Thought of the Day

​”In this world of relentless self promotion, We’ve all been raised to think that the limelight is the only light worth seeking. That isn’t the case. And if I can impart one thing today, a small simple truth to carry with you as you walk through those gates, its this – achievement is often anonymous. Some of the greatest things have been done by people you have never heard of, quietly dedicating their lives to improving your own”

– Speech by Matt Mahoney (Madam Secretary)

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It Was Love at First Sight 

I never believed in love at first sight until I met Peggy.

I walked through the school gate and there she was. Her golden mane blowing in the wind. She had me at woof! 

I’m not a pet person at all. The only animal I like are dogs but the licking puts me off. The day I met Peggy all that changed. As soon as I saw her, I just went all mushy and weak. I grabbed her from her owner and started nose nozzling, stroking and kissing her. All things that would have got me arrested has I accosted a human being for the first time this way.

So now I’m broody. I want my own Peggy 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

And as I was cooing and ahhing someone said, they are cute until they pee on you. There is always one isn’t there?😐😐😐😐 

If Peggy ever goes missing, well …. That’s all I’m saying.

Born on the Fourth of July

Today is my birthday and I thought it was only right for me to educate you on how important my birthday is.

Firstly, I have a movie inspired by my birthday. Yep! I’m that special. You may have heard of it. Born on the 4th of July with a little actor (no pun intended) known as Tom Cruise. Yep. My birthday is special.

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Then of course the world’s largest economy only gained it’s independence on MY birthday. The United States of America and I are birthday mates. Unlike America though, no one occupied my body before my birth.

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Bill Withers, Elie Saab, Gina Lollobrigida, Louis B Meyer (MGM) and Neil Morrissey (Bob the Builder) were all born on the 4th of July.  You don’t get any more famous than Bob the Builder. Come on!

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So Happy Birthday to very very VERY important me!

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Happy Father’s Day

On Friday, I attended sports day at my children’s school and I was struck by the number of fathers who were in attendance.  Some had clearly taken time off work and others took a half day rushing in half way thorugh.

I observed as one dad walked in slightly late and made the effort to make eye contact with his children and wave so they knew he was there. I watched as alpha males around the field were screaming their child’s name with the gusto of olympic porportions. I think those dads were visualising themselves there actually. 😀😀😀😀 And then there were those whose children weren’t as athletic yet screaming their names like the champions they were and cheering them on to finish the race.  And the father who was busy taking prized pictures, capturing every moment.  And the ones who kissed their sons or daughters at the end with proud beaming smiles.

We often hear about the fathers who don’t do their share. And the ones who abandon their children. The ones who treat parenting as the responsibility of women and grace their families with their occasional presence.  The media is ever ready to share countless stories about these men and the inequality amongst men and women in the home.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of inequality but there are more dads who are sharing in parenting than ever. They are the ones you see at the school run.  Taking time off for school trips.  Taking charge of dinner, even if it’s bought. Taking their kids to the park on their own.  Or in the supermarket doing the shopping. Or at the doctor’s when a child is sick. They do not think that parenting is the preserve of their wives or partners.  They contribute.  Dads who are fully engaged in the lives of their children; who want to be there and not coerced. Who do not measure themselves by the ability to provide but being a positive role model for their children. Who enjoy the company of their children. Thank God for those dads. 

Today I celebrate those dads.  The world needs more of you.

Happy Father’s Day!

“I Shook The World – Muhammad Ali

This morning I woke up, like most people, to the news of Muhammad Ali’s death. Except in my case, my husband woke me up to break the news to you.  The fact that he actually woke me up to share this is something that I’m still trying to understand. However, he’s forgiven because he is the number one fan of the ‘greatest’.  I, on the other hand, am not a great fan of boxing so it simply remained sad news for me – a somewhat disconnected acknowledgement that someone special has finished his race.

So I took to social-media, as you do, to read about it. Cue a myriad of inspirational quotes, tributes from friends of ages-past, and footage upon footage of fights, comments and talk-shows and if you didn’t know much about him, you’ll be fully educated about the persona that was Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali said a lot in his lifetime, unlike many he accomplished a lot of what he said. I am fascinated by his life not simply because of what he accomplished but his single-mindedness. He won fifty-six of the sixty-one fights he had. That is something!

I came across one of his quotes that encapsulates this single-mindedness I speak of.

Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. they have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.

Some of us have the skill but no will.  And then you have those who have the will but no skill. You simply can’t have one without the other.

If you are one of those who want to shake up your world – whether it’s your family, your work-place, your city or literally the world – hone your craft and keep your will super pumped up.

RIP Muhammad Ali

Redefining Wonder Woman Series 11: Following Your Passion

I can’t believe this is the first in the Redefining Wonder Woman Series for 2016. It’s been such a busy year for me so I guess better late than never!  When I started my blog, my main reason was to encourage women. A while ago, I was contemplating giving up my blog and I got a random message from Keji Aofiyebi, an events and wedding planner. She was going back to school to gain some qualifications and wanted to let me know my blog encouraged her to. Keji has encouraged me every step of the way and I’m pleased to finally have a chance to interview her, a year since that message. Hope her story encourages you.

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RWW: What’s your professional background?
KA: I’m an art and design graduate specialising in illustration. I graduated in the mid 90’s and wasn’t clear on what career path I wanted to pursue. I couldn’t see how ‘Art’ was going to produce an income so I worked my way into IT. For the last fifteen years, I’ve been working as a software tester; the first seven on a permanent basis and the last eight as a freelance consultant.

RWW:  If I’m honest, I was pleasantly  shocked when you said my blog encouraged you to pursue your dream. How long have you wanted to be an event planner?
KA: I’ve wanted to change my career path for at least ten years now. I’m a creative person by nature and for me, being in an office environment doing something I really don’t like feels like a dead-end job; no matter how much I’m being paid.  A few years ago I realised I really wanted out of this field but at the time I wasn’t sure what. Although I’m very detailed and militant in organising my work, I wasn’t sure  how or where to start.  Reading your blogs, I noticed one thing in common with all the women including yourself that had made changes –  they all made sacrifices, they all wanted to follow their dreams and they all worked hard to achieve.

RWW: What was it like studying, working and being a parent?
KA:  To be honest, I had to draw strength from and lean on my faith in God to get me through. Thankfully I have a hands-on husband who is really good with the children and cooks well. On a practical note, I did some assignments early mornings and some on my train commute to work. Some weekends, I did nothing but assignments. My older children literally had to sort themselves out but my youngest one was still a bit physically demanding. Thankfully he’s a daddy’s boy. Everyone has really helped to pick up the slack.

RWW: What would you say are the tell tale signs for anyone contemplating a career change?
KA:

  1. FirstlyI would say a lack of interest in your current income source or job – you really can’t be bothered!!
  2. A lack of vision or a future regarding your current job.
  3.  A lack of drive and the feeling that you’re not getting anywhere in your current job.  Incidentally you aren’t getting anywhere because everything you do in your current job seems a bore!
  4. Most obvious, you really don’t like your job and you’re just doing it for the money.

RWW: So give me three to five practical things someone in a similar situation could do.
KA:

  1. First, you’ll need to identify your dream career.  What’s that one thing you really enjoy doing?  That thing you enjoy doing so much you would do it for free?  After you’ve identified it, find a cheap yet convenient course – could be a one day course, could be a free course.  Nothing expensive, you’re simply testing the waters to see if you’ve identified your passion.
  2. No matter what your dream career is never ever belittle it as someone actually needs what you have to offer.  Your dream career is precious to you so be careful who you share your vision with – there are people that are going to think you’ve lost your marbles.  Get your inspiration from women who are doing what you want to do, the web, reading books, following bloggers, etc.
  3. Put your vision down, somewhere you can see it . Write it and put a plan is place.
  4. Things are not going to always fall into place no matter your plan so be prepared for failure, rejection and mistakes. Give yourself time to assess your failures,only a little time, then dust and pick yourself up and get moving. You must learn to accept rejection and failure before you can accept success.

RWW: How do you manage your time between all your responsibilities? Any tips?
KA: I write a to do list weekly, well I try to. The week of a wedding it’s about that wedding solely.  I’m up very early six days a week.  When I can’t cook because of the business I order home cooked food and  I get the rest of family to chip in big time with housework. I also get the children involved in my business admin and pay them a fee.  I always have a rest day where I do nothing, no matter what, because life is hectic I find I need it.

RWW: As a newbie in the events industry you would have made some mistakes.  What’s the one thing you would advise anyone to do?
KA: The one mistake I would say I’m making is not getting out enough to network. The advice would be when you’re starting your dream career you need to attend exhibitions and networking events. Get out and see what the competition is doing.

RWW: What do you find exciting about what you do?
KA: Every event is unique, no two events are the same  I really enjoy working from concept and bringing the clients vision alive.  I also enjoy putting order in a mess, it’s like being presented with a puzzle and me putting all the pieces together … Exciting !

RWW: And for anyone looking to get into events and wedding planning?
KA: This industry is not for the faint hearted.  Make sure this is what you really want to do. Find an affordable course there a number of accredited providers out there and go for it.  Don’t leave your day job till you’ve built up your reputation.

RWW:  You set up your business, Keji Aofiyebi Services, in January 2015. What has been your greatest achievement to date?
KA:  Right! My greatest achievement has been stepping out, training up and making the switch.  After a certain age we are told by the world that we are too old to make changes, I’ve literally refused to believe that. I think it’s a big deal to live your dream and I’m on the way to achieving that.

RWW: What are the low points?
KA: Building any business is very challenging and comes with it’s share of expenses.  No one warned me about that!

RWW: Every Wonder Woman has a cheer leading squad. Who are your champions?
KA: My family! They are always curious about my projects and what I’m up to. Plus they’ve all had to chip in with housework and cooking. My husband has had to do all that as well as act as chauffeur, handy man and critic who is not allowed to be critical LOL.  There’s also my good friend Valerie Elliot the hostess of a charity, Time Away With Jesus. She literally saw something in me I didn’t know I had and has been a cheerleader ever since.  I also have other friends who have been encouraging and cheering me on.

RWW:  I understand you are hosting a wedding exhibition.  Tell us a bit about it?
KA: This is me stepping way out of my comfort zone to showcase myself as a wedding plannerIt’s called ‘The Aisle‘, an event to showcase a couple’s core wedding needs for their big day.  I’m collaborating with four other industry vendors.  It’s taking place at Holiday inn Brent Cross, NW2 1LP on the 19th of June 2016.  The other vendors are:

Faces of Bodin – The makeup artist

Myrtle and Olive – The caterer

Ayanski – The aso oke and fabric designer

Lite house – The photographer

These really are the core of planning a wedding day. Everything else is built around these vendors so I think it will prove to be an exciting day.

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RWW: Thanks Keji. I wish you all the best.

Accidental Parenting

As a parent, there are some things that you pick up in a parenting book; others from the experience of others but I think there are a lot of things about parenting that we stumble upon and repeat in the hope that it will work again and again and again.

I am certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that successful people are readers. And I encourage, OK force, my children to read. To be fair, both of them love reading and have done so ever since they were little but as they grow up and discover other delights such as T.V, football, Nintendo and iPad; reading has taken a back-seat, particularly for my son and I don’t like that.

My daughter is seven and she’s coming into her own as a reader, quite a voracious one too. However, my son used to read a lot more than her, naturally, as he is two years older but now he limits it to what he reads at school. We have had to force him to read by cutting out play time.  Part of it is probably to do with varying the books to subjects he is interested in, which at the moment is football, football and did I mention football?  The other part appears to be simply laziness – I don’t know what else it could be. I have tried unsuccessfully to get him to willingly love reading again- you know pick up a book voluntarily and get lost in the pages sort of reading.

So three weeks ago, I came up with an idea. I set a target. I said, “you must both read at least 10 books a month but I know you can do 20, considering you don’t have jobs or adult responsibilities”. Well not in those exacts words but the sentiment was glaringly present. They seemed to take it on board after the initial shock. I saw a change but nothing too special. Yes! I’m a tiger-mum. Sue me! After a few days, it was obvious the plan had failed miserably.

Then last week, I thought of introducing a little sweetener. Pit brother against sister and introduce a COMPETITION! Muahahahahahahaha. It was ingenious!  I simply said, “at the end of the month, the person who has read the most books will win a prize”.

I always knew my son was competitive. I mean at the age of three he would race you to the door and cry if you got there first. My daughter has been a revelation. She has read eight books in ten days whilst he has read nine books. Although there is some strategic planning there cos some of the books are pretty thing. But the point is they are reading, albeit for a prize. And they seem to be enjoying the process too.

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Funny, they have been bugging me to get a reward chart for months but my aversion to them made me ignore the suggestion. In hindsight, I see now that they are motivated by rewards. God help me.

Now I’ve got to decide what the prize will be. Eek!