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Get Fit for the Summer

England is not the best place on earth to get fit throughout the year. Especially when exam times are coming up and that it’s easier to find some comfort with cupcakes than with a treadmill at the gym.

However I managed to get fit for summer and lost a little bit of weight by doing very simple things that are doable for everyone, the most important is the motivation. If you’re not motivated at 100 % you won’t achieve your goal. Keep in mind that you want to look like a goddess for the beginning of the summer to show off on the beach with your brand new bikini if you are a girl or with your brand new surfboard if you’re a man.

Here are few tips you can follow, and if you stick to it I promise you will notice the difference. But this is not a diet at all; it will help you to modify your habits to have a healthier lifestyle.

First of all, try to avoid junk food as much as possible. If it’s possible, ban fast foods of your life for few months. Instead of spending money in such places, take the habit to cook yourself! Cooking can be really fun especially if you’re a student. It will help you to relax and have good times with your friends. Even if you’re not the kind of person to be patient, recipes are made especially for you. Sometimes it takes just 5 minutes to get an outstanding dish. After all you efforts, you will be rewarded by eating food you set your heart on making instead of taking the easy way and going to a random fast food to buy junk food that will hurt your body. Also when you’re hungry, instead of eating snacks take the habit of eating a carrot: it’s much healthier and better for your body.

Another tip is to keep it light in the evening. You can have a substantial dish for lunch but something but try to have something light for dinner. Because as you won’t make any more effort, your body will accumulate the fat instead of burning calories like its the case when you are active during the day. I would advice you have a salad with some cheese and some piece of fruit as dessert. You can have some tea too after dinner.

And my last piece of advice would be: try to walk as much as you can. When you can avoid to take the bus or your car, do it : to go to uni, to do your groceries, to go into town. It’s better for your health and also very respectful for the environment. Don’t be lazy and go out to the park for example. Take a ball and go to the park with your friends, flatmates or siblings. Summer days are finally here after endless rainy days, so make the most of it to share them with people you like before going home for the summer!

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My summer as a florist in Paris

To be published on studentcom

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After my study, I’m planning to go backpacking in Asia. Though it involves sacrifices, like not going on holidays, be careful no to spent too much, I’m sure it’s worth it. So two summers ago, I decided to stay in Paris and look for a summer job. I was not 18 at that moment so it was a bit of an issue to find one. After many attempt I found a kind florist that was happy to hire me for the summer.

I didn’t know anything about flowers. I have flowers in my garden but my only contact with them is when I see them through my room’s window.
Not only did I found a way to fund my project, I also developed a new passion.

The shop was located in the middle of Paris, in the ‘IXeme Arrondissement ‘. It was in a very lively area of Paris, the shop was right behind the ‘Boulevard Haussman’ where are the two biggest malls of Paris ‘Les Galleries Lafayette’ et ‘LePrintemps’. Though it was aFlorist 2 small shop, it was always busy because of its location. All the employees of the shops around and the shopping centre around came to buy flowers.

At the beginning I was not doing bouquets, I was doing handling and cleaning. But little by little I was given more responsibilities. I have learnt a lot from this job.

Firstly I have learnt about what it involved to work and have duties: e.g. be on time every morning ( I had to be at 8:30 at the shop), be focused ( careless mistake could be costly, for example putting some weed killer instead of fertiliser. It may seem funny but all the bottles look the same).

I have also learnt a lot about flowers obviously, to inform customers in need. I don’t claim knowing all the name of all the flowers but I know quite a few. And it helps me to stand out sometimes during interviews, it highlight the fact that I’m versatile.

I also have met very interesting people. I remember the first time I saw this man entering in the shop; he had a particular style, quite fancy. He was very passionate about flowers and we had quite a long talk about it. Actually he was a fashion designer, as the Fashion week approached he was looking for flowers to use during his runaway. We talked about different topics, he noticed my interest in journalism and told me he had friends in the press industry and offered me to forward my details to them. I’m still in touch with him and I promised him to have a drink together the next time I head to Paris. I also remember that other man that is selling diamond in a very famous brand.

The florist I was working for had partnerships with different brands: jewellery, clothes, cars, photographers etc.. . Each week my colleague and I delivered flowers to these brands. I was always nice and trying to talk to customers in charge of the flowers. Nonetheless one brand particularly appealed me: I can’t name it, it was a luxury diamond dealer. While delivering the flowers I was dreaming for a while imagining which ring my future husband was going to offer me for my proposal. And I think the diamond seller noticed it,; once he told me to come back after I was done with my work. I had no idea of what he wanted from me but I went anyway. He made try a ‘Diamond Rivière’ worth of £10 000. Can you imagine, I had one year of my tuition fees or my backpacking trip in Asia around my neck.

Above all, I felt in love (again) with the city of Paris, the city of love. Thou I have left it I’m still full of admiration and I would never be bored of it. I was often going to Paris during the year, but Paris in summer is another city than Paris during the rest of the year. All the agitation and the stress of the year are evacuated from the city; to leave their place to the calm and to give all its charm to the pretty capital.

Learning a new job in a different city was such an unforgettable experience. I got the chance to meet amazing people, to discover new places, new skills. If you are looking for a job or a placement and you can’t find something related to your field of study, take anything that comes. Don’t refuse a job on the pretext it won’t be useful. Each work experience will be beneficial as it will bring you something new and you will learn from it!

The summer I spent studying abroad

This story was published on student com.co.uk

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The world card where we all wrote down our names. 
 
Last summer, I decided to take the plunge and study abroad for the summer. From June to September, I decided to go to another country. I had already travelled before but never for so long and in a place where I didn’t know anyone.
I can still remember the feeling I had when packing my stuff the night before leaving (organisation skills!). I was mixed with feelings, in one hand I couldn’t wait to discover a new culture, new people and a new language but in the other hand I wouldn’t see my family and friends for a whole summer. Leaving your beloved relatives and best friends for people you don’t know, who would do that? I did, and so far it’s been the best experience of my life.
 
I headed for the hills, leaving my calm, French life for an exciting British one. So I landed on the cupcake island under a bright sun. I still remember that day because I always had in mind the idea of a grey country when it rains everyday and where people are quite sceptic when you start talking about the sun.
 
So many questions mingled around in my head: How are the people going to be there? Will I survive on my own? Will I be able to cook without burning the kitchen and turning it upside down? Will I get used to drinking tea and what about porridge and jelly!?
 
I stayed in Halls, I had an ensuite room and I was sharing the kitchen. I was independent, without having my parents on my back telling me what to do. This summer also enabled me to gain in maturity because I have learnt to live on my own without depending on someone.
 
During this summer, I had the best moments of my life. I met amazing people, I was lucky I was in an international college so it enabled me to meet people from all around the world:  people from Netherlands, Belgium, Brazil, Finland, Latvia, Russia and many more.  I am still in touch with most of them and I’m planning to visit them one day.
 
It was for me a once in a lifetime experience, not only did I discover a new culture; queuing for the bus for example, no one does that in France, having milk with tea, how people are open-minded and ready to help you, I also discovered a new me. I used to be a little bit shy, you know that girl who was very discreet that doesn’t talk much. I used to be that girl. But before going to England I made a promise to myself and I told myself that I didn’t have anything to loose trying to socialise and talk with people. I didn’t know any of them, they didn’t know me and if something bad happened I would never see them again.
 
I never thought that I could get so close to people so quickly; we all lived together for 3 months so we didn’t have any choice but to bond. The parties I have shared with them were the craziest ones.
 
I was lucky to find my friend soul mate, she was keen on baking and on ballet like me. I remember a day when everybody was beginning to fall apart and it ended up with a big argument, my friend and I woke up early in the morning and baked all day long. When everybody woke up
they all found baskets full of cupcakes in front of their doors, and let me tell you that cupcakes can fix more situations than you think.

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During this summer, I also took the chance to be with crazy people to tick off some of my bucketlist tasks. Like doing my grocery shopping in pyjamas.  You could never do that in France, everyone
would be staring at you thinking please go back in your asylum!

 

 

 

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It also took the summer for me to realise something I always wanted to make: a tiered cake. Unfortunately I didn’t have the opportunity to make a proper one but for my friends birthday I made an Impressive cupcake’ (I try to sell it as I can).

 

 

 

I am a little ashamed of this one but I even tried pole dancing, for a single session. It’s very physical!

 
This summer was so memorable: all the wonderful people I met, everything that I have done! I have spoken a lot about leisure, but I did also study there! I got my IELTS (English test) with 7 out of 9.
 
 I was so moved by England that I eventually decided to stay there for university. If you have the opportunity to travel, I would highly recommend that you take it, it’s amazingly surprizing how you can learn from something you don’t know and also from others.  We are young, it’s time to go and explore the world to broaden our horizons.

TV music news

Check out the link of iCov music news segment here.

This is the music segment my group and i produced. The production process was very fun and interesting, it was not the first time for me that I was in a TV studio but it was the first time I had to manage and run a studio. Of course we had supervisors to help us during the training however we had to record our segment on our own without any help.

To have an effective outcome, we had to divide roles effectively : a director, someone dealing with the camera, another person dealing with  the VT and a sound engineer. I had this role, I had to check the levels and make sur the levels were good for the presenters.

It was a very fun experience, being on the studio all together. Though we didn’t know each other very well, we had to team up in order to be efficient and have a good communication inside the group. At the beginning we all wanted to be in front of the camera, I suppose we all thought that it was the most important job and not being in front of the camera was like we were left on the sideline. But it’s at this moment I understood we were at uni and especially that it was a place for mature and thoughtful student. By looking closer to how we had to organise the filming we all fall agree that it was not possible to have numerous presenters, it didn’t make sens. So as wise persons we just decided that two girls would be presenting the magazine.

There wasn’t any major problems, we just had some troubles with the camera, not filming the right person on the right angle. But we manage to fix the problem while editing.

 

Neknomination : the smart way

Smart nomination

In the past couple of days, no one has been spared from ‘Neknomination’ the drinking game phenomenon that began last January in Australia and spread like wildfire on social networks all around the world. The game consist in nominating 3 friends that has to ‘Neck their drink’ in front of a camera and theses friends have 24 hours to take up the challenge and to nominate 3 other friends. This game is extremely dangerous: 5 people already died because of it (a Welsh, two British and two Irish and boys succumbed to the game).

It’s worrying to see how such a game spread from a country to another. After the binge-drinking trend, drinking without any limits is becoming commonplace for the new generation. It’s more and more common to see young people at parties drinking in order to finish drunk than drinking for the pleasure of just sharing a drink with friends.

But fortunately, humankind has a lot to offer. Indeed Julien Voison, French student from Bordeaux decided to take the challenge upside down by creating the ‘Smartnomination’ that he describes like a smart and useful way to answer to the Neknomination phenomenon, he invites everybody that is nominated to ‘Think different’ (according to his catch line). The principle is simple; instead of drinking alcohol the nominated person must make an act of charity for example buying food for homeless people.

Here is an example of Smartnomination in South Africa:

The Facebook page  has already received more than 10 000 likes although it’s not a lot compared to the millions of like that received the Neknomination page. However it’s a good beginning to change things, help people in need by remembering Nelson Mandela’s statement: ‘Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It’s man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom’.

So now it’s your turn to act in a responsible way, do it not only for the late South-African president but also for your health.

 

Valentine’s Day Special

Valentine's Day Special : 'Genoise aux Fraises et aux Framboises avec un glacage au citron vert'

Valentine’s Day is almost here. Even though nowadays it’s more a commercial celebration, no one can deny it’s not a pleasure to have a little attention during this day. There’s no need to give diamonds or anything precious, as my grandmother was always saying :’ The way you give is more important that what you’re giving’. And this is so true.

For this Valentine’s Day I would like to share with you a short Chinese legend my Chinese friend told me.

It’s the legend of Tian Xian Pei.

While the seven daughters of the Jade Emperor ( Ruler of the Heaven) travel on Earth, Tian Xian Pei the youngest sister falls madly in love with Dong Yong a poor farmer. He was struggling to pay his late fathers debts and had 100 days to pay them. The humble seven fairies help him to find a solution to his problem and eventually everything get better for him. He is on a pedestal because everything is perfect for him, he is about to ask Tian Xian Pei to marry him. But the destiny decides something else, the parents of the seven sister called them back in the Heaven. When the youngest sister tells her parents that she wants to marry a mortal men, they immediatly fly into a terrible fury. Tian Xian Pei shelters in her room and cry all the tears of her body. Outside the birds touched by  the long sobs of the violins of autumn build a bridge for her. So  Once a year, on the 7th of July (07/07) the two lovers can meet in secret and live their passion.

I’m not very an emotive person but I was touched by this fairy tale and little girl in me was brought alive for a while.

I have a thought for the people that are not lucky to have their beloved ones with them this year. To all those people that went away too fast, may they rest in peace. We won’t forget you, you’ll be present in our hearts forever.

PS : You can find the recipe of the  : ‘Genoise aux Fraises et aux Framboises avec un glacage au citron vert here.

Fit as a Fiddle : The Asian Way

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Eating with chopsticks is characteristic of  Asian cultures. For the occidental world it is one of the first clichés that come to mind when they see Asians eating their bowls of rice with chopsticks. But it is more than a stereotype. Studies suggest that eating with chopsticks is healthier than eating with a fork.

Coventry hosts a large number of international students many of whom are from Asia. May, a Chinese student of Coventry, gives an insight into this tradition: ‘ I think that asian people have a healthier lifestyle than English people, there is not as much obesity problem in my country than here in England’

She argues that  eating with  chopsticks helps in moderating the pace at which we eat and the quantity we consume. This, she explains, is the reason why Asians eat small quantity of food in little bowls. But eating less does not make them  hungry. The logic is the slower the body swallows  food and the faster  it controls its appetite. More so, it enhances the rate at which the nutrients are assimilated.

But to make this work some rules must be observed when eating with Asians. For example, piercing your food with a chopstick is considered a funeral rite in Japan and discouraged.

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Obesity is a major health issue. Although eating with chopsticks does not solve the problem, it could be a step to tackle it.

Now that you know the benefits, take your time and your chopstick and enjoy your meal!

 

Reflection:Since the very beginning the reader know what the story is going to be about, and to be sure that the reader understands it I have used the appropriate style to make sense for the story. I have tried not to use passive tense; instead I have privileged the use of active forms. I also made my article shorter than the first one with the use of short sentences because according to Farhad Manjoo Readers can’t stay focused.’ The more I type, the more you tune out’ (2013 : online). I would add that for an online article, 800 words must be the maximum to keep it lively and tightly.

Online writing also includes knowing how to structure the news, this is why I have effectively made the use of the headlines and the subhead in order to give simplicity, precision, relevance, orderliness to the reader. I also broke the different paragraph so it’s clear to clear. I have referred to the inverted pyramid theory that states that a story should always go to the most general and then along with the development become more and more specific. The reader must be able to understand very quickly, you don’t want to write a scientific report with a lot of scientific notions, the use of a specific jargon. The work of a journalist is to vulgarise his knowledge in order to make it accessible to the people that would like to know more about a specific topic even though they don’t have any knowledge in it.

The information also must be accessible to any platform; nowadays thanks to all the thriving technologies people don’t only consult online news on computers, they have tablets or smartphones. I also learnt how to take advantage of the online platform for example with the SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation) I couldn’t apply them for iCov but I have tried to use them for my own blog, by using the key words. The first rule for SEO is concision; it’s a way for user to find easily your story while typing key words on Google for example.

I also used the tags in order to make it easy for readers to look a story related to their centre of interest. This article is on the lifestyle category with students and health eating because it’s a major concern for a lot student. In Aim for the Heart, Al Tomkins gives us few tips to tell a story online for example taping into local passion groups : ‘Whatever people are wild about in your area, give them virtual watering holes where they gather to talk about and share whatever they are passionate about.’ (2013 :182)

The advantage with the online platform is that we can create a link with the reader thing that you can’t do in print or in radio : on the online platform, people are able to interact with you, share your article, comment it to have more information. This is why at the end of the article I have included a YouTube video to help the reader to go further.

 

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