Tuesday, 14 January 2014


Twitter was useful!
I went to this cider making course back in November thanks to a RT.
One of the lecturer in DCU did this course with David Llewellyn two years previously and couldn't recommend it more. I thought I could do with getting my nose out of my books and off my multimedia screens for a day. This would remind me of dear childhood memories, when I used to make cider with my Dad in our bungalow's basement in Normandy. Perfect!

My childhood house in Normandy was built on an apple orchard which means that each garden in the neighborhood had apple trees: a wonderful sight each Spring when in full bloom! We had four trees which was more than enough for the family's consumption for a year. Depending on the yield after apple harvest I think we could produce between 200 and 300 bottles. My Dad drank the most of it of course and we often had left over bottles rolling from one year to the next. When I was a bit older I remember the pleasure of opening a cold bottle just brought up from the basement on a hot summer day. What a delight! Our pleasure was the true measurement of our ROI. This stuff probably could not have been commercialized but we absolutely loved it. You had to like Super Extra Dry! This was the most organic cider ever. Absolutely nothing added to it. Just apple juice and the action of time for fermentation. One year I even adventured into making Pommeau with the help of a gifted neighbor. These were the good times! 

Picking up apples.
That's me with the apple on the head, with my older brother and sister.

When I was younger, it sometimes seemed to me that it was such a chore to go outside when it was so cold to pick up all the apples. Some other times is was just great fun, even getting my friends involved! We used to ask the local farm for huge plastic bags to store them until ready to call the press. Then we would spend long dark afternoons manually filling bottles and closing them down. I remember forcing the white plastic top with a hammer and be quick to keep it in place with a wire, just like the one used on Champagne bottles. This would create deep cuts in my fingers that would be there for weeks... I am absolutely amazed at bottle labeling machines available even to private producers. Even more in owe to learn only now that my class mates families used to buy wine in bulk and they would bottle their own wine at home on a regular basis. I'm sure this is still the case for a lot of French people!

Then it was time to call the farmer who had the machine to transform our apples into apple juice. This was always the occasion to get the camera out, and we were sure to see a few neighbors coming out of their houses for the great street spectacle it offered. We also made sure to have some empty glasses ready to taste the freshly pressed apple juice. The farmer's machine was a real Rube Goldberg contraption: a modified tractor which could wash, crush and press the apples in no time. It was very noisy. It looked something like this:

The Mobile Press.
 This picture was borrowed with thanks on http://www.wineterroirs.com
It's great to see that others have documented the process so well on their own blog.

So quite amazingly, having to study and get more acquainted with Twitter has thrown me back into delightful childhood memories, and in the middle of a very ancient way of fermenting apple juice to get cider. I suppose: "the apple never fall very far from the tree" is a great expression to express how it's always coming full circle! The first thing I do when I win the Lotto is to buy an apple orchard!

It only takes 5 minutes.

Alarm clock.
Shower. Brush teeth. Dress up.
Wake up son. Dress him. Feed him. Brush his teeth.
Prepare lunch box. Keep in mind: healthy. Water.
Car. Drive to school. 18kms. Mental note: win Loto to buy house closer to school.
Pre-school teacher sets the mood for the day. Varies. Kiss Darling, see you tonight.
University. Concentrate...and again. Keep focused. Take notes for blog. Think about it at least!
Form groups of 3, 6, 3 and 2. Presentation, Presentation, Presentation!
Tea. Lovely chats.
Lunch. Breathe if you can.
Lecture. Concentrate...and again. Concentrate.
Drive to son's school. Get petrol on the way. Ring book shop, remember.
Hello Darling, how was your day? What do you mean you did nothing today? What song do you want to sing?
Remember to spring clean (windows and oven especially) before step family comes for diner.
Need to read Marketing material.
Sort 3 email inbox, Tweets, Facebook groups, WhatsApp, and good old fashioned SMS. Dropbox and Pb Works. Who has ever heard of Pb Works before?? 
Phone voice mail. What a funny way to call it! Oops that one is 3 weeks old! 
Blog. Writer's block.
Daddy is home! (my son's Daddy, not mine!)
Cook diner. Dial diner? So long until you can tweet it. Bugger I'm sure it's already possible! 
Sit down. Eat diner. Family time. 
Son's evening routine. Bath. Pyjamas. 2 Peppa Pigs on tv. Brush teeth. 2 stories in bed. Good night my little Darling.
Tv or study. Chat with hubby. 
Write a list of what has to be done tomorrow or during the week: weed allotment, harvest the last potatoes, plan seeds for March. Call for a quote for the shelves in the living room; are we going to finally use all that paint we bought before Christmas? 
Run. To bed. I can't. 

Buzzing alarm Clock.
Here we go again!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

It's been brewing for a few weeks. Project Management Blunders.

One of the Project Management lectures given by the formidable David Staunton, used the Titanic as an example of a Project Management gone incredibly wrong. Lessons were not learned and tasks schedules were simply ignored.

The entire student assembly was left quite speechless after watching this video "Titanic - Project Management Blunders".  The video lasted 20 minutes but kept everyone completely riveted until the end. You can click the image below to watch it.

Far from the romanced story line of the cinema blockbuster that we all have heard of, this documentary explains why a tremendous project ended up at the bottom of the sea. "Why did it happen, the ship was deemed unsinkable" says the video. Eight weeks safety trials were reduced down to one single half a day. The sailors in charge of looking out for icebergs were not provided long views and the crew members who had them didn't want to share because of the difference of "ranks" between them. Lessons from the recent projects were never learned etc...

As I was seating there, I couldn't help but think: only men are mentioned in the dealing of this project. The women related to Titanic were only part of the First Class passengers, probably wifes of some of the 53 millionaires on board.  This thought was probably prompted by the Irish Times article (Sunday 27th October) announcing the annually anticipated Dublin Web Summit, 30th & 31st October 2013. This article explained that only one in eight technical speakers are women and that it's worrying:

 "The dearth of women in tech companies is a global issue, but Ireland is ‘at the bottom of the heap’ in tackling it"

My questions will probably never be answered but I will formulate them anyway. Should women had been involved in the Titanic Board meetings... would Titanic still be afloat? Could women have avoided the catastrophe by diluting the excessive pride and wild dreams brewed by the over excited male hormones in charge?

Linking this with the message kindly given to us by the brilliant people from Harmonics: Women, don't be scared to stand out!

Enough for now with the serious worries and questions. I will leave you today with this very funny video from Harry Henfield: Women know your place!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Week 4... is it?

As it stands, I did jump. As it is, I feel I still have my head under water and the need to breathe is getting more and more unbearable. Learning to swim in the student world, feeling the rocks are not too far under my feet... Stress of a newbie wreck. Can somebody send me a rope?

Today our lovely class delegates Michael and Jean gave us a much needed recap of the "few" assignments we have to hand in before Christmas. Panic attack!!! Was that 8 or 9? Luckily, I have accomplished one of them today and can put it in the back of my mind. One down!

The next assignment is about Ikea and innovation/creativity. At the moment it is cooking like a warm soup in my head, until I find a minute to open the pressure cooker and serve it accompanied with a bit of chervil on top!

I have just tried my hands at creating a QR code for my blog, and guess what: it didn't work!! Sometimes I feel lucky just like that! I know I'll work it out, but for now I might just catch up on the lack of sleep accumulated recently.

Before I go, I have found myself addicted to LinkedIn in the last week. I think my connections went from 37 to a quite impressive 143... no wait it's 144 now!

 Isn't this a lovely positive curve? This looks like a safety rope thrown my direction! I think I'll make it somehow!

I'll be ok!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Oreo dunk in the dark

Call me cynic, but I wonder which one of the Oreo marketing team was caught with his hand on the light switch?!

My sarcastic remark could stop here and just state the obvious. Thankfully, Jon Thomas give us a great insight in his piece under this link.

You just have to be fast and to be the best with a great sense of humor. A great recipe for success from a little cookie to achieve greatness in digital marketing.

And so it all began! An Intro to this blog

Time to jump!

This blog was created as an assignment for the Digital Marketing course I am following this year at the DCU Ryan Academy in City West Dublin, Ireland. 

The Business Innovation Programme was created in conjunction with the Irish Government initiative called Springboard. Springboard courses aim to up-skill unemployed but experienced individuals to meet employers' current need. And in their own words:

"The Springboard initiative in higher education offers free, part-time courses at certificates, degree and masters level. Springboard has identified the following in demand qualifications among employers: Cross-enterprise Skills, Information/Communications Technology, International Financial Services, Manufacturing, Skills for Enterprise to Trade Internationally, and others." For more information you can view their website: https://www.springboardcourses.ie/

Every week, we are asked to write a blog in regards to the lectures we have received in digital marketing. I think I am better at preparing a meal from scratch or growing pumpkins, so this should be fun!

Time to jump and learn how to swim!