5 reviews
16:04 13 Mar 23
Highly recommended! Josh and Sarah have been fantastic at Astute. They've found and placed me in 2 jobs now between them, both really responsive and excellent at keeping you up to speed with things. Very knowledgable about the roles and happy to talk to companies with any queries you have.
C R.C R.
10:45 27 Jan 23
Great agency one of the best ones I've worked with! Liz has been a great help and support in helping me towards a new direction in my career life. She is very attentive and keeps me in the loop at all times! She makes the extra effort to work with my preferred requirements for work and even if it isn't completely attainable she meets me in the middle and does as much as she can to help! Also Liz is very funny might I add 😂 and I'm happy that I can now put a face to the name after all these years! Thank you again Liz for all your help and support! 😊
10:32 20 Dec 22
Josh and the Astute team was very swift to help me to find roles that matched my profile. They are really reliable and will help through every step of the recruitment process going out of their way to assist and follow up when needed. Could not find a better recruitment agency!
Helen PinegarHelen Pinegar
16:19 18 Dec 22
Fantastic recruitment agency.. Josh was extremely enthusiastic, encouraging and clearly knowledgeable about what was needed from both the employee and the employers point of view. Extremely supportive especially in regards to interview preparation and endeavoured to procure feedback promptly. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Astute in the future to both candidates and recruiting businesses particularly for the right fit for the role!!!
Lisa LeighLisa Leigh
11:56 30 Nov 22
I have worked as a candidate for Astute and they have been excellent. Super friendly service and professional agents keen to fit the right person to the right job. It has been a pleasure dealing with them and I would happily work for them again in the future. Highly recommend this agency.
Contact us
Suite 1, Ground Floor West,Cardinal Square,10 Nottingham Road,Derby. DE1 3QT
Stanford House,19 Castle Gate, Nottingham, NG1 7AQ

Derby to Exeter in just one week. Astute Recruitment's #miles4meals adventure goes from strength to strengthOur growing band of walkers, cyclists, joggers, and runners have excelled themselves!

In week 3, we have covered over 500 miles! Taking us down past Derby, through Worcester, Bristol, and finally past Exeter!

When we started planning this event, we were unsure we would make it to Land’s End, now we are just wondering when we will get there as we haven’t got far to go.

We are wondering if we will get to Land’s End this week!

Huge thanks to all of our clients, candidates, and of course our team for helping us make this a brilliant adventure already.


One-way roadmap out of lockdown announced todayA Roadmap out of lockdown!


A one-way strategy of positive milestones from the Government was announced by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson this afternoon.


The basic points are set out below. It is important to remember that these will be conditional on the continued success of the vaccine rollout and maintaining declining figures of hospitalisations and infections.

Nonetheless, some very welcome news!


Summary of key points: – 

  1. Boris Johnson sets out his four-step plan to release England from lockdown
  2. Step one, on 8 March, will see schools reopening and two people allowed to meet outdoors for a chat
  3. From 29 March, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed
  4. Outdoor sports, including football, golf, and tennis, will be allowed to resume from 29 March as well
  5. Step two would see shops, hairdressers and gyms reopen from 12 April in England
  6. Also from 12 April, outdoor hospitality will resume, as well as zoos and theme parks
  7. Step three would start on 17 May with most social contact rules lifted, as well as limited mixing indoors
  8. The prime minister hopes that step four, from 21 June, would see the end of all legal limits on social contact
  9. The UK PM will also hold a televised press conference at 19:00 GMT
  10. Scotland, Wales, and NI will set out their own approaches
  11. Covid vaccines have a significant impact on the risk of serious illness Public Health analysis shows
  12. In the fourth week after the first dose, hospitalisations were reduced by 85% and 94% for the Pfizer and AstraZeneca jabs

Let’s hope that the 8th March Budget will also provide some fiscal good news and continued support for businesses, employers, and staff.

An article by

Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100
M: 07717 412911

E[email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment 


In 1666, around 800  Derbyshire people chose to sacrifice themselves, in order to save the lives of thousands of strangers. Could you have done that?

Let’s step back in time to 1665.


Why is the small, Derbyshire village of Eyam significant? In the words of a Victorian local Historian William Wood…


“Let all who tread the green fields of Eyam remember, with feelings of awe and veneration, that beneath their feet repose the ashes of those moral heroes, who with a sublime, heroic and unparalleled resolution gave up their lives, yea doomed themselves to pestilential death to save the surrounding country. Their self-sacrifice is unequaled in the annals of the world.”


Eyam, lies between Buxton and Chesterfield, just north of Bakewell in the Peak District. Most of the villagers were farmers. In the early 1660s, it was a typical, rural, farming community like hundreds that lined the trade routes from London to the rest of England. There were also tailors, bakers, and shopkeepers whose work ensured the livelyhoods of the villagers. And yet in 1665 Eyam became one of the most important villages in the whole of England. The bravery of its 800 souls had huge significance and influenced the development of treatment of the plague and in implementing quarantines successfully.


1665-6 was the last major epidemic of the plague to occur in England, with London the worst affected.


Back then, in 1665, evacuating the capital, the wealthy (Including King Charles II) escaped to their country estates, whilst the authorities did little to help those in poorer communities. Having to fend for themselves, the poor and uneducated of London faced a cruel and horrific foe. The House of Lords eventually discussed the crisis the following year, deciding instead of measures and aid to help, that the policy of shutting up’ of infected individuals with their household would not apply to persons of ‘note’ and that plague hospitals would not be built near to the homes of the wealthy. This selfish and callous attitude added to the feeling of abandonment for many of the poor left helpless and scared in London.


The movement of the rich plus the normal trade routes of England meant that the great plague spread quickly across the country. Rural areas that could previously have been safe from the diseases of urban city areas became exposed.


This was the backdrop, heralding the plague’s arrival in Eyam in late August 1665 via a parcel of cloth from London. Delivered to the home of Eyam’s tailor, Alexander Hadfield. His assistant George Vic shook & spread the damp cloth out by the fire to air it, only to find it infested with fleas. His death was recorded in the parish register on 7th September 1665 just a couple of days later.



The plague was spread by infected fleas from small animals and human lice. The bacteria entered the skin through a flea bite, traveled via the lymphatic system to a lymph node causing it to swell. Then characteristic buboes (pus-filled boils) would typically appear under the arm, neck, or groin area. Combined with fever, spasms, black bruising under the surface of the skin, and vomiting, the plague was a truly terrifyingly ferocious and contagious disease.


Back in the 17th Century, many wild causes for pestilence were put forward, from punishment by God to bad air quality. Some thought fragrant herbs would ward off the disease.


Windows and doors were closed and many, especially watchers and searchers in plague hit London, would smoke tobacco. Large piles of foul-smelling rubbish were also burned.


While these methods helped indirectly, for example ridding the city of rubbish meant that the rats spreading the disease had to move on for a reliable food source. Many had limited to no effect.


However in Eyam, a small Derbyshire village, they acted in a unique way. Their intention was to act decisively and prevent the spread of disease.



The Church’s dominance in the 17th Century was still supreme, even after the religious roller-coaster of the Tudor period. The local Reverends were pillars of the community, often the most educated people in their towns and villages.


Stanley and Mompesson depicted in stained glass windows


Eyam had two Reverends. Thomas Stanley had been dismissed from his official post for refusing to take the Oath of Conformity and use the Common Book of Prayer. His replacement, Reverend William Mompesson had worked in the village for a year. Aged 28, Mompesson lived in the rectory with his wife Catherine and their two small children. Both husband and wife were highly educated, and it was the actions of Stanley and Mompesson that resulted in the outbreak of plague in Eyam being contained to the village and not spreading to the nearby cities and beyond.


A picture of Eyam's hero, Reverand William Mompesson


A three-point plan was established and agreed with the villagers. The most important part of this was the setting up of a ‘Cordon Sanitaire’ or quarantine. This line went around the outskirts of the village and no Eyam resident was allowed to pass it.


Signs were erected along the line to warn travelers not to enter. During the time of the quarantine, there were almost no attempts to cross the line, even at the peak of the disease in the summer of 1666.


Eyam was not a self-supporting village. It needed supplies. To this end, the village was supplied with food and essentials from surrounding villages. The Earl of Devonshire himself provided supplies that were left at the southern boundary of the village. To pay for these supplies the villagers left money in water troughs that were filled with vinegar. With the limited understanding they possessed, the villagers realised that vinegar helped to kill off the disease.


Mompesson’s well on the village boundary was used to exchange money for food and medicine with other villages.


Other measures taken included the plan to bury all plague victims as quickly as possible and as near to the place they died rather than in the village cemetery.


They were correct in their belief that this would reduce the risk of the disease spreading from corpses waiting to be buried. This was combined with the locking up of the church to avoid parishioners being crammed into church pews. They instead moved to open-air services to avoid the spread of the disease.


The village of Eyam, while undoubtedly saving the lives of thousands in the surrounding area, paid a heavy price.


At 40%, they suffered a higher death toll than that of London. 260 Eyam villagers died over the 14 months of the plague out of a total population of 800. 76 families in that rural community, lost souls to the plague.


Whole families were wiped out completely.


However, the impact on medical understanding was significant.


Doctors realised that the use of an enforced quarantine zone could limit or prevent the spread of disease.


The use of quarantine zones is used in England, and around the world to this day in the current COVID-19 pandemic, and many other infections, to contain the spread of diseases.


Sadly, back in the 1600s, it took longer for the ideas of quarantine so successfully implemented in Eyam to filter through to become common practice in hospitals back then.


Florence Nightingale, raised in Derbyshire, pioneered the use of isolation wards to limit the spread of infectious diseases in hospitals during the Crimean war. Echoes of the practices put in place at Eyam.


Adopted in hospitals the world over, learning quickly that to contain the spread of diseases, isolation wards needed to be used.


Other lessons on disease control were learned by doctors from the methods used at Eyam included: –


Limiting contact and potential for cross-contamination. 

  • Eyam villagers paid for food supplies by dropping coins into pots of vinegar, preventing money from being directly handed over.
  • Echoed today with cashless payments, sterilisation of equipment, and medical clothing.
  • Before COVID-19, lessons learned from Eyam had been seen in the handling of the Ebola epidemic in Africa. The quick disposal of bodies close to the immediate area of death had limited the risk of spreading the disease.


While the events at Eyam did little to change attitudes immediately back then, history has shown how the people of Eyam, shone a beacon of light to scientists, doctors, and the medical world.


They came to use Eyam as a case study in the prevention of disease, and save countless lives ever since.


A fascinating story of how ordinary people with everyday jobs and lives, inspired medical practices used to this very day. And, it is an amazing, moving story of how people from all professions, trades, and backgrounds came together as a community and made a huge difference in the way we manage the spread of disease.

For more information and interesting facts click HERE to a BBC article on the bravery of Eyam’s villagers.


An article by Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100
M: 07717 412911

E:  [email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/

Astute Recruitment's top 5 shouts for the perfect pancakes on Shrove Tuesday!

Pancake day always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday and this year it’s on February 14th. As our team is busy walking, jogging, and cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End for our #miles4meals charity quest – they need all the energy they can muster, so here are 5 great recipes that they and you can enjoy!


That’s one thing #wfh means! All of us can have great pancakes from the comfort of our kitchens!



We’ve narrowed a very long list down to our top five pancake recipes for you to try this year.


Known as the traditional pancake that suits everybody’s tastes, these American style pancakes will have you flipping these sweet treats all year round for every occasion!

To enjoy these – see our menu below!


  • 350g of plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 230ml milk
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar and a pinch of salt into a large bowl
  • Whisk the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla in a large jug
  • Make a hole in the centre of the dry ingredients and whisk in the wet mixture to make a smooth batter
  • Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat
  • Pour the mixture onto the pan in small pancake sizes – usually three pancakes to a pan
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes until bubbles break on the surface
  • Flip!
  • Cook for a further minute
  • Stack and serve

Wondering what toppings to include? How about trying the following:


  • Coconut yoghurt and granola
  • Mascarpone, raspberries and passion fruit
  • Cream cheese and strawberry compote


  • Ricotta, baby rocket, roast cherry tomatoes and balsamic glaze
  • Garlic mushrooms, fetta and chives
  • Fried egg and chilli sauce


If you’re looking for a thick, blueberry bursting pancake stack, look no further. These light, fluffy and fruity pancakes are a classic. We recommend serving them stacked up high with a big dollop of syrup and extra fruit – yum! Recipe below:


  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml milk
  • knob butter
  • 150g pack blueberry
  • golden or maple syrup


  • Mix together the self-raising flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl
  • Beat one egg with the milk, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and whisk in the milk to make a thick smooth batter
  • Beat in a knob of melted butter, and gently stir in half of the pack of blueberries
  • Heat a teaspoon of butter in a large non-stick frying pan
  • Drop a large tablespoonful of the batter per pancake to make three or four pancakes at a time
  • Cook for about 3 minutes over a medium heat until small bubbles appear on the surface of each pancake
  • Flip!
  • Cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden
  • Serve with golden or maple syrup and the rest of the blueberries


You’ve heard of using up your ripe bananas to make banana bread but don’t forget they are perfect for pancakes, too! Possibly the easiest pancakes to make, you’ll be ‘flipping’ crazy to ignore these fluffy, delicately flavoured cakes. Also taste amazing with whipped cream!


  • 135g of self-raising flour
  • 35g of caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 130ml of milk
  • 35g of butter, melted
  • 2 bananas, roughly mashed
  • 1 pinch of salt


  • Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl
  • In a separate bowl mix the egg with the milk, melted butter and bananas
  • Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. A few lumps here are ok, as if you overwork the mix your pancakes will be dense and heavy
  • Heat a frying pan over a medium heat with one tbsp of oil
  • Use a ladle to pour a little of the mix into the pan, you should be able to fit three at a time depending on the size of your pan
  • Cook until you see bubbles start to form in the pancakes and the undersides are a lovely golden brown
  • Flip!
  • Cook for a further minute
  • Serve straight away with freshly chopped bananas


Fluffy vegan pancakes? Yep – trust us. When you try these delicious dairy-free, egg-free and completely vegan pancakes, you won’t even miss the milk, butter or eggs! Here’s the recipe:


  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 400ml plant-based milk (such as oat, almond or soya)
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for cooking
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract


  • Whisk the dry ingredients and a pinch of salt in a bowl until mixed
  • Slowly pour in the milk until you get a smooth, thick batter
  • Heat a little of the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-low heat
  • Add 2 tbsp batter into the pan at a time to make small, round pancakes
  • Cook for 3-4 mins until bubbles are appearing on the surface
  • Flip!
  • Cook for another 2-3 mins until golden on both sides and cooked through

Wondering what vegan toppings to include? How about trying the following:

  • Banana slices
  • Blueberries
  • Maple syrup
  • Vegan chocolate chips
  • Plant-based yogurt


A great recipe that is a bit of a wild card to recommend: the coconut pancakes with strawberries and lime syrup. A tasty start to the day, these pancakes are under also 500 calories making them a healthier option for Pancake Day if you are trying to watch your waist line. There you go – our very own guilt-free pancakes!


  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon of icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml coconut milk
  • 400g strawberries, halved or quartered
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • coconut oil
  • coconut yogurt


  • Mix the flour, desiccated coconut, baking powder, 1 tbsp icing sugar, and a pinch of salt in a big bowl
  • Make a well in the centre and crack in the egg, then whisk a little
  • Pour in the coconut milk a little by little and whisk in too, until it’s been mixed into a smooth batter
  • Put the strawberries in a bowl with the lime zest
  • Add the lime juice followed by the last tbsp of icing sugar
  • Toss together until the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries are slightly syrupy
  • Heat a tsp of the coconut oil in a non-stick frying pan
  • Ladle in small spoonfuls of the batter to cook three pancakes at a time
  • Flip!
  • Keep adding more oil and more batter, until all the batter is used up
  • Stack the pancakes between plates and spoon over the syrupy strawberries, then pile on some coconut yogurt to serve

Happy Pancake day from all of at Astute Recruitment Ltd!

Have lots of fun and do share any photos and your own recipes!

Astute Recruitment's 2nd week of our #miles4meals and we have covered an incredible 564.5 miles! Astute Recruitment’s 2nd week of our #miles4meals and we have covered an incredible 564.5 miles!

An amazing effort from our wonderful team and fantastic clients, candidates, and their friends and colleagues who have joined in – a huge thank you and well done!

At this rate we will smash our target!

Last week saw us whizz past our first checkpoint and another 3! From the picturesque Scottish Highlands, past historic Edinburgh, down past Newcastle, and on into Leeds!

We are wondering where we will go from here and how many checkpoints will we hit by week 3!

Astute Recruitment Ltd show why mental health and physical health matterMacmillan Cancer Support recently published research showing that an estimated 7 million people across the country have turned to exercise including jogging or running during the pandemic crisis to boost their mental health.


One in seven people in the UK (14%) said exercise had helped them handle stress better since the first lockdown.


Exercise proved more popular than meditation or yoga (12%). Roughly 33% said physical activity including running, helped them feel calmer and more positive, while one in five said it helped them to feel mentally stronger.


Macmillan is hoping this will all mean a record interest for the 2021 London Marathon. 2020’s event was first postponed to October and then cut back to just an elite event, following a year that has left charities devastated following reduced fundraising.


You are never too young, or old to start either. Nor are you too fit or unfit. From a gentle jog initially, gradually building up to a slow, then faster run, this is one exercise with no limits on who can join in or at what level.


Everyone can do it.

Whatever the weather!


Taking a regular stroll to the local park, it’s surprising how many new faces you can spot, having a run or jog.


According to City AM, Sports Direct sold 218% more pairs of running trainers online during the lockdown than in the same period 12 months before, and Britons bought 243% more running clothing than normal!


One of the best, instant results from a run is the immediate lift of your mood. This isn’t an accident.


The science bit. 


When you exercise, endorphins, tiny chemicals, react giddily with chemical receptors in our bodies and go mad inside our bodies. That’s what causes you to feel lifted in body and soul. Those jigging, rushing chemicals. A whole new 21st-century twist to the phrase ‘gettin’ jiggy with it’ 🤣🤣


Whether you’re experiencing a simple case of the Monday blues while working from home, or more persistent symptoms of depression, that’s why exercise can really help to boost your mood and reframe your mental health to a new, much more positive place.


Getting regular exercise is important for good physical and mental health. Exercise can help stimulate parts of your brain that aren’t as responsive when you’re feeling depressed. It also promotes the release of feel-good brain chemicals. Exercise can also help to distract you from your worries and improve your confidence.


Commenting in the Guardian, Saurav Dutt, a 38-year-old author in London, ramped up his running in 2021 after taking it up for the first time during the initial lockdown.


“I used to try to avoid running as much as possible just because of the effort,” he said. “But the endorphin release after a big run is really significant, it really lifts your mood. And you’re also thinking about reinforcing your own general health, because underlying conditions are a big problem with Covid.”


In the absence of normal running groups, a number of virtual running challenges have been set up online during the pandemic. Its why we set up our #miles4meals initiative too so that people wfh can still get some valuable exercise AND help a worthwhile cause!


These virtual running groups are especially popular with people working from home. It’s not good for us to be sat down at a desk all day, the tension it puts on your lower back and your hips, it is really important to get out and move the body. Here at Astute, we are thrilled with the response so far from candidates, clients and businesses offering their time and miles to help us.


Its been interesting to highlight to businesses and employers that the benefits of virtual group exercise projects can really help the levels of employee engagement, staff wellbeing AND productivity levels in their teams. Some bracing physical activity is scientifically proven to aid and improve worker’s efficiency and increase the amount of work they can do in their job.


You can easily join into a virtual group by using the NHS/ Public Health England’s Couch to 5k app which was downloaded 858,000 times between March and June last year, a 92% increase compared with 2019. Check out more information on this useful link https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get-running-with-couch-to-5k/


Like many across the country, our busy working days now revolve around a “commute a few steps downstairs or upstairs” and Zoom meetings. With long, long hours sat tapping away on laptops interspersed with calls.


Gone is the commute to the office. For many, our step counts and levels of movement have suffered.


Before Covid struck, most of us would travel, often walking to meetings, even taking a lunchtime stroll to grab some lunch. Now, that 20-minute stroll can easily become a daily ‘two-step toddle’ to the fridge and back.


This is why all of us at Astute wanted to do an organised event to raise awareness of the physical and mental health benefits of exercise AND support our local communities whilst helping a brilliant local charity, all at the same time.

Hence, our #miles4meals charity initiative was born! 😊

To make a donation, check out our fundraising page on Derby City Mission’s website HERE

Alternatively, if you or your team would like to join us to help Derby City Mission put together more food parcels for those in need, please email me – [email protected] and my team and I will warmly welcome you and send you more information.



Article by Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100

E:  [email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/

Happy Chinese New Year! 2021 is the Year of the Ox, but what does this Chinese sign mean? Here's our fun guide about the Chinese New Year. Fun Facts from Astute Recruitment Ltd

Happy Chinese New Year! 2021 is the Year of the Ox, but what does this Chinese sign mean? Here’s our fun guide about the Chinese New Year.


First, superstitions!


There are a host of superstitions that will apparently decide how the next year will play out for each of us. To avoid bad luck the rest of the year, here are some no-nos for Chinese New Year’s Day.


Washing clothes, using scissors, and sweeping floors are some of the easier bad omens to sidestep. But parents might find it harder to dodge crying kids 🤣🤣, and – on the more extreme end of the scale – women might find it difficult to avoid leaving the house all day! 😱 (Best not attend any interviews today then!)


According to Chinese superstition, doing any of these on Feb 12th – the day Chinese New Year falls in 2021 – will lead to bad luck for the entire coming year. But it isn’t all doom and gloom: 2021 is the Year of the Ox, an animal that  symbolises strength and determination.


Here is everything you need to know about the annual celebration, and why the Year of the Ox will be luckier for some than others.


When is Chinese New Year 2021?

The annual celebration begins on the new moon that comes between Jan 21 and Feb 20. The Chinese year will start on Feb 12th 2021 and end on Feb 11th 2022, when the Year of the Tiger begins.


The new year, also known in China as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar; meaning the date changes from year to year.


Festivities usually start the day before the New Year, and continue until the Lantern Festival, falling on the 15th day of the new year.


The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like the West’s equivalent 12 signs of the zodiac, but with the major difference that each ‘house’ has a time-length of one year instead of one month.


Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac – 2020 was the Year of the Rat.


Which Chinese zodiac sign are you? 

Your sign is derived from the year you were born in the Chinese lunar calendar. Have a look below and see which animal you are!

Rat: 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972

Ox: 2021, 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973

Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962

Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963

Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964

Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965

Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966

Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967

Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968

Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969

Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970

Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971

The years above are a rough guide; bear in mind that if you were born in January or February it may be slightly different as the new year moves between January 21st and February 20th each year.


The years allocated to each animal are in a very specific order. According to an ancient Chinese folk story, the Jade Emperor had called 13 animals to a meeting and announced that the years on the calendar would be named according to the order they arrived in. This led to ‘The Great Race’.


So legend goes, the rat travelled on the back of the ox, leaping from it’s back to grab first place. The pig stopped for a snack and a nap and arrived last; a cat was also in the race but drowned during the competition, leading to there being only 12 animals in the zodiac.


Who should be on their guard this year?

According to Chinese astrology, the year of your birth sign is believed to be one of the most unlucky years of your life. It is thought that people in their zodiac year offend Tai Sui, the God of Age, and incur his curse.


Famous people who should be careful this year include Heidi Klum and Noel Fielding (both born in 1973), Lewis Hamilton (1985), Kylie Jenner (1997), and Marcus Rashford (1997). Barack Obama (1961) was also born in the Year of the Ox, plus George Clooney (1961) and Jeremy Corbyn (1949).


Lucky Signs for the Ox

Lucky numbers for people born in the Year of the Ox are one and four, and their lucky colours are white, green and yellow. Their lucky flowers are tulips and peach blossoms and their lucky directions are north and south.


The Personality of the Ox

People born in the Year of the Ox are thought to be diligent and hard-working, honest, strong, and dependable, with their ability to keep calm making them great leaders.


While Oxen are kind, they find it difficult to understand persuasion and always detest being the centre of attention, resulting in their talent being hidden. Their hard work and patience, however, helps them earn praise and successfully meet their goals.


Strengths: Patient, persistent and cautious

Weaknesses: Stubborn, less-talkative and obstructive



Why do the Chinese value the Ox?

Oxen are highly prized, celebrated animals in Chinese culture because of their roles in agriculture and positive characteristics, such as being honest and reliable. In terms of the ‘Yin and Yang’ theory, they are the yang and also represent the hours one to three in the morning and the Earthly Branch Chou.


2021 is specifically the Year of the Metal Ox. Chinese astrology experts say it’s a good year for giving birth as metal symbolises stability and longevity. Those born in the Year of the Metal Ox shall have plenty of great things in their lives.


What does your Chinese zodiac sign mean? 

In Chinese astrology, the 12 animal zodiac signs each have their own characteristics. For some fun, we’ve popped these below! Have a read and see if you agree!


Rat🐀: Intelligence, adaptability, quick-wit, charm, artistry, gregariousness.

Ox🐂: Loyalty, reliability, thoroughness, strength, reasonability, steadiness, determination.

Tiger🐯: Enthusiasm, courage, ambition, leadership, confidence, charisma.

Rabbit🐰: Trustworthiness, empathy, modesty, diplomacy, sincerity, sociability.

Dragon🐲: Luckiness, flexibility, eccentricity, imagination, artistry, spirituality, charisma.

Snake🐍: Philosophical, organised, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive.

Horse🐴: Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent,  adventurous, strong.

Sheep🐑: Tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm.

Monkey🐒: Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart.

Rooster🐓: Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident.

Dog🐶: Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart.

Pig🐷: Honorable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable.


Popular Chinese New Year Greetings 

If you want to get into the swing of the festivities but don’t have the foggiest how to decipher Mandarin characters, here’s our handy guide to the most essential phrases!


  1. 新年快乐 / 新年快樂 (xīn nián kuài lè) “Happy New Year!”


In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen kweye-luh/


In Cantonese:  /san nin fai lok/


  1. 新年好 / 新年好 (Xīn nián hǎo) “New Year goodness!”


In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen haoww/


In Cantonese: /sen-nin haow/


  1. 恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái) “Happiness and prosperity!”


In Mandarin: /gong-sshee faa-tseye/


In Cantonese: Kunghei fatchoy /gong-hey faa-chwhy/


  1. 步步高升 / 步步高陞 (Bùbù gāoshēng)  “A steady rise to high places!” / “on the up and up”


In Mandarin: /boo-boo gaoww-shnng /


In Cantonese: /boh-boh goh-sshin /


So, have a Happy Chinese New Year from all of us at Astute Recruitment Ltd!

Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100

E:  [email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/

#miles4meals update 137 miles in one week by our team at Astute Recruitment Ltd and our friends!
#miles4meals update 137 miles in one week!

We started our #miles4meals journey last Monday.


The figures are in and we’re delighted to announce that in just 7 days we have covered a total of 137 miles!

Our virtual journey from John O’Groats to Lands End has so far seen us travel from the beautiful peaks of Scotland, down past the historic Inverness Castle.

We’re now well past our first check-point in Inverness.

Wonder where will be next week?




#BeAstute - Childrens Mental Health Week 2021 "I'm enough as I am said the boy"
#BeAstute – Childrens Mental Health Week 2021 “I’m enough as I am said the boy”

What inspires children can so often inspire all of us…

“What’s your best discovery?” asked the mole.

“that I’m enough as I am” said the boy.

I love this quote by Charlie Mackesy in his award-winning 2019 book, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse.

My son was given this book to inspire him and all the then year, 6 pupils, in his school.

He’s kept it.

The other day, he came up to me in my upstairs bedroom (aka ‘office’ 🤣) and said,

“Mum, this is a really great book!”.

“Can I have a read?” I asked.

” ‘course you can Mum, but I want it back!”

Half an hour passed in the blink of an eye as I read beautiful and moving pearls of wisdom. Whilst written a couple of years ago, this is a timeless, wonderful book for kids and adults alike.

The gentle words wash over you, giving you a warm hug of reassurance.

And we all need a hug right now. ❤️❤️

Thank you Ashbrook Junior School!

Thank you Charlie Mackesy for creating such a heartwarming, wise and beautiful book.

A book for the best of times, and the hardest of times too. It’s a brilliant book to recommend to all those parents working from home for their children, especially during this special children’s week dedicated to raising awareness of child mental health.

It’s a beautiful, and rare book that can befriend a child and also captivate adults too.

A lot of parents are struggling to juggle their work and jobs from home whilst overseeing their children’s schoolwork at the moment. As a parent and an employer of staff with children, its really important to highlight and recommend great opportunities to help hardworking parents reassure their kids.

There is a great organisation called Children’s Mental Health Week

where you can access a video from their Royal Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge’s video message to mark the start of the week.

Their Virtual Assembly with BAFTA and Oak National Academy is now available to view and share – featuring Jodie Whittaker, Oti Mabuse, Matthew Lewis, and many more…

If you would like to read more articles and posts on employment, recruitment, careers, mental health, and more, please follow Mary and our company page for Astute Recruitment Ltd on LinkedIn and Facebook.



Mary Maguire

Managing Director
Astute | Accountancy & Finance | HR | Office Support

Suite One, Ground Floor West, Cardinal Square, 10 Nottingham Road, Derby, DE1 3QT

T: 01332 346100
M: 07717 412911


E[email protected]

W: www.astuterecruitment.com

LI:  https://uk.linkedin.com/pub/mary-maguire/18/73/553

LI: www.linkedin.com/company/astute-recruitment/



Miles 4 Meals - Our walk from John'Groats to Lands End to raise money for Derby City Mission
Miles 4 Meals – Our walk from John’Groats to Lands End to raise money for Derby City Mission


All of us at Astute Recruitment Ltd are delighted to announce that today, 1st February 2021, we are launching our Miles 4 Meals charity campaign!

Our team will be ‘virtually’ walking the 911 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End, and if we can walk back again!

We find ourselves in unusual times. Many more people, families and children are struggling with financial problems. We also have a climate of increasing mental health and anxiety issues due to the latest Lockdown restrictions and hardships caused by COVID.


All of us at Astute, wanted to help, so we’re launching our #Miles4Meals campaign. From Monday 1st February until Good Friday on the 2nd April, our team will be using our lunchtimes or spare time to walk, run and cycle the 911 miles from John O’Groats to Lands End, and hopefully back again! If you can, please help us with our goal.


*The Government’s current advice is people can exercise for up to one hour a day and observe all COVID social distancing guidance. We can still all clock up a few steps in an hour though!


On virtual arrival to Lands End, Astute Recruitment will donate £500 to Derby City Mission & this amazing cause.

If we can get back to John O’Groats, a roundtrip of 1822 miles, Astute will double their donation to £1,000 for Derby City Mission, our chosen charity.  


Every mile covered will raise funds for Derby City Mission who will be using the money to make up much-needed food parcels for the vulnerable.


We’ll be highlighting a series of tips and advice around Mental Health, how important the link between good Mental Health and physical wellbeing is across our social media channels.


We’ll share photos and updates on our progress along the way. Follow our story too and add your own photos and posts if you are taking part!


If you and those in your team would like to join us or just sponsor us for our journey, please email Mary Maguire or Tom Norton, confirming your name, job title, and which company you are from and we will send you more information.


Join us on our charity walk and help raise funds at the same time too!