Pages

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Look What Was Sent to Me!!





'Empower women and make us feel wonderful! That’s my motivation!'
- Noria Cherigui, Zena




Zena is a lovely new subscription business. Noria wanted to create something practical yet beautiful and that she has! Zena is all about taking time out for ourselves. 


 'Zena is not only a quality box with treats, beauty products and organic tampons, but it’s most importantly about the quality time you will spend on yourself by:
  • Reading our blog page, where you will discover every month a new interview of the person who made the scented candle you found in the box or how to make facial mask with the clay you have received in the current box. We support NZ businesses and we want you to know them too.
  • Joining our social FB community group 'Zena Girls' to talk about life, your life, your issues, your joys, your experience, everything you want to share with like minded women.'


Enjoy taking a look inside one of the Zena boxes!
Becky x




Such lovely presentation




All the goodies!




Beautiful products that I received!







Website: www.hizena.com
Email: info@hizena.com

Thursday, 19 April 2018

NZ Author Josephine Carson Barr







There is something special and a little bit magical about chatting with a published author. Jo so kindly sent me a copy of her books for my children to read and they love them. The favourite being The Goodbye Chair! They have really enjoyed the main character Nicholas. Read on to find out more about Jo and find out how to WIN a hardcopy of The Chill Out Chair for yourself. Thank you so much Jo,
Becky x



Tell us a little bit about yourself Jo

Currently I live in Auckland City with my husband Rod, trying out apartment living after many years residing in rural New Zealand in both the North and South Islands. I have three adult children and six grandchildren who are often the inspiration for my books. I run Veritas Aotearoa Publishing with my son Simon Barr the illustrator of our books and Rod who joined the team last year as the distributor. 



My daughter has loved following the character Nicholas


When did you start writing? 

I have always been a keen reader and writing just followed on. I wrote articles for organisations I was part of. In 1994 I became a speaker in Christian Circles and that entailed the writing of my talks. 

I have always kept a journal. In 2008 we moved to a small seaside town in the South Island called Waikouaiti and it was there that I really started writing. Short stories, articles and finally children’s stories. It was at this point I wrote a book called Talking to Nanny which is now in the NZ School System. 



So happy to receive these books Jo!



Can you give us a brief outline of each of your books? 

The GoodBye Chair: Is the first Nicholas Story. His Nannie is leaving to go home and he knows she is sad, so he comes up with an idea to make her happy again. This book includes a counting game. 







The Chill Out Chair: Is the second Nicholas Story. In this story Nicholas learns to handle big emotions by retreating into his imagination and becoming the Hero of the story. 

These two books include Te Reo and NZ Sign Language. 







Waata The Weta: Can He Find The Perfect Home? This is the story of the cute ginger headed weta who is different from the other weta. He no longer wants to live in the dark and scare people…so this is his journey to a life of adventure. 






What is your favourite book that you have written? 

Wow this is a hard one…to be honest I love them all equally….but The GoodBye Chair has certainly been very popular. 



What is one thing you do daily to make your business work? 

I make lists and set myself deadlines 



My son sitting and enjoying reading Jo's books



Where to from here with your business? 

Well we have just produced The GoodBye Chair and The Chill Out Chair as BIG BOOKS and hopefully this will increase our earning potential as well as being a marvellous resource for schools and Early Childhood Centres. Also we have two more Chair books and Waata the Weta NO 2 which we hope to have published by the end of 2018. 



How can we buy your books?





GIVEAWAY

With a huge thanks to Jo, I have a hardcover copy of The Chill Out Chair to giveaway to a lucky winner! Please click on the image below to take you over to my Facebook page where you can enter to win, Becky x



Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Monday, 16 April 2018

Focus a Distracted Mind - Kim Jackways, Writer Side of Life





Kim is a Mum of 2, freelance writer, proofreader, blogger and is currently writing a novel of historical fiction set in 18th century Provence AND a very good friend of mine!! 

Phew....amazing!
Enjoy this, Kim offers so many ideas,
Becky x








Our busy lives leave us time-poor. In between work, school activities, housework and being the perfect mindful parent, we need to make the most of any time we do have. So focus is essential. A distracted brain is not productive. When I started writing three years ago, I would search for the perfect Provencal character name for an hour. I could not write fifty words in a sitting. Imagine my horror, when I found out a novel in my genre would normally be 80-100k words. It seemed like an impossible task. And yet, I had all these ideas screaming loud in my mind, keeping me awake, shadowing my steps.
Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week, so they say. Once the kids were dropped off and the computer was humming and staring at me mournfully, I would dust those shelves and re-organise those drawers that hadn’t been touched in weeks. It was not really helpful, although hygienic and sparkly. I needed to find out how to stop procrastinating and keep my mind on the task.



Make it fun

Find your flow, get motivated. Writing has become my flow. Six hours can seem like one and suddenly it is time to pick up the children. If inspiration strikes at 11:30pm when you are drifting through the fug of dreams, get up and get it down somewhere. If blogging bores you but your secret passion is Game of Thrones, find a way to combine the two.



Find Your People

“Life is hard. Find some really good people to walk through it with.” This quote from Andrena Sawyer resonates with me. Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people. Working from home can be isolating, so finding a group (either online or not) of people doing the same as you do, is a life-saver.


Be Accountable

Announce your goals and you will have an extra push to complete them. Just texting your other half saying 'I'm working on a blog post today', helps. I have written much faster since joining a small group where we post our goals and "sprint" together for a set period of time to achieve our own word count targets. Deadlines also provide a strong push to focus and complete tasks.



Schedule Time

Cultivating an online presence is a big part of the marketing of any small business. It is also a huge black hole of precious time. The online platform is especially important for writers, as agents like to see an existing following or fan base. I like to put an hour into the blog each morning, then an hour or so into research. By that time, I am usually absorbed enough into the 18th century in France that I can then write happily for the rest of the time.



No Distractions

Get off that social media. If you have to do your end-of-year taxes, turning off your phone for an hour or two can help.



Silence the Inner Critic

Stephen Richards states, “Our thoughts create our world.” The way we think about ourselves, our ‘self-talk’, has a huge impact on our attitude and resilience. Instead of thinking, ‘this is a huge pile of compost’, I focus on the fact that without a first draft, there is no block of marble from which to chisel and sculpt. One of the biggest learning curves I have faced is learning to Just Write. This means write without reading, write without thinking of an audience, without cross-checking facts. It becomes a stream of consciousness that leaves no room for perfectionism or doubt. It is a draft that will be edited later. It is freeing.
I have now researched and written over 60,000 words in my manuscript and learnt a lot about focusing on one project for a long time. If I can beat distraction and stick at the same project for years, then I think anyone can use these tips to improve their focus.





Thursday, 12 April 2018

Little&Luxe








Who loves surprises? And who loves surprises that come wrapped up in boxes?!
Mel has created a business where subscribers receive beautiful boxes of treats each month!! 
Enjoy your read,
Becky x








Hi, I’m Mel. And I love gifting, subscription boxes and surprises. I’m married to Andrew and we have a four year old daughter and a three year old boxer dog who are best friends. We’ve just moved into Rolleston which is a complete change for me, I’ve always lived central city. Aside from Little&Luxe, I also work full-time in IT, and run another little website Taste of Luxe.









Tell us a little bit about Little&Luxe 


Little&Luxe has been in my head for a long time. I’d start working on it then completely freak out and stop. Then I’d go back to it. It was always something I wanted to do. Originally, I thought I would do a beauty subscription, tailoring the products, making sure that what you received were suited to you and your skin and hair tone, and that you knew where you could get more if you really loved a product. 
After talking it over with a friend, I decided that more of a variety box would be different and there was nothing like it in the subscription space and after a good planning session Little&Luxe was born. 








How did you name your business? 

This was so much harder than I thought it would be. I kept coming back to luxury but luxury that fits in a box, and that is affordable. I think I was going around and around in circles with the idea, then it just came to me – Little&Luxe. 








What is your favourite part of running your own business? 

I love discovering new things and sharing them. I also love surprising people, so really Little&Luxe is my dream lifestyle. I find all these cool products, fit them into a theme, then send them out to L&L’s subscribers every month. When a subscriber opens a Little&Luxe box I want it to feel like a present from their best friend. 









What is one thing you do daily to make your business work? 

I’m always researching. I have a list of themes for the next six months (themes change every month) so sometimes I might be thinking how a theme might work, what could fit in with that, and then figuring out suppliers of products that could go in it. I’m also conscious that I don’t want to include the same products every month. We are a variety box, you get something personal, practical, edible, beauty and home related every month and it would be easy to pop the same products in all the time. I want it to be varied and interesting and unexpected. If you follow us on Instagram and Facebook you’ll see I post lots of funny (and sometimes sarcastic) memes, however I take our monthly box and theme seriously. 








Where to from here with your Little&Luxe? 

I have big plans and dreams, I love Little&Luxe, and it’s ever changing variety. My goal is to keep growing, and I have some other ideas in the works around some different subscription options. I’m toying up with a limited edition “Dad” box that isn’t subscription but would be a Father’s Day box. 







How can we buy your Little&Luxe subscription boxes?


You can subscribe at www.littleandluxe.nz (we have a monthly recurring option, plus a 3, 6 and 12 month subscription package). 
There’s a special extra discount if you use the code Becky. 

You can follow us on our socials at 



Occasionally we have boxes left over (or sometimes I accidentally over order products). You can find these at www.tasteofluxe.nz



Saturday, 7 April 2018

Yum! Wow!






I was lucky enough to try these delicious Mama Energy Bites this week from Mama Fuel

The flavors I tried were so yummy and included chocolate hazelnut, chocolate almond cranberry and white chocolate macadamia. Each energy ball is hand made using local healthy ingredients. There are also gluten free options available. They will retail for $7.99 per box and each box will contain 10 energy balls

Perfect for busy Mums on the go for a little pick me up during the day. They also have Lactation Energy Bites and what a beautiful gift they would be for new mums!


Launching later in April and I can’t wait! Pop over to follow them and support a new and exciting NZ business

Becky x


Facebook: Mama Fuel




Thursday, 5 April 2018

Ivy Inspired Event & Decor Designs




I first found Ivy Inspired last year and fell in love! 
I love the way Emma combines the rustic look of hessian with softer laces and florals. There is something very special about handmade event decor and Emma's designs are beautiful. Enjoy reading,

Becky x





Hi, I’m Emma. I am the wife of a dairy farmer and we have two boys (age 3 & 4). We live in Ngatea/Thames & like to spend our spare time exploring the country. We are currently working on converting a bus into a holiday house and will eventually park it up on some off-grid land we have in Coromandel.




Hessian & White Bunting


When did you start Ivy Inspired?

Ivy Inspired was started one year ago, I should really find out the exact date and throw a party. 
I have been making hessian table runners & bunting flags for around five years. I originally started after I made them for my wedding in 2013 and had to get rid of all the extra hessian fabric I had bought. I got so many requests that I just never stopped. I started under the name The Wedding Bunch which was a business I ran with my sister for about 3 years. Mostly selling wedding flowers and hiring props until distance, kids, and family commitments made it hard to continue. 
I then went out on my own and Ivy Inspired began. I took over the lounge in our home, invested in a few industrial machines, and sped up my production process. Now I have a larger range of products including ribbon backdrops, rose globes at Christmas time, a bigger selection of hessian options, and vinyl cutting machine to personalise items.




Hessian Table Runner Lace Edged



How did you name your business?

My business was named Ivy Inspired because I have always felt encouraged and inspired by my family & their talents. In particular, my grandparents, Ivy & Aubrey. They were both very creative people and I was very privileged to inherit all of Grandma's sewing and craft supplies & a huge portfolio of sketches drawn by Grandad. 
I love that even though they are gone now, in a way I still get to share this with them.




Hessian Placemat & Cutlery Pockets



What is your favourite part of running your own business?

I’m not gonna lie, I love getting to do things the way I want to. I love being able to create whatever I like. And mostly I love that I have the option to spend as much time as possible with my family.




Ribbon Backdrop



What is one thing you do daily to make your business work?

I try to learn something new every day. I read blogs, browse websites, watch videos etc. anything that I think will help me to learn something. Even if it isn’t completely relevant to my business. Learning ignites passion and gives me the confidence to try new things. 




Tassel Bunting



Where to from here with Ivy Inspired?

I have a few new products in mind and am hoping to complete them in the next month. As for long term, right now I am not entirely sure. I have a few exciting things to think about at the moment, some different directions I could take the business. Watch this space… :)




Rose Globe


You can find out more here: