Thursday, December 27, 2007


It was a beautiful Christmas Eve with good food (as expected) and lovely presents but best of all, with the wonderful company of the family, cousins and baby Antoine.

First present for first Christmas, with Mom and DadWith Mémie, aka Kitem
With Tonton Alex, who more than ever wants one of these all for himself
Mamie Ese with all four grand daughters, shame her three grand sons were absent, especially my brother and his boys, but I've seen them loads on MSN on Christmas day and Santa Claus, via Tata Hélène brought them very cool Light Sabers; I'm delighted.
I can't complain and got to play loads with Antoine on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and today, Yay!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

It's been another busy year end - I transferred to my new role successfully with a couple of teething problems as you would expect but with more victories than setbacks. We closed 2007 with a bang and now, 2008, Here I Come!
A line up of beauties: (L to R) Beth, Sarah, Alison, Tracy, Dani, Sarah, Me (Thanks go to Hannah for my hair)

A very jolly coach ride to Madame Tussaud

From top to bottom: Me enthusiastically pooring champagne
Ann, Julie, Sue and Jane
Emma, Me, Dani and Hannah
The next morning, Alex asked what wax figurine I saw, and I said "There wasn't a lot, I don't remember seeing any", the photos betray me! (darn photos), however, after seeing this picture, I do remember watching Johnny Depp and thinking, I would not have thought he was taller than me and also thinking he's wearing too much make-up. Martin met with his idol, (I can't believe I did not spot Shrek!!!), anyhow, Martin has been the most wonderful friend this year, he will be my boss next year but we will work as a team needing to achieve one common target; most of the best things that happened to me this year was with a little help from him.
Jun is unfortunately leaving our team, having to relocate to the mother ship in Japan, hope he stays in touch, I know I'll miss him next year.

The girls are a little bit worse for wear at the end of the night, but you are all my witness I never had that much of a good time last year and it was awesome.

Have a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Birthday Julien!

I'm copy-catting Kitem with an ancient picture of the best big brother in the World, surrounded with toys, no ferrari yet. Joyeux Anniversaire mon Juju!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The City Where Giants Roamed

Rome... It's an aboslutely incredible place. The scale of the city is beyond words, there you are walking down a narrow and dark street wondering what is that pretty church that is coming into view, when all of a sudden you are the end of that street and that Rome comes in full view with giangantic buildings of huge proportions. In the photos below I'll try and represnet that grandeur to you, use your imagination, and remember that most of this city was build 2000 years ago.

Bellissima! The Trevi Fountain
A Detail of the Arch of Optimus Severus (3rd century AD)
Posing in front of the Colosseum, built in 8 years with 40,000 slaves in 3rd Century AD
I liked the remains of this bridge built in 3rd Century BC!
You can see more photos on my facebook page here:
(You don't need to set up an account or register to view this page)

Friday, November 09, 2007

What's the big secret keeping me away from blogging?

I can finally reveal (I think I can anyway) the reason that has been and will continue keeping me away from my blog and reading your blogs (I still get regular updates from Kitem though).

You are now reading from the new UK Retail National Account Manager - Ta-Da!

A few months ago, a young man joined the team as sales executive to support Martin and take away the load from me so that I could focus on Marketing and business development, unfortunately things did not go as planned and sadly Russell left our team as quickly as he joined - No, I did not beat him or torture him - he had a long journey to work, which he hated, amongst other reasons which are irrelevant now. So I found myself absolutely swamped trying to catch up with all the range reviews and year end promotions to plan, the marketing events to organise and attend. To put it simply I was doing two full-time jobs in the time given to one human being. It was exhausting but I coped really well, and before I knew it, Ron was calling me to his office to say very nice words indeed: "Helen, I don't know why we're looking to recruit outside the company when we have the perfect candidate within"... Not being the brightest one, I waited for him to continue, till the light switched on in my head that he was actually talking about me!!!! memememe, perfect, clever, beautiful me! (oops I'm being over confident again).

That said, I wasn't meant to tell anyone, and what happens when something is not quite official? Well, you start doing the new job but continue doing the old one at the same time. Martin introduced as the UK Retail National Account Manager to all of his customers that will now be mine (and as you know, I get on famously with all of them, so it's simply awesome) and I still have to cope with my current job until someone comes in to take over my role; that will be in January by the looks of it, so I won't be around here much till then - but I do think about all of you everyday and I do miss you loads.

In the meantime, Alex and I are escaping this stressful times, with a four day trip to Rome! So have a brilliant weekend. Love you all.

PS: Kitem is offline for a few days while she is changing ISP. She sends her love to you all and will be back on Wednesday.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Who is the shittiest of them all?

In this age governed by modern economy, where businesses aim at customer satisfaction and compete to be the best in their field, I am always stunned to see that some of the world giants in turns of company size and revenue compete at providing no customer service and at who is the shittiest of them all?

Our first participant is never on time; they will make you wait on the runway for an hour so you cannot use the loo and miss connecting flights/appointments, they will loose your bag at least once; and when you check in your very fragile package because you cannot take it onboard it is against their new security policy, well you can be sure that it will arrive wrecked and soaking wet; they will not apologise for doing so as it isn't their fault they are so incompetent; (possibly their parents'?) They are British Airways!

Our second participant is another airline; they will delay your flight for two hours followed by 20 minutes more, followed by 20 minutes more, followed by another 20 minutes (Note that if a plane is delayed more than two hours the company must buy you dinner, by splitting three hours that way, they are saving themselves quite a bit of money); they will not compensate you in any fashion, they will not put you in the other flight that is leaving to the same destination; the customer service will close in front of you, next, in a long line because she finished her shift and won't be replaced by anyone, you will not be informed by anyone except the flight information TV flashing orange on the black screen "now departing 22.20", then "now departing 22.40", (you get the picture). Once in the plane they tell you you're going to be served dinner as a compensation but when the food trolley comes, you realise that you need to pay for your food. They are Scandinavian Airways!

The last one is a UK retail, (I won't divulge the name because they are a customer of ours). they advertise that they have an excellent customer service in store and great prices (#COUGHBULLOCKSCOUGH#); but they do have a great range and are very conveniently located so I do shop there; I have never got any help from anyone; I have spent a lot of time in their stores going "excuse me" "Can I get some help please" "Can you spare me a minute" "I have a question" and be ignored dramatically, leaving everytime without my purchase because after standing around like an idiot trying to buy something, I thought I'd have the time to find the same item from another more helpful store and possibly at a cheaper price. Needless to say they are not doing very well.

This competition is open, you may submit new candidates.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Paris to Norway

Wow. It's been a while and I'm only dropping by to give you a brief update. I've missed you, I miss reading your blogs everyday, although Kitem has been keeping me updated with your stories. It's been very busy lately, Paris, Conference, Norway, more meetings, deadlines and visits from my brother and now I'm waiting for Kitem and Mr. Garden to come over for a week and before going back to Norway for a few more days. Everything is going great, although I am feeling very tired, I am looking forward to seeing mom and dad again, and Alex will be taking me to Rome in November, I can hardly wait as you can imagine.
Miss ya all
Take care!

Rugby World Cup England Vs South Africa. Here with my colleague Nick and customer Keith.

Some of our customers from South Africa and customers from England posing in front of the Eiffel Tower. The trip was great, I also caught up with childhood friend Faustine who just moved to Paris.

A nice snapshot of the Place de la Concorde, taken by SA colleague, Clive, while I was busy playing the Tour Guide of my country's capital.

At the sales conference a week later with SA colleagues, Dani and Clive and UK colleague, Peter.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Meeting Antoine

On Thursday 6th, we drove back to Saintes to give me time to catch up with the rest of the family. Papi came over for lunch and he is very well, the doctor says he'll live to be over 100 and is in perfect health for his age, our only concern is that he is bored very obviously, but I was pleased that he told different stories about his past than the last few visits, when he would only ever talk about the time he met my grand mother, now he talked about his trains and his career and that he noticed that for his first job back in 1930's, he was paid 1 euro a month (1.25 USD). So we've come a long way in terms of power of purchase and cost of living.

I also caught up with cousins Marion first and Eugenie later, who is now teaching in Saintes, she's glad to have moved back to the region and so am I because it means I'll get to see her more often.

On Saturday, Nicolas, Emilie and Antoine came over for lunch with Mamie Ese; Antoine, now 5 months, is a awesome little boy, he is so adorable but only laugh and smiles with his parents, even though he is very easy and did not mind playing and cuddling with me or anyone else. I was amazed at how well behaved he is. His mom put him in his cot and closed the door, we

could hear the baby talking to his soft toy until he fell asleep, and never crying, we heard him wake up when he resumed his conversation with his toy 90 minutes later.

Oleron Island

On August 31st I was off to my holiday back home. Kitem and Mr Garden picked me up from La Rochelle at 9pm and by bedtime we were in an Atlantic piece of paradise, Oleron Island. I think it is awesome to wake up to hear the waves rolling and smell the fresh sea air and have a croissant breakfast feet in the sand; with mom, dad and Mamie Ese and her infectuous chirpiness. I stayed bare feet for the whole four days, occasionally wearing them to go to the market and when Mamie Ese took us out for dinner at the creperie (pancake).

The programme was great. Wake up anytime, have breakfast, go for a long walk on the beach, have a lunch fit for kings, spent the afternoon on the beach, have dinner, sleep.

Up the sand dune that separates us from the ocean.

The Lighthouse, Chassiron, is at the most western tip of the island
During one of the many walks on the beach
Mamie Ese and Kitem sharing a silly joke while making a plum pie for lunch.

During another long walk along the beach

Collecting stones with wholes for a very specific purpose I won't reveal yet.
Posing with the catamarans. Looks like a magazine picture.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happiness? Priceless

I'm happy, because:

My boss listened to one of my concern regarding the business and took action accordingly; I like being taken seriously, I'm not just a pretty face you know?

My dear brother was giving up hope of coming to France for Christmas; but I found a solution and Hope is restored that they can make it afterall.
I received a progress report from my little sponsored kid, Jonas, and he is doing very well; and it delights me, that my little help has given him so much more; he is doing very well at school and looks very well too. The only other picture I had of him, he looked... tired and angry; look at him now! He likes football, dancing and gospel music; sounds like mighty fine hobbies to me. And he drew a truck for me. Awwww! I'm smitten.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A summer routine

Going along the slow and lazy flow of summer, enjoying every moment of sunshine and stillness.

I've gone to Goodwood Horse Racing Festival. I've finally got to wear the dress I had bought for Nadine's wedding, that I did not get to go to, I looked beautiful and I got complemented by everyone, which was sweet. Although i did not win at the races, I had a lovely day, lots better than last year, it must have been the ladies, I get along very well with customers Heena, Liz (to my left) and Brian and I got to meet Anna (to my right here) who was great fun.

I read one the best books in a long time; the House at Riverton by Kate Morton, already a Best Seller. I love these books where the story teller isn't necessarily the main character, but everything around her is the story, the people, the place, the economy, the country, the history, love, drama, death and happiness. I only ever found another book of this magnitude, Empress Orchid by Anchee Min; if you can recommend any other please do.

I watched again Lost in Translation, I never tire of this film. I truly love it, I think it is because I can very much rely to it. At different stages of my life, I have found myself quite lost in translation. I do not mean literally, but just like in the movie, lonely, curious but shy, without friends, communication breakdown, insecure in love and life... And this time, I discovered a great song by Jesus and Mary Chain, Just Like Honey.
My baby went to Berlin while I was away on business trips; he had three great days discovering the war torn German Capital.

He met Knut the Bear at the Berlin Zoo, both famous because he was rescued from his mother who tried to kill him as a cub, but also because Bear is the symbol of Berlin. Here the teenager is taking a nap. Discover Berlin through my baby's eyes.
Summer finaly came in August, so last weekend we made the best of the first gorgeous weekend of the summer by having a picnic at Hampton Court gardens with Seow Ling and Nils. I was very excited to use my French basket for the first time (other than for decoration), I made tomato salad, taboule, Ham and salad and Salami and Coleslaw sandwiches, and Seow Ling was in charge of the dessert with fruits and brownies, she also brought a pasta salad in case we'd be missing, but we weren't...
The three of them took a nap after the heavy lunch, while I was reading the wonderful book The House at Riverton.
We had a perfect blue sky and I completed my book while getting a discreet tan. It was an absolutely perfect day, and I was humming the song of the same title by Lou Reed on the way home...

The rest of the month including Nicki's birthday lunch party, anther perfect day by the river in London; followed by a night out with Alex, where before going to watch transformers, we played bowling and a Time Crisis kind of game at the arcade below the cinema.

I went to a tea party at Nadine's where I put my foot in my mouth teasing her friend Bridget. See, Bridget got engaged, but she was upset because her engagement was not exactly what she expected, because her fiance James did not give her the ring and told her to fly back to South Africa on his air miles because it is cheaper to buy a diamond there. As far as I am concerned this is awesome, so I teased her about being upset, but I guess it was sensitive topic and I feel bad about it cos there was no harm intended. I took my first golf lesson and now I suck more than before the lesson, so lots and lots more practice is in order. There was a rumor going around the office that I may be pregnant, but I've set them straight before finding myself wishing that I was... huh?!

I caught up with my cousins Nicolas and Emilie about their new life as parents with awesome little Antoine; as well as with Chloe who seems to have put her life on hold in Limoges, she doesn't like it and waits to move back to Saintes to continue living; which is a shame, because experience taught me that the more you wait for something the less it happens, I told her so, I hope she will move on in Limoges, then Saintes will come around.

I spoke to my lovely boy Jacques who was 7 yesterday, he is very eloquent now and I am darn proud of him, he also enjoys conversing which new to me. Miss them all very much and I am simply looking forward to my holiday in France to meet Antoine and for Christmas to spend it with all my family.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Return of the Geek

Ha! I had promised myself not to expose my dark side to ya-all, but you already kinda know; so I'll admit that I went to watch Transformers last night and I went to the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars at the Star Wars Celebration Europe, ExCel Centre London, 14 July 2007 and I loved it!!!

Shame you can't see the features, he had Han Solo's smile and his eyes... sigh.

Of couse, I could not resist pausing with the super duper better looking than Ewan McGregor, Obi-wan Kenobi

That Darth Maul was way into his role, bad ass at is best.

I could not help but get this cool shot from Bobba Fett none the least
At work & On a break

I liked the sandmen, they looked very cool.