Izzy, a new arrival

Last time I posted, I promised to write about my recent baking activities.  Some time has passed since I made my promise – almost four months.  As you would have gathered, I have had a busy four months.

We have almost completed the renovation of our new home.  We have a lot of bits and piece to complete, but we are around 90% there.

We moved into our new house in August, a little prematurely as on our holiday up to the Lake District in August to celebrate my Birthday with my family and to compete in a couple of races (cancelled because of the weather and other unforeseen circumstances), we acquired a little Labrador puppy, which we named Izzy.

Bored on the journey up to the Lake District, I searched to see whether there were any Labrador puppies ready to go to new homes.  Lo and behold, I found a breeder with a litter of 11 Labrador puppies and made the dangerous decision to message him to ask him if he had any dogs left.  To cut a long story short, despite going to find a boy Labrador, we took home a little girl as she was the one that came up to me when we went to view the puppies.  The boys were not remotely interested in us – they were tucked up in their bed, tired after a meal.  I always said that I would take home the puppy who chose me rather than the other way around.  Anyway, with a new puppy in tow, we decided to move into our new home prematurely so that we could house train her in one house rather than in two.  The move to our new house is significant for a number of reasons, most significant I guess is that it has changed my priorities quite a bit, but more of that later.

My new job has gone from strength to strength.  I have been made permanent and have been promoted to a management position.  I am thoroughly enjoying my new job, but like with everything, there are potential downsides to every good decision.  The demands on me in my new job have increased at the same time as my baking business expanded.  Over the last few months, my baking business went from strength to strength and I ended up baking for four customers on a regular basis, as well as doing event baking.  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as well as baking for a lovely range of customers.  The feedback I was given was great and my bakes were being well received.  Unfortunately however, on the back of everything: new house, new job and increased demands on me re: baking, my health has taken a hit again and I had to make a very difficult decision a few weeks ago to stop baking for my regular customers.  I have not given up baking, but have decided to re-orientate my business towards event baking and one off bakes.  I think this will help me get the balance right between my demanding day job and baking and hopefully get my health back on track.

Despite my recent difficult decision, we had a good summer of catering for a range of events.  Mainly sporting events (obstacle course races, running events and gym competitions) and the Coln Fun Day in August.   I also did a lot of catering for one of my regular customers who put on regular events over the summer period.  One weekend I had to supply enough cake to feed around 300 guests.  Baking over four days left me quite exhausted but also with a great sense of achievement of catering for that many people on my own.

As they say, every cloud has a silver lining – although I am upset at having to give up baking for my regular customers, not baking the same range of cakes on a weekly basis will hopefully allow me to experiment more on the baking front again.  This is something that has fallen by the wayside over the last few months as after I developed my repertoire for my regular customers (see below a list of my regular bakes), these bakes became my go to bakes every week.  Event catering and one off baking gives me a bit more scope to play around with my offer.

  • Carrot and ginger loaf cake
  • Carrot cake
  • Double chocolate loaf cake
  • Victoria sponge
  • Coffee and walnut cake
  • Lemon drizzle cake
  • Lemon loaf cake
  • Flapjacks – regular, fruit and chocolate drizzled
  • Millionaire slice
  • Brownies
  • Giant chocolate chip cookies

Okay, listing these makes me realise that over a period of a few months, I did in fact try out a few things.  This is not even the full list – I have baked a range of other biscuits, slices and cakes for my other customers as well.

Oh yes, back to my change of priorities.  After losing our first dog, Montague to illness in January this year, and with the acquisition of our little girl puppy, I have decided that being a ‘Mum’ to a puppy is more important than other things.  I have not given up on my dream of making people happy through my baking, but in the short term at least, my priority is ensuring that Izzy feels as much loved and part of the family as Montague did.