In March I started B School which is "an 8 week, interactive video-based training program that teaches smart, effective online marketing strategies to business owners who want more sales and more impact from their online presence. Whether you’re brand new to business or established and ready to grow, B‑School will challenge you to execute at your highest level. It’s designed to turn your business into a force for good that fuels higher profits and your higher purpose."
It's been quite a journey so far - not only fitting in the work around running my business and launching a new range of products, but the content goes really deep so there's a lot to process and take on board. The great thing is that it's all good (and important) stuff and necessary to grow and run a successful business. I've come to realise just how much I haven't been doing that is pretty much crucial to long-term success!
Anyway, part of all this is that regular dedicated communication to your followers and supporters absolutely needs to be a part of the game. Which, if I'm honest, I've known for a long time but have struggled to commit to.
Sooooo... I'm going to get my A into G and make it happen regularly. Writing about life as a self employed creative, mother of 2 kids, dog owner, mountain biker, bird lover and outdoor enthusiast - you know, slice of life behind the scenes stuff. I hope you'll enjoy following along and hopefully being inspired to get yourself and your family outside to connect with nature and all of the wonders it offers.
So now we've joined the "big guns" and have attended our first trade fair. We worked hard in the lead up to the event creating new products and building our custom furniture for our stand. It was a huge success where we got to meet lots of new (and potentially new) customers, as well as meeting existing stockists in person for the first time. Face to face contact really is still the best way to do business!
We must thank Anneliese from Tikitibu for making it possible for us to exhibit within the "NZ Made" section of the Gift Fair. We were flanked by seasoned attendees like Moth, Abstract Designs, Jill Main, Nuzilla, Ian Blackwell... and many more.
Our Pews and Prints drew the most favourable attention which we're very pleased about.
We're aiming on being back in August for the Spring Gift Fair with more new products to showcase in the lead up to Xmas.
The Auckland Art & Craft Fair is (in my experience) the biggest and best NZ hand made market in the country. The venue, location, variety and quality are simply top notch and as a vendor it's the place to be. We always have great success at the December event and there's also a mid year one held during winter. The organisation and marketing of the event are excellent so there's always a big number of customers through the doors. It's also a great way to meet fellow marketeers if you're lucky enough to be able to get away from your stall to wander around, view the others stalls and chat.
WooHoo!! We are officially "Clever Bastards"! I've ogled this site full of amazing things made by clever people for a while now, dreaming of one day having a product good enough to join the superb NZ artists and designers on there. Well, the day has come. Super happy and it's now time to celebrate - look out wine, here we come!
Well here they are at last! Locked and loaded and ready to fly off to new homes. I'm offering a one-time special price for my online friends. ONLY $39 each. These are available in my Felt shop for $59 so that's a whopping saving of $20!! Simply send me an email and let me know which one/s you'd like.
Printed onto beautiful bamboo veneer using solvent free UV curable non-fading ink. Size of print = 208x259mm inserted into a quality white-core bevel-cut mat with a 203x254mm window that fits into a standard 11x14” (279x356mm) frame. Comes fixed onto a named and signed backing board ready to insert into a frame of your choice.
Enjoy as a one-off piece or combine with other prints to make a colourful, fun and natural statement on any wall.
Frame not included.
Have you guys heard of The Blogcademy? In their words; "The Blogcademy is a wildly fun, fiercely smart, two-day workshop tailored to bloggers who want to elevate their online presence and business up a level — or fifteen. Taught by three of the world’s most high-profile bloggers, Gala Darling (Gala Darling), Kat Williams (Rock n Roll Bride) and Shauna Haider (Nubby Twiglet), we take your hand and give you a backstage pass to the blogosphere".
Well, it got me thinking about my Blog and how I, and it, could really do with a helping hand... trouble is, the course ain't cheap baby. And neither should it be - they offer a lot of knowledge. The good news is that they also offer up a scholarship for each of the cities they visit. So, I might have to dust off my bunny ears and think about applying.
Where did I hear about all this? After watching Gala's "Radical Self Love" talk on TEDx.
It all began on Sunday actually. I went off to host the monthly Hot Lakes Craft Market at the Arts Village while my husband took our little people to the Ngongotaha Trout Hatchery for one of their 'Kids Fish Out' days. This is where children aged 6-14yrs can learn to fly fish and, get this, it's a guaranteed catch of a lovely rainbow trout. Seriously! How good is that?! So the more children you have, the more fish you come away with. I know - brilliant! So if you don't have any children, take my advice and borrow some - at $3 each you're onto a winner (for the fishing license that is, not the kid). The added bonus is that it's a really lovely place to visit and you can wander around the grounds and enjoy all the different trout pools, the hatchery and the lovely stream. Take along your coffee thermos and you're well and truly sorted.
So we ended up with two rather small (possibly not legal in the 'real' world) but lovely none-the-less rainbow trout. Yesterday they were gutted, butterflied, salted and sugared and left overnight in the fridge. Today they were hot manuka smoked for 15 minutes. While they were smoking I googled for a recipe (I do a lot of that) and thought that a 'Smoked Trout Tart' sounded like a fine way to appreciate our little beauties. I used this recipe, but with this pastry. The first recipe (which makes enough for 2 tarts) uses 14 tbsp of butter... what? Who measures that much butter by the tablespoon? Too weird/difficult I thought so I found one where they measure in much more civilised grams. It's pretty rich with a cup of cream in it... but blimey it's GOOD!!
I certainly ain't no food photographer and had to wrestle the kids away whilst being cruel enough to make them wait for photos, but I mean, just look at it. Drool...
On Saturday a group of my gal-pals and I set off to do the new-ish Tarawera Trail. It was a surprisingly beautiful warm day and we were walking along in t-shirts enjoying our gal-chatter under a sunny blue sky. This trail is a stunner. Really truly beautiful. There's something about Lake Tarawera all vast and tree-lined with that majestic mountain looming in the distance that makes it feel so... significant.
This image shows the point we got to before turning back. Down there is Hot Water Beach. Next time I'm going to head off a bit earlier and do the whole distance with a nice warm soak as the reward before turning back and heading home. There are so many awesome little semi-secret natural hotpools around Rotorua.
After much wailing and gnashing of teeth between the various parties involved, this 15km 'stage one' leg of the journey was completed in December. Eventually the plans are that it will take you the 42km all the way around Lake Tarawera joining ranks with some of the other iconic multi-day walks in NZ. Joy.
There are lovely little beaches along the way to stop and enjoy...
And enjoy some more! Yeow!!
Then later on that night to cap off a fabulous day we got together for a potluck curry dinner. Now that's my kind of Saturday!
By far one of my favourite birds from our fair shores is the Tui. I just love their boisterous raucous personalities, the way they dart at ridiculous kamikaze speeds through the branches, how they all flock to a favourite tree of choice and ransack it within days, or hours. Their antics make me smile. And of course, their magnificent song. Just so beautiful and interesting... the myriad of clicks and chortles - there's nothing like the chorus of Tui first thing in the morning. And how about the way they look? Stunners! We're very lucky to be surrounded by these lovely creatures and have a big sky vista so if we don't see hoards of them gathering in some of their favourite trees around our place, we see them darting through the sky - either alone or in large 'packs' like a group of teenagers up to no good.
We're all familiar with iconic images of Tui amongst Flax and Kowhai trees.
Some interesting facts...
Tūī are unique (endemic) to New Zealand and belong to the honeyeater family, which means they feed mainly on nectar from flowers of native plants such as kōwhai, puriri, rewarewa, kahikatea, pohutukawa, rātā and flax. Occasionally they will eat insects too. Tūī are important pollinators of many native trees and will fly large distances, especially during winter for their favourite foods.
Tūī will live where there is a balance of ground cover, shrubs and trees. Tūī are quite aggressive, and will chase other tūī and other species (such as bellbird, silvereye and kereru) away from good food sources.
An ambassador for successful rejuvenation. A good sign of a successful restoration programme, in areas of New Zealand, is the sound of the tūī warbling in surrounding shrubs. These clever birds are often confusing to the human ear as they mimic sounds such as the calls of the bellbird. They combine bell-like notes with harsh clicks, barks, cackles and wheezes.
Breeding facts. Courting takes place between September and October when they sing high up in the trees in the early morning and late afternoon. Display dives, where the bird will fly up in a sweeping arch and then dive at speed almost vertically, are also associated with breeding. Only females build nests, which are constructed from twigs, fine grasses and moss.
Where can tūī be found? The tūī can be found throughout the three main islands of New Zealand. The Chatham Islands have their own subspecies of tūī that differs from the mainland variety mostly in being larger.
Here's a really interesting and enjoyable interview with Simon Morton from Radio NZ and a Tui expert.
Thanks to DOC for the above info :)
I went for my usual Monday morning run today - complete with hat, gloves and jacket which inevitably come off half way around before overheating sets in. Anyway, after a shower followed by my coffee and email/online catch-up, I fancied something warm and tasty out of the oven. This super simple Coconut Loaf is delish and pretty healthy too. Thanks to the good folks at the Tauhara Centre in Taupo for the recipe.
1 1/2 cups wholemeal flour
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Add whatever fruit and/or nuts take your fancy - I like it with currants and pecans. You could try cranberries and macadamia or walnuts...
Mix all ingredients together and bake in a lined loaf tin for 1 hr at 180c. Too easy!!
THEN smear with lashings of butter :)