Say hello! The Creative Lunchbox + Giveaway

Mummy Blog new Zealand

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]


Whether you’re a homeschooler, a mum of mainstream schooled kids, a kindy mum, caregiver or a grandparent enjoying a sleepover on weekends, you will undoubtedly be packing a lunchbox at some point or other.  The standard kiwi lunch box is fast becoming an endangered species as more and more parents discover the internationally trending Bento-style lunchboxes. (Not sure what I’m talking about?  Take a look here for some bento inspo).

Justyne, Mum of three, is a veritable Bento expert.  She is the owner of the one-stop lunchbox shop, The Creative Lunchbox and has carefully curated a covetable range of kid friendly lunch products that will leave that Glad® ClingWrap in the drawer for good!

Mummy Blog new ZealandLet’s meet Justyn in her own words;

 

Tell us a little about what led you to launch The Creative Lunchbox

I launched The Creative Lunchbox after shopping for a lunchbox for my nephew and noticing a distinct lack of quality litterfree lunch options available in the NZ market. After a huge amount of research on what is available, The Creative Lunchbox was born. We offer a range of products that support wastefree lunches, many of which are exclusive to us in NZ.

Mum’s (and kids!) LOVE the bento/litterless lunchbox phenomenon, what’s the attraction and what are the benefits?

The Bento phenomenon; you are right it is starting to explode. Schools are becoming more environmentally savvy and many are embracing “litterfree” policies. Bento has been a way of life in Japan for many years.  Mums there have found that being creative with food presentation in their kids lunchboxes makes healthy food much more attractive for kids to eat. The distinct lack of waste such as plastic wrap and foil is an added bonus because not only are we saving money by not using these products, we are also helping the environment. No fumbling for fingers either having to unwrap food. It’s an easy solution, the same wrapped healthy food presented in a creative manner with no packaging makes kids want to eat what is in front of them. My own kids lunchboxes rarely come home with food waste anymore.

What are your favorite products in stock right now?

My favourite products in stock right now are our Bentology Lunchboxes and our awesome Juice In The Box – A revolutionary patented designed reusable drink box. It’s safe, completely chemical free, easy to clean and comes in four awesome colours kids will love.

How do you manage the work/life balance now that you’re your own boss?

Being your own boss is fun. I have three daughters and we live in a rural location so working from home makes sense for us. My kids are busy with activities and we also have an electrical business and a farm (life is busy). Managing the work / life balance can be tricky at times and very hectic trying to fit everything in but generally most of my working time is when my youngest (11 month old) has her day sleep and in the evenings when the house is quiet. Working from home is a balance just like any other job. Family first then work, things like housework often have to take a backseat….one day I dream of having a cleaner … lol 😉

What’s ahead for The Creative Lunchbox?

What’s next, well 2015 is going to be a big year for us. We are researching plenty of amazing products, hopefully some of which we will be able to bring to NZ. We are a new business so it’s about getting the word out there about how awesome and top quality our products are. Our aim is to not only have them available on our website but also in stores throughout the country.

Mummy Blog new ZealandThe Creative Lunchbox has an amazing prize for one lucky reader!  Head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and comment on the competition image to be in to win.  Closes Sunday 6th September.

Say hello! Limon & Coco + Giveaway

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]


 

Mummy Auckland Blogger New ZealandYay!  It’s Monday!  No?  Will Say hello! help?

Today we meet a gorgeous blonde Mum-duo who are super passionate about whole foods and making them convenient and accessible to even the most time poor amongst us.  Lucy & Cushla are Limon & Coco, and are totally dedicated  to whipping up clean, lean snacks so you don’t have to.

These fabulous Mum’s just exude positivity and though I’m pretty sure they would fit right into the ‘selling ice to eskimos’ category, their range of clean snacks is both incredibly moreish and incredibly nourishing.  

Lucy is a mother of two and a personal trainer with over 20 years experience in the fitness industry.  Her holistic approach to health and fitness means nutrition and maintaining healthy eating habits are two of the cornerstones in any client’s potential lifestyle change.

Cushla began her own healthy eating journey to aid in her recovery from illness.  She describes the rush-rush habits that we as mums are all so guilty of perpetuating, and credits following the 80/20 rule with maintaining a happy, healthy diet for herself and her family.

1. You’re obviously both really busy Mums outside of Limon & Coco.  How are you managing the daily juggle of business and family commitments?

It’s very tough at times but we are both totally committed to our business and our future plans.  At this stage we don’t feel it is affecting our family life but we are both blessed to have wonderful supportive families to help us on our journey.

It’s all about time management and prioritizing the important things, communication and great team work is key for us.

2. You both seemed to have ‘arrived’ at Limon & Coco via quite different routes!  How do your differences work together to make your brand what it is? 

We met through our love of health and fitness. Our paths met when Cushla needed a personal trainer and found Lucy, and the rest as they say is history.

Mummy Auckland Blogger New ZealandLucy is a real people person and loves nothing more than motivating her clients. Cushla has a hold on all the technical stuff. Together though, we love creating different healthy snacks.  Both bring different skills to the business which put together make a fantastic combination.

3. There are SO many conflicting messages around what to and what not to eat, how do you two navigate this when deciding what ingredients to include in your amazing products?

This is really easy for us as we only use Whole foods, nothing processed and as near its natural state as possible.

4. If you could give other Mum’s three pieces of advice to help them make some healthful changes in their diet what would they be?

Eat more whole unprocessed foods…..Drink water….lots of water…! Sleep…give your body time to rest and recover.

5. What’s ahead for Limon & Coco?

Oh! so much… We have a lot of plans for the future which will be revealed when the times are right. At this stage we are just concentrating on growing our brand and helping others with easy healthy eating options.

Mummy Auckland Blogger New Zealand

To be in to win a fabulous tasting box from Limon & Coco, visit The Best Nest on Facebook and enter via the competition image.  Competition closes Sunday 2nd August @ 10pm.

Say Hello! Dot Dash

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]


Mummy Auckland Blogger New ZealandDot Dash – Rompers, Delivery Bags, FacebookInstagram

Jess, owner and creator at Dot Dash and Mum extraordinaire, is someone I ‘met’ on Instagram.  I could totally wax on about how creative and perfect her handmade baby rompers are but that would be a bit redundant because they are so obviously amazing.  There are people that can simply sew and then there are those with an eye for fashion who can recreate classic styles, like a baby romper, and breathe new life into them with of-the-minute fabric choices and perfect styling.  Jess (and Dot Dash) sit firmly in the latter category.

In addition to the time Jess spends pumping the pedal at her sewing table, the Dot Dash collection also comprises a stunning offering of curated delivery bags – “a pre-packed bag filled with essential items to help Mums (and Dads!) through labour, delivery and those first special days with their new bundles of joy.” Aw!  Sign me up!  No, wait……….. {{{{{baby}}}}}. Yeah nah.

When she’s not swanning around being creative and brimming with entrepreneurial vim, Jess is Mum to 3 kids; Jake (10), Archie (2) and Theodora (7 months) affectionately know as Teddie.    She works part-time as a theatre nurse and I guess she just waves at her husband Luke when they bump into each other in the kitchen occasionally.  

I can’t wait to meet Jess in the flesh, but let’s meet her in her own words, r i g h t  n o w!

1.  Which came first, the bebês or the business?

Babies definitely came first.

Having Jake at 18 was probably the making of me. But I was never going to let the label of “young, single mother” define who or what I was. 

8 years and a wedding later Archie arrived and then Miss Teddie. 

Dot Dash came to fruition while 7 months pregnant with Teddie.  I like to pack a lot into a short space of time!  

2.  Three kids and jobs+business?  Have you written the book on Time Management yet?  Please (please?) share how you are making this miracle happen?Mummy Auckland Blogger New Zealand

When I find out the secret I will let you know!  

But I think we make it work with late nights, a nespresso machine, Netflix and a lovely husband who does the washing and the rubbish!

3.  You’ve obviously got some mad skills with the sewing machine, was it Home Ec?  Did you get it from your Mama?  Practice makes perfect?  How did these beautiful rompers come into existence?

I failed school certificate sewing. I think I spent the whole time being “creative” but never actually doing anything which didn’t help. 

My Grandma and her sister have always been amazing on the sewing machine.  Many a family wedding dress, ball dress and school costume have been whipped up by those two. So I guess it is in the genes …. somewhere!  

4.  Tell us about the inspiration for your Curated Delivery Bags?

Packing my hospital bag for the 3rd time and completely forgetting what was actually needed, it dawned on me how easy it would be to have it all done for you. BOOM. Dot Dash Delivery Bags was born.

5.  What’s ahead for Dot Dash?  You’ve got a big date coming up right?

Dot Dash will have a “Romper Shop Pop Up Shop” at the General Collective Market in Ellerslie on August 1st.

We will continue to hustle and bring Dot Dash to the masses amidst the hum and madness of family life!

These rompers are just too cute not to share and Jess has generously offered one to giveaway to a reader of The Best Nest!  To be in to win your choice of Dot Dash romper, head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and enter via the competition image.  Comp closes Sunday 26th July at 10pm.

Mummy Auckland Blogger New Zealand

Say hello! | Little Housewife Custom Vinyl Labels + Giveaway

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]


Mummy Homewares Blogger New Zealand

This week on Say hello! we meet a lady whom I’m pretty happy to call a friend.  Penny is the writer behind Little Housewife and one of the most professional, focused bloggers in New Zealand.  She has such a clear vision of her brand and her blog and this translates across all of her social media accounts.  

Penny continuously inspires me with her integrity and her unwavering drive to push her blog {and now business!} in the right direction.  She manages to do this whilst remaining true to herself and respecting the creative boundaries of her peers.

Her latest project – Custom Vinyl Labels –  is something she’s been pottering away on for a while, and when she announced that all systems were go, I think I had my order to her within 5 minutes lol!  Nixon has just started two wee mornings a week at our gorgeous local kindy so I needed some labels for his lunchbox and drink bottle.  Penny’s labels are such fantastic quality, are super easy to apply, look amazing and are stuck fast!  I can see a potential labelling frenzy in my future!

Let’s meet Penny, in her own words;

Hello!  I’m Penny – the wife of a very hard working, wonderful man, stay at home Mumma to 5 year old Madeline and 2 year old Maisie and the writer of Little Housewife.

1.  Exciting stuff is happening at Little Housewife!  Tell us about your new venture:

I’ve been cutting adhesive vinyl labels for my own personal use for a while now.  They weren’t meant to be for anything other than my own home but when I shared photos of my labels on Facebook and Instagram they got a great response and lots of comments asking how to order so I ordered some extra supplies to meet the demand.

2.  If there’s anything I know about you Penny, it’s that you don’t do anything by halves and you have super high standards.  How does this help/hinder(?) anything that you’re bringing to market?

Haha – Yes I do have high standards (good enough will never do in my books!) which is great for the anyone wanting to buy my labels!  I’ve sourced the best supplies, trialled countless fonts and tested their wash and wearability for over three months to ensure my labels are a quality product that will go the distance.  But my high standards mean it’s hard for me to stick with one idea and commit to it.  It makes me fickle, always thinking I can improve on what I’ve done and then it doesn’t get completed.

Mummy Homewares Blogger New Zealand

3.  How are you aligning your labelling business with your blog?

I love things to be homely and cozy, and I love organizing and making things look nice.  Not flashy, showy or perfect but tidy, homely and aesthetically pleasing yet effortless.  I’m organised by nature and I like things done well.  I like things but not clutter.  So my vinyl custom cut labels are a natural extension of myself and what my blog is all about.  When I decided to organise my pantry I pulled out my little handheld label maker to start stickering all of the new containers but it wasn’t looking as “nice” as it could and was not doing my shiny new containers justice.  So I ordered some adhesive vinyl and cut my own.  That extra effort made a huge difference.

4.  Let’s talk about blogging, what’s you view on the current commercialization that is whipping NZ bloggers into a product-hungry frenzy?  It’s wearing me out to be honest!

Oh wow!  This is a huge topic which I could talk about for ages!  I’ve been blogging since 2009 but the last 18 months has been a steep learning curve in terms of public relations and commercial relationships.  It’s very easy to get swept up in all the freebies that can come with writing a blog.  It can be very flattering when businesses contact you wanting to send you product to feature on your blog.  But I’ve learnt that a lot of the time they aren’t interested in you personally, they want to reach your followers and readers.   I think no good can come from “buying” your readers with giveaways.  It’s better to have a smaller number of like minded, genuine followers than a big group who have no interest in what you actually do, which is the essence of your blog.  Never forget why you started blogging in the first place – it wasn’t to receive free stuff – well I hope not anyway!  The commercial or sponsored blog posts, Facebook giveaways, Instagram posts etc are extremely time consuming and you need to stop and think – do I really like this product or do I like it because I’ve been sent it or I’m being paid to write about it?  Sometimes I have found myself swimming so deep in PR and it is so all encompassing that I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote a blog post about crafting or shared a recipe.  I love PR and the commercial relationships that I have created through it.  It’s a real privilege to be privy to some of the latest and greatest products coming to market but I think it is really, really important to remember why you started blogging in the first place and be choosey – only support the brands and products you truly love and that fit with you and your readers.  If you’re honest in that way then you will become an authentic voice who your readers will know they can trust for your opinion or reviews.  I saw this quote the other day and I loved it.  I summed up how I feel about all of this “I am in competition with no one.  I run my own race.  I have no desire to play the game of being better than anyone, in any way, shape or form.  I just aim to improve, to be better than I was the day before.  That’s me and I’m free”.

Amen.

5.  What lies ahead for Little Housewife?  I’m sure you’ve got a few more ideas up your sleeve right?

Yes, I always have heaps of ideas.  My brain is like having 500 internet browser tabs open at once!  I’m going to focus on getting my labels established for a while and then I’ll be releasing a range of hand cut wooden frames which I am very very excited about.  The response to the sample frame I shared a little while ago was incredible so I’ll be working hard to get them ready.  I’m also in the process of redesigning my website and even thinking of a wee name change to better reflect the direction my blog has taken but I’m still not sure about that so watch this space… xxx

To be in to win your own set of 5 standard or large size labels, or any combination of the two, head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and comment on the competition image.  Competition closes Sunday  19th July 2 10pm.

Say hello! My Fun Box + Giveaway

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]


 

Mummy Blogger New ZealandThis is the second time on The Best Nest for this lovely Mama owned business!  Ethan and I reviewed the Ready, Steady, Go! box from My Fun Box back in February, so it’s lovely to have owner Renee back to learn a little bit more about her and her one-of-a-kind subscription based business.  I was actually great friends with Renee’s partner Phil  w a y  back in high school, and though I haven’t seen him in a very long time, it’s been great to be able to reconnect (somewhat) in a weird-internet sort of way!  Small New Zealand doing its thing lol.

So, back to business, Renee is one busy, busy lady.  She and Phil have two little guys Nate, (3.5 years) and Mitch (18 months).  I could stop right there and have to wipe my brow, but these two are a multi-business family.  Renee describes it as having their fingers in a few pies……um yes!   Renee is a self-employed graphic designer as well as running My Fun Box, whilst Phil works his 9-5, spends evenings working on a business of his own with plans to start another business later in the year.  

That’s how it’s done people, hard work xx

Let’s Say hello! to Renee in her own words;

1.  How did you evolve into the owner of My Fun Box?

I came across an American company that made really cool kids activity boxes. I contacted them directly asking to be a NZ reseller of their product but they weren’t interested. I asked to buy their product wholesale. Still not interested. I even struggled buying their product online as they wouldn’t accept an NZ address or credit card. I had to get friends in the States to purchase and send a few boxes to me as I really wanted to see that they were like. When they finally arrived I LOVED them and was inspired to create my own version for kiwi parents. Phil and I spent over a year putting numbers together and researching the concept. Once we started talking to friends about the idea we decided it was now or never and to just take the risk and start the business. We launched in December 2014.

2.  It’s obviously a fairly creative process getting each activity ready for distribution.  How do you bring different ideas to life?

I LOVE Pinterest and that’s where I get inspired! Each box has a different theme so I start there and gather activities related to the theme. Then I choose a couple that excite me, gather the materials and test the activities with Nate. The activity is chosen if it’s relatively easy or straight forward to make and the result is SUPER cool. The next step is getting test boxes together and out to my box testers to make sure the instructions work and there are enough materials etc. And to make sure kids love the activities! 
What’s happening with the boys and their interests plays a part as well. For example, the lantern activity is inspired by Nate’s love of Batman and super heros. My Fun Box activities need to have ‘meat’ to them and give kids the opportunity to explore, learn, discover, create etc with mum or dad.  

3.  No-one talks about the hard days that go with the territory when you’re a Mum with a young family, juggling a business.  What do these days look like for you and how do you push through?

The hardest days are when the kids are sick on a daycare/kindy day. Being the primary carer, my work gets put on hold to look after them. I struggle with that because I have limited hours to work and ‘losing time’ makes it hard to catch up or stretches out tasks/goals for progressing both businesses. I’m very lucky to have understanding clients too who are relatively flexible with deadlines. But on these days I tell myself that my main job in life is being Mum to my two amazing boys and when they are sick they need me. Everyone and everything else can wait!

4.  Subscription boxes are huge right now!  What’s the attraction?

That’s one of the main reasons we decided to go ahead with the business. The subscription business model is HUGE in the States and we knew it was just a matter of time for it to take off in NZ. The American company who inspired My Fun Box is subscription based and has been hugely successful so we modeled our business on theirs.
We want to help parents unlock and nurture their kids creative potential. This isn’t going to happen with one box. And as parents, we all have so much going on that we want easy and convenient solutions.

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

5.  Have there been any surprises along the way as you’ve brought My Fun Box to market?

I thought I would have sold more boxes and subscriptions by now! I’ve also been surprised with comments from few family members and friends about giving up on the business because of it’s lack of sales so far. One friend told me yesterday that he’s impressed with my tenacity with My Fun Box and I replied with ‘I’m not giving up. It’s a great idea and I LOVE it. Things are taking time to get established but it gives me time to get better systems in place and build a GREAT business.’ But I’m one that if someone tells me I can’t do it, I do my damnedest to prove them wrong 🙂  

6.  What area(s) of business do you consider key to the ongoing success of My Fun Box and how are you pushing forward in this area?

Getting in front of the right target market and building my audience. So the focus at the moment is building relationships with businesses and people who have the same/similar target audience. I’ve been doing a lot of giveaways and co-promotions which has been great in getting the My Fun Box brand out there.

7.  What’s ahead for My Fun Box?

We’ve got some cool boxes coming out soon – magic, science and gardening to name a few. We want to expand our offering into party activities and other products. And there’s the possibility of expanding overseas but we’ll see.
I really want to inspire parents to sit down and spend time with their kids, away from the TV, iPad and phones, and create awesome memories together. And I believe that our range of activities will give kids the skills, like problem solving and creative thinking, that will set them up for life.

This week on Say hello! one lucky winner will be able to choose a box from the super cool range at my Fun Box, perfect timing for the School holidays!  Head over to Facebook, and follow the instructions on the Say hello! post and get in the draw.  Competition closes Sunday 5th July @ 10pm.

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

Say hello! Willow & Wolfe

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]


Some brands take luxe to a whole new level but in a quiet, understated way that leaves you wanting ALL the things.  Willow & Wolfe is name to remember, offering a carefully curated gift basket service that combines the innate pleasure of gifting with lustworthy goods and presentation that is second-to-none.  With some of my favorite brands on offer, think The Aromatherapy Co, Aden & Anais, Man O’ War wines, Schott Zwiesel glassware, Veuve Clicquot and Wellington Chocolate Factory, the selection is a veritable tour de force of the very best and most indulgent items to appeal to every taste and occasion.

Understanding that not every recipient has similar requirements, the Willow & Wolfe website also provides a very easy to navigate bespoke service, allowing you to carefully select each item, ensuring your gift is perfectly matched to the lucky recipient.

Before her 21 month old son Hunter was born, Willow & Wolfe owner Anna was a commercial litigator, working previously in both London and Auckland.  The desire to move on from the legal world took precedence after she and husband Brendan welcomed Hunter into the world, and Anna’s goal of running her own business came to fruition with the inception of Willow & Wolfe.  

Anna in her own words;
  1.  How do you make family life and managing your business work?

I try my best to stick to (rough) set periods of time for work and non-work life. Otherwise, with working from home, it can get tempting for everything to merge into one and to not get out and do fun things with my little boy, Hunter.

My Father-in-law is great at coming over to take Hunter for an outing during the week as well so that I can set up work meetings etc in that time.

  1.  When you’ve stepped into the SAHM role, it can be hard to shift gears and have your business goals recognised as worthy, viable and in tandem with the special work we do raising the babes. You’ve got to put what you want out there and dream big right?

Yeah definitely. Our friends and family have all been really supportive and have taken my Willow & Wolfe vision and work seriously. I think once people see how many hours, and how much love you put into your own business they really get behind you and do everything they can to encourage you.

  1.  If someone was gifting YOU a Willow & Wolfe basket, which one would you choose? – I know which one I’m coveting!

Oooh, that’s tough. My husband refers to me as the ultimate consumer as I LOVE cool brands, good food, and sifting around markets etc. Choosing the products stocked by Willow & Wolfe is such fun and always feels a bit like I am shopping for myself. At the moment I would probably go for “Put Your Feet Up” for a bit of  winter pampering.    

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

{I would totally choose the Palatable Preserves, total sucker for yummy spreads on crackers……….and the wooden presentation box!!}

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

  1.  At the end of a tough day how do you regroup?

Sit down for dinner with my husband and catch up on each other’s day. We are currently addicted to “Orange is the New Black” and we love to sneak in an episode of that where we can to switch off.

  1.  What’s ahead for Willow & Wolfe?

We are blown away with how W&W is going but with being a new business the focus is definitely on continuing to grow our repeat customer base. It is exciting to see where things will head in the next 12 months.

Willow & Wolfe have such a special prize for one reader this week, head over to our Facebook page and comment on this week’s Say hello! post before Sunday 28th June at 10pm for the chance to win the gorgeous Put Your feet Up hamper featured in this post.

 

Say hello! Fit Mama + Giveaway

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]


Recognizing the need to make time for exercise and identifying the physical and mental benefits that exercise can bring was a turning point for me as a Mum.  I’ve always worked out on and off over the years, sometimes running, sometimes at a gym, always power walking.  This year I’ve begun my journey as a runner {you can read about that here}, setting myself a 10km target by 2016.  The thing is, running is lonely.  I’m not a hugely social person anyway, but I would often run past boot camps held at our local park and think that, maybe, that looked like a bit of fun.  Problem = small, blessed child.  The park is unfenced, and it’s not a mummy-and-me boot camp anyway so trying to work up a sweat whilst not losing a child just isn’t going to happen.  

Lucky for me, Rosie, owner and trainer at Fit Mama and Mummy to delicious Spencer and Hugo, invited me to come along and experience what her baby-friendly workout classes are like.  Of course I said yes, and headed to Oratia in Auckland to check it out.  

First impression; what a relief!  SO not like walking in to a gym for the first time.  In fact, I don’t think anyone actually noticed that I was new, the other ladies were busy pre-class just being Mummy’s.  Getting their little ones situated and happy, lunchboxes out, bikes in the door, toys out of the bag etc.  It instantly felt welcoming, relaxed, friendly and just, good I guess?  

When Nix is at full strength he’s a nutter.  This is a fact.  Luckily the hall is safe for little ones, I wasn’t anxious that he could get outside, in fact he was so interested in the other kids that the thought of escape probably didn’t even cross his mind.

The workout?  Oh my god.  As I said, I’ve been running this year, but mixing up my training is not something I do so I was sore for four days!  Rosie has the goods, her workout for us was the perfect combination of repetition and variation and the pain was definitely varied across ALL muscle groups lol.  I went back the next week to take some photos and was again impressed by a totally different class structure and workout plan.  Hopefully Nix will be fighting fit this week so I can join the ladies again this Thursday.

Let’s meet Rosie!

Mummy Blogger New ZealandTell us a little bit about Fit Mama;

After I had my first son, Spencer I struggled to find time and motivation to exercise, and I was lonely.  I tried joining a gym but it wasn’t social, it was expensive, and I still couldn’t find time to get there between feeds, naps and spending time with my husband. 

I started Fit Mama because I wanted mums in my community to have the opportunity to get fit, socialize with other mums and have fun without the stress of finding a babysitter.  Plus it was what I needed!  I began exercising regularly, socializing, losing weight and making friends with other mums, all at the same time.  Above all I felt like I had a place in my community and new purpose to my days.

I believe that Fit Mama allows you to a) be a positive, healthy role model to your children b) exercise alongside like-minded women c) do something for yourself and d) exercise at an affordable rate.

Fit Mama Group Fitness Classes are a fun way to workout.  Every session is different, you work hard without having to think too much about what you’re doing, and you can bring the kids along.  It’s win-win!  They are classes aimed at all fitness levels so literally anyone can do it.  I also offer Personal Training, personalized weight loss packages, home workout programs, nutrition consultations and support packages, because group classes aren’t for everyone.

Mummy Blogger New ZealandWhich came first, the business or the babes?

The concept came to me during my pregnancy with Spencer. I didn’t start anything until he was four months old while I coped with learning to be a mum and trying to work up the courage to get into it.  So I guess you could say they were born together!

Mummy Blogger New ZealandHow does the whole ‘take your kids to work’ thing work for you?

Having two boys to look after while trying to make sure everyone is getting a sweat up AND keep an eye on everyone else’s kids can be draining, but that’s the whole concept of the business….we’re all mums! My workplace is naturally an understanding and supportive environment.  We all watch and entertain each others babies and it just works.  Plus I’m pretty lucky to have well-behaved boys.

Mummy Blogger New ZealandWhat inspires you to keep inspiring other women on their fitness journeys?

In a sense I’ve been lucky to be in the same boat as most of my clients – starting Fit Mama with a four month old I was losing baby weight and regaining my fitness.  I then reached my peak, got pregnant and am now back in the same game – losing baby weight and getting to the top of my fitness game.  I think (I hope!) that people are inspired by seeing change in me – because I’m just an everyday mum like them – I have the same daily pressures and frustrations, the same kind of commitments, the same sleepless nights!  I like to think that people see me and what I achieve and feel that there’s nothing in their way either.  

My biggest inspiration is my clients themselves.  I love knowing that I’m helping other mums to live a healthy balanced life; encouraging them to be positive healthy role models to their kids; challenging them in their fitness.  I love seeing massive leaps on fitness tests term after term after term.  I love getting to know each incredible mum that comes along to my classes, and the fact that every single week they manage to get out the door by 9, babies and toddlers in tow, and come and run around with the rest of us.

Mummy Blogger New ZealandLet’s talk about motivation, what’s your secret to getting out of the door with those sneakers on – regularly?

Generally I’m great – I love heading out for a run.  It’s the only time I spend on my own with my own thoughts.  I make future plans for the business and my family, I dream, I sing!  I’m also really competitive and once I’m running, I’m pretty determined to beat my last time.  I’m really motivated to get my fitness back to where it was when I got pregnant in 2014.  On those days I really can’t be bothered?  My husband basically pushes me out the door!Mummy Blogger New Zealand

We have such an amazing prize this week, Rosie and Fit Mama are giving away a term membership to one lucky reader!  That’s two classes per week for Term 3 valued at $230!  Head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and follow the instructions on the competition post.  Comp closes Sunday June 21st 10pm.

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

Say hello! The Boys Store + Giveaway!

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]

When E was a bubba I absolutely despaired when it came to finding super cool clothes for him.  There.  Was.  Nothing.  A certain NZ startup (where everyone shopped for lack of other options) had huge stores and a massive range………that was 90% girls clothes with a small, token offering for the little guys.  Times have certainly changed {thank god!} and I’m having so much fun playing dress up with my little Nixie while I still can.

Making life easier for those of us with boys, Mama of two Andrea has firmly cornered the market with The Boys Store and created a definitive shopping destination that has little dudes covered from tip-to-toe as well as their rooms, their toys, accessories, books…………it’s all in one place and it’s all awesome.

After welcoming her own little bundle of dirt joy, eldest child Mackay, Andrea felt the boy+shopping frustration firsthand and decided to do something about it.  With Husband Andrew on board as designer, they created The Boys Store and sought to fill the online shelves with only the coolest and most fun products from the BEST brands around the world.  Some of my favorite local brands such as Little Flock of Horrors and Little Pop Studios are represented as well as big name international brands that I love such as Huxbaby and Aden + Anais.

So……..Let’s meet Andrea!

1.  Please, please give me the lowdown on your weekly work schedule as I’m on struggle street at the moment trying to fit in blogging work with the rest of my mum-life!  

Yup, I’m totally familiar with that juggling act, especially when children are younger!  Luckily it does start to get easier as the kids get older, my son has just started school and my daughter (3.5 years) is now in an awesome local kindy each day also.  Now that The Boy’s Store has been running approximately 6 months and I’m focusing less on the tasks that go with establishing the business and more on the tasks that are going to grow the business, I’ve got a bit more structure to the weeks ie. I allow a set time each week for social media planning, newsletter creation, product purchasing etc etc!  I absolutely need to structure my days those as otherwise before I know it, it’s kindy pickup time and I feel like I’ve got nothing done. 

2.  When I first heard about The Boys Store last year I thought WOW, then I thought wow, an online store JUST for boys?  Were you ever worried this was a risky move? (It seems pretty genius to me but then I’m a Mum to two boys!).  

Definitely not!  There is a huge amount of online stores out there for babies and kids and it would have been more risky doing just another online store without having a point of difference.  Focusing only on boys gives us that point of difference and given we don’t confine ourselves to just clothing, but include toys, décor and books, we’ve got a little something for everyone’s budget and requirements. I always found as a mum with a young boy that it was really hard to find quality, funky & affordable boy’s stuff out there, so it’s our goal to bring products that fit that bill together in one place!  

3.  What do you find most difficult about being an online retailer/ business owner?  

Getting that cut-through in the market.  We live in such an online world and that space is so crowded.  Getting consumers to take notice of your business when they see a zillion other business ads on Facebook and get hundreds of EDM newsletters in their inbox is really tricky.  It’s definitely one of our goals to create more than just an online store for boys, we want to create a community for mums of boys as well.  Building that relationship with our customers is key, we really want to hear what they want to see more of for their boys and customer service is a huge focus of ours also.

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

4.  What are your favourite items in stock right now?

We’re loving stocking some brands that aren’t so widely found in New Zealand, including the following:

Zuttion – this range of cool urban style clothing with a vintage wash is delivered by Australian designer Pete Zuttion.  Our son lives in his hoody from this range!

Anarkid – Anarkid Organic is a stunning collection of design inspired babywear for newborns up to 18 months. Made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton it is also great value for money.

We’re also pretty proud to stock the Hape range of toys.  If you haven’t seen the Hape range you will want to check it out, made from wood or bamboo and painted with water-based paints, it’s perfectly safe for little ones!  Each Hape toy is designed to be open ended so there’s more than one way they can play with it – nothing worse than a toy that only engages a child for 5 minutes! 

Last, but not least, it wouldn’t be a boy’s store without a range of superhero decals, wall prints, clocks and other accessories!  I think one of our favourite items here would be the Batman Lego Clock. 

5.  What’s ahead for The Boys Store?

We’ve got loads of exciting things in the pipeline!  One of our focus will be building that community and we invite anyone who might want to be a contributor to get in touch with us.  Our range is always expanding also and in the next couple of months will extend up to around 8 years of age (in both clothing and toys), so if you have a older boy watch this space.  We’ve got some awesome summer ranges that are due to land in the next few months also that will include swimwear and loads of colour, just what we need after winter! We’re also working on things such as Layby programmes, Loyalty programmes and registry programmes (ie. For baby showers etc) – amongst other things!

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

Nixon wears Avenue. G Pullover – On Sale Now! $39.95  $32.95

Lovely Andrea is giving one of you the chance to win a $50 voucher to spend online at The Boys Store!  Head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and follow the instructions on the competition post.  Comp closes Sunday June 14th 10pm.

Say hello! Styled by Life & Lily

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]


Life and Lily is a blog I’ve been following for a while, so it’s super exciting to see Holly, the creative babe behind it, take a step in a new direction with the launch of her online Pop-Up shop – Styled by Life and Lily.

Having met Holly before, I can say that the empathy and respect she shows towards her delicate and very important role as a step-mum translates effortlessly in the first person.  Her blog focusses on her amazing DIY ideas, her own ideas on parenting and her experience of growing up in a blended family.

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

Holly’s new venture offers ready styled, budget friendly, on-trend outfits for little ones presented in a gorgeous gift box.  These are easy-wear combos, that combine staple basics with fashion classics – think stripes, denim jackets, slouchy marle and great quality.  With 20 options currently available, Holly’s picks are just as perfect for gifting as they are for building up your own little ones wardrobe.  I die over both pairs of slouch pants Nix is wearing in these shots, they are SO soft, the cotton slub fabric is divine – thick and warm too!

Say hello! to Holly in her own words:

Blended Families can be tough.  How did you decide to begin blogging about your relationship/experiences with Lily?

Blended families are so prevalent in today’s society and I truly believe it is important to embrace and normalise these different relationships. I grew up in a blended family so it is second nature to me. My brothers were my brothers, never my half brothers, and my mother always treated them as if they were her own. I have always admired her for that, and now that I am in her position I respect her even more, as you are right, it can be tough!

The blog is a way for me to be honest and open, a place where I can feel confident expressing who I am and the role that I play in our family. I am also an obsessed DIY’er so this is my creative hub of ideas, activities and recipes to help and inspire other working mums or families living on a budget – like us! The blog was not designed to be directly about Lily, but more my collation of ideas and thoughts on making the most out of life, regardless of family make up or budget.

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

Making the move from blog to business seems so daunting to me!  How have you managed the transition with your Styled by Life and Lily range?

I love to try new things and I am constantly challenging myself. I enjoy the thrill of putting myself out there and fighting the fear of failure. I created this as a pop up shop, another way for me to express some creativity.

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

The concept of the ready styled boxes is awesome!  Where do you get your outfit inspo from?

This concept is very similar to that of my own! I don’t tend to buy from chain stores in NZ as I have started to see people all wearing the same thing. I buy the majority of my wardrobe online, usually from the sale section, so my personal style is different and cheap you could say! I have carried this through into Styled by Life and Lily. I feel there is a lack of smaller line children’s clothing that is affordable in New Zealand. I wanted to focus on complete outfits, in limited quantities, that were affordable. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest and Instagram looking for styles in children’s wear that strike my eye, then search online for items to match together and create easy complete outfits. 
Mummy Blogger New Zealand

Nix wears Box #7 – Super soft grey cotton knit slouch pants, white basic tee and black aviators $35

As a mama who’s trying to stay at home and make this blog work for me, I know how difficult it can be to get the balance between your online life and your real life just right.  How are you managing to stay sane with a new business thrown in the mix?

We have Lily Wed to Sat, so when she is with us I like to spend all of my time with her and Conrad. That realistically gives me Monday and Tuesday night to write, create and edit content, not leaving much ‘me’ time. However, this is important to me and I am so passionate about it that I don’t view it as work; this has become my ‘me’ time.

Mummy Blogger New ZealandNix wears Box #2 – Navy & cream cotton slouch pants, white basic tee and black aviators $35

What’s ahead for Life and Lily?

I hope I can continue to share my experiences, creations and ideas in a positive way within the online community. I have learnt a lot over the last few years, through all the highs and lows, so I would love to be able to share my experience and support others who may be struggling in a similar situation. My mother’s advice was so valuable through the hard times, so I know how important it can be to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience. Step parents often play the supportive role and may hold their own emotion or struggles in for the sake of the family. So in saying that, my biggest goal over the next few years is to help and support any other step parents who may need some advice or even just a pair of ears xxx

One lucky reader has the chance to win a Styled by Life and Lily box of their choice!  To win head over to Facebook and follow the entry conditions on this weeks Say hello! post.  Competition closes Sunday June 7th at 10pm.

Mummy Blogger New Zealand

 

Say hello! Snugbags Merino Sleeping Bags

Mummy Blogger NZI AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUMS OUT THERE, DOING A FAB JOB OF RUNNING THEIR OWN SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES WHILST SIMULTANEOUSLY HOLDING DOWN THE FORT AT HOME. I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE ‘MET’ MANY OF THESE LADIES ONLINE AND CAN’T WAIT TO INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME NEW FACES AND THEIR AWESOME ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND HAVE YOUR BUSINESS FEATURED, PLEASE SAY HELLO!  [email protected]

 

Read on for a Best Nest special AND giveaway from Snugbags Merino Sleeping Bags!

If I had to pick one baby product to recommend to all mums everywhere, from the bottom of my heart it would be, without a shadow of a doubt, a merino sleeping bag.

Now that Nixon has his very own, Rolls Royce of merino sleeping sleeping bags, I will qualify that further by recommending Snugbags Merino Sleeping Bags which are equal parts beauty, luxury and function.  Made exclusively from all natural fibres including the most deliciously soft and snuggly New Zealand merino, the quality of these sleeping bags has to be felt to be believed.

Nix was swaddled as a wee baby but once he was working his arms free I moved him to a sleeping bag and he’s worn one every nap time and every night since.  Yes, even in summer!  It’s an important part of his settling routine, plus his little limbs move constantly, at great speed, all day long so having him zipped up in a Snugbags sleeping bag gives him the tactile cues he needs to remember that it’s time to let mama rest those little legs rest.

Here’s Kim, owner of Snugbags Merino Sleeping Bags in her own words xx

James, Neeva Rose and I live in Piha, our house is a little bit quirky and different, but it has a lovely beachy feel, it’s ridiculously sunny and it has the most incredible view of the ocean. We are both keen surfers so we love being able to see the water and the waves. It has a huge garden which is perfect for Neevie and our two dogs. I am originally from Holland but have lived here for 11 years and definitely call NZ home – it’s such a beautiful place to live and an amazing place for kids to grow up.

How did you evolve into a Mumtrepreneur?

Before I settled in NZ I travelled extensively and 12 years ago an old Chinese man told me that one day when I was 38 I would own my own business. This has always been my dream and his words have stuck in the back of my mind. Sure enough 18 months ago when I was looking for the perfect sleeping bag for Neevie I came across Snugbags. When I approached the owner to see if I could distribute her products in Europe, it turned out she wanted to sell the company. So I ended up buying Snugbags just over a year ago – a few months after I turned 38! Since then I changed the logo, added new lines (the new Winter Duvet Deluxe with merino fleece inner & the Organic sleeping bag) and I have added new prints and colours. Our new range of Merino pyjamas is about 2 weeks away, so you could say it’s been a busy year ;). I really love it though and specially the creative part of designing the new bags, choosing fabrics etc.

merino-2-sleeping-bag-mummy-blog-new-zealand

How do you balance work/family life?

Hmm that’s a tricky thing that I am still working on! Neevie is 3.5 and she is at home with me so during the day I don’t really get much done and I end up working most nights! It’s all not as glamorous as it sounds ha! But on the other hand I feel really blessed to be able to work from home, spend time with Neevie, go to the beach, for bush walks, playgroup etc. It’s a pretty amazing life style!

You live in one of my favourite parts of Auckland, how does living out at Piha  inspire your daily living and business ethos?

We are very into all things natural, and we love spending time on the beach, in the water and in the bush. We are very active as a family and we are dressed in Merino pretty much every day – winter and summer!! It’s the best fibre to wear spending time outdoors and I feel secure knowing that Neevie is always at the right temperature. So having her sleeping in Merino at night came really natural to us. You cannot beat the unique thermo regulating properties of merino – it keeps children warm and dry in winter and cool in summer. Coming from Holland, I wasn’t familiar with ‘nature’s wonder fibre’ but since moving here I have become the biggest Merino fan!
Merino Sleeping Bag Mummy Blogger New Zealand

Your gorgeous products are made here in NZ from textiles you have sourced locally.  Was the desire to work with NZ suppliers an important part of the evolution of Snugbags?

Yes absolutely! It’s very important to me to be NZ made and only use merino that comes from NZ sheep. Both our merino and cotton is spun in NZ and all our dying processes are done here too! I love knowing every part of my business so I can guarantee that what we say is true. Our dyes for example are all certified by the highest Organic standards in the world (GOTS) which means they are nontoxic and free of harsh chemicals like formaldehyde and solvents. I think it’s really imported to have children sleep in a natural and chemical free environment, and I love the fact that our products come from sustainable sources and that they are gentle on the environment too.

Nixon has never slept a night out of a sleeping bag since he graduated from swaddling!  How widespread do you think the use of this wonder product is?

Neevie is exactly the same and I am even contemplating making a 4-6 yr size sleeping bag for her next year ;). I think all kids should be sleeping in natural (preferably Merino) sleepwear and sleeping bags at night as it’s by far the safest way to sleep. When you dress your child in Merino, there is no risk of overheating, due to it’s amazing heat and moisture regulating properties. And when using a sleeping bag there is no more getting tangled in blankets or waking up cold!

What’s ahead for Snugbags?

We have a few very exciting things happening, the first one being our new range of pyjamas! They are made from a gorgeously soft merino & cotton blend and they will be available in two weeks. As far as sleeping bags go we are looking at larger sizes, more exciting and beautiful prints and more gorgeous colours.

Merino Sleeping Bag Mummy Blogger New Zealand

The very, very important stuff!

Snugbags have been very sneaky and surprised us with a secret special JUST for our readers!  Head over to the Snugbags VIP page and log in using the password thebestnest and get your bubba all snugged up in some luscious merino this winter!  Hurry, as this deal expires Thursday May 28th.

and………

To be in to win a $50 Snugbags voucher head over to The Best Nest’s page on FB and enter via the competition image. Yay!