Hi everyone, I'm Kristy. I'm a baker, cake decorator, wife, mother, friend, perfectionist and procrastinator!
You're reading this because I've decided to start a blog! I actually decided ages ago but I'm just pulling my finger out now and actually getting on with it!
This blog is for you if you want to learn the truth about what it is like to be a woman running a cake business from home whilst keeping the home and looking after two young children. (and a husband!)
I try to be a positive person, so it's not all going to be rants and raves about how hard it is, because it is, but it will be honest, hopefully entertaining and informative.
I am going to talk about baking and decorating with recipes, hints and tips, and the business side of things, from costings to EHO visits (scared face emoji!) hopefully you can learn from some of my mistakes and learn a few new things along the way.
I'll tell you a little bit about me.
I'm 37, I live in Watford, Hertfordshire where I run my cake business Pumpkins to Pearls. I love Tea, Cake, Wine, going to the theatre and reading crime fiction. I've been married for 9 years, I have two beautiful girls, 5 and 2.
The older one is a lover of all things crafty and already spends hours sitting with me playing with icing and creating sculptures from sugar, then she eats them!
The youngest is a character and likes to copy her big sister but gets bored very easily and I'm more likely to find sugar paste stuck all over my kitchen walls than displayed on a cake.
I started baking when I was little, I have very early memories of baking in my Grandma's kitchen, making pastry for quiche and fairy cakes, the old style ones where you sliced the tops off, cut them in half and put them back on the butter creamed cakes to look like little fairy wings. We made scones, welsh cakes, shortbread biscuits and my all time favourite, Dundee fruit cake with the almonds patterned in a circle around the top. We made Christmas cake decorated with marzipan,(which I love and always have to buy more than I need because I know I'll eat most of it!) and royal icing made into peaks with a fork and decorated with little plastic robins and white 'Merry Christmas' plaques with gold lettering and red and gold paper cake frills around the edges. I smile at those memories.
I continued to bake as I grew up making birthday cakes for the family and friends. I would sit in the evening and flick through recipe books and plan my bake for the weekend, I still have a Mary Recipe book that my Grandpa gave to my Grandma in 1979, I know this because there is an inscription on the inside cover. " Marg, Happy Birthday, Love Ken, 1979"
You'd think I would try to bake for a living but no. I did start in Hospitality and Catering, my first job as a waitress in a family restaurant, and I worked front and back of house in different pubs until I was 20 when for some reason I changed careers and became a Dental Nurse! Obviously this wasn't for me, I got bored and at 22 I started college and completed a 2 year course in Beauty Therapy sciences.
I went out to work and I loved working with the public but it still wasn't the right career choice for me so I moved into education.
I started working in a college, it was 45mins drive from home but I loved it. It was my job to get clients in for the students to complete their Beauty Assessments on and I taught them how to run the reception area of a salon. After a few years I was offered a job in a college much closer to home doing the same job. I took it! It was the wrong move from the start, I hated it but I was stuck, I was getting married in the same year and we were looking to buy a house, I needed a job. I spent hours whilst I was there planning how to get a new job but I was scared to move from something I hated to something I hated even more. I spiralled into a deep depression and ended up taking a few months off of work because I was so low. I'd stopped baking by now, in fact I'd pretty much stopped doing anything, I just didn't have any enthusiasm for anything anymore. It was shame because as I said I was getting married around this time and it did affect my wedding day.
However my move to the second college was not all bad as it was where I got my mojo back for baking. I was bored one day and started flicking through the part time prospectus and I saw they did cake decorating courses, level 1,2 and 3 and the bonus was, staff got 50% off of course fees! I filled out the enrolment form there and then and for the next year I spent every Tuesday night at college completing all three courses. I was happy again! I remember my first lesson we spent the evening making a woodland scene with a frog. I was so proud of myself even if I do look back now and laugh at it.
So fast forward a couple of years and I'm pregnant, obviously that was the best news in itself but it also meant that I was escaping from work!
So I was all prepared to finish the summer hoilday's in the college and start maternity leave in September. However things didn't go to plan and Naomi decided to make an appearance at the end of July!
I loved maternity leave but there was always a nagging in the back of my head that I had to go back to work. I needed to find something that meant I didn't have to go back. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and through a friend I was told about a new coffee shop opening. I joked and said well tell her I 'll make her cakes. I didn't think anything of it but then I got a call from the owner asking for some samples, I was so excited and nervous, worried that she wouldn't like them. I made enough to feed an army and was delighted with all the positive feedback.
Fast forward 4 months, the coffee shop opened and I was supplying the cakes! This was it, I didn't need to go back to work. It was my turning point, my whole outlook on life changed, I felt free again. I loved supplying the coffee shop, It was hard with a young baby and long hours but I needed it to work and for the most part it did.
Three years on and Holly arrived.
I couldn't supply the shop like I used to and had to take a step back. I was sad but it was just the end of the beginning! I had had a taster of how to run a business from home; I had done it properly from the start, I was fully insured and had 5* star rating from the local councils EHO. I decided to put my cake decorating skills into practice and advertise celebration cakes. It was a completely different ball game and I made so many mistakes with advertising, pricing and design but I've learnt from them all.
Two mistakes I learnt both involved my children. Firstly get better child locks for the fridge, this lesson resulted in having to make a new cake and cleaning the trail of chocolate fingerprints from the fridge to the living room!
Secondly I learnt to get a box for my flour that was impenetrable by toddlers!
So here I am now with a nearly 6 year old and a 2 and a half year old still struggling through life, but the joy I get from creating my cakes, working my own hours from home and seeing the looks on my customers faces when they see their cakes, outweigh all of the stress and anxiety that goes along with it. I've done a few business mindset courses and they always say that to succeed you need to remember your why and I suppose this blog post is mine.
I know I've rambled a bit but I hope you've enjoyed getting to know me a bit better and I hope to have you all back soon.