Intermediate Creative Business Workshop: New Date

I'm excited to launch my latest Intermediate Creative Business Workshop date! This will be the last business workshop for 2014, but fear not there will be more dates in 2015 including some other exciting news!

TO BOOK: Click here to go to Hello Pretty booking site or email me if you prefer.
DATE: 29th November 2014
VENUE: Open Plan Studio - 39 Station Drive, Durban.
FULL DAY COURSE: 9am - 5pm
COST: R950
Space is very limited so don't delay.

I have worked with Hello Pretty to set-up an online shop through which you can buy your ticket for the 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 (payment is safe), but if you prefer you can email me to book. 

Details:
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 (or want to start your own) 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 as well as Cape Town in 2014. 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.

Or...

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.

A Few Thoughts via GFWS

Last week I received a wonderful invite to the Good Food and Wine Show's Trade Talk. I was quite excited as several well established professionals were speaking. I sat front row like the nerd I am - all the better to hear and see all! The talk covered a few topics, including business, creativity and finding your passion. Even more suited to me than I first thought. I have several clients in the food / hospitality industry so I thought it very relevant to attend. Regardless of that I found the panel discussion so interesting and inspiring! 

I took detailed notes and summarised them into quick short bursts of info - easy to put into practice and remember. What I particularly loved was how honest all these wonderfully successful people were and how they spoke from personal experiences. Happy reading!







The venue was really dark so I didn't get any clear snaps of the chefs talking. I did spot a few colourful and beautiful items while walking around to add some colour to this post. Daniela's Macarons, Tea Merchant tea pot, The Coffee Theatre's biscuits & a colourful cake from Chilli Chocolate Chefs.

Think big, start small.
Don't create barriers for yourself - a common problem for creatives. Get going and make that crucial start.

Do things well, represent your brand through all you do. 
You will have to bust your ass (said in a fantastic NY accent). You will be working when others are having a good time.

Self-taught skills are driven by passion.
There is so much opportunity in South Africa for entrepreneurs (something I think we often forget).
Surround yourself with people who lift you up. Find people who support your vision.
Do what you love and follow your dreams.

He was particularly inspiring and spoke a great deal about developing your own successful career. I got to speak to him afterwards and was truly amazed at how open he was to helping people and sharing his knowledge. 

What are you good at? Define what you want to do and go after it.
There will be disappointments, but it's how you choose to deal with these will set you apart. 
Embrace opportunities, ask questions, keep on learning, be adventurous (all things that will help you achieve your dreams).

A few final thoughts...
A common thread was the fact that money can't be your only driving force as you build your business or career. This is always a tough fact to face as society reflects the opposite. As creative business owners we have to realise that building a successful business has different facets.

The second common thread was the concept of setting goals and actually planning ahead in order to achieve them. This is something I teach at my workshops and it was great to have this concept validated further.

Everyone was truly inspiring and their stories were all so varied, but one thing they all have in common is that they worked very hard to get where they are. 

Tried & Tested: MFM Series #1

Olive Finch Notebooks


I mentioned in last week's post that I will be hosting a new Meet Free Monday series aimed at getting organised for year-end as well as for 2015. There are so many amazing stationery items out there, including diaries, calendars and a whole host of useful goodies. I have sourced a few that I think are lovely and will be reviewing and sharing them with you over the next few weeks. I hope these posts inspire you, as well as offer insight into what to buy or how to use certain items.

The series kicks off with a selection of beautiful notebooks by Olive Finch (previously Little Mud Hut).

Overall Review:
The notebooks are absolutely beautiful and the bright designs are so cheerful. The range of colours and patterns offer something to suit varied tastes. My personal favourite is the 'Choose Happy' black and white striped notebook with a hint of pink. However, my eye is drawn to all of them. The notebooks have a lovely design inside too which is repeated on each of the lined pages. I thoroughly tested the notebooks, I took them to meetings, used them in the office and they held up wonderfully. The lined pages are a great feature as they offer a neat option for hand written notes or letters (I love lined paper).

Best Feature: 
The quality! The paper quality is exceptional with no bleeding through from page to page. 

Useful For:
Letter writing, note taking, to do lists and anything else that needs jotting down. I would personally save these for letters and notes due to the wonderful quality. They also make fantastic gifts as you can pair them with the Olive Finch tags which match the range.

Price:
R50 each (what a bargain).

Where to Buy:
Venessa the lovely lady behind Olive Finch stocks several stores (click here to view). She isn't currently selling online, but you can order the notebooks via email and pay via EFT. She is efficient and helpful so don't hesitate to contact her.

I hope you enjoyed today's review style post. I would love to hear from you and feel free to let me know if I can include any additional facts.

Cath Kidston's New Sewing Book


Yesterday the delightful Cath Kidston launched her new Sewing Book, called just that. To tease us further she signed copies at the flagship Piccadilly Circus shop and oh my what I would have given to have been there. Regardless of missing out, the book is still something to look forward to. In true Cath style it is filled with an abundance of florals, beautiful photos and a mix of fun projects. I wouldn't mind a copy of this in my Christmas stocking this year (hint hint). Let me know if you get this beautiful book as I would love to hear your thoughts.



Here is some more info...
Step-by-step illustrations and templates for all 30 projects make this a perfect book for sewing novices as well as enthusiasts. As an inspirational kick-start, Cath Kidston is giving away all the materials to make the cover project — a pocket sewing kit — in a unique fabric specially printed for the book. Templates are included, all the sewing techniques are clearly explained and each project is paired with hand-drawn, step-by-step illustrations and beautiful photography, so that even an absolute beginner can be sure of success. There are stitching shortcuts for the time-pressed, take-it-further guides, and, for the more adventurous stitcher, a guide to experimenting with a range of fabrics from cotton and oilcloth to flannel, silk and linen.

"Five years on from our first sewing book, I wanted to follow up the huge success of Sew! with a very modern sewing book: practical, accessible, bright and fun, with a breadth of projects that felt versatile and relevant for today." — Cath Kidston

New Meet Free Monday Series

I'm launching a new MFM series kicking off next week! As we head swiftly towards the end of the year the focus will be on lovely items to help you get ready for Christmas and of course the new year. I have some really pretty and wonderful brands taking part in the review style series, coupled with giveways to spoil you. I'm beyond excited to get started, so check in for next week's first review featuring Olive and Finch.

If you design or create stationery items with a focus on organising, planning (notebooks, diaries, calendars etc) then get in touch to be included. 

Tried & Tested: Current Favourites #2

I've tried a few lovely things of a late. Of course there are a few that weren't so good, but that's bound to happen. I have a nice mix to share with you, from crafty things through to a few beauty bits and pieces.

Xcut Scalloped Palm Punch: I do so love a good craft punch. My sister recently saw my mini-collection which was in a drawer aptly labelled 'punches' and she burst out laughing. Craft nerd ahoy! Funny as it was to her... I know there are many of you who enjoy these too. They are useful for paper crafting and adding small decor elements to snail mail (see a pretty example here). The punches work well with paper, but not anything thicker.
It was R110 at CNA and they sell a variety of other patterns and sizes too.

Craftseller Magazine: Creative inspiration, business insight and good ideas... could there be a more perfect combo? I bought the mag for the creative business element and it was an added bonus that it came with a book of labels and tags. The stories within are interesting, but I do feel it is slightly similar to Mollie Makes. Nonetheless, it's a good read and the freebies add extra value. 
I found it a bigger CNA (Pavilion) and haven't seen it anywhere else. It was R159.90 and I would see it as a treat rather than a monthly purchase.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lip Balm: Time and time again I test different lip balms and each time I go back to buying this brand. I have very dry, flaky lips which can be very annoying when wanting to wear bright lipsticks, but this works by keeping the dryness at bay. None of my more expensive lip treatments from high end brands work as well. It's an affordable product, it smells delicious and has no taste. It also includes a SPF - perfect for our SA climate.
It usually get mine at Dischem (seems Clicks doesn't stock it) for R21.75.

Biologie Range by Rain: I have noticed that more and more brands are realising that natural is best and slowly but surely we are all becoming more aware of what we allow onto our skin. The products in the Biologie range are 100% natural and I have tried the hand and body lotion, hand and body wash and the shampoo and conditioner. You can definitely feel the difference as the products are lighter, but still do a great job. The shampoo is less foamy than the more commercial brands, but still offers clean hair. The smell is quite strong with Marula being the dominant fragrance and it almost appears to have a medicinal element to it. I'm using these rather sparingly, as the prices are higher than supermarket options, but the natural element is worth it. 
The prices range from R89 to R169. I would definitely recommend these, especially as gifts - they really are a lovely spoil and beautiful enough to display in your bathroom. 

Tea Tree Blemish Gel from The Body Shop: I have recently rediscovered my love for The Body Shop and their products. On a recent visit I had a voucher to spend and wanted to get something that I really needed. I'm fortunate as I don't have acne or major skin issues, but I definitely get blemishes, or let's be honest, pimples around stressful times. This product helped some recent ones to heal quicker. At first I didn't want to use the wand on my face, as I thought it might be unhygienic on the long term, but I did find that applying the product with my fingers did not have the same effect. It has a slight tingly feeling when you first apply it, which didn't happen sans wand application. It's necessary to use it often and to reapply it regularly. It's suitable to use under make-up (sparingly) as it doesn't have a typical gel like texture.
It costs R65 which is a fair price and it also lasts quite well.

NestlĂ© Hazelnut Hot Chocolate: As a non-coffee drinker this is probably the closest I will get to an early morning boost. It reminds me strongly of Starbucks and one of their holiday flavours called Toffee Nut. It isn't overly sweet and is very soothing and satisfying. I only need one cup a day. I'll be honest, I haven't taken a closer look at the ingredients and I'm quite sure it isn't good for you, but for now I'm just going to enjoy it. You need about four heaped teaspoons to get the right flavour and despite my one cup a day it seems to be running out rather fast. 
I've only seen it at Makro for R30.95 (250g) I'm in love!

Fresh Delights Sweetpea & Jasmine Hand & Nail Cream: Woolies usually don't disappoint and this affordable and cheerful buy is particularly nice. I received mine as a gift from a very sweet pen pal and definitely want to stock up on some more. It's moisturising and lovely to use before bed. It smells sweet, but not too overwhelming.
It's only R29.99 and the packaging offers a pretty pop of colour for your dressing table.

Get Big Lashes Volume Curl Mascara by Essence: I could rave about this mascara all day! Again it's a cheapy, but it works, which is the main thing! It offers a beautiful curl and when used with an eyelash curler the effect is even better. This is a great mascara to use and for only R44.50 it really is awesome!

I hope you've enjoyed my favourites! Have you tried anything new lately?

Meet Free Monday #38

Guest Post: Carla from Pretty Organised

Hello, I’m Carla and I like to organise things. What an honour to be featured on Nadia's blog! I am a huge fan!

This past weekend we attended a lovely wedding in Kalk Bay at the amazing Casa Labia. I love visiting Cape Town and catching up with family and friends. Having grown up in the Western Cape it’s always such a treat to return for special occasions.

The Working Week in Review / Last Week:
October, oh my goodness where has the year gone?
My Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings usually start with water aerobics classes. I love summer and it is a great way to start the day and keep healthy. I clock in at my home office at 9am for a full day of office admin. Hooray! I usually take a tea break around 11am to sip a cup of English Breakfast Tea and water my pretty pink roses. 

Tuesday and Thursdays I work for an amazing client that stays about 45 minutes away. It is fun to go out and meet her every week. A change of scenery is important to keep your mind and ideas fresh. Cooking and preparing dinner takes up the rest of the afternoon and in the evenings I like to retire to bed early.

Fridays are there to eat ice cream after work and have pizza for dinner. We usually don't plan anything for a Friday evening and spend time together before a busy weekend. 

The Working Week Ahead:
An interesting and busy week lies ahead. It’s jam packed with clients and I will be doing some serious office admin this week. My diary is my best friend. I am a bit old fashioned and like to write everything down and "prettify" my diary. It’s so rewarding after a long week to look back and see all the exciting things that happened. To do lists are also a must in our home. A calendar that hangs close to our front door is such a lifesaver. Having two different schedules can sometimes get out of hand. So if it is on the calendar, it is almost set in stone.

Things I'm excited about this week:
What makes me excited about the week ahead is that I get to work with so many different creative individuals to manage different tasks.

What will challenge me this week?
I love routine and sometimes it's a good thing, but not always. A challenge for me this week will be to run the household, buy groceries, cook dinner, make time to exercise and spend time with my husband and then very importantly; to be recharged when attending to my awesome clients and their business needs. I feel that a routine is important when planning ahead.

Personal Thoughts or Goal:
Being 23 weeks pregnant is amazing, but one of my personal goals is to get the nursery ready bit by bit. This helps me to prepare for the arrival of our little one and to make room for the new role I am going to be taking on. My goal is to have this project done by 1 November, it is probably one of the most fun projects I have worked on up to date.

I hope you have a lovely week!

Find Carla's business online: Website / Facebook
*Photos by Melanie Wessels


See past Meet Free Monday posts here.

Professional Photos - Cape Town Creative Business Workshop

As you know I went to Cape Town in August to host my Creative Business Workshops. One of the lovely workshop attendees (Nicole Henriques) kindly captured  the day and the details. It was a really wonderful and successful full day workshop. Meeting different CT creatives was also great and hearing their thoughts and challenges added great insight into their journeys as business owners. I really enjoyed hosting the workshop and got to work with incredible brands to make the day even more amazing!

The venue - Dear Me in Longmarket Street was absolutely perfect and the service I received was truly great. They took care of all the small details and of course provided delicious food! Rumbi was the lady in charge and I can't thank her enough for her input.

Each attendee got heaps of goodies, including a Consol Grip & Go bottle, a Zana Small Pouch, a Typo pen, a notebook from yours truly, a card from Seven Swans, a custom created postcard from Terrapin & Toad, a set of file labels from Design-A-File, stationery from mstudio, tea & tags from Toast, a lovely card from bvbblegvm. Wow... what a list! I'm so grateful to all these wonderful and super cool brands!

There were also several delightful giveaways from I heart Market, mstudio, Dear Deer, Doeksisters, ladybird likes, Mollie Makes, Son of Burnard, In Good Company and Terrapin & Toad. The attendees really did get spoilt!









Another thanks must go to Neva from Bright & Beautiful. She provided the lovely vases for the flowers. I must also say thanks to my best friend Sam who was a great support throughout. Lots of thanks in this post, but it's necessary. Thanks again to Nicole for these lovely photos!

Check out what some of the lovely ladies in attendance had to say: Lanalou Style / Hello Pretty / Bamboo Blossom / Nicole Henriques One & Two.

Meet Free Monday #37

6 October: Planning at HQ
Can it really be October! Scary right? It just means there is no time to waste! This month I'm inspired by colourful and lovely things from all around the world. I hope these images and links will get you back on track for a new month of creativity and go-getting! (Be prepared to read the word 'inspiration' in every sentence... ha ha.)

This DIY 'On the Go Organizer' (from Crazy Little Projects) is really great! The post has all the instructions for making your own. Damn I wish I could sew.

The discovery of ladyendevagenhond's Instagram adds loads of colourful (and organised) inspiration to my day. She runs an online shop (currently closed) stocked with amazing items from Hema.

I currently need as much fashion inspiration as I need planning inspiration and this post from A Preppy State of Mind has both covered. Lovely clothes and a Kate Spade planner all in one. I think I need to ask Santa Claus for one of these (I'm sure you'll agree).

Happiness is Scrappy shared the loveliest free printables in her planner post. I really like these!

The Blog Stylist is a resource blog full of tips and insight. Some aspects are paid for or linked to books, but in general there is loads to view and read through for free. It's a great one to add to your list for inspiration at any time of the month.

*Quick Note: I must just mention 'My Weekly Planner' that I shared with you last month. I've really had some time to test it and can't recommend it enough. It has ample writing space and the paper quality is fantastic. To take a look - just click here.

Happy October and remember to make this month matter!

Spring DIY Project List

Spring is the perfect time to get creative, make project lists (and actually do them), it's also a time to get organised before year-end madness arrives. I'm really fortunate that Daniel helps me with my DIY ideas, both with inspiration and useful insight. He is a keen Gumtree shopper and at first I was hesitant and I wondered how the cool and lovely items I spot on Pinterest could possibly live on Gumtree! I have, however been proven wrong time and time again. I must admit my interest was piqued and I started exploring for myself... finally! Thank goodness I did. I've had three creative projects in mind... a camera lamp, crafty locker storage and I've also had my eye on an old or vintage bicycle. I found this lovely inspiration as well as the creative 'ingredients' to get going on my spring DIY projects. Do you shop for second hand items or via Gumtree? Have you found any treasures while out shopping?

Project One... Re-purpose a Locker
Perfect for storage and a lovely conversation piece.
My Inspiration One, Two & Three


My Gumtree choices for lockers to use: One & Two
My 'how to' DIY inspiration via My Passion for Decor.



Project Two... Make a Camera Lamp
This will look so lovely in either my office or our lounge. A few years ago we upcycled an old photography spotlight for our home - this will compliment it nicely.

My Inspiration One & Two



My Gumtree Choice for Cameras to use: OneTwo & Three
My 'how to' DIY inspiration via Instructables - I aim to do the wiring via the lens (or shall I say Daniel will be doing the wiring - I'll project manage... he he).

Project Three... Restore a Bicycle
Daniel's just finished restoring and creating a vintage style cafe racer motorbike. Helping with an easier project should be so much simpler. I would love a bike of my own, but it needs to be pretty!

My Inspiration OneTwo & Three



My Gumtree Choice for Bikes to use: One & Two
My 'how to' DIY inspiration via Sweet by Chan.

Now... to get started! Are your working on any home DIY projects? I would love to hear more!
*Also be sure to take a look at Nicola's post on Ask Ashe where she showed some of her DIY project ideas.

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