Thursday, 21 October 2010

Thank you

I can't put it any more simply than that. When I started my business 12 months ago it was with the help of my wonderful family. Mr Cake said go for it and has held my hand the whole way. No it wasn't easy and I made a few mistakes along the way but as learning curves go, I've enjoyed it for the most part!

So in celebration of The Cake Nest's first anniversary, I want to say thanks to everyone that has helped me along the way, so now where to start!

Louise Thomas of The Chocolate Consultancy Ltd, my sister and introducer to twitter. In February, I held a Valentine Market to raise money for Action Medical Research and she told me that twitter would help me promote it. I had no idea what it was all about and it took me a while to but now I'm hooked! The market did really well and we managed to raise £1441 in the end over the year as Mr Cake cycled from London to Paris. This year's charity is Children's Adventure Farm Trust, an amazing local charity who rely totally on donations.

There are some people that have helped me a lot on twitter too, so if you tweet make sure you follow them and if you don't they all have websites too so check them out!

@MrsLJHall You are a true star! You have given me hints and tips along the way but just as importantly you love my cake and tell people! Your blog though is truly inspiring from marmite to car parking you have made me laugh and cry, your courage amazes me.

@chocablog because you were the first people to review me, for which I will be for ever thankful for. I was so scared wrapping up a few slices and sending in so much bubble wrap you must have been slightly disappointed when you opened it! Thank you, your words helped start A Piece of Cake - with a lot sleeker packaging! Cheering up the nation with A Piece of Cake in the post! (And your review is framed on my wall.)

@mydaddycooks because I love Archie and watching him (and his dad) make my mini simnel cakes was fantastic! It was great to see them at Harvest at Jimmy's too. A big thanks for telling me about this. it was the first festival we had taken the girls too and now we are planning where to go next year! Watch this space they may be stirring up something else of mine too soon!

@busyhobs for all the help and advice he gave me on my website and more so for being a good friend!

@e_nation for #watercoolermoment office banter for homeworkers! Some days I really don't think I could by without it and if you think this is exaggerating picture me baking away all day with no adult company just two small children asking me what my favourite colour is over and over again! The conversations that circulate there are fab from #techtuesday to #cake

@littlesunflower for inspiration and encouragement. I love you shop and aspire to the awards you are up for! Gorgeous clothes and accessories for the small people in your life!

@TChocolateC for the afore mentioned but also for advice on chocolate, obviously, and for organising The Great Brownie Bake Off (google it!) an amazing day of tasting non professional cooks brownies - the winning recipe will be on my website shortly! I had a fantastic day and loved watching all the demonstrations from people like Gu puddings and Edd Kimber, to name but a few.

This may seem long but is not nearly everyone that has kept my head up. Thank you to all my customers, without you I would be nothing! Cringe worthy? Maybe. Who cares! Cheers here's to The Cake Nest's next anniversary. And a little extra for you... sign up to my newsletter and I'll let you know a secret!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Stretching the tinsel round the tree!

The government wants to take away Child Benefit from you "rich" people, whilst at the same time those lucky enough to have jobs are suffering pay cuts just to keep them. Christmas time is approaching and money is tight. Does the C word fill you with dread? Ok so if you are like thousands of others and are panicking about how to cope with Christmas, stop. Recession has hit hard. I think it's time we looked outside of the box. Do you have a wish list? No i don't mean to win the lottery or that big 50" TV. What about a Christmas cake, stockings to hang by the fire and time with the family? 

4 years ago when our eldest child was born we canceled Christmas and it's not been on the cards since. Shocking I know but not as bad as it sounds. We still buy presents for the children and have a lovely meal. What we don't do is buy presents for each other or anyone else. Don't shout at me! We told everyone at the start, we expect nothing in return although I do make Christmas cake for everyone so we are still embracing the tradition. We do also give a donation to charity, this is a way I feel can make a difference rather than me buy lots of smellies that no one wants or other such things that end up on Ebay by New Year.

The best part is we go into the season without the dread and general build up to disappointment. Don't get me wrong, for a long time Mr Cake and I spent a fortune on each other (and other people) and built up the festive period. We found ourselves running round trying to please everyone else and being exhausted at the end. Now we don't, we have our own family and so thanks for the invite but we will be staying at home this year (we say this every year). We are part of the Tesco christmas club so our vouchers arrive in time for the big day and we buy things for the children - I now enjoy this as i'm only buying a few things and can pick up bargains throughout the year.

However, I do realise this is not for everyone and even close friends have given us funny looks. Even so it doesn't have to be so hard, look around you, what can you do? How about asking people to do swaps? It may mean a little more of your time but not your money. So the kids aren't likely to get the latest gadget but you can still have a great holiday. I'll shut up, I'm just saying if you need a cake but can't afford it or just want to keep the costs down, ask! Offer me something else as the mother of two small children there is usually something i need! Let's work together and enjoy this one!