It's not just the money, it's what you do with it next that counts, the entrepreneur tells Holly Ryan.
It's the elaborately decorated heels that catch your eye as Diane Foreman clicks into the lounge. Not a hair out of place, she's a perfect fit for the lavish house overlooking Orakei Basin.
Straight out of a home and garden magazine, the house is what you might expect of a multi-millionaire - chandeliers, masses of orchids and daffodils, flower paintings on the walls.
Even the dog comes with a luxury label. He's a lowchen, called Louis - for Louis Vuitton.
She leads the high life now, but in this case the old cliche is true - she really has come a long way. Married at 18 and a solo parent of two children at 21, Foreman was barely able to pay her mortgage and was living day to day - a far cry from the woman today who is worth about $180 million and is widely acknowledged as one of New Zealand's most entrepreneurial businesswomen.
Asked about the toughest times in her life, Foreman laughs and says being a solo parent is the toughest thing anyone could do.
Her work in business, she says, was easy in comparison.
After selling the ice cream-making subsidiary of her Emerald Group to a Hong Kong company in June, Foreman is taking a year off before pursuing her next business venture. She doesn't know what it will be, and hasn't even started looking, but says she knows she has "one more in her".
"Having lots of zeroes in the bank account isn't warm and stimulating," she says. "What you're going to do with those zeroes is what stimulates me, so yes, there will be another one."
Foreman has always been an entrepreneur, long before she knew what the word meant. Her first job was selling eggs from her chickens to the neighbours, followed by a babysitting circle in which she contracted out her friends for jobs and took a commission.
"I didn't know I was an entrepreneur at the time, I just wanted to sell the eggs," she says. "I have a real belief that entrepreneurship is something really deep inside you and it's defined by an attitude to risk - I think the definition of an entrepreneur is someone who is prepared to take a risk."
Her first large-scale venture came about through her marriage to millionaire businessman Bill Foreman in 1988. She started working in his Hamilton plastics business, Trigon, before joining its board and then overseeing the sale of the business in 1996 for $130 million.
Foreman says the Trigon sale yielded enough money for her and Bill to never need to work again, but after a few weeks of relaxing, she realised she wanted to do more with her life.
She decided to build her own business, Emerald Group. The company includes global food, property and investment businesses, with the jewel in the crown being the ice-cream operation.
Foreman describes that business, which sells brands including NZ Natural, Movenpick and Killinchy Gold, as her baby. It was her work with it that led to her being named as EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009, then invited back to be a global judge for the EY world competition - something she describes as her greatest personal achievement. Foreman says she is also proud that although Emerald was founded with the money from Trigon, the group's growth stemmed from her decisions.
"Bill was one of my greatest mentors, and he was always there to give advice, but he let me make my own decisions about the company," she says. The couple separated in 2006.
Having dedicated more than 20 years of her life to the brand, Foreman says she thought hard about whether to sell, but in the end decided it was the right thing.
"One of the things I learnt in life is that often when you're ready, other people aren't and I thought, well, maybe in a few more years there wouldn't be a sale offer like this one.
"But also they are bringing amazing opportunities - Jerry [Liu, who bought the business] sees the brand as huge and he wants to take it and absolutely populate China with it. When I sold it, I had about 60 stores in China - he is thinking 6000. His vision is huge and he loves the brand and so it was the perfect opportunity."
Although no longer running the company, Foreman says it is hard to tune out completely, and she often calls former staff to talk business.
She says New Zealand has to do more to open children up to the idea of being entrepreneurs.
"New Zealand has almost 500,000 small businesses so we're really entrepreneurial when you think of the fact that we're a country of four and a half million," she says.
"I'm very fortunate because I've sold one business to a huge American multinational and another to a huge Chinese multinational ... 20 or 30 years ago when Trigon was being sold, America was the powerhouse economy, so to do a deal with a Wall Street company was a big thing for a little business from New Zealand.
"All these years later I've just done a deal with one of the biggest companies in China.
"It's a big deal for a little company in New Zealand, but there's lots of New Zealand businesses that could do the same; they just have to have the vision to go out and look."
For Foreman, the next step is the release of her book, In the Arena, due out next week.
After that, and some time out, her energy and enthusiasm - and her passion for getting more women into business - means she is likely to be back with a new venture.
The "aha" moment for me was winning New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year [in 2009]. That was unbelievable.
Being in Monte Carlo the following year. I didn't win the world award but I feel like I got second place because they invited me back to be a world judge.
Book you are reading?
I've just finished one of the best books I've ever read, called Being Mortal. It's about looking at the end stage of life and it's incredible.
Dream holiday destination?
Monte Carlo always was, but I think the Amalfi Coast. It would be definitely on a boat, cruising around the Amalfi Coast with the people I love.
Best piece of advice?
Well, one of them would be never have anyone in your business that you haven't appraised, because business is all about people and you need to make sure you are bringing in the very best people. But my best advice would be to listen to your intuition - your gut is everything.