All these resolutions I didn’t keep….

First of all let me wish you all a very happy 2013!!! 2012 had its ups and downs but I have a feeling that 2013 will be an amazing year.

So last year I posted the following new year resolutions on this blog, let’s see how I have done with that. As we will guess, not that great as I wanted to as I forgot about most of these resolutions as soon as February started.

1) I will be more consistent in my training: NOT REALLY, Yes I did workout and ran my second half marathon in a time I was really happy with but I wasn’t as consistent as I wish I would have been!

2) I will graduate (that’s for sure) with a 1st class degree! : YES! It did happen, happy days 🙂

3) I will STOP stalking people on Facebook and Twitter when I am bored: NO!  that didn’t happen. At all. I am not sure if it is stalking but I am doing a lot of Facebook/Twitter procrastination. Especially when I am in the library..

4) I will cook more often  and  try to avoid spending money on crappy food. NO! I had FAR too much of this in 2012. And let me tell you, after seeing this KFC brain picture I think I’ll stay away from junk food for a while !

5) I will lose a bit more weight : NOT REALLY, I think I lost a kilo compared to last year. That is after a week of gym. So ermmmm

6) I will get a new job and move forward : YES and NO. Right so I am still in the same job but I also have a new job at the General Assembly where I am a teacher for their user acquisition marketing course. It is really relevant to what I want to do so I guess to this extend I moved forward..

7) I will visit a new country (at least) : NO! And if there is one resolution I wish I would have been able to keep it is this one. Bring on 2013 and its travels!

8) I will read more and perfect my English: YES! I think the reading part is a big yes. Indeed the main difference between being an undergraduate and a postgraduate student is definitely the amount of required reading. The last three months of 2012 have been spent reading, day, night, lunch,at the gym, in bed, in the tube, everywhere!

9) I will call my mum more often YES! That I did, O2 is certainly happy about it and my bank account isn’t. But I am glad I did. I love my mum and living away from home actually brought us closer. And I know she misses me so let’s make her smile more and call more 🙂

10) I will learn to sometimes put myself first :YES! I actually did that a lot more. And it feels great!

VERDICT: 5 out of 10 

Right, not great but hey I won’t beat myself up too much. Instead I’ll try to actually make these 5 missing resolutions happen. To this I’d add

1) Pass my masters: And not especially with a distinction although it would be great,a merit would be good too!

2) Get a new job in my field of studies: This is THE resolution of the year. IT’s not even a resolution really but is HAS to happen

3) Spend more time with my friends and family: A normal Monday to Friday rota should hopefully help doing that!

4) Keep going to the theatre classes: Because I love it and it helps me to learn a lot on myself

5) Stop drinking diet coke on an everyday basis: Because let’s be honest as much as I love it is isn’t really good for my body. And now that I am soon to be in the 30’s side I might as well show some love to this body.

That is it I think. What about you? Any good resolutions this year?

Get a treat in exchange of a tweet in the Special K “Tweet Shop”

To promote their new range of crisps Kellogg’s opened its fist  Special K “Tweet Shop” in the heart of Soho. Situated in Meard Street the shop look like an old candy shop with bright colours and loads of treats inside.

The lovely sales assistants or should they be called “Tweet assistant”  will welcome you in their lovely red Special K red dress.

The principle is simple, you can get to try their new product in exchange of a tweet that include the hashtag #Tweetshop. If many brands like American Express  already used social media to moneytise Twitter hashtags , the Kellogg’s Special K Tweet shop is the first marketing initiative that combines real-life shopping experience with a social media incentive using social media as a currency.

A really innovative and smart initiative that will probably be repeated in the future by other brands. Social media branding has just started and I am eager to see what new concepts marketers will be coming up with in the future.

The timing was also right on the spot, with the Social Media Week London happening this week in London Kellogg’s did not only created the buzz thanks to the hashtags posted on Twitter but also with all the avid social media users talking about their initiative. And that is exactly what brought me to the store, after reading about it on Twitter I couldn’t wait to see it with my own eyes!

Customers could either send a pre-written tweet or choose to send their own.

What more, you could even tweet from the ipad put at your disposition in the shop.

Visiting the store was a pretty good deal for the customers, indeed for one tweet you will receive 3 pack of crisps!

As these two pictures can confirm Lina and myself were pretty happy after visiting.

I personally believe that the future of experimental marketing lay with social media initiative and this particular initiative was in my opinion really good.

What do you think, would you like to pay for your food by sending a sponsored tweet?

How to be time efficient ?

As I finally finished my last semester as an undergraduate student I am back to having a “normal” timetable. A timetable that would include two days off a week. (Even if working in retail it means two random days), still TWO DAYS OFF. And by off I mean completely off. No stress, presentations, power point, articles, essays, reports or deadlines at the back of my mind. A real freedom. And really, the truth is that I better enjoy this sweet freedom. Firstly, because I am starting my Masters in October and since I intend to keep working whilst doing so I am likely to see my time management skills once again challenged . And secondly because in the last weeks the reality has hit me: I will probably have a crazy timetable for many years following graduation. Obviously not as crazy as the last two years 7 days a week rota but pretty busy anyway.

So what is busy day for you? What time would you leave and come back from your house? Is a 15 hours day outside of the house daily routine for most Londoners?

And more importantly:

How do you manage to be efficient and fit everything in one day? 

          1. Get a personal organiser and write everything in it. It really worked for me, my Filofax  have somehow become my best friend. It helps organising your days and you will also avoid the stress of forgetting something. You will also win time by having it always with you so you can plan anything at anytime.

          2.  Put a calendar close to your office desk: You might think that a personal organiser is enough but this should also help you. Indeed when sitting at your desk, studying or working, you can see your deadlines and upcoming events in just a second. Remember to put everything in here !! Indeed don’t recall only deadlines and other work related events but also this romantic dinner you have been invited to on Friday or again this afternoon tea with your girlfriends on Saturday. This way (and even if your calendar looks completely overbooked) you will work harder when needed in order to be able to attend your personal events.

    3. Write to do lists and start with the task you like the least first: That way you are sure to get it done and will end your day with something you enjoy doing (or at least consider easier) consequently finishing the day on a good note!

          4. Every evening, go through everything you have to do the following day and organise it all before going to bed: Pack your gym bag and leave it close to your bed. Prepare your clothes to be worn on the following day and leave them on the chair next to your bed. Pack your books, Filofax ect… Leave your keys and Oyster card in sight on your desk. By organising like this you will have a better sleep with a clear mind of the day ahead and you will, in the meantime, avoid the morning rush and the stress that comes with it.

          5. Try and always work in the place where you will be most efficient: For example, I like being at home, but I know I will get too easily distracted if I write at home. Plus I might need some books from the library. Consequently (and even if the silent study area of the library looked a bit like a prison) I tried to always go to the library and isolate myself. This way you create a good working environment and patterns that are extremely useful to avoid procrastinating and actually do some work.

  6. Set deadlines for yourself: Easier say than done but try to plan ahead so you are always ready few days before the actual deadline.Also, set daily deadlines for yourself. For example, finish the introduction of this report by tonight. And once a deadline is set up, stick to it!

And if you wonder where I got my tips from, here is what a typical day looked like for me in the last two years…. Way too busy!

6.20 am: Wake up, jump into trainers.

6.30 am: Have a light breakfast, grab a fruit and leave the house.

6.55 am: Board an amazingly full  Westbound Central Line train towards Liverpool Street.

7.05 am: Walk up the escalator to arrive in Liverpool Street station. The station is already really busy, business man, tourists arriving or departing London and early raiser on their way to the gym just to name a few, you would be amazed to see the buzz around at such an early hour of the morning.

7.10 am: Touchdown LA Fitness London Wall. Fill up bottle of water and hurry to the spinning room. Believe me or not, at 7 am the classes are full. For many people, the early morning is the only time free to exercise, so at 7.15 when the music starts everyone gives its best knowing the long day ahead.

8.00 am: End of the class. What a great way to start the day! Call me crazy if you want but when I know that I have a really busy day ahead, starting with a good gym session most definitely help.

8.05 am: Shower. Around me, bankers and executives women are hurrying up into their black suits.

8.30 am: Leaves the gym direction Uni

9.00 am: Just in time for the lecture.

12.00 am: Lecture and seminar finished, time to go to work.

1.00 pm: Arrives in Selfridges: red lipstick on, heels on. Let’s go.

1.15 – 9.15 pm: Serve customer, manage the team and answer to all the “bloody” customers complains. Stress stress and stress more. Indeed, during my 9 hours shift, I will think of all this uni work I have to do. I will get stressed knowing that my uni mates are actually spending the day at the library, getting on with their work while I am here trying to make money.

9.30 pm: Count tills, send emails to directors, fill up daily figures sheets and go home!

10.00 pm: Arrives home, eat

11.00 pm: Read the required reading for tomorrow’s lecture. Answer all the emails and post from my fellow uni mates with whom I am working on a group coursework.

11.30 pm: Falls asleep.

Everyday wasn’t this busy as my part-time job kept me busy three days a week only. Nonetheless, everyday was filled with either University or work  and days off were gold dust. At the worst times, when deadlines were upcoming, I didn’t have the choice but to go less to the gym. I agree that you always have the choice but since days are only made of 24 hours, you might have to cut down some activities in the favour of a good night of sleep. Also, I had the chance to have great friends and a great boyfriend that were great support during these busy and stressful times. I intend to thank them all by spending some great quality time with them all summer long.

So yes, I am now enjoying my freedom very much. And to the many people who asked me how hard it was to work and study in the same time, I won’t lie, it is hard. Hard but definitely not impossible. I actually truly believe that my crazy schedule has allowed me to be more organised and so be more efficient when I needed to be so.

Now, I am looking forward to a good holiday far away from the business of London. Because let’s face it, being busy in a busy city that is London is great but, at times, we all need a break.

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!

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

Notting Hill carnival 2011: Smiles and Hapiness

Great day and great time at the Notting Hill carnival this year. Lot could be written, but really, the pictures talk for themselves.

 

Notthing Hill Carnival 2011, London

Camera: Canon EOS 1000D

Lens : Canon

I am “really” going to do this?

We all have moments when we feel the need to take on a new challenge in life. Goals, objectives, tagets, aspirations, intentions, desires, ambitions. Words all having a different meaning but all linked to each other by the same thing, the challenge. Is challenge inherent in human nature? Well, I guess it is. To some extent, we all need challenge in our life. And when there is no challenge, we might go out there and set up one. Life is already challenging by itself, but somehow, it is not enough. Probably because the challenges that life impose to you are just plain hard, forcing you to become stronger, forging progressively the person that you are.

And then there is the other challenges, the ones you like to set up for yourself, mostly on the 31st of December, when you are so sure that you will become such a better person in the new year…. In an elan of optimism I signed up for a half marathon in September and under the predicted time and ticked the under two hours box. Reality is, it is not going to happen knowing that my current best on a 15k is 1.45 min and that I am away in Thailand for two weeks and a half returning to England 3 days before the race.

The way I will perform on the day does not really matter, fact is, I’ll be happy and proud to finish whatever time it will take. You could also say that the cause of this soudain uncompetitiveness is simply the reflect of my rejet of failure. I thought about cancelling the race and had a little conversation with myself. Does Cora wants to do this? Cora does, and actually she would also like to make something out of it other that surpassing oneself.

So I started to look into charities, my place was confirmed and foundraising for a charity seemed just like the thing I had to do. While looking into the charities I realised that the choice would be difficult. Every single one of them seemed to me that there was much to be done and help was needed. When looking a guide dogs I though of romanticism, and as Oscar Wilde underlined perfectly in “The picture of Dorian Grey” romantics are all about the scenery. Without a scenery, romance is nothing, When looking at cancer research I thought of my loved one that lost their battle against cancer. In the end, while browsing on line I saw an article about the consequences of the drought in Africa. And then I looked more, three four, videos….Ten minutes after I was setting up my water aid page.

Now I am hoping to manage to get a few hundred pounds that are that is for sure mush needed. Also, in the last few days, while putting my page online and sharing I had one or two stupid and thoughtless comments on how this or that charity will need more as this or that matter is worst. Just let me tell you something people, comparing pains and tragedies is just plain wrong.

On that note here is the link to my foundraising page.


Hopefully, I will make it through the end. I am sure the prettiness of the race tee shirt that I just receive will help.

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