Rainbow Designs - Our Blog

Our main blog can be found over on Blogger here, I do try and keep this blog updated but.......sometimes I forget or just get lazy. Our main blog has jellybeans, just saying!

Books, Couscous and a pain in the Neck

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A varied title if ever there were one! If you've read our Facebook page you'll have read that my neck has been giving me some grief. It started on Saturday morning and, slowly, as the day went on got more painful. I've tried deep heat (did not an iota of help), heat pack (great while it was on, except I almost burnt myself as it was HOT, but the soothing ends when the heat goes away), hot shower (no relief), pushing my fingers into the top of my spine (this does help while I'm doing that but immediately after stopping I can hardly hold my head up), trying not to move my head (not great as then when I do move my head my body is so stiff and tight that I tense up and the pain's even worse). It seems that the pain is more prominent when I move my head up and down as opposed to side to side, so I'm limiting that movement but it's not getting any better. It seems to ease off over night but as the day goes on it gets more painful. I'm hoping it will disappear soon as it's giving me a headache, like a clamp is being tightened around my head. Not fun at all. Anyway, we go on don't we. What else is there to do but get up, shut up and work these gift hampers aren't going to sell themselves (don't I know it!!)

Coffee and Cookies - $85 includes delivery and gift card

I've been to the library again, I told you life as a small business owner was exciting! I've always loved libraries, generally so peaceful and, obviously, full of books and I love books! I got 4 novels to read 3 from authors I hadn't heard of before (which, to be honest, most of the books are written by authors I haven't heard of before or if I have I've forgotten. I am terrible in remembering names of books let along who wrote them!). My plan was to just grab books that had an interesting title. I generally don't read the back as I have found that this can sometimes give away too much information and (for me) can spoil the book as I have a basic knowledge of what is going to happen. I do a skim read and that's it. Sometimes I'll select a book if there is a blurb from an author I read before (and liked) but generally it comes down to title, theme and authors I like already.

So the first book I got was 'Gypsy by Lesley Pearse' I have a few of her books at home already knew I must like her writing (not that I could tell the names of any of her books or what her style is), the second book is a 'dog' book 'The Dog Who Danced by Susan Wilson'. I haven't read any of her books or come across them before so didn't know what to expect. I'm a bit hesitant to read novels based on animals as quite often they can be sad (animals don't live forever you know!) but this one (I've already read it) wasn't too sad, just enough sadness I would say, it was an easy read, quite enjoyable, heartwarming (aren't all animal stories?!) and ends basically as you would imagine but still not too predictable. Lets face it, most books are predictable some more than others or more 'really, you couldn't have changed it up a bit?!'. A good book for travelling.

Next up is 'Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting' another new author for me and another enjoyable read plus it's set in Australia, in and around Sydney (didn't realise this when I borrowed it as I hadn't read the back). Spoiler: I cried (but I am a bit of a sook). I really enjoyed this book even though, as per usual, it was a bit predictable and a bit too easy but still a lovely read and had me wanting to know how everyone ended up.

The name and cover made me borrow it! Literary scholar I am not.

Last one is 'The Otherside of The Season by Jenn J McLeod' I'm about half way through and liking it. It's based around the Coffs Coast area which is pretty cool, I had no idea it was even an Australia book let alone set near where I live. Enjoying so far.

Just before I popper over to the supermarket to get a few essentials I was watching a cooking show and he whipped up some couscous to go with the fish he was cooking. So I bought some. For whatever reason I haven't ever 'cooked' couscous, no idea why when it is so easy (my kind of cooking). I had it with buttered chicken and beans, sort of a mashed potato substitute and a great alternative to rice. I eat a lot of rice. Surprisingly, to me anyway, it was easy and I managed not to stuff it up. Boil the water pour over the couscous, stir, cover the bowl, let it sit for a few minutes, fluff up with your fork and plonk onto your plate. Easy and a great accompaniment to my curry. It's cheap too, I bought the homebrand for $1 which will make at least 10 meals (possibly more) so I can add that into the mix of cheap food I eat :-)

Couscous - just add boiling water, so easy and quick!

Jacqui ~ I own a gift shop on the internet

7 Favourite Gifts We've Given Mum

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Now obviously we would always give our mum one of our hampers or maybe even a mix of a few of our hampers but if we picked just one of our gifts that she would love it would have to be: 1. Wine and Treats Gift Hamper - although we would switch out the bottle of red for another bottle of white as mum doesn't drink red wine but everything else in this hampers is totally her! It's even better when we're with her and get to (hug her) help her eat the yummy goodies!

Wine and Treats Gift Hamper

2. Along with an 'actual' gift, something she can open on Mother's Day, how about taking your mum out somewhere or, if you can't be with her, make a booking for her and dad (or a friend) at a local restaurant and include the details in the gift tag or mother's day card you send her. There are a couple of favourites for mum that we've been to over the years plus the local bowls club has a great all you can eat buffet which is great value. This also means everyone's stuffed themselves silly so no dinner is needed, well maybe just cheese on toast :-)

Book your mum a cruise - she'll LOVE it! 3. A real splurge gift could be a cruise! Our mum loves cruising, as do we, so we are always looking for a bargain. We generally look on OzCruising. There are many short cruises, 2-4 days, which could be just perfect for your mum. Cruising is such a great choice for a relaxing holiday as you can choose how active (or not) you want to be BUT the BEST thing is NO COOKING or CLEANING or MAKING BEDS, did I mention NO COOKING, it's breakfast, lunch and dinner out ever day! You could either try and find a cruise that is on over Mother's Day or just one that you can afford and you know your mum will be able to go on. This could be a whole family gift and holiday or could just be for you and your mum or your mum and dad. Pick who you think she'd love to cruise with. If it's a friend, contact them and see if they'd love to go on a cruise and if they'd be able to pay for themselves. I bet they'd love it! 4. If you're a bit tight on cash but still want your mum to know how special she is to you send her a card with a gorgeous photo of you and her or a hilarious, funny photo of you and your siblings. Maybe a photo from a holiday or day out that you and your kids took - mum's always love photos of their grandkids! There are plenty of places online to order photos or even a photobook or just visit Officeworks, Kmart or often your local chemist will have photo machines. You could even just print them out on your own printer at home, this is what we did last year and mum absolutely loved the photos! 5. Groupon is another great place to look for something fun and different for your mum. You can either buy an actual gift or organise a 'fun' activity. My mum gets a bit nervous now when I ever mention the words 'fun activity' as the last 'fun' activity I planned with her wasn't a great success, although we can laugh about it now :-) I won't go into details just to say mum hates heights and I booked a bridge climb! Number one daughter right there! 6. A phone call is always a winner and now with facetime no matter where you and your mum are you can spend some of her special day together. Maybe don't call her first thing in the morning, unless of course she's an early riser, let her get her 'face' on first :-) I've saw an ad on TV just recently for Ovo mobile, plans from just $10/month - another gift idea for your mum (or dad) maybe? Then she has no reason to not be available when you need her!

Medium Sweet Tooth Gift

7. Our mum doesn't have a huge sweet tooth (I know right, how is that even a thing?!) but she does still enjoy a red frog or a chocolate freckle every now and then. I regularly send her a medium sweet tooth box, making sure her favourites are front and centre, and always give her one on Mother's Day. She then hides it aways so dad can't get to it. He says he's not a sweet tooth either (I know, I think I must be adopted) but whenever there is a box of chocolates around dad's never too far away! Whatever you choose to give your mum this Mother's Day don't stress about the 'dollar' value, it's all about making memories and celebrating her being your mum. Facetime her while you're both eating a box of chocolates, send her a text with a funny photo of her, plan a surprise trip away, whatever you do your mum will love it almost as much as she loves you. You are her favourite after all ;-)

Games, Roadtrips and Moving

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Sometimes it is all fun and games. Just after Easter my family and I headed up to Noosa for a couple of days. It was a bit of a break from the every day as well as a visit to the cemetery to see Grandpa and organise our Grandma's plaque. It was hard to have a reflective moment at the cemetery as where Grandpa's plaque is there are also about a gazillion mozzies. We all had to jump around while paying our respects, taking photos and getting measurements for Grandma's plaque. Sombre is wasn't and I'm sure Grandpa would have found it quite amusing!

We popped into a cheapy shop to see what games they had and found a few crackers. They were mini traditional games, we ended up with Monopoly, Cluedo and Mastermind as well as a pretty groovy Hangman. Cluedo ended up being a BIG hit, hangman was a close second, my sister and I liked Mastermind but you had to use your brain too much for the kids and Monopoly is well, Monopoly, it takes forever whether it's in mini format or not. My sister lasted one circuit of the board before she was bored! Cluedo is a game I had back in the day and it's always been a great board game, especially now the kids are older and understand the concept of it although I think it was still a little tricky for master 10. So if you're ever in the Reject Shop look for these little games, they were $3 each and well worth it. We're planning on getting a couple more as there's Game of Life and Yahtzee, two more games we've enjoyed in the 'big' format.

One night we had dinner at the resort we were staying at, woodfired pizzas! For dessert the kids wanted to try a Nutella Pizza - now as you know I am a big sweet tooth but ever this seemed a bit over the top for me. It's not something I would ever order again but the kids loved it! It was VERY sweet but was helped a lot when we added a scoop of chocolate choc chip icecream we had back in our room. Yes, we'd gone to the supermarket to stock up on the essentials!

Three days away was well needed and I *tried* not to think about work at all and give myself a complete break from Rainbow Designs. It's been such a hard slog for such a long time that I was in desperate need of a time out from it. I'm back into again and have, again, been working behind the scenes as well as blogging and FBing. Orders are low and so far there hasn't been any Mother's Day orders come in. Traditionally I have found that it is generally only a week or so before Mother's Day that they really start to come in so I'm hoping that again that is the case. My bills haven't stopped coming in so I can't afford my orders to stop coming in!

Our distribution warehouse has recently moved from Hawthorn in Victoria to the Gold Coast in Queensland - no disruptions were had and I don't expect anything to change with the possibility of some new hampers and a few updates to a couple of our current hampers. So far everything is as fabulous as it always has been so I'm really hoping for a boost in sales. These bills won't pay themselves unfortunately! Talking about bills I'm looking at changing over my mobile from Amaysim to Ovo and possibly cancel my Telstra internet and also go with Ovo. Has anyone had any experience with Ovo? I think they're only fairly new. (I did notice they were on the HSV cars at Phillip Is on the weekend) They run on the Optus network, same as Amaysim.

Back to it, with a cuppa in hand and a sneaky Easter egg I hid at the back of the freezer, ssshhhh don't tell anyone.

Some more small things to celebrate

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

So how have you gone celebrating the small things? I hope you've given yourself plenty of pats on the back, you deserve them. No matter how small or insignificant you make think your 'achievements' have been for the week they are still worth celebrating.

My small thing celebrations over the passed week or so include:

+ washed, dried and put away my flannelette sheets ready for the cooler weather (it's almost here) I always like to give them a freshen up wash after they've been sitting there since last winter

+ vacuumed the house including the lounge and behind the doors :-) (and you know how much I love vacuuming, not)

+ cooked up a batch of bolognese mince for the freezer

+ emptied out the spare room of packing boxes (they've only made it as far as the carport but it's a start)

+ written a few more blog posts and did some more seoing (still haven't seen any positive results yet but I will be patient)

+ washed my hair more than once in a week!

+ took my book back to the library (on the last day it was due back) and got some more books

+ went to IGA and bought a few groceries and even scored some bargain Easter eggs (10 redtulip eggs for $1.88, winning!)

+ updated the website to reflect the warehouse move and amended delivery times (our warehouse is now on the Gold Coast!)

+ removed all Easter gifts from the website and updated dates ready for next year (I'm so organised!) FYI: Good Friday next year is March 30.

+ posted about Mother's Day - it's only 3 weeks away

+ researched mobile phone and internet plans (I think I'm going to switch over to ovo.com.au - anyone had any experience with them?)

+ swept the front porch while keeping a close eye out for lizards (they seem to like my porch and flyscreen door for some reason)

+ organised an Easter egg hunt for the kids (including a clue hidden in a bowl of jelly which they had to use only their mouth to get to!)

+ visited our Grandpa's grave (and almost got eaten alive by mozzies!)

Grandpa's plaque (almost 11 years since he passed away, how is that possible?!)

That's about it I think, nothing earth shattering again but at least I accomplished a few things over the last week or so. With business being a tad quiet it can sometimes get on top of me and I could quite easily just pull the covers over my head and block out the world but I know that certainly isn't going get me more orders! So with a determination that I don't always feel I will keep doing what I'm doing, researching and investing more time in helping boost my business and of course eat chocolate

How have you been going over the last few weeks? Kicking goals or just a few behinds ;-) We've got this!

It's been 3 years since my wonderful nan passed away and I miss her every day :-( I love you nan.

Nan always LOVED having her photo taken! I think she would approve of me putting this online (even though she probably wouldn't know what 'online' meant ;-) )

Gourmet Cooking Hampers

Monday, 24 April 2017

We can't deny it, we love food especially if someone else cooks it! Ha ha. How about you? Do you love food? Do you love cooking? Do you know someone who adores cooking and spending their day in the kitchen whipping up gourmet delights for friends and family? (We'd love an invite to the next shindig! ;-) )

Italian Pasta Hamper - $135 delivered with gift card

This is where we can help when it comes time to send them a gift, we have quite a few delightful and delicious hampers that have been inspired for master home cooks. Our gourmet cooking hamper range has been put together to help inspire and maybe even reignite their passion for cooking. Each hamper comes with yummy gourmet ingredients and quality chef inspired cooking implements and serving dishes to help create a fun and festive party or a quiet and romantic dinner.

Tantalising Tapas - $125 delivered with gift card

Italian, Spanish and Moroccan with a bit of everyday gourmet in the form of popcorn and homemade icecream. The days of boring dinners and the same old same old will come to an end when these hampers arrive at their door. With the popularity of cooking shows we've found these wonderful gourmet cooking hampers have increased in popularity with people even order a kit for themselves. This always brings an extra big smile to our face when we see people spoiling themselves and their families - nothing brings families together more than food (oh and of course chocolate!)

Popcorn Hamper - $160 delivered with gift card

Bon Appetit!

Mother's Day is on its Way!

Saturday, 22 April 2017

There's only 3 weeks until it's Mother's Day here in Australia so it's time to get your orders in, no pressure! Always allow time for the couriers to do their thing and remember that no deliveries are made on the weekend.

Gourmet Picnic - $125 delivered with gift card

Sunday May 14 is Mother's Day (the second Sunday in May) and is often a day spent at the park with a yummy picnic or in a special restaurant with the bubbles flowing. It's also the day you maybe lucky enough to get breakfast in bed!

Coffee and Cookies - $85 delivered with gift card

We've got lots of wonderful gifts to help you spoil your mum with, especially if you can't be with her. If she's a bit of a sweet tooth you could send her a yummy lolly box for just $29 or maybe she's a bit of a whizz in the kitchen and loves trying something new, our Maggie Beer, Simon Johnson or Perfect Spanish Paella hampers will make her day. If she's a bit of a bubbles type of gal how about our Something Very Special hamper or our Afternoon Tea gift - a real favourite and will show her how much you appreciate and love her.

Sweet Tooth gifts from $29 delivered with gift card

However you choose to celebrate your mum or special person on Mother's Day make sure it's done with love and smiles. A hug can go a long way but, like many of us, when we can't be there in person a lovely gift hamper with a thoughtful message attached will make their day and give them that warm fuzzy feeling just like a big squishy hug does.

Celebrating the Small Things

Thursday, 13 April 2017

It's easy to get in a bit of a funk when things just don't seem to be going as we had thought or hoped so I have decided I am going to Celebrate the Small things and you should too!

No dust here!

+ Yesterday I got all the sheets washed and dried and put away

+ On Sunday I got the grocery shopping done and bought the kids Easter eggs (and maybe one for myself and my sister)

+ I put the bin out on Monday night

+ I returned my library books on Saturday

+ This morning I washed all the towels and hung them out (they will get put away when they are dry!! Edit: I did put them away!)

+ I've written out the clues for our Easter egg hunt

+ My bills are up to date, until the next lot come in!

+ I renewed my drivers licence early, it wasn't due until 19/4

+ Blog posts have been written on a fairly regular basis

+ I vacuumed behind, under and around the furniture (and I hate vacuuming)

+ Last night I cleaned out the fridge while cooking dinner

+ I washed my hair and (almost) styled it

+ I've done some more seoing on the website (still waiting to see the results from my seoing efforts of a month or so ago!)

+ Donated some clothes and stuff for the flood appeal

+ Helped my niece with her resume

+ Had a few Easter orders come in over the weekend, better than none

That's about it but, like with the orders, better than nothing. I'm trying to just focus on the good and positive and try and turn the bad and negative around or at least not over think them! Mum and dad are coming up for Easter so it will be great to catch up with them. The Easter bunny arrives on Sunday, on Tuesday the family and I are going away for a couple of days (we're going to lay a plaque for my grandma, next to my grandpa and then enjoy some time together) and then, who knows?? The possibilities, potential and persistence are endless.

Start celebrating the small things, it doesn't matter how small (just look at my list, I'm celebrating putting a garbage bin out!) these things matter, they are part of our everyday but we should feel proud and worthwhile and useful. Small things can lead to big things!

Carpe Diem - Seize the Day, no matter how small

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and small thing celebrateror.

One step forward, three steps back. SEO you're killing me

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

It seems the more I try to improve Rainbow Designs search engine (google) ranking the worse our ranking gets. How and why does this happen?? It is so frustrating and disheartening. When ever I make any changes or write new blurbs I always do it with my customers in mind but also try and ensure it is what the search engines, mainly google, want because if I don't get indexed and listed in google I won't be found and my customers won't read the new blurbs. It's so hard.

About a month or so ago I did a huge amount of housekeeping on the website both behind the scenes and in front where people actually see and read and then hopefully buy. I changed some of the gift hampers names or slightly amended tweaked them so they read easier and I hoped would be found easier. I also fixed all of the gift descriptions and details so they are all uniformed and read the same hoping that it will make it easier for people to read, understand and purchase from us. I changed the font for the gifts to something super neat and clean (well I think so) and made sure they were all the same. The descriptions were all broken down into areas to make it easier to see what is in each hamper, what is included and how it benefits the customer. I am hoping this is making it clearer for everyone to make their purchasing of gifts less stressful and to make sure they know what they are buying and when it will be sent and delivered.

I changed or amended a lot of the header details as well as the behind the scenes descriptions - these are the descriptions that the search engines are meant to read and then index and will eventually show in their listings. One of the major side effects or downfalls has been that a couple of the categories that use to rank ok (around page 3 or 4) now are nowhere to be seen, bugger! I have my fingers crossed it's just a reindexing thing and they will jump back up to, again fingers crossed, end up on the first few pages. Most people only look on the first couple of pages when doing a search so that's where I need to be.

My wish and dream is that Rainbow Designs will be one the first page for Gift Hampers and similar key words/sentences including the addition of celebrations such as birthday, Easter, Christmas etc but want I really want is that whenever anyone is searching for a gift for them to buy online and have it delivered in Australia Rainbow Designs will be in amongst it all and at least be there for them to have a look and decide if what we have is what they want. At the moment they're not even given the chance to see what we have to offer as we're on no mans land in our rankings. Please mr google if you would be so kind as to lift our rankings in your wonderful search engine we would be ever so grateful.

Patience is something I know you need whenever you make changes to your website and want to improve your listings, sometimes it can take 3-4 months, but I don't think Rainbow Designs will be around for much longer if these changes don't happen soon. I know I have a great business and gorgeous gift hampers I just don't know how to let everyone else know?

Do you? Any tips and hints you'd like to pass on?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and seo failure (it would seem atm)

It's All About The Lollies, Lollies, Lollies

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

It's not about the money, money, money (well, it is but mainly it's about the lollies). It's no surprise that we all have a bit of a sweet tooth here at Rainbow Designs, some more so than others, so it definitely isn't a surprise that our lolly gifts are amongst our favourites (especially when there's some 'quality controlling' involved!).

A lot of our gifts have some type of lolly component in them but these gifts have only the lolly component - all of the sweet stuff none of the savoury stuff or even the chocolate stuff (gasp!).

Big Lolly Box - $48 Now this gift has been around as long as Rainbow Designs has, 13 years! I know right, it's a teenager. Filled with attitude and sweetest you just can't resist.

Just Jellybabies - $29 This is a relatively new gift but we did have something very similar a few years back and were prompted into bringing it back by a few of our Jellybaby loving customers!

Just Lollies - $29 Previously known as Lots of Lollies, we changed the name as we were often getting customer enquiries for a gift that had 'just lollies' in it so thought this might help them find exactly what they were looking for!

Little Sweetie - $50 A very popular lolly hamper we must say and I totally understand why. It's a great price, looks fabulous and has many sweet little goodies to keep that sugar fiend friend happy, happy, happy. The lollies in this hamper do get swapped around from time to time depending on what our supplier has sent us and what we think fits the 'little sweetie' theme - always a winner and makes a super sweet birthday gift as well as a special little thank you present.

Sugar Coat It - $29 Now I have to admit I added this little gift to our range as my favourite type of lolly (at the moment anyway, this can change monthly!) is the jube. Soft or hard, they're just so deliciously comforting and a lovely little pick me up throughout the day. I know they keep me trucking along when things are getting a bit frantic.

So there you have our range of Lolly Gifts but don't forget we have a whole other range of Lolly and Chocolate gifts as well as elegant and super special Hampers with the inclusion of divine lollies to tempt even the fussiest of sweet tooths!

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs Boss(y) lady and jube lover from way back

Easter egg hunt

Monday, 10 April 2017

My nephew (10) has asked for an Easter egg hunt this year, which is always fun (unless of course I make the clues to hard and they can't do them so give up and asked for the answer!), and I've been given the task of putting it together. I thought I'd share some of the clues that I'm planning on using and some ideas also, which I may or may not use. Not sure what the weather is going to be like on Sunday I am going to base it mainly inside but with, maybe, a few outside. I'm not so worried about the kids going outside in the rain it's me having to go outside in the rain and place all the clues and eggs!

I was hoping to finish it with a pinata but the only pinatas I've come across have been way too big and I don't want to have to spend a fortune on filling it! So I think at this stage it will just end with a basket/box/bowl of Easter goodies unless anyone has any easy ideas on how to do a diy pinata??

Some of the clues I have so far include:

+ Let the fun begin, grab your sister and your brother and go hug your mother

+ Hickory dickory dock the mouse ran up the ....... [clock]

+ Santa Clause is coming to town, wait, what?? Did he drop in for a sneaky visit? [fireplace]

+ Who sat on the wall and had a great fall? [humpty - egg cups]

+ The clue will just have their house number (hoping they'll go to the letterbox!)

+ For the next clue, think number 1's and number 2's :-) [toilet - ewwww]

+ What goes up when the rain comes down [umbrella]

+ Looking for the final prize, go to where you can look into your eyes [mirror]

plus I'm thinking of doing a few find a words (just use word or publisher - maybe 10-15 letters by 10-15. I just put in a few words ie their names and a few randoms and then one that is the actual clue), photo cut into pieces that they'll need to put together (like a jigsaw), text someone for the next clue (Can I get a clue from you?), use an insta #, word scrambles (with this one I thought of the place the next clue was going to be and then used the letters of that world for each of the scrambled words). ie If your next hiding spot is say in the 'bath' you would have 4 scramble words, one starting with b, one with a, one with t and one with h. Easy peasy but hopefully not too easy peasy for the kids!. Another one is 'matching lists' so you have two list of words that match ie list one has puppy, list 2 has dog, list 1 has easter, list 2 has egg and so on. Jumble them up so they are not next to each other and have one extra word that doesn't have a matching word - this will be the clue. I hope that makes sense?!

I don't want to get too elaborate or have too many clues but a nice mix of hints, riddles and puzzles to make it fun with a few Easter eggs thrown in for good measure!

There are so many ideas online just google 'easter egg hunt' or 'scavenger hunt' and you'll have enough ideas to get you through Easter, birthdays and Christmas! Education.com is a good resource, not just easter egg hunts but fun kids activities that you can personalise.

Have fun and be safe over Easter and, of course, eat lots of chocolate!

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and 'fun' activities co ordinator

Potential, Possibilities and Persistence

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The three P's I chant each morning as I start up my computer. The potential for so many orders to have come in over night, the possibilities of customer and corporate enquiries and the persistence I need to get me through the day.

Within a few minutes of my computer starting up and the internet connecting the first two P's are revealed and, unfortunately, more often than not they are wiped off and added to tomorrows three P's list. The third P, persistence, is always hanging on even if only by a finger nail (which have been chewed almost to the bone) and thus the day begins.

It's a bit like groundhog day lately, same thing day in day out even if I do try a few different or new things to help kickstart my business again. Round and round I go where I'll stop nobody knows. I'm getting a bit dizzy to be honest and just want to get off!

Just around the corner from my house - I was very lucky indeed! But persist I will, for now any way. I was spared from the floods last week so I am taking it as a good sign, sign for exactly what I'm not sure but I'll take it.

With Easter almost upon us you would think the orders would be flying in, sadly no. I haven't given up all hope. I know how fabulous our Easter gifts are I just need to get everyone else to see that too - I am trying don't you worry about that!

Just looking at this brings a smile to my face and maybe a little drool! Take care,

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady

Are You Secure?

Monday, 3 April 2017

Rainbow Designs and I have survived the awful floods but so many others are still dealing with it. So much destruction and mess, a big clean up is currently underway. Everyone is banding together which is so wonderful to see.

During all this my security certificate on the website expired and didn't update it's self so left Rainbow Designs as 'insecure'. This is an automatic thing each year but the way it gets done had changed from last year so by the time I realised it was already coming up as 'danger, this website is insecure'! Even though technically my website itself doesn't need to be secure as we don't 'catch' any of the payment information, like credit cards etc, these are all done on the banks website which is secure. I just like to have it on my website as more of an extra assurance to my customers so it doesn't help when it expires and brings up a big old warning! Anyway, it's all fixed now and we are super secure again :-) Sorry if anyone went on over the weekend and got a bit spooked - it's all better now.

Due to this slight hiccup(!) very few orders came in over the weekend, boo. I am hoping now that everything is as it should be the Easter orders in particular will pick up. I've got a few bills starting to pile up so really need a bit of cash to pay them :-) Living on beans and rice is getting a bit boring.

It's still spins me out that my business has been running for 13 years, wow. I'm just hoping 13 isn't unlucky and this is as far as it gets!

School holidays are about to start here, some have already started, which the kids are looking forward to. Although at the moment the schools are still closed so they've got a bit of a preholiday holiday. A few of the schools got flooded and some are just wanting to check everything is safe, especially the electricals, before reopening plus there are many people that are trying to get their homes and lives back in order.

We're planning an Easter egg hunt as requested by one of the kids so I've been given the task of coming up with some 'fun and not too hard' clues - I love doing this sort of thing! I'll have to get my thinking cap out. I was also thinking of maybe having a pinata? Never had one of these before, thought it might be a fun way to end the hunt. Just have to work out where to put it so it isn't found too earlier plus I need to find a smallish pinata somewhere and then fill it with Easter eggs! Fun!

I hope you all stayed safe and dry over these last few days and have plenty of help and support if you were caught up in it. Take it one day at a time and try not to get to overwhelmed. It's a daunting task but you will get through it. Please ask for help don't think you need to do it alone. There are a lot of people around for help and support. I've noticed there are many Facebook pages (this is the Murwillumbah one) going up with offers of support and information on what is happening in the area, maybe check there for your area if you are able.

Thanks everyone for your continued support of Rainbow Designs and if you do need any Easter gifts sending out now is the time to order (we are secure, he he) - remember to allow extra time for deliveries to rural and country areas as well as areas that have been affected by the floods. These areas may not have a delivery service for awhile so may just be delivered to the local post office or collection centres.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) and Easter egg hunt organiser for 2017

Batten Down the Hatches

Thursday, 30 March 2017

It sure has been a wild and woolly few days especially for our Queensland friends and now the weather is heading south towards NSW. The heavy rains hit here last night at around 9pm and haven't really stopped. I'm watching the weather and flood warnings but where I am, not far from the Tweed River, there are flood gates that will be closed if there is any chance of the river rising too high. [edited to add: the levee gates were indeed closed with the water just 10cm from going over the top. We had an evacuation order at 2.30am Friday morning. South Murwillumbah was devastated with the whole area going under. Heartbreaking to now see every home with all their belongings on the footpath. This is the worse flood event ever seen here. So fast and so strong. Murwillumbah Matters] All the schools are closed (not that the kids mind at all!) and they're telling everyone to not go out if at all possible even suggesting businesses close. Stay safe everyone and listen to the authorities and DO NO drive through flood waters no matter how desperate you are to get home, it just isn't worth it!

Given all this rain and wind it is still warm and very muggy, I've given up on my hair! We lost power yesterday for about 30 minutes or so and the wild weather hadn't even hit us yet. I believe something large blew a bit further up the coast which effected pretty much all of the Tweed. They have warned we may get power outages over the coming days. My phone lost service earlier this morning but is back on again. I'm sure this will be an ongoing thing with the high winds expected later this afternoon. As long as no trees fall down or roof tops are blown off and everyone is safe I am sure we can cope without power/phones for a bit.

Easter Nibbles For Everyone - $50 delivered

A few more Easter orders have come in, thank you, but I am still hoping for more! Never pleased :-) I've also been working behind the scenes on the website, still, trying to get the right balance of user friendliness and search engine friendliness. Our rankings on Google seemed to have fallen with all the changes I have made but as I've mentioned previously I need to be patient with this as it can and does take awhile for anything real to happen. Good or bad! Here's hoping it's more good than bad! The search engine terms for Easter seem to have helped a bit which I am hoping will continue to improve leading up to Easter and then in turn improve the orders that are coming in. That's been the plan and why I spend so much time doing this seoing business! Did I mention how exciting and glamourous it is running your own online business?! I still love it though.

If you're stuck indoors and looking for something to do may I suggest heading to our website and getting your Easter gift giving sorted??

Take care and be safe,

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady

A couple of more books, Easter eggs and a Lizard

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Another warm and humid day greeted me yesterday, this meant big hair (don't care) and time to do some washing! I have mentioned before how exciting life is for a small business owner haven't I?! I also made another trip to the library (I had an appointment at the council which is just next door to the library) and returned a couple of books I'd finished (Maeve and Ellen's book - both books I did enjoy to a certain extent but probably wouldn't recommend them. Maeve's book mainly because it's short stories and I'm not a fan of short stories, they're like the beginning of what could be a wonderful novel but then the author just seems to give up. Ellen's book was just short chapters of nothingness really, it does have some funny anecdotes but for the most part it's filled with nothing. I thought it was going to be an actual story of her life, it's not.) The two new books I borrowed, I've still got a couple to read from the other day, are 'The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank' and 'A Mother's Story by Rosie Batty'. I did hesitate getting this book as it's obviously going to be a sad and tragic read but I know how strong and resilient Rosie is so I am hoping I will get to know more about her and how she has coped with the loss of her son at his fathers hands. Gulp.

Yesterday afternoon as I was faffing away on the computer I heard a noise and my front door rattle. I go and have a look and there's a water dragon clinging to it, thankfully on the outside! If it was inside you would have heard me screamed! Just the other day a much smaller baby water dragon was on there, I'm thinking this maybe his older bother or sister! There are often lizards wandering around the garden and a couple of times I've encountered them in the car park at the local shopping centre - didn't I move fast!!

An unexpected visitor! A few Easter orders came in over the weekend which is great but I do hope (fingers tightly crossed) that a few more come in. It's always so hard to gauge how many Easter Eggs to order, here's hoping we got it right this year! There's only really a couple of more weeks for Easter gift sending but I know from previous years people tend to leave ordering to the last minute so am anticipating a very busy Easter week.

Just Chocs with added Easter Eggs! - $33 delivered. Time to pop the kettle on, make sure the flycreen door's securely closed and then head out to a couple of meetings I have in town.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady who's not a fan of unexpected visitors (especially if they don't have any chocolate)

A few errands and F1's

Friday, 24 March 2017

TGIF!! I didn't have a super hectic week but enough to keep me out of mischief and fill my days so it's no surprise it's already Friday!

I went to a healthy eating talk at the school on Wednesday, truth be told I only went because there was going to be free food :-) It was quite an interesting evening in the end and we went away with some food (literally) for thought. I think the main 'take away', no pun intended, was to limit the processed food and drink and only have 'not so healthy' food a few times a month and not have it in the house all the time. The temptation is just too much. Chocolate is an exception ;-) This is quite an obvious thing I know but sometimes when the kids are fussy with their food and life is just getting a bit overwhelming it can be easy just to have some frozen bits and pieces in the freezer and packets of chips in the pantry for when the kids come home from school 'starving'! I really feel for my sister, I only deal with this intermittently when the kids pop in, my sister deals with this day in day out. So what ever I can do to help and support her I will :-)

Another visit to the library and another bunch of books to read in the coming weeks. Two biographies and two novels. 'Seriously......I'm kidding - Ellen DeGeneres', 'Life as I Know It - Michelle Payne', 'The Someday Jar - Allison Morgan' and 'A Wedding in December - Anita Shreve'

My drivers licence is due for renewal in April so I thought I'd get in early and get that sorted. The letter that came with my renewal notice said that most places now posted out your licence so it was best to renew a few weeks before your renewal date so it had time to arrive, although you would get a paper licence in the interim. Anyway, I went up to the local RTA, did the eye test (I wear contacts - passed!), paid my money (half price because I'm such a fabulous driver!), had my photo taken (do not smile) and then low and behold they were able to print it out there and then - woo! So technically I have two drivers licences now, funny considering I hardly ever use my car. I either walk everywhere or my sister does the driving!

The season of F1 is starting this weekend in Melbourne. I use to follow the F1's but have found it a tad boring the last 4-5 years so rarely watch it now. At least with it being in Australia it's shown at a decent time and I am assuming they'll be showing the V8's. I'll have it on in the background anyway, possibly mute it a few times when the waffle gets too much!

Enjoy your weekend, be safe, eat chocolate and balance that out with some fruit, and send a gift or two from Rainbow Designs. I'm off to help (I use that term very loosely) my niece with a PDHPE assignment, wish me luck!

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and excellent hider of chocolate ;-)

It's Handy having my Own Gift Shop

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

It's hard to surprise my family these days with presents because 'generally' they know sorta kinda roughly what they are going to get. I do run a gift hamper business so why not use said gift hampers for my own gifting?? Why not indeed!

What's not to love if you're a beer drinker?? Happy Birthday! The lollies and chocolates are always very well received by the youngans and the beer hampers, lets just say, dad looks forward to my gift the most on his birthday ;-) With such a delicious range of products that go into our hampers I've always been able to find something or somethings for everyone plus I can get feedback too! It's been a great way to test out new gift ideas and products under the premise of 'happy birthday', ha ha.

This pleases the kids no end! A few times when I've added something new I've actually had to order in an extra box of something just to set aside for visitor. Generally some form of chocolate, Easter is often when this happens - one box of Easter eggs for Rainbow Designs, one box of Easter eggs for family ;-)

Even I find it hard not to eat an Easter egg or two! It's great that the family show so much interest in my business but I do wonder if it's just so they can get free samples :-)

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady

Salad or Chocolate Coated Peanuts

Monday, 20 March 2017

Now I had every intention of buying a bag of salad, honest I did but I also had every intention of sticking to my shopping budget I had set. So what's a girl to do when I could only get one more thing and my budget would be hit. Technically I guess I had two choices - I could have either gone over budget and got both or made a choice between the two. One of my small things (see previous post) was to stick to my weekly shopping budget (sort of a matter of necessity really) so the first option was out plus what's the point of having a budget if you're just going to go over it?! This meant a choice was needed to be made.

I love salads and I love chocolate peanuts. I've been eating salads a lot throughout summer, pretty much every day for the last month or so. I've been eating chocolate a lot throughout my life, pretty much every day for as long as I can remember (he he). Salad is good for the body. Chocolate is good for the mood. Salad is a summer food, chocolate is an all seasons food. It's now Autumn (even though it's still very warm). I'm a sweet tooth.

So, what do you think I went with?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and her idea of necessity may differ from yours ;-)

Start small.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

It's always (well for me) hard when you start something new with great expectations and high motivation to stick to it. I read something just recently to help with this. It said to start small, really small. So for instance if you want to start exercising regularly start with something small, like a single push up and then each day add another one. It's something so small and to start you may think insignificant but being so small it's more a thought or question of 'why wouldn't you just do it'? One push up isn't hard and takes all of 10 seconds to do so no big deal in fitting it into your day. It's not daunting to do or too hard. Something small can lead to something big.

I've been wanting to get a bit more active as mentioned previously I don't walk anywhere near as much as I did in Port Mac so just wanted to be able to do something at home. I've now started doing a few smallish exercises, think lunges, touch toes and running on the spot, but I've started small. I put some music on, doesn't matter what just something I enjoy (obviously) and have to be active doing all or one of these activities. I've now worked up to doing a single activity per song which is still only about 10 minutes but it is better than no minutes!

This starting small is also relevant to my business. I wanted to start blogging a lot more regularly than I was so I thought I'd 'start small' and just set a goal of doing 4 blogs a month - focusing on anything. So technically not really 'focusing' at all but giving myself free range on what I blog about. So far it's working and I've actually been blogging more than my small goal. I know my posts aren't awarding winning writing but that is something I wasn't aiming for. It was never my goal to be a 'writer' as I know I am not I just wanted to be able to share what I did and think (for the most part) about my business and life in general. Sometimes I ramble, well ok most times I ramble, but I am actually finding it beneficial to me and using it as a springboard or for want of better words, a dumping ground, for my thoughts and worries. It's been a bit of a release. When I've been feeling overwhelmed or disheartened blogging has been a help and has enable me to 'talk' about what I'm going through even if there isn't anyone else around! Maybe that's a good thing.

So if you have something you want to do or something you have found hard sticking to when you've finally got around to starting it, start small. Don't be hard on yourself either. Keep things small and relaxed and informal. Don't beat yourself up if you miss a day or don't do the 'number' you had aimed for. Let it go and go again tomorrow.

When I first started my let's get active idea I had thought 'ok, I'll do touch toes until an order comes in' let me tell you if I had stuck to that I would have probably broken the Guiness book of records of the longest time someone did touch toes :-) Small steps people, small steps.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and believer (not Belieber) in bigger isn't always better!

Working towards goals

Saturday, 18 March 2017

I've set many a goal in my time and to be honest most of the time I never reach the goal - oops. This year I have one main goal (getting Rainbow Designs back on track) which leads to having reasons why I MUST achieve this goal. Not the least of which is, quite obviously, eating and paying bills BUT I also have other reasons why I want Rainbow Designs to get back on track. These are things I am focusing on to give me the MOTIVATION I really, truly need to get things happening.

All You Can Eat - an amazing variety of the products that go in our hampers! When I start thinking 'this is too hard' or 'what's the point' I look to the things I want to be able to do to push me on. To make me get up every morning and get on with things. It's never been a walk in the park and I can't imagine it ever will be but it has been getting harder and harder to keep going. I woke this morning with the intention of letting go of the negative thoughts and to try, try, try and focus on what I need to do for my business (and my sanity!). I know I'll have down days (I'm just wired like that) BUT I am going to try so very hard to limit them and limit how much they affect me and my attitude to Rainbow Designs (and life in general really).

Sydney - Smooth Festival of Chocolate!

My biggest motivation is my family and being able to spend time with them doing 'fun activities'. I think they all start to get a bit nervous when I mention a 'fun activity' now as the last few haven't been 'fun'. Well, they have but not necessarily for everyone or when it was actually happening - great memories though. The last 'fun activity' I planned was with my mum climbing a bridge - mum is terrified of heights so lets just say not much 'fun' was had by her that day. (sorry mum) We can laugh about it now and even though during the climb mum wasn't having any fun at all the time we got to spend together is irreplaceable. We've even got some photos so if mum tries to block it from her memory I can whip out the photo album and remind her all over again :-) ha ha

The dreaded bridge! It's not that high mum. I've been lucky to have had many fabulous holidays and weekends away but am now paying for it or more accurately still paying for them - gaaaaaa. I've always tried to justify using credit saying that I'll be able to pay it off in no time as the business is trucking along ok but in reality this hasn't been the case. Boo. So for now 'fun activities' are to be in the 'dreaming and planning' book to hopefully transfer over to the 'things we're doing' book.

Over the past few weeks we've added our Easter range plus a few new 'all purpose' hampers plus in the coming months we'll be adding some more fabulous hampers - which I am very much looking forward to. In the mean time I am focusing hard on being more regular with my blogging as well as Facebook - my main trouble is working out what to talk about and what to share both on the block and Facebook. I know I need to promote Rainbow Designs and her gifts but I also want to add other 'stuff' in the mix so it's not just a sales pitch day on day out. Nobody's got time for that! A balancing act which I am still learning even after 13 years running Rainbow Designs.

If you have any suggestions or ideas for our blog or Facebook or have any questions you think I might be able to help with please let me know - I'll try my best :-)

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and fun activities officer!

With added stuff

Friday, 17 March 2017

It's been another week of tinkering and writing, updating and deleting here. I've been fiddling around with the blog and added a couple of things, after a few small tanties - nothing is ever as easy as it seems especially when it comes to computers!

I've added a blog roll (on the right below Pages) - which is a list of my current favourite blogs I read regularly. I might add a few more as I have recently come across some travel/cruise blogs that I've been enjoying (and feeling slightly envious about!). Most of the blogs I've included I have been reading for years now, gawd I feel old, and they're still a great read. They're from Australia as well as a few from the USA, UK and even Singapore. A great variety of topics and people and perspectives too. Have a look and see if any take your fancy. If you have a blog or any that you read that you think I'd like hit me up in the comments - I'm always looking for inspiration or a laugh or knowledge. A bit like books, can never read too many!

Something else I added was a Pages section (on the right below blog posts) which currently has our hamper selections in price categories. This is something I will 'hopefully' update regularly, well when there is anything to update, and am still in the tweeking stage. I just want it to be a bit of a 'go to' area for anyone looking for a gift and has a definite set budget. I haven't put descriptions of the gifts (yet) but have linked them all to the website. I might also put a couple of photos but I don't want it to get to cluttered and cumbersome. Less is more and all that!

So today is Friday, already, goodness this week went fast and I didn't really do that much either. Just lots of small things which obviously helped to make the days go by very quickly. I think focusing on the behind the scenes aspects of Rainbow Designs takes up a lot of my time and attention - which is a good thing I just wish it would then turn into orders. So far, not so much but I will persist!

I think I might do a backup of my computer as it's been a couple of weeks since the last one. I am trying to make it a regular thing but, you know, best laid plans and all!

What have you been doing this week? Any new additions? Happy St Patrick's Day!

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) and faffer extraordinaire!

The 9am slump

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Easter orders are starting to come in now, which is great, including a lovely corporate order. It's only a few weeks now until Easter arrives (yes really) so I'm hoping the orders continue and grow over the coming weeks. As I've previously mentioned it's been a bit of a lean time for Rainbow Designs these last couple of years so a boost this Easter would be very welcomed indeed.

Easter Gifts galore! from $33

I'm trying to get in the habit of having breakfast but I'm not doing a very good job of it! This morning I've got my yoghurt and muesli happening but for the most part I don't really eat anything until around 1pm (yoghurt and muesli) and just drink tea and maybe some chocolate. This isn't the ideal way to keep my energy levels up or my motivation levels for that matter. I can find myself hitting my 3pm slump at about 9am some days! I've also started to do some exercise as since moving to northern NSW I don't walk nearly as much as I did back in Port Mac. The scenery's not quite the same plus I need a reason to walk, I don't just walk for the sake of walking. Now that I've joined the local library that gives me somewhere to walk to. It's only about a km away so not a huge walk but better than nothing.

Port Macquarie - that isn't me up there!

I'm thinking about buying an exercise bike ($89 at kmart) but will have to wait and see how the Easter orders go first before splurging. ;-) It's not really what I call an essential and as mentioned in a previous post I am limiting my personal spending on just the basics to try and get back on track. It is relatively easy to do except when it comes to family and wanting to do stuff with them. Free activities is certainly getting a good work out on google these days!

So another day of writing and updating, googling and budgeting, procrastinating and pulling my finger out - this is the life, ha ha.

It's a nice rainy day here today which I find makes being indoors a lot nicer and generally makes me work more efficiently and productively. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything when it's grey and raining as opposed to when it's bright and sunny, I think that's what's termed as fomo (fear of missing out). Not sure what I think I'm missing out on but anyway....

Do you eat breakfast? What do you have? I need some 'easy' ideas.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and rainy day lover (unless of course I have to go out in said rain!)

Writers block?

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Not so much writers block I guess as I am most definitely not a writer but maybe inspiration block or subject matter block? I wanted this blog to be about a whole range of things related, roughly, around running my business all the issues and road blocks I come up against as well as all the highs, lows and in betweens that is part of my small business life.

Chocolate is a must when I'm working

I want the blog to have information, obviously, of new gifts etc up coming events, like Easter, how I go about my daily business life or finding new products, suppliers etc but also the parts of my small business life that aren't directly related to Rainbow Designs but are an every day part of my life or a needed part of being a person. :-)

So this is where things can get a bit 'blocked'. I'm not out and about all the time, I don't necessarily have a funny story or anecdote to share each day or even each week, for the most part each day is basically the same. Get up. Shower. Fire up the laptop. Cup of tea. Read, delete, answer emails. Process any orders (if any have come in!). Cup of tea. Eat some chocolate. Open up the blog. Close the blog. Check facebook. Pop a post on Facebook. Rinse and repeat.

No spending rule doesn't include chocolate. I've got an enforced 'no spending' rule on at the moment. Hence the trip to the local library the other day! A necessity unfortunately which I have to stick to. The only spending allowed is for bills ie electricity, rent etc and the bare minimum of food (I do buy a little bit of chocolate BUT only if it is on special, a good special) and household stuff ie toilet paper, toothpaste etc I still allow myself to window shop but do not take my purse with me and I still holiday dream - these are things that give me some motivation to get Rainbow Designs back on track but the main motivation is to be able to pay my ever day bills without breaking out into a sweat on whether or not my card will be accepted!! Fun times, not. I was going to do a course through the community college but realised I didn't have the funds for it so I am hoping that next term it will be available and I will have some money to do it! Another thing to get motivated about.

I'm enjoying my weekends as I, for whatever reason, feel a bit of the pressure is lessened, I think it's more a case of, orders can't be processed, sent etc over the weekend so I can focus on other stuff! Also, if orders don't come in during the weekend it doesn't seem quite so bad as when they don't come in during the week. As much as I would love orders to be flying in day and night, weekends or weekdays, weekends aren't so disappointing. Luckily as I think I would be rolled in a tight ball on the ground crying!!

Here's the thing, it's TOUGH running my business. It can be a bit soul destroying when you look at the end of the week and realised you haven't made enough to cover your bills. I've worked so hard for such a long time and currently it's just not showing it. I will keep on keeping on and persevere and work hard and be positive and try and push through this very difficult time but how long can I last? How long can my business last? This is the $64 million question.

I may have 'writers block' but I certainly don't have 'waffle' block - I sure can waffle! Now I'm hungry ;-)

Are you a writer? Where do you find inspiration from?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and waffler from way back.

I read, a lot!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

So, some people think that I have way too many books at home. Some people think I should get rid of them. Some people suggest I go to the library. So, seeing as I am not getting rid of any of my books and, yes I concede, I do have a lot of books I have officially joined the local library and borrowed my first book! Well, books I borrowed 5 books but I am a pretty quick reader. Not as quick as my mum, I don't think anyone is as quick as my mum. I have 3 weeks to read them before they have to be returned - I am up for the challenge!

I find reading helps me relax and take my mind of my worries if only for a few hours each evening. I need to have a book to read at night. I find it so hard to get to sleep as it is and without a book I may as well not bother and just stay up all night. I do watch movies but honestly I prefer to read a book.

This first outing to the local library I brought home two novels and three autobiographies. One I am really looking forward to reading but I am also sad about reading it. It's called 'Breakfast, School Run, Chemo' by Julia Watson - a gorgeous lady who was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in 2013. Sadly Julia passed away just before Christmas last year. She had a wonderful, funny, honest blog where she shared her life as well as dealing with her diagnosis. I am excited to read her book but at the same time it saddens me knowing she isn't with her beautiful family any more. [edited to add: beautiful book, Julia was such a natural writer. So honest and funny and of course sad but in a fighting, strong way. Her love for her family is clear. I loved her book and her blog. Thank you Julia.]

The other two autobiographies are Aussies as well, Amanda Keller and Jessica Watson (no relation to Julia - well I don't think so any way). [edited to add: Amanda's book was hilarious and such a wonderful read. I had many laugh out loud moments. It was the perfect book to read to take my mind off my life. What an amazing life she has. Such a hard worker, so honest and sincere.]

My fiction books are 'a hundred pieces of me' by Lucy Dillon - I've never read any of her books before but the brief look at the back made me think I'd enjoy it [edited to add: so far so good, loving it] and the other book is a Mauve Binchy book 'A few of the girls' It's lots of short stories. I can't remember if I have already read this one or not as I've read everything she ever wrote and the last one was a short story book. That's one good thing about having a terrible memory I can reread books as if it was the first time I've read them. I've never read a bad Maeve book so I don't mind rereading hers - I think I've read all of her books at least twice some even 3 or 4 times!

I was going to get some businessy ones or some motivational ones but I just wasn't feeling it. They can wait until my next visit in three weeks :-) Businessy ones don't help me relax and at the moment I need books that will take my mind of my business and every day life even if just for a little bit each day!

So, are you a reader? What's on your bedside table at the moment.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Design boss(y) lady and book worm.

And the new gifts keep coming, this time Easter!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

I've been busy as a bunny bee working away on adding our Easter range for this year! I am so eggcited for these hampers and think they'll do well (fingers and toes hot crossed buns). As always I have tried to keep the prices low with them starting at an eggstraordinary $33 including the delivery. I think that's eggcellent value really!

We are using the eggsquisite Chocolatier Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies - yum. The chocolate is just so smooth and creamy, I love it! It's an eggsperience like no other. (too far?)

I 'Easterfied' 5 of our fabulous every day hampers as well as adding Easter eggs to our Just Chocolates and Big Chocolate Boxes plus we have half kilo and kilo gift boxes just of Easter eggs and bunnies! YAY!!

Half Kilo - Easter Egg Overload, $35 delivered

Good Friday is April 14 and we have a cut off date of April 7 (you've got a month!) to ensure all deliveries are made before this date. You can order later and we will send them out but we cannot ensure they'll arrive on time. Your best bet would be to either order early or upgrade to eggpress post, all of our gifts have this option.

Of course you can also send one of our eggstra fabulous everyday gift hampers as not everyone likes chocolate (gasp, is this true??)

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and easter punoholic!

Smooth Festival of Chocolate is on!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The date for the Chocolate Festival have recently been announced, woo! We're excited! This is the third year and the third year, fingers and toes crossed, we'll be going.

The first year it was my niece and I and then last year my nephew joined us. I think it'll be the same three amigos this year - we are all really looking forward to it!

The last two years it's been in September but this year it's a month early in August and, as it happens, the same weekend the City to Surf is on. Not sure we'll do this though - it's 14km's people, 14! I'd rather be eating chocolate :-)

Now I need to start planning and saving (well, earning some money would be a good start). I've had a quick squiz at the hotel situation in Sydney and at the moment the prices are high! Even the hotels we've previously stayed at aren't cheap, I hope this changes over the coming months. I'm also hoping there's a sale on for the airfares too. At least with only being a couple of nights we can just take a carry on bag each so I can book the cheapest fare without having to pay extra for luggage. We'll most likely fly either Jetstar or Tiger as they are always, pretty much anyway, the cheapest.

I always like to find a 'fun' activity or two to do when I go away with the kids (I say kids but they're both taller than me!) so will have to put my thinking cap on. I need something cheap or even better free and 'fun'! Any ideas??

Now I've really got something to get me motivated and hopefully keep me motivated to get Rainbow Designs pumping out the orders like in the good old days! With Easter fast approaching (another year that's flying by) I am hoping things will pick up a lot plus I've added some yummy Easter Egg gifts too which in previous years have done well. I'm still tweaking and fiddling with the website (and haven't even broken it!) plus trying to regularly blog and Facebook without getting spammy (or boring, I'm not boring am I - no, don't tell me!)

This afternoon I'm going to kick back and watch the Supercars, write a few blogs and do a bit of online research for our weekend in Sydney in August. What are you up to? Have you been to the Chocolate Festival?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and lover of any festival hen chocolate is the main event!

Do you upgrade?

Saturday, 4 March 2017

My computer runs on Microsoft Vista, I have an iPhone 4 and my car was built in 2002. My fridge is 20 years old and my lounge and washing machine had their 16th birthday just recently, hip hooray! My dining table and chairs are from Vinnies as are a few on my comfy chairs in the loungeroom, excluding one chair and that belong to my parents who bought it over 40 years ago. The dress I'm currently wearing I've had for about 7 years, I think the newest piece of clothing I have I bought last year at a factory outlet store. The newest piece of technology I have is my TV and that was given to me by my darling nan when she passed away. I have her nightstand which she got for her 21st birthday in the 1940's and my cutlery set I got for my 21st way back when. All my books are from op shops and my bookcases are from when I first moved out of home over 20 years ago.

Crochet blanket from my nan which is about 50 years old (or more!)

As you can see I'm not into upgrading to the newest and latest and greatest! I'm fine with that. I've never seen the point of upgrading or buying something new when what I have or what was made years ago will do the job just as well (sometimes even better).

I prefer to spend my money on doing things and going places (and chocolate). Over the last 10 years or so I've been very lucky to have gone on a few cruises with family plus little trips here and there around NSW and Qld. Those are the things I'd rather have, moments connecting with people in real life and not through insta or facebook. Making wonderful memories. Something wonderful reminisce and talk about in the years to come. Bringing laughter and smiles. Spending time with people I love. Flicking through photo albums and laughing at the clothes we wore or the funny thing that happened in a restaurant in Queenstown.

This is what my business is about. Making memories for other people and, hopefully, earning enough money to be able to make memories with my family. Currently it's been a tough old struggle but struggle on I will. I've loved running Rainbow Designs and don't plan on giving up without a red hot go first!

So here's to making memories, eat chocolate and enjoying the basics, iPhone 7 not needed.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and op shopper from way back.

A few new hampers at Rainbow Designs

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

I've mentioned previously that we'll be getting some fabulous new hampers here at Rainbow Designs, well these aren't them. He he. They are new to the website but not 'the' all new ones that are coming soon. IYKWIM.

Anyway, without further confusing you here are the new gifts I've recently added to our website:

Deluxe Boutique Beer and Snacks - $200. This one is for all of those men and women who just love trying new 'fancy' beer. They have their standard, go to beer but cannot resist trying something different.

Deluxe Boutique Beer and Snacks - $200 including delivery

Her Birthday - $90 A simple but elegant hamper that's made for celebrating with. Champagne can brighten their spirits if they've hit a 'milestone' birthday that they're just not quite ready for or toast to the start of something new and exciting. Bubbles for the win!

Her Birthday

His Birthday - $70 A classy gift for a classy guy. For he's a jolly good fellow and deserves a bit of pampering and lux in his life, even if it is just for the day.

His Birthday - $70

Savoury Selection - $100 Another elegant hamper with gourmet food and wine to impress even the hardest to buy for person. They will be very impressed with you and your taste when they receive this gift.

Savoury Selection - $100

I've also added a fabulous Italian Pasta Making Hamper ($135) as well as a very fun Moroccan Tajine Hamper ($100) - both of these gifts are just great for the budding chef or the Jamie Oliver wannabe ;-)

Jacqui - Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and lover of eating, especially if someone else cooks!

Housekeeping

Monday, 27 February 2017

I try and make a 'semi' regular habit of update and making minor changes a few times a year to our website. Nothing too drastic or life altering and for the most part no one but me will notice these changes but I think I need to do this to ensure my business and website is running at its best.

Over the weekend I updated all of the descriptions for our wonderful gifts and try to make them all cohesive and looking the same. In general they did but there were always a few differences, whether meant or accidental, that I was not happy with so decided to get stuck in.

This may sound easy and for the most part it was just 'involved' but whenever you are working with the behind the scenes of a website there is always the possibility of messing something up! I had a few, 'oh no what have I done' moments but thankfully nothing too drastic happened and I didn't break it.

Now all of the gifts descriptions look the same with the exact same font and colours and the same flow. I've tried to be a simple as I can in the way it's set out without losing the 'fun' and 'quirkiness' I've always tried to put into the website. I want it to read well and to be easy to understand without it being boring.

Now all gifts have their exact contents listed, then a list of what is also 'always' included but a list of the cool (well I think so) little extras Rainbow Designs provide.

I also updated the Contact Us page. I had been having problems with an excessive amount of spam coming through this form but hope that it is all sorted now. This form is easy to understand and fill out and hopefully will encourage potential customers to contact us if they're unsure of something or just want to ask about delivery or make a request. The easier I can make our website to use the more likely people will stay to browse, bookmark it for latter use and eventually place an order (or two).

The front home page also got a little makeover making it less busy and hopefully easier to see what we offer. The same with the delivery page, just a few small amendments to make sure all the information is easy to understand and up to date.

More behind the scenes work was done in regards to SEO (search engine optimisation) and getting the keywords and product descriptions right and hopefully picked up by Google. It's always been one of the hardest things with our website, getting on the first page of google for our main keywords. It's all well and good having a gorgeous website and fabulous products but if noone knows you exist and you don't show up anywhere online when searches are made you may as well stay in bed! These changes are more a waiting game as updates to search engines can take time, sometimes a lot of time. When I make seo changes I then need to leave them be for a good three months or so to see if they've made a difference. If nothing seems to have changed or worse the listing is going backwards and go and make a few minor changes (and cross my fingers).

We've got some new products in the pipeline and I am so excited. I cannot wait to be able to share them and start sending them around Australia.

The next major occasion is Easter - mid April so I am gearing up for this and will start making a few slight changes to the website as well as do some promotion work and possibly advertising.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and seo expert (not really but wishes she was!)

Online Shopping - Some of My haunts!

Friday, 24 February 2017

Now it makes sense that I would do a fair bit of shopping online when I run an online business. I try and do as much of my 'life' as I can online actually. I pay bills, book hotels, organise 'fun' activities, clothes shop, buy food, look for houses, search for job opportunities. Basically whatever I can do online I will!

Here are a few of my favourite or go to online businesses I've used over the years and, for the most part, still use now!

* Banking - I've online banked for as long as it was possible I think. It's so convenient and so easy. All my business banking I can do online as well as loan repayments and even applying for credit cards (not that I need another credit card to get further into debt!). My main banks are Westpac and ING. There are now also phone apps which are helpful when you're out and about and need to transfer money from one account to another. How easy has I life become!

* Shopping - Not only do I use the internet for personal shopping but also for my business, it's great! I don't need to bother with my car and siri, nor do I have to deal with crowds and feeling invisible in a shop. Do you find yourself feeling like you're wearing an invisibility coat like I often do when in 'real' shops? Online shopping eliminates this :-) I am trying to kerb my clothes shopping, both online and in stores, as I don't 'really' need anything and money is tight but when I am in the mood and actually have a bit of spare cash (what is that??) I usually browse: Cotton On, Supre, Ezibuy - whoever was having the best sale usually ended up with my money. For business most of my suppliers had a website I could order my stock through or I just emailed through my order. Very rarely would I need to call or to visit in person. Groceries where another thing I use to order online and have delivered but now I just wander into town and get what I need. I very rarely do a large shop so can more often than not just carry my groceries home. A bonus of living in town!

* Travel - I am forever searching for the next bargain holiday and this lately has been centred around cruising. We did our first cruise in 2010 and were well and truly bitten by the cruising bug. Love it. My main cruise website is Ozcruising but I also checkout Cruisesalefinder. Hotels are another thing I always book online, generally through Wotif or Booking.com as well as flights or train. For flights I check Webjet but then book directly through the airline, whoever has the cheapest flight generally! Webjet's booking fees are ridiculous especially when you're booking a Tigerair flight for $45 and their fee is $20 must cheaper to book direct with the airline. Webjet just makes it a bit easier to compare the flight :-) If I need to book the train, the dreaded XPT, I book online through NSW Trainlink. Groupon is another website I have used and often check out for ideas on 'fun' activities to do with the family - I've booked Jet Boating (fun) and Abseiling (not so fun) as well as the Brisbane Wheel (I think the wheel was about half price!) and have ear marked a couple of other activities for possibilities in the coming school holidays. I've also booked the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb online and the Sydney Tower Skywalk plus the Auckland Harbour Bridge climb (I also came across a website which had a discount voucher for this so saved $15pp with that, bonus! My mum might have a different view of this though!!). The comparison sites are great, even for travel insurance (there are sooooo many out there) these sites can help narrow down your search.

* Life - All the everyday things in life can more often than not be done online, saving time and sometimes money when they offer a discount to pay online. Car rego and insurance, electricity, internet, phone all the usual suspects can be done online. Most of these have been setup as direct debits, to make things even easier, but I also have the option to pay online.

What on earth do we do with all this time we're saving by doing so much online?? Probably wasting it on Facebook and Instagram or day dreaming of our next cruise.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and lover on online shopping :-)

Course for fun and Education

I've been thinking about doing a course (or two) just through the local Community College but can't decide what I should do. Obviously I want something I'm interested in so will enjoy going and not dreading but I also want something that might be a bit useful.

There are a few work/business/career related ones like, Office 101 or creating your own website, then there are more involved (and expensive ones) such as Cert 2 in Business etc but I'm thinking more along the lines of hobby/interest as apposed to directly helping with my job.

Maybe learn a new language, or train to be a barista, play the guitar, there's even painting and origami. I'm leaning more towards learning a new language. I could do French as I did that way back when I was at school so have a teeny tiny bit of knowledge.

Cut off for enrolling is this week so I better decide fast!

Have you done any short courses? What did you do? Any tips for me?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady who drinks too much tea

Motivation

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Motivation comes and goes with me. I can get hit with it and then an hour later it's gone, like a puff of smoke. Or I'll be in the shower and think ok when I get out I'm going to do this, then this and then this but when I get out of the shower and by the time I'm dressed and ready to begin I can't be bothered!

Short attention span maybe?? I always have grand plans when lying in bed or the shower or driving possibly because they are plans but then when I can actually implement these amazing plans and ideas I realise how much work that really is! Laziness maybe??

When motivation hits I try and grab on for as long as I can and make the most of it. I'll get some blog posts written (case in point!), clean the house, do the grocery shopping, cook, make phones calls I keep putting off, research and implement ideas for Rainbow Designs, write newsletters and facebook updates etc.

Sometimes it's just so overwhelming and I don't know where to start, this is when I make a cuppa and look on Ozcruising for a bargain cruise :-) I love planning and planning a holiday is on the top of that list! Sometimes I think I enjoy that stage of it more than the actual holiday, not really but close! I'm trying to use that love of planning for Rainbow Designs and make it more fun and interesting. It's been a hard slog these last few years and it's starting to really show. Not just within myself but also with the actual business and its feasibility. Is it still a 'business'? Am I actually making money? What's changed? Why have things stagnated and even started to go backwards? It's like I've just open the doors of a new business and starting from scratch. I've got ideas I just need to write them down and work out what the next step is. One of the things I am going to do is go through all of my old ideas books and see if that helps. I'm still a bit old school as I actually have a 'book' that I 'write' things in and not just a computer! I know, showing my age!

So 2017 is (fingers crossed) going to be the year where motivation hangs around and I make the most of it! I've already wasted a month and a half, well not wasted but not used it to its full potential, so there is no time like the present! Onwards and upwards.

How do you motivate yourself? Any tips on getting the grand plans from my head out into reality?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady who's misplaced her mojo but it searching high and low for it!

Hampers over $150 but so worth it!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

I started off Rainbow Designs with a very limited range at very low price points and have gradually added and improved what we sell. For the most part I have tried to keep our gifts under $100 and still include the delivery in the price but there are some hampers that are just worth spending a bit more for (and some people!).

These hampers following are priced from $160 all the way up to $490 (which is an absolute show stopper!!) and I believe they are all worth their price tags, I wouldn't sell them if I wouldn't buy them. I've always only stocked gifts that I would personally either want for myself or would be very happy to send a loved one and know that they would be thrilled when they opened it (and possibly share with me!).

So to start off I would like to introduce you to:

All You Can Eat - it is priced at $490, our most expensive gift hamper but it is what it says, all you can eat (and drink) and then some! It's great for family gatherings, such as a family reunion or a milestone birthday plus it also works great for staff and business functions - a great show piece. It has 7 different types of alcohol, numerous snacks and nibbles and an endless array of gourmet delights and sweet treats. Something for everyone that is for certain.

All You Can Eat - go on we dare you!

Now this next hamper is a change from what we call 'Traditional' hampers but still with that classy gift hamper feel about it and did we say 'impressive'?? Our Soft Serve Ice Cream hamper has been a Christmas time gift winner since the day we released it on Rainbow Designs. An unexpected gift but a very welcome gift especially with these hot hot summers we've been having. We love the fun and frivolity of this gift hamper and going by the feedback we've received so do our lovely customers. It's an investment gift I guess being at the higher price of our gift hampers ($299) but if you're gifting it to a family or group it works out very reasonable plus they'll certainly get your moneys worth with all the icecream they'll be whipping up - a great idea for a dessert bar at parties too!

Soft Serve Icecream Gift Hamper

Another fun gift hamper in this range is our Popcorn Hamper and at $160 it'll make movie night worth staying in for! What you save on going to the movies you can use to splurge on this great hamper. Everything is included in this gift to make movie night or any night really, a night to remember! A superb quality popcorn maker (and it's easy to clean), an absolute truck load of popping corn and some yummy toppings to make your popcorn extra special. We've found this gift to be popular for younger crowd, such as 18th birthday, moving into their first home and as a family gift at Christmas or Easter time. Another wonderful gift idea that can be shared so makes the price very reasonable plus it is something that will be used and kept for years and years and maybe passed down the family or kept at nanny's for the when she's on baby sitting duty!

Popcorn Hamper

For an occasion that calls for something that little bit special and something that can be kept and used again and also brings with it joy, love and happiness I've picked our Something Very Special Champagne Gift, $200. It's a relative new comer to our range and it was selected with 'love' in mind. Naaaaw. The quality is superb both in the Champagne itself and the accompaniments. The stunning stainless steel ice bucket will be something to cherish as will the gorgeous Laurent-Perrier champagne flutes. It's a timeless and elegant gift with a touch of romance. Engagement, wedding and the purchase of a first home have been celebrated with this gift and for every anniversary after they will be able to relive and enjoy that moment. It can make an any day into a special day, no ring needed.

Something Very Special Champagne Hamper

There are four other gift hampers in our over $150 range all offering something different and something special. There are two more gorgeous gourmet hampers along with a Christmas hamper and a gift for the wine lover, something different but impressive and will definitely show the recipient how much they are appreciated.

So next time you are in the need of a gift with a touch of style, elegance and a bit of wow please have a look at these hampers as I just know they will not disappoint.

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss(y) lady and romantic at heart.

Summer colds suck

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

I hate having a cold at any time but when it's summer and it's 30+ degrees day in day it, it's the absolute pits. My head feels like it's going to explode, now that wouldn't be pretty, although I'm not sure there's much in there! Running your own business is generally fun but when you are not feeling 100% this is when you really miss having work mates. There's no one else to do the work so it doesn't matter how bad you feel you've still got to get up and get the job done.

Thankfully my head cold isn't too bad, it's not the man flu or anything and popping a few advil every now and then helps. I've also been having my yummy fruit smoothies which I make with my blender my sister gave me for my birthday. Vitamin C to get rid of the germies.

It's been awhile since I've had a cold so I guess I shouldn't complain too much plus complaining get you no where! Business has also been really quiet so I don't have that much work to get done, good when I'm not feel well but bad when I have bills to pay! I've really got to find ways to improve Rainbow Designs or it may not be around for much longer. A very sad thought indeed.

Blogging and facebooking plus updating the website and sending newsletters is currently where I'm at but I'm going to have to think outside the box if I won't to stay in business. If you've got any inexpensive (or free) ideas on what I can do I'd love to hear from you!

For now I'm just going to keep on doing what I'm doing, this includes eating the odd chocolate or three, dreaming of busier times and thinking of ways to get my business back on track.

I hope you are feeling on top of the world and that 2017 has been treating you well - here's to clear heads, many orders and happy days.

Basics

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

It's all about keeping things simple. All of the processes I have for running Rainbow Designs have basically stayed the same since I began back in 2004. The website's had a few updates and tweaks over this time but generally has stayed pretty much the same in terms of receiving orders. I do remember though, when I first started, that I would be notified of new orders by a little asterix appearing next to the 'order' word - oh how exciting that was. It still makes me smile when I think how excited I was whenever I saw a little red asterix!

For the most part everything is done online but I am a bit old school with the order tracking side of things. I still write each order number and postcode down followed by the tracking number and the date it was sent. I then check the tracking online and update my book once it has any updates or been delivered. In doing this I generally find I can keep a good check on what's happening with all the orders we have processed and sent. I do update these online through the website but just find it easier to have it written down in my trusty exercise book.

Tracking of parcels is still pretty much the same except that the couriers are now all online, where as earlier on when I started I had to phone them to track parcels. This took a lot of time and waiting on hold, much easier now. The following up of deliveries unfortunately isn't any better.

Ordering stock has stayed pretty much the same with either emailing or ordering online. When I do have to drop parcels off this is also still the same as when I first started. I head down to the post office or the courier and drop them off, the only courier that regularly picks up is Fastways. The only time I would drop parcels with them is if I had a very last minute order that had to go out and the driver had already been by to collect the parcels. At times when I was dropping parcels off at the post office I would get permission to drive into the warehouse and drop them all there. I had a lot and it just made it easier and stopped me from holding up everyone inside the shop :-)

I still use a diary just never got the hang of using my phone. I need to write it down and then just flick a page to see what's coming up. Probably showing my age :-)

Many things have stayed the same over the years but many things have also changed. The gifts change, some come and go and some stay on. I've worked with other small businesses and, like the gifts, some stay some go. I changed things last year in the way orders were physically pack in the sense that I currently don't do this. This may change in the future. I'm always monitoring my business and trying to ensure it's running as best as it can. The emails are still the same, I get them all and reply to them all. Some good, some bad and some just weird.

I think 2017 is a year for a bit of change. I'm not sure how much or what sort of change yet but I definitely need to make a change or two! I'll keep you posted if and when these happened.

Thanks everyone who has supported Rainbow Designs and continues to do so - I wouldn't be still doing this if it wasn't for you.

Jacqui ~ bossy(y) lady and chocolate eater.

It's all about us!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

We've been around forever, well for 13 years anyway and this is a little bit about me and Rainbow Designs. You can also read it on our website :-)

Rainbow Designs (ABN: 99131478119) Gifts for the sweet Tooth.

Rainbow Designs is an online sweet tooth themed gift hamper business based on the wonderful Far North Coast of NSW, Australia in the lovely country town of Murwillumbah (home of the Banana Festival, Mt Warning and the Austral Cafe!) - it is owned and operated by me, Jacqui Halls. As a child of the 80's I sadly have photographic images of big hair, fluro scrunchies and leg warmers! I confess to having a rather BIG sweet tooth and am a complete chocoholic so it's not hard to workout where the idea of Rainbow Designs came from! So what better way to spend my working hours than by filling (and maybe eating the odd dropped choccie or two) fabulous gift boxes full of yummy lollies and chocolates! Dream job???*

Just to reassure you on the quality of the confectionery we use, I have personally taste-tested EVERY ONE of the delicious lollies and chocolates in each gift, (it is a tough job but someone has to do it!) and we (not the Royal WE but the Halls family WE) believe they are the PERFECT remedy to ensure good books all around Australia will have your name in them!

Rainbow Designs is a (happy) family run business. At times there are 3 generations of our family working hard to get your orders packed and sent, lucky we get on so well (MOST of the time!). It does help that there's plenty of chocolate around - you can't stay mad at someone when you're eating chocolate (and they can't stay mad at you!). There's a tip: if you're in someone's bad books - send them a Big Chocolate Box. They'll forget why they were mad at you as soon as they receive it!

Our yummy lolly & chocolate filled gift boxes have been satisfying sweet tooths and sending people into fits of sugar induced happiness since March 2004! Time sure does fly when you're having fun! I'd hate to think how many M&M's and Allens Snakes I've eaten in that time - probably best not to! Although I do have to brag that I still fit into the ear rings I use to wear at school! ;-) Placing an order is easy, safe and fun using our 128-bit SSL secure online shop, or contact us if you have any questions or feedback.

* This is currently being done by some fabulous people in Victoria - we love you!

Melting

Friday, 20 January 2017

It's no secret that it has been a tad warm lately and by a tad I mean, wholly sweet baby cheeses it's HOT! My fridge is struggling, poor dear thing. It is only about 20 years old, they just don't make things like they use to ;-) My hair is struggling, it's never gone well with heat and humidity. By the end of the day I'm like Guy Sebastian when he was on Idol, go the fro! It's usually up in a messy bun most days but I swear the bun grows as the day and humidity goes on (and on and on).

I love the warmer weather over winter but sometimes a cooler day in amongst the heatwaves would be lovely. 26 degrees at midnight makes it very difficult to get to sleep and there's no aircon at my place, Just a teeny tiny fan on the bedside table. Cold showers are frequent here :-)

Gourmet Picnic Hamper - $125. Perfect for an indoor (airconditioned!) picnic.

Being that a lot of our gifts are meltable (can melt) we sometimes have to make the executive decision of holding off on sending orders. This is generally when it is extremely hot, like over 35 degrees hot. Most courier vans aren't refrigerated and the airconditioning generally doesn't make it to the back of the van. With this in mind and the length of time a parcel can be inside a delivery van we do sometimes delay despatch. This generally only holds up a gift for 24 hours and it's always much preferred to receive a perfect gift, possibly a little later than expected, than a melted mess.

We very rarely have any issues with heat and it affecting our hampers as we do try and pack them in a way that best protects the contents both from squashyness and the weather. 99% arrive as they left us but we do have the odd 1% that have come to grief along the way - this is always rectified as soon as it is brought to our attention.

What do you do when the weather is ridiculously hot? Hang out in the freezer section of the supermarket? (me - sometimes it's a big decision on what icecream or frozen fruit to get so I must linger a bit!) Join a gym just so you can use their airconditioning? (my neighbour has done this!) Become a personal shopper so you can spend your days in airconditioned shopping centres?

I hope everyone is coping. Please make sure you drink plenty of water - I'm always on at my dad when I see him to drink more water! Freeze some drink bottles or those icebricks and use those to help cool you down. This is something I've been doing a lot this week. Like a hot water bottle but reverse!

If all else fails, eat chocolate. It might not cool you down but it'll taste good, you might as well be hot and eating something yummy than just hot!

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs boss and currently hanging out in the frozen peas section of my local supermarket ;-)

TIP: Coles have Bulla frozen yogurt pops half price at the moment. $3.99 for 14. I've only had one, mango, and it was really yummy and refreshing. They're only small but a good size for hot weather and meltingness, any bigger and they'd just melt all over your fingers!

Sweet tooth, me???

Thursday, 19 January 2017

You should by now know that I am a true definition of 'chocoholic' but just to prove it once and for all - this is what I had for lunch the other day:

Chocolate pancake, chocolate icecream, chocolate sauce with chocolate chips! And it was YUM!!! Pancake Diner at The Strand in Coolangatta.

Then a couple of days later I had this:

Chocolate icecream, chocolate coated, pretzels and cruched tim tams! Another winner from Cowch at Pacific Fair, their delicious Naked Pop (although mine's not very naked any more!).

Now I do want you to know that I do actually eat 'proper' food. This is what I had for lunch before visiting Cowch:

Prawn salad with sesame dressing This delight was from Motto Motto, also at Pacific Fair.

Jacqui ~ boss at Rainbow Designs, sweet tooth, not paleo. (ha ha or maybe the prawn salad is!)

You need water to make tea

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

It's been awhile since we introduced what I like to term as 'traditional gift hampers' to Rainbow Designs and this became from, what I felt, a need to increase our product line but without having to increase our products. So I began working with another gift hamper business. I had always seen Rainbow Designs from a lolly point of view, alternatives to flowers and hampers but still affordable and happy inducing but realised that I needed to also appeal to people who may not have had such as sweet tooth as me. (I think there may be a few people!)

Afternoon Tea Hamper

The hampers I have available are what I would want to receive or want to give to family or friends. They're filled with produce that I see as something that would be used and enjoyed as apposed to products that are there just to fill the gift box.

Ha, while writing this I was waiting for my tea to brew. Always nice to sip on a cuppa while working but just as a note, you do need to pour the boiling water from the kettle into your cup for this to happen!

All You Can Eat Hamper

Anyway, where was I? Right, our fabulous hampers and making sure they live up to expectations. I've always listed our gifts on our website with as clear details and information as I can and try and make any amendments if this change or we've updated products. This doesn't always work but for the most part what is on the website is what we send. I've made account for products that may need to be substituted or replaced when we can either no longer get a particular brand or item or when our deliveries are later than expected so need to use something else. We also, always, ensure that the hamper is still just as fabulous and value packed when this happens.

Boutique Beers and Snacks Hamper

I am finding it a little harder with the lolly and chocolate gifts. These are the gifts that I use to personally pack and send but for the past year these have been done by my lovely worker bees in Victoria. They do an amazing job, don't get me wrong, but the gifts are slightly different to how I did them. The packaging is different as are the types of confectionery used. We have been working harder at getting similar, if not the same, sweets as well as a larger variety. It's just taking time to work all of this out. The lolly gifts are still amazing just a bit different to what you may have previously received in the past. (if you've been lucky enough to have been gifted one!) I hope this doesn't discourage anyone from using Rainbow Designs and if anything I hope people are even more excited and more inclined to use us. We are working our little tails off to get all our gifts as perfect as we can and try and improve a little bit every week.

Medium Sweet Tooth Gift

I'm finding that the most popular hampers are our ones that are priced under the $100 range and our $29 confectionery gifts. It's so hard to produce gifts under $30 with the inclusion of delivery but I know how many of my repeat customers (and new ones) rely on these. That was one of my main reasons for starting Rainbow Designs back in 2004, to provide an affordable way of buying and sending gifts and I don't want this to change. Seeing that it's been 13 years since I started Rainbow Designs I am happy and proud that I have managed to keep some gifts under $30. It's hard and there isn't much money to be made with these gifts but it is why I started my business so really want to try and keep them around for as long as I can! I don't think people realise how expensive just the delivery is. It's not cheap people :-)

Just Smarties Gift

Staying focused and enthusiastic about my business is my main goal this year. I let it waiver a bit last year and this showed in the poor sales. My belief in my business and myself lacked a lot in 2016 and it pushed me to my limits, almost passed them, and left me hanging on for dear life. I haven't let go (yet!) and I'm slowly, slowly getting my motivation back and my sh!t together. Baby steps are better than no steps. So lets get this year started. 2017, don't disappoint me or my customers.

Let 2017 be the sweetest year yet!

Just add water! Jacqui ~ boss of Rainbow Designs, lover of chocolate and owner of many, many books

2017? Why yes it is!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

After a pretty hectic end to 2016 we are well and truly back into the 'everyday' swing of things at Rainbow Designs. We hope you all had some down time over the festive season and enjoyed a lovely Christmas with family and friends. For those of you who find this time of year a little tough, we were thinking of you and wishing you only the very best.

We had a few little issues and hiccups over the last month or so which I am working very hard on sorting out. It is generally the way when things are ramped up a bit and emotions are running high - the Christmas spirit can often be lacking but in the main we had a wonderful end to 2016 and were honoured to be able to provide help and gifts to so many people, near and far!

As you all know (or not) I have been working with some fabulous people down Victoria way in the running of my little business. We've been working together for over 10 years now (wow!!) and I can only say that they are such a delight to work with and so very professional. They've always got my back and help me out whenever a drama or issue arises. Thanks guys! 2017 is going to be no different or maybe different in the sense that it's going to be even bigger and better than 2016 - woo. I'm very excited for what 2017 has planned for me and my business and am super excited to share with you some of the new gifts we'll have for you in the near future.

As ever I am always striving to provide the best service and gifts I can so welcome all feedback (good or bad) to ensure I am still on the right track. Some things may not always go to plan but as long as we can work together and fix any mishaps I think that's the best thing we can do. We hope you do as well.

I'm planning on having a couple of weeks off at the end of January beginning of February, totally unplugged. No internet. No facebook. No instagram. I just want to enjoy myself and relax and be in the moment before it's full on, head down, bum up. I'm really looking forward to it and hope that I come back refreshed and ready to tackle anything! (fingers crossed) Don't worry, we will still be open and sending out gifts. :-)

Thank you to everyone who has ever purchased from Rainbow Designs, who has ever helped out anyway shape or form and for those that continue to support and promote and just generally cheer me on - I know I would have given up long ago if it wasn't for you all. It's been tough (still is) and I have definitely had moments where I've seriously thought of just packing it in but then a lovely email will come in or a whole batch of orders will arrive and I'll think 'this is why I keep doing what I'm doing'! I think I just over think things sometimes and really let it get to me so I am going to 'try' and take things less personal while still making my business have that personal tough and to be thankful for what I have and who I have in my life. 'Try' being the appropriate word as I know I am still going to have crappy days and days where I just want to give up but as long as they are few and far between I will be happy.

So thank you again and I hope I can be of help to you in 2017 with any (or all) or your gift giving needs and from what I hear in the pipeline we are going to be getting some amazing new gifts in the not too distant future - very exciting indeed!

Enjoy yourself, take care of yourself and talk to someone if you're feeling low or unsure of yourself - you are everything and deserve the best.

Work hard, play (or relax) hard and eat chocolate! ~ Jacqui (Rainbow Designs owner)

Just the thing!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Many years ago we had the option of ordering a single type of lolly or chocolate but after a few changes to Rainbow Designs these were removed until now!

After a prompting from a couple of lovely customers we have added some Single Selection gifts, from just $29 (including gift tag and delivery of course!).

We have Just Smarties, Just Jellybabies and Sugar Coat It (Jubes!) - they are available as half a kilo or kilo sized gifts and are ready now! Just in time for Christmas!

We love hearing from our customers with feedback, suggestions and ideas. It's so nice to know that they care about our business and what we do, makes the hard days (and there are many) worth it.

Christmas is just 18 days away and there are only 11 more delivery days left! (nb: some couriers are delivering on the weekend but it's not guaranteed, it's so they can keep up with the amount of parcels flying about this time of year) If you are still after some gifts and dread the thought of tackling the shopping centres and carpark why not shop online. We are here to help make your gifting fun and easy.

Our yummy gifts start at $29 and all include fabulous goodies, gift tag with your personal message and Australia wide delivery by either Fastway Couriers or Australia Post.

Christmas Bubbles - $50 delivered

We look forward to helping you now and into 2017! We've got the Christmas carols blasting and the santa hats a wearin', we're in full Christmas mode :-) Merry Christmas!

We do Corporate Gifting!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A quiet start to the festive season means I'm busy finding new ways to promote and advertise, on a very limited budget might I add. It's such hard work and quite often with little or no reward at the end. I've been doing this for around 12 years and it never gets easier. I wish it would but so far it hasn't.

Sweet Selection Gift Hamper - $70 delivered Sweet Selection Gift Hamper - $70 delivered

I'm loving all of our gift hampers we have available and think they're just fabulous for business and corporate gifting, I just need to let all the businesses know about them! We've had a few previous customers place some orders, which is always fabulous, but I need a lot of new customers to help keep this business ticking over.

Christmas Cheer Gift Hamper Christmas Cheer Gift Hamper - $190 delivered

There's so much competition and so many amazing people and businesses out there I'm competing with it's hard to find the point of difference and extra specialness and to promote it. Apart from shouting from the roof top I'm at a loss. Oh, we do Facebook and the occasional Insta post plus emails but that's about it and that's about all I can afford at the moment. Money is tight, eek!

Sweet Celebration Gift Hamper - $100 delivered Sweet Celebration Gift Hamper - $100 delivered

So, if you or your business or the company you work for are in need of gifts for Christmas and/or the New Year we can help!! We can!! Our gifts start at $18 and work they way up to over $400 (it is a doozy - simply fantastic!). We'll deliver all of your gifts and include your personal message - sweet and savoury, wine and beer, cheese and crackers, there's something for all of your staff and customers to enjoy!

Executive Gift Hamper - $110 delivered Executive Gift Hamper (red or white wine!) - $110 delivered

For all single orders over 30 gifts you will receive a super 10% discount - woo!

Lolly and Chocolate Gifts from $18 each Lolly and Chocolate Gifts - $18 for min 20 or starting at $29 individual includes delivery.

Thanks for your support and have a yummy festive season. Don't work too hard!

Four Seasons Luxury Gift Hamper - $299 includes delivery

Gift Hampers for Christmas 2016

Monday, 14 November 2016

It's time to order your Christmas gifts! I know right, how fast has this year gone. October just disappeared in a blur and November is looking to be the same. I keep having to double check the date as I can't believe it's mid way through November already. I'm sure I missed a few weeks somewhere!

Sweet Selection - $70 delivered

With only about 6 weeks left until Christmas Day it is definitely time to get your Christmas orders in. We have traditionally found that the 2nd week of December is SUPER busy with last minute corporate orders coming in and forgotten family members who need a gift being sent asap! So don't wait too long, we want to ensure your gifts arrive before Santa does. This time of year always means that the couriers are extra busy and I mean BUSY so deliveries will take a little longer than normal.

To be on the safe side order your gifts within the next couple of weeks - not only will it mean you've got less on your to do list but it will ensure your gifts will make it under the Christmas tree ready to be opened on Christmas Day!

Some gorgeous, festive and yummy gift hampers that will make you the favourite of the family and with your work mates:

Our $29 lolly and chocolate gifts are perfect for friends and family with a bit of a sweet tooth.

Medium Sweet Tooth Box - $29 delivered

For under $50 you can bet that you will impress those worth impressing and wow those who didn't think you had it in you to buy the PERFECT gift!

Christmas Bubbles - $50 delivered

Now for your big families or group of friends our gifts over $150 will certainly hit the spot. These hampers aren't just a hamper they are a whole load of Christmas cheer! Filled with gourmet delights, chocolates, beer, wine, champagne, cheeses and dips even a fabulous ice cream maker with all the trimmings!

For All To Share - $200 delivered

We can't wait to receive your orders, our elves are standing by! CHRISTMAS DAY is Sunday, 25 December 2016 - NOT LONG!!

First Christmas Order!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Happy days! We received our very first Christmas 2016 order last week - from a very organised person indeed, great to see.

As you may (or may not) know things at Rainbow Designs have been very quite these last few months, actually pretty much this whole year has been quiet. I'm not sure what's caused things to quieten down. I've tried to keep my online presence active and relevant. I update Facebook regularly and am trying hard to blog semi regularly. I don't like blogging just for the sake of it but sometimes nothing's happening so I blog about anything and nothing!

I was so excited to see an order come through last week for Christmas, it gave me a little boost (which I desperately needed!) and hope that things will start to pick up in the coming weeks and we'll have a super busy festive season. Christmas and Easter have always been our busiest times, no surprise there I guess, but it is hard to stay positive and up beat when things have been a struggle this year.

Christmas Bubbles

I've updated the website and also added a bulk and corporate discount for all single orders over 30 gift hampers. 10% if you're wondering :-) Large orders are great and I always try and ensure we are offering the best hampers with the best price so it does make it difficult to discount them. I know businesses expect a cheaper price when they order larger quantities hence the discount offer but in reality for me my costs are exactly the same as is the delivery charges. No discounts for us. Being a small business has its advantages but also disadvantages, none more so than not being able to compete price wise with the bigger companies. Our buying capacity is not in their league. Our bulk buying is their every day buying! Having said that though, I believe we still offer very competitive prices and some people have even said our prices aren't higher enough! From the very beginning I always wanted to have gifts that were affordable and at prices I would be happy to pay myself. In doing this though it means my profit margins are extremely low and make it all the more important to keep a regular flow of daily orders coming in. Unfortunately this currently isn't the case but I'll keep plugging away!

http://www.rainbowdesigns.com.au/products/for-all-to-share-hamper For All to Share Hamper Thank you to everyone who has ever ordered with us and thank you to everyone who continues to order from us - we maybe struggling to make ends meet but we are still enjoying running our little business. A private jet may never been in our future or even business class but as long as I can keep paying my bills and eating chocolate I'm happy!

Have a sensational week everyone and don't forget to think of us whenever you need a gift, we are here to help you!

ps: Christmas is less than 7 weeks away!!

Shop Local with American Express

Thursday, 27 October 2016

We've been accepting American Express cards pretty much since the day we opened our virtual doors. When we were in the processing of organising our banking and online payment gateway we thought it would be best to be able to accept all forms of credit cards, not just Visa and Mastercard. In general most people have a credit card or at least a debit credit card and most businesses use either Diners or American Express with Amex being slightly more popular. The fees in accepting these last two cards are higher than Visa and MC but generally when used are for larger orders, woo!

Just Chocolates - $29 delivered Just Chocolates - $29 delivered ($19 with $10 cash back!)

American Express have been running a campaign throughout the year where they are trying to promote and help small businesses, like us! Their current promotion starts on 31st October and ends 30th November and provides a $10 cash back with every order you place with a small business valued over $20. Pretty good I think. This doesn't just apply to online businesses but bricks and mortar as well.

It's hard work running a small business and being up against the 'big guys' so it's always a nice feeling when a big company wants to help out. We don't have a huge turnover and definitely wouldn't affect American Express if we closed down so it's wonderful that they're willing to help us out with no strings attached. How refreshing!

So, if you are in need of some yummy gifts or want to start your Christmas shopping early and you have an Amex Card, November is the time to do it! All orders over $20 paid for with an Amex card will be eligible for a $10 cash back from American Express. The cash back will be processed by American Express (and not Rainbow Designs) and will be credited onto your American Express card that you used at the time of purchase.

Thank you Amex and you, our lovely customers, for supporting small business - we appreciate it so much!! Sign up here to register your card - no strings attached this is just so American Express know you've shopped local :-)

Show me the Orders

Monday, 17 October 2016

September has come to an end and hopefully the order drought has too. It's be one of the quietest months in a very, very long time. Not only have I not broken even but I'm pretty sure I spent more than I made - not a good thing. I've pulled in the purse strings as much as I can. I've tried to be more regular with blogging. I'm forever tweaking the Rainbow Designs website. I'm Facebooking semi regularly which seems to be losing likers instead of gaining more or at the very least entertaining and informing our current likers.

It's a slow decline but I am truly hoping that it'll hit bottom and start it's climb back up again very soon. I'm missing the busyness of my daily work life. It really messes with you confidence when your business, that you've been running for 14 years, is starting to fail in a big way. What went wrong? I'm happy to plod along and get a consistent amount of orders daily. Pay my bills and save a bit but I'm not even doing that. Paying my bills, just, no savings.

The last couple of weeks have been an absolute nightmare in terms of delivery. Both companies I use, Fastway Couriers and Australia Post have let me down big time. This does not make my business look good and costs me money. Money which I don't have.

I really need to start focusing on Christmas.We do have our Christmas Hampers on the website and I've got the Christmas labels already to go as well. We've got the Christmas wrap and tissue paper at the ready now it's just promoting and reminding people we're still here.

I have found a lot of people, even businesses, leave their Christmas gift ordering to the very last minute no matter how many times we remind the via Facebook, emails etc at least with Christmas falling on the weekend it does give us a few extra days with delivery plus Australia Post and often Fastways will be delivering on the Saturday before Christmas too - always a huge help. The often deliver on Saturdays all through December just because of the volume of parcels and letters they have.

Fingers crossed to a happy and busy festive season :-)

Coffee to Tea

Monday, 26 September 2016

I've always been a coffee drinker right from when I started work oh so long ago! Never got into tea even though my mum and nan were big tea drinkers. Not sure why really, I love the smell of brewing coffee. Tea just doesn't have that same aroma does it?

About 18 months ago I had health issues and had to have surgery and, do you know what? I went off coffee. Weird. I just didn't like the taste of it any more and it didn't seem to like my body any more either. So what's a girl to do but try tea. I love a hot bevvie in the morning and couldn't give it up just because I didn't like coffee any more. I started with green tea. I like green tea but it's just doesn't have that same aaahhhhh feeling as a yummy coffee did. So I tried a 'normal' tea - black tea with milk and surprisingly I liked it! I like it strong but milky, if that makes sense! I bit like my coffee actually.

Off and on I've been drinking coffee but mostly if I'm out and can get a yummy barista made latte. I don't like instant coffee at all. I tried some recently, when I was away, from a coffee machine, eewwwwww. Not nice at all so I stuck with tea.

Funnily enough, this coffee machines coffee wasn't too bad. Camomile tea is now my thing for the evening as I have trouble sleeping well and thought this might help. Not sure if it is or not but I've got into my little ritual of having a camomile tea just before heading to bed to read - I'm a real nanna now ;-)

Green tea is meant to help with digestion, thought I'd test that theory!

I had thought that drinking much less coffee and more tea it might help with my sleeping but it doesn't appear to have made any difference, obviously caffeine wasn't the cause of my bad sleeping. Although, I would never have a late night cup of coffee as that DID have an adverse affect of sleep. Makes sense though.

Occasionally when I'm out and about I'll shout myself a barista made coffee never a tea, I don't mind paying for a coffee but not for a tea. It's a tea bag and they still charge the same as a yummy coffee, why is that? Mum found out that on the train (xpt) you can bring your own tea bag and just buy a cup of hot water for $1 instead of $3.50 plus if you bring your own mug (with lid) you get the hot water free! I guess you could also do that with coffee and just bring a coffee bag.

So even though I don't drink as much coffee as I use to I still like to start my day with a hot drink, not sure if I'd get much work done otherwise!

Are you a tea or coffee drinker? Maybe neither?

ps: Happy birthday mum. xx

The Glamorous Life of a Small Business Owner

Friday, September 23, 2016

Ha ha, glamorous, now that is funny! The most glamorous thing about running my business is wearing a necklace while I unpack tissue paper.

Friday I generally schedule in 'clean and tidy' in amongst 'dirtying and messying'. I do try and keep relatively tidy during the week and put things back in their place but things still get a tad untidy come the end of the week. I also work from home so it's basically just my weekly housey clean with the work room and office area included.

Today I've started with vacuuming as it is my most detested job of all. Hate vacuuming with a passion only surpassed by my hate of ummm nope nothing comes close to vacuuming hatred :-)

Next up is desk tidying, although I have to say I am pretty good at keeping my desk clean. I just stuff everything in a drawer or two ;-)

Final clean is the workroom. Time to track down all those rogue lollies that flung themselves off the bench and rolled away like a ninja turtle.

It's a good little workout (not sure if good is quite the right word) but a workout none the less. I do a full on 'spring' clean once every 6 weeks or so and by that I mean I move my furniture! The work room is the only one I do this a lot more regularly - gotta keep that place spick and span. It isn't quite so bad or important currently as I am not actually packing the lollies in there but I may again in the future so want to ensure its clean and tidy when I start back again.

My place is pretty small so it doesn't really take me long at all to get it clean, thank goodness, and I don't have any stairs. These are a nightmare to vacuum (hey dad!).

After everything is all shiny and new again I'll plonk myself down in front of my laptop with a cuppa and a choccie bikkie or some M&M's and blog about it ;-)

Glamorous life indeed!

The Inspirational Paralympics

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Who watched the Paralympics? I had the TV on most mornings. LOVED IT. They are amazing and certainly kept me in check the last few weeks. It made me DO things I would make excuses as to why I can't do them. I saw swimmers with no arms, a table tennis player with no arms and they were DOING IT. There were blind runners and bike riders. The word got used a lot during the paralympics but they are INSPIRING.

I hope I can keep this feeling of 'I CAN' long after the games have ended. It was nice having them on in the background. I used them as my own little cheer squad. I think I cried every day I watched them. They were all just so honest and had so much self belief, I wished I could absorb some of it!

Our paralympians did Australia and themselves PROUD. I only hope I can be half as strong and humble and caring and amazing as they are.

I'm glad that it was shown on television in a much larger way than it even has been. Ch7, Jo Griggs and the whole team did an outstanding job. They are the sort of people you dream about working with. Hard working, caring with a sense of being lucky and priviledged to be able to work on the Paralympics.

Coooweeeeee to you all. I'm going to miss watching you and cannot wait until Tokyo!

I've been having a horrible time with my business and have been really struggling with making it work. It's really getting close to not being a business any more and I worry constantly how I am going to pay my bills BUT after watching the Paralympics I know there IS a way. I just need to find it and believe in myself that I can do it. It's going to be hard, very hard and to be honest I am not sure if I am strong enough but I will keep reminding myself of the athletes I watched and dig deep like they all did. They didn't give up, they pushed themselves and their bodies to do things most people would say, 'you can't do that'. I know everyone is different and not everyone could cope when faced with such loss and hard work and change BUT a lot of people can!

Onwards and upwards, stronger, better, happier.

One step forward, two steps back

Friday, September 16, 2016

It's been one of those weeks, again. Every morning I get up and make myself think of good, happy cheery things. Think of what needs to be done and what things I should be focusing on to get Rainbow Designs making money again.

It's starts well, with a coffee while my computer fires up and writing down any ideas I had overnight but then...............blah. The emails come in and in the 'orders' folder there's zero or one and in the 'customer enquiry' there's one. What will that 'one' be? Maybe them thanking me, for once, or maybe it's another one chasing up their parcel.

Why is it that couriers find it so hard to do their job properly?? Why why why?? To be honest, over the last few weeks I have had very few orders but I have had to still chase up parcels. It is so frustrating and disheartening. It makes me and my business look bad when I have done everything I can do. Process and send the order as soon as humanly possibly and then I get let down, again and again, by the couriers. My customer doesn't care who is to blame as they order with me, with Rainbow Designs. So in their mind 'we' have let them down and it's true, we have.

Couriers take no responsibility with late deliveries, with damaged deliveries, with no deliveries, with incorrect deliveries. It is an absolute nightmare chasing things up with them and even if they do finally get back to you it's almost always too late and not good enough. No refund is ever offered. I think maybe once or possibly twice I have received an refund, well partial refund, over the last 12 years and I can tell you I have unfortunately had far more then two wrong deliveries made!

Delivery prices have gone up A LOT over the last few years and I have always absorbed these cost, now to the near detriment of my business. I honestly believe if I have any more orders that get stuffed up by courier companies and my customer requests a refund I will be out of business.

So pull your fingers out Fastway Couriers and Australia Post and do your friggen job. I am tired of having to deal with problems caused by you. I am tired of dealing with your so called customer service staff and their indifference. I am tired of having to wait WEEKS for anyway to even bother to look into an incorrect delivery! Do you think MY customer is happy waiting this long?? NO THEY ARE NOT. My deliveries are GIFTS which generally mean they are time sensitive so LATE or WRONG deliveries mean that the gift is no longer needed or wanted.

I am currently trying, unsuccessfully so far, to chase up an express parcel that was scanned by Australia Post as delivered but was never received. Why is this such a hard thing to do. It's not like they are new to the business of delivering parcels - surely they should have a better system in place for chasing up parcels. What's the point in tracking? What's the point in paying extra for express if it never gets there anyway?

So I am ending this week with a big fat loss, thank you Australia Post and thank you Fastways. Not only am I losing money I am most definitely losing customers. You don't think that my customers will ever order with me again when they have had so much trouble with their last order? It doesn't matter now what I do, they're not coming back and more than likely they'll tell many people, possibly even online, not to use Rainbow Designs.

Jacqui ~ disheartened Rainbow Designs owner

A Chocolate a Day

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I started Rainbow Designs way back in 2004 with an idea of filling noodle boxes with lollies and/or chocolates and maybe eating some myself. Things have changed over the last 12 years but lollies and chocolates and me eating them still remain the same!

Currently I don't physically pack the gifts, giving my body a break from all the standing and bending, but I still eat chocolate and do everything else that comes with running Rainbow Designs. Processing orders, updating orders, tracking parcels, following up couriers, paying (many, many) bills, emailing, texting, online marketing, blogging etc. I'm currently focusing on Christmas. For the most part the gifts will be the same but will be updated with Christmassy loveliness.

Sometimes I do miss the day to day of filling boxes and packing orders but then my body gives me a little warning sign when I've pushed myself a bit too much and I am thankfully that I have some wonderful people doing all of that work for me :-) The noodle boxes may have gone but the theme and first idea of lolly and chocolate gifts is still there. I've tried to keep Rainbow Designs as close to how I pictured it way back when as I can. Times do change of course and gifts need to be tweaked here and there to keep up with peoples likes and expectations - I think I've been able to do that.

I still love to have some chocolate daily and for the most part you will always find some type of chocolate either on my desk or stashed at the back of the fridge. Don't want the 'kit kat' incident to happen again! Currently my stash consists of m&m's (of course, always a favourite), a mix of choc buds and the occasional block of cadbury.

Rainbow Designs may never have become a million dollar business or a household name but I do hope that it will continue to run and thrive and enable me to pay my bills and occasionally have some r&r, into the future. I don't know how I would cope if I didn't have Rainbow Designs in my life. Something I do know though is that I really need to focus on marketing, promotion and advertising. Even with basically no budget for this it NEEDS to be done. Online business really relies on being found and being found fast and easily. If you don't show up on page 1 or 2 in google you may as well not be in the search pages at all. Unfortunately Rainbow Designs isn't doing too well on that front and it is something I HAVE to work on if I want to stay in business (and pay my bills!).

It's all about the chocolate (and lollies!)

I have a lovely life but know it won't take much for it to change for the bad and end up with nothing or worse minus nothing so WORK WORK WORK is what I must do. I'm sure that sounds familiar to most of us! ;-)

Enough talking (writing) time for another coffee (or maybe tea, I've just started drinking tea and finding I quite like it. Not as heavy on the belly as coffee and doesn't give you coffee breath).

Wishing you a day, week, month of things going as you want, need and hope for! Here's to us :-)

Jacqui ~ chocoholic owner of Rainbow Designs

Smooth Chocolate Festival

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I have been looking forward to this weekend since last year! CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL, what's not to love?? I went in 2015 and as soon as it was announced it was on again in this year we booked our plane and hotel and counted down the weeks! It's a great event to use as 'research' while getting to enjoy the beautiful Sydney Harbour and chocolate in so many forms.

We arrived in Sydney on Friday morning to gorgeous blue skies, lucky as we had to walk from the station to our hotel. The Chocolate Festival starts on Saturday so we had Friday afternoon to get our bearings, make our plan, go to the TOP of Sydney Tower and get cream puffs!

In April I was in Sydney with my gorgeous niece and we stumbled across a little hole in the wall in Chinatown selling these amazing cream puffs, needless to say we went back numerous times and planned to go back again next time we were in Sydney! They were as yummy as we remembered.

I surprised the kids, I say kids but they both tower over me, with a Sydney Tower Skywalk. It was amazing!! We all really enjoyed and got some fabulous photos. If you're in Sydney I recommend the Skywalk.

After our Skywalk we headed over to Chinatown with a pit stop at City Markets, a factory outlet place above Paddy's Markets. Chinatown was busy, busy, busy. I think that's while I like it, so full of energy and food! We went to the food court downstairs and it was BUSY. The food was delicious.

Next morning we woke with a plan EAT CHOCOLATE. Another gorgeous day greeted us, we were SO lucky with the weather as a few weeks earlier it was rainy and freezing in Sydney town. We caught a train from Museum Station, what a cool little station. Loved all the old posters on the walls.

The Chocolate Festival is held at The Rocks near Circular Quay and it was shaping up to be busy. We got there at about 10am, right when it opened and went in search of something to eat. Our first choice was chocolate dipped fruit, strawberries and watermelon. So good (and healthy!?). We did a walk around the whole festival to see what was on offer and made notes of where we wanted to head back to. The number one stop was the Lindt Tent where you could get your very own personalised chocolate bar, yes please!

I think my business, Rainbow Designs, sells one of the most POPULAR products ever, CHOCOLATE. Going by the crowds there are a LOT of chocoholics around, makes my heart sing and my mouth water. Where to head to next?? Maybe a donut or an icecream?? Icecream sounds like a plan - Gelato Messina and the 'Robert Browney Junior', chocolate, fudge, more chocolate, mmmmmmmmm. A glazed donut from The Donut Shop and lots of samples. Lindt balls, coconut and dark chocolate and Darrel Lea chocolates. To see how popular both of these areas were made me think I might need to add these brands to my hampers???

For the rest of the day we did some touristy things and headed over to the Opera House to look for seals, didn't see any. After that we caught a ferry over to Luna Park. I hadn't been to Luna Park in a VERY long time but I don't think it's changed much at all, very 'back in the day' cool. I didn't venture onto any of the rides but the other two went on a 'vomit inducing' ride and the funky roller coaster. They loved it!! (and didn't throw up, bonus).

More chocolate was on our minds so we ferried it back over to Circular Quay and over to the festival to check out the stands again. What to have? So many choices! There was a very groovy container truck turned into pizza shop called 'Happy as Larry' that we just had to try. Margeritta pizza, so good that mr 14 went back and got another one for dinner! Miss 16 and I had some yummy satay chicken skewers. We were going to get another donut but they had sold out, like many of the stands. I think they underestimate how many they'll need. There will be some very late nights tonight making up more for Sunday! Zumbo's stand had sold out of two of their products - we didn't end up trying any but they looked amazing!

We trained it back to Museum Station and back to our hotel, after picking something up for dinner, and relaxed. It was a long but super fun day. Miss 15 was leaving early on Sunday back home while Mr 14 and I weren't leaving until Sunday afternoon so we had another day at the festival plus I had organised a jetboat ride for us!!

After getting up at the crack of dawn to walk miss 15 to the station, mr 14 and I watch a bit of the paralympics and slowly got ready for the day. After checking out of the hotel and leaving our bags for collection later in the day we headed to the train and circular quay. Chocolate Festival here we come. We made a pitstop at Starbucks for a coffee/ice chocolate and a bit of sustainance for the day ahead. While sitting enjoying our breakfast we realise we didn't check the fridge in our room before we left. Shock horror, mr 14 has left his chocolate in it! Luckily, after ringing the hotel, they were able to grab it for us so we could pick it up when we got our bags. Brekky down and first stop was the instagram photo machine to print out some fabulous photos, go and get our personliased Lindt chocolates and then over to the Jetboat wharf.

The Jetboat was FUN! We got drenched, luckily we were wearing a fetching purple poncho. What an amazing way to see Sydney Harbour - highly recommend!

Our weekend in Sydney was coming to a close so we did one last lap of the Smooth Chocolate Festival before making our way back to the hotel to collect our bags and then onto the station for our flight home. I had such a fun weekend. The weather was near on perfect and the company was pretty great too!

I highly suggest visiting the Choc Fest next year and in the mean time check out our chocolate filled hampers to help tied you over until then ;-)

nb: Unfortunately my camera card failed so most of my photo's didn't work. :-(

Father's Day 2016 - September 4

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I'm lucky enough to be relaxing on a deck chair in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with my wonderful dad on HIS day! We're currently heading back to Sydney after spending a few glorious days sailing around Papua New Guinea. Told you I was lucky!

Dad says he's not that great a fan of cruising but it didn't take much twisting of the arm to go on this, or the one last November :-) I think he's hooked, maybe not as much as my mum and I but I'm sure if any is!! If I won lotto I think I'd just travel the world on board a cruise ship, actually scrap that, I WOULD travel the world! What's not to love, food, views, new places, food, someone makes my bed, great company, food.....

I left my business in very capable hands and have know doubt that everything is running smoothly. Hopefully they've been run off their feet with Father's Day orders, a bonus is on their way if they have! We've got quite a few gorgeously yummy gift hampers I just know any and every dad would love to receive. My dad included and maybe he just will ;-) We've got a beer hamper I know he wouldn't mind finding under his cabin bed on Sunday - shame he can't drink the beer until we leave the ship but I'm sure one of the many bars on board will be able to help him out!

I've seen many Father's Day come and go since opening my online gift shop and it still makes me smile when orders come in and sometimes even brings a tear to my eye when I read some of the gift tag messages. Such a special privilege to be part of people's special occasions and events. Let me tell you it never gets old. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for entrusting us at Rainbow Designs to provide that special someone in your life with a very special gift just made for them.

Happy Father's Day, love you dad.

It's What's Inside That Counts

Thursday, August 18, 2016

We've used noodle boxes for our lolly and chocolate gifts since the very beginning, way back in 2004 in fact! Gosh, I feel old now :-) A few years back all our suppliers stopped stocking or making the extra large noodle boxes that we used for our kilo gifts so we switched to other tins or boxes. We've now also changed our half kilo gifts from noodle boxes to fabulous windowed satchels.

It's a bit of and end of an era I guess but it's also great to have a bit of change and spice things up a bit! I love our satchels and think they look really great (although I maybe a tad bias!) and having the window at the front means you can see all the yummy goodies inside! We have used these satchels before in a couple of other gifts we brought into our range a few years back. Unfortunately these gifts didn't prove popular enough for us to keep them on. If things don't sell fast enough we just end up eating everything! Whilst we don't mind doing this it isn't great for our bottom line or our bottoms ;-)

Changes are always needed in any business. You need to improve and adapt and that's what I hope we are doing. 2016 has been a year of big changes not least of which is that our gifts are all lovingly packed and sent from Melbourne now. I've worked with these people for many, many years (feeling old again) and am happy and confident that they will continue producing and providing excellent gifts. The confectionery may vary slightly from what we have previously used but I am always checking and getting feedback from customers on what is used and ensuring we are still making delicious lolly gifts. I can understand returning customers may find things a bit different to what they have previously order but we are confident and I am happy that the gifts are still just as good (if not better if that's possible!). We at Rainbow Designs always strive to do our best and look after our wonderful customers so appreciate any feedback and constructive criticism or praise as this is the only way we can ensure we are providing products and service that our customers need, want and expect.

Thank you to everyone who has ordered from us and who have sung our praises and who have given us feedback, we appreciate it and need it to continue. It's been a tough year, to be honest a tough few years but I am determined to make Rainbow Designs a success both in the happiness stakes and profit stakes :-)

Jacqui ~ determined and thankful Rainbow Designs boss lady who occasionally over indulges in M&M's.

Flat

Wednesday, August 17,2016

Well yet again my car has a flat battery! Grrrr. I hardly use my car any more as I walk to just about everywhere and if I go further a field I'm usually with my sister and she drives. The lovely NRMA guy that helped me once before with my flat battery did suggest starting my car at least once a week and let it run for an hour or so. Easier said than done. Ha ha. I had a flat a couple of weeks ago and my sisters lovely boss came to the rescue and helped me get it started. I sat in my car for an hour and revved and revved but then didn't try and start it again for almost 2 weeks and........flat. It almost started but no cigar.

It's a metaphor for my business at the moment, flat. It's been a very flat and uninspiring year so far and currently doesn't look like it's going to unflatten. I know it is all up to me but it does get a bit frustrating when, after 12 years, Rainbow Designs is not ranking very well on Google. I just don't know why?? I try and update the website regularly and have even been trying to be a bit more regular wit blogging (well sort of) plus Facebooking but to no avail. I will keep persisting and not give up yet but I can only keep doing it for so long. Bills done get paid with wishing and hoping and finger crossing, pity really.

Now I just have to go and get a new car battery and jump start my business. Maybe I should put my laptop in the car and be a mobile gift hamper business. Just drive around all day possibly taste testing donuts and coffee along the way. Now there's an idea!

Jacqui ~ flat as a tack Business and car owner!

One Thing

Monday, August 1, 2016

Have you ever gone into a shop with the aim of buying one thing and left with many more things? On occasion I have been known to do that :-)

This morning I had to pop down to the post office to drop some parcels off and thought I'd also pop into Vinnies, which is next door, and see if they had any snow gloves. My nephew has a school trip coming up which involves snow (how lucky is he??) and is after some gloves. So, being the loving aunt that I am, I went in search of some. I have been trying very hard to not buy any books as my house is looking more like a library than a home of late but, it's an op shop, what's a girl to do??

You can see where this is going, can't you?? I left the op shop with two egg cups (for my sister, she collects them and her birthday is coming up) and (sssshhhhhh) seven books. I know, I know but I love reading :-) BUT I also found some gloves, YAY!! So my excuse for buying the books was to celebrate the fact I managed to find some fabulous snow gloves, ha ha. I don't really need an excuse to buy books just be thankful I didn't buy any nic nacs (or dust collectors as my dad calls them!)

Next time I go to the post office I think I might have to leave my purse at home! Now, I'm off to find a sunny spot and read one of my (seven) books ;-)

Jacqui ~ Book loving, bargain hunting, opshopoholic, Rainbow Designs boss lady.

Day of the Donut

Thursday, July 28, 2016

How did I miss this? Day of the Donut is on in Sydney on Saturday 30/7 and I've only just heard about it. I have checked out the flights down to Sydney but alas there are no bargains :-(

My niece and I love a good donut and would have loved to have checked this event out luckily for us we're going down to Sydney in September for the Festival of Chocolate!

We got truly hooked on donuts when I came across a facebook page for Doughheads Donuts in Newcastle. For months and months we would tag each other with images of delicious looking donuts. Finally, about 6 months worth of drooling, we made it to Newcastle! Unfortunately I wasn't very well and only got a bit of a Top Deck donut (which was yum) but the others enjoyed a couple of donuts including the original glazed and said they were definitely worth the drive!

We're continually on the lookout for new donut places and have had a few since our Doughheads doughy - some good, some disappointing. Many donut places have popped up over the last 12 months so it's no wonder there is now a Day of the Donut!! In Sydney we came across Short Stop Cafe who had a yummy range of donuts on display - so what's one to do but try one. We had the Boston which is a donut filled with delicious vanilla cream custard topped with chocolate ganache, yum!

Are you a donut fan? I think they've come a long way since the traditional cinnamon donut became popular. I still don't mind a hot cinnamon doughy but do find them a bit dense and quite often but they are nice with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

What's your favourite donut? Do you have a regular donut shop you visit?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs head donut lover

National Pyjama Day

Friday, July 22, 2016

Apparently today is national pyjama day* which means you can wear your pj's all day without guilt or recrimination! :-) My nephew asked me the other day, just as we were heading out, if I was going to change out of my pyjamas? I wasn't wearing my jammies but he quite bluntly said 'well it looks like you are'! (note: I didn't change!) So today I'm fine, I can wear my REAL pj's out into the real world and no-on can stop me!

I have to admit I don't particularly want to wear my pj's outside my own house but I would be very happy to laze about in them all day! Jammies are so comfy aren't they?? In having said that though, I did buy a pair of pants the other week which 'technically' are pyjama pants but I wear them as 'real' pants. No-one will know right? Right??

Have you ever just stayed in your pj's even if you had to go out? I've read many a story of mum's picking up their kiddies in the pyjama's. I'm sure the kids LOVED that! ha ha

Jacqui ~ head pj wearing honcho at Rainbow Designs

* By wearing your favourite PJs and by making a donation, youll be helping to make a difference to the lives of foster children.

Who Ate My Kit Kat?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Do you ever buy yourself a treat, especially when you're at the supermarket and they're half price, and put it in the fridge or cupboard for later? I have been known to do this :-) I always like to have a special sweet treat awaiting me and even better is when you forget you bought it and come across it when searching for something yummy to eat! It's like Christmas.

The other week I bought a couple of sweet treats and left them in the crisper of my fridge (that's what it's there for right??) one being a Kit Kat. I quite like Kit Kats and I kept it there for a 'special treat' and had planned on eating it on Sunday evening while relaxing in front of the TV. Do you know what happened?

I'd been thinking about it all afternoon, wishing the time away, dreaming of the moment I will get my little mitts on in. It was a loooooong afternoon ;-) So you can guess, by the blog title, how guttered I was when I finally allow myself to go to the fridge and get my crispy Kit Kat from the crisper and find (well not find actually) it GONE!! I searched every inch of the fridge, even looking in the freezer, to no avail. Someone had eaten my Kit Kat! Who would do such a thing??? I was sad and then annoyed and maybe a little bit angry. I had been so good all week and resisted eating it so I could really enjoy it on Sunday evening only to find some little bugger had already beaten me to it!! The hide of them.

I have a VERY good idea on who STOLE my Kit Kat and have since found a different place for MY chocolatey treats.

So have you ever had anyone steal a special treat that you had been saving for yourself? It's heartbreaking isn't it :-(

Jacqui ~ hider of chocolate

Cadbury Lamington - New

Monday, July 11, 2016

I've just received my weekly roll of 'junk' mail and inside was something amazing! The Woolworths catalogue, not amazing in itself, but inside the Woollies catalogue was an ad for a NEW Cadbury chocolate bar!! Last week it was Coles with the Apple Crumble (which I did partake in and was very underwhelmed) and this week it's the Lamington block! Sounds delicious and definitely something I'll have to get my little mitts on! Not sure if it's just available in Woolworths, will have to pop into Coles and IGA and see if they've got it too.

I love trying new flavours, although I didn't rush out and buy the Vegemite one! I did have a taste of it from a family member who bought it, not my thing. Not awful but I'd rather plain or black forest any day. I guess it's a great marketing ploy more than anything and it appears to work, especially with the Vegemite flavour, that went off on social media!!

Have you tried it yet? Verdict. Better than the Apple Crumble? What flavour would you love Cadbury to make?

3 Ideas For Keeping Warm

Friday, July 8, 2016

I feel the cold. Possibly because I'm of a slim build but I just know that I have always felt the cold. My hands are always cold even on a nice warm day, bad circulation most likely.

Anyway, 3 things I have found to help keep the cold a bay for me and am currently doing or using daily at the moment!

1. Clothing (obviously!) - socks (knee high), singlet top and a light long sleeve top under WHATEVER I am wearing, slippy boots (for home only - never for public!)

2. Sunny spot - open the blinds/curtains as early as possible and let the rays inside 2b. If there is no sun a steaming hot cup of coffee/tea hits the (sunny) spot and is also great for warming your hands!

3. Heat pack - these are wonderful, possibly just like a hot water bottle. I have one which I've had for ever and use it on those really cold days where I just can't get warm. Especially on those cloudy, rainy days where the sun doesn't make an appearance. I heat mine in the microwave for 3-3 1/2 minutes and the warmth lasts for hours! This is also great for evenings when I'm snuggled under my blanket on the lounge - the blanket holds in the heat all night. Sometimes it's so toasty I don't want to go to bed!

Hibernating

Thursday, July 7, 2016

I feel like I've gone into hibernation, not intentional, well I don't think it is. I've been spending a lot of time in my own company and must admit that I'm a bit over it! This is one of the things that can take a bit to get use to when you work for yourself and don't have staff, as such. I do work with a group of lovely people but not in the face to face kind of way. Pretty much all communication is via email. A benefit of this is it doesn't matter what I'm wearing or how bad a hair day I'm having :-)

Sometimes I just need some 'human' contact so head outside to the shops, generally just Coles, but that's enough. To feel part of the world and the town I live in can just mean walking down the main street, buying a custard tart and sitting in the sun by the river. Most days, I must admit, I just find a nice sunny spot indoors, grab my laptop and work away until I need a coffee or maybe some chocolate - there's always both of these in my place!

It is very easy to become very insulated and block yourself off from the world when you work from home and by yourself but try not to let this happen. It can be very hard to get yourself 'out and about' and you're liable to forget the art of conversation. I can go a week without actually speaking to anyone, all my communication is either online or by text. Sometimes I just have a little old conversation with myself just to make sure my vocal cords still work!!

I do love running my own business but I am very aware that I need to push myself to be involved in the 'real' world otherwise I will turn into a hermit and start talking to my rainbow teddy bears ;-) plus there's the great possibility that I'll find myself in Coles wearing my slippers!!

Do you love your own company or prefer the noise and constant chatter of other people around you?

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs head hermit

Gifts Sent Near and Far

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Now we've sent a lot of gifts over the last 12 years and it got me thinking, where is the most popular place they've been sent to? My guess is somewhere in NSW or VIC, narrows it down a bit but still a pretty big area. Another question I had was where is the most furtherest (yes, it is a word!) that one of our gifts has been sent to. I do remember a few years ago one being sent to Christmas Island, so I'm thinking that may be the gift that's covered the most distance but who's next? Somewhere in WA or NT I guess.

I started digging and doing some searching and this is what I came up with:

Most popular area: Seems to be the inner suburbs of Sydney - seeing as so many people live in that area it's not a huge surprise.

(2nd) most furtherest: Port Hedland in WA is approximately 5,313km from Murwillumbah! Google says it would take me about 35 days to walk it, not likely lovey!! It's approx 11hours by plane and 57hours by road - plane it is :-)

and then I thought it would be fun to see if we had sent a gift from a to z - ie a gift to a town starting with a, b, c, d etc You get the idea??

My findings were very interesting. I love a bit of useless trivia :-)

We've sent to all letters of the alphabet except one, can you guess which one??

X!

If you know anyone who lives in Xantippe WA how about you send them a lovely hamper from us ;-)

Far and wide our gifts do travel, I wouldn't mind travelling along with some of them and seeing more of our lovely country. Might head north and make my way around the top of Oz, zip down the middle and checkout Ayres Rock, then across to Perth and follow that around to Adelaide and over to Melbourne and then back up to NSW. Just need a chauffeur now, any takers??

Music to Work By

Tuesday, July 6, 2016

I always have music playing while I'm working, helps keep me moving. It can vary to what I listen to. Lately it's been Double J (using my TV) and as I don't have a radio, one day I'll get one, the other musical option is my phone. I generally just put it on random and let it decide what my musical day should sound like. I've got a few Triple J compilations, some pop compilations, Kasey Chambers, Linkin Park, Powder Finger......... a bit of a mix really. My mood can dictate what I feel like listening to, sometimes I'm in a bit of a funk, so I go with it and play hard, aggressive music and other times it's nice to have some fluffy pop music :-)

Do you like to listen to music while you work or prefer silence?

Beginning a New Financial Year

Friday, July 1, 2016

Really, a new financial year, really??? Why do some weeks seem to drag on but bas and tax time seem to come around so flippin' fast??? I don't have an answer, maybe it's because I always put them off so by the time I get them done the next lot is almost due!

I have been trying a lot harder to get my statements etc sent off to my patient bookkeepers on time or at least weeks not months after they are requested! On my part it's not actually that hard. I don't really need to do anything except download statements and email them off, no adding or calculating needed at all. So I don't really have any excuse for my tardiness except laziness and lack of motivation. Although a big old fine should be motivation enough!

My goal from now on is to stay relatively organised and ensure all my tax obligations up kept up to date. You can keep me accountable ;-)

I had a deadline for myself this year, which funnily enough was today, on whether or not I would close down Rainbow Designs. I thought it would make things easier to wrap up if I closed at the end of the financial year and not part way through. So, the time has come. What am I going to do? Is it the end of Rainbow Designs?

Well, if you are ready this you will know that we ARE still around!

On an even more personal note, thinking of you grandma. Miss you. xx

Public Service Announcement

Thursday, June 30, 2016

As a kind and caring person I thought I would let you know, if you didn't already know, that Coles Supermarket has their Cadbury Chocolate blocks half price this week! Just warning you though, if you live near me you'll have to beat me there as I may purchase them all :-)

Also, drum roll please, they have Pineapple blocks YUM and a new one with apple! I must try this one, research you realise. Has anyone tried it yet? Thoughts? It's chocolate so it can't be bad.

Alrighty, I'm off. Chocolate is calling.....

Jacqui ~ Rainbow Designs only workerbee

Keeping On Top of Things

Monday, June 20, 2016

It is always a good thing to have people helping you within your business, especially the behind the scene stuff. I have a bookkeeper and an accountant for all taxy stuff and the like. BAS, blah but with someone else doing all the numbery things I can, sort of, stay on top of things.

I just got an email from my accountant saying that my tax return hasn't been lodged yet did I want her to do it? Yes, yes I do and thank you for following it up. It is so easy to forget to do things or ensure paperwork is filed or lodged or bills paid so having someone reminding you is great! The longer you put things off the more time consuming and possible expensive they become. Not just the extra time your bookkeepers or accounts may need to spend on putting your bits and pieces together but also the possibility of a fine. eeek.

I got myself into a bit of a pickle a few years back now and have vowed never to let that happen again. Easier said than done but generally all my businessy type things, especially relating to the tax office and my obligations, are taken care of without too much input from me. All I need to do is send through my bank statements and few little details and voila my BAS arrives ready for me to sign and pay.

Even if your business isn't make much (or anything) if it is a business, solo, partnership, whatever you need to ensure you keep on top of your ato obligations. I recommend having a bookkeeper and/or accountant to handle everything for you and to remind you what's needed and when. It may cost a little bit but seriously, the relief and weight off knowing it's all done is so very worth it!

It's almost the end of another financial year so this is your friendly reminder - get your accounts in order now so you're ready to lodge and have it all neatly tucked away and sorted for another year. There's always BAS to keep you on your toes! I do mine quarterly and it comes around so blinkin' fast!

So get to it peeps and be super organised this financial year - hopefully this will help give myself a kick up the butt and I'll actually do as I say :-)

C is for Christmas

Monday, October 20, 2014

C is for...I was torn. C could stand for chocolate, or Christmas, or even corporate gifts. But Christmas won out - really is there a Christmas that doesn't actually contain chocolate? Not in this house!

I love to give gifts - so this season suits me down to the ground. That is one of the reasons I started Rainbow Designs in the first place. Seeing someone smile really makes my day!

Did you know we have only have 9 Mondays until Christmas (not including today)? Does that thought send shivers down your spine? The last day to place orders is actually 22 December 2014 so in reality that only gives you about two months to decide and order. Panic mode! Not if you are organised. I truly think the key to having a great Christmas is to be organised and get the shopping done and dusted so you aren't worrying the week or even the day before.

I love Christmas. It is a time to relax and unwind because once I send out the last Christmas order I shut up shop and take some time out for me. Selfish, yes but extremely necessary.

It's a time to watch those Christmas reruns and dine on Turkey and other festive trimmings. The beer and wine flows freely and so does the love that accompanies the holiday season.

I love shopping for Christmas stock to add to the store because each year I try to find gifts which outdo the year before. Two of my favourites this year are the Reindeer Sweet Tooth Gift and the Yay Christmas Gift - both featuring 900g of mixed yummy chocolates and lollies. And for the ultimate in ultimate we offer a Four Seasons Luxury Hamper which includes champagne, wine, olives, chocolate, coffee and other goodies to tempt those taste buds.

Tis the season to be jolly - fa la la la la la la la la - but only if you are organised otherwise Mr Scrooge may inadvertently pop in for a visit. But we are pretty sure even our gifts would put a smile on his face too!

B is for Birthdays

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's your {insert relationship: father, mother, best friend, sister, aunt, etc}'s birthday and you are looking for a delicious, affordable and quirky gift to celebrate their getting older - well you have come to the right place. We have plenty to choose from with hampers and treats for all ages. We just love birthdays and are always looking for fun ideas to share with our loved ones.

Here are some fun birthday facts we recently discovered.

*The well known Happy Birthday song actually originated in 1893 - Mildred Hall came up with the tune while Mildred's sister Patty thought up the words. The original title of the son was Good Morning To All until it grew in popularity and became the song we know today.

*Landmark birthday messages have been sent out by the queen since 1917. In 1917, 24 birthday messages were posted to celebrate 100th birthdays and in 2011, an amazing 917 celebratory cards were delivered honouring 105th birthdays and above.

*Marilyn Monroe's Happy Birthday Mr President is the most famous birthday song rendition ever.

*August is the most popular birthday month accounting for about 9% of the birthdays all over the world.

*According to Chinese tradition, they count age disregarding the zero. A newborn baby is one, a 12 month old child is two, etc.

*A golden birthday is when your age of date of birth share the same number.

See; told you we love birthdays - it happens to be our most favourite topic to talk about, second to chocolate of course.

And if you need a birthday song to go with your gift, then have a quick look at this site. It features (at last count) 19,019 names to choose from and all for free. You might want to bookmark this one for me later!

Happy birthday to me...

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." - Charles M. Schulz

A is for Advertising

Sunday, October 5, 2014

As any business owner knows, whether online or off, advertising is necessary to showcase your brand and get yourself noticed. And for the team at Rainbow Designs, it is a major challenge; you need to identify opportunities for advertising which will garner successful results. Pay too much and there may be no return on your investment, pay too little and your advertising campaign may fail to get noticed at all. It is definitely a fine balance.

Our blog of course is one way to get noticed and we have developed Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter pages to connect with our online fans.

Knowing who your customers are can also help pinpoint your options. As most of our shoppers are female, then a spot on Femail works in our favour.

The ability to leave online reviews makes shopping easier for people and is another positive form of advertising. We have review pages set up on WOMO, Product Review and Google+. It is also important to register on sites such as TrueLocal in order that people become familiar with your business and it gives you another website where customers can leave feedback.

We have a monthly newsletter which we send out at the beginning of the month which features our gorgeous gifts and other tidbits. Repetition is a great way for people to see and recognise your brand and it keeps it at the forefront of your customers' minds. Not too much, mind you, as you want to avoid what is known as consumer fatigue where they tune out or ignore you altogether.

Over the last 10 years we have learnt a lot about advertising but we are no expert by any stretch of the imagination. We would love to hear any tips you can provide.

If you have a business, what do you find works for you in terms of advertising?

Happiness In A Lolly Tin

29 September 2014

If our new Happiness In A Lolly Tin had a soundtrack it would go something like this:

"Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do"

Of course I can't take credit for these lyrics - that credit would go to the extremely talented Pharrell Williams but you get what I am saying. I can imagine this tin dancing around to the tune - lollies jumping up and down in the excitement of being featured in such a wonderful gift.

The happy flower tin seems to have a jolly personality all of its own - the goodies inside seem to be just an added bonus.

If you have not heard the song recently, know that once you start singing it, it is one of those tunes that can get stuck in your head for days. Much like our gifts. One lolly is never enough and you will soon find yourself reaching out for another and another...but you aren't alone. We admit to having the same problem with all of our delicious chocolate and lolly gifts.

And just because I am feeling happy I am going to share the fun soundtrack with you. Hope you have a happy (and lolly filled) day.

Doctor FeelGood To The Rescue

Monday, September 22, 2014

There is nothing worse than being laid up in bed unable to move especially when you are feeling sorry for yourself. And if he has the man flu well - look out. You know that means that he will be unable to move at all and you will have to nurse him back to health. A broken leg, a bout of the flu - Rainbow Designs knows just the man for the job.

We have someone who can help cure all ails - Doctor Feelgood is his name and when he pays a visit to your door he leaves his doctor's kit behind and brings his trusty box of lollies instead. His funky white noodle box filled with a half kilo of yummy M&Ms, clinkers, jelly babies, race cars, caramel buds, chocolate bullets and more will soothe and satisfy. Forget those aches and pains - this gift hamper will make you feel better in no time at all.

Sometimes the doctor is unable to make house calls so the nurse comes on his behalf. Nurse Bear is just as capable of tending to your needs and she follows Doctor Feelgood's methodology by bringing along her box of mixed lollies and chocolates.

Both Doctor Feelgood and Nurse Bear are securely packed in a cardbox box with tissue paper and gift wrapped in colourful Australian made wrapping paper. They also come complete with a hand written gift tag with your personal message. $50 including postage and handling and your gift of choice will be on your recipient's doorstop at no time at all.

Sugar Free Lollies at Rainbow Designs!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Don't get me wrong - we like our sugar. A little bit in moderation or a lot depending on our mood, but we understand that not everyone can partake in lollies with sugar; so for those who can't, we have a new gift to share.

It's called Just Sugar Free Lollies and contains 500g of mixed sugar free lollies. And we wouldn't want you to associate sugar free with dull because this delicious gift features Gummi Bears; Licorice, Mint and Chocolate Toffees; and Mango, Melon and Passionfruit wrapped lollies. Nothing dull in this lot at all! Yes you heard me right - soft lollies, toffees and wrapped lollies all in the same box and all sugar free.

This sugar free lolly treat make a great addition to our store and partners nicely with our Just Gluten Free Lollies pack. So sugar free or gluten free, we've got your back.

For only $27 you can have either of these gifts ordered and delivered direct to your door. That $27 includes gift wrap and delivery by Toll Express Couriers (DX Track and Trace) and if ordered before 2.30pm (Monday to Friday) can be even shipped out the same day.

Customer service is important to us - you asked and we responded. So we really hope you enjoy these new additions to the Rainbow Designs store. And if you like what you see, please don't hesitate to share it with your family and friends. We love to share the lolly love - sugar free or otherwise.

Happy Father's Day

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy Father's Day to all the Australian blokes out there who just happen to be a dad as well. We know that being a dad is not easy and today is your day to let us show you how much we appreciate all the wonderful things you do for us.

Dads - have you ever given a thought to what your child would say about you when you are not in the room. Here is a little clip I found in which a bunch of kids share their points of view on their dad - he may sing badly, his jokes may be terrible but it seems he is loved, a lot.

So whatever your plans are today - we hope you enjoy your special day. And we hope that it involves a little (or a lot) of chocolate to ensure your day is even sweeter. So from Rainbow Designs to you - Happy Father's Day.

Seven Deadly Sins

Monday, September 1, 2014

Our Seven Deadly Sins gift box is one of the new kids on the block in terms of our gifts; but let's be clear about this - we aren't selling a mixed box of wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. Our Seven Deadly Sins gift box refers to seven individual round containers, each filled with lollies or chocolates of your choice. While our boxes may create a little bit of pride or envy, we like to think that overall they create feelings of happiness, well-being and a willingness to share with loved ones if necessary.

Choose your 7 selections from 31 delicious choices - what will you choose; that's always the hardest part in my opinion. Gummi Bears, Chicos, Freckles, Jaffas, Raspberries, Smarties, F1 Race Cars...just a few of our delicious options.

If dad has a sweet tooth then this might be a good choice for him for Father's Day. He can choose a box for each day of the week as a treat after work, or save them all for a weekend celebration to accompany his favourite ale or beer.

I like the fact that our chocolate and lolly gifts are a little bit naughty and a lot nice, don't you?

If you specifically like to pick your own mix we have a variety of gifts under this category. In addition to the Seven Deadly Sins Gift Hamper mentioned above, we also carry a 1kg or a half kilo mix of lollies and chocolates in a reusable gift box, as well as a Cravings Overdrive mix (1.8kg) presented in a reusable pink Sweetie Tin (pictured above).

Choose the size of the gift you want, pick your favourites and order. As easy as 1, 2 and 3.

Dear Dad

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Only a dad but he gives his all,

To smooth the way for his children small,

Doing with courage stern and grim, This is the line that for him I pen:

Only a dad, but the best of men.

This is the last verse of the poem "Only A Dad" by Edgar Guest. Only a dad he may be but dads can do so much for us no matter how old we are.

Father's Day is coming up for those located in Australia - Sunday 7 September to be exact. We have some great gifts that he will adore, not as much as you obviously, but almost!

Big Lolly Gift Box

Big Chocolate Box

If your dad has a sweet tooth, 1kg of our mouthwatering lollies may just do the trick. The noodle box is chock full of Allens jellybabies, snakes, raspberries, F1 race cars, pineapples, milk bottles, strawberry & creams, chicos, jellybeans, red frogs, green frogs, bananas, sherbies and more. Surely the big man deserves a big lolly box?

Boutique Beer and Savoury Snacks

Big Chocolate Box

Dad will love this boutique beer gift comprising of 12 craft beers, salsa, corn chips, peanuts and beer nuts. Make sure you schedule your arrival to tie in with the arrival of this gift so he can share at least one of the beers with you.

Big Chocolate Box

Big Chocolate Box

Or if chocolate is more his style, how about our 1kg chocolate box. You definitely can't stop at one with this box and he just might deny that this gift ever arrived, if it means he has to share. M&Ms, chocolate freckles, clinkers, chocolate bullets, chocolate buds, white chocolate freckles, Allens Cobbers, Allens Fantales and Allens Jaffas. Yes please!

Have a browse through the other gifts on our site as we also have licorice, fudge and even ales on offer - something to suit every dad, particularly chosen to make his day super memorable.

We recommend not leaving your shopping to the last minute as we certainly wouldn't want to see dad miss out. Here's to your dad - Happy Father's Day to you all!

10 Years and Still Going Strong

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Did you know that Rainbow Designs has been delivering delicious chocolate and lolly gifts for 10 years - over 10 years in fact! When you think about it, 10 years is actually quite a long time.

Think of a child who has grown from a baby to a child of 10 - a lot of changes occur along the way. And Rainbow Designs could be considered my child of sorts; we have grown together, seen a lot of things along the way and had some awesome moments together - and we have probably experienced a few tantrums and tears when things haven't quite gone our way. But that's the way it is when you have your own business to run - there will always be something sent to test you.

They say it takes 10 years to become an expert. Not sure what I could be considered an expert in - chocolate perhaps. I could tell you the best loved gifts of all time and the chocolate everyone turns to when they are trying to cheer someone up. In fact I know quite a few things about chocolate that just might surprise you.

If I ever did decide to move on from Rainbow Designs, I am not even sure what I would do. Chocolate and lollies have been my "thing" for quite a while now. My customer service and management skills are, luckily for me, quite transferable so I guess I am marketable in many aspects. But what other career choices are there which involve taste testing and quality management of something as delicious as chocolate. That would be one of the perks that I would miss for sure.

In fact I might just go and do a bit of quality management right now! I hear those M&Ms calling my name!

Gratitude

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Facebook feed is covered with friends sharing their gratitude about life and love. What a lovely thing to see and it is wonderful to see that gratitude can be so contagious - similar to happiness I guess. Smile at someone and watch the result.

I found this song online - Grateful: A Love Song To The World - and thought I would share it with you all. It may not be about chocolate or gift giving but it is definitely relevant in today's world. It is so easy to become caught up in the negative things that occur in our lives. I am guilty of it, as no doubt you are too.

Today is a great day to think about all the awesome things that we have in our lives at the moment. Granted, not everything can go our way all of the time, but when we focus on all the good things surrounding us, amazing things can happen.

Think about what you are grateful for today. Friends? A warm bed? A pet? Chocolate? It doesn't have to be anything big - the smallest things can make a huge difference.

Share this post and spread the word. Today we are going to be grateful for all that we have and all that is yet to come.

10% Off Our Traditional Gift Hampers - Until 10th August

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Know someone with a birthday in August? Thinking of sending someone a gift hamper? Well now is a great time, as from today until Sunday 10th August, we are offering 10% discount on all of our traditional gift hampers.

And while the gift hampers are traditional, they are far from dull.

Take the Chocoholic Gift Hamper as an example. It includes an Ogilvie Chocoholics Quad Sauce Pack with Cherry Choc Ripe, Chocolate Liqueur, Rich Chocolate Mocha and Chocolate Marshmallow. The recipes you could enhance with those are endless.

And the Sweet Celebration Hamper features 15 - yes fifteen - noodle boxes of lollies including chocolate honeycomb, jelly beans, raspberries, party mix, liquorice allsorts, Cadbury fruit rings, chocolate bullets, coconut rough, fruity frogs, choc freckles, smarties and more.

I love a traditional afternoon tea and the Afternoon Tea Hamper includes chamomile tea and delicious manuka honey meringue moments. There is also a bottle of Veuve Ambal Brut to really celebrate the event in style.

We even have one just for him. His Favourite Hamper comes with chunky salsa, corn chips and beer. Hmm that might almost be my favourite hamper.

Although I would be hard pressed to pass up the Sweet Sensation Gift Hamper with the rum and raisin fudge and the chocolate coated macadamias.

The discount on all these hampers and more will show up once you add the gift to your cart - no special code necessary. So order up before Sunday 10th August and make someone's day special. Please note that next day delivery is not available on these items so please make sure you allow enough time for these gifts to get to their destination (2-7 days depending on the address).

The hardest decision in my opinion, is which one to choose!

When Life Gets In The Way

Monday, July 21, 2014

Okay, I admit it, today is a tough day; the last week overall being tougher than most. Personal responsibilities have had to take preference over the business world and for that reason I have had to close the doors on Rainbow Designs for a few days here and there.

And that makes me especially sad as I really love what I do. Every business has its frustrating moments, of that there is no doubt, but overall being able to do what I do each and every day is a blessing.

I love being able to help make people happy. If I could, I would be a fly on the wall every time a recipient opened one of my gifts just to share in their happiness, but alas I just have to be content with the wonderful emails and reviews that get sent in thanking me for the gift.

But of course it isn't really me. It's you guys! You are the ones with the big hearts sending out gifts all over Australia making people happy, allowing people to fall in love with you and helping the sick recover just that little bit quicker because you care. We all care. And that's what makes this world a wonderful place.

If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

By Emily Dickinson

Where Did The Year Go?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tomorrow marks the new financial year. I don't know about you but I can't believe how quickly the year has flown by. But then I think about all the things I crammed into the year and realise I was just too busy to see how quickly the days were disappearing. My days are sometimes marked from one special holiday to the next: Christmas then Valentine's Day then Easter, etc. And even though I managed to sneak in a few breaks here and there, it still seems to have vanished without a trace.

One golden rule I have learnt about being in business for the past 10 years however is never to wish for a quiet moment because as a small business owner, you don't ever want the rush to end regardless of how tired you are at the end of the day. Thank goodness for chocolate (and coffee) to help get me through on the busiest of days. And thank you to our wonderful customers for creating those busy moments.

Mini Noodle Boxes (Corporate) - $12 per box

Mini Noodle Boxes

If you are feeling the wear and tear from the end of the financial year and the move into the next, why not treat yourself to a gift or two? Or if you have a few dollars left over in the corporate kitty, order your staff a box of goodies as a well-earned reward. We have some wonderful corporate gifts to choose from to keep your staff motivated and to thank them for their effort for the past year.

As always our new financial year goal is to try to improve on the previous year. We aim to better our customer service and our products to ensure that the quality and service you receive from Rainbow Designs is second to none.

Do you have a particular goal in mind for the new financial year?

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