Wishing you a holly jolly Christmas

24 December 2014

It's almost here... Christmas! I hope your 'silly season' hasn't been too crazy. I wanted to wish you a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. Thank for a wonderful year! 2014 was eventful, exciting and busy. I appreciate each blog post visit and comment, click, workshop or consulting session booking, referral... you get the picture! I'm super GRATEFUL and couldn't have done it without you! Thank you, thank you, thank you... for allowing me to live my dream!

Happy eating, unwrapping, gift-giving and napping!

Space Man: Not only for men

23 December 2014

I recently had a little night out at the opening of Space Man, the cool boyfriend to The Space (one of my absolute favourite stores). It was an awesome night of mingling, drinking champers and creative chatting with blogging friends like Emma-Jane, Ask Ashe and Sandy Nene. We always seem to have loads to catch up on when we get out and away from our computers. Space Man is interesting, well-thought out and inspired. Might I add I think it isn't only for men (ssshhhh). That's right... despite the men's clothes - there are so many beautiful details that left me in awe, plus the products are pretty damn nice too! Just don't tell the guys about my observation! 

From the cool gadgets through to the nik naks and interesting gifts you can take your pick. I particularly loved the book selection. The curated and creatively designed store is the perfect example of shopfitting done right. Even Daniel was amazed - which usually means he is taking more photos than me (mission accomplished). 

If you  have a few stocking stuffers or gifts to buy I suggest heading to Space Man asap - even if only to spoil yourself (I won't tell anyone). Happy shopping and look out for their voucher giveaway soon!

P.S: Take a look at Emma-Jane's post - click here to see it

Visit Space Man at...
Shop F223 / Gateway Theatre of Shopping / next door to The Space.

Snail Mail Ideas: Wrapping Inspiration

22 December 2014

In between my real work I always try and fit in some snail mail wrapping and crafting. It makes me so happy and I love seeing a package come together. There is a sense of achievement in finishing it, coupled with the joy of giving. What could be better... than a bit of DIY fun! With all the Christmas inspiration flying around the internet - I thought I would rather share some snail mail inspiration which is relevant all year round.

I like to layer lots of random goodies like stickers, tags, fabric and buttons when I wrap small gifts. It creates a colourful combo of textures which is sure to make my pen pal smile.
I love using buttons to finish off a parcel. This minty polka-dot one and bird button are unique finds, but also really cheap. Paired with some washi tape and twine they add a unique touch.
Plain paper bags are useful as you can decorate them as you see fit. Sometimes I leave them plain and add a small detail or I add lots of strips of washi tape to brighten things up.
Like most crafty people I have a huge stash of supplies so I don't actually have to head out and buy more items to get creative with (often I can't resist though). I like to keep my items neat and tidy so I can really have a good look and use the things I have. It also encourages me to make hand crafted gifts rather than buy snail mail pressies. I had these stickers made to match my branding, but there are loads of stamps out there or ready to buy stickers which you can add to your handmade creations.
I like to decorate the padded envelopes which I send snail mail in, but I find if I do it too intricately it gets damaged. Small additions like washi tape on the outside makes it pretty and also tells your pen pal that there is something exciting inside (rather than the boring old mail most people receive).
I like to wrap individual items so that my pen pal has several small packages to unwrap. I use wrapping paper, paper bags and also pretty pages from magazines. I often buy packs of items like pens or notebooks and then split them up so that I can give them to different people.

It's also fun to just send papery items now and again - which is a great deal cheaper to post. I like to fill a bag or envelope with a nice note, some stickers, cards and other flat crafty items.

Making gifts can be super simple. I made this small brooch using a mix of buttons, thread, a piece of felt and a brooch back. It didn't take long at all, but it's a piece of hand made love for a special faraway friend. I found a simple black box and packaged it up. 

Snail mail is such fun and I hope this inspires you to get creative.

Durban: Must-Visit List

17 December 2014

I've tried out a few really great and fantastic Durban places lately and wanted to share them with you. If you live here then be sure to stop by or if you are here for the holidays then add these to your 'must-visit list'.

Daniel and I checked into The Concierge for a wedding anniversary 'staycation'. Quirky and fun... this hotel offers a good night's rest and a truly authentic local experience.

Afro's is opening their newest shop at 33 Churchill Road this week, which means their tasty chicken is easier than ever to get your hands on! If you haven't sampled this cool brand's food then make sure you dash there (right now).

The Hilton Hotel has long been a sparkly glimmer on our skyline and now you have the ideal excuse to visit. This iconic hotel serves high tea every Saturday and Sunday (2pm - 5pm at R195p/p) in their remodelled lobby. There is a hint of old world charm perfectly matched with luxury. To book call 031 336 8232.

I CRAVE Mexican food! Finally I can get my fix at El Hombre. This new addition to Florida Road is my current favourite stop. Their ordering process is fun and different. The food is a delicious array of flavours! Mmmmm...

Described as a premium bar The Dutch doesn't disappoint. Escape into a beautifully decorated space for a decadent night out. It offers the perfect excuse to don your heels and splash out on a glass of happiness.

Voucher Special: The Gift of Business Success

12 December 2014

If you are still on the hunt for the perfect gift for a creative friend then I have the perfect option for you. I'm offering an awesome December special on my consulting sessions! Give the gift of creative business and help a friend or even yourself to build a successful business with a little help from me.
What is the voucher for?
It is for a one on one consulting session of up to two hours. I run the sessions via Skype or FaceTime for those not based in Durban so everyone can make use of the service. It is one of the most popular aspects of my business where creatives get to tackle concerns or ideas directly related to their needs. The session is ideal for those just starting out or thinking of taking the creative business leap. It is however, suitable for creative businesses at any level. I cover what you would like me to. Sometimes it's a pep talk, or a strategy... it's up to you and if you don't know where to begin then don't worry, I can help with that too! It's really easy to buy the voucher - just email me so I can get the correct details & get your voucher posted off asap. I can either send it to you or to your friend.

For R375 you will receive:
  • A session voucher valid for six months.
  • A notebook to capture your ideas and to start planning for success!
  • Free overnight postage via Speed Services to your closest post office.
  • Each package is wrapped in my signature style and includes a free 'Season's Greetings' postcard.

The total value is R500 including all the little added extras and the overnight postage, but I'm offering it for R375 up until the end of December. The voucher is valid for up to six months so the recipient can book a session to suit their schedule.

To buy your voucher - just email me (click here).

A few kind words from a client who has made use of the service...

Seven Things: December

11 December 2014

A glimpse of life captured via Instagram

1 > Post: The postal strike is over (for now at least), which means we might stand a chance of actually getting some pretty things in the mail this Christmas! I sent off a big batch of cards this week and hope they make it safely to faraway friends.

2 > Paper Trends: Oooh... have you seen these goodies at CNA? The Paper Trends range is a fresh new collection of whimsical stationery. It's a pity the Creative Stationery brand's website doesn't showcase their work more. Anyway, the prices are really affordable (except this owl USB that I desperately want), Awesome things to send to pen pals the world over.

3 > Fashion Camp: On Tuesday I spoke at Fashion Nanny's Fashion Camp for teens. I touched on social media, blogging, YouTube and also online safety. Followed by... a DIY with the young ladies. They had such fun making tape measure brooches and personalising them with washi tape and buttons. 

4 > En-sem-ble: I visited my client Tina's pop-up shop this week at Windermere Centre. She has collaborated with several lovely local creatives to set up the shop for the festive season. It is next to the new Woolies Food in the centre. It makes me so proud to see how hard my clients work and how well they do. This puppet friend is one of her personal creations which she creates for schools to accompany books and stories. Over and above that she hosts event, sets-up play areas at markets, runs them and also manages to work on pop-up events like the House and Garden Show! Impressed!

5 > CHRISTMAS: Woohoo... this year I am really indulging in enjoying each and every day of December. Actions of love, writing cards, decorating or doing some shopping. Filling each day with a little more joy before the 25th. Snow Fairy from Lush is delightfully sweet and adds a touch of cheer to every shower. Have you tried it? It's limited edition around this time of year.

6 > Shopping: With all this Christmas cheer comes a lot of selecting and also not shopping for myself more than others - ha ha! Easier said than done - I spotted this Typo Thoughts and Reflections journal and was torn, but decided to stay focused on my gift giving instead. Nice to look at nonetheless!

7 > Season's Greetings: Part of said gift giving is spoiling my clients! One of my favourite things to do. Claire and I worked on this postcard to send out to a special few.

Are you enjoying the silly season so far? 

Tried & Tested: MFM Series #4

08 December 2014

MILLAMAE Sweet Stationery Products

Another Monday and more colourful stationery to share! This week I'm featuring MILLAMAE and their sweet collection of hardcover diaries and journals. The end of 2014 is less than a month away (eeek) which means it's the perfect time to get your 2015 diary prepped and ready. I just can't stop staring at the diary cover as it peeks at me from my desk. The design and colours are beyond beautiful! MILLAMAE offers a brand experience as a whole - from their online store through to their actual products. The attention to detail is visible throughout. I included a few pictures of the items packaged up as everything is soooo lovely!

Overall Review:
I'm featuring the 2015 A5 Diary (Ditsy) and Blue Heart Lined Hardcover Journal. Now... it's tough to test out a diary for next year, but what I did was schedule out the meetings I do have planned, along with the details that are confirmed. The diary is designed for its purpose - it contains useful elements like a space for your details, a year at a glance planner on a double page spread and various other useful lists. Each diary page has a quote which is a nice touch, but it doesn't interfere with the planning space available. The journal paper is different to the diary's, but the quality is excellent all round. The journal pages are lined, but blank. It has a useful elastic closing which I quite like as I always slot in notes or inspirational articles into my journals. I started making my rough list of goals for 2015 and enjoyed using the pretty journal to help me feel motivated.

Best Feature:
The diary's best feature is the month at a glance page at the beginning of each new month. I love using this layout for planning meetings, so that at any given time I can glance over my appointments and not double book. Another element that is definitely worth a mention is the beautiful cover design. Having the diary and notebook on my desk really brightened it up - it's cheerful and literally makes me smile!

Useful For:
The diary is obviously useful for staying organised in 2015. There is ample space for scheduling and adding a daily to do list as there is a page per day. The journal is great to use as a notebook, but I think it's best suited to capturing your thoughts or goals.

2015 A5 Diary: R120
Lined Hardcover Journal: R90
Where to Buy:
You can visit the MILLAMAE online shop to place your order. Their products are also stocked at a few stores across South Africa - click here to view list.

In addition MILLAMAE offers a wonderful collection of tags, wrapping elements and notebooks too, so be sure to take a look! Stationery lovers you have been warned!

*See other MFM posts here.

Durban: Charles & Keith Giveaway

04 December 2014

The path to my heart is simple... it involves stationery, shoes and handbags (and food of course). Last week the Charles & Keith team invited a few Durban bloggers to visit their beautiful store in The Pavilion. I've visited one  in Cape Town earlier this year and was in awe! The good news is we finally have our very own store here in good old Durbs. It's pretty much how I would envision my walk in wardrobe (*one day). Each item is designed with care and precision with a trend element, but the key focus is on creating stylish wardrobe staples. We got to chat, hear more about the brand (which is originally from Singapore) and of course gaze with longing at the incredible shoes, bags, belts, purses and sunglasses. 

The cherry on top was the generous gift we each received - a beautiful handbag and a notebook (how did they know)! Luckily the generosity doesn't end there. Charles & Keith wants to spoil a few very lucky Durban ladies. All the bloggers in attendance are running a giveaway - how fun and awesome, plus we are actually competing with each other. We each made a personal selection and what we want you to do is head to the Durban - Pavilion Store and take a picture with your favourite blogger's choice. Hash tag it #charleskeithpav and also at (@) your chosen blogger on social media. 

Of course I want you to pick my pink handbag - so head in store and get snapping! You could win a R500 voucher to spend on your dream item!

So let's recap... To Enter:
  • Go to the Durban Charles & Keith store in The Pavilion. It's located opposite the info desk near Woolies / Edgars.
  • Find my chosen item - it has a little sign with my name on (it is towards the back of the store - see photo above for a clue).
  • Snap a selfie or a pic with my item and the sign.
  • Post it on social media mentioning me (@NadiavdMescht) and use the hash tag #charleskeithpav.
  • That's it - simple and really fun too.
You can also enter via Rafflecopter below for those who can't go instore:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy snapping! x

The Serious Stuff:
This is a local, Durban only giveaway. It closes on the 13 December 2014.
Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties like all modern technology. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it should work.

Workshop Fun, Snaps & Details

03 December 2014

Last weekend I hosted my last creative business workshop for 2014 - how time does fly when you love your job! I tested out a new venue - Open Plan Studio because as of 1 January 2015 I'll be moving into an office at The Design Factory in the Station Drive Precinct. It made sense to make use of a venue that was in the same building as my new office. Exciting times!

I decided to share a few of the Instagrams from the day as shared by the lovely creatives in attendance. One of my favourite things to do after a workshop is to check the nvdmlearn hash tag and see what people captured on the day. It really gives me a different perspective and seeing the details that others liked also serves as a confirmation of a job well done. 

A new venue meant new challenges which included bringing in some extra help. I worked with Zak & Tonic a whole year ago on their blog. I've loved following their business growth this year so the talented duo were an obvious option to take care of lunch. They did me proud and delivered a delightfully delicious meal. Sean from Open Plan Studio was another great help and of course Claire, my amazingly helpful assistant was on call to help make the day just right. My darling mom played florist with her natural flair and so the day was rounded off with some floral pretties. I'm one lucky girl with all the help I get.

I have several new workshops planned for 2015 so keep an eye out for the updated details.

Thanks to the attendees who make all the work so worthwhile and thanks for sharing these snaps!
Check out the following hash tag on Instagram for more pics - #nvdmlearn or click here to see more updates on Twitter from past workshops.

Also pictured are a few lovely items from m.studio and take a look at the 'Creativity with Integrity' poster that Fathima created for me. I used a sequin hanger from Lovilee to  display it.

Tried & Tested: MFM Series #3

26 November 2014

m.studio Products
 *Quick Note: Yes, I know it is Wednesday and not Monday (insert unhappy face here). Last week and this week have just been beyond manic work wise. Yesterday, I had a stressful and rather big presentation and I had high hopes on Monday for posting MFM, but I had to focus on what lay ahead. I'm really trying to get round to more blogging - doesn't seem like it is working. Anyway... here is MFM on Wednesday! 

I'm having such fun testing out lovely stationery to share with you. Each and every brand that is part of the MFM  planning and organising series are awesome (obviously). I'm not bias or anything, but it is so great to have local creatives making wonderful things so we can get even more organised. There are some particularly delightful options available for SA stationery lovers or as gifts in preparation for the festive season ahead. I mentioned on Facebook last week, that I will share a review every second week so that I can make sure I actually get a gap to use the products for a week.

m.studio is a personal favourite - who is always creating and making beautiful stationery / useful crafty goodies. It's pretty difficult not to be tempted right! I have been fortunate enough to meet Mariaan several times and I've experienced her incredible stand at Kamers . She is a kind, happy soul who is always ready to help and of course a brilliant local business woman too. 

I tested out the Magnetic Checklist Notepad, Magnetic Groceries Notepad, Magnetic Things to Do Notepad and the Sunshine Tote Bag. I also got a sneak peek of a few other items that will be launched online - one of them being the colourful and useful heart stickers you might spot in the photos.

Overall Review:
Awesome, lovely, affordable products! It's that simple. I particularly liked the Things to Do and the Groceries notepads. Both have lived on my desk for the past week and have been well used to capture many a scribble and fleeting thought. I usually make shopping lists on my phone, but much prefer a papery option to take along on my aisle travels. The perfectly sized pages (90 mm x 200mm) are a perfect accompaniment to my planner, as I could slide in the to do pages and deal with extra tasks as needed. The bag was ideal as a holdall for meetings to carry my planner and iPad (and all the other paraphernalia I seem to require in order to function). I also loved using the tote to hold my packages to post on errand days . It would be ideal to use as a gift bag too - filled with beautiful presents.

Best Feature:
The prices! Useful, pretty stationery at low prices means you can get double as much (I'm not enabling you - I'm just saying btw). 

Useful For:
All your organising needs. I find the m.studio paper products, like the notebooks great to use for snail mail gifts. They are flat and lightweight, plus South African - so they are just lovely to share with faraway friends. 

Groceries Notepad (Magnetic) - R32 (50 pages)
Checklist Notepad (Magnetic) - R32 (50 pages)

Where to Buy:
You can shop online on the m.studio shop or lookout for these lovely products at the next Kamers event (take plenty of money to spend - it's irresistible).

m.studio is giving away a R500 goodie pack of products to one lucky (damn lucky if you ask me) blog reader! How awesome is that.
You can enter below via Rafflecopter:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Note: Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties like all modern technology. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it should work.
This is a local South African giveaway which closes on the 3rd December.

Seven Things via Instagram

20 November 2014

Wow! I haven't done a Seven Things post in like seven months! Ridiculous... it suddenly dawned on me the other day... so here I am sharing seven things of late. I did share a few of these snippets on Instagram and I also saved some for this post. I now have two accounts - one for business, stationery and creative updates. The second account is for more personal out and about photos. Follow along here... nadiavdmescht and hellonadiavdm.

1 > Movember: I've been waiting all year to bust these out. Finally, I can wear them and be part of the coolest man month. I got these little earrings as a gift and love wearing them for a touch of quirk.

2 > Stationery Packs: My creative escape time is spent getting crafty. I made this one for a pen pal. Now, if only the strike backlog would ease up so I can actually post it. I would be heartbroken if it got lost on its merry travels.

3 > Christmas Time: There is no more denying it... the festive season is upon us. I recently wrote my first card and used a very pretty tag from La Cartoleria.

4 > Night Out: About two weeks ago it was a close friend's thirtieth birthday celebrations. We had a fun day and night, which ended with dancing and sore feet. As I was unpacking my bag the next day these remnants stood out. My darling friend also gave me the sweetest gift topped with a Nifty250 strip - how kind considering it was her birthday.

5 > Smashing Colours: On Tuesday night I headed out with Sabrina from Fashion Nanny for a Smashbox event. We were spoilt and tried loads of beautiful products. We also caught up with a few other Durban creatives.

6 > Housewarming: Taryn from Smith's Bakeshop always outdoes herself. This delicious and beautiful creation was part of some recent housewarming celebrations for two lovely friends.

7 > Boiler Room Cafe: Finally, I am cool too. It was exciting to visit this awesome Durban space with a few of my fav creative friends. Worth a visit for sure - especially to see the art by Resoborg.

DIY Snail Mail Jar for Consol

18 November 2014

Consol recently reached out to me and asked that I put together a little something using their new jars with coloured chalkboard labels. I decided to get creative and share a gift that could also lead to more  giving or sharing down the line and that's how I came up with a Snail Mail Kit in a jar. The idea is really simple and easy to replicate as a special DIY gift for a friend. I included a pen, washi tape, envelopes, a few cards, a stamp and scissors. You can fill it with anything stationery related to get them started on their snail mail journey. I made use of  other crafty bits and pieces too like buttons, glitter paper and tape, as well as small bells to decorate and add to the Olive Finch Christmas tag around the bottle's neck. It is so easy and fun to create - I hope it inspires you to get making this Christmas.

I bought my supplies mostly from Typo and one or two elements like the envelopes and glitter paper from a general craft shop. The MT washi tape is from Washi Bug. My Motex label maker from Love Letters Stationery also came in handy. As mentioned you can include anything creative so it's an easy DIY to shop for.

Poster Fun with Recite This

11 November 2014

On my recent Pinterest adventures I came across Recite This, a really fun site which allows you to create posters with quotes. I had a ball making a batch of my own and it was so easy! Here is some creative business food for thought. Visit the site to get making yourself!

Tried & Tested: MFM Series #2

10 November 2014

Elephantshoe Products
Hooray... finally it's time for the next MFM Review Series post featuring one of my favourite local stationery brands - Elephantshoe. Those in Durban will know that the weather has been all over the show which has made photo taking so difficult. Luckily there were a few gaps of fairly okay light to use for snapping these beauties. 

As the year wraps up and we look towards 2015 - it's the ideal time to get organised and ready for a productive new year! I reviewed three items from Elephantshoe and made good use of them! I sampled the following: 'My Weekly Planner' (a firm favourite), Let's Do This Notepad and the Meal Planner. 
Overall Review:
It's no secret... I already love the brand, but I really stress tested the products and they proved not only useful, but durable too. The monochrome designs offer a neutral look and feel to suit varying tastes. My personal favourite is 'My Weekly Planner' and I really got stuck into using it. The other products are lovely too and helped me in organising my work and personal life even further. The Meal Planner is ideal for working out weekly meals and creating a shopping list. It helped me to stay creative with my dinner meals and it allowed me to plan ahead and freeze certain meals for future (quick) dinners. The finely dotted lines on all the items are great for keeping my thoughts straight and I particularly like how the pages are bound to the pads. I have used items in the past that separate as you flip or turn pages. That's not the case with any of the Elephantshoe products - they stayed put until I was ready to tear off the top page. (Stationery nerds can relate - I'm sure!)

Best Feature:
It is difficult to select only one as the products are really wonderful. I would say that the clearly thought out design is possibly the best feature. I can feel and see the love poured into the design by the Elephantshoe team. There are ample lines to write on and it definitely seems as if the products where tried and tested before they were made available to buy. Good job Ellieshoe team!

Useful For:
Getting organised all round. I particularly recommend the 'My Weekly Planner' for business owners who want to get going on setting up an editorial calendar for their blog and social media. The layout is perfect for keeping track of posts.

My Weekly Planner - R95 (60 pages)
Let's Do This Notepad - R55 (50 pages)
Meal Planner - R95 (60 pages)

Where to Buy:
You can shop for all the featured products on the Elephantshoe site. I have bought from them and their delivery time is particularly good! I highly recommend stocking up or buying gifts from this beautiful brand!

You can also take a look at their lovely freebies - check out the Naughty or Nice Christmas printable.

Elephantshoe want to help you get organised and have very kindly offered THREE 'My Weekly Planner' giveaways. That means three of you can stand a chance of winning! To enter is really simple via Rafflecopter below...
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties like all modern technology. If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it should work.
This is a local South African giveaway which closes on the 17th November.