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A Dream Wonderland Day in Otaki and Tempe

These are the musings of two creative mums who've started a business journey together. We have only ever met in person once. Now we live in different countries. But that hasn't stopped us.

As we set up the business we’re wrangling our children, juggling paid work when we can, trying to keep our husbands happy, negotiating technology and now geography. As we work towards Dream Wonderland becoming profitable we’ve decided to document our progress. So to add to the insanity, we’re attempting this two hander blog from our respective homes in Tempe, Sydney, where Abigail lives with her two children, husband and three cats, and Otaki Beach in small town New Zealand, where Tracey lives with her 3 year old daughter Audrey, husband and menagerie of pets.

In this, our first post, we reflect on a day in the life of building our empire, Dream Wonderland.

Tracey: So. I’m not sitting at home listening to operatic music, delicately weaving cashmere mittens for my beloveds with the phone on my person, waiting for incoming calls from whomever may wish to get a hold of me at any given moment. In fact, I am currently trying to prize my three year olds teeth out of my armpit, whilst doing a last minute panic vacuum of the liberal sprinkling of un-popped popcorn I’d forgotten had been scattered the day prior, during my Skype call with Abigail. I’m in a rush before four children come around for a play-date. All the while I’m running backwards and forwards to flip vegan banana pikelets because one of my heavily pregnant friends often misses out on morning tea due to my households love of butter, and… oh, sheesh, I just remembered I forgot to pay the bill for the mechanic, and Stitch the cat is currently trying to flick our two new goldfish out of the bowl.

What was the problem? Oh yes, I didn’t answer the phone that I didn’t hear ring twice because our delightful daughter had stuffed it into the kindling box at some point between bedtime and this morning. So what did you want?

Darling: To ask if you’d lost your phone. Me: But why were you calling the first time? Darling: I called to say hello and you didn’t answer.

Well! I thought - Darling. I haven’t just been sitting at home listening to operatic music delicately weaving cashmere…. Etc. etc. and around it goes.

That’s a typical morning at my place, and this afternoon I have some work to squeeze in between our visiting play-daters, cleaning, and making dinner. I set up something crafty for my little one, Audrey, age 3, to occupy herself with whilst I, age 41, do some speed working in my home office. All very well and good in theory but as I attempt to figure out the benefits of various eBook platforms, technical issues with layouts etc. I had to hum and haw at the right times as Audrey hung onto my back like a monkey whispering into my ear about being a Merpup (Mermaid Puppy).

I try to wade through emails, finish updating our year planner, respond to customers, call back the retailer we are hoping will stock the album who keeps extending his trip in Tuscany and keep my wits about me. Argh, there’s the phone again. Where is it! How does my husband do it? It’s like he’s got a ‘she’s frantic, call now’ radar. Bless him. Although I can understand he’s seeing a lot of limb flailing and chitchat about titles, word counts and computer meltdowns but not a great deal of coin. Yet. But that will come dear husband that will come!

Yes we are doing this for the love and creating a world for carers and children to aid them in their pre bedtime routines but at the end of the day we are creating a brand. Luckily for us Abigail is a composer and illustrator, and I have written for children in the past, just not in this format. We make a good combo. Abigail is creative and clever but she’s also pragmatic and sensible. I might be creative and have a bit of business background but I’m a bit ‘rip shit and bust’ as my mum would say. So we meet in the middle and complement each others working styles. By reflecting on our process in blog form it’s kind of therapeutic and good to sit and reflect. We hope you can enjoy the process with us.

Here’s what’s happening at Abigail’s place…


7.15am - Make breakfast and school lunches for Maddie, aged nine, and Callum, age seven. Think about the image I need to start today for the new Dream Wonderland book.

8.20am – Try to find clean school uniforms in a huge mountain of clean clothes that have yet to be put away. Trying to find a pair of little dinosaur undies under the mountain. I know they’re in there but we’re running late for school, it’s so exasperating! ‘Are you dressed? Have you brushed your teeth? Is your bag packed? Do you have your hat? It’s sport today, why aren’t you wearing your trainers? Do you have your library bag? Are you happy with your hair like that? Please don’t talk to me in that tone.’

9am – Kids dropped at school, on time. Phew. It’s a good morning. Think more about the image I need to start for the new book.

9.15am – Go to vets to get cat food for our 3 cats, Toby, Scoota and Rosie.

9.40am – Go to shops to get food for dinner. Thinking about getting home, I must start that image for the new book.

10.15am – Home. See if washing is dry and ready to add to Clothes Mountain. Wash was left hanging out over night, so no. Put another wash on.

10.30am – Make a coffee and settle in to do some general work admin and organize a table at a local daycare center’s annual Fair Day. A good chance to sell some Dream Wonderland CDs.

11am – FINALLY! Start working on that image for the new book.

2.40pm – What? No! But, I’ve only just started. And I haven’t had lunch. Surely it can’t be time to leave to pick up the kids already? Grrr.

3pm – Back in the playground for pick up. Think about getting back to the image for the new book.

3.25pm – Back home. Make snacks for ‘starving’ children. Quickly rush through the house tidying as a woman from the local council is coming to do a site inspection for our renovation DA. Maybe if she sees it’s a clean house and we’re a nice family she’ll approve the plans? Close the door of office to hide Clothes Mountain. Hopefully she won’t go in there.

4pm – Woman arrives and whips through, not even glancing at the hastily clean living room and kitchen. Humph.

4.15pm – Finally have time to get back to the image.

5.05pm – What? No! Not again. Stop everything to make kids dinner whilst thinking about getting back to the image for the new book.

5.50pm – Back in the car, take Callum to Hip Hop class. Traffic is bad.

6.20pm – Back home, quickly throw Mads in the bath.

6.50pm – Back in the car, pick Callum up. Traffic better.

7.15pm – Back home, now throw Callum in the bath. Angus, husband, comes home from work. Tired children now excited at his arrival. I exit to office and try to do some work on that goddamned image for the new book.

7.45pm – Bedtime for kids. Trying hard to work on the image, but Maddie having argument with Angus and there’s a lot of shouting.

8pm – Kids quiet. Can concentrate on that image now.

8.30pm – What? Already! Dinner for the adults.

9pm – Utterly exhausted. But the IMAAAAGE?

Overall, a fairly typical day-in-the-life of the Dream Wonderland team. Amidst umpteen interruptions Abigail finally started that image for the book, and Tracey managed book planning and business strategizing with a monkey on her back.

And we’ve pumped out our first blog. We hope you’ll join us for the ride.

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