Through blogging and Instagramming, I’ve been introduced to an amazing Virtual Sisterhood of Creative Ladies.
The Oh Creative Lady series is your chance to meet these incredible, kind-hearted, inspiring <insert ALL the happy, positive adjectives HERE> women.
I first came across Hana from Moomookachoo via the amazing Around the World in 80 Days project that she created and embarked on with her family last year. They virtually visited 40 international destinations over 80 days, providing their blog readers with a free printable recipe and activity to accompany each destination. You need to check it out. I recently received a note from Hana where she described us as “kindred spirits.” I was so incredibly chuffed. To be able to hang out online with Hana is an absolute pleasure. She radiates enthusiasm, joy and gratitude. I kind of want to be a kid in her household! Or just live closer so we can hang out and workshop our shared problem of excessive use of exclamation marks!!
I am… Hana. I live on the outskirts of Auckland, New Zealand in a small and lovely community in the wild Waitakere ranges. I’m Mama to Ava (8), Lola (7) and Belle (5) and married to my high school sweetheart, Barry. I have a website, Moomookachoo, that I pour much of my creative energy into. Our whole philosophy is that we want to help curious and creative families connect in meaningful ways. Although I guess I lead the direction of our website, it is very much a family project, the girls and my husband all join in the fun and I guess we try as much as we can to practice what we preach!
I find inspiration… oh my gosh… what a question –I think that inspiration is everywhere. As a young adult I kind of wrote off my creativity. I saw things as very black and white – to be a creative, you had to be a writer, maybe a musician or an amazing artist… I didn’t believe that I was any good at any of those traditional definitions of creative so I just didn’t nurture that part of myself.
When my eldest daughter, Ava, was born in 2007 everything changed (as things always do when you become a parent!) somehow becoming a mother helped me open up to that creative side of myself again. Becoming a parent is like another chance to experience things for the first time. I know it sounds so clichéd, but when you see your kids fascinated or passionate about the little things, it helps see things with fresh eyes. So yes, that is my very convoluted way of saying that almost everything inspires me… I like to carry a notebook with me in my handbag so that I can write down ideas as they come… you just never know if you’re going to have a conversation, hear something on the radio or see something on a trip that sparks an idea.
I am excited about… for the first half of 2016 we’ve been working super hard on a subscription box for families. Moomookachoo Club is a 12 month subscription box full of fun and engaging crafts and activities for families. Each month’s inspiration is based on a calendar we’ve been doing for a while now called the Magical Days calendar and the box includes recipes, craft ideas (and supplies) and a booklet full of ideas you can use again and again.
I am so excited to launch Moomookachoo Club. We’ve been testing it out on a group of wonderful and willing guinea pigs for the last 3 months and have had some wonderful feedback and I can’t wait to share it with the world.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… take a break.
Recently I read something that I thought was so on point, talking about how in nature, things don’t constantly produce without taking a break. You know there’s always that season of winter, where things hibernate or go inward before the Spring.
I think we all put so much pressure on ourselves to constantly be busy and creative, but I don’t think it’s healthy to expect yourself to constantly produce without stopping occasionally to give yourself time to regroup and fill up that creative well again.
So that – and podcasts. I just love listening to a good creative podcast – I always feel refreshed and inspired after listening to passionate people talk about doing what they love!
I’m really proud of… Last year on Moomookachoo we embarked on a project called ‘Around the World in 80 Days’. We virtually visited 40 destinations from around the world and provided our readers with a free printable recipe and activity for each destination. The project ran on the blog for 80 days straight, and it was all consuming. For about six months our family lived the project – our crafty time was spent testing activities – our mealtimes were spent testing recipes.
It was fun and stressful and crazy, but we did it together and I feel like it was a great way to foster our natural curiosity and also an important lesson in consistency – something I am not known for!
I’m also really proud that we have now put this great resource into the world, for families like us who want to give their children the world, but for whatever reason aren’t able to explore it in person as yet.
Someone once told me… I’m an avid collector of quotes… I have words that inspire pinned up all around me. Earlier this year two dear friends both sent me the same quote with a note saying that they thought of me when they read it…
“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” – Roald Dahl
Sometimes I’m embarrassed by my own enthusiasm (don’t count how many exclamation marks I’ve used in this interview!) … it seems as though it’s not too cool to get overly excited about anything.
As I get older though, I realize that life is worth getting excited about and it doesn’t really matter what other people think. So I’m trying to embrace that… and also if Roald Dahl said it, it pretty much has to be true, right!?
My advice to you… experiment. Try new things and put yourself out there. I’m learning that I can still learn new things about myself. Barry and I went to a cooking class a couple of months ago as a belated birthday present and when we arrived we discovered that one of the dishes we’d be cooking was Jamaican Jerk Monkfish with Fried Green Banana. Barry was horrified he hates banana, and to be honest, I wasn’t that excited about the prospect either, but we followed the recipe and we both loved it. We never would have discovered our love of fish and banana if it wasn’t for our willingness to try something new.
Also start small. Big leaps are terrifying, but it’s amazing what small acts of braveness can build into.
Slow down and enjoy where you’re at. My girls are at that delicious age where the world is opening up to us more: we can go and adventure together without having to worry about naps or packing all the baby and toddler paraphernalia and it’s a really lovely time for our family. But it feels like I am watching them grow up right before my eyes, like one of those crazy time lapse videos where you watch a plant go from a seed to a blooming flower in a matter of seconds.
Now more than ever I am aware of that cliché you are told oh, about a million times in your first year of parenting, appreciate them now, they’ll be grown before you know it. And I feel like I’m becoming one of those little old ladies who says that to everyone I know who has a baby, but it’s true – man it goes by in a flash – so enjoy it – wherever you are in your life, embrace it.
You can find me at…
Hana sent me a free Moomookachoo Club box to try out. You can feel the TLC that has gone into this project. The package is a treasure trove of activities based around significant days of the Month. This August we’ll be doing craft activities to celebrate Uruguay’s Independence Day, art activities for Andy Warhol’s birthday, following a recipe for Burger Day- just to name a few! My mind boggles at the effort and attention that has gone into the production of these boxes. You can come and follow our August progress over on Instagram. I am so inspired by the Moomookachoo mission of creating “meaningful moments for curious families.” Always a pleasure, Hana xx