A Delayed MFM: #30

29 July 2014

The Week in Review & Questions / 21 July - 27 July

I've been thinking about MFM posts and decided to change the monthly schedule. The aim will be to post one of each every month:
  • A planning inspiration MFM post - usually the first Monday of the month.
  • A normal MFM post with my personal thoughts.
  • One invited guest MFM post.
  • And... one week in review picture post.
What do you think? What would you like to see more of? What details would you like to see me chat about in the MFM posts? 

This week I'm sharing my week in review - showing a few things I did, saw and worked on which seemed like a nice way to switch up the MFM mix.
Last week kicked off with a quick planner dashboard overall. I cut a new divider and added these cute 'note to self' sticky notes from Typo. I also swapped out a few things and added a Nifty250 print of Daniel and I. The new set-up is neater and more useful - love it so far. 

Tuesday was a really great admin day and I got through several things I have been wanting to work on for ages. One such project was sorting out my office filing using this lovely white box Daniel built for me. I added some polka dot files from Typo and labelled each one. It now lives on my project desk for easy access and includes client projects we're working on and dedicated folders for correspondence that I refer to often like briefs. 

I found a colourful and handy file at CNA for receipts. I currently keep personal receipts and business related ones too and needed a way to keep them organised as others systems where just not catching on. It looks nice and so far so good!

A quick trip to China Mall with Daniel (he needed some gadget) held some reward - take a look at these pretty pens. They all work (luckily) and were only R35 for 12! Perfect for having handy in the office. I also found the most adorable mini striped popcorn boxes I plan to use for my birthday celebrations.

I met up with a friend for a catch up dinner at Palki  (Musgrave Road) - one of my favourite locals. Their Butter Naan is sent from heaven and contains zero calories (that's my story and I'm sticking to it). I can't recommend this authentic restaurant enough.

It was a special friend's baby shower over the weekend so we all got together and celebrated. I had to trade in my usual pink inspired wrapping for something more suitable (for a boy) and I was happy with the results. I bought a really cute and funny babygro from Mooi in Glenwood and added a letter to 'Baby B'.

One of last week's 30 days to 30 tasks was to attend a Durban International Film Festival movie which was not only easy, but really fun too. I invited along some friends and we watched The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. Phew - that is quite a title to get out! Great movie - entertaining and hilarious all in one.

I hope your week is inspired, productive and just plain wonderful!

Currently Reading - Mollie Makes Blogging

25 July 2014

I'm currently reading and enjoying the special blogging edition of Mollie Makes magazine (thanks for the heads up Nicola). The printed copies are long sold out and they were very limited, but I bought one via Newsstand on my iPad. It was R169.99 (9.99 in pounds) via iTunes. Mollie Makes haven't made purchasing easy - I searched and looked and finally found it. They also don't seem to respond to readers on social media. I love the brand, but communication is everything. Anyway, forgetting all that - this informative issue takes on the layout of a magazine, but it's much like a book which you can keep and refer to for inspiration or guidance. It features many successful bloggers including the talented duo from A Beautiful Mess and Bri from DesignLoveFest (love her). The pages are beautiful, colourful and well thought-out. It's a must for creative business owners looking to upgrade their blogs and knowledge. Happy reading!

Cookie Recipe & Label Printable Freebie

23 July 2014

Claire - my darling and dear assistant gave me this beautiful jar as a gift. She has kindly, created the printable so you too can create a lovely gift or treat jar complete with recipe and all things nice! The instructions are super easy and amazingly delicious. The mix also freezes well - so you can save some cookie dough for another baking day. Here are all the details...

Claire used a large Consol jar and filled it with the following: (you can also use this order for your layering):
375g Flour
1 1/4 Teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 Small packets of caramel chips (choc chips can work too)
190g Sugar (Claire packaged the sugar in a small packet as you add it later in the recipe)

Claire very cleverly tied a cookie cutter and a small caramel essence bottle to the jar with twine. 

The super easy instructions (and other ingredients) are included in the printable and there are two pretty colours - pink (my fav) and turquoise teal version. I can't recommend this recipe enough - it's delicious, easy, quick and moreish (you know me and my sweet tooth)! It's a lovely DIY which is affordable and suitable for all skill levels.

Happy making and baking!

Meet Free Monday #29

21 July 2014

21 July: A Day at HQ
Well... hello there Monday! Fancy meeting you here. It’s that time of the week when we realise we need to do it all over again. I hope that your week will be off to a good start rather than just a repetitive one. Did you have a nice weekend? I did – it was both relaxing and productive. Daniel got sick this week so on Friday night I made chicken and ginger soup (a tried and tested healer). On Saturday I woke up quite early and felt like being productive – it was quite nice to actually have the energy to go ahead and do something useful. I rearranged and tidied my wardrobe, which was overdue. I did a major purge during my spring clean earlier in the year, but never re-arranged all. Finally, it’s done! I think I can improve it slightly and was so tempted to head to the Plastic Shop, but didn’t – it’s good enough for now. With Daniel being ill – he took a nap (quite rare) so I read and also dozed off which was so nice. We headed out for a really early dinner which included a sneaky takeaway dessert to eat at home. Yesterday, we wanted to do something outside, but still take it easy so we headed out for lunch and a long walk at the beach. I wasn’t able to do my 67 minutes for Madiba on Friday and decided that it was still worth doing it - even if late. I really wanted to pick up litter at the beach as each time we go for a walk along the shore I'm horrified by all the washed up litter. It hurts just looking at it. It was really rewarding to pick it up and deposit a huge bag of rubbish in a bin. It isn’t much, but at least it is a few less things that can harm our oceans and the creatures that depend on it. This is something I wouldn’t mind doing on a regular basis. I feel so saddened by it and I wish that brands / humans would take more responsibility for where their packaging ends up (I can’t tell you the amount of Coca Cola plastic lids that I collected). Not to mention plastic straws. Humans – what’s wrong with us! 

On a lighter note – let’s look at the week ahead...

The Working Week in Review / Last Week:
It was a fairly good week. The majority of things that needed to get done did get taken care of. The Cape Town workshops are getting bookings, but there is still far to go. Friday was particularly good – I started out with a list that scared me. I thought I couldn’t get through it, but I managed to! I felt relieved and my brain felt confused as if it didn’t quite know what to do when all was done. Not related to the work side of things, but I let myself down on the exercising front and only went to one yoga class. In the past I was an exceptionally active person – it’s just built in, but at the moment I’m battling to get going and I know it will help with my stress. How do you get motivated for staying fit? My left eye has been giving such problems on the sight side and it has become swollen and puffy (best to keep the sunglasses on). I had to head out for a major toiletry haul last week as everything aggravated it. I have stocked up on new make-up remover, moisturiser and eye cream which are all milder and seem to be helping. This has nothing to do with work, but it does make work more difficult.

The Working Week:
I managed to work on my planning last night and got creative with a few lists. This week looks a lot like last week – with the same type of tasks on the go. There are one or two projects I have been pushing to one side which need to get handled – asap. Sometimes when things are exciting or big – I back away. It’s a bad habit and self-sabotage I suppose. 

Things I'm excited about this week:
My 30 days to 30 continues with a few fun ones lined up this week (follow along via my personal Instagram). I have also scheduled a few dinners and catch ups with several friends – good food and good company.

What will challenge me this week?
Getting stuck into bigger tasks that I have been sidelining!

Personal Thoughts:
Despite some challenges – I’m in a positive mindset at the moment. Behind the scenes there is something hanging over Daniel and my head which I hope will be sorted out very soon (it has been dragging on for months). I like being able to keep a positive outlook even when everything isn’t perfect – it’s what we all need to do. Social media shows only what we want it to show and it’s so easy to forget that normal life is still on the go.

Are you facing any challenges and how do you stay positive?

In today's photo I share my planner set-up for the week. I decided to try to be a little bit more creative as when I look at the lovely pages of Little Red Moose or Filo Cuteness I feel so inspired, but I just can't quite figure out how to put it together.

Etsy Craft Party 2014

18 July 2014

I recently received the Etsy Craft Party photos and was so delighted to look back to see all the small details. It was a busy day and night! The photographer for the eve - Jason did some miraculous work capturing the night - the venue is so dark, but he managed to pull it off. 
I have so many people and amazing brands to thank for all their help - I hope I haven't missed anyone! Bit tough to keep this post brief, but I hope you enjoy taking a look...

The Incredible Sponsors:
Spiga d' Oro - Venue
In Good Company (each attendee received their For Good Times book - incredible!)
Nifty250 - each lovely lady received a print and we used them to decorate the venue to match the theme.
Skinny laMinx
Jason Keith - Life through a Lens
Washi Bug
Bos Ice Tea

The People Behind the Scenes:
The Spiga Team
Venessa Matthews from Little Mud Hut one of Durban's finest creatives
Nicola Ashe from Ask Ashe the best neighbour and creative mind a gal could ask for
Claire Norden my always willing and wonderful assistant
Cathy from The Deco Collection
Ellen Jonker my kind and exceptionally generous mom
Tarryn Shepherd a great friend and creative

Items for Each Attendee: Be sure to check out all of these beautiful local brands.
Toast Stationery
Smith's Bakeshop
Madame Macaron

Amazing Giveaways:
Andrea Barras
Andri Burnett
I heart Market
Cotton Candyfloss
Eighty Seven Hearts
Freshly Found
Isla Designs
It's a Bling Thing
Kelly Fletcher Needlework Design
Love Pretty Things
My Cherry Blossom
Paper Jet Designs

Another HUGE thank you to everyone involved! I can't quite put it into works how grateful I was and still am!

Craft Workshop: 2nd August SOLD OUT

17 July 2014

That's right it's time for a craft workshop as promised last month!

Details: SOLD OUT
Date: 2 August
Venue: The Benjamin (141 Florida Road, Durban)
Time: 9am to 11:30am
Cost: R150 includes craft supplies, coffee / tea and cake (and a giveaway).
What will we be creating? We will be working on beautiful packaging and wrapping with some really awesome supplies including heaps of tape from Washi Bug. I will be teaching the workshop and sharing my tips for beautiful gift wrapping and crafty ideas for packaging.

There are only five places available and to book you can just email me to reserve your spot or let me know if you have any questions. I will invoice you and payment is due to confirm your place. Hooray - I'm so excited to get creative and have some fun!

Meet Free Monday #28

14 July 2014

14 July: A Day at HQ
Here we go again... I hope you had a good weekend. I had a great one - we spent Friday evening at home. On Saturday I relaxed and ran some errands - Daniel met me for a coffee and cake catch-up. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, watching series and I finished off by working on a few stationery pack orders. I don't consider them 'real work'. Yesterday, I headed to the Jeremy Loops concert at Makaranga and had the best time with a few friends and my sister. Going to a concert was one of my 30 days to 30 tasks and I couldn't have picked a better event to attend. The weekend wasn't exceptionally busy which was lovely.

My new week inspiration comes from the Instagram of Jenni Lee. Her photos are all pure pastel perfection and so lovely to look at and add inspiration to my week's planning.

The Working Week in Review / Last Week:
I enjoyed the change in pace and being out the office. Last week Tuesday I had a few meetings and also managed to pop in at the Savior Brand Co shop for a coffee (part of 30 days to 30). The week felt manageable - a feeling I quite enjoyed. I tried a new yoga class - Kudalini yoga which was personally challenging. Claire worked with me on Friday and we both agreed that we had a really nice day which was productive too. The biggest news was launching the Cape Town workshops - please help me to spread the word.

The Working Week:
Today I need to ensure I get through emails, admin for a project, the final touches on a few stationery pack orders and several updates for clients. My office is also looking messy - I've been lazy in putting things away properly. A tidy up might be a good thing and it will start the week off right. The rest of the week is looking busy with a good mix of work to keep things interesting. The main projects on the go are several blogs, social media planning with clients and several consulting sessions.

Things I'm excited about this week:
I know I keep talking about it, but I have really been enjoying my 30 days to 30 tasks. Some are small others are bigger - they all feel great doing. Thank you for all the great comments last week's post.

What will challenge me this week?
My challenges are more personal than work related at the moment. Stress management, healthy living and good eating coupled with balance.

Personal Thoughts:
I mostly stuck to my 'no spend month', but it just so happens that it's one of those months when every single toiletry runs out at the same time - you know those. I also wasn't very good on sticking to my breakfast, lunch routine last week. This winter weather is wreaking havoc on my skin - another aspect of the cold I'm not enjoying.

I hope you have an exceptionally fantastic week!
*See other MFM posts here.

Cape Town Creative Business Workshops 2014

09 July 2014

TO BOOK: click on workshop below to go to Hello Pretty booking site or email me if you prefer:

I have worked with Hello Pretty to set-up an online shop through which you can buy your ticket for either workshop. When booking via the site - ensure you double check the date and details. The aim is to make the process easy and simple for you. I can highly recommend the site and the process, but if you prefer you can email me to book.

The workshops are aimed at creative business owners in a variety of fields from photography and design to crafters or even bloggers. If you have your own business and want to learn and prosper, then the workshops are ideal for you. The topics range from social media to creative marketing ideas and there are two types of workshops – one for beginners and one for intermediates. The Beginner Workshops is ideal for business owners who would like to learn the basics. The Intermediate Workshops are for those who are in the industry and on the right track, but would perhaps like step it up a notch.

The workshops started in Durban with sold out dates and an amazing array of creatives joining in and last year I added Joburg into the mix. All the past attendees have given wonderful reviews. Creatives who attend can look forward to a day of learning with practical examples and case studies of successful businesses. The day is the ideal platform for networking within a creative environment. All the courses include a delicious lunch, snacks, a really lovely goodie bag and a host of giveaways from wonderful brands.

How do I know I'm intermediate? 
You already have a blog or understanding of social media. You enjoy being online and want to grow your business even further.

The Facts:
This workshop is aimed at creatives who are ready to expand, grow their business and blog readership. You would like to get an even better understanding of the various tools available to you.

What does your hard earned money get you?

Creative Goal Setting:  How to breakdown and achieve your personal and business goals.

Creative Branding:  Tying your brand and business together as one. We cover the essentials of what creates a good brand.

Blogging Tips:  Planning, scheduling and basic creative tips for putting posts together.

Social Media Tips:  We will focus on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and how these can work towards generating blog readers and in turn more sales and opportunities.

Creative Marketing Ideas:  Fun, cost effective ways to generate interest in your business or blog.

How to Approach the Press:  Want to have your products or blog featured in magazines? I will give you the tips you need, from what to say to how you to say it.

Question and Answer Session:  A time for you to chat to me about your problems, new ideas or even plans for your business.

In addition you will receive snacks, an amazing lunch, the chance to mingle and make new friends as well as network. A goodie bag bursting with wonderful surprises will also be waiting for you!

How to sign up: 
Book your ticket via my Hello Pretty shop.


Email me (hello@nadiavdmescht.co.za) or call me (072 093 7730) with your full name, contact number and request to book your spot. I will send you an invoice and all the relevant booking details - payment is due once invoice is received.

To see past workshops click here.

30 Days to 30

07 July 2014

It's 29 days until I turn thirty! I admit - I'm excited rather than daunted. It is of course the age by which we feel we need to really be grown up, but will be ever truly reach that point? You know by now I am a thinker and I decided to do a journal entry looking back at the past decade - the good things, the bad things, the fun times and the downright crap ones. In general it was an exciting journey punctuated by some of the most difficult and heart wrenching decisions of my life (read this post to understand more - Q3). As I look ahead at the next decade I feel inspired to live my life to the best of my ability and to let go of the silly mistakes I made. I want to commemorate the last few days of my twenties and that's why I set a few easy and fun goals for myself with one for each day... hence the 30 days to 30 title. It kicked off yesterday as I'm not counting my actual birthday, rather the days before it - so days on which I'm still 29. I wanted to share a few of the points with you and to invite you to join in the the fun with me via my personal Instagram account

Most of these are frivolous, fun and involve no budget. I know some might find it silly - frankly I don't care. It's a positive time for me to enjoy a few simple things. Anyway, here are a few of the things on the list. I still need a couple (five) more so please leave a comment if you have any fun suggestions! 

Take a long walk: I love walking - so this is the perfect reason to explore and see something beautiful.

See something in my city – I have not seen before: Durban has so many wonderful things to see - some I haven't made an effort to visit.

Learn something new: Not sure what yet!

Dye my hair: I haven't dyed my hair in more than seven years. My thought process was to enjoy my natural colour as there would be plenty of 'dye days' once the grey arrives. Well... they are here!

Make a video: I thought I could make a vlog style video capturing a few of the list items.

Take a selfie & upload it: I really don't like selfies - most that I see I can't stand. Time to snap one myself. Yikes!

Take part in Nelson Mandela Day: This is one that should be done anyway, but I thought it was perfect to include.

Make a list for the next decade: What do I want to achieve? I started this list yesterday, but it seems it will be a work in progress. 

Paint my nails blue: I don't like blue nail polish - not at all. The last time I wore it was in Standard Four - it was electric blue and very cool. Time to do it again!

Learn a few French words I don’t already know: I love everything French inspired - it's high time I expand my vocab.

Go on a dad date: I see my parents fairly often, but I spend more time alone with my mom. I want to take my dad out and spend one on one time with him.

Give thanks to the post office employees: The Musgrave post office employees are very good at what they do! I'm grateful for every package I receive and for each one that they send off for me. I want to spoil them with something.

Bake something: I love baking, but never do it. 

Print some real photographs: Simple, but easy and I love having snaps all over to remember special moments.

Make poached eggs: Always wanted to - never have. 

Write a letter to my 40 year old self: Who will she be?

Raise a toast to my twenties & drink champagne: Any excuse for celebrating!

(I created the heart for my birthday invite and found the flowers via Pinterest, but they look to me like Rifle Paper Co designs - so just in case thought I would  mention that.)

Meet Free Monday #27

7 July: A Day at HQ
Welcome to a new week! Although there is a lot to be excited for - I also secretly wish there was one more weekend day left (I'm sure you agree). Anyway, here we are so let's make it count! I had a great weekend with a good balance of both relaxing and getting out. On Friday night I went to the VIP Gateway July Fashion Show. It was work related, but I had an awesome time. The decor, food and company were spectacular. On Saturday I headed to lunch with a few of my closest friends and we had the most delish food at Greedy Buddha (highly recommend this place). I spent the afternoon catching up with my parents and in the evening Daniel and I headed to dinner at a friend's lovely home. She put together an insanely amazing spread of tacos and wraps, plus Pavlova for dessert. It was so good! Yesterday was 'chill at home day' and that I did! I caught up on a few episodes and Daniel and I made our traditional roast chicken lunch with all the trimmings. I really cherish Sundays at home as it's time spent with Daniel - just the two of us. How about you - what did you do?

To get inspired for today's planning I looked at a few of my favourite Filofax pics and this cheerful one caught my eye. It's so pretty! Take a look at the blog - Bits and Pieces to see more of Annabelle's lovely pages.

The Working Week in Review / Last Week:
Last week was a good working week despite the fact that I needed to take a little blogging break. I really tried to focus on getting stuff done. I think I always say that, but I do feel that I'm improving, but I still need to keep my productivity in check. I managed to complete several tasks that were important, including a basic website design for a client and the setting up a Hello Pretty shop to manage new workshop bookings. As always in hindsight it's easy to criticise on what wasn't done, but I'm happy with the progress. One of the really positive things was being able to spend a lot of time in the office and therefore I was able to spread out my workload. The second great thing is I seem to be managing my inbox better. It's early days, but so far so good (now to keep it that way).

The Working Week:
I was battling to fall asleep last night as my mind was composing lists instead of trying to sleep so I got up and decided to make the lists and empty my brain (annoying). I do find it helps to just clear out the clutter now and again. The week ahead is a busy one with two days out the office and a potential meeting today (I'm cheating on MFM - shhhhhh). Tomorrow I'm speaking at Fashion Camp on social media and blogging. I'm also lining up a visit to several of my clients to spend time in their spaces - for example two of them are coffee shops so I want pop in and work from there. I was meant to leave for Joburg this week to speak at the Networking Conference, but I'm no longer taking part (perhaps I will share more on this in another post). It's nothing bad though. Another great thing on the list this week is the launching of the Cape Town workshop dates (hooray) and a Durban date too!

Things I'm excited about this week:
Thursday is a day out the office as I'm heading to Pietermaritzburg to take care of a small job for a client. I've decided to also add in a visit to a few places while there. I'm looking forward to it! Secondly, I'm busy with a personal 30 days to 30 challenge for myself (will post about this slightly later today).

What will challenge me this week?
Cold and early mornings. Yes, I know Durban isn't that cold, but I'm a wimp when it comes to chilly weather. I find the dark mornings best for hiding under the duvet. There are also some very yucky admin things to take care of this week - trying to have a positive attitude (challenging).

Personal Thoughts:
Last week was a good week, but I did have a few hours here and there where I felt down. This seems natural to most so I know I'm not alone. It's not that anything is drastically wrong so it always passes. I also didn't exercise last week as I kept feeling on the brink of flu which I'm sure added to my slight case of the 'blues'. This week I want to focus on getting back to yoga, walking and a few short, but focused workouts. To change the subject - a lot of my free thinking time is currently being spent on pondering about my birthday which is a month away. I'm excited and currently my dreams are made of cake and confetti! On another completely different note - I'm trying to do a 'no spend' month. Obviously, I need to still buy food and the odd toiletry, but trying to not indulge in stationery or general shopping for goodies (noun to describe various beautiful things I think I need). It's challenging - I turned down a trip to the plastic shop and Makro yesterday (ha ha - where can I collect my medal?). I have so many lovely things to be grateful for - so I'm making sure I use and enjoy them. Have you done a no spend month before?

A Useful List

01 July 2014

As much as I wanted to do a Meet Free Monday post this week I need to bow out. I had a few posts planned, but I've decided to move them to next week when I can give them (and you) my full attention. This week has taken an unexpected busy turn and I need to work on some urgent things - so I'll be back next week with a few lovely posts just for you. (With the exception of one workshop related post.)

In the meantime take a look at this awesome list via Ok Social Media. It covers a few key things for a blog to have - which are even more important when you use your blog for your business. Be sure to check out the site and read some of the other useful tips in the series. Have a awesome and productive week!