Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Looks like this is going to be a very quiet blog.

Well it is registration deadline tomorrow for CIMA if I want to sit my first exams in May, so I am guessing that is not going to happen seeing as the Boss Man has yet to do anything and has now been off sick for 2 days so I can't even give him a gentle reminder.

I will continue to blog on a semi-regular basis when something particularly moves me to be vocal and will pick it up again when, and if, I get registered!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Today I have a photo for you, it should have been more.

I wanted to call into the shops on the way home from work, I say on the way home, I actually have to go the opposite way but you know what I mean, and I had to cross the canal.  It was frozen.

I wanted to go to Dorothy Perkins as I had seen a cardigan online that I wanted a better look at. And I looked. And I bought.  Along with a coat.

The cardigan was £50 full price down to £26 in the sale (I love that word, sale) and the coat £70 down to £15!!  It is a gorgeous dark red colour, which makes a massive change from my usual black.  I have tried to take photos but they are all blurred, maybe I should check the sales for a new camera.  Anyway, I digress, after I used my NUS card I got both items for just under £31.  Bargain!

Anyway, I will try and get photos when I am wearing them to entertain you all.

Ciao for now.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Still no sign of an email or funding.

Well no sign today of the email asking if anyone else is interested in funding for further qualifications and no sign of confirmation for my request for funding either.  Maybe tomorrow.

I did have some good news though, in the course of my work, I *ahem* happened across my record.  The temporary promotion that I have held for the last 6 months has been made permanent, hurrah!  There may also be the possibility of a further promotion in the next few months, although that may well have to wait until I have passed a few more exams, assuming that I get the funding that is.

Weather-wise, it actually took me longer to get to work today, there had been an accident (no-one hurt, just a little shocked and dazed at suddenly finding themselves facing the opposite way on a dual carriageway), it was nowhere near where my bus goes, but the traffic was backed all the way up and blocking an island, once we were able to get onto the island everything was moving smoothly.

Not much more to say today, so will leave you all for now and make myself a mug of coffee with a splash of brandy.  Well it is very cold out.

Monday, 21 January 2013

What is the point in being proactive if you then have to wait for everyone else to be reactive.

Today I donned my attractive green wellies and battled through the snow to work.  Despite living the furthest away from the offices and being the only one to rely on public transport, I was first in.

But I digress, today was the day I put my request in to the Boss Man with regards to funding for my CIMA studies, after discussing all the available options, both study wise and cost wise, he then informed me that he would send an email round to the rest of the office to check if anyone else was interested in continuing with their studies, he would then make a decision based on everyone's requests. 

Why?  Everyone was given the same option as I was, to look into what they wanted to do and collect all the relevant information and nobody else has, so why should I have to wait?  Registration has to be completed by the end of this month.  I have to pay over £300 upfront out of my own pocket, I have put this aside but if I miss the registration deadline then I am going to have to hide it somewhere otherwise it will burn a hole in my pocket between now and the next registration opening in six months time.

Also, at the end of this financial year, all training funds are being to a central pot, at the moment each department has their own allocation.  This would mean going cap in hand to the relevant Director instead of the Head of Department.  It could also mean a reduction in the percentage of course fees covered, or a maximum limit introduced.

So I am biting my tongue for now, but I will starting badgering people if I don't hear anything by the end of the week.

In other news, I have not won any prizes now for 27 days and I cannot see if I have lost any weight this week as my scales have broken.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Not CIMA today, well you need a day off now and then.

As there is nothing more I can do CIMA-wise until I have spoken to the Boss Man tomorrow, today's post is about my previous favourite waste of time - comping.

I have always entered competitions, my first win was a Good News Bible for coming second in a quiz, I think I was about 7 or 8 at the time.  Whilst I was still living at home, I won a real Christmas tree, Mum was not too impressed with this as we were picking pine needles out of everything for a good three months.  However, my next prize was appreciated - a year's worth of toilet rolls!  Not the most glamorous of prizes admittedly, but certainly useful.

Not long after I moved out, I won a huge gas fired barbecue, it was far too big for my needs so after I had struggled with it a few times I stuck it under its fitted cover and forgot about it.  Mum offered to sell it for me.  Now even though this was probably about 15 years ago, the barbecue was worth £600 new, I'd only used it a couple of times and it was still gleaming.  Mum did sell it, and very pleased with herself she told me that she had got £30 for it.  And she was keeping £10 of that as commission.  Thanks Mum!

After that, I couldn't win anything, all my luck seemed to have dried up.

In December 2011 I was not sleeping, I was going through some stuff (that's for another post) and I would almost always wake up at 2am so would get on the Internet.  After trawling through various sites (not those sort of sites, I have no interest - again that is for another post) I found a competition site which listed 100s and 100s of competitions, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

After that, any hours that I wasn't at work, travelling to and from work or asleep were spent comping.  I entered everything and anything, even for prizes that would actually be of no use to me.  I won a few little things that were given as mass giveaways - a beach ball, an inflatable strawberry(?) - but my first 'proper' win was not until March 2012, it was a basket containing an Easter Egg, tea towel, oven gloves and a very expensive meat thermometer.

Since then I have won more mass giveaway items (lanyards, money off vouchers etc etc) and a few bigger things, a Martini Royale set from Bella Italia, a deckchair and bottle of Southern Comfort from, well, Southern Comfort, a signed book and some Magners Cider.  In December I won an iPad Mini courtesy of Tactus, I was over the moon!

However, as I was becoming more selective of the competitions I entered, only entering competitions that were relevant to me, I was finding less and less to enter which obviously meant less chance of winning, having seen people having success on Twitter, sometimes winning 4 or 5 times in a day, I decided to chance my arm.  This was the decision that killed my love of comping.

Whilst I am aware that there will always be cheaters in competitions, and fake competitions too - a recent jewellery store competition is one that springs to mind - Twitter makes them obvious, particularly the 'follow & retweet' ones.  

So many people seemed to be winning with their very first, and sometimes only, tweet.

A beauty therapist won a competition to win a hamper of a new brand of skincare from a start-up company.

A mobile hairdresser won a competition to win a brand new design of brush from a well known  hair brush company.

Food bloggers were winning food competitions, beauty bloggers winning cosmetic competitions.  (Am pretty sure CIMA don't run competitions, darn it!).

I have now accepted that in this day and age of instant gratification, I am going to have to get the things I want the old-fashioned way, go without luxuries and save up!

I will still comp, but will not be searching comps out.  If a competition pops up on facebook, or email or in a magazine and it is something that I can use, then I will enter it.  I'm not expecting to win anything, after all, if I can't win stuff entering 400 or 500 competitions a week, then how am I going to win stuff only entering 9 or 10?

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Decision Made.

Today I finally made the decision to continue with my studies and to follow CIMA rather than ACCA.

After spending the last three and a half years working full time and studying part time to complete my AAT I was unsure as to whether I wished to continue.  You do have to give up a lot of your time, and I knew CIMA/ACCA would be even more time consuming and intense.

I also knew that if I did want to continue my studies, it would have to be sooner rather than later; for one thing, the longer I left it, the harder it would be to get back into the discipline of studying.  

And for another thing, there is no way that I could afford to pay for the course myself.  Luckily my employers are able to cover 75% of the costs (excluding subscriptions and any resit fees) and will also give me 50% of the time needed for tutorial attendance and exams (in other words, for every day I take to go to a tutorial, I only need to make up half the hours, similarly if I attend a weekend study day, I get a half day off in the week).  The downside to this is that I must remain in the employ of my current, well, employers, for at least two years after I complete my exams, otherwise I would be required to pay everything back, potentially almost £10k.

Do I want to be tied down for this long?  Especially as I tend to get itchy feet after two years.

Well I decided to bite the bullet and go for it, my recent pay rise will just about cover my share of the course fees which will be deducted from my wages on a monthly basis (hopefully before tax is deducted so that I can save a little).

It has been a shock to learn that although my AAT qualifications exempt me from 5 exams (that just leaves the 11 to do then!), if I actually want to be exempted I have to pay £49 per exam, a total of £245.  Surely the certificates I hold should be enough for the exemptions, or even an email from the AAT, I would be happy to pay an admin fee of £10 or so for this.

So Monday I have to go and see the Boss Man, shouldn't be any issues as he was encouraging me to continue, I  have costed up three different methods of study ranging from no tuition/books only to a guaranteed pass course.  Once I know how much my employers are willing to spend I can register and get started.

Wish me luck!