Saturday, 23 November 2013

Mums who LOVE Made With Love: Simone's review

One thing that I have loved about the Mums who LOVE Made With Love program is that I have gotten the chance to get to know my customers more and one that I have enjoyed working with has been Simone who has a blog called 'Diggers And Dandelions'.

If you loved the Super Santa Lollipops, Simone was the one who had approached me about designing and making them with her idea!

I love following Simone's blog and fb page she is so imaginative and resourceful and comes up with the most amazing and practical parenting ideas like creating inexpensive classmate gifts! I am hoping if I am ever lucky enough to have kids that Simone and her blog is still around- as I am sure going to need all the parenting tips and ideas I can find!

Anyways back to business.. Simone has shared her experience of Made With Love and it was so fun creating this order for her son's Alec's birthday! She has also shared the party itself! So much thought and detail went into the planning!

What is your name and what do you do? 
Simone currently a stay at home mum

What is your child’s name and the age recently celebrated? 
Alec turned the big 3!
Alec opening his presents!

What was your theme of the party being celebrated? 
Alec loved bubbles, I wanted to try and do something a little different... His older brother suggested a bubble party. Alec loved the idea so I ran with it.
Bubble refill station

When you were dealing with Talya from Made With Love, How did you find the customer service? Was it above/below expectations, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, poor or average. 
Talya was excellent.. She looked into different ideas, chatted about the party constantly and kept in contact at all stages. She even pinned ideas for me to look at related to the party on Pinterest! How is that for service!
Walking over bubbles in the entrance way

Did Talya help create the excitement during the entire process for your upcoming party needs? 
 My son loved the party invitation..as did all guests. You would have to say that she created excitement when your then two year old carried around the invitation for weeks showing anyone who cared to stop and listen.
His yummy cake! The cake bunting Simone made using letters that were excess of the invitations.

What were your first thoughts or reactions when you received your order? 
Amazing, such a lovely handmade touch.
The spud station

What was your Child’s reaction? (if old enough to give a reaction).... 
Excited... He put one in his room, carried one in the car and showed everyone!
Party favours

What was the reaction or feedback received from your invited guests? 
Everyone loved the invitation and all still have them displayed, especially grandparents.
His presents set up the morning of his birthday

What did you think of the quality of the invitations? 
The quality was excellent, I even used one invitation with the bubble mixture... It has seen wind, rain and the entire 3rd birthday and is still looking fantastic.
Making bubbles!

Are you planning on doing anything special with the invitations? Such as framing or placing in a keepsake boxes etc. 
 I have put the banner away in a keep sake box and we have framed another one in Alec's room.
A chalkboard speech bubble where a special message was wrote to Alec from each guest!

How likely are you to want to refer Made with love to your friends and families? 
I would highly recommend anyone looking for special one off handmade invitations. 

More pictures from the bubble birthday:
Painting with bubble station

Frozen yoghurt pops



Hand dipped marshmellows


Bubble machine!


Fairy cake!

Fairy bubbles!

cake, card and party favour set up!


Mum's who LOVE Made With Love- Melanie's Review

You may remember back in August (cannot believe it is November already) that I announced that I would be offering Mums who LOVE Made With Love-Cards And Crafts an opportunity to be apart of an exclusive review panel where each mum would receive a set of handmade invitations, banner, card and cupcake toppers all matching the theme of their choice!

I am proud to say that I am loving the opportunity working with so many different mums, who each have varied ages and themes of birthday being celebrated!

I would like to share with you Melanie and her Made With Love experience!

What is your name and what do you do? 
My name is Melanie Flaskis. I’m a registered nurse and mum to 3 year old Elysia and 5 month old George

What is your child’s name and the age recently celebrated?Elysia, she turned 3 in September

What was your theme of the party being celebrated?Elysia was very much into tea party play so we decided on a mad hatters tea party theme with elements of Alice in wonderland incorporated but not focused on the movie as she hadn’t seen it.

When you were dealing with Talya from Made With Love, How did you find the customer service? Was it above/below expectations, satisfactory/unsatisfactory, poor or average
Talya’s customer service more than exceeded expectations.

Please describe why you gave this rating.Talya was genuinely interested in wanting to provide a product that genuinely reflected the party theme / colours and my daughters interest. She clearly takes a great deal of pride in what she does. Her communication of ideas was regular and if she was unhappy with an aspect of her work, she would take the time to do it again (even though I was more than happy with the first ideas, she exceeded expectations each time).

Another example of this was I needed to change the date on half my invitations because we were having 2 small parties. Not only was this not an issue, Talya created a different background colour for the second invitation, giving it it’s own unique look but not deviating from the theme at all.


Did Talya help create the excitement during the entire process for your upcoming party needs?Absolutely. It was great receiving email updates with photos of the invites/bunting/card at their different stages and gave me inspiration as to what else i could incorporate into the party decorating too. This also helped to build the excitement with my daughter as she could see what was being made just for her.

What were your first thoughts or reactions when you received your order?I was blown away; the details, layers and colours were more than anything i had anticipated. All made by hand and clearly with love

What was your Child’s reaction? (if old enough to give a reaction)When Elysia opened the parcel, her exact words were: “Oh.... WOW! Are these for me? They’re so beautiful! Thank you so much !

What was the reaction or feedback received from your invited guests?All invited guests asked where I’d sourced the invites as they’d not seen anything like them before . they loved the personalised card and bunting and commented on the intricacy of the work and time taken to do them

What did you think of the quality of the invitations?They were sturdy, colourful and each one was the same as the other. The card stock used was of an excellent quality and there were multiple layers to each invite.

Are you planning on doing anything special with the invitations? Such as framing or placing in a keepsake boxes etc.I have kept 2 invites, her birthday card and bunting which have all gone into her keepsake box. One of the invites has been pasted into her baby book (it spans 5 years).

How likely are you to want to refer Made with love to your friends and families?Each time a birthday/special occasion arises, I encourage my family and friends to contact made with love if they’re after something beautiful, unique and most definitely memorable.

Do you have any feedback or comments you would like to offer?Talya, your work is outstanding and you should be so proud. Your products are unique and your attention to detail will ensure this business will be very successful now and into the future. I look forward to planning my sons first birthday invites for May 2014 with you!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Have a Super Xmas with these Super Hero Inspired Lollipops!

End of school year coming up and you are needing some class gifts or are you looking for something fun this Xmas?

A couple of months back Simone from Diggers and Dandelions blog contacted me about creating a collaboration project.

Simone had been wanting to give each child in her oldest son's class a end of year gift. She wanted something cost effective, practical but also was unique and different that would have kids excited and talking about their cool gift. Also had to be something that a child would be proud to give out.

So Simone and I got talking in more depth and she mentioned she had seen the superhero lollipops for birthday parties as party favours and she began searching if there were Xmas themed ones.

She realised she had this amazing idea and asked if I could turn her idea into not only a design but as a FREE printable for all to use.

I began creating these a couple of months ago and am proud to not only show you these designs I have created but to also offer you to download these for personal use.

Simone put the pdf files onto a USB drive and took to her local officeworks for printing. Was $0.88c/sheet and an additional $0.20c for cardstock. Simone also lined her cutouts with black felt to create more of a flying/cape effect!

There are two files for you to download for your own personal use (which I ask that you attribute Made With Love-Cards And Crafts when sharing online). These are downloadable via dropbox and the links are under each set of images. Don't click on the images as they are only JPG versions. For higher quality please download the PDF via dropbox.

The first file is a Super Santa design that has 2 pages in the PDF document. On the first page is 7 santa capes and the second has 7 santa faces.

You can download the 'Super Santa Lollipops' PDF file here!

The second file is a Super Xmas design that has 14 capes and 14 eye masks.
 You can download the 'Super Xmas Lollipops' PDF file here!


Instructions:

  1. Simply print either or both of these PDF printables onto cardstock. 
  2. Then cut out the outlines of the capes and masks/faces.
  3. The faces/masks can be stuck to the lollipop with normal sticky tape.
  4. Use a hole punch to punch the circle hole at the top of each cape, which you can slide the lollipop into place.
  5. Adhere the lollipop and cape with sticky tape (on the underside of the cape).
  6. Now you can give these out to your child's classmates, teachers or can even be used as stocking fillers on Xmas Eve!


I hope that you enjoy these files and that it brings much joy and Christmas Cheer to your children, their friends and your family.

Please remember that these are for personal use only and are © Made With Love-Cards And Crafts www.madewithlovecardsandcrafts.com.au.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Attract The Attention You Deserve!

Recently I went away to Adelaide (I live in Coffs Harbour, NSW) to attend the ‘Mumpreneurs on Fire conference’ and other then being inspired about new things to do in my business, I learnt about positive affirmations and how by practicing this you attract positive things in your life.
Developing a positive mindset can be one of the most powerful life strategies you can have and can be life changing to not only your professional life but your personal life as well.

I spoke to an attendee about her experiences and  she told me how everyday she practices these techniques to attract what she wants or attracts the right people she wants not only in her life but in her business as well.

She went on to tell me how many years ago she was looking for a career change and someone mentioned “Oh you would make an amazing flight attendant”. Although she knew she wasn’t tall enough for a cabin crew position she went and applied anyway. She said for weeks she would write “I am an employee of x airlines”, and she would write this over, and over in an affirmations journal she kept and you know what? She actually got the position of cabin crew with the airline she wanted and worked there for over a decade!

You always hear people saying “If you think positively you attract positive to your life”. I had always thought “Yeah right” being more prone to thinking negatively. But in all honesty since attending the conference I have changed how I think and I have been attracting positive attention, and I think I deserve that.

At the start of September I was diagnosed with recurrent and acute pancreatitis and every two weeks I would have a pancreatic attack and be hospitalised for a week. My last one was at the start of October and I was starting to get anxious about my impeding holiday as I didn’t want to get sick on the way there or while I was there.

I needed the holiday after the 18 months I have had (in short I lost my dad to bowel cancer, I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometrosis and placed in a medically induced menopause, found out I needed my large bowel removed as the growth was on the verge of becoming bowel cancer, and then having the debilitating pancreatitis).

All this (and more) has happened the last 18 months and I am only 22! So I really deserved this break.

For the weeks leading up to my well earned holiday I kept saying to myself “I don’t have pancreatitis” or “I will not get pancreatitis while on holidays” and most importantly “I am on holidays. I am relaxing. I deserve this”.

It has now been over a month since my last pancreatic attack, much to shock of my doctors as they had predicted the next attack would be the worst one imaginable.

So we all know Xmas is fast approaching which means my busiest time in my business.

I can’t afford nor will I get sick over the coming weeks.

So I am going to continue with positive affirmations and positive thinking.

If you want to have a go at attracting the positive attention you deserve and want to join me as I embrace this new approach to thinking, then you will need to do any of the following:
  • Go and grab a writing book or journal. Each day divide the page into two sections. Top section for ‘positive affirmation’ and the bottom section for ‘Today I am grateful for’.
  • Find some quotes you find inspiring, positive and motivational. Put these somewhere you will see either at your desk, on the back of the bathroom door, as screensavers on your computer. What I did was create a calendar and each month has an inspiring quote, I got it done via vistaprint.


It is amazing how different the outcome of your day can be if you wake up positive and happy about the day ahead.


Have a lovely weekend x

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Why Build A Brand's Awareness?

Quite often I get asked why am I so focused on building my brand's awareness. My answer always is that "Brand Awareness is key!"

Honestly when I started MWL almost three years ago (yikes time does fly when you do what you love) I had set some pretty high goals for myself. Those who know me, know that I only do things to my standard which is usually crazily high and that I have high expectations of myself. Which I do.

One of my 5 year goals was to be recognised as a household name or that when people thought 'handmade invitations, cards and party supplies' that they thought of MWL.

Some thought that this goal wasn't realistic, heck at times I thought it wasn't realistic but I still kept it as my goal.

So over the past nearly three years I have spent a lot of time and energy creating what I call brand awareness.

And you know what??

It is working!

The other night I called my internet provider as my internet was ridiculously slow. I had a very lovely (and Australian) worker who actually understood what the NBN was (Yes I called my internet provider about my NBN and the first two consultants asked if that was an internet service?).

I explained how crucial the internet was as I ran an online business which relies heavily on having internet access.

She asked me what the name of my business was.

I told her that it was Made With Love-Cards And Crafts.

And I will never forget her response.

She excitedly screamed into the phone 'OMG!! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE YOUR WORK!! I AM A LIKER OF YOUR PAGE AND SO IS MY SISTER!'

It honestly made my day knowing that people know of my work or my business.

It made me realise that one of my dreams and goals is coming true!

So if you dream it, DREAM BIG!

If you want it, GO FOR IT!

Hope that has offered you some inspiration or hope that you can acheive anything if you set your mind to it.

I know I have a long way to go before I become a household recognised name but you have to start somewhere!

Happy hump day x


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Talya Goes To Adelaide: The Mumpreneurs on Fire Conference

One of the main reasons I was going to Adelaide was to attend the Mumpreneurs On Fire Conference. I was so lucky enough to win a ticket to the conference and as I believe that opportunities exist where we least expect them, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't refuse.

The conference was organised by Kathryn Hocking from Reverie Coaching and this was the first year it ran and had an incredible two days of amazing speakers with an optional third day business planning session.

The speakers over the two days were so inspirational with their own stories and journey but how they had aspired to running their business as well as being mums and entrepreneurs.

It was really inspirational to hear some of the entrepreneurial mums speak about how they turned their idea into a multi million dollar business was rather impressive.

I am always quite impressed when I hear 'Multi Million Dollar Business'. Immediately I go into this day dream of what it could mean for me. Most of the time it involves dreaming about diamond rings.

The conference was held at The Beach house, Glenelg. It was this impressive indoor amusement park for kids. There was ferris wheels, dodgem cars, water slide, carousel rides and more.



We were upstairs in the conference room that had the most beautiful and distracting views of the beach and the ocean.


On the Tuesday 22nd October I decided I wanted to go shopping at Westfield West lakes as I thought I needed cocktail attire for a cocktail event the following day.

One of my all time favourite shops to shop at is City Chic, and I hate how the nearest one to where I live is a good 5 hour drive!

So of course I went shopping and found some amazing dresses, cardigans and formal shirts. My husband had said that "if there was something you could do in Adelaide that you can't do at home go for it and have fun". So I interpreted it as "Sure, go ahead and spend $400 on clothes at City Chic because we don't have one at home, so go for it".

Don't worry when I told him I went shopping at City Chic his response was "I know I saw the purchases on the credit card... but its okay I told you to have fun".

With advancement in technology like having your internet banking at the touch of your finger tips its so easy for husbands to track a wife's spending!

I decided to stay in Glenelg for a few days while the conference was on to save the commute in peak hour but because it meant I could sleep in longer and didn't have to wake as early!

I stayed in the Oaks liberty towers apartment which were across the road from the conference venue so a nice short walk. The apartment was so spacious and quite posh. I was impressed that the courtyard was three times the size of the one I had back home!


So we had to be at the conference nice and early to get a seat we wanted and of course to get our goodie bags!

At 9AM the conference kicked off with the event organiser Kathryn welcoming everyone to the event.

The first speaker of the day was Karen Gunton from Build A Little Biz. If you haven't heard of Build A little Biz you really should! Karen makes visual marketing exciting and fun! She really has a lot of passion and excitement for visual marketing and you can really tell from hearing her speak.

We got to experience the most delicious morning tea both days of the conference with gourmet yogurts from Moo Premium Foods. I have heard a lot of Adelaide friends rave about their products and were only available in Adelaide, so it was on my 'to experience in Adelaide' list. They generously provided morning tea both days of the conference. They have the most scrumptious products.

What was a great thing about the breaks (morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea) you really got to get to know other people sitting at your table and also at the conference. Hearing their business ideas or hearing about their businesses was great to hear. Was great to see the networking beginning and ideas being bounced between one another.


We got to hear Cindie Smart from Free Run Press talk about her business and experience and how it grew from an idea into having several successful niche magazines.

When you hear 'business plan' or 'create a business plan', do you instantly think "oh em gee, how boring"? Well I always have until Helen Roe from The Orange Lantern talked about how there is a creative business plan for creative minds. Was fun doing the activities and opened my mind up to different ideas I want to implement over the next year into Made With Love. As part of my ticket I won to the conference I got to experience the 3rd day which was a whole day working with Helen on creating a creative business plan. If you ever get the opportunity to do a workshop or class with Helen, I do reccomend it! She makes business plans fun!

After lunch we got to hear from Indy Hilditch from IndyVisual Designs where she talked about 'branding like the big guys' and the importance of creating a culture to go with your brand. She is having a branding masterclass coming up. So if you want to learn how to brand your business check out the masterclass here.

I loved speaking with Alli Price from Motivating Mum, she was just so full of energy and I loved how she spoke about networking and the importance of having a mumpreneur network. I am what some would call and introvert but she had some great tips on networking. If you are a mumpreneur and feeling alone in your journey being a business women and a mum check out her website and see if there is a networking group near you!

Another inspirational Mum Entrepreneur was Mel Sears from On The Gro. I had seen her business around the online world mainly in advertising on different sites but it was impressive to hear her speak about how she had this idea and went through the process of getting it manufactured to distribution and retail. She has quite an impressive set of awards as well to go with her amazing and innovating products she sells.

The last speaker for day one of the conference was Linda Chaousis who spoke about 'Dream It. Visualise it. Attract it'. It was a great session and introduced me to changing my train of thought patterns. She spoke about positive self talk, and positive affirmations.

To end the day 1 of the conference we had a cocktail networking function where we spoke to different attendees and learnt something about them. For those who know me really well would understand how hard things like that are for me. But I gave it a go and put myself out there, and I am proud that I could do that.

The next day was Thursday the 24th of October and was another day jam packed with inspirational and motivational speakers.

The first speaker for the day was Lucy Cornes, the owner and founder of She Shopped which if you haven't heard of her business yet, stop what you are doing and go to facebook and search 'she shopped'. Seriously what are you waiting for? Lucy talked about the importance of social media in your business and how to create raving fans! It does work as I rave about the she shopped experience all the time!

After morning tea (where I had a passionfruit flavoured Moo yogurt) we heard from Clare Fitzgerald about the importance of video in business and how we could incorporate video into our current business.

We heard from Paige Rowett who is the owner of Your Marketing Hub where at first she got everyone up and jumping around imitating a video on the screen- we felt like idiots but definitely helped in having everyone more energised and ready to hear about SEO. Search Engine Optimisation is about getting your website, business, name shown up on search engines. It is always preferential to be towards the top. We learnt lots of things about SEO we otherwise would not have known and I must admit hearing someone who has a passion for SEO speak about SEO does make you feel more excited in making sure your SEO is working for you.

Sam Leith was such a fun speaker to listen too with her story and most importantly her strategy of 'ditch it, delegate it, leverage it'. She spoke about how if there is something you hate doing- don't do it, outsource it. It was great listening to her ways to work smarter not harder.

When Amanda Daley from From Urban Wellness spoke about the role stress plays on our health the whole session I was sitting there saying in my head 'omg that is how I feel'. Everything she spoke about really resonated strongly with how I was feeling and I kept saying "I must get in touch and work with her". She has some amazing formulas for helping women to reduce their stress and I can't wait to work with her more closely.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Kathryn for giving me this opportunity to attend the conference and have taken so much away from it.

After the year I have had, I really deserved and needed this break!


Talya Goes To Adelaide: The 2500KM Journey There!

Wow what an adventure I have had over the past 10 days. Travelling a total of over 5000km's to Adelaide and back home to Coffs Harbour. Leaving on the 18th and returning on the 31st of October.

Before I began my journey to Adelaide, I volunteered selling bandannas for CanTeen for their national bandanna day. It was amazing seeing all the people in the community who not only knew about national bandanna day but proudly supported the day as well.

When I got to where the stall was to be, it wasn't even 8.30am and there were already a line up of people waiting to buy bandannas!

Once I finished at the stall I still had so much to do before I left on the 10pm train to Sydney. I still hadn't packed and had a couple of rushed orders to make before I left. But I managed to pull it all off with plenty of time to get to the train station. Up until 4 hours before the train was due to leave I still didn't know exactly how I was planning on getting to sydney or more so how I could avoid the 9 hour stop over the following day.

Here are the two custom Hoot and Hootabelle inspired name banners I created for twins Ruby and Coopers upcoming first birthday!



So 10pm came and I headed on down to the train station ready to start my exciting trip. I was bursting at the seams with a mixture of excitement and nerves especially as I was praying I wasn't going to get sick while away but importantly while travelling.

Some of you might remember the last 6 weeks I have been suffering from acute recurrent pancreatitis and have spent several week long hospital visits trying to manage and control this painful illness.

In fact just earlier that week I was in Sydney for a couple of days seeing a specialist and booking in a procedure for a couple of weeks time, to hopefully fix the pancreatitis.

So I got to the train station in Coffs Harbour and boarded the train. An hour into the trip I highly regretted not booking one of those sleeper carriages so I could at least get some sleep. If you have ever traveled on the country trains you would understand how uncomfortable it is to try and sleep cramped up. Lets just say I didn't sleep a wink!

My amazing husband found a device at work that day that allows you to plug a portable hard drive into it and it creates a wifi network between your iPad and the media share device so you can watch tv shows or movies on your iPad. It certainly made the trip to sydney go quicker!

So I got into Sydney Central Station at 7am and went and booked my luggage ready for the next train which was due to depart at 3pm. I also left my pillow and carry on bag in storage so it wasn't as much to carry around with me for the next 8 hours.

My phone, iPad and the media share device had gone flat at this point. I found a waiting room which had chairs, tables and powerpoint stations set up so I sat charging my devices for the next hour.

I had this brilliant thought to go looking for a nice, home style cafe to have a lovely breakfast. I was trying to avoid eating anything that could trigger a pancreatitic attack.

I went for a wonder and found heaps of coffee shops and little cafe's but they all looked too crammed or didn't have any tables left to sit at, so I kept on walking.

I had this brilliant idea to walk to circular quay and Darling Harbour. "An easy walk" everyone said. I began walking in the direction of the Harbour and following the signs, going on a real adventure. At one point I was at the entertainment centre and for some reason decided to take a left turn.

Do not ask me why.

I ended up walking this massive hill then took another left turn at an intersection which also went up another big hill. I kept walking and ended up in Broadway. Turned the corner and I was back at the railway station. By this point I was regretting the heavy backpack that was still on my back and for not putting it in storage for the day.

Determined by this point to find somewhere to sit and still wanting breakfast I just settled for a sausage roll. By this point I was just frustrated.

Sitting there eating my sausage roll I get approached by about 5 people begging me for money or telling me their life story about how they can't support their children. A couple of them began harrassing me and following me around, grabbing at my handbag and backpack. I was really scared.

I got back to the platform where the train was expected to depart in another 6 hours and decided to just stay put until the train. I hadn't had any sleep, I was stressed and exhausted and was really hoping that this 'holiday' was going to be worth it. I really needed the break.

I sat there reading my magazines waiting for the time to pass and got talking to a really lovely couple. There was one lady who approached me who wasn't so friendly.

She first asked if I was waiting for the train to Adelaide. I replied "Yes" and she just dumped her bags and walked off. When she returned she asked what ticket I had if it was a Red, Gold or Platinum ticket. I said I had a gold ticket which was a single cabin. What she said next made me so angry I wanted to yell at her.

She went on to tell me that "You won't fit in the single cabin as you are too fat. I am much skinnier then you and I have trouble fitting in the rooms, they are quite pokey afterall. I was lucky I could afford the extra $1300 upgrade to have a twin cabin to myself so I have the extra room and space. But the food is fantastic which looking at you I am sure you love your food."

Then she walked away. My jaw was just dropped and the lovely couple sitting near me were flabbergasted by how she spoke to me. I hate how people judge me and don't understand just how much medical stuff I have that cause my weight problems. I didn't ask for this and I hate how people treat me as though it is my fault. I don't eat crap constantly in fact usually have a salad every night with a little bit of chicken. I don't drink any alcohol. I do all the right things but it is just hard.

So add feeling sad and angry to my list of tired, stressed and anxious. I felt like crap. I just wanted to throw in the towel and head back home. I was wanting to give up completely on my holiday and return to the comfort of my home and support of my husband.

At 12PM the train came into the platform and the excitement and nerves picked up once again. This time it felt real that I actually was going to make it to Adelaide and on this holiday I had looked forward to for months!

The train was a kilometre long, so long that it had to be split into two to fit on the platform, one on platform 2 and the other on platform 3. It was interesting watching the train set up and preparation happening.

At 3PM we got to board the train and it departed around 4pm. Although the rooms were smaller then I expected I still thought they were spacious and more then enough to sit in the lounge chair and to take in the remarkable scenery. I was starting to feel more at ease.

The restaurant manager came by each guests room to book in a time to eat dinner, I was scheduled for 9PM. But he went on to say that as the tables are fixed with fixed chairs it could be uncomfortable or squishy and embarrassing for me at dinner time because of my size.

He walked off to the next person and I just closed my door and sobbed. What a start to the holiday I was so looking forward too!

I decided to walk down to the bar carriage and ordered a drink (non alcoholic) as all drinks including alcohol were free for the entire length of the journey. I sat their quietly drinking to myself just hoping no one notices me.

That lady who horribly approached me when I was waiting for the train came and sat next to me and continued on her rant about me being fat. I finished my drink and returned back to my room to spend time alone.

Because of the tragic and devastating bushfires we had to divert the blue mountains so instead of heading through the mountains to Bathurst, Parkes and so on we went down through the illawarra region through to Yass, Goulbourn, Cootamundra then overnight went back up to Parkes and through to Broken Hill etc.

Going through the Illawarra region we passed some more remnants of bushfires and there was one house, car etc that was completely burnt and destroyed. My heart ached for all those people who had lost so much.

The time came for 9PM and I headed on down to the dining carriage where I was told I would be sitting in the bar/lounge area with another passenger. I didn't feel as embarrassed or singled out at that point.

The meal was amazing! I chose the roasted duck and must say it was quite a meal! In fact all the meals they cook are of top restaurant quality.

After dinner I headed back to my room where I was able to enjoy a good nights sleep, I was pretty exhausted by that point!

The next morning we were woken at 7am and announced breakfast had started being served. We were a few hours out of Broken Hill and experienced from breathtaking scenery. There was so much red dirt!

One of the reasons I took the train option was to experience and see parts of Australia I haven't experienced before.

I saw the incredible Menindee Lakes and was fascinated by how massive it was. I also got to see heaps of the wildlife I wouldn't normally see outside of zoo's or captivity. I actually saw several herds of wild Emu's! It was incredible!

Surpsiringly I had mobile reception most of the way and was able to upload pics to my instagram along the way.

One of my favourite shots would have been this scene that had bright green fields on one side of the fence, white fields towards the back, lavender fields in bloom with red soil at the front. The contrast of the colours was just absoloutley beautiful!








I got into Adelaide at around 5PM and was met by my amazing friend Karynne the owner and designer behind Chook Shed Designs with her most adorable little Lucy!

Karynne and I have been friends online for quite some time, we met through our businesses and talk everyday online. We hadn't had an opportunity to meet in person and my trip to Adelaide was amazing for one of those reasons.

Karynne and her family kindly let me stay at their house when I wasn't at the conference for a few days. I had such a blast hanging out with Karynne and Lucy and getting to know them more. Was even more fascinating watching Karynne sew and create her amazing teasets!! She has incredible talent!



So this was the journey down. Stay tuned to hear all about the 3 day Mumpreneurs on Fire conference event and the incredible guest speakers!
 
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