A Splash Of Colour & Some Hip Hop Dancing; What Could Be Better..?
Plymouth will have even more colour flooding our amazing city by the sea tomorrow thanks to the Plymouth City Centre Company’s plans to brighten up the West End. They have commissioned four artists to paint a carnival style mural tomorrow, Saturday 13th July 2019 on a big advertising hoarding at the corner of Market Avenue and New George Street opposite the market and KFC.
In preparation for the infamous West End Carnival that is taking place on Saturday August. This will not only be a celebration of colour and culture but also an equally proud moment for the Plymouth Market which celebrates its 60th anniversary!
The event tomorrow will be well worth a visit. Starting at 10am and going through until 4pm. There will be live music and Hop Hop by Plymouth’s talented crew at Street Factory.
Plymouth does events so well that you will be in for a treat; plus – there are so many amazing independent traders and businesses in the area ready to welcome you … in full carnival spirit.
Elinor Eaton, Development Manager for the New Continental Hotel and Strathmore House Apartments shares her Roma Bar Chit Chat!
It’s a current landscape that is vastly different from the one we knew twenty years ago, when many of us were already in our professional field.
Twenty years ago, for many businesses it was all about the shop front. You would put adverts in the local paper and join networking groups nearby and hope, with all your might, that people would need what you sold. Some extended their markets by sending sales people out on the road, with samples and a notebook of prices. They would be armed with Carbon Paper at the ready for orders; then they would whisk them back to the office, pack up the items and deliver them to their customers.
Twenty years doesn’t feel like that long ago; but the change we have seen, some gradual some instantaneous, is vast. Innovations, new ways of thinking and new needs, met with the inception of the Internet has created a very new platform for business.
A business became no longer dependent on its local customer base for its survival; nor so much on an individual member of staffs knowledge of a product or service. Things were at our fingertips and very different to our old norm!
The internet quickly became a vast and beautiful entity that allowed us all unprecedented access to information, the likes of which we had never seen before, or even been able to imagine!
A FAX was a magical thing; EMAILS just blew minds!
Roll on twenty years and we have never before had as much access to knowledge as we do today, and that’s all thanks to the internet. Yet with this creation, for many of us, has come with it a huge amount of uncertainty and some fear. It empowers and enable us to work smarter; but we have to be smarter too…in areas that still sometimes feels like something from a science fiction novel!
I felt like I was at a pretty ‘ok’ level of understanding and knowledge when it came to cyber-safety. As a hotel we work with a local company called Acronyms who support us on all levels of IT, including our Wi-Fi and guests safety. Yet last week, when I sat in on a very interesting chat in the Roma Bar, I realised that although we all use the internet now for work and in our every days, and we all have very different levels of understanding when it comes to our safety.
I was sat with a lady and gentleman who shared similar roles; out on the road having meetings and making sales – but they had very different backgrounds.
My Meeting With Jess & Richard…
Although I was due to finish work for the day and was on my way out, for 30 minutes we spoke at length about the ‘trials and tribulations of a road warrior in 2019’.
Interestingly the gentleman, Richard, had worked his way up from warehouse to road, and Jess straight from University.
They sat sharing a drink (and our Enterprise grade Wi-Fi) whilst both tapping away, their finger tips recording their days events onto their screens.
This is not a new scene here at the New Continental Hotel. We have an amazing collection of sensational business people who share our hotel and facilities each week; but last week what I was struck by was a unity between these two people, despite very different beginnings, thoughts and skill sets.
As they asked me to join them, the conversation started with the Business landscape and obstacles in Plymouth. Then moved on to what I saw the future looking like both socially and economically. This then sharply moved on to a conversation that has intrigued me for some time now – cyber-security when out and about.
Our guests, be they here for leisure or business, are the most important thing to us, and their safety (in all respects) matters greatly. We are all told daily, with startling headlines and victims reports that for many ‘criminals’ – travellers and their online identities are at risk.
“Your online presence is a cookie jar for those who know how to access it” and “Your lack of knowledge is a playpen for the technical criminal”
Although we all know that even for the most seasoned of IT literate beings, just being present and online can provide a rich source of gratification, profit or power to someone who wishes to abuse it.
One Persons Wisdom Shared; Is Another Persons Gain…
Jess had studied at The University of Nottingham and although professed she was no expert, seemed to know a great deal about cyber defences and keeping her and her business safe. Although not her Mastermind specialist subject; listening to her talk and seeing how intent Richard was at listening to what she had to share – I knew others may feel the same.
What was clear from our conversation was that holiday makers and business travellers were at risk just as much, if not more so than those people at home. In part because it was easier for their cyber defences to be on the back burner; off their minds as they head for a ‘jolly holiday’ or because, if they were business travellers, they had reports to write and return and tight deadlines!
Richard asked Jess a great questions:
When you are a business traveller you need to be connected, so how do you stay safe or at least SAFER when you are?
‘Cyber hygiene’ as Jess put it was the first thing she mentioned; not only making sure your software is updated, but also changing your passwords before you travel. Each week she changes her passwords to complex words or phrases that are hard to guess. Jess also said she adds two-factor authentication. As this adds an extra layer of protection from hackers on her travels for work.
What was interesting was that she felt a responsibility not only to her own safety but her employers too. Quite rightly we talked about the responsibility we all have now to keep our companies safe.
We are living in an age where certain information is far more sensitive than money – and we wouldn’t carry around any amount of our companies cash without the correct security practises in place!
Richard didn’t have personal social media accounts. But another key element that came from the conversation was about the use of social media when you are on the road. As a hotel setting with love seeing people check-in and upload their photos, and we know that for many businesses they share posts, check-in and thank customers and new contacts for time and such like. Jess said that although she does do this, she always waits until after her trip to share information through social media, that way she has the control.
Most employees now will have a VPN. This securely allow themselves to access data on a network and upload information, save and store safely. Even if you do have this; Jess also said that it’s always worth disabling your automatic connection to Wi-Fi networks – on all your devices when travelling. This prevents you accidentally joining public Wi-Fi without having a chance to check the network.
Jess said she never uses public Wi-Fi anymore, or any that doesn’t require a password. Turning off your Bluetooth when you aren’t using it also came up. Hackers can connect to a device and quickly download user data through this connection. Like an open window, they can then access personal information and send messages or join infected networks.
All so scary!
Our conversations ended and we said our goodbyes. Yet the conversation left me thinking a few things – and not all about cyber safety!
Times change; things move on and we all adapt – but the constant is that strangers are just friends we haven’t made yet! No matter what our backgrounds or our journeys we all have things we can share. It was far from a one sided conversation. Richard gave Jess and I great advice that only comes with wisdom baked over time.
If you make the time to listen, even just for 30 minutes you can learn so much. And, if you take the time to switch off your Bluetooth you can be a little safer too!
These points will no doubt seem very basic to many. Yet my hope is that if just one person disables their automatic connection to Wi-Fi or turns off their Bluetooth (like Richard did!) it was well worth sharing our Roma Bar chit-chat!
In a week where it feels that we have enjoyed all the seasons (!) we thought we would talk about ALL the seasons too – with an offer for every single one!
Summer In The City…
We are told it’s coming – and we CAN NOT wait! Plymouth is truly spectacular in the Sun. So many cobbles to explore and vistas to enjoy! Beautiful alfresco dining and drinking to hand; chips for your laps whilst you soak in the rays and of course, a glorious boat trip or two is always a must!
This June we have some great last minute deals; you can save 15% on your stay or look out for our Single Day Summer Promotions. These are single nights for two people in either a double or twin room, with Breakfast, scattered throughout June, July and August for just £60!
Plymouth’s Autumn Air…
There is such a bustling atmosphere during Autumn in Plymouth. Whether it’s a weekend city break or a mid-week stay, you’ll be in awe as you explore our beauty. From our iconic architecture, rich culture and unique (and sometimes hidden) charms. You will also love our rich and diverse cultural offer, our high street shopping and lively events.
Our ‘Monday’s Are Not For Moderation’ offer is a fantastic way to feel the Autumn Air on your skin, for just £60 per person you can enjoy DINNER, BED & BREAKFAST – with full access to our leisure complex!
Winter is a great time to enjoy Plymouth…
There is always so much going on in the winter. The Christmas Markets being one of them! There really is something special about a Festive Market; it gets you in the mood for Christmas and is a pass to indulge in all the hearty comfort foods – without guilt!
Cinnamon in the air, carol singers in the background and mulled wine in hand – you can roam around aimlessly and find heavenly home-made gifts and treats with your pathway sparkling with fairy lights.
There is nothing like booking a break in advance. That way you have something to look forward to AND being an early bird will normally save you money.
So, we have heard that Plymouth is lovely at any time of year, but many say Plymouth is at its prettiest in spring. Daffodils and crocuses cover The Hoe – the sea shining and cherry blossom filling the parks. March-April offer some of the very best deals when it comes to accommodation in Plymouth; released the summer before you can always find great value, amazing promotions and heavily discounted rates. So not only can you fill your Spring with beauty – you can save pounds whilst you do!
He’s a silver fox that knows the 80’s…could a Friday evening in Plymouth get much better!
Spandau Ballet star ‘Martin Kemp’ will be in Plymouth and taking to the decks on Friday June 7th!
Spinning all the best of the hits from the 80’s. Presenting one the biggest 80’s nights to hit Plymouth this summer!
Are you ready to party?
This 80s night is selling out across the UK! Dust of those dancing shoes, spread the word far and wide that we’ll be turning the clock back to the 1980s for a very special night at Plymouth Guildhall.
Spandau Ballet sold millions of records worldwide. Martin is a huge TV personality starring in the likes of The Krays & Eastenders alongside his famous role in Spandau Ballet. Martin also starred on the West End in the hit musical ‘Chicago’ whilst still finding time to appear in Channel 4s “Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls”
Book NOW – while you can!
The sun is shining, the sky is blue and there is a smile on everyone’s lips because we have another long weekend ahead of us!
BUT just how important is the sun when it comes to enjoying and exploring Britain’s Ocean City..?
There is no two ways about it. There is something magical that happens in Plymouth when the sun comes out. Alfresco Dining. Socialising with a drink in hand as we catch up with friends. The sea a shining rug of elegance and beauty gently soothing the soul.
When the sun comes out in Plymouth, there is no place better to be.
We are at the point where Winter feels like it’s almost beat us! Our skin looks anaemic and our souls are tiered of the dark mornings and nights and the dreary wetness! Then, a hint of Spring hits the air. Flowers start to bloom in gardens and road sides and our skin feels the breeze for what feels like the first time in a decade!
We barely believe it. We delay the Winter/Summer wardrobe swap in fear it’s just a fluke! It becomes a conversation starter in queues, on buses at the hairdressers … or just about anywhere where anyone will listen!
“Lovely isn’t it”. “I can’t believe how nice it is”. “Do you think it will last”. “Be terrible again when the Kids go back!”…
Endless sound bites that have been generated, stored and whipped out at every opportunity!
What’s more. We desperately want to be outside ALL OF THE TIME! Our gardens look pristine but our kitchens become overgrown with dishes!
But boy does it feel good!
Just like saying ‘sorry’ when someone steps on your toe; we are programmed to blame, or to thank the weather for EVERYTHING!
The roads are busy today: It’s the weather. The restaurants busy today: It’s the weather. You look tired today. It’s the weather. I don’t feel great today. It’s probably the weather..!
As well as put blame on the weathers head, we also use it a gauge as to how good a holiday will be.
When you say where you are going on a vacation, peoples almost first response is usually: “What will the weather be like?”
Now, you have one of three responses to that:
1) The weathers going to be really warm. The response) Oh, you’ll have a GREAT time.
2) Ahh, it’s ok, not great not awful. The response) Never mind, it does you good just to get away sometimes.
3) Raining and cold. The response) Oh no that’s such a shame.
The one thing that we can not argue about is yes, when the sun is shining, Plymouth is truly beautiful…HOWEVER, when the sun isn’t shining – Plymouth is truly beautiful too!
You see, the sun shining is a bonus yes, but it certainly isn’t the be all and end all of a good time in our city by the sea!
Here are some great treats; treats for the grey and cloudy, the damp and drab AND the sunny and bright – because let’s face it, we could have all three of these weather types in any given week – so we better make the most of every second, every element and every memory whilst enjoying ALL that Plymouth has to offer!
When you have a good time in Plymouth, it won’t be the weather you thank; it will be the unique and the startling that has been embedded in our cobbles DNA! When you talk about your holiday to Plymouth – you will have a smile on your face no matter what the weather and the sun will always be shining on the memories you make.
From Watercress Festivals in Hampshire, to Onion Markets in Bern; food festivals seem to be everywhere these days. For foodie enthusiasts like us, we are more than delighted!
However, we don’t just want overpriced bowls of noodles; we want great food AND great experiences too. We want experiences that we can take away to our own kitchens, which will leave lasting legacies and incredible memories.
For us, Flavour Fest here in Plymouth is by far our favourite’s food festival. It’s not only because it is in our favourite city! The content that’s included in the THREE day event is truly spectacular.
The food revolution here in Plymouth has been prevalent for many years. In 1253 the town was granted the right to hold a market; indeed Henry VI himself sealed the deal in 1440 by granting a ‘Royal Charter’ to the then Mayor of Plymouth and Commonality for ‘fairs, feasts & markets’.
Food and feasts have always been in the DNA of Plymouth’s cobbles, with amazing restaurants and sensational stalls, shops and specialities. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for specialist hand-made chocolate or award winning pasties. Mitchelin star meals or sensational dishes. Plymouth has it all…in abundance!
Flavour Fest brings everything together. Like a beautiful bouquet of flowers; individually they shine but together they are breathtaking. That’s what Flavour Fest is, breathtaking. It’s a three day event that celebrates food. It celebrates talent and it enables everyone to take in the aromas and tastes of some of the world’s most incredible offerings and flavours.
Friday 31st May – 2nd June…
Now in its 16th year it is known and respected as the biggest food and drink festival in the South West. It attracts more than 10,000 visitors to Plymouth, visitors who want to sample everything that Britain’s Ocean City and the region has to offer.
The locally baked artisan bread, regional cider, sweet treats and savoury delights – there really is something for everyone!
Britain’s Ocean City Half Marathon | Sunday 19th May 2019, 08.30
Running Sunday’s Plymouth Half Marathon will be a host of individuals, businesses and groups who have put hours and hours into training and preparing. Primary schools who have taught that through dedication and commitment comes great things.
The Plymouth Half Marathon isn’t just about footsteps to the finish line, it’s about taking footsteps in your life that make you stronger, more focused and part of something great.
Many of our amazing staff are not only dedicated to our guests’ experiences, but also to our city; taking part in city events like the Plymouth Half Marathon.
Staff Have Their Say…
Our Wedding Coordinator talks honestly about how she felt before she took part. Here she shares some very heartening advice:
“The pit of my stomach slowly started to churn as I noticed the signs going up around the city, advising people of the road closures for the half marathon. Suddenly, suddenly it all became rather real!
After months of training and fundraising for a charity very close to my heart – race day arrived!
After checking for about the 10th time that my kit was packed, my watch charged and plenty of fluids were on board … off we go to join the thousands of people in exactly the same boat as me!
All I need to remember is that I have done my training. Now I just need to enjoy the next 13.1 miles!!
There are so many expectations from so many different people, each of us with different reasons for doing it, but all of us having exactly the same goal – to cross that finish line.
This is your moment and no one can take it away from you, and when you are climbing up that last hill and its hurting just keep saying; “pain is temporary – but pride is forever.”
As an independent, family owned hotel, we pride ourselves on the support that we give our staff when they are passionate about things, and prepared to work hard for what they love. Be that CPD, returning to work after illness or indeed activities and events such as marathons.
We know that there can sometimes be a negative stigma associated to employees having a ‘busy’ life outside of work. Especially hobbies or passions that involve burnout style training. But we truly believe that if our staff are happy outside of work, or training hard for something they love, it will not negatively impact their ability to do their job, put positively enable them to do it better.
We would like to wish EVERYONE taking part the very best of times. May you enjoy the footsteps that lead you to the finishing line and the pride we are sure you will feel when you finish.
How many times, when we see someone that looks fit, thin or strong, someone who wears their clothes well and who can shop in any high street store do we stop and think WOW! Their life must be perfect..!?
But what is ‘perfect’? What kind of ‘perfection’ is it that we are striving for?
As we are in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, we wanted to highlight that sometimes, just sometimes our outsides don’t always match our insides. And sometimes, just sometimes, we are just sensitive people living in a broken world. A world by where how many likes on our profile picture or how many times we are told we look pretty or handsome or thin today can confuse us because…
…if people say our outsides look ok – why is it we don’t we feel ok on the inside?
Here at Club Continental we care about your inside as much as we do your physical appearance … your ‘outside!
You matter to us. How you feel – that matters to us.
We know that being strong with a six pack on the outside, won’t naturally mean you don’t have days, weeks or perhaps even months that you wont feel ‘weak’ on the inside.
As people we think (wrongly in most cases!) that other people will feel more comfortable, more relieved if we don’t tell them the truth! When they say ‘you look well’ or ask how you are, we say ‘OK’. Sometimes to make them feel better; sometimes because that’s our script – the script we stick to be it true or not!
Each year, thanks to the work that many amazing organisations and individuals do around Mental Health and well-being, we are making progress as a society. Many staff and members within our Club community are talking more openly about issues that affect their mental well-being. It could be stress, addiction, bullying, relationships, health conditions, money worries…and everything else in-between.
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is body image. How we think and feel about our bodies, about our outsides!
It’s a great time for everybody to show their support and take a minute to think about our mental health – but also those we work with, our friends and our families.
As an independent gym, hurtling towards our 30 year Birthday – being older and wiser we have learnt that putting in a little extra time to talk, to chat and to just be still for a moment, is just as important as working up a sweat.
We all know that working out is great for our body and mind; that exercise helps positive changes in our brains; it reduces tension and stress whilst boosting mental energy through endorphins.
But what about ‘Working Up’ a conversation with someone you know who might be strengthened by your chat?
Going to the gym is often about our outsides. But here at Club Continental we want to highlight and support people to improve, grow and see their internal strength too.
Join us #workupaconversation as well as a work-out. Take note of how people may feel on the inside, as well as how they look on the outside.
Thanks for listening, here’s to talking and may we always #workupaconversation!
There has probably never been before a time when there has been so much exceptional pressure placed on couples when they are planning their “perfect day”. Trying hard to be all things to all people, always hearing voices that are louder than your own.
Knowing in your heart, that when you decided on forever, when you found your very own love story, the hashtag you would use on the day was the furthest thing from your mind … or heart!
When something is your choice; when you are doing it for you, understanding why you feel so giddy, lost and low is tangling! You can’t find the end of the rope to sort yourself out; because the colour of the bows, the dietary requirements and where Gran will sit all seem to take over!
That is unless we stop – for just one minute – and own the moment!
We thought today would be the perfect day to talk weddings and mental well-being. It is after all #weddingwednesday during #mentalhealthawarnessweek!
Just like our physical health, we can have ‘good mental health’ days and we can have ‘poor mental health’ days – and neither last forever.
We have to take care of ourselves and be mindful of every moment, especially during times of pressure. Many couples I know say that it took someone to actually remind them of why they were getting married, to allow them to take a breath.
The flippant language used like: ‘bridezilla’ and ‘wedding mad’ really aren’t helpful…
People are not their behaviours; but their behaviours are often the outcome of how they feel in all the places we can’t see. Like their soul, their minds and their hearts.
Our ability to cope with pressure, when we want something to be the very best it can be because we won’t be doing it again, gives a certain kind of weight like not much else.
First there’s the planning pressure; the where and when – who’s family wins! The financial pressure; how do we set a budget – where do we get the budget! The family politics; who’s in the wedding party and who isn’t – the fallout of any decision! The food, the wine, the hashtag, the photographer, the flowers, the first dance…evenings don’t feel long enough for all the thinking and planning there is to be done.
People have a certain kind of expectation that because you have chosen to say ‘I do’; because you have found ’the one’ – everything else is smooth sailing. That it’s’just a day’ and that all that matters is love. So then that makes you feel even more guilty! You ask yourself why are you finding it so hard. Why is all the confrontation and difficult conversations making you feel so emotional? And how come it is so impossible to please everyone?
It’s OK to wobble…
There really isn’t another life event or occasion that has so much judgement and expectation. The unexpected and unprecedented pressure on our minds, on our body and our soul is overwhelming at times.
Self-care means giving yourself permission to pause. To be more than the planner of your wedding day. It’s about understanding that time you enjoy wasting – ISN’T wasted time. It’s odd, during times of stress or when we have pressure on our shoulders, those are the times we seem to drop the things we actually enjoy – to make more time for the things we don’t!
So amidst the planning and the preparing we need to remind ourselves every day; that we in this moment matter.
By giving ourselves this time, this care will give our wellbeing a boost. After all, you are about to start the biggest adventure and chapter of your life; you have to make sure your tank is full to be ready for the ride of your life.
Navigating the motorways is one thing; but how do Road Warriors in the 21st century keep their mind and soul on a healthy path..?
In the lead up to Mental health Awareness Week 2019, we invited two of our most regular business travellers to share with us their tips and tricks. Telling us just how they keep their minds healthy and happy and their souls full of joy.
As an independent hotel, our guests’ and their experiences are always so important to us. Be they guests who are here as part of a tour; on a leisure break to our beautiful city or here for business. How they feel, matters.
We understand that for a business traveller there are many ‘bumps in the road’. They are away from their families a lot; they often miss milestones and celebrations. Family home-cooked meals are a thing of the past and although they may see lots of beautiful cities, they rarely get to experience them.
Brushing over the discomfort of travelling for a living seems to be a common theme for many business travellers. They love their jobs and are passionate about their product, service and customers. Like many people with high pressured jobs, they keep going because they love what they do.
But keeping going without complaint is one thing; but is it the best thing?
By ignoring and not identifying the challenges we are encountering, and how they might affect our health, can mean that we could easily become lost.
Prince Harry is a keen advocate for all things mental health and brings awareness to so many by talking about his experiences very openly. He talks at length about how scary it can feel to broach the subject: “People are scared to talk about it, but they should be scared about not talking about it,” he said at the annual Time To Talk Awareness Day.
Perhaps that has something to do with us skirting around the edges of our challenges. Be they around our jobs, our lives or both! Knowing it’s ok to find things hard – even when we love them – is part of the challenge.
We talk to some very open and honest business travellers about their routines to keep their body, and their mind, healthy. We would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to them, for taking the time and for their honesty.
“It has taken me almost 7 years to find my dream job. I meet new and interesting people all the time and I have a product that I love to share. But I learnt very quickly that I would have to be mindful about certain things.
It sounds silly, but my first challenge was food! I had always been a comfortable size 12, but within just three months I was a tight 16! It’s not that I thought I was fat – but I just wasn’t comfortable in my own skin anymore!
So I started to be better organised, taking healthy snacks rather than relying on petrol station food. I choose hotels that have restaurants and gyms. Now I pre-book a table before I get there; so I don’t get tempted to fly in fast food drive throughs! I have also now re-gained my love of the gym.
I have a lot of alone time, I drive for about three hours most days, so quickly found pod-casts and when I can, I use the time to keep in contact with friends on my hands free.
The best advice came from a mentor of mine; he said if you keep your mind active, you will keep your heart alive. I am now learning Spanish whilst I drive too!”
“A Dad to three lively boys, being away from home at the beginning meant I could get a good nights sleep! After a while though, that wore off as I started to miss nativity plays and parents evenings. Now in their late teens I feel that I am actually better connected to them. In some ways better connected than some of my friends are with their children. Technology offers us countless ways to stay connected, and with great Wi-Fi we can even watch films together, play games and chat face-to-face even when I am miles away.
I don’t think working away is right for everyone, and I know that it took my wife many months to get used to the feeling of being alone. But now we make it work. I love my family and I love my job and I am really aware of what we all need to be happy and connected.”
Like with many hotels, we always want to do what we can to better your experiences. We know that there are days when you feel frazzled and want to just check-in and lie-low; but then we also know that there are days when just having a good old chat – is exactly what the doctor ordered!
Whatever you need; if like Sam it’s a table for dinner and a warm swimming pool and cool gym; or like Paddy and his room with the best Wi-Fi. Just let us know. Let us help you wipe your thoughts from your minds and find a happy place whereby you can give yourself and your family exactly what you all need whilst being on the road.