Tag Archives: social media

The by-product of Fifty Shades of Grey

FiftyshadesSo, Valentines weekend coming up and the much eagerly anticipated and talked about release of Fifty Shades of Grey the movie, have you booked your ticket yet?  Be warned a predicted Baby Boom has been announced.

Sociologists come up with all sorts of excuses for baby booms; recession, wars ending, cold winters, hot summers, national disasters, national successes and now Fifty Shades of Grey. The release of the books created the biggest baby boom in 40 years.  That’s right, 2013 was a bumper year for bumps, with a large proportion born in the February, directly correlating to the Fifty Shades of Grey sales spike in May 2012.fiftyshadesofgrey

The upcoming release of Fifty Shades of Grey has had far reaching effects to say the least.  HR Grapevine reported that B&Q have reportedly put staff on ‘stand by’ for increased demand for certain products. The DIY retailer’s staff briefing goes on to say: “All staff are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the content of Fifty Shades of Grey by reading the novel or watching the film upon its release. Copies of the book will be delivered to each store and can be lent to staff on a one week basis. Understanding the storyline and how some products that B&Q stock feature in the film will better prepare staff for incoming queries.”

So B&Q are forward thinking (though not necessarily appropriate), are you? If this potential baby boom were to happen are you prepared for a potential mass maternity/paternity leave exodus? With the introduction of Shared Parental Leave last year what effect will this have on your business come Autumn? With the government’s new shared parental leave which came in to force on December 1 last year, small businesses need to be aware of the HR implications. While the news may be welcomed by parents, there are a number of complicated elements employers need to consider.

For babies due on or after April 5 2015, mothers can now choose to end their maternity leave early and opt for shared parental leave with their partner. Essentially they will take up to a maximum of 50 weeks (of the total 52 weeks) for maternity (or adoption) leave to be shared between them, either at the same time or not.

HRN EVENT BANNERThroughout the year we host a number of Employment Updates with Eversheds LLP across the UK on subject matters such as Shared Parental Leave, Right to Flexible Working & Holiday Pay Entitlement, follow our company LinkedIn page for updates on events near you.


Popular Discussions for HR Professionals on Linkedin

Ashley Kate Logo LargeOur HR Professionals Group on LinkedIn (one of the fastest growing HR networking groups) is always very active here are a couple of questions which generated a lot of discussion last year.

Thank you to all our members who continue to help make this group a useful tool for HR professionals throughout the UK.



Amanda Underhill - Senior Recruitment Consultant for London

Amanda Underhill – HR Recruitment Manager

Amanda Underhill MIRP When recruiting for a role that is ‘Hot Desk’ only – do you think this restricts the volume of applications received?


Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII Director – Target HR and Training Ltd- Interesting question and when you think about it, it’s down to what people value and the state of the labour market at the time. if there are lots of jobs around then it may be more restricting. Personally it would attract me as it paints a picture of flexibility and empowerment. However, some might see it as less secure. Hot desking makes economic sense and I can’t imagine it putting off many people.

Amanda Underhill MIRP HR Recruitment Manager- London & Kent- I agree Les you would think it would be an attraction and it definitely is more economical We have had a few roles lately that are ‘Hot Desk’ only , but this seems to put them off and have been the hardest roles to fill.

Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII Director – Target HR and Training Ltd- Probably a silly question, but do they really understand what Hot Desking means, or is it that we underestimate the human desire to have office territory !

Amanda Underhill MIRP HR Recruitment Manager- London & Kent- Amazingly yes they do! I thought most people would jump at the chance of working in a collaborative and innovative workspace; it also leads to better engagement. Over heads down, productivity up! A win win situation surely? That fact that it gives people the chance to work from home too I thought would be a huge attraction, but maybe it’s the lack of privacy, or the sharing of workspace , who knows. I just wondered if im missing anything else.

Ruth Hardcastle BSc (Hons) Assoc CIPD. Benefits Specialist – Open to New Opportunities

My experience of hot desking in the office did not work particularly well…the team members who had been there longest were reluctant to hot desk (working from home was not encouraged). The idea sounds good in theory but in practice it doesn’t always work. Humans are naturally territorial and in terms of their environment like to know where they are sitting when they come into work. It can be divisive in teams unfortunately.

Anya Leadbetter Interim Human Resources and Organisational Design Manager at Golden Gates Housing Trust

It doesn’t make the candidate or the new starter feel very welcome I must say. It could perhaps be sold as home working for most of the time which may attract a different kind of candidate perhaps? I can’t see it working if there is no opportunity to work from home – surely the point is to ensure the best use of resources and not have huge office spaces empty in city centres?

Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII Director – Target HR and Training Ltd- I agree that it needs to be part of a flexible working arrangement, particularly for roles where people are on the road a lot and can choose to work from home. It’s simply a place to plug into the internet between meetings in the office. I can see it being unattractive if you have to be in the office every day and play musical chairs for the window seat :)

Dr. Mohammed P Aslam MCIPD HRM & Employee Relations- I agree with Ruth. Hot Desking is always a problem for most people. It can be sold for short periods but over the longer periods people become restless and don’t feel as though they are a valued member of the team. It can work but my experience shows it works badly. Homeworking is an excellent alternative but that has its own challenges of motivation and team spirit but with the right kind of infrastructure it works very well.

We are all HR Directors now.  Paul Robertson-Marriott MBA, Chartered FCIPD Director and Founder at Semini GlobalTop Contributor Asks…..

directorWhy is there this proliferation of this title? When you look at the JD it is clear that the role is not really HRD level. Is this employers over inflating the status of a role to attract a wider range of candidates or cost saving by having the HRD do the work of the HRM as well? If I am correct what are the consequences for HR careers?

Laurel Hewitt Human Resources Manager at the sargeant-partnership- It should and could also be considered that the role is to cover all specifically in small businesses who do not have enough employees to warrant having more than one person responsible for the HR function. Also anyone who has a knowledge of the function will only be inflating their own importance and realistically when looking for a job role change will not have the right qualifications. The employer is not always the one at fault when naming job roles.

Andy Bailey Strategic HR Business Partner at Herefordshire Council- it’s probably the same reason that people who found their own companies trade on the title of director as well – it’s about status and equivalence in a world full of sales directors, customer service directors, finance directors ……… need I go on.

Jeremy Mansell HR Director at Orona UK- The trend has probably grown from the need to differentiate the seniority of the role from the apparently omnipresent, often meaningless and always confusing title ‘business partner’ which can mean anything between little more than a glorified HR clerk in some organisations right up to head of function in others. Lets get back to calling a spade a spade and giving jobs titles which really reflect the role’s content and status.

Janet Ogundele International commercially focused HR Director. Media, Retail, Financial Services & Brand Marketing-  The job title should accurately reflect the nature and essence of the role to effectively attract the right level of candidate and not to waste the time of the recruiter who then has to sift through inappropriate applications. Marketing techniques such as beefing up a job title, seems to blur clear communication and this has a cost in terms of attracting the right level of interest. I agree with all the other comments made so far in this interesting discussion.

Laurel Hewitt Human Resources Manager at the sargeant-partnership- I agree with your comments Janet, however, it should also be considered that the person applying for such positions is also being led astray and having their time wasted also.

Janet Ogundele International commercially focused HR Director. Media, Retail, Financial Services & Brand Marketing- Hello Laurel, yes I fully agree with you.

RoseMarie Loft HR Director at The National Gallery- For every job that has an ‘upgrade’ through its title, there is probably an equivalent that has been ‘downgraded’ in the hope that the organisation will pick up the right skills that it needs for a lesser cost. The executive team has a novel idea: “I say, why don’t we save money by removing the Director of HR post and put in a Head of HR, reporting to Finance. But the person can do the same job, we just don’t need to pay them as much!” And of course, through our major cultural change programme, the new Head of HR isn’t going to be hampered by reporting to an accountant at all! Then comes the cycle in two years time when the organisation decides that HR isn’t being ‘strategic’ enough, but we can’t possibly reintroduce the old job title because that would make us look like we made a mistake. “I know!,” says someone in the corner, “Let’s put the word ‘strategic’ in front!”, a particular favourite of local government, or call it ‘organisational development’ instead (favoured by the health sector). “That will make all the difference!” (Like any organisation wants to put someone in place in a senior position that isn’t ‘strategic’?) HR has, unfortunately, been the victim of far too many restructures on restructures on shared servicing on reverse TUPEs where management teams have made very uninformed decisions about want they want from HR without considering what they need. Nor is consideration given to the fact that you can’t point to HR in the corner and say ‘you change’ without realising that in changing the way people are managed means that the biggest revolution in behaviour has to come from the service receiver. By all means, change the job titles, reporting lines and job descriptions, but do your culture, policies and procedures support this? Is there even a need to create parity with other ‘directors’ (I actually support this, as to do otherwise devalues people management)? So whilst I agree that there are proliferations of job titles that don’t really mean a lot, I believe a lot of this has to do with organisations not knowing or understanding what their HR needs are.

Thank you to all the contributors to our HR Professionals LinkedIn Group, we are looking forward to even more interesting debates in 2015.

If you enjoy networking and want to connect with other HR professionals – you can join the Ashley Kate HR LinkedIn Groups- HR Professionals Network  and HR Directors Boardroom. The former cited as one of the fastest growing HR specific groups.

If you are interested in contributing an article to HRHQ please email : Joanne.wilson@ashleykatehr.com for further information.




Twitter for Recruiters

Paula Shaw

Paula Shaw – HR Business Manager for the North

A recent article in HR Grapevine advised that there had been significant growth in the use of Twitter within the recruitment industry.

So why is this?

My personal opinion is that the pace of Twitter suits the pace of the recruitment industry. Twitter is a very fast paced Social Media messaging service. It is instant and you can get your message out to thousands of people at a one time, which is ideal for recruiters!

I won’t lie to you, it took me some time to get to grips with Twitter as a tool for recruiting after having the safety of a traditional mind set like LinkedIn. There is an etiquette to LinkedIn, parameters with which to work around.  Twitter… well there appeared to be none.

twitterlinkEmbracing Twitter and actively using it has allowed me to grow a much larger, much more interactive and therefore a more engaging network with whom I feel I can create a better relationship with outside the highly formal boundaries of LinkedIn.

The Social Media team at Ashley Kate HR have been fully supportive and empowered us in the use of Twitter, our business ethics are Personal, Professional & Honest and this is how we conduct ourselves across all SM sites

I agree with the article and the findings that Facebook is not the place for recruiters. I indeed have a Facebook account, but this is my personal social media tool for keeping up to date with friends & family and this is completely separate from my professional work life.

The pace of Twitter allows recruiters to reach candidates instantly as soon as a vacancy comes in and allows them the privacy to contact us in a way which feels right for them. If you are new to twitter or would like guidance on how to build your personal brand on Twitter or across the other Social Media platforms, please contact me on 0114 2218000 or email me paula.shaw@ashleykatehr.com.  In the meantime follow Ashley Kate HR and me on Twitter to keep up to date about events, HR roles, employment law updates and much much more.

Ashley Kate HR are always on the ‘look out’ for the best talented, ambitious and enthusiastic individuals to join our team. We have an established, committed, loyal team and we are a renowned HR recruitment consultancy specialising in recruiting HR professionals for temporary, contract and permanent interim roles, working across all industries and every HR discipline. Founded in 2001, we’re now a market leader in one of the fastest-growing recruitment sectors in the UK and overseas. Read our blog on How to Join Ashley Kate HR



Master Cutlers Challenge 2014 – the results are in …

It’s Friday night, it’s raining and there’s standing room only in the lambing barn at Whirlow Hall Farm. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Easter has come early but hay bails and cattle grids aside, we are here to celebrate the arrival of the new Master Cutlers Charity Fundraising Champions. The Master Cutlers Challenge task was to raise as much money as possible from £100 donated by the Master Cutler.

The result – a massive £101,612.41 raised by participating companies and organisations from across Sheffield!

Seats fit for a fundraiser.

Seats fit for a fundraiser.

The Ashley Kate HR north team got an early mention for the £1283.09 raised through our ‘Tour De North’, ‘Come Dine with Me’ Challenge and ‘Charity Summer Fete’. Aside from the host saving his best cow jokes for the tables full of fundraisers, the brass band accompanied every winners’ announcement with a tribute fitting for the fantastic efforts of all that have been involved in this years event.

On arrival, the final challenge of this years event seemed to be getting from the dark, misty fields into the food court. Following our noses we soon forgot about the mud up our ankles as the smell of locally sourced roast pork and apple sandwiches filled the air.

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served! Time to tuck in.

It’s a well known mis-conception that charity starts at home but the hosts did their best to welcome us by trading our tickets for a complimentary drink. Do the sheep have tabs?

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be spending my Friday night on a farm with a company who decided to spend £100 on a one way ticket to Spain and hitch hike back. Nor did I expect the Ashley Kate HR team to come second only to an army of Monkey Sock Puppets in the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Award category!


Listening to the variety of inventive ways that this years teams had devised to raise funds for charity gave the ultimate message. However random and diverse the challenge may be, we were all in this together going that extra mile for a great cause. Cake bakers, Car washers and Calendar models all replaced Cows, Pigs and Horses as the winners of each category were revealed.

Cheryl Ridge, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust, and the Ashley Kate HR team.

Cheryl Ridge, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust, and the Ashley Kate HR team.

Our business park neighbours, Gripple scooped the Master Cutlers award, raising a staggering £5687. Well done Gripple. First and Second place was won by AES SEAL and DLA Piper who raised over £7000 and were toasted by applause echoing around the hay and into the fields.

Security was in place to hold the cattle back.

Security was in place to hold the cattle back.

After each winner was presented on stage with a silver plated plaque made by apprentices at the event sponsors’ Forgemasters, it was time for the barn dance. Time to dance on the tables and chew on straw, right? Or maybe a sophisticated boogie to work off the mountains of food to the sound of local band The English Gentleman.

A fitting end to a fabulous years fundraising. Its just a shame that the City Taxi’s team didn’t stay around for us to steal a lift home! One way tickets to Spain it is then … ?


Written by James Beighton, Ashley Kate HR







Tour De North Finish Line!


Thank you to all our clients and candidates for your support.

We made it! The Ashley Kate HR Tour De North has reached its conclusion.

A fiercely pedalled 400th mile was cycled by our Northern office, our candidates and clients and the Ashley Kate HR team and we have now crossed the finish line.

Our Grand Tour of Yorkshire and the North West has seen us cycle to and from the key towns within the region as part of our fundraising activity for our charity partners Whirlow Hall Farm Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.  

A big thank you to everyone who has donated so far. Our fundraising currently stands at antourdenorthfinalgraphic1 amazing £1283.09p and our page is still open for donations to these two fantastic charities. Donate Now

Whirlow Hall Farm Trust provides a vital learning experience to disadvantaged and inner city children and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals provide funding for specialist medical services such as the Jessops Neonatal Wing, family and patient support and ground breaking research for diseases like cystic fibrosis.

The Tour has seen generous donations from across the region and even took us to the finish line of the Sheffield leg of the Tour De France as we pedalled towards the 400 mile mark.

Watch our last mile!


teambikepaula on bikegemmabikejorjabike

This is your last chance to donate and help us raise money.  All donations are kindly appreciated.  Look back at the highlights of the Ashley Kate HR Tour De North through our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AKTourDeNorth or follow us on twitter  #AKHRTourDeNorth



Meet Helen Oliver ‘Run Helen Run’

HelenOliverAshley Kate HR have so far managed to raise over £850 for their chosen charities through raffles and our big Enjoy the Silence initiative which saw our South vs Midlands team competing for who could stay silent for the whole day.  Our next fundraising initiative is fast approaching and is being undertaken by Helen Oliver to raise funds for The White Chapel Mission on behalf of the South team.

WhitechapelpngWhitechapel Mission have been helping the homeless since 1876, meeting the specific needs of each man and woman who walks through their doors. They are a volunteer led workforce with very few staff, but this doesn’t mean they are a small organisation.  First, they help the homeless by meeting immediate needs: food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Secondly in their recovery programs, Whitechapel Mission volunteers help address deeper needs for life-skills and job skills training, and addiction recovery.

They measure progress against four criteria’s, which indicate that a life has been transformed from homelessness to hope: connection to family, commitment to sobriety, a job, a place to live, and a plan for the future. The Whitechapel Mission are called to  serve the men and women caught in the cycles of poverty, hopelessness and dependencies of many kinds, and to see their lives transformed to hope, joy and lasting productivity.

runningshoesOn 28th September, our very own Helen Oliver will be running the Ikano Robin Hood Half Marathon in aid of Whitechapel Mission. Helen has been in training for this Marathon since March!

Please donate generously to this fantastic, life changing charity.

Over the next couple of months, Emma Dobson HR Recruitment Consultant for the Midlands will be taking part in a pink collar boxing match in aid of Base 51, another great charity based in Nottingham, look out for more details.

You can DONATE direct on to our Just Giving page.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never share them with anyone or send you unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. They’ll make sure Gift Aid (an additional 25%) is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer, too. That means more money goes to the charity, faster, with JustGiving.

To follow our progress like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter 

Ashley Kate HR are the HR Recruiter of Choice and at the heart of how we operate is our commitment to developing and fostering relationships with the wider community in which we operate. Through our varied community programmes, volunteer days and fundraising activities every year we are supporting our communities in a number of areas:  Learning, Environment and Health and Well Being.

We are passionate about supporting these charities and over the year we are holding dedicated ‘fun’ days to raise funds specifically for these charities, but we are also keen to hear from you, our HR connections! We are asking YOU to make a difference to these people’s lives by supporting them as well and the great work they do.

Thank you in advance for your valued support.




Why not follow us on LinkedIn? Our company page is full of up to date hints and tips on HR related matters.


Fantastic Results for Ashley Kate HR

mastercutlers2Some fantastic results for the Ashley Kate HR North team who hosted a Charity Summer Fete this week in aid of their Master Cutlers Challenge, fundraising for Sheffield Hospitals Charity and Whirlow Hall Farm Trust.

Well into the small hours of Monday morning the team were busy baking scones and cakes to sell on their stall.

The morning consisted of a classy tombola, a hoola hoop challenge, with the winning time a whopping 12minutes and 36 second!  cream teas and cupcakes for all and some additional miles being clocked up on Tour De North bike

mastercutlers1In total the team managed to raise £220.55! this takes the running total so far to £1061.00.

The raffle for the ghds, Adidas Football Boots and Haribo Hamper was drawn on the premises of local business Newey & Eyre by Shaun Blackman of Rexel.   Some very happy winners. watch the YouTube video here.

Thanks for all the support so far, please continue to support them on the final leg of their Tour De North you can donate on their Virgin Money Giving page.



Tour de North comes to a city near you

Team on bikeWe are looking for HR teams from across the north to support our Tour De North Charity Master Cutlers Challenge. Can your team donate just £1 for 1 mile? and an Ashley Kate HR team member will ride a mile and send you  photographic evidence to prove we have done it.

About our challenge: The challenge is on for the Ashley Kate HR north team to complete 400 miles on our (virtual) bike ride across Yorkshire and the North West. We have a further 100 miles to pedal and we would like to complete this with your help before the end of August.

At the heart of Ashley Kate HR is our commitment to developing and fostering relationships with the wider community in which we operate. Ashley Kate HR are a specialist HR recruitment consultancy and are proud to be part of the amazing Master Cutlers Challenge 2014, fundraising for Sheffield Hospitals Charity and Whirlow Hall Farm Trust. Follow our every mile as we pedal.TOUR DE NORTH 7

Our adventure started on February the 20th 2014 and we have so far cycled a total of 300 miles.  After many hours and lots of sore legs we have now reached the final leg of our tour.  Can you help us?

If you can get your HR team to support us DONATE HERE and we will give you a mention across all our Social Media platforms.

Read about our journey so far and the cities we’ve visited,  Follow our progress so far.

If you or a member of your HR team would like to ride a mile for us please complete the form below.

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Tour De France meets the Tour De North

 tourdefranceIf you haven’t heard already where have you been?  The Ashley Kate HR Tour De North is well under way, with over 240 miles covered and £566.49 raised so far!

The next stage of our journey quite literally meets the Official Tour De France Grand Depart at the finish line of Stage Two (Altercliffe Common, Sheffield) on Sunday 6th July.

Intourdenorthdepart February the North Team at Ashley Kate HR took on the Master Cutlers Challenge and started their Tour De North with 400 miles to cover in under 130 Days.  During the last few months the team have ‘virtually’ toured the Yorkshire Moors, cycled over the Humber Bridge, and welcomed clients and candidates into the office to help complete a mile or two!

Now it’s your turn! Help the team complete the ‘MILES FOR CHARITY’ bike ride.  The Ashley Kate HR team will be taking their bike down to the finishing line of the Tour De France Stage 2 on Sunday 6th July hoping to notch up a few extra miles, can you help? This charity bike ride is to help fundraise for Master Cutlers Challenge 2014, raising vital funds for their charity partners Sheffield Hospitals Charity and Whirlow Hall Farm Trust.

The Tour De North team will be at the finish line from 1:00pm on Sunday, why not pop on your cycling shorts head to the finish line and cheer them on or help them teambikeout with a couple of miles!

To follow the progress so far, visit the official ‘Tour De North’ Facebook Page.

At the heart of Ashley Kate HR is a commitment to developing and fostering relationships with the wider community in which they operate.  Ashley Kate HR are a specialist HR recruitment consultancy and are proud to be part of the amazing Master Cutlers Challenge 2014. To make a donation please visit The Virgin Money Giving Page.

Watch the official Tour De North Video Tour De North


Come Dine With Ashley Kate HR does a Brazilian


Would Jo’s laid back style finally crack? Was the challenge of putting on a three course meal for the whole team push him to breaking point?  Intrigued…lets find out?

We were all really looking forward to the next ‘Come Dine with Ashley Kate HR’ in aid of Master Cutlers Challenge.  Next up was the mighty Jo Pearson, what would his night be like?  Jo had given very little away and we were all secretly wondering right up until the morning of the event if Jo had actually remembered it was his ‘Come Dine With Me’ night?

It was the night of the opening ceremony of the 2014 Football World Cup and Jo aptly chose Brazil as his theme, good thinking Jo!brazil flag

We entered the house to a serenade of Samba music and that traditional Brazilian delicacy, Crisps and Brazilian M&M’s!  On reflection, it’s a good job our host chose the music after discovering that his guests’ early musical tastes included tapes of Jason Donovan, Culture Club and 90’s pop ‘sensations’ Ace of Base.

Jo Pearson - HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

Jo Pearson – HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

Warmly greeted at the door by a calm, cool and collected Jo (we didn’t expect anything else!)  sporting a full brazilian theme of flags and bunting Jo offered us a nice glass of Caipirinha the evening was in full flow.

The team mooched in the front room whilst Jo was busy in the kitchen. It hadn’t gone unnoticed that there was a serious lack of cooking aromas floating around the house!   Oh no had Jo forgot to cook a meal?

When asked about this later Jo said ‘Well, what can I say? I’m not quite sure where this myth of being laid back comes from.  If that’s how it seems on the outside, excellent, because inside I was about as a calm as an angry wasp trying to escape through a closed window!  About 2 minutes before the arrival of my guests I was running around the house in a sweat trying to mash and sieve oranges and limes whilst simultaneously ‘nearly’ burning 2 pans of onions and garlic, chopping avocadoes, hanging bunting and sticking Brazilian flags to the wall. Calm?  I was anything but.  The previous evening I was still baking cheesecake at 1am in the morning!’

The Ashley Kate HR team  are now seasoned ‘Come Dine with Me’ dinner party guests and the bar had already been set  high by, Hilary, Gemma, Paula and James could Jo live up to this or would he be given a Red Card?

Attending a dinner party should provide answers and not questions.  That’s before Jo Pearson’s culinary feast made its way to the table last Thursday night. Faced with a menu none of us could pronounce, we were completely in Jo’s hands which true to form just like his night, was full of surprises.

starterFirst course – didn’t disappoint – Avocado and Prawns with Chimichurri…. Well done Jo, he had clearly been paying attention to the comings and goings in the Sheffield office, as he played right up to his audience with this starter. (Paula had given most of the team a master class in the art of preparing an avocado in the office a couple of weeks earlier and they always feature heavily on Gemma, Paula and Hilary’s daily “snack plate”.)

We guessed that chimichurri was some type of spicy minced meat, therefore we really were not looking forward to the potential surf ‘n’ turf combo on offer!  All that can be said is we were all very pleasantly surprised with the amazing herby salsa that sat on top of the juicy king prawns.  the plates were all clean and formal requests for the recipe on how to make the chimichurri has been submitted!

Good start Jo.

Jo Pearson - HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

Jo Pearson – HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

(Jo’s comments at this point)The starter seemed to go down quite well though I was already starting to feel sorry for James who, I had neglected to remember, wasn’t a big fan of prawns or fish!  My next course? Fish and prawn stew of course! Woopsie’

Mains – When we read the menu for the main course I was well and truly stumped as we had no idea what ‘Moqueca de Peixes e Camaroes, Feijao Tropeiro’ was going to involve!. We’d be lying though if we didn’t admit relief to read it would be served with rice and salad.

foodpictureWe were served two main courses the first  all that can be said is ‘delicioso’   The only way to describe this dish is as a super tasty fish stew, with prawns, river cobbler sporting a gentle kick.   The combination with the white rice soaking up the sauce was ‘perfeito’ .

The second choice main tasted nothing like it looked (Jo said what we were all thinking .. that it looked like a pile of mud!)  It consisted of Black beans, semolina, chorizo, and I’m sure lots more. Jo told us it was more of a Brazilian breakfast dish, even so we were all diving in for seconds regardless of the time of day.

Jo Pearson - HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

Jo Pearson – HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

‘I’d like to point out here my Feijao Topeiro (bowl of mud) should have been dressed with chopped flat leave parsley, unfortunately I’d used it all in my practice run of the menu on the Sunday before.  The the Moqueca de Peixes e Camaroes (fish stew) was in hindsight a bit of a risk.  Had I cooked it properly? What if I made everyone sick?!  

After I remembered James didn’t like fish I did buy some chicken to make a chicken version too but it all started to get a bit to complicated and I started to flap! (out of sight in the kitchen so no one could see!) 

Luckily it seemed to go down ok with everyone. Everyone said they enjoyed it, I didn’t find any scraped discreetly under the table or into a plant pot after everyone had left.  More importantly, everyone turned up to work the next day!’

Puds – We do love our puds in the north … we have more ‘sweet tooths’ in this office than an escargatoire (that’s a bunch of snails who each have between 15000 and 50000 teeth) snails  Mary Berry would be proud  as we have had some great deserts so far in the completion and Jo would be hard pushed to impress our culinary lips. We had already defined from Gemma Thomason’s night that there is nothing worse than a soggy bottomed cheesecake!!Gemma Thomason

Jo didn’t disappoint and there were a few side ways glances wondering if this Lime and Coconut Cheesecake creation had been speedily shop bought as it looked incredibly professional and tasted amazingly delicious.  The flavours worked well, it had a perfect shiny top and wonderful a  crunchy but firm bottom….. Cheesecake perfection!  Jo admitted that he had made two (just in case it all went wrong) we were all delighted to have another piece to take home for our other halves!dessert4

The competition  has been so tight, this desert could be the deciding factor for the winning menu, Jo really put himself in contention with his Cheesecake which just randomly was green and yellow in keeping with the Brazil theme.  (He said he didn’t realise this but we think he was just playing it cool!)

We always find out a thing or two new about our fellow team mates (even though we have worked with each other for years) and this night didn’t disappoint:

In our Brazil quiz who would’ve thought that the national language of Brazil was anything other than Brazilian and that Hilario Scanaloni was a major player in Brazilian Politics?

Jo Pearson - HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

Jo Pearson – HR Recruitment Consultant for the North West

(Jo’s final comments) ‘After all the frantic panicking the night was a success, no one was sick, there were a lot of laughs and it was an enjoyable experience (yet quite stressful!). Luckily no one seemed to notice I’d neglected to organise any after dinner entertainment, or if they did, they were polite enough not to mention!  Thanks for coming guys!’

More hidden talents emerged and a stark revelation was heard that one of the guests bluepeterwas an award winning garden designer, albeit a Blue Peter Badge Festival garden award! With this comes an eternal pass to freedom and no excuse for boring weekends as little did we know, this can actually gain half price entry to some of Britain’s top attractions, even in the year 2014! No prizes for guessing who will be frantically picking the stitching out of their badge decorated swimming costume this evening.

With full stomachs and tantalized taste buds we left Jo’s house with an authentic Sheffield twist on South American cuisine.  However, one thing that will always remain a mystery is what could’ve been If the chef’s Morrocan Lamb cutlets had made it onto the dinner table instead!

Jo you well and truly put on a ‘winning performance’


jorjaThis year, Ashley Kate HR’s North Team have been testing their culinary skills to the limit in our “Come Dine with Ashley Kate” competition.  Taking it in turns to host a memorable evening of cuisine and entertainment for their fellow team mates, the Northern Team are raising money for our charity partners Whirlow Hall Farm Trust and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Charity  working in partnership with the Master Cutlers Challenge 2014  by donating the price of their meal at each event.  Menus are  critiqued and the scores of the evenings kept Top Secret until our final evening in September this year.

To catch up on our previous ‘Come Dine with Ashley Kate HR’ evenings and follow our progress  why not like our Facebook Page.