Category: Posts


What winter??

BC

 

Sometimes it’s hard to find things to do in this weather, and the gloom & doom brewing outside can often put us in negative slumps. So here at Female Friendly H.O. we have come up with some fun, social, and wallet friendly activities to brighten up your winter!

 

Slumber party time – whether it’s cosying up to watch The Breakfast Club, playing Sing Star, making homemade facials, or giggling over those silly high school crushes that make us go “What was I thinking?!” while eating all the chocolate in the house which was an entire week’s worth of your calorie intake, no girl can deny half the fun of winter is having a bunch of your best friends around to keep you company. So gather up those old school tunes, movies, the mountain of sweets & enjoy your girlie bonding time!

 

Sweet treats – what’s better than the smell of freshly baked bikkies wafting through the house? Not only is baking fun (and you can get as creative as you want!), it is also the perfect way to get rid of the winter chill throughout the house. There are so many yummy recipes out there (including fantastic ones for kids) and it’s the perfect time to bond with your friends or family. One of our favourite websites is Taste.com.au which has thousands of fantastic recipes for all levels of expertise!

 

Get retro – everyone loves a bargain, especially us girls! Wallet feeling pretty thin?? Why not go vintage and op shopping with your bestie? Whether it’s an amazing 50’s frock, knee-high leather boots or the ultimate bomber jacket, here are some cool joints to keep you happy without breaking the bank:

  • Australian Red Cross’ Two 8 Four
  • Savers
  • Irving Baby
  • North Adelaide Vintage and Fashion Fair
  • Goodwill

 

Old school fun – grab a bunch of your friends and head down to your local bowling club! This is also the perfect way to spend good quality time with your family, too, if you have children. Look out for those weekly deals that include food and drinks with the game price as this will make it more affordable for everyone. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, why not try out the Thebarton Ice Arena for unlimited music, fun, and laughter.

 

It’s market time – with friends or family, the Adelaide Central Markets are a fantastic way to spend hours trying new food, buying the weekly groceries, or simply taking in the exciting atmosphere. The entire market is fully enclosed and buzzing with so many different personalities that, before you know it, you will forget it is winter. The stalls also tend to be cheaper and fresher than some of the leading supermarkets.

 

Bravo – just because the weather is miserable, doesn’t mean you can’t be entertained while keeping warm. There are numerous live art, theatre, comedy, and musical shows which are constantly being showcased all around Adelaide. Check out www.everguide.com.au for all the latest gigs around town!

 

If you have any great ideas let us know below!

 

FF H.O. xx

(P.S. stay tuned for our Stratco Girls Night Out coming up in August! There will be plenty of entertainment, games, discounts, and exciting prizes up for grabs)

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Well, it’s that time of the year again where it feels easier to curl up in a cosy bundle under the doona watching Friends reruns than keeping fit and healthy. But this is also the easiest time of the year for us to become sick, cranky and lazy. So instead of building up a 3 month rut, follow these easy steps to make it a great winter!

 

Stay active

It is proven keeping active during winter can boost our spirits, reduce stress levels, and improves sleep patterns. Not motivated to get out of that cosy bed? This is the perfect opportunity for you and your favourite gal pal to bond while fitting in your daily gossip session (which none of us can deny how much we love the “She said what?!” convos). Here’s a few of our ideas for a great workout:

1)      Get to your local gym – whether it’s Jennifer Aniston’s yoga body or Beyoncé’s booty you envy, there’s a class out there that your local gym provides to help you achieve your fitness goals.

2)      If the gym isn’t your scene, why not sort a killer playlist with motivating beats and dance around the house with your favourite gal pal! You can get fit while goofing around! Some of our favourite beats to listen to include Cup of Life (Ricky Martin. Come on, who doesn’t love this Latino??), Raining Diamonds (Ricki-Lee), Beautiful (Akon), and So What (P!nk).

3)      Kick start that workout with having a piece of fresh fruit or freshly squeezed juice 30mins before starting.

 

You are what you eat

Even though that sneaky Maccas run seems tempting at the time, it can easily become an unhealthy habit. Whether it is after-school runs, household duties, work commitments, or life generally getting the better of you there are always times where it seems too hard to put our health first. Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy and let’s be honest, keep you sane:

1)      Fresh is best – when it comes to consuming our recommended nutrient intake, it can sometimes be overwhelming when walking down the supermarket isles to select what is best. It can also be tempting to skip the fruit & veg section and run off to the confectionary isle (which we are all guilty of doing). However, there are a few things you can do to help get past these obstacles. Firstly, make a weekly meal plan (allowing for 1-2 days of the week with ‘naughty’ meals such as creamy pastas and pizza so you aren’t completely denying yourself of the yummy stuff!) and shopping list.

If you’re part of a family with kids, a great way to do this is Googling kids meals, selecting 10, then allowing your kids to choose 7 of them. This way they feel like they have some choice and will not rebel when it comes to dinner time.

Next, never go to the supermarket hungry as this will tempt you to make the wrong food choices (did you know hungry shoppers buy approximately 19% more food than non-hungry shoppers, including 31% high calorie snacks?).

With your shopping list, only purchase those items on the list and make sure you have your sweet fixes on the list, too, as this prevents you from spending half an hour deciding between apple pie or chocolate or both. Make sure you include fresh fruit and veg where possible, as this will ensure you have your recommended amounts.

The more often you eat healthy, the less it will feel like a chore and there are great healthy recipes out there to help motivate all you home Master Chefs out there. One of our favourites is Lauren Conrad’s site which provides quick and easy healthy meals you can’t resist!

 

2)      Up for a cuppa – there are numerous herbal teas which provide wonderful benefits for your body. Peppermint (stress, and digestive health), rosehip & hibiscus (Vitamin C, fatigue, and colds), chamomile (calming), and lemon balm (spirit lifting) are just a few of the great teas to try. Not only do these provide great health boosts, it also gives you a chance to take a moment to relax.

 

3)      Prepare in bulk –making large batches of spag bol, zucchini slice, lasagne, and homemade soup then freezing them in individual serves makes life that much easier when you find yourself so rushed it seems impossible to whip up a nutritious meal quickly.

 

Turn that frown upside down!

One of the easiest ways to beat the winter sad slump is staying positive. If you are surrounded by negative people, this will more than likely bring your mood down (and can also demotivate you from being active or healthy). Whether it’s surrounding yourself with positive thinkers, listening to music that makes you happy, reminding yourself of your accomplishments, or joining a relaxation group there are always ways we can keep our moods up. Winter is only the most dreaded season if you make it that!

Here at the Female Friendly Offices, we get so excited when we hear of the attention that our businesses are getting.  Not just from the women who drive by, see the shield and go on in with the relief that they have found a business that will look after them, but also the attention that these businesses often get from the local media.

The Female Friendly Accredited businesses are encouraging women to not just feel at ease visiting their businesses, but we hope are part of the contributing factor that are making it more comfortable for women to increase in numbers in choosing to work in the many industries that have for so long been known as ‘male-dominated’.

There are so many women out there that genuinely have an interest (not to mention a real talent and skill) in occupations such as auto mechanics, electrical, truck driving and many other trades.   They are not only more than capable intellectually, but also physically as well.  Women can be perceived as the ‘weaker sex’ at times and unsuitable to accommodate much lifting or climbing, but I would challenge any man to spend a day juggling groceries, tired children and often a heavy pram that often needs to be folded down and thrown into the boot of a car with one hand whilst the other keeps hold of a little one on the run!  Women have the stamina and ability to keep going well after knock-off and any mother will tell you, the hours after the school bell has let out the children is often the beginning of the most  tiring part of the day.

 
Luckily, the world is a place now where the men in our lives, if we are lucky enough, are appreciating this more and more.  Men are more hands on at home than ever before running children to swimming lessons , helping with dinner and grabbing some groceries on the way home, and in return, this enables women to enjoy a working life with a lightened load.   Marriage when working as a team can work so well now,  giving so much relief to either in the partnership.   This then leaves us all with a more balanced lifestyle and a happier family.

 
Thank you to all the ‘male dominated’ businesses out there that welcome women into their industry and encourage the pioneering spirit that so many women embrace.   We are living in wonderful times and to see stories like this more and more often is a sign of relief, inspiration and open doors to all those young women of the future who now have a much broader choice of careers in industries that would have made our grandmothers, most probably, roll their eyes and pick up the smelling salts!

The length of this article could out-number the pages of the good ol’ Yellow Pages if we were to write all the things that women want – so, to name a few, let’s look at how the world’s most powerful spending demographic would really like to be treated when in a business.

Times have changed when it comes to traditional roles of women.  They no longer fit into one simple stereotype of finish school, get married, have children, go back to work etc.  They now manage it all in no particular order.  Women can have a career and start families when they are 40, they can be a single mother managing a family alone while juggling work, they can be working from home with no children or a successful business woman in her 20’s!  There are no rules today so be very careful what demographic you put her into when she walks into your store!

Remember, a woman rarely shops for herself alone.  When buying a car, she is thinking about how it will fit her family. When buying groceries, who is she feeding? Even when shopping for clothes and make-up, who is she impressing?   So many of the purchases she makes, especially if she is a mother, will not be completely for her, so take into consideration those that are most important to her and she will appreciate your care and understanding.

Women likes to be a part of the whole process when it comes to making a purchasing decision.  Men tend to know what they want – they’re in, they’re out!  But with women, they like to understand their choices, their potential for a bargain, perhaps shop around a little more and certainly take into account their shopping environment.  Their experience will affect their purchasing decisions more than you think!

If you would like to learn more about ‘What women really want’, stay tuned and follow Female Friendly as it educates and encourages businesses around Australia.

70 PER CENT!! (Survey by BCG)  That’s Huge!! When it comes to so many products on the market today, clever companies around the world are a step ahead with aiming their promotions at the female consumer.  Despite marketers around the world becoming more and more aware of the female demographics’ spending power and influence, women are still feeling misunderstood and ignored by most services and product companies.

Influencing 91% of home purchases, 65% of new cars bought, 80% of health care choices and even 66% of computers – women are certainly spending, but to many, the experiences that they are getting in the businesses are leaving so many with stories of disappointment.

With businesses not understanding the needs and wants of such an important demographic, they are missing out on huge potential profits every year!

Female Friendly is on a mission to educate businesses that are missing out on this traffic due to simple things that could not only cater for and gain the respect of their female customers, but also give them the recognition that brings more consumers through their doors.

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Did you know that we are exposed to 3500 and 5000 marketing messages a day? TV, Internet, Signposts, Radio even the logos that float around our home on the products we buy!  Now with so much social media we interact with every day and night, I’m sure that advertising has grown even more!

Of course, with so many thousands of messages floating past us every day, you must wonder how on earth we don’t get overwhelmed and start planning our ‘Escape to the Country’!  Luckily for us, our clever minds are programmed to single out the information that is relevant to us and the lives that we, specifically, are living.

For example, a young man driving home from work would probably notice and remember the huge billboard that is advertising the upcoming Car Race around the city which promises all the potential excitement he can get involved with, yet  a mother with a car full of children could travel the same road and not notice the huge sign at all yet she will spot a sign on a supermarket window  saying “Nappies 50% off”!  The advertisement promoting the upcoming Car Race would go totally unnoticed.  Needless to say, even if you pushed that same young man we talked about a moment ago, right up to the window of the supermarket, he is more likely to notice the model and style of the cars in the car park than that “Nappies 50% off ” sign.  Are you getting the idea?

Our eyes and minds cipher through all these messages in seconds and draw our attention to the messages that a relevant to us.  When you are pregnant, all of a sudden there are pregnant women everywhere.  If you decide that there is a certain car model you want to buy, suddenly they seem to stop beside you at every traffic light. We see what are focused on and we see what we can relate to  in our lives.

This is why the Female Friendly symbol has become so recognisable.  Obviously for women, the shield and pink tick on a building with the words ‘Female Friendly Accredited’ will draw her attention to the business as it represents a symbol that is relevant to her life and choices.  For the men who see this symbol, they find themselves also drawn to it as most have women in their lives they care for.  They understand that these businesses will help him direct those women in their wives, daughters, mothers or sisters to places who will treat them with the respect and safety he wants for them.

So for all those Accredited Female Friendly businesses out there, get that Shield up on your shop front!  Don’t underestimate the subconscious message that will be filtered and picked up by so many that pass by every day and let them know that you are a business that recognises the importance of respect and excellent customer service!

Most businesses agree that word of mouth is by far the most popular way of increasing customers through the door which of course, leads to increased bottom line.

Women love to talk. Women have 4 times as many connectors between their right and left brain which causes them to be better at bonding and communication.  So really, women just can’t help it!

Women certainly are the biggest influence when it comes to where their friends and family shop.  Especially trades and services, you will find that word of mouth is by far their most popular form of traffic.  With the introduction over the past few years of social media, the word of mouth influence has sky rocketed between women!

Female Friendly has harnessed this power by creating a directory of businesses that are used and recommended by women.  Women tend to listen to each other more than most advertising out there as the unspoken sisterhood in all communities is a powerful and trusted guide when it comes to spending their money.   For women in a new town or looking for a business that they can refer to, the Female FriendlyDirectory of Recommended businesses allows women to read testimonials from other women’s personal experiences which in turn saves them a lot of time shopping around with their fingers crossed.

Next time you happen to be near a school car park after school or even next to a bunch of women waiting to go into a movie cinema, just listen to the familiar conversations that they share.  These busy, verbal exchanges are not just gossip, but an absolute reference point and guide to all aspects of their lives.

You can read more referrals from these women relating to personal experiences with the Female Friendly Recommended businesses in their local area by visiting http://www.femalefriendly.com.au

Be Bold

“Begin, be bold and venture to be wise.” Horace.

When I first sat down to write this article, I spent some time Googling “Women’s issues in Australia”.  After all, I wanted my content to be relevant.  Several hours and many websites later, I realized that I was wasting time. Regardless of our accents or use of the letters “s” and “z”, we are the same.   Just like you, I have wondered if the price I have been quoted for a car is fair, and I have left a hardware store wondering if this is really the right tool for the job.  And every time I find myself in one of these situations I am disappointed that I am not – Smarter – No, I am smart.  More like a man – heavens no.    Bold – that’s the word.  Not bossy, not brash, bold.

Bold is standing up for yourself because it is the right thing to do – no matter what others may think.    Bold is asking for the discount.  Bold is asking for the raise.  Bold is asking for help.  Bold is asking for clarification.   I wish I had been bolder.

A few years ago, I bought a Front Load Washer/Dryer set.   As soon as they were delivered, I grabbed the 10 pairs of jeans that I had been holding all week to see if they would really fit in the new machine, and they did!   I added soap, pressed start and voila!  About 10 minutes into the wash, I heard a noise and then felt a shake.  My new washing machine was dancing across my laundry room floor.  I could not believe they did not balance it properly!  I immediately called the repair line and asked to have someone come out.  The next day the repair man came out, tinkered a little and told me, the machines were fine; he made a small adjustment but said I should watch the size of the loads.  Maybe only 8 pair of jeans next time?  Still better than what I could do before.

I can only tell you that this story repeated itself every 2 months for the three years that my machines were under warranty.   I would call and ask to have the machines balanced.  They would send the same repair person.  He would tinker, the machines would still shake.  I heard so many excuses and here were my favorites:  “These machines all do it.  Front loaders are like aircraft engines, when they hit the spin cycle it tries to take off.”  “Be happy you don’t have tile in here, they really move on tile.”  “The problem is not the machine, it’s your floors. You need to have a contractor come out and reinforce the supports under your laundry room.”   Needless to say, I learned to live with a house shaking spin cycle.

Three months ago, I called again – my machines have been out of warranty for 2 years but I really need to have them balanced.  This time, they told me it takes 2 people to balance this type of machine and they would be happy to arrange it – for a 2 person fee!   I was so frustrated!   When my machine was under warranty, and they were paying for it, they never sent two people.  No wonder it was never fixed!   

Now I am getting ready to remodel my kitchen and I assure you, this will not happen to me again.  I am going to ask for discounts, hold installation crews accountable, insist that things work the way they should – no matter how many repair people I frustrate and, I am not going back to that store. 

Join me.  Be Bold.

 

Sybll Romely
Female Friendly Head Office, Denver, Colorado, USA

We all impulse shop.  It’s what great marketing does!  It draws our attention to problems we didn’t know we had and to  wanting something we think will make our lives better!  It’s amazing to me that in this economic climate we constantly talk about saving money yet, did you know that impulse spending is higher than ever?   We spend hundreds (even thousands) of dollars every year on items that we see and impulsively buy while we are out shopping.  $30 a week compounds to over $1500 a year in excess spending!  (I know there are a few of you rolling your eyes thinking you actually went over that $30 dollar amount last week…. Gulp!)

Here are some facts on impulse buying:

  • 88% of impulse purchases are made because the item was on sale.  Try to keep in mind, although it’s on sale, it still costs money!
  • Impulse buyers tend to make purchases because it improves their mood – not because the item is useful or necessary.   Emotional spending is like emotional eating…but that’s another story!
  • Shoppers make an average of 3 unplanned purchases during 40% of all store visits.  Yikes!  (Those guilty eyes rolling again?  Well…your not alone…)
  • 25% of unplanned purchases are clothing items. 14% are food items.   Those sweets near the check-outs don’t JUST tempt the little ones!
  • When people shop with the purpose of buying immediate needs for forgotten items, the rate of compulsive buying drops 53%.  This means we need to get a good ol’ fashioned shopping list… and stick to it. Get in. Get out.
  • Shoppers who drive to the store, rather than walking, are 44% more likely to make an impulse purchase.  (Especially those who impulsively buy from the white goods section!… ha ha.. OK, this is no joking matter…)
  • When the shopping trip is unplanned, impulse purchases go up 23%.  (Depending of course how many children you have with you and if you are in your favourite shoe shop!)
  • Shop with your partner.  Men are not as likely to justify every purchase you make with a smile, nudge and a giggle like a kindred-spirited girlfriend or sister!

Some tips to avoid impulse purchases

It takes some discipline, effort and willpower, but you can curb those impulsive spending habits!

  • Plan your trip. Then make a list and stick to it. For those of us on a budget, impromptu shopping trips and shopping without a list can be a treacherous situation!  When we shop without direction or even just emotionally, we find that our low self-esteem can get us into a lot of trouble.
  • Go on foot when possible. If you have to carry your purchase any distance, you’ll think twice about whether you really need that extra piece of clothing, heavy cutlery set or grand piano!
  • Don’t shop hungry…eat before you go otherwise I, oh, I mean you, could head straight to the food court! . You know this one! When you shop hungry, you’re more likely to buy items you don’t need simply to satisfy immediate cravings rather than the actual needs of your own home requirements.
  • Think on it. If you really want that item badly enough, you’ll still want it just as badly two days from now. Most stores will let you put an item on hold for up to a day, allowing you to decide whether or not you really want it.  It works as well for children who throw tantrums for things and you feel so stressed and tired, it’s so tempting to scream “Fine!” at them and put it in the trolley.  I tell my little ones that we need to go and get some money so let the lady “hold onto it for a while and we will come back later”  The salesperson behind the desk usually ‘reads’ your wink and pops it behind the counter.  I can guarantee you that 9 times out of 10, your little one will not remember to come back once you have walked away!! Practice the art of distraction.

Source: Delia Passi and “The Impulse Shopping Fact Sheet.” Infographics.com, 2010

Whether winter has got you down or you feel that life has been throwing you bloopers, here are ten things you can do to keep your spirits up when times are tough: (Source: creativedubuque.com)

1. Think about what you do have. Take time to be thankful for things that you may usually take for granted, such as your material possessions and positive relationships with other people. For instance, if you’ve got the gas bill paid and a winter coat that zips, celebrate it! Ditto, take time to appreciate the people in your life, such as a caring spouse or an attentive child, or a steady friend or patient teacher.

2. Consider how things could be worse. One trick to snap out of feeling sorry for yourself is to compare yourself to others in more awful situations. Read about the latest catastrophe in the world news, or listen to somebody else’s story of hardship. This will give you a perspective on your own troubles. Really, things could be worse.

3. Exercise. Physical activity sends beneficial hormones moving through your system and helps you work off negative feelings. Low impact exercise ideas for the winter include simply stretching or moving to music, riding an exercise bicycle, or going mall walking. Whatever you do, move your body in order to make yourself feel better.

4. Eat well. Stock your home with nutritious food and avoid high fat or high calorie junk food. Limit foods like pop, potato chips, and red meat; and take in more green tea, fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. What you put into your body will negatively or positively impact your health and your mood.

5. Focus on a hobby. Use an interesting activity to give yourself a mental break. Create or build something to move your focus to a place beyond your worries. Ideas include quilting, baking, painting, carpentry, or even auto repair. While you relax into your hobby, you’ll also grow as a person.

6. Play music. Everyone knows that a powerful song can take you outside yourself. “I go back,” sings Kenny Chesney, in response to certain songs he hears. You can use listening to music as a kind of mental therapy. Turn on the radio in your car to lessen anxiety during a long commute. Listen to someone play an instrument, or play one yourself, to put your mind on another level, away from trouble.

7. Be near positive people. Touch base with friends or family members who are caring and supportive. Steer clear of highly critical or negative people. Make contact with the people surrounding you instead of mulling over your troubles in isolation. The reward of a smile or laugh from a friendly face can boost your mood and help you endure tough times.

8. Clean house. Ideally, your home should serve as a safe refuge and calming place, but clutter and mess will add to daily stress. Take a little time every day to wash or tidy your living space. The smell of clean laundry or the sight of a vacuumed carpet or a newly uncluttered corner can provide personal satisfaction.

9. Write in a journal. Many people find that writing down feelings in a private journal will help them understand what’s going on in their lives. You can use a journal as a private place to  record and explore feelings, vent if you want, try out new ideas, and safely spill upsetting thoughts, so you can move onward with more clarity.

10. Face the future with optimism. Since nothing lasts forever, not even trouble, eventually even the bad stuff fades away. When life slams you with a tough situation, you must sometimes simply be miserable …for a while. Let yourself cry and then consider it a learning experience that builds you into a stronger person. Try to move with optimism toward the future, carrying the hope that things will get better. Before you know it, your optimism will ring true, and happy times will return again.