I started this post off initially with the intention of prompting the fab dada meet that the lovely Emma of @finlay_fox is organising -> tickets here. But it has ended up being somewhat self indulgent and giving you a bit of background about us and how we arrived at where we are today with @london_dad. So have a read below to find out how we met and where we came from and buy a ticket for the event next Thursday.
Before I get into how Alice and I met it’s probably a good idea to let you know how we both ended up in a bar in Tokyo together. At 23 years old I was sat as a junior on a foreign exchange trading desk on the city of London when the news comes through that our expat in the Tokyo office has quit and someone needs to go out there asap. Fast forward two weeks and I step of a plane to a country and continent i had never been too where I have no understanding of the language or culture. Alice moved to Japan at old and has spent the majority of her 23 years before meeting me there as a fully fledged expat, she speaks Japanese fluently, knows more than there is to know about japan.
So 8 years on from moving to Japan its a cold cold January evening and I had gone to meet some friends in an English pub, where else would you go on a Saturday evening, and spend the evening flirting with a beautiful young English chick who blows my mind from day one. Love at first sight is an understatement, she wowed me with her passion for life and enjoying every minute of it. Within a week we were living together and having amazing fun until work tells me that my job in Tokyo is done and they need me to set up a desk in our Singapore office and to replicate the success we had achieved in Tokyo. It was heartbreaking for us to be leaving the country that we loved but focused on the new adventure and the chance to travel south-east Asia properly. We managed to get the travelling done but never really fell in love with Singapore, the one thing that Singapore did for us was to make us both realise that we were ready to start a family. There were children everywhere and after realising we wanted this family now we started trying straight away.
After three months of being pregnant we figured that the best thing for us was to be close to our family, Alice’s parents had just moved back to London so we started to figure out our exit plan. The industry that I used to be in made it difficult to move countries and companies so on the last day that Alice was legally allowed to fly we boarded a plane back to the UK. Looking back on that now we are the equivalent of 10 days away from that moving day with this pregnancy I can’t believe what a superwoman Alice was to move country, move house, but a car, be pregnant, organise shipping of our life and our dog and support me with the stress of moving jobs.
We used to have such an f you attitude to the world, us against them but being a parent changes you for the better in terms of thinking more about how your attitude to others impacts the world and with that change in attitude after only working back in the UK I quit. Quit to focus on my family, I always knew that I had wanted to be a father but didn’t know how much being a father would change my outlook on life. I always believed in living in the moment and making the most of life whilst making the most money that I could. Since having Etta the money part is no longer the prime focus, family and doing whats best for them is my focus. I firmly believe that being there to listen and engage with your children as much as you can be is the most precious thing that you can do for your children and I am lucky enough that I get to hang out with them so much.
In the first few months of “early retirement” I was searching for some kind of purpose of job that I could do that would enable me to focus on my family rather than worry about PnL or study the market at all hours. I tried my hand in a charity call centre as I saw it as a way to try to unburden myself of the many sins committed whist in the world of finance, the reality here was that nobody was in it for the charity and it was just a sales job and probably the most pressured sales atmosphere I had worked in.
Moving swiftly on from that mistake Alice decided that it be best for all of us if we worked fro ourselves and a) had no one to answer too and b) set our own hours and own priorities. That’s where the first seeds of Avocado Magazine were started, the @london_dad Instagram was a name change of my private account and I figured would be a good way to funnel some traffic over to Alice’s amazing new venture. One thing lead to another, defiantly a case of being in the right pace at the right time and its now nearly 18 months since this journey started.
Now we have a business that runs digital marketing for brands, an online publications for modern parents albeit in a re branding and website design and that is 100% Alice’s thing and the London dad blog and Instagram that have now spawned the dads breakfast clubs but thats a whole different story.
Now you would have thought through that journey in the last 4 years or so I would have brushed up on my grammar, a blogger who can’t write properly is about as much use as an over tired toddler…… but the thing is it doesn’t matter, one thing I have learnt is that if you do something that you love and do it with passion then the details can be brushed over.
So if you are London based and wanna come down for a chat, I promise it will not be as self indulgent as this blog post. See ya at Olive Loves Alfie East on the 17th Nov.