Thursday, 29 November 2012

ITMB 2012 Networking event


On Wednesday, I was invited to the ITMB 2012 Networking event in Manchester.
The event was for university students who do the Information Technology Management for Business degree (or as mine is actually titled, Management and Information Technology- I attend a Management school, and don’t the university emphasise Management not Business school! Hence the re-title)
The degree is designed in partnership some of the world’s biggest employers, such as Bank of America, Deloitte and IBM as they found graduates were leaving university without the right skills they were looking for.
It’s all well and good having a perfect score on your degree, but once you leave education, in all honesty it doesn’t mean too much. You can’t exactly sell a client service by saying you got 80% on your essay! Employers want to hire graduates who are as confident with their business skills as they are with their IT knowledge.  
From my view, technology encompasses every single aspect of every business, it is the heart of any corporation, and is critical to the daily survival of them, which is why I love it, and see how important it is, and yet it’s no longer just about the back office ‘Techie’, its a board issue now. Therefore, these companies have designed the modules and course material of this degree to reflect the need for technically skilled people with the managerial and business mind also.
The event involved speakers from different organisations to highlight key trends in the industry, discuss current IT developments, various economic issues and inspire us generally. It was also a great networking events, as a soon to be graduate, it was my mission to schmooze a few key players.
At the start of the day, it started out like a typical road trip, 2 girls, 3 guys driving down the motorway too early in the morning and with too much coffee in our system.


However on arrival we soon got down to business, and were quickly introduced to the CIO of Morrison’s and other key IT directors from companies such as Credit Suisse, where we could discuss our interests, showcase our passions and generally raise our profiles.


There were many speakers, but two key presentations stood out for me which I want to share with you. I’ll blog about them on another post, but they were:
  • ‘PowerPoint Sucks’
  • ‘Women in IT’
On a side note, I may have a slight crush on Bryan Johnson who gave the ‘PowerPoint sucks’ presentation... such a suave guy!
Then as part of the day, Deliotte ran a competition based on Cyber Security. We were tasked to give a critical analysis presentation on the current trends and threats, the effects on the banking industry, and how we can prevent it using the latest techniques and operations.... and we came second!
I can’t believe it, out of over 300 people, my team of 5 came second. I’m so very proud, and it proves that we work hard and that we know our stuff.
The day was a fantastic opportunity to really get an edge ahead in the networking area, as this is our final year of our degree. I really believe technology careers need to overcome this stigma it still has, and degrees and events like this are vital for it, plus it honestly was fun.
Of course, after all that hard work, we deserved a treat and headed straight to TGI’s for the one and only Jack Daniels Glaze Ribs- for this girl, no half heartedness, it has to be the full double glaze rack! The food of winners!
If you do want to find out more about the degree, check out the website here:
http://www.e-skills.com/ITMB
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Sunday, 25 November 2012

A DIY Christmas Gift Guide


Today is the 25th of November, meaning it is exactly 1 month till Christmas.
Thinking about it, that’s not a lot of time to get everyone’s Christmas presents sorted.
Because you have so many presents all at one time, the problem I find is not so much of the actual shopping, but the thinking up of new and unique ideas.
But unique doesn’t have to mean expensive. I’ve noticed a lot of Christmas guides around the blogosphere that are great, but a little out of my price range when I have 10+ presents to buy for.
So I thought I would try and offer an alternative perspective. I’ve got a very simple idea that can be re-used for lots of different presents. Be prepared to get put some time in and be creative, but the results are worth it.
I saw on ‘Not on the High Street’ a fantastic Personalized 'Likes' Poster Print. I think it’s a great idea as it shows you really understand the person you’re buying for. Plus you can make it as witty or as silly as you like.
However, at £38 I thought it was rather pricey.
Looking at it though, it is something you could quite easily do yourself.
You’ll need:
  1. A computer with Word
  2. A printer
  3. Paper (I’d recommend good quality thick paper)
  4. A suitable sized frame
Step 1.
Design your poster on word. Start my typing out each new like on a new line, in a font that you like.
Make the alignment ‘Justify’ and then go through and resize the text so they fit on one line. This is trial and error, but just keep upping the numbers till looks right.
You’ll probably have to either add or remove likes to make sure it fills the page.
  
The screen shot is a quick example of one I wrote on Word. You can obviously change the font, the colors and add more likes. But I did mine in about 5 minutes, so it is very easy, but the more time you spend, the better you can make it look.
Step 2
Print. I’d recommend doing a dummy run first on some cheap paper to make sure you like it. Don't want to waste good paper, when we are trying to save money! Then once happy, print in out on the best quality settings.
Step 3
Insert it into your chosen frame. This is where you can get a really nice frame to match your friend/ family. You could even get more creative, and customize it, with embellishments if you’re particularly creative, but even on its own, it looks really good.
This idea can be recreated to do other types of wall art. How about a ‘Remember when poster?’
A few other ideas could be:
  1. On the year they were born events
  2. Favorite quotes
What ever the idea you have, it is something personal to the person you are giving it to, plus it’s a really cheap idea, as I’m guessing you already have the computer, word and a printer. The paper might cost around £5, but in that you’ll get multiple sheets. Then the frame can vary due to how fancy you want, but effectively you could pick up one for about a fiver.
So potentially you can be spending £6 per present!
For example:
5 people times £6 = £30
5 people times £38 = £190
A saving of £160!!
Now after you hard work, go use that saving to treat yourself!
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Saturday, 24 November 2012

My First Thankgiving Dinner



Thanksgiving- The great American Holiday that celebrate the harvest of the year, the food that we have, and everything we have to be thankful in our lives.

This post is a little late, but a bit of weekend drama stood in my way...

Now not being American, or having ever been to America, it’s not something I’ve ever taken part in. Only to be observed through the eyes of a stressed Monica Geller from the comfort of my sofa.

However, this year, I am living with an American, and another flatmate lived in Austria last year where they celebrate Thanksgiving. So it was decided, Thanksgiving would come to England this year!... or at least my house.

The way I have interpreted it, it’s a celebration of Friends and Family too.

This year, I am living with 7 others girls, and it’s been amazing so far. Of course, we have our differences, and our squabbles. At University, there’s always the risk of housemate issues, living with people you don’t know, personalities clash, or simply you don’t have anything in common, and yet, I really think I’ve got a great house this year who I can call a great group of friends.

So I have that to be thankful for.

However of course, let’s be honest here, the foods the big part!
  

We started with homemade butternut squash and pumpkin soup with tiger bread.



Then of course we had cheese. Ok, so I don’t think Camembert is very traditional however look at it. Look at it!!
Ohhh, the warm, oozing pleasure...


Our beautiful ham, cooking away
Our Meat 'Cake' as it was rebranded due to the lack of loaf tin.


I think the success of the meal can be partially determined by the end state. I’d like to think that we had epically devoured our dinner with much thanks and gratitude!
We did have pecan pie to finish off the meal, but honestly we were all so stuffed that we had to leave it.
My first Thanksgiving was a roaring success. I had so much fun with friends and to me that’s what matters. If you do one thing tonight, make sure you tell your friends and family how much they mean to you, because times do get tough, and shit happens, so when it does your going to what someone round to help you.


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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!




Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Hope you are all having a wonderful day, and are currently stuffed to the brim like I am. You could literally roll me; I'm that round right now.
Remember, it's about friends and family, so just before you leave, give a quick last minute I love you to your nearest and dearest.
More to come on my FIRST EVER Thanksgiving, but right now, I have a food coma coming on!
 
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Mid-Week Cocktails



It’s a Wednesday evening. You’ve been slogging it away at your computer all day, putting your heart and soul into that keyboard. Yet that 2000 word report has inadvertently become 4000 words and your just like ‘oh crap!’
What do you do?
Cocktails with your girls of course!
I can’t deny that my university town isn’t known for it’s nightlife, and is somewhat thin on the ground, however Grizedale bar does do some fabulous cocktails. So after a little gathering of the troops in the flat, that’s where we headed.

  


For an on campus college car, I couldn’t have been more surprised. It's actually really nice and classy inside; all soft mood lighting, and slick lines.

I was all over the vodka twister, to be honest, it had me at Midori.


I plumped for the spiced appletini and the vodka twister.
However, does all this effort really ever to end at the bar...
Of course not! The ever reliable Sugarhouse called.
Have I finished that report... don't be daft!


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Monday, 19 November 2012

Manicure Monday: Flower Power



Nail art has seemed to suddenly exploded onto the scene, in all its rainbow and glitter glory.
Of course, nail art has been around forever, however, from my perspective, it seems to have really become the latest big trend. Everywhere I look, blogs are posting pictures of some simply amazing designs- works of art in some cases! Even magazines are running pages of incredible pictures from around the blogosphere. And I think that’s precisely the point. It’s the dawn of the blog.
The fantastic http://boomnails.blogspot.co.uk/ is proof!
Magazines used to print pictures from professional photo shoots, that were highly stylised, unrealistically expensive, and photo shopped to portray this perfect ideal. Yet, blogs provided us- the consumers-with a way to show real images, real fashion, real style. It also provided a medium for true talent to show case their skills, which is extremely hard to do in the corporate side of fashion.
Blogs have become hugely popular in the area of fashion- especially in ‘Street fashion’ and magazines are having to listen to this consumer behaviour and adapt.
So why nail art though?
Personally I have a theory, and it’s down to 2 things:
  1. The economic downturn and feeling the purse pinch.
  2. Our backlash over body image and the rise of self esteem campaigns.
Fashion and beauty are very much about being able to express yourself, your creativity, and your personality through statements of wear. I’m not sure now is really the moment to go into the psychology of why I love my super bright floral trousers so much, but you get my drift. Yet, truth be known, clothes are expensive, and to keep with trends, to differ our look, really hits the wallet. Whereas nail art is a lot cheaper.  Good nail varnish can be picked up for around a fiver, and that bottle will last for a long time. Get yourself 4 shades or so, and you’re off. Only your lack imagination is your obstacle- and maybe a shaky hand!
Second, nails are something that anyone; any age, any size, any shape can really showcase. The industry is starting to shift somewhat toward more diversity in its portrayal of women, but it’s still slow. So nail art is a way to really showcase the style can come from anyone.
But best of all, I bloody love it too! For all its glitz and glamour, I love it!
 
 
 
To recreate I used:
 
Avon Nailwear Pro- Peppermint Leaf
Models Own nail art pen- Black
Models Own nail art pen- White
Models Own nail art pen- Gold
 
 
Those Models Own nail art pens are really good. They have both a nib, and then a brush, however the brush I've found isn't tapered, therefore it sprays out too much. However, overall the nail polish is good quality.
 
 
 
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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Manchester Christmas Markets 2012


It’s Christmas!

Ok, so mid November is slightly too early to be hanging tinsel and cracking out the mistletoe. But when Manchester’s legendary German Christmas markets open, it would be rude not to get into the spirit.

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. Open log fires, hot creamy drinks, twinkling lights- everything just looks better bathed in a warm glow.

So yesterday, me and a couple of my flatmates boarded the train and went off to get festive.


And to set the tone, my first festive drink of the year was in order. It’s no Starbucks Red Cup, but I would highly recommend the Honeycomb Hot Chocolate from Costa. Sweet but not sickly.




The obligatory mulled wine was our first point of call. The queue was huge, but of course, no Christmas is complete without mulled wine. The drink even came in a cute mug instead of paper cup, as Manchester this year has promised to be more eco friendly.

Cheese!!

Oh how I love cheese! My two favourite foods are cheese and bread. I just love good quality cheese and bread. Especially from markets, where the bread is homemade, and in an array of unusual flavours.  Did I just spot 3 year matured stilton...?




The markets are full of an array of over sized sweets, artisan farm foods, novelty Christmas decorations and one off gifts. I would really recommend going. It’s just lovely to walk round, and for those less Christmassy, the Arndale is next door (who are you people?! )...


 
Later into the night, all the lights came on, and my pre-vision of twinkling trees, and warm glow radiating came true. Snuggled up in my coat, scarf and mittens, I was a very happy girl.



All pictures are my own except the first which is from my-hospitality.com

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Friday, 16 November 2012

My mother and the 5 pieces of advice I’m glad I didn't listen to

  
I was looking through a back issue of Glamour magazine ( Yes I am one of those girls who keeps a number of issues- a good number of issues- stacked away, until eventually I decide to throw them away- sorry I mean recycle away!
In one issue was an article on 5 good pieces of advice from our mothers we should have listened to. Well, I mean I love my mum to absolute bits, but I present to you-
My mother and the 5 pieces of advice I’m glad I DIDN’T listen to:
1.       Stop drinking tap water- Saddam Husain has poisoned it.
Ok, slight twist on her actual words, but I kid you not, back in 2003, when we declared war on Iraq, the predictable sensationalism in the media kicked followed, and one such report said that one way Saddam would target us was by poisoning the water system.
Now, one key thing about my mum is that she is the most over dramatic person ever. So she took this to heart, immediately went out and bought trolleys worth of bottled water and declared we were only to drink that.
Should I have listened? I think this morning’s coffee, yesterday’s coffee and the past 9 years coffees say no.
2.       Why not be a bin lady? We all need bin ladies.
My mum is what I call a proper mum, or maybe traditional is a better word. She sees her role is family first and to support her children in whatever makes them happy. However the negatives of this are my mum is not into what I’d call social mobility. She was raised very traditionally- family live close to each other, men are the breadwinners etc. How we are related is life’s great mystery sometimes! She practically had a breakdown when I up and moved to London on my own age 19.
I asked her about her views and in doing so I said ‘would you really support me even if I wanted to be a bin lady?’ to which she honestly said yes, and that we all need bin ladies, so why not.
I’m glad I didn’t listen otherwise I wouldn’t have my ambition.
3.       Saturday knitting club will be good for you
Armed with 2 pointy sticks, I furiously tried to weave in out, in out with neon wool, aiming to produce a scarf. 10 weeks later, I took home a ‘Woollen Christmas bauble’. In other words, a tangled ball that the staff had attached a hook to.
Every girl should know the basics of sewing- it’s a life skill was my mum’s justification for dragging me out of bed on a Saturday morning, embarrassing me whenever I spotted a classmate leaving when leaving the leisure centre.
Should I have listened? Certainly not! I might have ended up a 21 going on 65 year old! Although it might have prevented my next extracurricular activity choice of Judo and the A&E incident...
4.       It will all work out.
This might sound slightly odd, but what I mean by this is that I like to have a plan, or at least if something unexpected happens, I will immediately assess and work out what I need to do to adapt.  Sometimes this of course is easier said than done.
For example, last year during my placement, when I first joined, I just wasn’t getting any meaningful work. It was frustrating, and frankly I felt like I was wasting my time. I tried tactfully to say something but it wasn’t working and it was running me down. My mum’s advice was to ride it out.
It’s the same now. She’s in a similar position, yet her approach is to just deal with it rather than cause confrontation.
I’m glad I didn’t listen, I fought hard to be taken seriously, and I’m so glad, as I got involved with some huge projects and I really achieved something.
5.       You don’t need another pair of heels
Errr no! Just no!
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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Welcome to Heroine in Heels


As a woman in the 21st century, I’d like to think of myself as championing the modern day women. I’m ambitious, hardworking and very career driven. I’m tech loving, an inner (and outer) geek- all while wearing fabulous heels.

I’m not going to lie when I say I usually get a surprised expression when I say how much of a technology enthusiast I am, and secretly I rather like this! I do a mix of computer science and management modules at University, and yet I am very much a girly girl too. I’m not ashamed to say I enjoy the prospect of each day, deciding on outfit combinations; what textures to mix, what accessories to highlight- getting dressed up in actually fun! And yet then I’ll go and blow this girly cover by getting excited by Microsoft’s new Language Translator!

I’d very much like to think I’m doing it for this ‘modern women’, in the sense, hell yeahhh we can have it all!

I’ve set up this blog, as I’ve always loved writing (in fact back in the day my career ambition was to be a writer- although cringe worthy ideas included rebel teenagers solving murder mysteries. Eek).  I’ve also always been quite opinionated, and love to share my ideas and thoughts. I love to read blogs as I find them inspirational, thought provoking, and most importantly, enjoyable. Sometimes, I don’t think people realise the power potential that blogs have. Therefore, I wanted to do the same. Share my ideas, express myself, have fun doing it, and hopefully share that same feeling around a little.

Heroine in Heels, will be a mixture of opinion articles, career articles, beauty posts, food posts, thoughts and general musings, aimed at the women who are ambitious, damn hardworking, and yet still love all the best bits of being a girl- or so I’d like to think.

Enjoy!
 

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