Posted on November 15, 2015
Dear Mama Likes: Soulhaven Creative Productions, Flick Electric, MUNCH Eco Hero feeding set
So I’ve been thinking heaps about sponsored posts and paid reviews and things like that. I would really like to write for a living. And I know I’m not the only one who wants to write for a living and I know I’m not special. But I love this. And I would love to do something with this. Whatever this is.
But I don’t think brands are in a great rush to have me write about their products.
My blog isn’t exactly aspirational. I’m not someone who people look at and think “Oh my gosh, where did she get those stained black maternity leggings from? I really want that ‘baggy crotch from too much wear’ look. Indeed, this has been pointed out to me a few times when I have declined to publish guest posts on why mums should use teeth whitening products or when I’ve said no to reviewing weight loss tablets for new mums or sleep remedies that cost $69.95 and do sweet FA.
In saying that, I think there’s value to my reviews – they’re honest. So they can be trusted. And I can see how much traffic I’m sending to sites that I write reviews for…
I’d love to know what you think I should do.
Anyway, I just wanted to write about these three today because I like them and either I approached the company or they approached me. Whenever I do reviews I’ll be honest about whether they’re sponsored or just gifted products.
Last week I was sent fish. I’m quite serious. Out of the blue. My husband was just like “OH MY GOD FISH. DO WE GET MORE FISH?” and I was like, I don’t think I’m going to be sent fish monthly. That’s not really how it works. But it was really nice. Fish. I mean, if you’re into fish. So if you’re into fish…maybe I will write about fish at some point. It was Sealord 3-Seed Crumbed New Zealand hoki by the way. How’s that for product placement – smooth! #realfish etc. See, I can totally do this.
Anyway – First up – Soulhaven Creative Productions
I saw Ray and Mel (the sisters who run Soulhaven Creative Productions) at the Baby Show. The Baby Show was a bit of a let down to be honest. I got in a fight with a guy who was trying to tell these terrified pregnant women that their cellphones and iPads were sending electro-magnetic waves into their uteruses and causing defects in their babies. He was selling a blanket – I shit you not a fucking blanket – that apparently stops these waves. So I yelled at him for a while. And didn’t buy some very expensive random shit. But I left thinking I would love to get a Soulhaven video made.
Basically, Ray comes to your house and films your wee one and makes a beautiful video. She also composes original music for the video. She does a bunch of packages – everything from birth videos to birthdays to one-off newborn packages to this one awesome package where she comes every few months for a year and makes a ‘my first year’ video. Which is just too adorable. I wish I’d bought that package with my boys. They have grown so much and it all feels like it happened so fast (don’t worry – I’m not turning into one of those ‘cherish every moment’ insufferable types – I’m just saying I wish I had a video of that newborn mush stage).
Also (ATTENTION: TWITTER) she does pet videos. Yes, you can get a video of your beloved cat or dog or chicken or bear or whatever frolicking in a field. Ray loves animals – she has built and runs an animal sanctuary (you can donate to help with running costs or find out more about it here). This is how she describes those pet video packages:
“Animals are one of our greatest passions and we understand more than anyone the deep bond that comes from a relationship with an animal. Cats, dogs, goats, horses, cows, birds, pigs…whoever or whatever you love, we LOVE capturing the unique spirit of your precious companion. Please get in touch with us to discuss the various options for creating a video of your fuzzy friends..”
I am not really an animal person. My dog is like 800 years old and he basically lives on spite for me. I can tell you – a dog that was basically alive to see the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi is not a dog that you want around toddlers. And I barely see my cat (who I’m quite fond of). My cat spends most of his time outside victimising Gareth Morgan. But I know the love a lot of my friends have for their pets – and I think it’s lovely that she embraces that and records those special memories for them. She is basically a great human being who is also super talented.
Here’s how I know that – after the baby show I approached Ray to find out more about Soulhaven and what they do. While discussing what video I might like to do, I talked a bit about Ballet is for Everyone. And Ray offered to film a class for free and make a video for us! Yes, for free! What A Babe. When the video arrived I cried and we (all the Ballet volunteers) basically spent the whole next day saying OMG IT IS SO AMAZING OMG. She really captured the spirit of Ballet is for Everyone.
Here it is:
Isn’t it precious? That soft lighting. The tinkling music. The close-ups of dimples and wee smiles! I’ve seen a few of their newborn videos and I basically started ovulating just watching them. You can see examples of their beautiful videos here.
The most exciting thing is that Ray and her sister Mel have offered you all a discount! I said that I loved them so much I was going to write about them and they offered up a 15% discount on any video package ordered before the end of the year. Amazing. So just quote the code ‘Emily Writes’ when you order – and you’ll get 15% off. YES! Click here to find out more.
I think it would also make a great gift to give to someone – because you also get to see the end result! A beautiful, original video of memories you’ll be able to cherish forever. I had a birth video made and I watch it All The Time. I love it.
Next up – Flick Electric
If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I have had numerous rage attacks about power companies in this country. I’ve been through three power companies in four years. If you’ve got kids you’ll know that when you have a family you suddenly have a lot less money (you’re usually at least one income down, or worse if you don’t have a partner). Along with having less money, you have to pay more for power because you have to heat every room your kids are in. Especially in fucking freezing places like…most of New Zealand.
I am sick to death of power companies that increase their prices at the beginning of winter – so they can make the maximum profit from you freezing your ass off. I have opened power bills before and been in tears over the cost. I have sat covered in blankets to try to keep the bill down instead of having the heat pump on. When we had Eddie we kept him in our room so we only had to heat one room in the house. When The Ham came along Eddie was (mostly) in his own room. So while we kept Hammy in our room, we now had to heat two rooms. And the shitty power company I was with raised the price of power right before winter. Despite turning a record profit, they felt they had to charge families like us more. We had to heat the two rooms our kids were in – with a child with respiratory condition we also have always had to run a dehumidifier. We knew winter was going to be bad. Our power company – we will call them Greedy Shit Power – would not budge when I called them and asked them for a month amnesty so I could raise more coin to handle the shock of the new (significant) power increase. Greedy Shit Power called my bluff about moving power companies. I moved to another power company and they were better – but they run on a system that means their winter rate is horrendously more expensive than their summer rate instead of just more expensive than their summer rate. We had to borrow money for our bill from family and it was fucking humiliating and shit.
And then Flick emailed me. They said they care about families. And I was like yeah, yeah OK whatever. But the person I spoke to actually had a family – and she and I talked heaps about what it’s like to suddenly have less cash but have to pay more for power. And how hard that is. And how you feel like a crap parent when you can barely afford to heat your home. And lots of families are far, far, far more worse off than we are.
Then I talked to the CEO of Flick Steve O’Connor. I mean – a CEO of a power company talking to a pretty unhinged blogger who regularly posts out of control rants about power companies on Twitter is pretty impressive. He wasn’t even scared of me.
We chatted about the basic Flick model and it’s basically this (paraphrased by me because I took notes but the notes are all the way on the other side of the room and I can’t be bothered moving) – Flick doesn’t fuck around (Steve didn’t say fuck, he seems like a chill guy who doesn’t say fuck but doesn’t mind if you say it). They just sell you power direct and they tell you what they’re charging you, so you get to decide if it’s worth it. And they don’t charge you in bulk – they charge you as the price of electricity moves. So if you’re savvy – you can bring down your power bill by using power when the price is low. In their own words:
The market price of power (known as the “spot price”) changes every half-hour. Most power companies charge you a flat rate that covers the ups and downs, but we give you access to actual spot prices on the wholesale market.
Which, for those of us with one parent at home, is pretty good, because we can turn appliances on or off during the day depending on what the spot price is. Flick has a bunch of info about how to game the system and only use power when it’s at its cheapest.
You’re also billed weekly, and you can see how much you’re using EACH DAY. This gets rid of price shock. At first I was a bit worried about weekly billing – my main worry was that I wouldn’t have enough each week to pay my bill. My husband is a gardener and I work bits and pieces here and there. Our income sucks and some weeks it’s more and some weeks it’s fuck all. BUT – having tried weekly billing for about two months now – it really works. I am actively trying to bring the price down and seeing it go down each week is a real motivator. And I no longer have this sudden shock of a bill at the end of the month.
Pre-Flick – I never knew what I was going to end up with. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to my bills and it was so bad when they estimated one month and I’d be like “Oh thank God it’s lower” and then the next month it would be “Holy shit how are we going to eat”.
Weekly billing gets rid of that anxiety-inducing bill shock horror. They’re also transparent about why they’re charging you what they’re charging you. Which is kind of hard out for a power company since they’re usually like “that’s just what the power we generate and sell to ourselves costs us when we decide that’s what we are going to sell it to you for”.
I’m doing a six month trial with Flick, and they’ve been good about it – I think it’s pretty brave of them to put their trust in their product and say – write what you want. I’ve had some weird shit with reviewers where they have wanted to write my reviews for me or “check” them. Like, you know what a review is right? Hence why I have done so few reviews I suppose.
Flick might just be New Zealand’s first ethical power company. And I like Steve. He’s like a Power Ghandi or something. They seem to genuinely want New Zealanders to get a fair deal with their power. He also rang me from his cell phone and said I could call him if I needed anything and like maybe he might come over and baby sit my kids while I go out rampaging/sleep.
Anyway, they have no contracts (see – ethical!) so you can sign up with them to give it a go and if you don’t like them (I think you will – and they topped the Consumer power company ranking thing) you can quit with no issue. You can join online meaning you don’t have to talk to anyone (always a bonus).
Or if you have more questions – they might have already answered them on their website.
Munch Eco Hero Feeding Set
The Munch Eco Hero Feeding Set isn’t plastic – it’s made from rice husks. Which is pretty cool right? That means it’s biodegradable. I just think it’s super cute. I mean look at it. Adorable. It would make a good present right?
The bowls are great – nice and deep. And the main thing I like is that they’re machine washable. I’ve bought a few bowls that have been ruined after just a few washes. I’ve been thrashing this set and it still looks brand new.
It comes with two bowls (the hat and the “head”) a mug (which is handy as it has handles – and toddlers need handles or at least mine does…) and a slip ring that the bowls can sit on. So far we haven’t used the slip ring for its proper use…
It also has a really nice spoon and fork. Eddie has been requesting the fork and spoon for all of his meals – so he must like them. He says they’re “soft” which I think in Eddie speak is “smooth”. I have been using the hat to cover the bowl to keep his food warm and it’s working a treat. Bonus. That was a random thing I didn’t know I needed until I had it.
If you want me to review something – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll consider anything – but I won’t write about it if I don’t think it’s worth writing about. And if you want to sponsor a post or advertise on this site or support my writing in any way, shape, or form – I’ll love you forever. I’m open to anything really so please get in touch.