My hometown for the next 5 months..

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Family has Invaded!

My parents, brother and grandparents have officially landed in London! I walked down from my flat and met them at the South Kensington Tube station and let me tell you it was so great to see them. I may have shed a tear or two! Thankfully since I have moved here I have been fortunate enough not to be hit with any type of home sickness but this last month and a half have been tough. Between starting my job and living on my own and all the up’s and downs in between, it was wonderful to have my family here in London showing their support. They were all pretty tired having just flown in so we just took it easy and I gave them a walking tour around my neighbourhood, showed them my flat and then went for an early dinner. Over the last few days we have seen lots of sights (I tried to save the most expensive tourist attractions to do when my parents were here lol) like the London Eye for example. We spent the first couple days they were here in London doing all the things they wanted to see. We spent one of the days in the Picadilly Circus area, walked though Trafalgar square and then went and watched the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. Pretty cool I must say, Grandma was in awe and just couldn’t believe she ever got to see the palace in real life. Then the family, Quinn and I made a day trip up to a small city named Bath, which is about and hour and a half train ride outside of London. This city is most famous for hosting the originally Roman Baths that were used by the Romans hundreds of years ago. This was a must see on Grandpas list. The town itself is picturesque, and upon stepping off the train it feels like you have stepped back in time. We took a bus tour of the city, tour the baths and then Quinn and I went and toured around the Fashion Museum. At the museum we both tried on corsets like they had to wear back in the 1800’s. You should have seen the two of us trying to get into them! It was so great being able to have a few days off work to be able to show them around this city that I love so much. WE certainly all had lots of laughs and saw tons. My family is now heading off to Scotland for a week to be able to dive into some of my ancestry and my grandparents are both hoping they will be able to locate some gravesites of their grandparents and aunts and uncles. Although I said goodbye to my family for now, they will be stopping back into London for one more night before flying out of Heathrow airport the following morning.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Big Move

We had the big move this week into our new flat in South Kensington. Although the flat is smaller it does give Quinn and I are own separate rooms and is literally only a 5min walk to work! When we first viewed this flat it was disgusting. The previous tenants were not very clean and I was stepping over garbage to actually be able to see the place. But I am happy to report that upon moving in the place was spotless and smelled of bleach and everything clean!
I also had a chance to go and check out the British Museum this week as well on one of my days off. It certainly is breathtaking and in a cool part of town. The Egyptian exhibit is something to see in itself..It was really amazing being able to see the things that I learned about in school right in front of my eyes. I saw things like the Rosetta Stone as well as Queen Cleopatra’s actual mummy. Definitely will be back to explore this place some more.
At work, I have been able to help out for a couple events we have been having in the evening. Cocktail parties as well as a couple very extravagant children’s birthday parties (complete with hired entertainers, 4 course meals, lots of champagne for the parents and many many presents) Working these events is a nice change from just serving in the bar/restaurant, so I have asked my manager to feel free to schedule me for anymore upcoming ones. I know that our hotel hosted last year’s British Music Awards after party, and they had celebrity guests ranging from Boy George to Katy Perry. It would be so awesome to work an evening event like that; I honestly think I may have a bit of trouble staying focused on serving instead of being absolutely star stuck. And knowing me, I would probably end up tripping and spilling champagne all over somebody!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cinematic Adventure

Quinn and I just embarked on our first cinematic adventure in London last night! Boy, the movie theaters here are something else compared to back home. They really do have a brilliant concept when it comes to the whole movie experience. Firstly, you reserve your seats ahead of time so you can show up precisely when the show is about to begin. Unlike back home where you have to be at the theater hours before hand saving seats with jackets and handbags sprawled across a row of seats waiting for the rest of your friends to arrive. Also for a couple pounds more you can be sitting in the V.I.P section of the movie theater (totally worth it) which not only has the best view in the house but oversized leather RECLINING chairs complete with side tables and plenty of leg space. Not looking forward to going back to Silvercity upon my return. I have been far to spoiled now.
This week Quinn and I and a couple girls from work went out for a night of dancing in London in a area called Picadilly Circus in the West End. When walking up the stairs from the tube station and entering Picadilly, you are blinded by the many billboards and neon signs flashing and the thousands of people still wandering around at midnight. I hear people say Picadilly Circus is like a slightly smaller version of Time Square. Walking through this area (which is known for its many nightclubs) you constantly have these club promoters walking up to you and asking you to come inside their nightclub. It gets a bit annoying after awhile, each one trying to “out do” the other by offering an even better deal than the next, “I will make you a VIP and you pay no cover”…”Well I can make you VIP, pay no cover and throw in a free drink!” It goes on and on.. Certainly is different from Victoria where I will be back to standing in line.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Goals

I have finally figured out my goals and able to discuss them with my manager, he seems very on board to help me along with them and has arranged some seminars and events to help me with my action steps.

GOAL: INCREASE CONFIDENCE IN SERVING ABILITIES AND OVERALL BECOME MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THE ORDER OF SERVICE.

ACTION STEPS: 1.) Practice upselling on a regular basis in order to better understand and develop my own strategy in what works best when it comes to selling the product to the guest.
2.) Volunteer for as many special functions and events as possible in order to work and observe how the order of service works when hosting things such as a canap├ęs and champagne service.
3.) Ensure I am constantly asking my supervisor for new challenges. For example, taking on more tables at once or serving the lobby on my own.
4.) Assist with training new staff that may start this summer

GOAL: ENHANCE FOOD AND DRINK KNOWLEDGE

ACTION STEPS:
1.) Take home ALL menus home to study including (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, bar and lobby menus). Take note of what flavours, textures and ingredients chefs have chosen to pair together. Take time to study pictures of every plate and observe how each are plated.
2.) Shadow one of the bartenders for an entire shift to enhance drink knowledge and common English cocktails ordered (because they sure are different here!) This will allow me to be more comfortable to mix drinks in the afternoon while I`m serving before the bartenders start their shifts in the evening.
3.) Attend a wine seminar by my manager to learn more about the different varietals the restaurant serves and their unique characteristics.
GOAL: HAVE AN INDEPTH UNDERSTANDING OF HOW ALL DEPARTMENTS WITHIN THE HOTEL ARE CONNECTED AND WORK TOGETHER.

ACTION STEPS:
1.)Arrange to cross train and shadow shifts in housekeeping, guest relations and a management roll within the restaurant.
2.) Attend the daily 11am management meeting between all departments to learn what important topics are discussed and what key pieces of information each department needs to know
3.) Have a meeting with my manager and discuss a typical day in their shoes. Take important note of how often they interact with other departments in the hotel and learn how vital it is to have an open line of communication between them.
GOAL: MAKE TIME FOR EXERCISE AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET WHILE ON A BUDGET.
ACTION STEPS:
1.) Plan all meals for the week in advance, so when grocery shopping we are only buying items we are definitely going to use and not waste.
2.) Instead of taking the bus to work, leave time to walk the 30min there.
3.) When possible arrange to run in Hyde Park with Quinn, running buddies always make things easier!