So we have been open for a full 12 months! How on earth did that happen?

In some ways it has gone in a flash, yet in others it feels like we have been open for years. In just 52 weeks, we have become established on King St, and many of you have become loyal customers and also friends. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to you all for making me so welcome in Southwell, and for the lovely feedback you give me on the shop on our products.

It took a few months to get the shop ready for business, but thanks to my wonderful family and friends who helped with painting, putting furniture together, plumbing, building, and all the DIY jobs I could not do, we got there! Special thanks to Lisa for painting in the freezing weather, and John for giving up so many weekends to sort out my endless list of jobs (he is also as OCD as I am hence all the shelves are straight!) And of course to Johns wife Jane (my running buddy) for letting me ‘borrow’ him, and for having to spend weekends with me in Southwell as John did not want us in the shop when he was working. It was a tough few months ;-) but I think I met all of my fellow traders before we actually opened!

Many of you have commented on the design / branding for the shop – all thanks to another local lady – Susie Huson who designed my logo etc, and painstakingly applied the graphics to the door with hubby Ben (another freezing cold day if I remember rightly!)

I just wanted to share a few of my best memories with you………..also to make sure I don’t forget them! I’ve included a few pictures to show you how far we have come.

Just before I opened, I bumped into a lady outside the shop. I think I scared her slightly when I asked ‘Are you Ruth?’ It was indeed Ruth from Southwell Cakery, and she was the very first customer in the shop…so much so that the till was not properly set up! She must have an honest face as she took some bright red fondant for a fire engine cake (if I remember correctly) and promised to pay the next time she came in (which of course she did!) I’m proud to supply just a few of the products Ruth uses to make the most amazing cakes.

Another customer came in to have a look around in the first week of opening, explaining how she used to make and decorate many cakes, but not so much now………however, a few weeks later she was asked to make a wedding cake for her grand-daughter, hence she visited the shop on a regular basis, and the resulting cake was stunning! I see Pauline most days popping into town, and she often stops by to drop in a homemade cake or even smoked salmon mousse – how lucky am I!

On my very first weekend, there was a little face at the window at 8am, praying that we sold pink fondant (we do……3 different pinks to be exact!). The resulting ice-cream cake was amazing, and made it onto our very first ‘Wall of Fame’. Fiona is now affectionately known as 8am Icing girl – even by her colleagues at Brackenhurst as I seem to have let her nickname out of the bag - Sorry Fi!

A few weeks after we opened (not sure quite when), a bubbly young lady popped in to ‘have a neb’ and say Hi. Fast forward a few months, and Mrs All Mine Cakes (aka Hayley) and I have become firm friends and act as sounding boards for each other in many aspects of our lives! We obviously have a shared interest in all things cake, but you can often find us chatting about all manner of topics – either in person or virtually. Working for yourself can be a strange thing sometimes as you can sometimes feel very isolated. Knowing you have a friend who always has your back, and you can ask all the stupid questions to is a wonderful feeling. Even though our businesses are very different, we support each other 100% and there are some joint projects we are working on for 2017 – watch this space!

The Wall of Fame has had great comments…..bakers of all ages are always pleased to see their creations on display. PLEASE keep the photo’s coming – I love to see your bakes, and they so often inspire others to either have a go, or to try something new. I've added only a few of the cakes you have shared this year. I'm planning to put them ALL on the website soon though xx

One of our biggest hits has been our Home Bake Kits – you all seem to love them, especially the special editions for events like Easter and Christmas. New flavours will be introduced regularly this year, so keep your eyes peeled. You can always let me know if there are any flavours you are keen to see……..

One particular week (not sure if it was the weather, or a full moon) but I think I had 3 or 4 customers in tears. Nothing to do with the products I hasten to add! Some reasons were cake related, others less so, but I hope the hugs I shared helped just a little bit.

Every cloud and all that, and who should walk through the door, but a lady offering me a solution to a problem. I’ve been looking for a way to offer demonstrations / courses, but was struggling to find a venue. Fiona very kindly offered the use of her house in the next village of Kirklington, and the beginnings of an idea were formed. Bake Club launched officially in January (with only 2 members to begin with) but we hope this will grow over the coming months to form a great social network where we can learn from each other, with the odd guest speaker! If you want to know more, add your details via the links on the website, and we will send you more info.

I have loved helping everyone over the last year, and am the first to grab a paper and pen to start sketching ideas. From a Strawberries and Cream Basket Cake to a two tier christening cake, and even a map of the world, every one has been different!                                                                                  

Many ‘strangers’ have become friends – and I have found out I was at the same Uni at the same time with Lois – another avid baker. There have been many discussions about Bake Off, but also about US politics and Brexit! And of course the next cakes……….

And what can I say about working in Southwell? It feels like home for me now. I love working (and shopping!) in town and knowing so many people. My fellow shopkeepers have been brilliant – very encouraging and also brutally honest sometimes – I love them!

Southwell really is the most beautiful town, filled with small independent shops, so you are always able to find something unique, whether it be jewellery, something for the house, a quirky gift for a friend, or something special to wear. If you haven’t visited yet……WHY NOT? Come and say Hi when you do, enjoy some great shopping and why not grab some food (there is a lot to choose from!)

So…….all in all 2016 was pretty amazing. Plans for 2017 are coming together with more exciting products and opportunities just around the corner.

If you want to stay updated, and get to hear my ramblings occasionally, pop your details in on the contact page – I promise not to spam you with loads of emails!

Here’s to our 2nd year!

Happy Baking

Hxx

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