What an Amazing 48 Hours!
Where on earth do I start? As you most probably know the Southwell Ploughing Match was cancelled this year due to Health and Safety of the site as the land was too wet and deemed unsafe with more rain on the way. I thought I would share the 48 hours from the moment I discovered the news reading about it on Facebook on 28th September at 13.12pm. I was in the home office and just finished printing off Newfield Ice cream Parlour invoice and thought I would deliver that afternoon as the order was ready and just did a quick check on my business page because lots of messages were being received with reservations to be collected at the show. I saw a post from Southwell Ploughing Match and Show, I read it and read it again thinking come on brain work (because the fatigue was starting to kick in), on the third time of reading, I said to Si “the Ploughing Match has been cancelled”, he turned around and said “really? Pass me the laptop you must be reading it wrong”, so he read it several times and seeing his facial expression sink, I just knew it was true….I can’t explain it but there was about 30 seconds of silence, I felt totally numb almost detached from the world as the enormity of the implications sunk in. There is a bit of a blur in my memory except Si hugging me saying some reassuring words but knowing there was somewhere in the region of 450 cakes downstairs and all the business orders had been baked. I recall feeling a wave of emotion with the thoughts don’t cry. I took the laptop and put a post on my page sharing the Ploughing Match post and what on earth was I going to do? By the end of the post I was crying, not just little tears but huge tears that comes from your heart because there was almost 80ish hours of work, the what do I do and having posted a post earlier in the day showing the cake mountain which had started to build in the kitchen. I wasn’t worry about the money side of it simply what on earth do I do with the cakes? So after a few moments the survival instinct kicked in and I recall thinking ‘right, what can we do?’ and then a cake and coffee morning idea was born knowing it was the time of year when the huge Macmillan coffee mornings but how? We could still use Little Pudding and ask Rob from Boxed Drinks if they were free and have a pop up tearoom and car park cake and coffee event. So by now the adrenalin had kicked in and still feeling a bit numb and emotional Si contacted the owner of the tearoom site to ask permission if we could use the car park and open the building and whilst he did that I sat in the kitchen just looking at it all crying waiting to see if we could get the go ahead, we got the yes and so next I called Rob, honestly I’m not sure if he could understand a word I was saying through the tears (I can still cry this morning just recalling everything) but they were fortunately free but had to leave by 2pm for an evening event they had and so within 10 minutes we had a plan and hopefully could turn this around, we updated the Facebook post as my phone started to go crazy…..I don’t recall the order of whose messages came in first but people started texting and messaging did I know it was cancelled, saying was it true and messages of people saying one of their first thoughts was All Mine Cakes, what was I going to do? Looking back now everyone seemed to have the same shock as us because it is such an amazing event that everyone looks forward to and travels the length and breaths of the country to visit. Suddenly I had message after message of suggestions, other coffee mornings who could take cakes, people asking to buy £40, £20 of cake, suggestions of what we could do…One of the first was from the lovely Jo who was suggesting all sorts of local ways to help, she suggested asking Lowes Wong if they could have an inpromtu cake sale on the Friday afternoon from 15.15-4pm, the powers that be said yes and a text message went out to all the parents. I cannot explain the Thursday afternoon, message after message of reservations, people who I have never met both locally and nationally were messaging offering to buy cakes, BBC radio Nottingham were calling asking for an interview, to Si coming downstairs saying what happening because the AMC emails were going insane and because I wasn’t ready for people to start collecting that afternoon, the cakes weren’t packed I had to stop answering simply because I had little battery life left on my phone as it was freaking out and laptop battery light was glowing red plus the cakes weren’t all packed so as orders were coming in I had to write them down. So trying to pack cakes as quick as physically possible with my phone dinging, vibrating and all the noises which they make I had to silence it because I was becoming so stressed whilst still thinking what on earth is happening? When getting to a point that I though I’ve enough cakes ready to prepare reservation I looked at my phone and then the tears rolled again, message after message of love and support for us, my kitchen table became full of reservations, you guys weren’t buying 1 or 2, it was more like 6-10 each and people were starting to collect cakes, I ran out the door just after 18.30pm to deliver cakes to Jo, I think there were around 130ish because I roughly gave half to the school cake sale, Alison donated her unused Macmillan fund raising kit and we needed to eat and I hadn’t planned anything we ordered a takeaway even though messages were still coming in (the phone hadn’t stopped) and at 21.00 I had to turn everything off simply to stop but this little though was starting to enter my mind of ‘are we going to have enough cakes for Saturday?’ Up again at 4.30am on Friday I decided to finish packing all the cakes so I could continue with reservations, I had to out the house at 07.30 to do all the business deliveries and go to Nottingham for physio, all sorts of rondevous had been organised on route, the phone was still going insane…I had to keep stopping and taking order on a note pad simply to try and keep up with everything until it got to the point I didn’t know what numbers were available as my stock was starting to get low I had to put orders on hold until I was home at 12 noon. Now starting to panic that we wouldn’t have any cakes for the Saturday pop up cake event because my original post had been shared something like 77 times, almost 10,000 people had seen it at that point I message Jo saying can you hold me a third back because I had low stock, reservations were being taken on a one by one basis now because some cakes were down to less than 5. I opted to put a thank you message on Facebook saying what a difference 24 hours makes and now I was putting a shout out saying please feel free to bake and help us again because we were going to run out of cake and offered by GF flour blends to help people bake. By now I had baked some brownies quickly before cake collections started at 2pm because I can’t bake when visitors are coming for obvious reasons and a friend I hadn’t had a catch up with in years had travelled to come pick up cake and opted to sit and have a cuppa and clicked the phone on silent simply to have 30 mins timeout but then someone was trying to get hold of me, you know when it rings and you just sense someone wants you, it was Jo….She was down to her last few cakes in 8 minutes of setting up and the kids weren’t even out of class yet, could she sell the rest and on a split decision said yes because the community was embracing us and supporting us and then less than 10 minutes later got another message saying ALL SOLD and more parents were arriving wanting cake…I think at this point I started laughing, a bloody hell, nervous, what’s happening laugh, I was down to less than 50 cakes and needed to bake and bake quick because people were coming to Maythorne on Saturday for cake and coffee, we had tried to get cakes back from businesses as some had made huge orders thinking thousands of people were going to be in town. Another dear friend Kate had offered to do anything on Thursday afternoon so she had been delegated to dress the fishing lodge on Friday and a 5.30pm meet up with Si was organized, whilst I baked brownies and cupcakes, Jo came around will the all empties and offered to bake so all the ingredients for chocolate cupcakes and the flour blends were given whilst I was still frantically baking. When I got to a point I couldn’t do any more, I walked up to the lodge and it looked amazing, from what it had been, the net curtains were down, the windows were cleaned, tables which we had stored in there were placed into a lovely layout, dressed with plants and runner, bunting was up and it suddenly looked like an insight to the future, I stood looking at it and started to cry again, we had sold over £1000 of cake in just over 24 hours ….We decided nothing else could be done that evening as cakes needed to be rested to be handled but orders and reservation were still coming and our attention to all the equipment and planning of the event itself, we worked out we had 90 brownies, I had made 66 vanilla cupcakes and Jo had made potentially 54 chocolate cupcakes so we had 200 additional cake plus the remaining 27 from the Ploughing Match so thankfully I could sleep at night knowing that we had cake, Helen from Home Bake was baking that evening and knew one other person was baking and we had the back up plan to go to the coop or M & S for biscuits, cookies and cakes. So another 04.30am start on Saturday, my hubby chopped the brownies, I was packing the cakes so if people wanted to take them home and opted to use some domes we purchased when I first launched the business and so the set up began, Rob from Boxed Drink turned up and we were ready with about 2 minutes to spare before the start time…We managed to grab a cheeky cuppa and we were sat messing around not knowing who if anyone was going to turn up, would we be left with loads of cupcakes, would we have another sell out? Slowly but surely people arrived on foot, bike and car, it was so lovely to share the tearoom site and explain some of our plans and talk to you guys and hear the stories how you heard about our story from existing supporters to new discoverers, to having 2 of us in All Mine Cakes needing more help, Rob with a queue of 7 people deep and a tearoom full of people, you guys came from far and wide to support us, the sun was shining and love that strangers were talking and united by a little cake company with big dreams, we were starting to give each other those looks of are we going to run out and at around 12.30pm we had around 10 of our cakes left and about 15 of the donated cakes so we opted to do an M & S run as there were around 20 people at the event and 90 minutes to go!! So as the last few people visited we ran out of All Mine Cakes, people were purchasing various cookies, french fancies and mini swiss rolls, with the bits and bobs left of the purchased goods and donated cakes we gave to Rob to take to his evening event to help fund raise even more and he took the Macmillan penny collector and then we just looked at each other, exhausted, hungry, proud and again not quite believing what had happened the last 48 hours!! I know I said it so many times but all I can say is thank you from the bottom of our hearts, how the community came together, how so so many offers of help arrived, how out of something beyond anyone’s control which created such heart break for so many however such positivity and amazing event resulted, today I admitted defeat with regard to counting the pennies and sorting everything however with a no alarm clock morning, a lazy morning, a pub lunch and an afternoon nanna nap I will work my way through everything, I am behind on the baking for business orders, my fatigue has kicked in and opted to try and write a blog post whilst everything is fresh in my mind so if anyone reading this thinks it doesn’t make sense I tried my best, I am awaiting news from Rob with regard to how many pennies will be his donation and we will do a grand announcement so watch this space but as one lady reminded me a few weeks ago I said about how we are using the line of “If you build it they will come” from the film Field of Dreams and you know what, you guys gave us a bit more confidence that we are doing the right thing opening a tearoom, so in the moments when I am stressed and fearful, questioning myself I need to remind myself of this truly incredible and amazing few day and again thank you from the bottom of my heart to Si, Rob, Alex, Kate, Jo, Helen, Nicola and every single person who purchased, shared, supported, spread the word and all the offers of help, you hear so much negativity in the world but this has truly warmed our hearts, a huge thanks again lots of love Hayley, Si and Little Pudding x x x