Tuesday, 27 March 2007

All I need is you

Having a bad day?

When things get way too much for me to handle, I look up to the sky and say "it's only you that can help me out here Lord"

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

...i did it, and boy was it fun!

The run up to me being on the show was hectic, to say the least. I work from home, which means I have my toddler with me 24-7. Apart from the normal stuff of looking after him, the home and my daughter, I had a two day business workshop to attend on Thursday and Friday. Which meant I had very little time during the day to work solidly on the cake I was taking into the studios and also a cake I had for another client. As you can imagine when night came I could only do so much, as I was knackered.

Friday night came and I was adamant that I would be in bed by midnight latest so that I'll look fresh and have a clear head for when I was filmed the next morning! Man proposes right! I did not sleep a wink, I went to the studios feeling like a zombie! Not good when you know you're gonna have camaras focused on you.

Positive outcomes of the lack of sleep were, first I was able to finish both cakes to the standard I was proud of. Secondly, what came across as me being calm, collected and assured in my answers when being questioned, was actually the effect of me being naturally sedated from lack of sleep. It really helps your nerves, you are just too tired to fret! (I don't recommend you try it though, especially as I had over nearly 3 hours of driving that day!)

One thing I was nervous about were the questions I was going to be asked. This is because in my intial communication with one of the presenter's, it came to light that at times when things were really tight and I had no money to get my son disposable nappies, I've had to cut up towels to wrap his bottom in till I got enough money.

To the presenter this was a serious talking point, as here I was married to a medical doctor and I being a holder of an M.Sc blah blah blah yet we had such financial difficulties. The focus of my being on the show was to inspire others and to talk about how I overcame these financial issues to set up a business. Now I'm all about inspiring other people (take this blog for example), but my dear hubby was not happy about such information being broadcasted for all to see. I had to find a way of not upsetting my dear hubby and yet being able to inspire others. I was also quite nervous as to how the questioning will go.

I think I was more worried about my hubby's ego! ...and boy should I have been worried, he hasn't seen the recording of the show yet as he has been at work, but his sisters have seen it and they said I did well, so hopefully he should be fine with it. But there was a question that I was asked and it came out like this " In this day and age where marriages are falling apart because of financial difficulties, how was I able to overcome such adversity?....some other women would have turned around and told their husband's that you are not a 'man' as you cannot provide for your family properly, what do I have to say about that" Well you can imagine the thoughts in my head (HELP!) I pray when my husband hears my reply he will be fine, with it.

I replied along the lines that "my husband is the breadwinner of the house, and he is doing his very best to bring the money in - sometimes things just don't balance up. Also he works away from home so that sometimes we don't get to see for ages. I'm not ashamed to say that things got so tight hence the nappy stuff, but things get tight for lots of people. The important thing is what actions you take, to overcome such financial difficulties" There were a few other questions, including one on how did I go about setting up the company. Here, I mentioned places where I got business support (I would go to such places with a screaming baby in the buggy, and it wasn't a problem for them). I talked about how the whole idea came about, and the passion one has to have to get you through and so on.

It's not has if I'm rolling in cash right now, and times still get rough, but at least I'm doing something about it and I pray this came across on the show. So that others thinking of taking that plunge into 'self employment' can do so! Apart from that tricky question, it really was an enjoyable day. I was able to see what goes on behind the scenes of television shows, all the crew and the presenters were lovely, and the CEO was a really lovely and humble chap. I met some interesting fellow guests, who do great stuff out there, one lady is an author of a book called 'Out of Slavery' which is used in the National Curriculum, and tells the history of British Black Caribbean people in a fascinating and thought provoking way. There was a lady poet, I must tell you about her another time, I was really intrigued at her creativity. And another lady who is following her dream business wise.

...oh and they loved the cake! As it was Mothering Sunday the next day, the cake was themed on that but with an African touch... (excuse the date on photo, I'm convinced we need an new digital camara - the buttons to manually change the dates are stuck)

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

...oh boy, I'm going to be on the telly!

Oh I may be excited alright but boy am I quivering in my boots! Remember in my earlier posts, I mentioned that I had been commissioned to do a cake (with a Valentines Day Theme) for a channel on SKY re: ...so I managed to do the cake! The deal was, I donated a cake for the show and they'll mention my company and have my details in the credits @ the end of the show.

Well it all kinda went pear shaped didn't it, I was a little upset but a least I was able to do something positive about it.

Well guess what, I got a call from one of the presenters, to say please could I come in and BE A GUEST on the show and also still bring in a cake for them to showcase! I'll be asked to tell my story about how and why I set up the company, and my journey so far......Amazing.

So why am I quivering in my boots.... PASSION TV the channel the programme is on, goes out to North and West Africa, the UK, Ireland and other parts of Europe, that's a lot of viewers, and wait for it..... it's going to be aired LIVE (no room for mistakes, or Ibon's as they say from my neck of the woods - grammatical errors to others!) As a woman you also think, oh boy! I've got nothing to wear, what about my make-up blah blah blah blah blah. But I know I really want to get up there and inspired other ladies to get out there and believe they can do it no matter what. Let's hope so.

I've decided not to think about it, and concentrate on the work at hand, I've got a business seminar to attend this week, and I have two cakes to get ready for Saturday plus all the other stuff like being a mummy and wife!

For all the UK SKY viewers, PASSION TV is channel 183. The programme is a morning talk show called ARIZE and will be aired on Saturday 17th March 9am - 11am.

Wish me luck...and if you don't get to see it, I'll keep you posted! (Literally)

Saturday, 10 March 2007

How to save a life

...i stumbled upon this music video the other day and was quite taken by it. I wasn't too sure what it was on about but I think it was more the text shown during the video that got me.

'How to save a life'
(I've posted video link at end of the post, hope it works!)

A couple of days ago on the radio the band was interviewed and the inspiration behind the song was revealed. It was to do with the journey of recovery of a drug addict youth and how this member of the band was able to play a part in that road to recovery.

Now all my volunteering work has been to do with the youth, be they troubled, under-privilaged or just plain bored ones! But I don't know if I've really made a difference in their lives, sure I might have helped (alongside a load of other people) to make a couple of hours in their lives a bit more enjoyable.... but I'm sure there is more to be done. I am working on that and I pray my Social Enterprise business can help in some way towards that.

I also pray that whatever work, business or home situation you are in, find a way of having a hand in helping out our younger generation. You never know, you might cause a ripple effect that would eventually 'save a life'

I'll leave you with this, hubby showed it to me, it's from The Word For Today' Tue Feb 13 2007

Aim them in the right direction
Raising your child 'in the way he should go' means recognising four things:
1) Strenghts, At two, Van Cliburn played a song on the piano as a result of listening to teaching in the adjacent room, His mother noticed, gave him lessons, and the kid from Kilgore, Texas won the first international Tchaikovsky piano competition in Moscow.
2) Topics, John Ruskin said, 'Tell me what you like, and I'll tell you what you are'. What do your children like? Numbers? Colours? Activities? Study them! The greatest gift you can give them in not your riches, but revealing to them their own.
3) Optimal Conditions, A cactus thrives in different conditions to a rose bush. What soil does your child grow in? Some kids love to be noticed. Others prefer to hide in the crowd. Some do well taking tests. Others excel with the subject, but stumble through exams. Winston Churchill repeatedly failed tests in school. We each have different optimal conditions. What are your children's?
4) Relationships, What phrase best describes your child? 'Follow me, everybody...I'll let you know if I need some help...Can we do this together?...Tell me what to do and I'll do it.' Don't characterise loners as aloof, or crowd seekers as arrogant. They may be living out their story. What gives your children satisfaction? What makes them say 'yes!' Do they love the journey or the destination? Do they live to keep things straight or straighten things out? What thrills one, bothers another. Parent resist the urge to label before you study. Understand the uniqueness of your child.
I say...understand the uniqueness of EVERY child/youth, be they yours or not!

Saturday, 3 March 2007

...don't quash the dream

...watching the Olympics on telly was a big family thing when I was little, my dad would rally us around to watch it. I loved it, and the events I really liked watching were swimming and athletics - the sprinters especially. When it got to the medal races I would cry for joy when a runner crossed the finish line and got Gold. Crying for joy is properly understating my true feelings. I was overwhelmed with some feeling or the other and the only way to release it was to cry! I remembering discussing with someone years ago about watching the Olympics and telling them that I tended to cry when the runner wins. I got this really strange look from the chap!

Now I've just finished balling my eyes out because I've watched Alaine being booted off of American Idol - Yes I love all these singing talent shows (American Idol, I love you the most), and yes I cry my eyes out when I watch them..... whether it's that a person wins, or the wrong person gets booted off (i.e Alaine - American public hello!) or it's a single mother talking about how life has been rough and she's doing this for her little girl....those tears flow man!

..but I have realised from watching these shows why I cry, it's because at the end of the day, these are people dreams that they are trying to achieve, a sprinter puts so much mental and physical energy into crossing that line and you can see it is their eyes when they do, that it was ALL WORTH THE JOURNEY THEY TOOK TO GET THERE...

A couple of months ago I got talking to a lady who, successfully runs a kids cookery party business and her products have been stock listed in celebrity cooks books , one being Nigella Lawson. She has appeared on SKY's Food Channel etc, we got talking because I contacted her by e-mail about joining her UK team of cooking party organisers (you get money for every party you organise) I needed the extra money and I thought I could do with the training they were offering. Thing is, part of my business involves workshops with kids but not parties and I don't intend to go down the party route, but I needed the extra cash, and would find the training very beneficial. Which I mentioned in my e-mail to her - yep I know, I can feel you cringe, but that's me! At least it warranted a call from her as she was very interested in me! We got talking, she's really a lovely lady who has a real passion for kids, and anyone else who has that passion she has a lot of time for! The only thing, is that If I did get onto her team, I would have to stop the workshops I run as our businesses would compete (she does workshops as well)... I thought about it and said, do you know what, "I don't want to give up my dream..."

She asked that we keep in touch, gave me advice about a business case I was having with our local council (I told you she was a lovely lady) and I'm glad I had that honest chat with her because whenever things get tough with this business thing... I remember what I told her...
I don't want to give up my dream

Thursday, 1 March 2007

....can't life just be simple for once

...we all know there are not enough days in the week, hours in the day, minutes in an hour! Yet things continue to happen that need your attention.

I had my Afro-Caribbean woman's networking business advisor around today and the 2 and half hour session went really well, especially considering the fact that the lady came round to the house for the meeting and I had my 'just turned 2' year old with me. The lounge might still be in a bit of a mess right now, pens, crayons, colouring books, A4 papers, alphabet shapes, books, train sets, rice crisps...all scattered around, but hey, it kept him busy.

My dilemma before the lady came was to figure out if I wanted my company to remain a Ltd company or did I want to go down the 'Social Enterprise' route. What is a 'Social Enterprise', well it really is a 'Company with Interest in the Community' A proper Social Enterprise business is one with a social purpose that work with the aim of delivering social or environmental change rather than maximising profits for shareholders...(that was a mouthful!) or you could say, it is a business whose ethos is ...when profit isn't the bottom line.

Yes it is a nice heart warming thought - the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's restaurant called 'Fifteen' is a social enterprise, as he trains up disadvantaged youngsters to become chefs.

...so what's my beef? Well a dear friend of mine has fired me up to re-direct my marketing focus, and in doing so, I feel I can make some mean dosh! and already, I'm seeing leather designer bags, funky shoes, supermarket shopping without counting the pennies etc in the horizon and it feels good, now to suddenly throw that out of the window and become very socially conscious is uhmmmmm - not so appealing!

..but upon discussing with my lovely business advisor, that soft spot in me that I've always had for helping the disadvantaged overwhelmed me...darn! So I've decided to still have my Ltd company, but to also set up a 'Social Enterprise' company, which means MORE WORK FOR ME!

Double the paper work, double the marketing, double everything in short...... and as if that were not enough, today we found out that we didn't get the secondary school that we chose for our daughter. Which is quite a bummer in the sense that we had applied outside our borough as we are moving this summer and they blatantly ignored that and gave us a school here! So now we are going to have to (or should I say I am going to have to) APPEAL, and that my friends is a lot of work as well. Can't life just be simple for once!