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!  MELISSA@THEBESTNEST.CO.NZ


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! | 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!  MELISSA@THEBESTNEST.CO.NZ


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! 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!  MELISSA@THEBESTNEST.CO.NZ

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.

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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!  MELISSA@THEBESTNEST.CO.NZ


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! Love from Friday

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!  MELISSA@THEBESTNEST.CO.NZ


I was thrilled when Jane, owner at Love From Friday got in touch with me, as I’ve actually shopped her gorgeous online store before and was so, so impressed with both the quality of the goods and the high level of customer service I received.  I’m sure you’ve all seen my felt ball wreath and the matching garland that hangs in Nixon’s room, little pops of fun colour that we enjoy every day.

Mum to Hannah and Max, Jane holds a Diploma of Interior Design and her innate style is evident in her beautifully curated online store.  By stocking products that adhere to her belief that children’s rooms should be fun and inspiring spaces, she has managed to capture a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree!  She both designs and makes her own kids linen range with stunning fabric she sources from throughout the world.  This Mama is definitely the Master of her Domain!

I’m in love with so many things from Jane’s extensive range, but have picked out some of my current faves;

From L-R; Lapin and Me Woodland Doll Money box $50, Black DIY Word Banner $28, Twister Poster in Soft Green $48, Triangle Cot Blanket $59, Circles of Fun King Single Duvet Set $225, Sketch Inc Nesting Dolls $40

In Jane’s own words;

Monochrome or colour?

I love both! My kids’ bedrooms are a great example of this. My daughter’s room is full of colour and pattern and my son’s room is monochrome with some touches of orange. 

But if I had to choose it would be colour. It makes me happy. In fact, my husband and I have just finished painting our kids’ bedroom doors in glossy paint: pink for my daughter and orange for my son. 

Fussy or functional?

Our house tends to get overwhelmed with mess and disarray on a regular basis (read: daily!) so we’re all about functional around here to minimise the clutter!

New or old?

We have got a mix of old and new furniture in our house and I love how they work together. Two of my most treasured items would be our oak sideboard that belonged to my grandparents and a pair of Don chairs that I purchased on Trade Me and got reupholstered. Old furniture has so much charm with its history and beautiful craftsmanship.

Coffee or tea?

Neither, I am a hot chocolate kind of gal 🙂

Run or walk?

Every now and then I get inspired and enter myself into a race and train for it but as a general rule I love to head out for a walk. My favourite walk is up to the Mt Vic lookout in Wellington first thing in the morning. Bliss. My current exercise of choice is yoga. I have just started out on my yoga journey and I am loving it. 6.30am hot yoga, such a fantastic start to the day. 

Which came first, the babes or the business?

While I was whipping up the babes 😉 I studied a Diploma in Interior Design & Decorating through the Open Polytechnic. Once I finished that I started thinking about a business idea and Love from Friday was launched when my youngest was 2. 

What are your favourite products in stock right now?

Love from Friday only stocks products that I LOVE so that is a tough one!

Our Dear Little Letterboxes and Dear Little Mailboxes have been very popular and are a fabulous gift idea. I really love the fact that they combine an educational element by inspiring kids to read and write while providing them with lots of fun. They came in a great range of colours too. 

Our cot duvet cover range provides a great mix of colours and patterns. We have just added two new covers to the range: The red and pink animals cover is bold and bright and fun and our mint leaves cot duvet cover is a more subtle and soothing option. 

We have also just started stocking ‘+’ and ‘x’ wall decals in a range of colours. These look so striking on the wall. I am about to cover a wall in my son’s bedroom in black crosses. 

What’s ahead for Love from Friday?

Right now we are in survival mode at LFF as I only have two days a week to run my business so I can spend the rest of the time being mum :). Its a busy two days (and lots of evenings once the kids are in bed) so its lucky that I love it! 🙂

Once my youngest starts school I will have more time to think about the big ‘where-to-from-here-question’ but at the moment I am continuing to build our product range and provide our customers with a range of fun and inspiring products for their children’s rooms.

Jane is gifting one lucky reader a $50 voucher to spend online at Love From Friday!  To enter, head over to Facebook and comment on the contest image.  Contest closes Sunday 24th May 2015.

Love From Friday Mum Blog New Zealand

 

Say hello! Qwerky Home + Giveaway

Yay another Monday and another awesome Mum to introduce you all to!  Mummy Blog New Zealand

I’ve only connected with Leigh-ann from Qwerky Home over the past 48 hours and to be honest it’s been a flurry of emails back and forth as we threw this feature together but…….gosh, if this woman isn’t as lovely, positive, excited and as fun in real life as she comes across via email I would be so surprised!  And let’s be honest, how difficult must it be to sound lovely, positive, excited and as fun when you have three kids and you’re probably typing one email in multiple shifts while standing up with a cereal bowl in one hand, dirty laundry under an arm and someone tugging at your leg?

In her own words;

I’m Leigh-ann, and I’m married to my wonderful husband and we have three children aged 4, 5 and 6. Life is pretty hectic! My husband is in the military which has meant a fair bit of moving and lots of time apart. It was really important to us that I stayed home with our children while they were preschoolers, and the older they got, the more I realised that I wanted to be able to work around their school hours to be available to help out at school, go to sports days and assemblies and to be home if they need me. With my husband’s job, I needed a career that fit around school hours and school holidays as I can’t rely on my husband to be around all the time. Having a business at home works perfectly with all of that, although sometimes it would be nice to go out to work and leave it all there at home time! I was a counsellor before we had children, so this is a big shift for me and I’m learning all the time. I love it though!

1.  Which came first the business or the babes?

Bebes! I had three children under three and a military husband. We got posted up to Ohakea and built a house and then I realised that I was bored – three children and two house builds in four years left me restless when I didn’t have a project on the go! I started to think about doing more training either in my previous profession as a counsellor, or in interior design when my first business (dorothy nada) popped up. Less than a year later, the opportunity to purchase Qwerky Home appeared and I grabbed it. Who needs sleep anyway? 😉

2.  Doing double-duty being your own boss and a Mum is hard! How do you manage your time so you’re not constantly working?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha *catches breath*, ha ha ha ha ha.

Ummm….yeah. I’m constantly working.

3.  Your site is full of bright, fun colours which I love, what’s your view on the scandi-monochrome trend we’re seeing in interiors?

I LOVE the whole scandi-monochrome thing. I think that if I wasn’t obsessed with colour I’d be totally into it. I have HUGE admiration for people who have children who can carry it off in their homes – my house is colourful, vibrant and LOUD! Sometimes I dream of a calm, subtle room to hide out in, but then I think that I’d end up throwing colour at it anyway. I love to look at the current trend, but I just can’t imagine living in it.

4.  What is your favourite item in store right now?

Glass Greenhouse Interior Mum Blog New ZealandI love the glass greenhouse. It’s a slightly off-beat take on the terraniums that are around at the moment. Just gorgeous!

 

5.  Does life even exist offline anymore?  What’s your take on incorporating social media into your business plan?

Social media pretty much IS my business plan! With 2 businesses and a blog, I feel like I’m always on facebook or instagram. It’s such a great way of getting immediate access to your customers (or potential customers) and building a real relationship with them. It’s a bit like an online version of your friendly local shopkeeper. I love that aspect of it! The only downside is that sometimes people expect you to be available 24/7, and with a young family (now aged 4, 5, and 6), that’s just not possible.

Because Leigh-ann is just so awesome this weeks Say hello! winner will be able to choose between two amaze prizes!

To enter, head over to the Qwerky Home website find the Moana Rd School Bag Handbags or the Wooden arrows sets and tell me on our Facebook post which product and which colour you will choose if you’re the super-lucky winner!  Competition closes next Sunday 17th May 10pm.  NZ residents only.

Moana Road Bag New Zealand Mummy Blogger Sunshine Wooden Arrows New Zealand Mum blog

Say hello! Twinkle Twinkle Little Star + Giveaway

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUM’S 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!  MELISSA@THEBESTNEST.CO.NZ

Kate from Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is one of those brave souls you read about who knew they needed to make a change in their lives and just got on with it. That’s living with no regrets I reckon.Little Grippers Socks Mummy Blogger New ZealandKate is a mum to three kids all under 5 {!!!!} – Jacob 4, Lilly 2 and Scarlett 7 months, who were her main motivation to open her new store.  Opening a physical store as well as an online shop was a choice involving a fair amount of risk.  However, believing in the future of Papakura and wanting to invest in her town gives her a great base from which to run events and workshops to bring local businesses and shoppers together.  Kate hosts breastfeeding, car seat and baby wearing talks as well as book readings, Cloth Nappy Week Coffee Group and fun stuff like crochet classes.  She is also starting a cloth nappy library and baby wearing group to further give back to her community.

Busy, busy lady.  Did I mention she has three kids under 5?

Kate sent me some Little Grippers socks for the boys to try and we are huge fans!  At the speed Nixon races around the house I find sagging socks way too risky so he’s usually barefoot at the moment which is obviously not ideal in this cooler weather.  Little Grippers are available in baby socks, school socks and a new sports sock which all Stay On and Up all day long!  The secret is a very thin layer of 100% natural silicone on the cuffs which is entirely hypoallergenic ensuring no irritation.  This amazing band of silicone lasts the lifetime of the sock, can be washed as normal and won’t lose it’s effectiveness over time!  Ethan has also put the sports socks to the test and they passed with flying colours, doing time at rugby training and staying up is NOT to be sneezed at lol.

Shop the range online at www.ttls.co.nz, prices start from $7 for baby socks!

Little Grippers Socks Mummy Blogger New ZealandLittle Grippers Socks Mummy Blogger New ZealandLittle Grippers Socks Mummy Blogger New ZealandIf you would like to win your choice of any two pairs of Little Grippers head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and follow the competition instructions.
Open to NZ residents only, competition closes Sunday May 10, 10pm.

Say hello! Think.Play.Love + Giveaway!

I AM IN AWE OF THE MANY INCREDIBLE MUM’S 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! MELISSA@THEBESTNEST.CO.NZ


 

Ok, so today we are Saying hello! to a business that gives me ALL of the mummy guilts.  When Ethan was a babe we did every activity on offer.  You name it we had a booking; Jumping Beans, swimming from 3 months old, baby art classes, Mainly Music, regular play dates………meanwhile, baby #2?  Nixon and I have been chilling for almost 2 years lol.  And there are reasons for that of course, but one thing I do remember from all of my excursions with Ethan was that sometimes, classes with young bubbas are just as beneficial for the Mums as they are educational and stimulating for the wee ones :  )

Let me introduce Sam and Think.Play.Love.  “Nurturing playful minds for kiwi kids” – how lovely does that sound?  Sam and Hannah from Think.Play.Love bring a uniquely kiwi element to music, movement and sensory classes for babies under 14 months and toddlers 14 months – 3 years.  These two qualified early childhood and primary teachers have crafted their fab, experiential classes to support the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, including learning and experiences in Te Reo.   Based in Auckland, classes are held in Browns Bay, Whenuapai, Takapuna, Pt Chevalier and Henderson.

For more information or to book a class please visit Think.Play.Love online or on Facebook.

Hello Sam!  Which came first, the baby or the business?

The baby, but the idea for the business was dreamt up long before Cooper came along! My business partner, Hannah, attended music classes for babies while working as a nanny in London so we often talked about setting up something similar ourselves but with a New Zealand flavour for our Kiwi kids. After Cooper turned one I wasn’t ready to return to my teaching job as I wanted more flexible hours to be at home with him so we decided to go for it and Think.Play.Love was born!

 What is your background and how does this influence your business ethos?

I worked as a Primary teacher for 10 years so I am extremely passionate about education and child development. Think.Play.Love has allowed me to build on my existing skills as a teacher but broaden my knowledge and experience by branching into the Early Childhood sector. I feel that learning through movement and sensory play is absolutely crucial for the developing minds of babies so this is always at the forefront of my mind when planning our classes.

How do you manage to balance your young family with life as a business owner?

It’s hard that’s for sure! My partner also has his own glazing business so there is a lot to fit in. I try to be really present when I am with Cooper rather than on my phone or the computer so most of my work is done while he is napping during the day or at night once he is in bed. I am so lucky to have such a strong support network, my family have been great! My mum and sister often look after Cooper so that I can run classes.

 Social media is changing the way businesses tell their stories and reach out to customers, how do you incorporate SM in your business plan and is it hard to keep your personal stories separate?

We have found Social Media to be the most effective way for us to get our name out there and generate a following for Think.Play.Love. I do share personal stories or photos of Cooper from time to time. I actually see it as a good thing as I want our followers to be able to relate to me and know that I am a mum just like them.

What’s ahead for Think Play Love?

We are really excited as we are in the process of adding toddler classes which will be available from Term 3. The classes will still include sensory learning experiences but we will add in a lot more movement activities to promote fine and gross motor skills and cross patterning through climbing type activities, all of which develop important brain pathways.


 

If you would like to win a double pass for you and a friend + your babies to try a Think.Play.Love class for yourself head over to The Best Nest on Facebook and follow the competition guidelines.
Think Play Love Baby Sensory Classes Auckland Mum Blogger Think Play Love Baby Sensory Classes Auckland Mum Blogger