Paris, my top 5 tips

1. All museums are free the first Sunday of the month….

So if you are in the capital around that time it is the perfect timing to go and visit. Unlike London, museums are not free in Paris except on these days. It is generally crowded so arriving early in the morning is a must

2. Backpakers, looking for a fun free tour of the city?

Credit 123rf.com

So here is your deal. Sandemans new Europe offer great tours and the guide are payed on a tips only basis. I did few of them in Europe and it has always been a great moment. Often the highlight of the trip. Check it out!

3. Get on the top of the Montparnasse Tower for the best view possible

Credit: France.com

Everyone wants to get on the top of the Eiffel Tower, but really isn’t the Eiffel Tower the highlight of Paris? And the thing is when you are on it…. well you can’t see it. The montparnasse Tower is 689 feets hight and open until 10.30 pm. The tips will be to go for sunset time to have stunning sunset and night time picture. What more: it is cheaper than the Eiffel Tower

4. Friday night skating or cycling

Credit: SkatesCool.com

If you can stand and make your way around with roller blades this is for you. Every Friday night. It starts at 10 am and last for 3 hours. A great fun and ludic way to discover the French capital. If you are not confortable on roller blades go and take a Velib, it is fun and the first 30 minutes are free Check the website bellow for more info

5. Go to a restaurant and order a tournedos Rossini with a glass of red wine

Credit: AFtouchcuisine.com

Because life can’t get better than that. For the wine, mature red wine such as St Emilion, Medoc or Pomerol would be perfect

How much is too much?

What is the actual point of Twitter, Facebook and all social networking platforms out there? Discovering: Probably.Connecting: clearly. Keeping in touch: Surely. Meet and discover new people: Most definitely.

So here I am,sitting in front of my computer, reading through the Twitter and Facebook timelines and wondering how much people are willing to share out there. I have always thought that as long as you are in peace with what you are writing, and that you are willing to share it, well you might do so. Yes but, lately, I have had mixed feelings about this whole online sharing concept. I have come along statuses or posts that felt very much too much, and I can’t help but wonder if the boundaries aren’t being pushed too far. We do not want to know when people have had Diarrhoea all night and we really don’t want to see you giving birth on youtube. I remember reading about a women that asked her phone to update her Facebook while giving birth. The update was stating: “I’m pushing”. Seriously?!

Credit: http://www.kunocreative.com/

Now then, who am I to judge what should or what shouldn’t be out there? And more importantly, if people are comfortable with sharing, why not?

Obviously, I should state here, before going any further that I most definitely have developed (like many many others) an addiction for social media. This whole online world, its possibilities, its strengths and its growing importance fascinates me. I love the Internet, I love Twitting, Facebooking, pinning, linked-in and blogging. I basically follow the news on Twitter, learn how to use photoshop thanks to Youtube and organise events from my bed thanks to Facebook. I am, very present online, and this for one reason, the people. I met incredible people online, people who advised me, gave me a job, made me laugh and some of them even became friends. More than that, I even met the man I now love online.

The funny thing about it all, is that, most of the time, I knew the people before meeting them in real life. I knew a lot actually. Their age, job, favourite food, name of the pet, last clothes they bought. Sometimes I even knew where they lived, how their living room, bathroom, bedroom looked like. I knew a lot because they shared a lot. Some of them had a blog so I even knew some of their deepest thoughts, best moments, hardest moments. And really, I can relate to that. Writing is like a therapy, it helps when things get hard and it makes you even happier when they are great. Anyway, this is the way I feel about it. And really I write a lot.

So now you think. Really, does she? Her last post was published two weeks ago. That is because I write, I read it, and I leave it, here, in my drafts section. Sometimes because I feel that it is badly written, uninteresting or simply irrelevant , and, sometimes I just think that it is giving out too much about myself. I think about publishing it and then realise that it will be the equivalent of doing a strip-tease in Liverpool Street station at peak hours. The underlying problem here isn’t how uncomfortable I would be (even if sometimes it is) but more what people would think of that. Let me explain.

With the Social Media week happening all around London I have been to many lectures, classes and social events and heard the same thing over and over again. Be very careful what you are putting online. Future employers will look at it and make their first impression judging with what is right here, on your blog, on your Twitter, youtube and everywhere you might be linked to. Right, now you think twice don’t you.

Well, at least I did. And I still do, but I have chosen to keep being myself, online or offline. And yes, I swear, I hate the world, I cry, I laugh at stupid things and say stupid things, then hopefully some interesting ones.
As I stated earlier, I found that social networking and more especially blogging is the cheapest and yet one of the most efficient therapy on the market at the moment. At least it works for me. To my surprise,there has been times when blogging has appeared to be more relieving than an hour section in front of a punching bag.

That said, I will keep some information for myself and avoid tagging my company into a post stating how much I hate my job. What about you? Yes, you. The one reading this post right now. How much do you share online. How much do you think is too much?

Hopes and faith might not be enough but with perseverance , your dreams will come true

This happened a few weeks ago but I had to process it before I could write about it:

It is grey and rainy outside, I am sitting in the library, studying for the end of semester exams. Uni mates, books, exams revisions papers and coffee cups all around, it is just another day in the long month that was January. Yet, this day is going to be different. On the 24th of January 2012, I received some news that might be just another piece of news to some people but meant the world to me, indeed, on this Tuesday morning I got an email from the London School of Economics and Political Science with the decision made for my master’s application. After long deliberation and a big push from the friends around me, I finally opened the email.

“I am pleased to make you this conditional offer of admission to the MSc in Media And Communications for the 2012/13 session as a full-time student”. Screams of joys, hugs, and lots of jumping (Yes, in the library). I did it! I got in to LSE! I got into one of the best school of the country! This is not just a Master application for me, it means so much more. It is the result of three years of hard work, it is the realisation of a dream, it is the proof that with perseverance your dreams can become reality.

Let me explain: Three years ago, I left my home country (France) for the UK determined to pursue my dreams. The first goal was to speak English but I soon realised that I must try and go back to studying. From a very young age, I wished to go into higher education. I wanted to do something with my life, have an impact, make it count , you know, all that! But things didn’t turned out the way I thought they would. Quickly after my A level, I realised that I won’t be able to go into university and have my independence at the same time. I remember checking the requirement to go into “Those” fancy schools and wondering how anyone could afford such expensive education. I am talking here about business schools. Indeed after graduating with a business A level it was the way to go if I wanted to access high responsibilities positions in the future. As Jaques Dutronc sang in 1996, “J’y pense et puis j’oublie, c’est la vie, c’est la vie” (I think about it and I forget, It’s life, it’s life).

Indeed, despite the fact that I really wanted to study, I also wanted my flat and my independence. Furthermore, coming from a working class background, I have always been told the following: Top universities and schools are for the rich, the elite of the society, stop dreaming and do like everyone, go learn a job and start earning money. And so I did, I got my first job at 18 and did a vocational training in management part-time while working full time. By the time I was 23 I had a full time job, my own flat (rented obviously..), my car, a swimming pool in my backyard, really you can say I had it all.

Yet, I wasn’t happy, it was a bit like being trapped in some else’s life. So I left, and started it all from scratch here in England. Getting into LSE is such an achievement and I have never been so proud of myself, but, I would lie if I would tell you that it was easy. It was hard, I am broke and working pretty much all the time and I can’t count how many times in the last three years I asked the following question to myself: Why don’t you aspire to a normal life? Why didn’t I settle down, like all my friends seem to have done? Why I did not stay in my well paid job for Chanel, save money, have a dog and a house, you know, all that!

Truth is, I am so happy of my achievements so far, but I am also terrified. Going back to university, leaving France, and now in the process of taking a loan for my Masters. All of that is just so scary. Especially at 28. If you would have asked the child that I was where I would be at 28 years old, I would have never guessed that I would be a student ready to do a Master in the London School of Economics.

Dear reader, don’t stay stuck into the life that society asks you to have, follow your dreams, because, in the end of the day, no one really knows what makes you truly happy. You are the only one who really knows that. And if following your dreams is a scary thing, trust me, when you start touching them, there is no better feeling.

Right now, I regret absolutely nothing, not the tears, not the money struggles, not the loneliness when I arrived in London, nothing. I learned so much and got so much out of it. Yes, taking risks is scary but DO IT! Go! Try and try again, don’t give up, listen to your inner self. If it worked for me, it can work for you too!

Ps: I must say that I wouldn’t have made it without the help and the support of my friends and especially the extraordinary individuals and teachers I have met during my undergraduate degree at London Metropolitan University. From the bottom of my heart. Thank you!

Norwegian Wood (2010) Review

I heard a lot about this film before seing it. Most people I talked to found it boring and depressing. I found it beautifully different and really interesting. Here is my review, watch and tell if if you agree…or not.

Director: Anh Hung Tran

Writers: Haruki Murakami (Based on the novel), Anh Hung Tran (screen play).

Stars: Rinko Kikuchi (Naoko) ,  Ken’ichi Matsuyama (Toru Watanabe) and Kiko Mizuhara (Midori).

We all went through this phase of our lives when everything changes, when you leave your parents; discover love, friendships and sex. This phase when every single feeling seems to arrive like a storm, amplified by the complex and sometimes painful transitional period that is adolescence.

The Vietnamese director Anh Hung Tran, who signs here his 7th movie as a director, delivers a beautiful translation of Haruki Marakami’s bestseller and manages to address complex themes such as death, love and identity with an impressive sensitivity. But Norwegian Wood owes its success not only to its director but also to a brilliant crew and cast. The cinematographer Ping Bin Lee who has worked previously on “New York I Love you”, “Three times” or “Millennium Bamboo” brings here a beautifully photographed film with some long shots of stunning landscape. The nomination of Norwegian Wood and its awards won in diverse film festivals comes with no surprises.

Jonny Greenwood, ex guitarist of the band Radiohead, created a powerful soundtrack that serves beautifully the deepness and contrasts of the film. With a mise en scène praiseworthly Anh Hung Tan prove himself as a talented and inspired director. The numerous long takes; static shots and some complex and yet pictorially beautiful frame make of Norwegian Wood a film that is not only visually beautiful but also technically impressive.

Yes, Norwegian Wood is a melodrama but it is also a movie about adolescence. Like in many movies in the genre the hero will move to the city in order to study. First love, first flat away from its parents, first sexual experience and so on. However, if in many films the adolescent is represented stereotypically drunk, silly and sex obsessed Anh Hung Tran draw the picture of an adolescent insecure and lost between his feelings, his morale its responsibilities. Indeed Toru is going to have his heart torn apart between Kidzuki ex-girlfriend Naoko who is going through a severe depression following Kidzuki’s death and the lively Midori.

The movie explores the men/women relationships and more precisely the discovery of love and sexuality from an adolescent point of view. Pain, sadness and depression in young people are also part of the main themes.

In a fast paced world, Norwegian Wood is a film dedicated to a patient and observer spectator. Although it is to my point of view an excellent movie, the rhythm is sometimes forbidden in favour of the design. The length of some scene seems to serve perfectly the tense and melancholic atmosphere nonetheless it can drive the viewer to boredom and loss of interest.  The landscapes scenes shot are incontestably beautifully shot and bring to life some of the most impressive images I have seen in a movie. While being a very dark movie, Norwegian Wood is a celebration of love and most importantly a celebration of the land. The movie touched some important issues like young suicide as Japan has been touched by the first Internet related suicide in 2000. Overall, Norwegian Wood is a really interesting film; gorgeous to look at it is an honest translation of the book, if something it is maybe sometimes a little to slow.

In 2012 I will

So here we are, a new year and the good resolutions that comes with it. I guess I don’t have any crazy resolution but some goals. Some are definitely do-able and some other… oh well you know 😉 So here are my resolutions for 2012.

1) I will be more consistent in my training: Yes in 2011 I have been exercising a lot. I ran my first half marathon, dived, went to the gym even had some sessions with the personal trainer. But I haven’t been consistent at all. I’d train 5 times a week at times and then nothing. Bad Cora bad, consistency is the key… consistent I will be.

2) I will graduate (that’s for sure) with a 1st class degree! : Failing that I’ll happy and proud to have a 2.1.

3) I will STOP stalking people on Facebook and Twitter when I am bored, instead I’ll go running: Dear reader we all do it, don’t lie. You start by looking at one picture of this “friend” that you don’t even like and you end up spending 30 minutes looking his profile.

4) I will cook more often  and  try to avoid spending money on crappy food.

5) I will loose a bit more weight : I did manage to loose a bit in 2011 and i’ll keep getting fit in 2012.

6) I will get a new job and move forward : Because one year and a half in the same position seems just too long, especially without pay rise…

7) I will visit a new country (at least) : because travelling is the shit!

8) I will read more and perfect my English: I already read a lot but yet, I am not as good as I wish I was. The more you read the better you will write/ speak.

9) I will call my mum more often

10) I will learn to sometimes put myself first : because no one will do it for me and that in the end of the day I must think of myself

What about you? What are your resolutions/ Goals in 2012?

2011 was filled with…..


Friendships and love

Travels:

Adventures:

Credit: Sami Sultan

Credit: Sami Sultan

Credit: Sami Sultan

2011 was truly an incredible year and I am confident that 2012 wil be again better. Love, friends and brilliant memories!

Dear reader I wish you had a year as amazing as mine and that you will have a great time with friends and family for this end of year

Coraline

Burberry Samples sales


Samples sales…. This moment ALL employees are waiting for impatiently. Every week, we have a new delivery, and every week it is the same ritual.We open the boxes while commenting on the new arrivals by all sort of typical noises “wow” “hummm” “ohhhhh”. We try them, want them, look at the label and realise we can’t afford it. Because let’s be honest, even with a staff discount, a part-timer can hardy afford a £1000 bag.

Working in fashion and in a luxury environment since I am seventeen, I developed a strong taste for quality. Every brand I have been working for has left a trace, from perfume to handbag, coats to shoes, I can’t help but touching,smelling and checking the label. My professional training has certainly shaped my tastes and leaded me (in many occasions) to want things I clearly can’t afford. But then again what to do, when you work all day selling and touching 100 % cashmere scarf, finished by hand and made in Scotland, when you try them and realise how soft and confortable they are would you really go to Primark and buy this itchy wool one? Of course not, you’d want the one you are selling, the beautiful one, because you know is quality, because you have been educated and trained to recognise it.

The most influential brand I have been working for is certainly Chanel. I clearly remember the day I visited Gabrielle Chanel’s suite in the Ritz for the first time. The apartment is full of symbols and memories. Chanel being an heritage brand, everything they do has to do with Gabrielle Chanel. Her suite is situated on the Place Vendome on the 3rd floor of the Ritz hotel. Again, here there is a lot a meaning, for example the clap of her first perfume N5 recalls the geometry and the proportion of the Place Vendome. And this could go on and on, I visited the perfume factory, the place where the leather goods are made, talked with the staff that was hand finishing the shoes ect…Despite the fact that I (happily) resigned from Chanel I still have a great respect and somehow fascination not only for the brand but the person that, one day, made all this possible.

7 years after Chanel I am now working for Burberry and the sample sales is definitely the only plus that sometimes stopped me from quitting. No secrets there, I don’t want to be in retail anymore and this for a long time. I am not even sure I want to keep working in fashion in the future as the reality is far from the image most people picture in their heads. But the sample sales that is the awesome part.

The sales were on for 3 days, staff only, 90% off. Yes you heard me, 90%. I went on the first day, woke up at 6 am and arrived there at 7.20 am. The sales were starting at 8 am and this is what I found…

A massive queue! When I say massive it is 4 floors of stairs completely full :/ Some people arrived as early as 6 am. I soon realised that I was too far in the queue to get what I wanted (Understand a handbag) . Accessories don’t last more than 5 minutes with the first in the queue running to it and grabbing everything. I queued for two and a half hours before having the chance to finally get into the room.During these 2 hours I had the time to plan a strategy with my colleagues queuing with me. I decided to go for the shoes first. This is what the room looked like :

Absolutely crazy!!! People were just trying and grabbing everything! It was like being like in a war zone! I thought of giving up at some point as it was really too much. People were getting agressive and silly. But then I saw the shoes and started to try. And yes, in no time I started to act as everyone: as a crazy person. No wonder why people get crazy, look what I got:

❤ ❤ ❤ nothing to say, I am in love with them. It definitely worth the two and a half hours of queue. And they were really cheap after the discount. I also got a black short puffer jacket very warm for the winter, i wanted a coat and a handbag but there was nothing left by the time I get there. Consequently, I decided to go back with a colleague on the 3rd day.

This time my alarm was set up at 4.30 am. I took the very first train and arrived at the Burberry headquarters by 7 am, we were then at the front of the queue ready to grab all the accessories possible. And I did manage to grab a beautiful handbag. Big and perfectly suited to my needs. A very big and strong handbag that I can take to uni, put my laptop, books ect. Also for £100 instead of a thousand it was a real bargain.

I finally managed to find a coat but when I got home I realised it was not that nice on me. Ida grabbed the occasion and got it as a Xmas present. She looks beautiful with it! I’m sure she will post some pics at some point 😉 I also got some Christmas presents and another pair of shoes (Obviously)

Not too high and confortable they will be perfect this summer!!!

I must admit that the prices drove me a bit insane. After two days of shopping this is what my room looked like:

Yes I am broke, but happy!

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