A new beginning

I’ve been threatening to write this post for a while and I’ve finally found the time and made the decision to do so.  If you know me or have read some of my recent posts you’ll know I’ve not been too happy at work (not baking, my other job) which I’ve felt has had an effect on my mood and anxiety levels lately.

Back in April I had a meltdown (yes, I’m sure that’s the clinical name) whilst driving to work, panic attack, anxiety attack, I don’t know what it was but I pulled over and cried and hyper ventilated for almost three quarters of an hour.  I wanted to drive away from everything, but it wasn’t everything that was the problem.  It was my job.  I’m not going to go into detail about my job as that’s neither here nor there but the affect it had on me physiologically was immense.  I’d felt for months this dark cloud come over me every Sunday night, I’d turn in to this vile person that didn’t care to be spoken to or want to engage in any kind of conversation about work. I’d come home Monday night and shrug off questions about my day as I didn’t want to spend a minute longer thinking about it.  I’d lie awake at night feeling anxious, under pressure and worried.  This feeling went on for months and months.  As you can imagine, our household wasn’t a barrel of laughs during the week.

In the meantime, whilst pretending the week didn’t exist, I had been baking the odd cake for people here and there and slowly making the foundations for a business.  Since April 2014 the ‘business’ has suddenly found its feet and people seem to have discovered me.  Instead of getting 2-3 enquiries every month or so, I’m now getting them every other day or so. I’ve met brides for wedding cake consultations and have delivered cakes which have received amazing feedback.  I’m a bit shocked that I’ve managed to get to this point after all this is me we’re talking about – the person who rarely sticks out anything.  Hubby even makes a joke out of all my ‘fads’.  I’ve got my little sheets charting my income and expenses, I have a forecast of income for the next 12 months and money in my business bank account.  I’ve finally reached a point whereby I pay for business purchases with income I’ve made and it’s a wonderful feeling.

So, with all that in mind, we have taken the decision that I shall resign from my ‘day job’ to concentrate on my cake business full time.  It’s a bit scary but my stress and mood has changed drastically which I am sure hubby will vouch for.  I don’t finish said day job until December but knowing the end is in sight is enough.  Of course, things have had to change a bit – we’re not millionaires (yet) and Florence’s’ nursery costs nigh on £900 per month! So, we’re reducing her sessions down to compensate a little of what I am losing in earnings.  It’s going to be tough to find time around a toddler to bake and decorate cakes to my standards, I know this and I’m preparing myself for it.  Florence will get her 15hrs free childcare come next September so that will help no end and of course a year later she will be off to big school.   BUT! We are also trying for another baby.  Crazy I know, but we want another and will make it work one way or another.  Perhaps Mother Nature has other plans for us hence why we haven’t conceived yet, perhaps she knows I’m going to be uber successful and need all the time I can get to bake and decorate (fingers crossed).  Either way we’ll carry on trying and cross bridges as we come to them.

So there, that’s an update on me and my life in 685 words.  It all sounds a bit crazy written down but ‘YOLO’ – so let’s make the most of it and follow our dreams while we’re still here.

You can read about our TTC journey here and here.

You can visit my business page Cotswold Cupcakes too if you like :)

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#Beebies Bake Off: The Sweetpea Pantry

I usually try and avoid all the pre-made cake mixes in the supermarket that the kids always ask for, you know the ones with character rice paper discs, as the results are usually inedible when compared to home made cakes. Thanks to the Sweet Pea Pantry my opinion of pre-mixed baking kits has drastically changed.

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I was kindly given a selection of Sweet Pea Pantry baking kits to try from the lovely Ami at Beebies Baby Store and yesterday, as we had to stay in and wait for a courier, we thought what better time to do some baking.

Logan chose to do the pancakes which I was surprised about as we never, ever have pancakes, not even on pancake day! The kit contains all the dry ingredients and you supply the wet ingredients such as oil, honey, butter or eggs. What I love, besides many other things, about these kits are the superfood ingredients. Amongst the kits as wee sent you’ll find ingredients such as flax seed, oats, wholegrain barley and rye and quinoa.  It’s good to know it’s pure goodness going in the kids (and adults) tummies and not lots of nasty preservatives and E numbers.

We only had one egg and the recipe calls for two so we weighed out half the pancake mix and added half the amount of milk specified. Logan loved whisking and proclaimed how difficult it was once the dry ingredients were poured in.  Muscley mum stepped in and we had a lovely smooth batter in seconds. We heated a small lump of butter in the frying pan and poured in enough batter to fill the pan.

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Within a minute or two we were ready to flip…..

Another minute on the other side and we had a lovely golden and fluffy pancake.

Logan loved making these and, as I suggest in my previous baking with kids post, the recipe was short and simple, just enough for little people to feel like they’ve contributed. We chose to add chocolate spread to our pancake and Logan wanted it cut like a pizza. It made a great 10am snack. I’d certainly think about having these myself, perhaps with bacon or something for breakfast. Dee-licious!

If you’ve been baking this week too, why not link up at the #beebiesbakeoff linky here.

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I have a tattoo I hate, do you?

When I turned 18 I went and got a tattoo, my friends all had them so why the heck should I be the odd one out? I remember gazing at the walls in the tattoo studio in Worcester and looking for the smallest tattoo they did. I decided upon a small cluster of four hearts and chose to have them adorn my leg, just above the ankle.  I can’t remember it hurting all too much and I even remember being thoroughly underwhelmed when they’d finished ‘inking’ me.

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Yeh, I know – it’s pretty awful and often gets confused for mud :(

Twelve years on and I’d love to have the darn thing removed, thankfully it’s not somewhere I see very often but when I do I cringe. I appreciate my skin more now than ever before and regret having something so pointless tattooed on to it. I’d really love laser tattoo removal and actually, the cost of the procedure is much less then I ever could have imagined.

‘Sk:n’ is one of the leading clinics which offers laser tattoo removal as well as every other procedure imaginable to get your skin looking and feeling flawless.  The clinics use state of the art technology and are run by a crack team of dedicated medical staff with many, many years of experience.  With over 40 clinics nationwide there is bound to be one not too far from your front door.

My fear with any kind of procedure like this is that they’ll do a ‘bodge job’ but with Sk:n you can rest easy as they are governed by the Care Quality Commission, various other agencies and regularly work with The British Skin Foundation.  The website is really informative and gives you the ins and outs of the treatment, an idea of the cost and booking a free consultation is simple using the quick online form.

I’m lucky that my skin has always been relatively clear and non sensitive but I was interested to read about Sk:ns ‘Clear Skin Challenge’.  It made me realise that the small insecurities I might have about my face are pretty insignificant compared to the people taking on this challenge. Ten people that suffer with severe acne have been selected to receive a complete treatment plan, tailored to their individual needs, to rediscover their best skin.  You can keep up to date with their individual journeys here.

Have you received some kind of skin treatment? What were your experiences?

*This is a sponsored post.