I've had a busy few weeks, so apologies for not sharing with you all of my adventures!
I have had a stall at my first ever fair, a feature in a national weekly magazine, had a donation of a glut of apples and had an order for a rugby club's 20th anniversary. I've also had more than my fair share of sleepless and sleep-deprived evenings and forgotten what a number of my friends look like!
Overall, the last few weeks have been extremely valuable and I have learned a number of lessons. My fair was disappointing in that not as many people turned up as I hoped would. I baked my little socks off, but it did teach me I need to think about what will sell and not what I like making! It also showed me that jams are popular, and my traffic jam (raspberry, apricot and gooseberry) was my best seller.
With no time to celebrate my achievements at the fair (I am incredibly proud of my stall and what I sold that day), I appeared in a feature in Woman's Own on 5-9ers. I am one of a rising phenomenon - women (though men do this as well!) who work full time and yet run a business in their spare time. Claire's Handmade Cakes will be celebrating its first anniversary next month and I'm very proud of everything that it - and I - have achieved in this time.
The magazine article was extremely positive and I'm incredibly proud of it. I will add, for those who have read it, that I don't spend all evening, every evening and all weekend, every weekend in my kitchen! I love my kitchen and I love baking, but just occasionally, I do get out!
Just to disprove this, my neighbour gave me a bag of apples from the apple tree in our garden. I couldn't let them go to waste, and I now have 4 apple pies, a huge batch of apple sauce, apple and blackberry jam and apple chutney to get me through the winter. I didn't have paprika (as stated in the recipe) and I used cayenne pepper instead. I suspect if I have a cold this winter, this chutney will clear it in no time at all!!!
I have spent some time at my desk, designing cakes as I have some exciting cakes coming up - a 40th birthday, an anniversary and a family sharing a number of milestones. I love the design process, even though I occasionally suffer from 'cake designer's block' and I'll go through the whole process in an upcoming blog; from the initial contact to the final cake. It's not a 5 minute process, but it's one I enjoy immensely and you can gain an insight into what really happens - or at least what I do!