);

£8.50 Children – 12 and under  

£12 Full Price

£35 Family of Four

Children 2 and under go free

For Tickets Visit: https://www.wegottickets.com/fbtswgt/event/485590
For More Info Visit: https://www.tumblecircus.com

El Takes ‘Pole’ Position In Belfast

If you were out and about on Culture Night, you’ll probably have come across El Fegan and her colleagues going ‘up the pole’ entertaining everyone.

El has been offering pole dancing, pole athletics and other fun activities from her Polercise premises in Belfast’s Donegall Street for almost fifteen years. Her studio is located in the former premises of Clark’s Dance Studio and El admits that when she first opened, she expected a bit of opposition!

“Looking back now, I think I was just a bit nervous,” she said. “Given the reputation of the US ‘pole dancing’, I expected to see banners and protests right outside the door, but there was nothing and it all worked out well. I think Northern Ireland – and Belfast in particular – has moved on now.”

For those, who don’t know, pole exercise is the hottest and most fun exercise trend right now, with participants able to have fun and get healthy at the same time. 

El first came across pole fitness during a trip to Australia.

“I saw this article in a magazine and I was really intrigued,” she explained. “I immediately thought ‘hey, I could do that. I remember going and asking about the classes. For about three weeks I sneaked off to classes but didn’t tell my boyfriend at the time.”

El quickly got the pole ‘bug’ and decided to pursue a career in the activity. But first she had to overcome a bit of a blip!

“When I came home in October 2004″ said El.

“I set up a pole in my brother’s house because I didn’t want to speak to my parents about it. I didn’t think they would understand because, at that time, pole still had a seedy sort of image, so I sneaked over to my brother’s house for a while to practise. Pole was, however, becoming more prominent in England and was getting press coverage, so I would leave magazines open for my mum to pick up on it so that she would understand it wasn’t seedy, but a great way of getting stronger, both physically and mentally.”

Since those early days El has pioneered the benefits of pole for all ages – particularly for girls. 

“We’ve actually had girls come in and tell us that pole has changed their lives,” she said. “Through pole, they develop their body confidence and self-confidence, and this can help them in their relationships. Some have come from an abusive relationship and they are able to get the strength to just go and move on from there. And, that, for me, is probably the best, the biggest thing that we get out of it.”

El’s classes are now a major attraction for all types of people. From mothers and daughters to younger children, her classes are a mix of people who are there for fun and for the health benefits.

There’s even a growing number of men joining in!

“Oh, absolutely,” she said. “This year has been good for stag parties and we’ve had a couple of stags who have come in to do pole and had a really great time.”

Those who take part in the Polercise classes some in all shapes and sizes.

“We get small girls who have absolutely no upper body strength, and they’re not able to lift their own body,” she explained. “And then, we’ll get stronger, bigger, girls who can just climb up that pole, no bother. It’s just all about being able to lift your own bodyweight, and work from there.

“We have people who are gymnastic, people who come from absolutely no background and love the sexy side of it, and love putting the hands on. We’re not a school that’s going to go ‘No, you’re not allowed to wear high heels, you’re not allowed to do that’.”

In addition to classes, Polercise also offers fun events for parties.

“We offer any kind of themed dance party, like the whole Burlesque, cheerleading, Grease, Dirty Dancing and the like,” El said. “This year is going to be the hustlers, so we’re going to be offering strip tease workshops. We’ve already run a few of those, and they went down a storm. While the classes involve a full-on body workout, the parties are a bit more fun. Everyone comes in and we play a few party games, followed by a champagne reception.”

El’s increasingly prominent place in the pole fitness world moved on to an international level recently when she was a judge in the world sports fitness championships, which were held in China in October and she was heavily involved in the recent pole competition, which was held in Belfast in October. 

“The competition definitely showcased the range of people who have become involved in pole,” El said. “We ended up with more than 50 competitors in six categories – from juniors to seniors and veterans. We’d everybody from eleven year olds to one participant, who was is nearly 70!”

If you’re intrigued about pole fitness, but not sure whether it’s for you, El suggests a beginners’ class where you learn the basics.

“Everyone starts out as a beginner,” she explained. “Initially we focus on the basics like technique and building your strength. Come and try it and see if it’s for you.”

To find out more, or to book a session please visit: www.polercise.com.

Quirky Theatre With An Eco Twist Comes To Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter

A local theatre company is giving circus and theatre lovers the chance to experience something very different this year.

Three’s Theatre Company in conjunction Tumble Circus will be taking over the big top in Writer’s Square with their Rewilding Christmas Cabaret show from December 19-22.

Featuring bio-degradeable drag queens, organic cotton-clad burlesque dancers and acrobats the show has a commitment to being environmentally-friendly on top of delivering some unique fun to their audience.

MC Leonie McDonagh, drag acts Rosa Tralee and Victor McFlict’r, singer Emer T Maguire, and comedy burlesque act Nuala Rude will entertain guests in a very “sustainable if risqué manner” said organiser Anna Leckey.

She added: “The show also includes circus acts including juggling, acrobatics and aerial skills – and not a plastic straw in sight.

“You can even get a delicious Curated Kitchen hot vegan street food meal in 100% biodegradable containers.”  

Be aware – this is an adults-only performance and there are limited shows so book early so you are not left ‘green’ with envy.

The Rewilding Christmas Cabaret is being supported by Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District.

CQ BID Manager Gareth Neill said: “The Eco Cabaret is just one way we’ll be working with Anna going forward.  We’ll be welcoming Anna as one of our Lunchtime Learning speakers in the new year to discuss sustainability and eco-matters with businesses in the Cathedral Quarter.

“As a BID we are keen to ensure that businesses are kept up to speed with opportunities to contribute to becoming more sustainable and eco-friendly; it’s not just about the big corporates, small business can make an incredibly valuable contribution to the sustainability supply chain without it costing their bottom line. Consumers are more and more savvy to the ethics and agenda of an organisation they buy from or work with, thus we feel that upskilling and educating businesses in the BID will be really valuable.”

Tickets for the Rewilding Winter Cabaret taking place from December 19-22 are available from WeGotTickets at wegotickets.com, priced from £27.50 including booking fee.  Doors open 8pm, show starts 8.30pm.

Top Rod Stewart Tribute Confirms Belfast Empire Show This December

Shake off the Christmas turkey, grab your handbags and don your gladrags as the Rod Stewart tribute is set for a special show on December 27 as Lee Hedley brings Tonight’s The Night to Belfast’s Empire for all fans of Rod The Mod.

The rocking, high energy show will see Lee bring to life the man and his music, with a tour de force show that has earned rave reviews.

Expect a packed house of Sweet Little Rock ‘n’ Rollers grooving along to the likes of Proud Mary, Don’t Want to Talk About It and, of course Maggie May.

Lee said that performing a tribute to Rod was special for him and audiences.

“Rod Stewart has such a legacy demonstrating that music can really move you,” he said. “It’s the measure of the man that at the marriage of a couple that was delayed because of the Thomas Cook collapse he turned up at the wedding to sing Have I Told You Lately.

“Generations have loved his music. Rod has inspired me throughout my career and I hope the audience at the Empire will love every second.”

Lee’s show in Waterford’s Theatre Royal was reviewed by the Munster Express saying: “Hedley had the moves, the chutzpah, the raspy Rod Stewart voice, and he got the audience going”

Lee Hedley is one of Northern Ireland’s leading performers with The Lee Hedley Blues Band, bringing his blend of classic rock, blues and jazz to venues across the country and playing festivals such as The Belfast Blues Festival, as well as touring in the US, Europe and even in Libya.

“I want to bring the excitement and joy of shows by Sir Rod Stewart to Belfast,” Lee said.

“There are so many tunes that have become iconic and are loved by so many that it is a privilege and delight to not only sing them, but to see the response from the crowd.”

“With Rod currently in remission from prostate cancer he remains as ever committed to recording with last year’s ‘Blood Red Roses’ charting and packed with memorable tunes. I hope to bring that energy and joy to the Empire for what will be a special post-Christmas show.”

Rod might sing – and Lee will too on the 27 – Some Guys Have All The Luck but your luck will be in when you see Tonight’s The Night.

As well s Lee and the seven-piece band, the Empire show will also have DJ Will Reynolds playing ‘Classic Gold Roadshow’ tunes.

Tickets, priced £15, are on sale now via Visitbelfast.com.

St Anne’s Cathedral Set To Come Alive In Aid Of The Black Santa Charity

Christmas visitors to the Cathedral Quarter this year be able shop for unique seasonal gifts while being entertained and supporting those less fortunate.

St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast will open its doors to a stunning Art and Craft Bazaar this Christmas in aid of the Black Santa Charity.

The Black Santa Night Time Bazaar runs from 5pm to 10.30pm on Saturday December 14.

Set to be a magical night, the event will see more than 100 stalls of the best art and crafts, vintage and food.

A woodland walk through the crypt will lead to a stunning stretch tent packed with artisan food vendors and Live DJs

The Jazz Bus is making its first appearance this Christmas, where you can sip a craft beer, cocktail or a hot drink and listen to stunning live jazz. There will be music from local seasonal choirs with special guests and the best DJs in the city.

The bazaar is a fully family-friendly evening with lots of surprises.

Organiser Caroline Baker of Little Fox Events says there will be something for everyone – and that’s no exaggeration.

“From entertainment, music, drink and food, to the best artisan and craft items available, there will be plenty to see and do and buy.

“As well as helping the Black Santa charity appeal, you will also be supporting small, local, independent businesses and keeping the carbon footprints down!”

“So, get into the festive spirit and make it a date to come down to Belfast Cathedral and join in the fun.”

The event is supported by the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District initiative and Belfast Music City Council.

CQ BID manager Gareth Neill says it’s an exciting new development for the Quarter over the Christmas season.

He said: “Everyone involved in the BID is looking forward to the bazaar which is the latest offering in the area.

“It involves small local business, entertainers and musicians, artisan foodmakers, crafters and best of all, while people are shopping and having fun, they can donate and support those less fortunate at this festive time of year – what’s not to like?

We hope people will come out in their droves to support the bazaar, and the Black Santa charity, as people have been doing loyally here for many years.”

Bloggers Set To Inspire At Libraries NI #GetBloggingNI Co Down Event

Get inspired to blog at Newry City Library

All will be revealed about the secrets of online writing at a free Blogging Inspiration session at Newry City Library on Thursday, 28 November from 6:00pm to 7:30pm.

The Libraries NI event is designed to encourage potential bloggers to get started and will provide hints, tips and tricks towards success as well as giving participants an inside glimpse of the enjoyment of being a blogger.

Speakers will include Kilkeel woman Maura Ward, famed for her blog, the Geriatric Traveller and online safety expert Wayne Denner.

Seventy year old Maura started her blog after being inspired by her son’s online travel diary which started to make him money.

She said: “I must confess that as he reported the income rising, the more interested I became.

“Eventually, in 2012, I decided to blog about the travelling I was doing, but I aim mine at an older demographic – and there begins the saga of Geriatric Traveller.

“Initially I was very gung-ho and devoted considerable time and effort to it. I made a small amount of money, but nothing that was going to change my life.

“Soon afterwards I started my Geriatric Traveller Facebook page as well, largely because I hoped it would be a conduit to my website.
“I am constantly amazed at the interest the page generates, and it gives me such a good feeling.

“Without any conscious effort on my part, I have amassed some 3300 page followers, and a recent post had over 6000 views, which was absolutely gobsmacking.”

Newry dad Wayne Denner, founder of podcast Zero Lives Left came to blogging from a different angle.

He said it started almost by accident through his background in online safety.

“I realised that many parents had questions when it came to keeping children and young People in their care safer online and that they needed useful and helpful information.

“I decided to create an Online Safety blog to provide helpful and practical online safety information for Parents, Carers and those who work with Children and Young People.

“It has now become one of the most trusted and respected eSafety blogs in the UK and Ireland.”

He said blogging has given him the opportunity to build and create his own personal brand and a place to communicate with a much larger audience.

This has led to video blogging and podcasting becoming a central part of his communication strategy and has led to him becoming a regular media commentator with BBC, ITV, RTE, Virgin Media Ireland & u105.

Wayne said: “Everyone has a story to tell & value to add and blogging provides people with an easy and simple way to express themselves and create content.

“For many people, me included, the hardest part was starting.

“I am not a natural writer in fact in the early days it was something I struggled with but like with anything over time my style and the writing improved.

“One of the most important and rewarding things for me personally is the content that I am creating is helping people that’s what makes the difference.

“It’s the feeling that you get when you receive an email from a reader who says ‘Thank You’ the piece of content that you created helped then when it comes to Online Safety.

‘I am delighted to be involved in the #GetBloggingNI session in Newry City Library, as a local content creator and blogger it’s great to be able to share my experience & learnings to help inspire others to start on their content creation journey.

Chartered Marketer Christine Watson of Training Matchmaker will facilitate the session, which is hosted by journalist and content creator, Tina Calder of the Content Club and Excalibur Press.

Christine said blogging is no longer the preserve of the few.

“In recent years there has been a surge in interest in blogging, vlogging and podcasting across Northern Ireland.

“It’s a fantastic way to connect with like-minded people, immerse yourself in your passions, keep your mind healthy and active and an excellent excuse to get out and about and use your local library.
“Attendees at the Blogging Inspiration event in Newry City Library will be sure to leave with the motivation, encouragement and practical knowhow they need to begin or amplify their blogging journey.”

Libraries NI Service Development Manager Julie Reid said: “Libraries NI is pleased to offer this free Blogging Inspiration event to introduce people to the art of blogging.

“Storytelling is forever evolving and blogging, vlogging and podcasting is quickly becoming the new platform for telling stories through text, images and video.

“Whether you’re blogging for business, documenting your family history or keeping a record of travelling expeditions, you’re using the power of words to tell a story.”

“We’re delighted to once again team up with Christine Watson to present this event at Newry City Library on Thursday 28 November and look forward to welcoming our speakers Maura Ward and Wayne Denner as well as host Tina Calder to the library.”

The event at Newry City Library is part of the ongoing Libraries NI #GetBloggingNI series which will run into 2020 across Northern Ireland.

Officially presented by TrainingMatchmaker.com in collaboration with Libraries NI, previous events in the #GetBloggingNI series included Blogging Inspiration sessions, a six-week Get Blogging Course and five Blogging for Wellness roadshows.

This event is free and booking is essential. Book your place at Newry City Library on 28 November at: trainingmatchmaker.eventbrite.com

Cahoots NI Celebrates 18 Years Of Children’s Theatre

Northern Ireland Children’s Theatre company Cahoots NI is celebrating their 18th birthday this week. Pictured are staff members (from left) Matthew Bradley, Marianne Crossle, Paul Mc Eneaney and Emma Wilson. For more information contact Excalibur Press 07305354209 team@excaliburpress.co.uk

Famed Northern Ireland theatre company Cahoots NI is celebrating coming of age as it marks its 18th birthday.

The company specialises in theatre for children and its distinctive style combines magic and illusion, physical theatre and original music.

Its work is acclaimed in Ireland, the UK, America and has been enjoyed in theatres, schools and all kinds of venues since it launched in 2001.

The company is currently touring China with its production of Shh! We Have a Plan and has ever-growing audiences at home and across the world.

Their production Penguins is about to run in Birmingham Repertory Theatre and will open at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast in December. The company’s theatrical adaption of Marita Conlon-McKenna’s Under The Hawthorn Tree heads to The MAC and tours Ireland in the new year.

One of the founders and Artistic Director Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney says it’s amazing to have come so far.

“We’ve come of age. Isn’t that frightening?”

He revealed that the company came about almost by chance.

Northern Ireland Children’s Theatre company Cahoots NI is celebrating their 18th birthday this week. Pictured is artistic director Paul Mc Eneaney For more information contact Excalibur Press 07305354209 team@excaliburpress.co.uk

“It started by complete accident. When I was six or seven, I was obsessed with magic.

“Honestly, my mother and father couldn’t go past a shop that had anything linked to Paul Daniels or David Nixon. I had every magic set under the sun. I just loved it, and later I became one of the youngest members of The Magic Circle.

Along with that came a real love of circus, and fun fairs, and anything that, when I analyse it now, was built for joy or for fun or for amazement

“I knew that was my world.”

After touring the US as a musician Paul realised theatre was his first love.

“Absolutely, my first love.

“So, I came back and studied performing arts at BIFHE (Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education, now Belfast Met). “Then I decided I was going to be an actor. That was it.

“I got into The Lyric Theatre at a good time, I did three or four shows back to back. A Midsummers Night’s Dream, The Playboy of the Western World and others.

“After that I became a jobbing actor. I was doing the odd little bit of film and nothing hugely significant, but I was making a living out of it.

“Then Anna Cutler, who ran the Belfast Children’s Festival at that time, asked me if I’d ever thought of writing anything for young audiences.

“I ended up writing a show called Puppet Magic, and I was in it. It got picked up by a few of the visiting international delegates who said, ‘We’d like that at our festival’.

“They were all happening the following year. So I was asking, how do we do this? How do we make this work? And the only way to make it work financially, was to form a company.

Northern Ireland Children’s Theatre company Cahoots NI is celebrating their 18th birthday this week. Pictured are staff members (from left) Matthew Bradley, Marianne Crossle, Paul Mc Eneaney and Emma Wilson. For more information contact Excalibur Press 07305354209 team@excaliburpress.co.uk

“This allowed me to access some funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, who would in turn support the international travel for this project.

“We renamed the show Buster, and it opened at the Edinburgh International Children’s Theatre Festival the following year. And then you do one show and you go, ‘Oh gosh, we should do another’.

“So, there was no plan. There was absolutely no plan.”

Paul said theatre for children was not seen as a priority back in the beginning of Cahoots NI.

“There was an inequality in the funding streams back then. I don’t believe children’s work was funded in the same way theatre for adults was.

“At the time, there was an education company, that was doing issue-based work and that was funded, but what we were hoping to do didn’t exist in Northern Ireland.”

Cahoots NI has gone on to challenge and change perceptions, with Paul adamant that children are just as deserving of top-quality theatre as adults.

He also says theatre can play a social role, instilling empathy in children and making them more socially aware.

“We are not changing the world, but we’re going to make the world a slightly better place with what we do.”

The company is now in big demand all over the world and has toured to Europe, Asia, all over the US and has even had requests to take their shows to Chile in South America.

Cahoots does not plan to rest on its laurels though.

Paul is already looking forward to future milestones.

“I’m looking towards 2021, which is our twentieth year – I feel I’m looking towards some sort of mini Cahoots NI festival, perhaps a celebration of our best work to date.

We are currently working on a new show called The Vanishing Elephant which will play in Belfast before opening on Broadway. Our future is exciting – I’m keen to create greater and longer partnerships with other organisations here and across the world.

The Cahoots show definitely looks set to go on.

Penguins, a Cahoots NI, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Prime Theatre co-production will run at The Lyric Theatre from December 18-22. Under The Hawthorn Tree will open at The MAC on January 30 through to February 9 before touring Ireland.

For more information about Cahoots NI or their shows log onto http://www.cahootsni.com

6 Simple Ways to Supercharge Your Conference Event

People organise events for a variety of reasons: training, networking and bringing people together, to name but a few, and the number of organisers doing so for these grounds has increased in recent years. Choosing the right venue and location are stressful enough, but on top of those concerns there are the challenges of running the right activities and engaging the guests once they come through the doors. 

A soul-destroying event could spell disaster for your brand and company, but have no fear. Below are six simple ways you can supercharge your event and keep the attendees clamouring for more: 

1. Call In Some Content Producers

Content is huge now, so you need to hire some professional content creators to help with the content marketing of your event. This is a superb way to start telling the story of your event, get potential attendees familiar with your brand and, generally, get them enthusiastic for the event. The content contributes to the overall experience of the event. Of course, you’re creating expectations by doing this, too, so you must be sure to deliver the goods on the day.

2. Encourage Social Media Use

Social media is another part of the event experience and is a way to generate excitement before the event, during it and after it. An event hashtag is a given, to help promote the event, and that can get the ball rolling, but if you’re the organiser you should keep the momentum going by encouraging discussion on social media. Ask engaging questions or introduce interesting topics, related to the themes of the conference event itself.

3. Keep Things Simple

Now, your audience won’t be idiots, but you should observe a simple formula to keep them from dozing in their seats. The content should be valuable to them in some way or have a wow factor that makes them sit up and take notice. It should solve a problem, provide an answer to a question or respond to a theory or need. The content should also generate some form of emotion and be something that they want to later share with others at the event and away from it. Professional content producers can help with all of this.

4. Train Speakers in Engagement Techniques

Public speaking is a skill and it takes no small amount of guts for speakers to get up there and deliver their speech or presentation. No one likes to give a tranquilising speech or stare into the eyes of attendees who are visibly bored and have grown irritable, maybe a touch hungry, too, or both.

None of that has to happen, though, if you train speakers in engagement techniques. This gets the audience more involved. The speaker can ask them questions. They can have breakout sessions. They can run activities or workshops that lend themselves to interaction. Boredom shouldn’t be an issue.

5. Use audience engagement handsets

Audience engagement system handsets are useful for a simple reason: they include everyone. A lot of events use websites or apps and present polls in which the attendees can take part, but sometimes internet bandwidth issues can disrupt engagement measures like this. A handset offers more reliability and, to a certain extent, equalises attendees because no one has to be tech savvy to use them. Older members may struggle if they were to have to use their mobile phones to participate and would welcome the handsets if this is the case.

6. Harness the power of analytics

How do you know if a conference is going well? A real time analytics tool can help you gauge it. Implement one of these tools and you can track how attendees are responding to your social media content. You can also have a look at any online feedback forms guests have submitted during the event. This data supplies you with valuable insight which you can use to make changes to the event as it happens or keep in mind when you hold your next event. No longer do you have to hit and hope or look on helpless as an event goes downhill.

A note on presenting at a conference event

If you happen to be one of the brave souls presenting at an event, consider hiring an expert to help you with your presentation visuals. Bullet points do add structure, fair enough, but they can be a bit boring as well, to say the least. 

Meanwhile, there are presentation specialists out there who can design your presentation visuals for you. Shoddy visuals can damage your presentation and your credibility. You want to look like a professional, but poor visuals will let you down. Hiring a PowerPoint pro to give your presentation the TLC it needs to shine and keep your reputation intact.  

Whether you’re running an event to train people, get people networking or just bring people together, you can minimise the stress of the endeavour by implementing the tips above. They’ll help you and your speakers to keep the attendees engaged, making it an enjoyable event for them and a successful one for you.

For more details on how to make your next event truly engaging, be sure to check out https://responsecrowd.com

11 Ways To Turn Household Chores Into A Workout

By Patience Bradley, author of The HouseWork WorkOut

Many people struggle to find time to exercise.  Sometimes just finding a little bit of time in our hectic schedule is virtually impossible.  So don’t try! At the end of the day cleaning and tidying your house is something you simply have to do, modifying your household chores shouldn’t be that hard.

By turning your household chores into a workout you can increase your heart rate and work your major muscle groups.  From hoovering, mopping and dusting to gardening and even cleaning the kitchen, there’s hundreds of exercises you can do at home.

When doing your HouseWork WorkOuts it’s a good idea to do these in 30 minutes slots.  You could even create a 30 minute playlist to work out to. Don’t forget that having up-beat and fast music on will help to keep you motivated, studies show that working out to fast music will increase your pace (which in turn increases your heart rate and therefore see you burning more calories), and the music typically makes you work out for longer.

1. Vacuum Your Entire House

Vacuuming can be a great exercise for your core and abs if you keep those muscles tense while cleaning. It burns around 190 calories per hour, but if you want to take this exercise further and burn more calories, do lunge motions while taking steps to work right in to those glutes.

2. Sweep Or Mop Your Floors

Prepare your floors by clearing the surfaces so you can clean as many as possible in quick succession. Where you can, squat rather than bending over to lift items and get to those hard-to-reach areas. Mopping burns around 195 calories per hour, but don’t forget to switch between your right and left arms to ensure an even work out. Use a good amount of elbow grease when you’re on your hands and knees scrubbing to work out your arms and shoulders, and remember to hold that tummy in while doing so to work out those abs.

3. Run Up And Down The Stairs

When you are tidying-up, and bringing items up or down the stairs, opt to repeat the action more often than you actually need to. For example, when bringing items upstairs, run up and down the stairs three times, as opposed to the one time that you need to. Walking up and down stairs at a brisk pace burns around 500 calories per hour. To turn this in to a toning exercise, go up two stairs at a time, but at a slower pace, so that it becomes a controlled strength exercise as opposed to a cardio one.

4. Do Calf Raises As You Wash Dishes

Start with your legs hip-width apart, before lifting up on to your toes. Hold this position for three to 10 seconds, before slowly coming down to stand on your whole feet again. Repeat this exercise 10 times per set, for three sets, with one minute rest in between sets.

5. Clean All Of Your Windows (Inside & Out)

Use both your left and right hands and arms to ensure an equal work out, and clean in a circular motion. Reach as high as you can to work your abs and oblique muscles (your waist). Cleaning windows burns around 180 calories per hour. The same applies to cleaning surfaces, mirrors, and dusting.

6. Weed Your Garden & Trim Plants

If weeding on your hands and knees, ensure you use proper cushioning, and engage your abs by keeping them tense throughout the work out. If you are doing short duration weeding in bursts, try squatting instead, and don’t forget to squat when gathering up the waste to put it in garden bags. Gardening in this way burns approximately 289 calories per hour.

7. Wash Your Car By Hand

Many of us enjoy the convenience of taking our cars to automatic or manual car wash services, but if you want to take advantage of nice weather, and get a work out in at the same time, wash your car by hand instead. A full car clean includes wetting, cleaning, rinsing, drying, and polishing, which are all fantastic actions for your arms and abs, as well as squatting to reach the lower areas of the vehicle, or to wet your chamois or sponge in soapy water. If you want to maximise this work out, clean the inside of your car, including the windows and hoovering the carpets and seats. Cleaning your car by hand burns around 230 calories per hour.

8. Make-The-Bed Triceps Dips

Depending on your skill level, changing bed sheets can feel like a work out on its own, especially if it’s a double. Maximise the benefits of doing this chore by fitting in some arm toning exercises at the same time. Sit on the edge of the bed with your hands placed palms down next to your hips, fingers facing forward. Scoot off the bed until you are only supported by your arms and feet. The further your feet are from the bed, the harder this exercise is. Lower down slowly, keeping your elbows tucked in to your sides, and use your arms to push yourself back up. Repeat 10 times in one set, for three sets, with  one minute rest in between sets.

9. Toilet Split Squats

When cleaning the toilet and the bathroom, use the toilet (with the seat down) to perform Bulgarian Split Squats. Place one foot on the toilet and your front foot far enough out in front of you so that you can lunge down without your knee going over your toes. Slowly lower your body down and use your extended leg to push yourself back up. Your instinct will be to lean forward over your extended leg – don’t – keep your upper body as straight as you can. This is a fantastic work out for your whole leg as well as your glutes! Don’t forget to repeat on both legs.

10. Lazy Bicep Curls

If you are carrying bags of groceries in to the house, or bags of rubbish out to the bin, use the opportunity to fit in a few bicep curls. Get a good grip on the bag palm facing up and make a fist, keep your elbows at your sides, and lift the bags so your hands reach your chest. This move can even be done with tins of beans, one litre bottles of juice, or anything else that makes a suitable weight, while you’re sitting watching TV!

11. No Time To ‘Waist’

If you are waiting for the kettle to boil, pasta to cook, or the microwave to ding, squeeze in a few squats, lunges, or push-ups off a wall or kitchen counter. If you make a dinner every evening, and a couple of cups of tea a day, the short-duration exercises will soon build up over a week, and after all, every little helps
The HouseWork WorkOut by Patience Bradley is out now and available from Amazon or www.excaliburpress.co.uk/book-shop

Analytics Expert Asks: Are You Making The Most Of Your Data?

Organisations of all sizes, and across all sectors, possess a powerful asset that can help them to gain competitive advantage, offer unique insights into their organisational performance, and enable them to ‘level up’ by making smarter and more informed decisions.

Although all organisations have access to this asset, many are not able to fully exploit it and leverage the opportunities that can flow from it.

According to Geoff McGimpsey, Marketing Communications Manager at Belfast-based data analytics specialists, Analytics Engines: “Every organisation produces and holds data. This can include transactional information, logistics records, staff timesheets, machine performance, product warranties, and more. When this data is appropriately captured, transitioned into a digital format, and analysed correctly, the organisation gains tremendous insights into its operations, its customers, and its external environment.”

Data can be a powerful and persuasive tool that can help decision-makers in organisations, as well as informing business strategy and reducing risk. Geoff provides the perfect example of the power of data – a data solution called ‘Precision for Pharmacy’ which is currently deployed for the Western Health and Social Care Trust at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Geoff explained: “We helped the clinical pharmacy team move away from paper-based record systems by co-designing a digital solution that enabled greater transparency and improved reporting methodology. The bottom-line was that the teams felt more empowered and they collaborated more effectively. Managers were also able to evidence the impact of the work they carried out.”

The Challenges of Digital Transformation

Organisational change is inherently difficult to accomplish. However, it remains the only constant in today’s dynamic business environment, and the powerful results of a well-developed and strategic change management plan should not be underestimated. 

Analytics Engines has a wealth of hands-on experience in helping organisations develop their digital roadmap. He said: “I’ve found that quite often the biggest challenge businesses face when starting their data journey is properly understanding and correctly mapping out the problem they are seeking to solve. Organisations are aware that they have data, and they understand that it can help but they don’t always understand how. We work closely with businesses to help them understand their problem and to deliver a solution that properly meets their needs.”

For many businesses, there are some hurdles to overcome when implementing a digital transformation strategy, such as getting access to the right data at the right volume, managing it effectively, and getting buy-in from different functions across the organisation.

“Working with an expert partner such as Analytics Engines helps to demystify the process for organisations and gives them the confidence that their digital transformation roadmap is one that will be effective, with useful and positive outcomes that can have a significant impact on the organisation,” he said. 

“We collaborate with a wide range of businesses and offer advice on a variety of areas, such as how to best source and present the raw data, how to cleanse it, and how to draw down those all-important insights.” 

Increased Potential from Digital Transformation Opportunities

Digital transformation presents exciting opportunities for a range of business functions in organisations of every size and sector.

“Some organisations may feel that digital transformation is for more technically matured businesses only, or that it is only suitable to certain industries and sectors,” said Geoff, adding: “Digital transformation is so much more than an online presence. We guide and assist organisations to realise the value of their data assets and to identify where they could be missing out on real business opportunities.”

Often, it is in an organisation’s best interest to be receptive to new data and information.

“Many can combine their owned data with open datasets which can be incredibly enlightening and identify key trends and indicators that the organisation would otherwise have missed,” said Geoff.

With experts in data science, graph and text analytics, location analytics, data visualisation, artificial intelligence, advanced record linkage, legacy system integration, and custom business processes, Analytics Engines have helped organisations – from very varied backgrounds – to embed digital transformation with great success. 

“We recently worked with The National Gallery in London as part of their digital transformation process. We pulled in a range of datasets to create a ‘single source of truth’ reporting methodology,” said Geoff. “The custom dashboard was rapidly adopted across the organisation, putting everyone in every department on the same page in terms of their reporting methods and their understanding of how visitors interacted with their exhibitions. We put the user at the centre of the solution – reducing system complexity and ensuring they could draw the greatest possible insights from their data to optimise organisational performance.”

Experienced in working with healthcare organisations, local and regional government bodies, biomedical science centres, the entertainment and media industries, the hospitality and tourism sector, and education and higher education establishments, there are few industries Analytics Engines have not worked with.

“We have the agility to design business intelligence solutions that provide our partners and clients with comprehensive insight that is capable of enabling change and quickly providing a return on their investment,” said Geoff.

Analytics Engines is also organising a major conference – Big Data Belfast – featuring business use cases and data analytics thought leaders drawn from local domain experts and multi-national organisations. The event takes place at the ICC Belfast on Thursday October 24 2019, and is sponsored this year by EY, as well as Dell, CME Group, Allstate Northern Ireland, SmashFly, SpotX, Altra Executives, Invest Northern Ireland and Signifyd. Find out more about Big Data Belfast and register to attend the conference by going to: https://www.bigdatabelfast.com

To find out more about Analytics Engines and how they can help your business, log on to: https://analyticsengines.com.