We caught up with super sisters Sally Obermeder and Maha Corbett to chat about the launch of their new cookbook, Dinner’s Done.
There is never a dull moment or a quiet phase with these two power sisters, and the COVID lockdown hasn’t been much different for them. Sally may have had a little more time at home, but the plans and projects don’t stop!
These two women are what SAHM is all about.
Dealing with the pressures of parenthood, having children, finding a niche where they can work from home all while juggling the upkeep of a house, raising healthy, active kids, a husband, an online business, multiple product lines and following their heart’s desire; food and writing cookbooks!
Plus, Maha has her first child on the way and they’re relocating their online business Swiish into a brand new HQ!
I am always fascinated to discover how they keep up their energy and motivation, here’s what they had to say about writing their fifth cookbook, dealing with COVID and the challenges it has had on their careers and lives.
Read on to discover their tips on staying motivated healthy and present, self-care rituals, getting 100% out of your day and the importance of checklists to stay accountable!
Ladies, this is another fabulous cookbook! Where did the inspiration come from this time around?
We love to cook that’s a fact but what we don’t love is spending hours in the kitchen every night. Everyone’s stretched for time, which is why we were inspired by a need to cook smarter, not harder, hence the Dinner’s Done super system! Time is precious, so for us getting all our midweek meals ready in under two hours has been a game changer. It’s seamless, fuss-free and time-efficient, and it’s given us our lives back in more ways than one.
How many books is this now? How do you keep coming up with the ideas and beautiful dishes?
This will be cookbook number five together now! Our first was Super Green Smoothies back in 2015, and since then our love for creating delicious, easy recipes has continued to grow. Our SWIISH community definitely inspires us to keep coming up with new dishes. We get so much excitement out of seeing others love our recipes as much as we do. Knowing that we’re not just cooking for ourselves, but alongside our whole community there’s something so special about that.
Your food styling is fabulous, can you give our readers a few tips to make their food look as good as yours so they impress their families?
Definitely! When food styling at home, our tips are to make sure you take your photo near natural light. Use a variety of pretty plates and always, always garnish. Just keep in mind though our cookbook styling was shot by brilliant photographers (ours is not always like that, especially with hungry little kids in the kitchen!).
Where do you turn to when you are looking new ideas on food and life?
Usually to each other! The benefits of working (and cooking) in a sister duo is that we bounce off each other for ideas. We’re a good balance. When one of us thinks of one recipe, the other will usually be able to pinpoint what it’s missing, what it has too much of, and then we continue to perfect it from there.
Can you give us a quick rundown on your online business SWIISH and tell us what’s happening within the business these days?
Our SWIISH business is designed to help women feel amazing, inside and out. A huge part of that is our SWIISH Wellness brand – we have created superfood blends that nourish the body and help with specific areas such as our GLOW Hydrolysed Collagen for skin, and SUPERGREEN Superfood Powder to support your energy and digestion.
In addition, our SWIISH fashion and beauty range continues to grow as we continue to expand the range, but as always our focus is on beautiful and affordable. With so much growth happening at SWIISH we are also excited to be moving to a new SWIISH HQ.
Lots of our mums and dads have considered starting an online business, but aren’t sure where to start. Can you give them some tips and ideas on how to start and run a successful online business? Especially if you are doing from home with young children running around?
Just be prepared to put the hard work in. As fulfilling as it is to run a business, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows particularly in the early years. People are always talking about that work/life balance, but if there’s one thing that we’ve learnt, it’s that it isn’t always a 50/50 split. Somedays work takes priority, other days you can take your foot off the pedal a bit. Understanding this “imperfect” balance is important, as it will take the stress off.
Maha, you have your first baby on the way, what does an average day or week look like for you?
My average week is always packed full of busy but exciting things. Right now, with our book launch and the new SWIISH HQ underway there’s a lot of variety from day to day. Sometimes we’re at the new site, on others we’re out on Dinner’s Done PR shoots, but regardless there’s always lots of work to be done. The only difference now (being pregnant with my first child) means that I come home ready for bed by 7pm. Let’s just say not having to worry about cooking dinner each night with the Dinner’s Done system has been a lifesaver!
Can you share how you stay motivated every day working from home?
When I’m working from home, I think it’s just as important to separate your work and home life where possible. I have a designated workspace and will always get ready for the day, just as if I was going into the office. If there’s one little trick I’ve found that keeps me motivated, it’s going over my life and work goals before bed each evening. I have these all written out in a notebook on my bedside table, so if I need a little perspective or motivation, I just read this. It works like magic.
What are some great tips you use to keep on top of everything and stay motivated?
Checklist, checklist, checklist! This is No.1. If it isn’t written down I won’t do it. Not only does that satisfaction of checking things off keep me motivated, but it also helps me stay on track with all the different projects I’m working on.
How have COVID restrictions affected the way your days and week plays out? Did you go into it with a strategy, or have you developed a strategy over the last few months?
Like many, COVID has of course affected our day-to-day. When restrictions were heavy, life was just Zoom meetings and more Zoom meetings, which had its positives and negatives. I think COVID taught us all to get savvy with our time and communication, and in many aspects has made us re-invent parts of the business in a good way. Finding the strategies to cope with all these changes definitely came as we went along. Trial and error taught us what worked (and what didn’t) and we just tried our best to plan where we could. Our number one priority was just to make sure our SWIISH customers and team were all taken care of.
What’s next Maha, once your bambino comes along will you take some off, or are you still planning to keep on creating?
I’ll have time off and it will just be about finding my new norm. I’m sure the work/life balance will be tough to start, but I’m lucky to have my sister as my partner in crime to help keep the SWIISH business up and running while I take some family time.
Sally, you were working between home and the station before COVID closed the country down, along with many other projects, what do you do to stay motivated when you are so busy?
Like many other businesses, COVID affected the television industry majorly. Since finishing up my job at Channel 7, the blessing in disguise has been more time dedicated to the business and my family. Having more time has freed up mental space for me and that has been amazing for SWIISH as we can move forward on exciting projects and other things we’re working on. When I’m working from home, similar to Maha, I too am a checklist lover. This keeps me on track. My diary is also essential, every single part of my life is pencilled into that if I lost it, I wouldn’t know what to do!
And how has COVID affected how your day runs and the projects you work on? Did you go in with a strategy or have you developed one in the last few months?
Maha and I have just developed different strategies as we’ve gone along. In areas we could plan, we have, but the thing about COVID is that changes happen every day, so we’ve just had to stay on our toes and troubleshoot where needed. Like everyone, it’s just been a learn as you go situation and do the best that you can.
How do you juggle family life and work, you seem to never rest!
I’m always just looking for easy ways to be as time-efficient as possible. When I’m working, I have a get in and get it done attitude. I try to be as strict with my time management in the workday as possible (then I’ll usually log on after dinner and finish whatever else was on my to-do list that I didn’t get done that day). I think my trick to juggling it all is to just be completely present no matter what or where I am. If I’m with my little girls, that’s family time and I try to focus solely on them and getting lost in their games and little stories. Then when I’m at work, I’m 100% work. It’s just about chopping and changing, and giving my 100% wherever I am.
Can you give us some tips on planning our day and how you cope with homeschooling, working etc? It can be so easy to become overwhelmed!
Use a diary. That’s my main tip! I make an effort to block out what I call “diary time” each week to schedule my days ahead. Home-schooling is a tricky one, there’s no easy way to do it or get through it.
With all the things that I have on my plate, my self-care rituals are imperative. For example, every morning I add our GLOW Collagen into my long black, then at night I never ever go to bed without having our SLEEP Superfood Powder. It helps me settle my overactive mind. These little pockets of self-care every day help me take care of my health and function as best I can.
What’s next? Spill the beans on what you are planning for the next year or so?
We have lots of exciting things planned, including new products in the works, that we are thrilled about. Transferring to the new SWIISH HQ will be a big one. Life at home will also change as we welcome Maha’s beautiful little baby into the world we’re all beside ourselves with excitement to meet him. There are lots of wonderful things ahead!