Loving work, loving life and loving our customers

Meades Group organises team building events every quarter. It encourages each team member to participate in the events, ensuring rapport between colleagues is established and maintained both inside and outside of the office.

The main objective of the events is to improve staff morale and motivation. We believe by removing employees from the office environment enables each team member to lower their ‘personal barriers’; interact with those they may not have the chance to do so whilst in the office ; learn something new about themselves others and ultimately to have fun.

The events are funded by managing director, Paul Meades subject to quarterly targets being met! And everyone at Meades Group will certainly agree that they provide a great incentive to ensure goals are met.

Simply select the links below to see what the company gets up to at the events or, alternatively, check out our Facebook page.

Mercedes Benz World Christmas Event

Christmas EventIf there was ever a good foundation for a venue recommendation, it is when you book the same place more than once. So, this year we decided to go for our second lap of the famous Mercedes- Benz World Christmas event, and we were not disappointed.

We arrived at the Brookland Hotel, over the road (another repeat booking) and made our way to the big marquee, standing tall from the middle of the race track. We were greeted with sumptuous canapés and spectacular acrobats swinging from the roof in glitter-covered outfits and sparkles. The meal that followed was equally delightful and the evening was rounded up with a silent disco… a new experience for us all.

At the end of another wonderful Meades Group event, we made our way back to the luxurious Brookland Hotel and met up again for breakfast.

The Thrills And Kills Of A Roller Coaster Mystery

Roller Coaster MysteryIt was Meades Group’s big day out time again in June, and what an adventure it turned out to be. The plan was to set off for Alton Towers, on Friday, go and indulge in the thrills and spills of the roller coasters for the day and then enjoy a peaceful meal together in the evening. But it turned out to be much more fun than that…

Of the intrepid seven who set out for the event, five went straight to the theme park, ready for a day of adrenaline and action; while Debbie and Jo slipped off to the hotel for a more subdued spa experience. I wonder which option you would have chosen?

Back at Alton Towers, the team decided this was not a day for small delights. They were going big – and the agenda consisted of roller coaster after roller coaster after roller coaster. Nothing was going to stop the fun, and they even invested in Fastrack passes to avoid the all the queues. The day’s conquests included Nemesis, The Runaway Mine Train, Oblivion, Wicker Man, Th13teen, Air
and more… When it came to the infamous Smiler, however, another two of the five adventurers were reduced to spectators – as Beccy and Louise declined to face its wicked grin.

Roller Coaster Mystery

But the fearless three (Kathrine, George and Paul) pushed doubts to one side and smiled their way through to the breathless, happy end.

Back at the hotel, stories of thrills and scented face packs were shared and compared, while everyone got ready for the evening’s entertainment.

Although the dates had been booked months in advance (by the Meades Group event planning team) the evening in the hotel just happened to coincide with a Murder Mystery Night. The theme was Mama Mia on a Greek Island, and everyone had a great time applying attention-to-detail accountant logic to help solve the crime.

Another Momentous Christmas Party (This Time Without The Boss)

Another Momentous Christmas PartyThe excitement had been building for months, the Christmas buzz around the office was almost tangible, and finally the big day arrived: the famous Meades Christmas party had begun…

We all left the office at midday on Friday 8th December and set off for the Hotel Pestana at Chelsea Bridge. Once there, we booked into our rooms then explored a selection of drinks and cocktails in the bar, as a warm up to the main event. I say “we all” but there was one noticeable absentee. Paul (Mr Meades himself) had been suffering from flu (no man-flu jokes here – this was the real deal) and we still weren’t sure at this point if he would make it.

At 4 p.m. those who needed maximum “getting ready” time made their way to their rooms to start donning their finery. Meanwhile those with simpler preparation procedures stayed in the bar for another hour. Eventually, however, the whole team (minus Paul) met back in the bar and jumped into taxis to make the trip across to the venue for the rest of the evening – Battersea Evolution.

A magical après-ski Christmas

The theme this year was a stunning Alpine wonderland après-ski party. As we walked in the scene was amazing and almost Disneyland magical. The snow was falling, there were towering snow-laden firs and log cabins, people were gathered around log fires, lounging on fur-lined seats as staff passed around glasses of frosted fizz and delicious canapés. Bars were aplenty and jugglers and other entertainment helped create a fabulous atmosphere.

After working so hard to make our customers’ lives and businesses more efficient, more profitable and easier to manage all year round it was nice to see the team having such a great time. Sadly, Paul never did make it that evening, but we appreciated the fact that he had laid on such a great event for the rest of us. To make up for it we sent him pictures of us all lying around on his bed in the luxury suite that he had booked for himself – we thought he might like that.

In the end, rather than waste his pre-paid-for luxury suite, we all agreed that Catherine should have it – since it was her birthday. Consequently, when everyone met for a lovely English breakfast at the Pestana the next morning, Catherine was the only one who had decided to sleep in.

Team Activity When Accountants Become Spies!

Accountants Become SpiesAs regular readers will know, we are not an ordinary firm of accountants. So the time has come for us to reveal our true, undercover double lives: During the day we ensure that our customers pay less tax and get first class business advice, but all the while we are secretly training to be spies.

It all started one sunny Friday afternoon in July, when the whole team gathered at the Bedford Arms in Hertfordshire to begin our Enigma Team Building recruitment programme. During the afternoon, the activities ranged from code breaking and bomb disposal to axe throwing, and building, then firing, a homemade watercannon. Tensions were high and the stakes even higher as the two teams competed for valuable Spy Dollars and recognition from the welltrained Enigma professionals. Some even went from spying to full-on espionage by trying to squeeze extra Spy Dollars for telling jokes and making our instructors laugh. You wouldn’t find 007 doing anything that corny…

With the winning team (Jo, Natalie, Louise, George, Olivia and Beccy) still celebrating their victory, everyone sat down to a fabulous meal (worthy of any Casino Royale) in the famous Bedford Arms oak-panelled restaurant. The afternoon and the evening was a real success and another great team-building activity for Meades & Co (and while the rest of the team are happy to leave it there, Paul is secretly hoping that Daniel Craig will soon hang up his holster so he can fill the vacancy).

We Had A Carnival Of A Time At Christmas

We Had A Carnival Of A Time At ChristmasIf there is one thing no one can ever say about Meades & Co, it is that we inany way resemble a firm of stuffy old accountants. In fact, we have made it a company mission to smash that stereotypical image to pieces at every opportunity. Not only do we provide services that ordinary accountants can’t, and make sure that customer care remains our number one priority, we also love to party …

This is more than just a chance to get dressed up, enjoy a few drinks and a dance, or get out of the office: it is part of the reason we work so well as a team. Teambuilding and teamwork are essential elements of any successful business.

So, on Friday 16th December we all set off into London, heading for the Pestana Hotel at Chelsea Bridge. After checking in midafternoon and taking a few hours out to relax and make ourselves look fabulous, we travelled the short distance to the Battersea Evolution venue in Battersea Park. And what a venue it was!

Meades does Mardi Gras …

Famous for being the most versatile venue in London, we felt like we’d been transported to exotic lands even before we entered the door. The ‘carnival’ theme was electric, and anticipation filled the bar as we waited for the call to our tables. Wild dancers and samba rhythms circled all around, and then the countdown began … Not quite sure what was going to happen next, we were amazed as huge sections of the walls drew back to reveal a galactic-sized dining hall. There must have been one hundred and fifty tables sparkling invitingly in front of us, and the carnival atmosphere abounded all the more.

Confetti streamed from above as we entered the room and made our way towards our table and, as we settled down for dinner, more dancers and giant skeleton puppets mingled among the guests. It was a truly fabulous evening, with sumptuous food, exotic music and a magical festival atmosphere. By the end of the evening we had all enjoyed a dance and had a great time celebrating the team spirit which made Meades such a great place to work last year.

The World’s Biggest Coffee Morning!

The World’s Biggest Coffee MorningOn Friday 30th September, Meades & Co were part of MacMillan Cancer Support’s ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.’ It was an idea put forward by the team’s newest member, Natasha Fields (Client Manager), and embraced by everyone. The idea was to raise awareness and add a little bit to the pot to support the amazing work done by the Trust.

Sadly, Natasha lost her Mum to cancer five years ago, so it is a cause close to her heart: and everyone else involved also had a story to share of a loved one similarly afflicted.

The sweet taste of success

In just one hour, filled with fun, games, chat, and cake, the team managed to raise £74.15 amongst themselves. The activities included a ‘guess how many spots on the cake’ competition won by Beccy, the Big Cake-Off, won by Jo and lots of cake testing.

It was sweet to see how willing everyone was to put their waistlines to the test so selflessly by over-indulging in sugar-coated bliss. A heroic effort which deserves to be applauded (and repeated next year)!

Meades Ladies Got Pretty Muddy For Charity

Meades Ladies Got Pretty Muddy For Charity

As advertised in the last issue of the Meades Business Builder Forum, four of the girls ran the Dunstable Pretty Muddy 5k back in May. In total, they raised a dirty great £655 for Cancer Research UK and enjoyed (I think) being able to get covered in mud for a great cause. The Meades Ladies team were Catherine Chant, Jessica Lester, Stephanie Fuller and Rebecca McClymont and they all completed the full course (despite slowing down for a breather and a natter between obstacles).

Before the race started, their general intention was simply to try not to get too much mud on their shoes. But, not really having anticipated what was involved, they soon realised that was simply not going to happen! I’m told on good authority that it was Catherine who threw the first muddy missile, setting off a mud-war, before the race even began. And the rest is a pretty filthy story. The next 5k saw them climbing over barriers, crawling through muddy puddles under army-style netting, scurrying like sewer rats through tunnels, and descending a slimy bouncy castle slide to finish off the race.

The day ended with a well-earned, eagerly desired pizza; so much so that the girls didn’t even wait to get washed up and changed before devouring it.

Among all those who made donations, special thanks goes to Vince and Helen from Spectrum Recycling, Steve from Steve Highland Construction and Charles Henry of Chalrey Limited: And the biggest donation, by far, came from Paul Barnes of Barnes Fencing (massive thanks, Paul).

Mercedes Benz World

Mercedes Benz World

Xmas 2013 may well be a distant memory, however, we thought our readers might still be interested in the gossip from our party night out.

It all took place at Mercedes Benz World in Weybridge with lunch and party games at the neighbouring Brooklands Hotel beforehand. With everyone finally in their glad rags, it was off to the venue where we were greeted by show girls and a live band. Aerial dancers and acrobats kicked off the evening before dinner was served.

Copious amounts of wine later and stacks of energy expended on the dance floor the evening came to a happy end thanks to the indoor dodgems arranged by the organisers. The diehards amongst us went the distance and managed to feast on the ‘survivors’ breakfast’ before turning in for the night. It sure was a party to remember.

For pics of the evening check out our Facebook page

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot

Dressed in our finery for the last meeting at Royal Ascot, this day out immediately shot to the top of our list of favourite team events!

Beginning with a boozy lunch at The Riverhouse restaurant in Windsor, it was immediately off to the Grandstand to place our bets. Thanks to a ‘hot tip’ from her father, accounts assistant Nicky Cook turned out to be the biggest winner amongst us, scooping £65 in the sweepstake.

Having savoured the atmosphere and admired all the hats (and not lost too much money overall), it was a quick bite at a local Thai ……and a welcome opportunity to kick off those killer heels.

Hollywood Bowl

Hollywood Bowl

Our first ‘get together’ for 2013 at Hollywood Bowl in Watford saw the entire Meades team thrashed by accounts assistant Lee Hunt, who smartly scored a turkey (three consecutive strikes). This was followed by a visit to nearby Laser Planet for a further dose of ‘healthy’ competition before licking our wounds with Mexican food and cocktails at Chimichangas!

 

 

Fright Night

Fright Night

To mark Halloween this year, our team elected to visit Thorpe Park for its annual Fright Night event.

On arrival, needless to say the adrenalin junkies amongst us immediately headed to The Swarm, a roller-coaster with 127ft inverted drop and speeds of up to 92kph. Then to jump queues going forward, we Fast-Tracked other roller-coaster rides, including Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, Stealth and SAW before dusk fell and, zombies, monsters and beasts emerged from behind the scenes to roam the park! Additional thrills and excitement came courtesy of live action movie-themed mazes before curry at ‘Indian Summer’ restaurant, helping us to recover from what truly was a frightful day!

Day at the Races

Day at the races

A table at Tingle Creek suite overlooking the finishing line at Sandown Racecourse, an a la carte lunch, and flutter on the gee-gees was just what the doctor ordered to take our minds off this year’s wet summer.

And Friday 15 June proved lucky for some. Charlotte accumulated the most points from the day’s sweepstake and bagged £60 prize money, whilst Lisa Pearse and Lisa Anderson were the day’s biggest winners, netting £110 thanks to selecting the winning horse, Chain of Events, in the fifth race.

By the end of the afternoon we’re pleased to say that everyone had made some money, and our celebrations continued in a local pub in Esher followed by a curry in Northwood whilst watching England smash Sweden 3-2 in Euro 2012. Another great team outing!

Staff night out at the ‘bowling lounge’ at Lava Lanes in Stanmore

Bowling lounge

Our first team jaunt of 2012 comprised 14 of us heading off to the ‘bowling lounge’ at Lava Lanes in Stanmore. On arrival, we were delighted to find Lava Lanes to be more of a cocktail bar than bowling alley, which meant we obviously had to sample its extensive cocktail list! Whilst the females amongst us opted for Cosmos, Strawberry Republics, Lethal Zombies and the like, it goes without saying that the males stuck to their beer……

Thankfully though, with Maurya’s Indian Restaurant only next door, we were at least able to soak up our overindulgences with a curry before attempting the planned bowling match. After dividing ourselves into two teams, we bravely continued with those cocktails in a bid to help us to score that lucky strike……

As is normally the case with Meades’ outings, the evening became increasingly competitive culminating in Lee being pronounced the out and out winner with 167 points, with Paul a close second with 149 points.

Freddies restaurant

Freddies restaurant

September’s team event was a comparatively low-key affair, which suited team Meades following an extremely busy period in the office. Our night out kicked off with drinks at St Albans’ famous 16 th Cock Inn, followed by a great meal at nearby Freddies Restaurant.

Finally we rounded the evening off with a nightcap at O’Neill’s bar, where we were fortunate to stumble upon a fantastic rock band, playing a late night gig.

 

Thorpe Park

Thorpe Park

On the last Friday in September, 12 of us boarded a minibus for a day out to remember at the Thorpe Park where we stayed till closing time at 5.30pm. The adventurous ones amongst us enjoyed (though some would say forced on to) a few of the more scary rides, due mainly to Paul’s insistence, helped by the fact that he’d bought fast track passes, leaving us no time to bottle out!

It was then on to the Swan & Bottle in Uxbridge followed by a curry at Uxbridge’s well named Indian Summer restaurant. By 10.30pm that night we have to admit throwing in the towel as it had been a long, tiring and unseasonally hot day! Remember to look at our Facebook page.

Staff night out at Browns Bar & Brasserie in Windsor

Browns Bar & Brasserie

An outing to Browns Bar & Brasserie in Windsor at the beginning of April went down a storm. Pre-dinner cocktails, traditional English fayre followed by cheesecake and Bellinis were just what the doctor ordered for the end of a long working week. The evening finished off at The King & Castle pub till the wee small hours before our minibus arrived to round up tired, but happy troupes.

 

Xmas cracker!

Xmas cracker!

This year’s Xmas extravaganza started out with a two hour go-karting experience at the F1 Indoor Karting Centre, Heathrow where Paul and Charlotte came tops, then on to the Savill Court Hotel & Spa in Windsor in time for a bar lunch before getting ready for a Monte Carlo themed evening and company sleep over!

At 7pm with everyone dressed in their finery, we congregated in the bar for the opening of our ‘Secret Santa’ pressies (ranging from wine, DVDs, beauty products and hot water bottle), before sitting down for a traditional, scrumptious three course Xmas dinner with all the trimmings.

The after dinner party quickly got in to full swing thanks to a Frank Sinatra tribute act, followed by a DJ who saw to it that everyone hit the dance floor(minus the guys of course!) till 1am, helping ensure we burned some of those extra calories we’d managed to pile on over dinner!

For some before and after photos, check out our Facebook page!

Staff night out at Tandoori restaurant Sonargaon

Tandoori restaurant Sonargaon

Thanks to last December’s cold, very snowy weather, our pre-arranged and much anticipated Xmas party sadly had to be cancelled. To cheer everyone up then, on the second Friday in February, 13 of us descended upon Tandoori restaurant Sonargaon in nearby Bushey, for a night of curry and laughter. And after the meal, Louise, who runs Meades Contractors, bravely invited us all back to her house for yet more booze and banter!

 

Staff night out at highlight Comedy Club in Watford

Comedy Club

This quarter’s Meades staff outing saw 17 of us enjoying an amusing night out at highlight Comedy Club in Watford. With cabs kindly laid on for us all, the evening started at 8pm with entertainment from funny-lady, compere Karen followed by a routine from the hilarious Cole Parker (The Ultimate Gambler & The Friday Night Project.)

The best performance of the night though has to go to the hilarious and probably Scotland’s finest ginger-haired comedian Brian Higgins (Time Gentleman Please with Al Murray) who was the headline act.

Mix it all together with too much alcohol and burger and chips and the outcome? A really great fun night out!

Spy Games

Spy Games

Our team building event held at Spy Games HQ in Milton Keynes on Friday 18 June was a roaring success! At 11.30am, with rain chucking it down outside, 13 of our 17 staff piled into their cars and made their way to the ultimate world of Spies and Secret Agents to take part in spy training, using surveillance gadgets and spy weapons.

Once the competition rules, events and activities had been explained (basically the team that earned the most imitation dollars throughout the day would be crowned winner) we divided into two teams, to become known as 007 and Thundercats.

By 2pm, full of energy and enthusiasm following a scrumptious buffet lunch, we headed off for three hours of ultimate fun thanks to team building games that included axe throwing, mortar attack, code breaking and laser challenge……to name but a few.

With team 007 having collected the most ‘dollars’ throughout the afternoon, at 5pm we were called to a presentation ceremony, where each winning team member received a trophy!

Presentations over and 13 wet and bedraggled yet happy staff members piled back into their vehicles en route for an overnight stay at nearby Horwood House Hotel. Oh and although it seems a lifetime ago now, we had tremendous fun watching England beat Algeria. That was then and enough said.

Such was the success of the day we’re now hoping to arrange a company-wide activity every quarter! Whoever said accountancy firms were boring!

Crystal Challenges

Crystal Challenge

Our latest teambuilding event held in early July was certainly one to be remembered! Held at Pendley Manor Hotel in nearby Tring, our daylong ‘Crystal Challenge’ comprised a taxing number of physical, skill and logical activities – and a tasty buffet lunch. (Oh and we also found out that the hotel dates back to the Doomsday Book, and was confiscated in 1066 by William the Conqueror!)

Based on the famous Crystal Maze, the very unusual challenges (with very unusual names) were designed to help us develop effective teamwork, problem solving, communication and leadership.

Called Tangles Icebreaker; Cypher; Chemical Rescue; Bridge Build; Oasis; Dilithium Run; Cranium and Egg Launch Finale, the winning team of each challenge was awarded crystals, and the team that earned the most crystals took home medals.

Finally, at 6.30pm, half of us went off by minibus to Freddies restaurant in St Albans for a well earned slap up meal before ending up at the nearby Slug & Lettuce……

Our Facebook page has all the souvenir photos!

 

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