Dear Ladies,

Today we are in the presence of movement, dance and theatre greatness, with Lisa Minett, former Head of Movement and Dance for NIDA, who now runs an amazing studio in Seddon. Combining the best of barre, pilates, yoga and dance to help women stay strong and healthy, Lisa is a powerhouse of inspiration and energy.

I wish my mama had told me about this before!




Tell us about your business – when did you start it and what is it all about?

My Mama Said opened doors on July 13, 2015. I’ve spent my life as an actor, dancer and choreographer. I’ve seen the benefits that having a strong connection to your physical presence can do for people professionally and personally. Unfortunately, most of the training out there cares little about your progress and is uncertain about how to nurture the unique beauty that lies in each of us. I wanted to offer a safe group fitness alternative where you can train in all styles of mind/body workouts.

What inspired you to start your business?

I had been working with actors as a University lecturer for the past 6 years and was tired, burnout and frustrated. I wanted to share all that I knew about movement with people in an environment that was more fun and friendly. I grew up in Williamstown and have always wanted to return and open up my own studios so i can share all of my knowledge with the people in my community.

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?

Focus in on the product – which for me was to deliver quality classes.


What was the most difficult part about starting your business?

Finding out I was 8 weeks pregnant a week before I opened!!!! Probably keeping it small to start. Not trying to do the bigger plan stright off. Let the business build.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned about running your business?

There are so many extra little costs that you simply forget about. Also, people will ask what seems like ridiculous requests to you. If you can accommodate them, then just do it. You are providing a service to them, not to yourself.

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business?

My husband and two year old daughter. I work a lot at night and that means less dinner and down time with them.

What is one thing you wish you had of known before you started your business?

That it will all work out in the end and you will never stop working to drum up business.


What has been your biggest success so far?

The clients who have been with me since day one are inspiring and gorgeous human beings and i would never have met them if I didn’t open the studio. Watching them grow and glow is so rewarding.

After a long day/night/week what do you do to unwind?

I have a massage whenever I can. I’m also partial to a little flutter on a Saturday!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Still helping people discover the amazing abilities that lie within the mind and body.

Wet Wipes – Bernice Thompson


They seem like such a good idea at the time. Conveniently wet on demand, in a carry pack with a lid; disposable. But the problem is, these handy little wipes are often not biodegradable, yet people often throw them down the toilet, and if not, people often pop them into small plastic bags and throw in the bin. Often.

Ok, so in the scheme of things that we do wrong to the environment, it may not make the biggest impact on our footprint, but it is a teeny tiny thing that we can actually change, without having to put much effort in. And that seems to be the key – the less effort we have to put in to change our negative impacts on the world the more likely we are to make the commitment and change our behaviour. (Side note: some of the most difficult easy ways to reduce our environmental footprint include stop eating meat, stop having pets, stop flying on aeroplanes, and surprisingly, stop using glow sticks… I’ll admit I partake in three of these four activities, I’ll leave it up to you to form your own conclusions ;)).

Anyway, back to the things that we can easily do without changing our philosophies on life too much, and wet wipes. A disturbing picture that hit the viral current slipstream not long ago was a one tonne “fatberg” made up from mainly wet wipes blocking, clogging and blowing out sewer systems which, according to this article, around 80 per cent of sewer blockages resulting from people flushing wet wipes down the toilet. Part ignorant convenience, part irresponsible tissue manufacturers claiming wipes are flushable (and the definition of flushable does not mean “put them in the toilet and hit the button”, but that the tissue can break down/dissolve into leafy sea dragons or even just broken up tissue fragments), you cannot flush them down the toilet.

So not flushing them down the toilet is one thing, but limiting to your use of them altogether is also something I’m into. Plus, they also often have chemicals and alcohol in them, which can be harmful to the sensitive bottoms of growing Dictators. Plus, they’re just not necessary. Our children do not need to be sterilised to be clean and hygienic.


“How on earth can a parent in this world survive without wet wipes??!!!” I hear you exclaim. Lean in, things are about to get all kinds of crazy right now….

  1. A water bottle with water and a teaspoon of olive oil, shaken, not stirred
  2. A flannel/cloth
  3. A bucket with cold water and vinegar for soaking*
  4. A washing machine*

I don’t think I need to write out the method. You’re all smart people. Oh, just remember to pop a plastic bag in your bag to transport it all home… otherwise it’s all gonna get too real! 😉

*keep these items in your home, transportation can be troublesome.


Berns xx


AYLA-Maternity-Blog-Kick-Ass-Biz-Mama-Bronwyn Howell-Retrobub-Profile

Dear Ladies,

Today’s amazing business woman is so modest about her achievements, it makes me cry out in pain! For over 20 years she has been designing and producing a range of the cutest baby wear clothing, when most other people in the fashion industry have chosen to get someone else to do it for them, or have gone off-shore.

My hat goes off to you Bronwyn – it is so rare to find someone else ‘crazy’ enough to make all their own designs – you are massive inspiration to me. Thank you!



AYLA-Maternity-Blog-Kick-Ass-Biz-Mama-Bronwyn Howell-Retrobub-Products

Tell us about your business – when did you start it and what is it all about?

I started 20 years ago – can you believe it ! I make childrens wear with a focus on baby wear – under the label Retrobub.

What inspired you to start your business?

I was inspired after the birth of my daughter. I had a background in fashion design and was appaulled by how boring childrens wear, and babywear in particular, was. So I set out to produce a range of babywear that was fun and fashionable. I quickly found that people where looking for baby clothes that where cute enough to give as a gift to people expecting, but they didn’t know the gender of the baby, so I started with a range of gender-neutral babywear to fulfill this need.

What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?

It wasn’t when I was just starting off, but a few years in, my accountant gave me a talking to about paying myself properly. It is very easy to not include every hour you work into your pricing, but in the end you are just exploiting yourself. If something is too expensive, then you have to find a way to make it cheaper (less detail, cheaper materials, made in a more time efficent way) – you can’t just make the price lower and rip yourself off. And if you can’t get the price down, then its not a profitable product and maybe you should scrap it and concentrate on an item you can make more profit on.

AYLA-Maternity-Blog-Kick-Ass-Biz-Mama-Bronwyn Howell-Retrobub-Child

What was the most difficult part about starting your business?

All the business stuff. I am a designer and creative and I find that side is my strength, but all the things that make up the other aspects of running a business are very difficult.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned about running your business?

To listen to customers, but to take their comments with a grain of salt. Customers and people are always giving you advice, but they do so very flippantly. I have learnt the hard way that customers that like your product just buy it, they don’t need to talk about it. But people who give you lots of advice, saying “you should make this…”, don’t actually share your vision, and are not the best people to listen too. Listen to your sales, and work on the things that are selling.

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business? 

Time and weekends !! Always working weekends selling at markets has affected my social life, and people think I am crazy when I ask if they want to do something on a Monday which is my day off.

Also business can be good but it can be slow at times too and cash flow can be a real problem.

What is one thing you wish you had of known before you started your business?

How hard it is, but if i did I never would of started! As I said before, my strength is the design and creative aspects, and in hindsight, I would of tried to find a partner for the business that had strengths in the other areas of admistration.

AYLA-Maternity-Blog-Kick-Ass-Biz-Mama-Bronwyn Howell-Retrobub-Baby

What has been your biggest success so far?

I don’t think I have had any success (Collette’s note: Bronwyn is WAY too modest, go and check out the quality of her work every third Sunday of the month, at the Shirt & Skirt Market at the Abbotsford Convent)  – it is a work in process.

After a long day/night/week what do you do to unwind?

I like to spend time with friends and family, at the beach and dining out.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would like to see the online store to grow.

Do You Wish You Had a Red Tent? – Caitlin Fitzpatrick


Dear Ladies,

As the full moon kicks in this week – well, actually a Blue Moon – holistic health specialist Caitlin Fitzpatrick talks to us about the importance of focusing inwards on our bodies and our menstrual flow. It is a time to reflect, reminisce and re-evaluate, to meditate, pray and nourish your body as it performs its natural cycle.

Eat well & hide out in your tent!



Do You Wish You Had a Red Tent? – Caitlin Fitzpatrick

In ancient times as a woman approached the dark moon in time with her cycle, she would go to the red tent where she would menstruate with other women. It was an honorable, beautiful and highly respected time.  Women would often leave their communities and families to go to the red tent for answers. They would return with wisdom and insight to share.

In the lead up to the new moon is a very beautiful time, yet so often in our modern society, many women don’t know how, and have never been taught to embrace the profound and divine experience.

I have now have marked in my diary the dark moon and the full moon in each month. I try to not book big events on the new moon, to allow myself this sacred time and space. When it’s a full moon, I plan new projects, make decisions and get creative. And while I don’t have a red tent to go to monthly,  I create my own sacred space.

 (But I sometimes really wish I did have a red tent to go to).

Do you wish you have a red tent too?

Blessings beautiful women,



Post original appeared here.



Dear Ladies,


Well, it has finally come  – the last of our yoga series and the last pose that will help you get through your pregnancy – and perhaps the most simple of all. Just sit, breathe in, and count to six before you breathe out again! (Or head to our friends at Bikram Yoga, Yarraville if you need some extra help)



Pose 20 – Blowing in Firm Pose

Sit on your knees, facing forward, with your hips balanced, your spine straight & your shoulders relaxed.
Bring your palms together to rest at your heart-centre, then begin breathing. Count to six as your breathe in, then exhale for a count of six. Repeat as many times as you need until you feel your body & mind completely release.

This pose is great for:

  • improving oxygenation to the body
  • ridding the body of toxins (did you know that you actually breathe out fat?!)
  • energising and revitalising the body
  • helping bring mental clarity and alertness
  • preventing post-natal depression – breathing exercises are vital for the control of your energy or prana

But be mindful of:

  • avoiding strain on your abdomen muscles – if in doubt, breath out!

My Zero Waste Challenge


Dear Ladies,

So it has been almost 6 months since I started my zero waste challenge and I thought that it might be time to share the results…and ‘fess up to my experience.

My original aim was to limit the waste I got rid of in the whole year, to only one pasta sauce bottle. Ambitious, yes, but that’s just me! So how did I do and what have I learnt? Well, it is funny how when you start collecting something like your own waste, you can really start to evaluate some of the choices you make in life, and whether or not they are good ones.

Yes, I made it look a little bit pretty…but really, it isn’t. Most of this stuff will not break down in my lifetime and will just end up clogging up the earth.


Here is what my waste mainly consists of and what it made me think about:

  • beer bottle caps – ok, so these weren’t really mine – I have a beer-drinking Danish boyfriend to thank for them, plus a few other dinner parties with other males, but it did make me wonder if there was something I could make out of them – anyone have any suggestions?
  • medications – things like paracetamol that come in non-recyclable blister packs. Why can’t they come in containers and pure pill form?
  • lighters – again, a relic from a previous boyfriend who left them in my house. They will not return again – matches all the way!
  • tea light candles – this was a funny one, cos I had quite a few to get rid of, but again, they won’t be coming back. Do you know how easy candles are to make yourself? And how many amazing people sell them at every market across the world?
  • iPhone accessories – I am pretty sure we all have a box of these lying around somewhere, collecting dust. It was my headphones that completely died this time, but this will be an ongoing problem until they start offering recycling at each of their stores.
  • toothpaste tubes – fortunately I had stopped using big ones of these a while back, but I still had a couple travel-sized ones floating around. They are so unnecessary when you can make your own for less than $1 a month!
  • gift cards – this is a tough one, because they are mostly given to me by other people, but perhaps you call consider getting an email version or a printing something out on paper instead of buying plastic? Better still, just give cash and let people decide what they want to do with it.
My worm ‘cafe’

So how did I manage to fit my waste into such a small container? Well there are lots of ways you can start preparing for your own challenge – which I did about 12 months ago:

  • stop buying and start making – everything! And I mean everything! Toothpaste, deodorant, washing powder, dishwashing liquid – you name it, I make it these days. And the best part? It costs SO much less than what you get charged for in stores, when buying pre-made items, and uses so much less packaging.
  • reuse everything – from wrapping paper, cards, ribbon to tin cans (for plants, such cute presents), glass jars (for storage) and more.
  • buy glass not plastic – it lasts and can be reused for other things, or, at worst, recycled and turned into more glass!
  • recycle, recycle, recycle – don’t be lazy, even the plastic bags and wrap can be recycled these days (Coles has a green return bin at the front of each store for all plastic bags and packaging – just give it a rinse if it has been in contact with food that might go off)
  • avoid plastic, single-use items – things like cutlery, plates, bags…but the further you go, the more you will start to see if you avoid the quick fix items, you will avoid the waste (like drinking water or lying down if you have a headache, instead of taking Panadol from disposable packet)
  • get yourself some worms – they will eat through most of your kitchen scraps and also provide you will lots of nutrients to put back in your garden. Go worms!




DIY Dishwashing Liquid


Dear Ladies,

Now, I will admit it, I do like to clean. But about a year or so ago I realised that I was using too much liquid soap after I drank out of a glass that hadn’t been rinsed properly, and ruined a glass of good wine with a frothy head. Even though I was using the ‘environmentally-friendly’ dishwashing liquid that doesn’t cost that much, it also got me thinking that there had to be a better way – using less soap and also less plastic. So here goes!




What you need:

  • 6 tablespoons of castille soap
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable glycerin
  • empty glass bottle (I actually threw out the bottle too and started using a spray to use less soap – it coats the dirt evenly rather than your hands in the water!)
  • 2 cups of cold water (I add a little more when I use it in the spray bottle)
  • 5 drops of your favourite essential oil – optional, but oh-so-lovely!

How to make it:

  • Combine all ingredients in bottle.
  • Shake to mix, then pump and use!