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Members' Articles

If February is the month of love

by Norma Fenwick from Your Perfect Travel

23rd February 2016

Post Type: New Member Article



For some, it’s cards and roses. For others, it’s chocolates and dinner for two. For us, it’s a romantic break (booked via Your Perfect Travel, of course). If you’re in the mood for love this month, take a look at our list of quintessentially romantic destinations. What are you waiting for – go on, book it today!

Favourite romantic destinations:

1. French Polynesia

Made up of 118 islands dispersed across the South Pacific, stretching for more than 2,000 glorious kilometres, this collection of beautiful archipelagos are known for their coral-fringed lagoons and over-the-water bungalows designed for the most romantic and laid back of holidays. We challenge you not to feel the love in such places as Bora Bora, Moorea or Tahiti. Even their names conjure up that feeling of warm sun, soft sand, lazy days….

bora-bora-701841_960_7202. Venice, Italy

Building a marble city on top of a lagoon might not have seemed to be a great idea but those Venetians knew a thing or two about architecture. They also know a thing or two about love and romance, which is why this amazing city is on our list. Dreaming of masquerades, music, gondolas and art? Then allow us show you the places to go that will fire your imagination and unlock your heart to love.

canals3. Seychelles/Maldives

Nestling in the Indian Ocean, the islands that make up the Seychelles and the Maldives offer the variety needed to suit every type of traveller, from luxury hotel complexes to boutique hideaways for two, and they are more affordable than you might think. Indulge your romantic side and let us whisk you away to your desert island paradise. Sun, sea, sand and love – care to dip your toes?

sea-1027983_960_7204. Marrakech

If your idea of romance doesn’t involve lying about on the beach, then this is the city for you. Full of mind-boggling sights, sounds and smells, this is an experience you will be talking about for months to come, we promise. Imagine sipping a cocktail on the top of a 18th-century riad, remembering your day of discovery, snakecharmers, magic and mystery, listening to the sounds of the city far below you. Utter bliss.

marrakech-893639_960_7205. India

This used to be the travel destination of our bravest and most intrepid travellers, but it’s no longer true. India offers our romance-hunters exotic and vibrant memories, unexpected but truly staggering. Let the colours of India’s passions indulge and excite your senses and visit one of the world’s most wonderful, and romantic, destinations.color-300343_960_720



We have lots and lots of magnificent destinations that we’d love to introduce you to. Give us a call on 01279 724239 or visit our enquiries page We are here to make your holiday perfect.

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Myanmar - Alluring and Mysterious

by Norma Fenwick from Your Perfect Travel

23rd February 2016

Post Type: New Member Article

Myanmar - alluring and mysterious. Since it started to welcome visitors in 2012, it is a country that has experienced rapid change, yet there is still a lack of widespread infrastructure and Western comforts. This is part of it’s appeal to me.  In December 2015, I was fortunate to spend 14 days travelling around this wonderful country.  Here’s my travel story, and with so much to see, be warned, it’s in 3 parts!


Myanmar Meanderings - Part 1

Kandawgyi Nature Lake


Driving around the car-jammed M25, en route to Heathrow airport, I let out a little wee….  not that kind! - the “weeeeee” sound that meant “we’re off!” Myanmar (formally known as Burma) has been on my hit list for a while and now I was heading there with my favourite man, for Christmas and New Year. First to Bangkok, our transit point, and then onto Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, and it’s mix of colonial architecture, modern high-rises and gilded Buddhist pagodas.

We eventually arrived in Yangon at 9am where it took an hour to clear passport control, not because it was busy, it just takes a while as the people are so laid back. A 15km drive saw us at Hotel Esparado, where we dumped our backpacks (so incongruous, turning up at a luxury hotel with backpacks!) and took in the views from the shore of Kandawgyi nature lake. My first impression - gorgeous temples, lots of family gathering together, and the smell of incense everywhere. I love it here already.

Commuters heading home from work








A walk around Yangon assaulted our sensibilities. It has yet to be commercialised and so we only saw about 6 other tourists all day, making us feel like part of a well kept secret. The locals we met were so friendly, insisting on us taking their photographs and taking the time to talk.

I’d sum the city up as being high rise grandeur juxtaposed by slums. My photos don't do the city any justice as they can’t convey the friendliness, the feeling of hustle and bustle and the smells. And the fact that I've never seen so many bananas!

Shwedgaon Pagoda lit at night








Then as the sun sets, Chinese lanterns were lit in the trees along the streets - magical. By the time we got back to our hotel, the Shwedagon or Great Dagon or Golden Pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar, was lit up, the gold sparkling in the light. Just stunning.

Fact: The 325ft Zedi (the pointy-dome bit on top) is adorned with 27 metric tons of gold leaf, along with thousands of diamonds and other gems, and is believed to enshrine eight hairs of the Gautama Buddha as well as relics of three former Buddhas.   (Lonely Planet: Myanmar)

The next morning saw us heading off to Bogyoke airport for an Asia Wings flight to Inle Lake. On arrival we had a little hairy ride … to the wrong hotel, partly because our driver didn't speak or read English - should have learnt Burmese before we got here. The Amata Garden Lake hotel is divine even if the Wifi is very slow and intermittent. That’s OK, we'll be just fine having a massage, cycling, going to the floating market, and boating on this enormous lake.

After a great sleep, we caught a boat to Nyaung Shwe, the gateway to Inle Lake. It’s a very busy town, the most touristy we've seen so far, but traditions still prevail with the locals getting on with their daily life undisturbed by us foreigners.

“Myanmar is very different to any SE Asian country I've been to. Another 5-10 years and I'm sure it will be very similar”

Arriving at Inle Lake was wonderful.  After meeting our boatman Dewo, we headed out to the many villages by motor boat. Sitting in two wicker chairs plonked in the boat, moving from side to side and back and forth, added to the excitement! We saw so many fascinating sights - silk making, silver and gold designing, weaving, boat making, tool workshops. All was going swimmingly until Dewo went too fast through the mangroves and the boat engine conked out. We were a fair way from hotel and our call for help ended with us paddling most of the way back before another boat came to our rescue!  We missed the floating market and fishing village but were greeted like royalty back at the shore - with the owner of hotel bringing cold towels and so many apologies that it didn’t matter in the end. All was rectified by a wonderful cocktails on the terrace watching the sunset. Bliss.

Back on dry land and at Nyaung Shwe (the main town at Inle Lake) we hired bikes to cycle to the Yan Aung Nan Aung Hsu Taung Pye Paya (don't ask me to pronounce it) 26ft-high sitting Buddha. It was well worth the effort. I’m really falling for this country.

Join me next month for part two of my travels

A lacquer workshop where women make making bowls, tissue boxes, chess sets, and coasters from bamboo, then decorate them by hand. So much time and effort and the finished products are such good quality










Wine made just outside of Inle Lake. Makes a nice change from Myanmar beer

Who is writing your Will?

by Nina Villa from Liberty Wills and Trusts

18th February 2016

Post Type: New Member Article
Who is writing your Will?

Will writing is the one area of the legal profession that remains unregulated, meaning anyone can set themselves up as a Will Writer with little or no training. That is why it is so important to ensure that the company you select to help you with your estate plan has submitted to voluntary regulation such as membership of the Society of Will Writers. These voluntary bodies ensure that the person writing your will is fully trained, undertakes regular CPD training and is fully insured in case anything goes wrong. If you are not confident in your Will Writer, walk away! Remember that under the Consumer Contract Regulations 2013 you have a statutory cooling off period of 14 days in which you can cancel and find someone you are happy with. Look for the attached logo, which will give you confidence that the person you have chosen is fully qualified and insured. 

Zika Virus - Is it safe to travel?

by Norma Fenwick from Your Perfect Travel

16th February 2016

Post Type: Other
Zika Virus - Is it safe to travel?


Zika Virus – is it safe to travel?


Zika - a bad-assed virus? Well yes, it’s not great but according to current research, for most of us it’s only nasty if you (or your partner) is or is trying to get pregnant or if you have any auto-immune diseases.  80% of the rest of us won’t notice symptoms (even if we have picked up the virus) and those of us that fall ill may feel like we have a mild case of flu or conjunctivitis (itchy and gunky eyes). 


I’m being asked by potential travellers to destinations such as the Caribbean or South America whether they should still go. An honest answer? It’s up to you. If you’re pregnant or wish to get pregnant in the near future - no. If not, then consider the information available from WHO (The World Health Organisation) and make up your own mind. Me? I’m off to Costa Rica next month. I will take precautions to protect myself and my family from being bitten by the mosquitoes that carry the virus but I’m not cancelling my trip.


Here are some of the most recent facts about Zika but please bear in mind that scientists are discovering more about it each week and please visit your national advice service ( in the UK) for the most up-to-date guidance.


Currently, the Zika virus is present in the Americas, Caribbean, Cape Verde, Pacific Islands, Thailand and the Maldives.  


How do you get the virus?

●      The virus is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes Mosquito

●      The mosquito bites during the day, particularly mid-morning and late afternoon before sunset. It seems to love the feet and ankles and likes living around stagnant water.

●      The mosquito can also transmit the Dengue and/or Chikungunya viruses.

What are the symptoms?

●      For the 20% of us that have symptoms, the most common are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. Other symptoms may include muscle pain and headache. 

●      Symptoms usually begin 2-7 days after infection.

●      It’s usually a mild disease lasting a few days or a week and rarely requires hospitalisation.






It apparent that the virus is a very real threat to pregnant women particularly in their first trimester (although there is some risk throughout pregnancy). Whilst the mother may not suffer any symptoms of having caught the virus, there is a potential link with microcephaly in newborn babies. 

What should you do to prevent catching Zika?

●      Try your best to avoid getting bitten, however, this is very hard as the Aedes mosquito is active during the day. Wear protective clothing (long sleeves and trousers) and apply mosquito spray regularly - use one that contains DEET.

●      Sleep under a mosquito net.

●      Avoid areas with stagnant water where the mosquitos breed.

●      If you (or your partner) are pregnant or are considering pregnancy in the near future, you are advised not to travel to infected regions.

Please remember that the mozzies have chosen some outstanding countries to live. They are vibrant and exciting place to visit with some of the most welcoming people you will ever meet. You have little reason not to travel unless you are planning or expecting your own bundle of joy. 


Useful link:


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BNI Visitors Day March 2016

by Angela Westgarth from The Personal Property Shop

09th February 2016

Post Type: Newspaper Article
BNI Visitors Day March 2016

Are you a business local to Stansted?

Could you handle more clients?

Perhaps you're looking to grow your business?

Then the Stansted Gateway to Business Chapter have got the perfect event for you! On Thursday 10th March 2016 at the Hilton Hotel Stansted, we'll be holding a networking visitor's day which will be completely FREE OF CHARGE for visitors! You'll get the opportunity to network with other local business owners, the chance to do business with them and potentially pick up some new customers too. As a group we've shared nearly £2 million of business between us so it's well worth the visit!

Arrival is from 6:30am and we're normally finished by around 9am so it doesn't intefere with your working day. You'll enjoy a delicious cooked (or continental) breakfast which, if you haven't been to the Hilton before is really good! On the day they'll be plenty of opportunities for open networking, your business cards will be shared amongst all the visitors and you can stand up and introduce your business too. We should have 60-70 attendees so it'll be a big event and well worth getting out of bed for!

For more information and to check that your profession isn't already represented then please email or call 01279 719193 and speak to Angela.