Building Business Relationships

customer-serviceWe all have business relationships but not everyone understands what it takes to develop and maintain an effective business relationship. 

For example, my Internet Provider is clueless; they might as well take my money and then shove my head down the toilet; customer service is definitely not on their agenda.

Having said that, what is it that we want from our business relationships?

What is it that makes an effective long-term business relationship? Is it respect, honesty, loyalty, competitive prices, quality, clear meaningful communication? What do you think?

According to Inc. a well –known business consultancy it’s simple. Want to know how?  Read on

Romantic Relationships – The Key to Success

healthy romantic relationshipsIs someone pulling my leg? These are the words that are supposed to define a healthy romantic relationship: COOKING, COOKING, COOKINGCome on, what’s that about?  

So, is this the idea:

If I can bake a chocolate cake, or fry an egg, or perhaps whip up lasagna, then I’m going to have a successful romantic relationship?

I understand the saying that: the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, but I thought that’s why we invented take away restaurants?!

If this is true, then maybe my relatives have a point when they say that I’m never going to settle down because if there’s one thing I know for certain, it’s that I’m never going to learn how to cook. In addition, I’m not that hot at remembering birthdays either.  OMG, am I a disaster waiting to happen?  No, please don’t answer that.  I don’t want to know.

Ok, as a result of the above vocabulary I decided to seek advice from some professionals and this is what they said:

Building a Healthy Relationship – The Beginning Stages:

According to a relationship counselor while the early months of a relationship can feel effortless and exciting, successful long-term relationships involve ongoing effort and compromise by both partners. Building healthy patterns early in your relationship can establish a solid foundation for the long run. When you are just starting a relationship, it is important to:

  1. Build. Build a foundation of appreciation and respect. Focus on all the considerate things your partner says and does. Happy couples make a point of noticing even small opportunities to say “thank you” to their partner, rather than focusing on mistakes their partner has made.
  2. Explore. Explore each other’s interests so that you have a long list of things to enjoy together. Try new things together to expand mutual interests.
  3. Establish. Establish a pattern of apologizing if you make a mistake or hurt your partner’s feelings. Saying “I’m sorry” may be hard in the moment, but it goes a long way towards healing a rift in a relationship. Your partner will trust you more if he or she knows that you will take responsibility for your words and actions.

medicationWhat?!? Are they having a laugh?

OMG, that’s all too much effort, and despite being native I honestly don’t understand the point about Establish. Do you understand this? 

Personally, I reckon a constant flow of prescription medication is the key to a successful relationship.  However, if you want to read what the professionals think, then click here

Rock Climbing, Relationships, Trust and Friendship

Carlos VertikaliaLast weekend, despite my better judgment, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try rock climbing.  The night before, I started wondering if I should write a will, practice the crash position and superglue a safety helmet to my head.  In the end, I decided to drink a bottle of wine, take some aspirin to prevent a hangover and pray that my friend was not going to allow me to experience free falling.  

Fortunately, the reality of my experience was nothing like my insane fears.  Rock climbers are adrenalin junkies, they are focused, they are determined, and their mental and physical strength is awe inspiring.  They also use a lot of bad language, and I learnt a lot of Spanish words and phrases that I wouldn’t find in a dictionary.  However, truth be told, none of that was my lasting impression. The thing I took away from this experience, besides a broken body and some humiliation (of course I was RUBBISH – if there was an elevator up the rock, I still wouldn’t have made it!) was the sense of camaraderie between climbers. 

JuanchoWe were like the United Nations; there were climbers from all over Spain, from Poland, from Germany, from Russia, and GET IN, from England.  Some climbers had met before and some hadn’t and yet it felt like these people had known each other for years.  In fact, it felt like these people were from the same family: sharing food, lending equipment, giving advice and supporting each other in success or failure.  In my opinion, the essence of this strong bond, this relationship between climbers, is based on trust and respect.

Despite the fact that I’m not sure I will go rock climbing again, I can honestly say I learnt a lot about the genuine goodness in people, and in my book that’s worth more than a million bucks.  In addition, I had the opportunity to fall in love with Andalusia all over again. What more can a girl ask for?!

vertikaliaSo, if you want to step out of your comfort zone and try something different, or maybe you just want to meet some new people in a beautiful setting and wear a sexy harness, then get in touch with Carlos. Carlos has calve muscles as round as apples and as hard as marble, he climbs rocks like an Ibex and he is the perfect trainer, he encourages, he motivates, he’s super friendly and he makes you feel like you can do better. He is also the owner of Vertikalia an Andalucian climbing shop and training centre.

So, get a group of friends together, check out his website: and give him a call on: +34 691 80 4223

Relationships – What are they?

relationshipsWe have relationships with lots of different people: our family and our friends; husbands and wives; girlfriends and boyfriends; our work mates and class mates; our boss, clients, contractors and employees; doctors, dentists, gym buddies etc. In addition, we also have relationships with things: our pets, our cars, technological devices, football teams, music and even food and alcohol. 

Some of these relationships are healthy, some of them unhealthy and some are just insane! Furthermore, the relationships we have with these people and things changes over time; sometimes your relationship is full of the joys of spring, and then suddenly it or they just get on your nerves and you decide it’s time to run for the hills.

Interestingly, in my relationships it’s usually the other person that’s breaking the speed of light to get distance from me.  And, curiously, even the things I love appear to want a divorce. Luckily, my Teckie Knight makes their flight a little more difficult.

So, what are your Top 3 Healthy Relationships, your Top 3 Unhealthy Relationships and your Top 3 Insane Relationships?   Come on ‘spill the beans’?

According to my brother, these are my Top 3 Unhealthy Relationships:

  1. She’s head over heels in love with Leeds United
  2. She thinks her Apple Nano is actually a human limb
  3. She has an allergic reaction when she is close to anything that resembles a kitchen appliance, a clothes shop or a hairdresser

Well, is he pulling my leg? The above list just goes to show that blood might be thicker than water but my brother doesn’t know me at all.  Seriously, I’m mad about my coffee machine– and that’s a kitchen appliance. Also, what’s the problem with listening to music?  It’s an efficient way of experiencing lots of emotions.

WRITING: What food fills you with joy?

Baba-GanoushImagine you have seen this announcement in a local food magazine
‘Some food gives you energy, some food makes you put on weight, but what food fills you with joy?

Please respond by posting your Top 5

Janette’s TOP 5 are:

  1. Cucumber on soda bread with black pepper
  2. Cinnamon and raisin bagels with brie, tomatoes and chives
  3. Carrot Cake with a cream cheese topping
  4. Felafel with humus and pickled red cabbage
  5. Baba Ganosh with pita bread and roasted red and yellow peppers

WRITING: What music gets you on your feet?


Imagine you have seen this announcement in a local music magazine

‘It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing’ What makes you swing those hips, tap your feet and jiggle your shoulders?  We’re interested in compiling a collection of cool songs that get the general public rocking their groove on.

Post your top 3 to create the playlist of the year.

Interestingly, Janette’s track for the Summer of 2013 was recommended by a client.  Thanks Jose!  I’ve been getting my groove on all summer with Daft Punk – Get Lucky.  However, truth be told, I’ve not been lucky so far.

WRITING: What gets on your nerves?


Imagine you have seen this announcement in a local magazine

The sad fact of life is that some people have really annoying habits, and, some things just drive you mental. We want to know what habits really get on your nerves. What things send you round the bend? What behaviour drives you cream crackers?

To give you some inspiration, this is what our editor said:

  1. Back seat drivers
  2. Slow drivers
  3. Cyclists
  4. Kissing in public
  5. Dog owners that don’t scoop the poop
  6. Computer emotions
  7. Incomprehensible text messages
  8. Marmite
  9. Ryanair
  10. Moustaches

LISTENING: Nina Simone – Feeling Good


nina simoneNina Simone: I’m Feeling Good
Although ‘Feeling Good’ wasn’t written by Nina Simone her delivery of these lyrics is ‘ pure uncensored emotion’. If you have never heard of Nina Simone, you ought to check her out because in my opinion she has one of the most heart-wrenching voices and has the ability to change your emotions in a nanosecond.

In addition, you should listen and read the subtitles to Antony and the Johnsons’s song: Hope that Someone. 

GRAMMAR: Prepositional phrases

Here is a reference sheet of some of the most common prepositional phrases arranged by preposition:




at first
at least
at most
at times
at any rate
at last
at the latest
at once
at short notice
at an advantage
at a disadvantage
at risk
at a profit / loss

by accident
by far
by all means
by heart
by chance
by and by
by the way
by the time
by no means
by name
by sight
by now
by then

for now
for instance
for example
for sale
for a while
for the moment
for ages
for a change
for better or worse




from now on
from then on
from bad to worse
from my point of view
from what I understand
from personal experience

under age
under control
under the impression
under guarantee
under the influence of
under obligation
under no obligation
under suspicion
under his thumb
under discussion
under consideration

without fail
without notice
without exception
without someone’s consent
without success
without warning

Now test your understanding of these prepositional phrases by taking these prepositional phrase quizzes:

Try Prepositional Phrases Quiz – 1

Try Prepositional Phrases Quiz – 2

Try Prepositional Phrases Quiz – 3

People and Places Video: Volunteering

volunteerAlbert Little is an American who’s given up two years of his life to serve in the US Peace Corps. He’s an IT expert and is now does voluntary work with local people across Jamaica. This includes rural areas like Jeffrey Town, St Mary where he’s based – a place where the electricity supply and internet connection often fail! Find out more as you practise your listening comprehension skills! Listen to the story.

You can also read the transcript if you need help.