Saturday, 30 April 2016

Nana Fran Survives Her First Week In Japan

Ebi-kun is back at school so we haven't been doing any adventuring - unless you count a trip to the garden centre!

Mom flew on her birthday so we made her a cake for when she arrived...

And she absolutely LOVED the velvety cat purse (not! my mom hates cats, she thinks that they are evil!) We did put a ticket for Cirque Du Soleil inside, so it wasn't all bad! We will be going next week to that, I can't wait, I've been wanting to go for years!

Ebi-kun is still on his architecture kick and so he used Minecraft to design mom a 'she shed' to her specifications. There was quite a bit of umming and ahhing because mom was being picky about the colour of the wood and the style of windows and really, Minecraft doesn't have a lot of options!

Mom has also made a special guest appearance of Ebi-kun eats! You will have to wait for the video to see what 'delight' she had to try, let's just say, it could have been worse! She did accidentally eat some ume-boshi earlier in the week which resulted in Ebi-kun and I collapsing in laughter. We have yet to crack open the natto.

And, she had been getting on down on the wii, probably the most exercise she has done for a long time. Whilst I have been working mom has been pottering around in our yard, which admittedly was a mess - I don't have the gardening gene. It's looking good, I'll share the pics when it is done.

I think we have pretty much worn her out... and she has another 3 weeks to go! Golden week started yesterday so we will be doing some adventuring and travelling around. If you use instagram you can follow us with #nanafraninjapan

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Are you a multipotentialite?

If you are creative, chances are you are one of those people who has a squillion and one ideas coming out of your ideas all.the.time!

Yep, I am one of those people too

I don't seem to be able to stop them coming! And some of those ideas are the next Genius idea and some of them are well, if i'm to be honest, crap!

Now the problem us multipotentialites have is that we can lack focus, we have all this cool shit going on but we don't know where to start when it comes to making things happen. Where to focus our energy on.

And because my brain is wired like this

I TOTALLY get it when I have clients who are struggling in the same way.

This was Iluska's issue. She is (among other things) and illustrator and a photographer, she works part time at a magazine and has two girls to fit into the mix too (one of which competes at state level gymnastics) So yes, Iluska is one busy mama!

In With A Boom helped her to get clear on what she needs to be working on to bring in the money so she can then diversify. By the end of the three months she had set up a gorgeous new website focusing on her photography. 

She also got invited to two art shows in just 3 months compared to just one show for the whole of last year!

Ready to hit your goals, time is a ticking...
Click To Join In With A Boom Mastermind

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Does this sound like you?

Do you find yourself...

  • Procrastinating
  • Getting distracted by social media?
  • Lack of focus

These are the problems Di was having. She wasn't sure where she should be focusing her energy or how exactly she should be doing it.

Di really wanted to increase her numbers, to increase her social media following and email list subscribers - important as she is a blogger and author.

Using the system that I share in In With A Boom she set out her 3 month goals, broke them down into bite sized chunks and made them happen. By the end of her 3 months, she had over a 30% increase in her YouTube views and a 50% increase in blog views! Not bad going at all. 

Because with In With A Boom, we stop and reflect throughout the 3 months, it is easy to figure out what is working and what isn't. So that you can tweak what you are doing to increase your success. 

Of course this is different for everyone, we all have different set-ups and what works for one doesn't necessarily work for another. Which is why I don't believe in the cookie cutter or blueprint idea of setting up your business.

Listen to what Di has to say about the In With A Boom Mastermind

Ready to hit your goals?

Monday, 25 April 2016

What can you expect from joining a mastermind?

I think it depends what you join for...

Sometimes it's for the extra accountability, other times it's to get help or to have someone to brainstorm ideas with, to have a second or third pair of eyes on your work. Loads of reasons really, often a combination of them all.

For Kath, she had been spinning her wheels a bit and not managing to move forward, she needed to gain some traction to see if this entrepreneur gig was what she really wanted to do and whether it would actually work for her.

When I started working with Kath, I could see that she:

  1. Loved teaching, it's in her blood, one of life's naturals
  2. Loved learning, like most educators she is constantly learning something new
  3. She loves helping people, she is one of those people you see pop up in groups all the time, sincere, giving advice and sharing her knowledge

The problem was, how should she pull all this together so that she was making enough money?

Kath already had two things set up, teaching people 1:1 on how to use SquareSpace - something she is passionate about and helping people out as a VA (virtual assistant)

Over our 3 months together...

  • She honed in on her offers
  • Cleared out the things she didn't enjoy so she is working in her zone of genius
  • She got super clear on her goals 
  • Started putting herself out there more
  • Raised her prices and took on more clients!

She actually TRIPLED her income over the 3 months!

I know, amazing right?

And as she did all this, I could see her confidence grow, I believe now, she actually believes that she can make a go of this, run her own business on her own terms rather than having to go and get a "job".

I'm so happy to see her finally rockin it!

Kath said that she would love to do a video testimonial for me and as the time got close to launching I hadn't heard back from Kath so I dropped her a line with a little reminder and I got a message back...

"Sorry, I'm too busy and it's all your fault!"

Due to extra client work coming in, she hadn't had time to do it!
But that's great news for her! What a fantastic excuse.
Don't worry, she did manage to squeeze me in, between building landing pages on SquareSpace and setting up social media schedules!

Are you ready to make 2016 your best year ever? Time to make it happen
Click to join In With A Boom

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Taste tests: Ebi-kun Eats and taste tests - something revolting...

And he made his special guest try it too!

Sometimes I'm happy to be the camera operator and well away from the action, todays special...

Well I'll let you see for yourself!

If you enjoyed this please click through to YouTube and leave him a comment, he answers them all himself.

And why not leave a suggestion or two for things for him to try! (I will attempt to source them!)

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Nana Has Landed...

Mom arrived yesterday, great journey apparently and loved the whole business class experience! Make sure a difference being able to sleep on the flight, she looked well rested when I met her off the bus.

Of course Ebi-kun will be wearing her out, he is currently making her play on the wii! And she thought she was coming for a holiday!

We have some fun things planned but for the most part Ebi-kun will be at school, so I will have to keep her busy around the house...

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

This makes me really angry and should make you angry too...

*this training will only be available for a limited time*

Be warned - rant alert...

Do you know what really pees me off?

Life work balance!!

And all the gurus and coaches out there that push it. What a load of old codswallop, as if us moms don't have enough to contend with we are then brainwashed into thinking that yes "We can have it all, balance life, kids and work - oh look at me! It's so easy!"

Tosh, all of it! Makes me so angry.

When I hear balance, I imagine a set of scales, work on once side and family on the other and me in the middle trying to keep them balanced. But what is wrong with this picture is that life isn't like that and what's worse is that if my hands are full with work and family... What about ME!

That might sound selfish but you and I are important too, and need to be figured into the equation. It doesn't matter how perfectly balanced the scales are if me and you are not happy - what is the point?

"Get the life work balance thing down and you will be happy"

Really? I mean REALLY?

I don't believe we can ever create balance because thats not how life or humans work. I prefer to think of it more like the tides, ebbs and flows.

Sometimes we are pulled towards work, whether it be looming deadlines or suddenly extra projects coming in, other times we are pulled towards family, start of the school year, birthdays, family trips. I like to picture myself on a comfy lilo with a tropical cocktail, in my hand as I float from side to the other.

Imagining life as these tides that flow back and forth makes far more sense, it's more calming and more practical!

These tides can be applied through the day as you move from home to work to home again. They also work on a bigger scale through the year, busy periods at work and summer holidays, bigger ebbs and flows.

Of course sometimes you feel like you are being pulled in both directions, work needs your attention as does your family but instead of one side of the scales crashing to the floor you are being pulled thinner, stretching yourself.

The other thing we need to consider... 

Is our energy, this also plays a big role in how we handle things and how much time we need to do something. Somedays we almost bounce out of bed, it feels like we are on fire, checking off items on the to-do list like it's going out of fashion. Then other days we have to peel ourselves out of the bed and making a cuppa needs all the energy we can muster.

This is often linked in with our menstrual cycles as our energy waxes and wanes and can sometime be contributed to certain little people in the house waking us up!

So stop trying balance everything, you know it will end in disaster, and instead float with the tides - *re-reading this it does sound like I have a had a double does of woo-woo juice for breakfast! But I stand by it!

Woo-woo aside you know I am a deeply practical person and believe whole heartedly that we can make our dreams happen if we apply ourselves. I know you want it too so today's training is all about how to do that and WHY you should start today.

Plus there is a super cute PDF for the kids (which will help save your sanity - you need this thing!)

Want to make sure you are notified as soon as the doors open for In With A Boom? 
Hop on the "first to know" list...

How to get back on track after falling off the wagon...

*This training is up for a limited time only*

Isn't it weird 

That doctors, teachers, lawyers etc all do years of training before they are let free with patients and students etc. but parents, it's "Here's the baby, we'll check in with you in a few week - off you go!"

We are supposed to know 'instinctively' how to do everything and how to be a great mom!

I don't know about you but it didn't matter how many classes I attended (incidentally they were rubbish, I learned how to make clam chowder - not exactly useful when I don't eat any kind of fish!) Anyway, where was I? yes, classes and books didn't prepare for what was to come!

The crazy roller coaster of emotions...

The feeling of total incompetence, not knowing if my baby was sick enough to warrant a trip to the doctor or if I was being paranoid! No one warned me about the hot cups of tea I would never get to drink, that I would sometime remember at three in the afternoon that I hadn't brushed my teeth -- or had I? Or was that yesterday? Who knows!

That I would spend the first few months like a walking zombie and that getting 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep would be like winning the lottery! Having no family or friends nearby and a husband that worked stupid amount of hours, it was a lonely time back then and I often doubted my ability to be a good mom, let alone a great one.

My goals were simple - 

Make it to the end of the day without losing my sh*t, sounds simple but believe me, it was one of the toughest things I have ever done.

Then something magical would happen, I would be getting dinner on the table - and at the time I was aiming for, I was having a shower and brushing my hair and teeth (on a daily basis!), I was getting the household jobs done and getting baby down for a nap and into bed one time.

Ohhhh yeahhhh I have this mothering lark down! High fives all round...

Until BAM - sideswiped and everything goes pear-shaped again.

Then the battle begins to get back in the saddle and sometimes I would think, I just can't do this sh*t anymore.

But I could and I did. Dust myself down and start again.

And after time I started seeing patterns, recognising when that side swipe was headed my way. I couldn't always stop it but I could sure as hell put on some padding so it didn't hurt so much. I started listening and understanding, knowing what I needed to do and when, so that it was easier and quicker to get back in the saddle each time.

Which leads me to the question I get asked about the most...

How to get back in the saddle?

Normally I only share this with my paying clients but every mama I know needs help with this at some stage so I hope it will be useful for you too - whether you are currently riding high, in control of it all or it you feel like you are doggy paddling and only just keeping your head above the water.

The training is in three parts, today's is all about getting back on track and how to prepare for next time, because, there will always be a next time.

If you want to make sure you get the second in the series of the training videos, pop your name in the box below (you will also get the weekly jojoebi playbook!)

Share in the comments you a-ha moments or pop over to the Moms That Rock group and let me know what you think or ask any questions that you might have.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Website Woes...

It appears that nothing is simple, my website is still having gremlin issues, what a fricken nightmare. I have passed the problem onto a chap in the know and even he is battling to get it fixed. Love technology when it works, but when it doesn't...

My mom is all set to arrive on Friday, got the spare room sorted and ready to go, plans to meet up with the in-laws are sorted, just need to go and pick up wine after aikido!

She will be with us for a month! That should give her long enough to sort our garden out, I think, she though I was joking when I said that would be her project whilst we are here!

And other Japan related news - the series of earthquakes in Kyushu. This is miles from use, it's a 3 hour flight from Tokyo, so roughly the same distance as London to Prague. So we are not affected at all but I have friends down there that are. Luckily (in a way) the epicentres have been inland so no tsunami - that's what made the 3/11 disaster so bad.

I'll put together a post of resources of place to help as I gather them. 

And here is my latest on the #100days doodle...

Monday, 18 April 2016

Earthquake Information Page

Earthquake Information Page

Unfortunately Japan isn't the only place sufferings from the Earth shifts, Ecuador, another country close to my heart has also been badly hit.

In light of the latest series of earthquakes, I wanted to put together a Go-To page. I will add this to the menu bar above so it's easy to find.

Straight after a disaster, it's better to donate money, the logistics of transporting the goods to the affected areas can be a massive problem in itself and slow the emergency services down.

Social media, Facebook and Twitter are a good source of up to date information but please be careful not to share fear-mongering articles (the end if nigh because there have been 5 earthquakes in 48 hours type of stuff) it's not helping anyone!

Here are a list of places where you can donate:

Global Giving (running campaigns for both Ecuador and Japan)

Yahoo Japan Donations (Scroll down for English)

Official Kumamoto Prefecture Disaster Fund
Send a bank transfer to
Kumamoto Bank
Kencho Branch
Normal account
Kumamoto Jishin Gienkin Kumamoto-ken Chiji Kabashima Ikuo

Exchange your JAL miles for donations (Japanese)

Peace Winds Japan (Japanese)

Peace Boat is sending a team to the area to conduct a rapid assessment and begin providing assistance where it is most needed.

If you have Yahoo! Japan ID and T-point, you can donate your t-point to kumamoto too. 1point=1yen

Second Harvest is another good org that helped a lot after Tohoku.

Tsunagari Project  (Japanese)

This organization, Food Bank Kagoshima is sending trucks with food and blankets straight into the disaster zone. They need money for gasoline and other transportation expenses.
You can donate at Just Giving
Or By Post Office Transfer: 
Name: Food Bank Kagoshima
No. 01720-5-122835

Major banks such as UFG, Mizuho etc. will take donations in their branches.

Socks For Japan are going to be driving down to Kyushu with a truck full of socks (click the link to keep up with what they are doing)

For those in the affected areas, AirBnB owners are opening up their places for free. Pass on the info to anyone who might find it helpful!
Earthquake Info:

Get the app Yurekuru Call on your phone (iOs and Android) - it sends the early warning alarm which may only be a few seconds but those few seconds can make a big difference.

Google Person Finder use this to register yourself or to look for someone.

Japan Meteorological Agency is a great go-to place to check on the latest news for natural disasters and weather info.

NTT-EAST have Emergency message 171 set up - click on the name to see a simple animation and check out THIS POST to download the instructions and info to stick to your fridge. 

As new info comes up, I will update this page. I think it will be easier than having a load of separate posts. If you know of anything that I have missed, drop me a line of leave a comment. Cheers!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Taking Time Out

I have been quite good about not ranting like a crazy woman over here about my recent gremlin attack in the website, I have lost, I don't know how many hours to trying to figure things out - it's a curse sometimes thinking that you can fix anything if you work on it long enough.
In the end I had to admit defeat and get a man with a plan in to deal with it. He is fluent in geek-speak and so I hope he will have it all sorted in time for the doors opening for the next round of In With A Boom.

I'm really excited about running this again, I loved doing it last time and seeing the progress, the a-ha moments and the wins of my clients was just fab!

But because of the gremlin issue, everything has gone off track and I'm not scrambling to make sure I have everything set up and ready. Emails written, artwork done, videos recorded and everything else that goes into a launch.

If it's something that interests you I'm happy to break it all down, a behind the scenes peep, if you will, just let me know.

Anyway, I have been going at it pretty hard and of course it's all desk work - not good, so I decided to take a break and head out to my favourite cafe. I deliberately didn't take my ipad or laptop so I couldn't do any work. But I did take my kindle so I could read instead.

Managed to score free cake and coffee too - bonus!

It really is matter of living and work by my rules, the ones that I share with my clients, it wouldn't look good if I didn't lead by example!

In case you missed it, I'm going to be running some free training this week - the first part is what to do if you fall of the wagon and you need to get back on track - a favourite and much asked for topic!

Sign up below so you don't miss it!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

100 days of sketches...

It's weird... 

at one point I was blogging on here up to 10 times a week - yes a WEEK! How crazy pants was that and then I fell into a routine of about 5 posts a week - that felt good!

My routine was to sort the boy out with yochien/school and then make a cuppa, spend half an hour reading my favourite blogs and then writing my blog for the day.

Then Google in their stupid wisdom closed down the app I used to read my blogs, I tried some of the others but non of them really stuck. It's got to the point where I read very few blogs at all these days...


Well, I was thinking, part of my joy in blog reading was seeing what other people were up to, what they were creating and making. The beautiful and sometimes not so beautiful photos. Watching their kids grow, enjoying their wins and success and shedding tears through the sad times.

And you know what, I miss it, I REALLY miss it.

I thought I would try blogging in the evenings, once my work is out of the way, but the truth is, I'm too tired and if I have been on the computer all day, the last thing I want to do is to look at the screen. Big fat failure.

The other problem I had was that I used to blog a lot about what me and Ebi-kun got up to, how he was developing, arts and crafts, Montessori and bilingual stuff. We still do all that but these days he is more likely to go off and do things on his own or crack open the craft box with his friends, leaving me, well... twiddling my thumbs!

So, in an attempt to get back in the saddle and relight the passion I had for blogging and the love of reading blogs, I'm taking a burst of inspiration from my Facebook friend and artist Dave Conrey who runs FreshRag. He is doing 100 days of sketching, grabbing his pen and pad first thing in the morning.

I'm going to do the same but early morning just isn't going to cut it, not when I have breakfast to make and family to organise, so my #100 will be after my bath, as I wind down for the evening.

Then, I will use those as the jumping point for blog posts, reflecting on the day and what is to come.

Despite the advice from virtually every business coach I have worked with, I have always wanted to keep this blog separate from my work site. For me, they are two different entities, here I have no rules, anything goes, I can write about what I want, when I want and it's cool. Some posts will resonate with you and some won't - I don't worry about trying to please all of my readers all of the time. No rules, no stress, it's easy.

Of course there will always be some crossover, I want to share with you what is going on and what is coming next! So here's to getting back in the saddle...

my #100days I'm doodling in a little rainbow coloured notebook that I picked up from Flying Tiger - have you been in there? I could buy the whole shop! 

Yesterday was #1 and the whole days just seemed to flow, no major hiccups or spanners in the works, it was lovely day with a bike ride to my favourite cafe (and free coffee and cake) and very productive as far as work went....

If you are up for it, join the #100days challenge, I'll be posting on Instagram
<-- a="" back.="" click="" comment="" follow="" i="" know="" leave="" me="" my="" of="" on="" one="" p="" posts="" so="" to="" you="">

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Saitama Prefecture Aikido Meet

Aikido is a non competitive sport so instead of tournaments, the organization arranges display meet ups. This year it was held at Koshigaya, about an hours drive away.

This was a kids meet up and about 170 kids were there. Normally, at his own dojo I can spot Ebi-kun easily because he is the only one with an orange belt but here there were belts of every colour and some tiny kids in the mix too.

After the warm up, the big sensei demonstrated a move then the kids paired up to practice, it was a bit dangerous having so many kids on the mats at once! They could have done with a few more mats down I think.

The sensei's wandered among the kids checking that they were doing it correctly and they also got to practice with kids from other dojo's. There are a couple of kids or 'the naughty boys' as Ebi-kun calls them that mess around a lot so he doesn't like working with them.

After an hour of practice, it was display time. Each Dojo had 4 minutes to strut their stuff. Ebi-kun was paired up with 'big naughty boy'! You can't see the belt but he's the one with his feet in the air!

The kids seemed to enjoy it and it was the right time of year, in the winter the dojo is freezing and in the summer it's like a hothouse! They finished off with a group shot but I couldn't quite get everyone in, 10p if you can spot the boy...

Next Sunday it's back to the regular dojo and the Sunday after that my mom will be here to watch!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

We'll be celebrating like it's 1999

Oh yes, there will be fun and laughter and maybe some bum dancing too!

Why you ask?

Well, this week I wrap up the first round of In With A Boom, the mastermind for entrepreneur moms. I have to say I have had a blast, it has been so much fun and seeing these amazing mamas kick ass every day. From dithering in indecision to delegating queens! They rock.

It's always hard when we get to the end of a program, it's like taking off the stabilizers and letting them go, to go faster, achieve more, to fly!

It's not all sad news though because half of the mamas have decided to join again for the next round! Whoop!

If you are interested in kicking butt, achieving your goals and getting further in the next 3 months than you have done in the last 12, then you need to be on the 'First To Know' list.

Those on the list will get first dibs, and since it is limited to 20 places, you will have to be quick!

Click the link to get on the First To Know list

Pin It button on image hover