How a photo say a thousand words, well to me…Today we were discussing flooring in the tearoom and scratching our heads, with the product catalogues and what we thought would be perfect samples on the floor looked a little washy and cold, depending on whether you had them horizontal or vertical changed it again but then up the other end of the tearoom where there is less light they could have been okay, maybe it was because today is yet another dank day or because we have so much natural light in the building however would a sunny day change everything again? Its like the parasol material swatches I have on my kitchen window, waiting to imagine being sat underneath one of them and waiting to see how the sunlight affects them, does it remain too dark if sat outside on a sunny day? These are simple but huge decisions we are having to make at the moment because each element is costing thousands of pounds and if I don’t like them, well its tough because I am stuck with it and I will go on and on about it because I am a perfectionist, I drive Si insane with my attention to detail but then in all fairness he can be as obsessive!! Anyway back to the photo, we were jabbering still going around in circles and one of our neighbours does his daily physiotherapy walk up and down the lane and pops onsite to monitor how things are progressing, we waved to say hello and continued the discussions, with the sample repositioned again I looked up and saw someone doing what I do on a regular basis, just looking out to the lake having a moment of calm and absorbing the magic, maybe imagining the future, daydreaming of a sunny days, knowing the magic of its location and the beauty of the seasons. I know I keep referring to the magic and once we are open you will get it, there is something about that little building and I hope many of you have the same moment? I wish I knew what was going through his mind, mine is usually something like bloody hell, OMG, numerous other swear words, fear, excitement, amazement that its happening, thinking how its always so cold in there and simply being captivated by its magic and then Si usually interrupts my thoughts to discuss its development but it’s the smile I feel inside my heart whenever I walk into that building, daydreaming of what its going to be like once it is all finished and sharing the dream and opening my heart to everyone. Doing the proper stuff before sharing the image to the world I asked permission to share, the gentleman had no idea I was capturing this moment however its almost a reflection of me, a moment of contemplation and calm before returning to reality, walking home leaving with a memory, a thought or an emotion x x
Do you ever have days when you feel like you smash it, when so many loose ends are tied up that you feel like you have achieved so much? Obviously this is versus the other days when you want to bang your head against a brick wall as you work so hard to try and sort something and fail to the point of giving up however knowing that ultimately that isn’t an option, you just need to keep trying because there is always a way, you just have to find it!!! So today I have finally managed to sort my new business banking account application, had the most helpful chap in Santander go through all my documents and just like that it was all sorted, even to the point of them forwarding the application, the moment when you are genuinely gob smacked at someone being so helpful versus my usual bank when you walk in and there isn’t a human its all machines!! Today I have pressed the “go” button on the tearoom kitchen, yes its all system go, I have planned it down to the smallest detail including which side the oven doors open because if you have hot trays in your hands you need to ensure the kitchen flows, you maintain staff safety and make the work environment as user friendly for the staff and business as possible, in addition to this we also have finally decided the tearoom artwork, I have had the name for ages and occasionally let it slip in conversation to people but I can’t recommend Susie Huson Design enough, when you have 2 over focused woman working on something, a 30 minute meeting becomes 3 hours with several cups of tea and deliberations, Susie rebranded All Mine Cakes logo and has done everything design wise for the business, from business cards, stickers, Little Pudding sleeves, GF flour Blend project and trading standards labels so its fair to say she gets me, my ridiculous attention to detail and over focused issues, tomorrow I have a meeting to see how the new website design is coming along, I’m so excited because other than pastel colours and my active social media posts on the page I have handed it over to Lisa from Lisa King Consultancy, looking at her previous projects and website creations she’s the right woman for the job. When you write it down it doesn’t seem like much but these bits have been rumbling along whilst an ever growing list of stuff to do builds. The tearoom site is looking amazing, all the glass is in and its now a secure building so its time for us to press go on all the tradesmen we have on standby to transform it, I am going to be a little bit cheeky and hide what’s happening inside from the outside world and put something up at the windows so we have a grand unveiling whenever its ready, we are being asked when it will be ready and the answer is sometime over Summer, I can’t be more specific at the moment but as I have always said from the beginning, its ready when its ready. I have a big day coming up soon, we are going to be interviewing for the team members of manager, chef & cake baking assistant. This is a huge thing for me and I may be more nervous than the applicants but I have the support of Cheryl from Peak HR who is already part of the team (as is Kate for bookkeeping & payroll) my hubby keeps having this re-occurring dream about having to make coffee’s and he can’t remember what to do even though he will be trained and learn everything about being a Barista, at the minute my head hit the pillow and a bomb could go off, there is so much happening because not only are we building a new business but we are both managing our own businesses so we are running 3 businesses however I think we are thriving on the challenge, sometimes it breaks us however a good night sleep and a fresh brain can do wonders x x
I was asked a question the other day which slightly caught me on the hoof and in all honesty I don’t ultimately know the answer….”How do you do what you do? Are you part of many networking groups or other support groups?” In all honesty No, not really! I am a member of Marketing Jump Leads which keeps you up to date with all sorts of latest FB algorithms and clever stuff like ManyChat and how video’s are the preferred method of people seeing your posts on their feeds, stuff I would never have heard of, yes I am a member of a couple of Coeliac Facebook groups as I hear so much news on there and read about peoples struggles and honestly just keeping your eyes peeled at all times for anything which may relate to the business, most information is discovered by who I follow, who inspires me, whose design or business model I like. For All Mine Cakes I always go with my instinct, do the hard work yourself so you understand both your business and not expect anyone else to do the work for you, I have often been asked many a question and yes I support where I can but I’m old school (just ask the student nurses I mentored), you have to understand why you are doing what you are doing, know what your objective is and work out how you are going to achieve it. When I first set up AMC nearly 5 years ago you have this magical idea in your head that everyone will discover you and your work, you become slightly over focused on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram followers and then when it doesn’t happen overnight you start to question or doubt yourself, first bit of advice is stop stressing about it, use the energy to better your business, I had a lady say recently that she was a secret stalker, when asked what this meant she said she prefers to watch from afar, almost binge look at my posts (like box set) and she’s not the only one because her friends do the same and they talk about it over coffee!! Those of you who know me will know I wear my heart on my sleeve, far to honest, rubbish at keeping secrets but hope that one share of a new gluten free or dairy free product will somehow help just one person out there, you guys who have a food allergies and intolerances or a lifestyle choice, to create a smile by something silly I share which often isn’t related to cake but made me smile so might help one of you who are having a crap day. All platforms of social media people mainly post the highlights or the lifestyle they want you to see, you can create a wonderful photo with filters and giving the appearance of creating perfection however we all know in reality this isn’t real, the other day we posted a picture with a tearoom update looking all happy and smiley however what the picture doesn’t show is that I was feeling awful, it took all my effort to go up the lodge because me and my body have a bit of a war with it each other, usually it wins but I have an awesome support crew who reset it back to factory settings and off we go again. I don’t know whether what I am doing is right or wrong however if it feels right at the time, have an educated guess, do your homework, bash it idea out with a friend or hubby, quite often I am winging it but everyday is a new day and things change, you have to keep re-evaluating, I am my own worse critic and often get told to be more confident in what you do and what you have achieved. I love looking back at old photos of when the business was launched, how its developed, how my cake baking ability has developed, how we evolved to what people wanted, finding the niche in the market, what makes you different to the other 4 local cake bakers, have good people around you, don’t give up but acknowledge your limitations however usually the answer is out there, you just need to have the passion and determination to find it x
The beast from the east is what it’s politely being called, in maintaining professionalism I will not call it what’s in my head at the moment but it’s with anxiety in my tummy that we are unfortunately in a similar position as with the Southwell Ploughing Match, due to the snow, freezing conditions and mindfulness of visitor & stall holder safe the Fabulous Places Spring Market has been rescheduled to Saturday the 10th March, we were given a heads up of its potential on Thursday early afternoon so all cake baking was suspended although I have lots of fresh ingredients ready to go and prep done so I am asking for your support again in helping me find homes for cakes, fortunately this time it’s only around 175 cakes and should anyone want blueberries if the local coop has sold out I have 800g of them, soured cream, lemons, posh custard I'm your girl as always we are never ready from a perspective of ready to sell for this news because we schedule everything to be baked, chopped and to go by the day before an event so after laying in bed wide awake since 3am worrying about what the bloody hell we are going to do because a lot of the businesses I supply are closed or asking to reduce orders should any of you lovelies wish to support us we can’t have a pop up tea & cake event in the tearoom car park for obvious reasons other than the snow and it’s a building site but I have come up with the idea of cake on wheels or if anyone fancies sledging down to visit the AMC kitchen, for anyone thinking of driving to pick up cakes Maythorne Lane is much better with just a little bit of ice just before you arrive at AMC hence the cake on wheels idea. The very lovely Helen from Home Bake has offered to be a cake collection point for those who prefer to nip to town, it’s crazy as it’s just cake but I have worked so hard this week juggling being home alone, managing the endless tearoom emails and a poorly puppy dog just to be part of the event was a little bit of a challenge but those who know me will know I don’t give up easily so with my determined snow boots on I am happy to deliver cake to Southwell and some of the local villages such as Halam, Edingley, Thurgaton, West Thorpe, Kirklington, Farnsfield on a Saturday morning delivery service free of charge, postal orders are also available which will be posted via Royal Mail. Unfortunately we are unable to be part of the rescheduled Spring Market date as all tearoom plans, website meetings, till systems meetings, recruitment shortlisting and HACCP level 3 training to name but a few things in my diary which have been organised to work around the Spring Market so the next fortnight is a little bit bonkers and will only just manage to supply cakes to my wholesale businesses so with nausea in my tummy and anxiety in my heart we are so sorry to both Deb's and all our lovely followers. For people who have made reservations for Sunday I will be in contact to discuss your preferred plan so here are the cakes available;
Award winning GF triple chocolate brownie, GF Nutella brownie, GF cornflake tart, GF/DF lime & coconut cake, vegan & GF millionaire shortbread, GF rhubarb & custard cake, the healthier GF & vegan fruit & nut slice, GF rocky road with mini eggs, both versions of my GF Little Puddings, both versions of my GF flour blends and Mars & Malteser slice (which can't be collected until Saturday as its not finished) x
At the moment I have whole portions of the lime & coconut, Mars & Malteser and Nutella brownie should anyone prefers if having a party or wish to treat mum to an early Mother’s Day pressie
Thank you as always, I am off to go pack some cakes and maybe have an emotional moment because we put our hearts and souls into our business, give it everything we can and the weather is one variable nobody can control so please accept our apology and see you all soon x
I always sit at the laptop not knowing what to choose, I usually end up with one or two people unhappy saying but my favourite isn’t with you…. I usually put a heads up post on my social media pages asking for any requests (which cant be promised) however it gives me an idea of thoughts….This is the first time that my hubby is going to be away on an event week, usually we are working until 9pm getting stuff out of tins and preparing for the next days baking, in addition to this Friday cake club has been suspended since the new year simply as all our time is being spent on the tearoom so I am asking for your help, I am not sure if reservations for cake is going to go bonkers as we are all cake deprived, leaving not enough for the event. The favour I ask is if you are planning on treating yourself to cake next week either on Friday or for the Fabulous Places Spring Market please reserve from the list below either via direct comment o n the Facebook feed or a PM (for all my secret cake eaters) preferably by Sunday, it may sound silly but it helps me to plan the number of tins I create of each variety and with being home alone life going to be crackers!!!
So here we go, others maybe added or changed depending on how I manage juggling cake, life and tearoom creation….
Gluten free options;
Of course my award winning GF triple chocolate brownie, Nutella brownie, GF rhubarb & custard cakes, GF cornflake tart, GF chocolate cakes with a Cadbury’s caramel egg and the much loved GF easter rocky road. I have been asked several times for my All Mine Cakes creates Little Puddings so both versions will available (Melt in the Middle Chocolate Pudding & my award winning Sticky Toffee Pudding)
Gluten & Dairy free options;
My award winning lime & coconut cake plus chocolate hazelnut brownie
My GF & vegan lemon and blueberry cakes, the healthier fruit & nut slice, if I get chance I want to add another option but I may not get chance
Mars & Malteser slice with a Easter malteser bunny
See you on the 4th March x x
No cake, I repeat no cake again!! This is due to Friday cake club being suspended to allow me to focus on building the tearoom but we are cake deprived, how are you guys coping? The local businesses I supplying are increasing their orders simply because they keep running out a few days before their delivery date which is just awesome to support this time. With Valentines Day been and gone our thoughts are moving towards the Spring Market at Derby Roundhouse on the 4th March however at the moment we both feel like a duck (or as photographed) the swan who looks all calm and in control but paddling like an idiot under the water, with emails, meetings, changing of layout & design to better fit the building as it develops, to having quotes coming in and thinking can we afford to do this with a contingency fund still in place? We have so much still to do, we are focusing on the build but there is the Health & Safety, HASSP, contracts, till systems, level 3 food handling, alcohol licence and recruitment process which has begun. I’m a kind of person who can get in a lather, chew it over, escalate my stress by a million which in turn agitates my nervous system and feel like I’m possessed although I manage to keep it internalised but I’m guessing it’s a bit like PMT? Anyway I go off on a tangent as always but several people have mentioned the last few days how they enjoy reading my blog posts for an update on the world of AMC as they don’t always see all my posts due to FB algorithms or seeing them 5 days later and I get messages saying “what cake!” recently I made a gluten, dairy, egg & nut free Victoria Sponge needing to find hungry tummies as once I have tried our bit I want it gone as I can’t cope with cake hanging around which will probably be wasted. In other news, next month I have been asked to do a talk for the local WI, I find it incredible they have asked me because after all it’s the WI, they are the masters of cake and I am a self taught (sometimes having a good guess) cake baker, ask Helen from Home Bake some of the random questions I have asked or simply haven’t a clue she is referring to but little me, doing a talk about All Mine Cakes, obviously armed with cake, I am still smiling to myself as I write this because I am sure they could tell me so much more than visa versa!! As part of the recruitment process the name of the tearoom is going to be announced in the advertising of them so I am busily working with Susie Huson Designs to try and come up with a logo amendment although its being a bit of a bugger because it just doesn’t look right, because of its name it doesn’t actually state what it is however if we add the word tearoom its too wordy, the word tearoom has stuck from my perspective but I have heard people referred to it as a café, shop, coffee shop, cake shop but once you know its name it will all make sense? Its slightly killing me keeping the name quite because I refer to it as it all the time, you have to imagine how it sounds when someone answers the phone, what its nickname will become, make sure its not too wordy, reflects what it is and its location. Just a handful of people know its name, maybe I should do a little competition to guess the name, you never know you guys may come up with a better one!!
Talking the tearoom, where do I start?? I think many of you may have seen the photos of us covered in dust whilst transforming the tables we have purchased as bargains, which with love & care can be exactly what I am hoping to achieve with the styling, I have to give the biggest thank you to our friends (you know who you are) who are letting us stash so much stuff in their warehouse and then giving up their time to help us restore it!! Being paid in cake and treats with a million thank you’s along the way because to be honest I am a pay someone else to do it kinda girl and my hubby is fondly referred to as handy mandy or half a job bob because he has been known to use the handle of an axe as a hammer and wondered why not very good, I have caught him once with a rolling pin trying to tap in a nail to hold up a piece of art and apparently refers to this as being resourceful when you can’t find or don’t have the correct equipment. Back to the furniture restoration, we are trying to save money where we can as more and more quotes come in or we realise we hadn’t thought of that but upcycling, giving a bit of love and seeing the transformation is awesome, a table which was covered in something like yacht varnish took 2 men, varnish removal, a lot of elbow grease, a heat gun (which one of them burnt their finger and incredibly not Si) and 2 belt sanders near enough 3 hour to transform into the most beautiful table top, the previous owner may cry when she see’s it because someone put the varnish on years ago and she lost her beloved wooden top but it’s back although I haven’t a clue how to seal them all once done because I’m not a huge fan of wax and don’t want all shiny so it will be a fingers crossed moment but I will do a tester sample on an underside first. So this week has been a big week, to the point I got a stress headache and was asleep by 7.30pm because my head hurt so much most evenings. We had a site visit from the company who were are using to manage, install and supply the professional kitchen, our lovely environmental health officer who has pointed out a few amendments to the layout which would work better, a security and fire company to go through all that kind of stuff, to solicitors regarding some other legal stuff but wow, these site meetings give me stress headaches, the enormity of the whole thing but then feeling like a giddy kipper, as more professionals come to site the layout, construction schedule and timescale changes but we are working through it and as I have said before with my hubby beside me, my support crew, all the amazing trades people and of course you guys we can achieve anything, I am keeping a private blog/diary of things as they are happen to one day look back and recall how we achieved it and the hurdles along the way but if you have a dream be brave enough (even in the days of doubt and worry when you look at spreadsheets) to believe because nobody can do this but us, yes its bloody hard, yes it tough however never loose sight of what you are trying to achieve, it’s the little things which suddenly give you an insight, getting the imagination to slowly become a reality….
Take care, Hayley x x