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This blog post is about an obstacle I overcame when I was about to start this business. As En Vogue sang I decided to free my mind and the rest followed.

What Lies Do You Believe About Yourself?

I can’t draw. This is what I always believed. However, when I think back to the times I did sit down to draw, I actually did come up with some nice things. I remember the posh window
blinds
I used to draw as a child. I loved them and will teach my daughter how to draw them. I was definitely not bound to become a Picasso but I could certainly draw to save my life and people around me could always tell what I had drawn.

Discipline not Change

Two virtues I believe I lack are tenacity and the ability to concentrate. I’ve watched the two fine artists in my life my husband and sister and admire their long concentration spans and tenacity.

I never thought I would have the tenacity to wrap over 1000 chocolate bars or the concentration span to personalise over 50 different chocolate messages but here I am after one and a half years still ready to face those tasks not because I have the personality to do so but I’ve let discipline take over nature.

Forget the Nay-Sayers

In secondary school, I had an art teacher who was a friend of the family. I could do no right in her sight and I thought it was because I didn’t draw well. However, one day when a classmate asked me what I’d done to make her hate me so much, it dawned on me that there was more to it than bad art. I’ve had to choose between letting my past hold me down or my dreams move me forward.

It’s 2011. Stop Making Excuses

Despite having fears about not being competent to run a business that would require design skills I decided to do it afraid and even built my business model on the premise of having any design you want. Since it’s the 21st century, I can get help with design software or hire people who have these skills via my network of connections and job boards such as odesk or elance. E-courses also abound to get me up to scratch.

I’d like to say don’t let anything hold you back in 2011, while it’s good to focus on your strengths bear in mind that help is always available. Get all the information and seek tons of advice then take the plunge if you still want to.

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Posted: January 14, 2011 in Chocolate Trivia
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Harvard Business School Baker Library 2009

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A story is told by Mark McCormack in his book, What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, about a class of graduates who were asked if they had clear, written goals for the future.

Of the whole class, only 3 percent had them written down. When these 3 percent were interviewed 10 years later they were earning 10 times more than the other 97 percent and had exceeded their goals.

I’m not a Harvard Graduate nor am I about to become one but I took the decision to write down clear, measurable and specific goals for every area of my business in 2011.

I do not plan to bore you with the details but for blogging, the mission in 2011 is to help you solidify those relationships that are important you by unravelling creative ways to use chocolate.

My goals are to provide you with

1. Tips on finding the right chocolate gifts for every budget and occasion.

2. Tips for finding the right chocolate gifts for every single person that means a lot to you be it your boss, a guest or your boyfriend for every occasion.

If you have any special dietary requirements or I don’t have access to the chocolate you’re after, feel free to let me know. I will refer you to another chocolate gift maker where possible.

Finally, be prepared to learn a lot about chocolate, its benefits, tasting and how I get them prepared to be delivered to you.

2010 makes my first full calendar year on Twitter. I started tweeting on May 17, 2009. Here’s a link to find out when you started tweeting if you have no clue.

My first #FF goes to no one but my fab buddy and probably first genuine follower on Twitter @HeatherTowns. We met on Everywoman and the rest as they say is history. Her blog is thorough and you can learn quite easily the art of doing Twitter. Forgot to mention that she writes very well too so you will not fall asleep while reading.

Next is @kemijimoh. I’ve never met a person with such a generous spirit. She’s always willing to give more and more. Still talking about generous people @izzibag, @jobelfield, @stylisa@tantrumsandtiaras, @mrspandp, @proposepr and @hotvouchersuk never cease to amaze me with follow friday recommendations, reweets and listening ears.

So many times this year, I have taken the mickey and asked Pamela Wallin aka @weddinginsurrey for help. She has never turned me down and has always been so helpful. She’s running a networking event for Surrey based wedding industry experts next year, 2011 so better get following if that’s your audience.

Early this year, I had a major issue with finding a childminder for my daughter. I can’t thank @crukwalton and @snoozeshade enough for all their help with keeping me sane. Still on childcare, one of my first friends on Twitter was @nannynick, he’s passionate about what he does and is always so helpful when I have questions.

@akuawood has quite simply been an inspiration for me. I’m constantly challenged by her innovative spirit, standards of excellence, attention to detail and her undying zeal for the Gumu community in Ghana she supports. Eti sen Akua.

I’ve found myself in quite a number of tricky situations this year that I don’t know what I’d have done if I didn’t know @merriemarketing, @antoniachitty or @law4mumpreneurs. It pays to follow professionals. Just pray they follow you back 😉

Would you forget your very first genuine blog follower? @markbnorwich was the very first plus he loves chocolate so is good to chat with. I don’t know anyone on Twitter that is more adorable than @helenstothard. You only need to see how many people follow her to see what I’m on about.

If you’ve been on Twitter for a while you know that there are certain people who just have good tweets. I’m always on the look out for tweets from @saraharrow, @positiveparenting, @kidscoach, @uksalesmentor and @nikkipilkington. They’re really good people to follow.

There are two very special people I would love to mention who have made my 2010 so full of good changes I never planned @idahorner and @poisedconcierge. You guys rock!

A big thanks to @nataliemlue for listening to all my rants and replying endless DMs, @cheekychums and @alisonrothwell for giving me the big kick to get my SEO sorted and @brendacuby for all the early morning tips.

I could go on with this list. There have been so many fab chats and helpful customers too – @wholeself, @missrosieday… I just want to say thank you to everyone on Twitter who have followed me in 2010 and wish you all a very happy 2011.

Ocado
Waitrose Fresh Patisserie Mini Chocolate Eclairs – 63 calories

Waitrose Mini Chocolate Eclairs – 33 calories

Weight Watchers Belgian Chocolate Slices – 99 calories

Various types of chocolate.

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I found a page with 100-calorie chocolate treats for you to enjoy. It’s on Web MD and also has a list of low calorie chocolate goodies you can pick off the supermarket shelf in America that only have 100 calories or less!

Now I’m challenged to do the same in the UK so stay tuned.  From frozen treats to recipes there’s something there for everyone including me as I could always do with something creamy every now and then. Enjoy your 100 calorie chocolate treats.

To compliment the article I also found a page to help you with burning the 100 calories you have  just consumed especially if you didn’t end up using them. It’s a 10 minute workout. It actually looks easy to do. I would like to know what you think about it. Will let you how I found it.

Chocolate Hamper

A chocolate hamper is an unusual anniversary present idea. It definitely is not listed as an anniversary year gift. It appears my customer’s belle is keen on chocolate so while I’m unsure what anniversary year it was or if it was one of several other anniversary gifts, it is a unique anniversary gift.

This chocolate hamper is especially handy as an anniversary present idea if you plan to add other gift items as the hamper is roomy enough. This chocolate hamper measures 7 x 4 x 5 inches, is made of sturdy cardboard and comes in various designs. The chocolate bars were popped in patterned cello bags and put in the chocolate hamper which had been filled with coloured shredded paper.

The chocolate hamper was then put into a cello bag and tied up with some pink paper ribbon. Yes, paper ribbon. It is indeed a very eco-friendly hamper. If you’re not hot on the cello bag you can add a matching lid and add a ribbon to make unravelling the gift even more exciting.

What’s the most unusual gift you’ve ever received? Please share it below. Meanwhile this chocolate wrapper was created especially for my client but you can visit the website for more anniversary gift ideas.

Spider and Ladybird Craft Kit 3-6 Years

You might find it hard to believe I don’t have the patience for craft activities. It’s not my personality. I’m at least 80 percent sanguine by nature. If I must do anything creative it has to be easy to do and quick especially with a toddler, which is why I love this easy craft idea kit given to me by the lovely Vicky at NE Day Crafts via Twitter. Yep it was a freebie and I grabbed it so if you’re not following her

You see my daughter was almost 2 at the time and apart from the really basic colouring we had never done much craft activity together. I was begin to feel like a lousy stay at home Mum. I do work part-time but at least still have the luxury of at least 48 hours with her every week. All we had ever done together was some colouring and may be cutting out shapes at our Sure Start centre.

Before I opened the pack which had arrived just before DD’s 2nd birthday, I prayed it would not be complicated to put together. I was however also looking forward to doing it because it was a ladybird and spider activity and I love ‘them ladybirds‘ – looking at them I mean *coughs*.

So the pack said DD had to be at least two years old. We’ve had it since August but DD was only 2 in September I therefore decided to wait till then. After clearing up from the party and putting the house back together I only got round to doing it in October!

Anyway, I brought it all out, read the instructions which was only about 5 lines and I thought if it’s this easy I will definitely be doing more craft activity! So, we started putting it together. DD helped with threading the legs through the holes and also put glue on to stick the googly eyes. We were done in at most 10 minutes and we now have these lovelies hanging in her room.

Ladybird and Spider Craft Idea

Daddy came home and for a change Mummy had not spent all day on Twitter and even had something to prove it.

You can view more packs on the NE Day Crafts website with prices from £2 only. They also have an Etsy shop which means they ship abroad. Have you clicked through yet?