I never saw myself running my own business. Really, never.
I got an electronics engineering degree, and worked in technology departments for big companies straight from university. I worked on video calling apps, before phones could even take photos. I helped design the system to hook phones on aircraft to your mobile number. And I worked on the technical parts of the license bids to run the first 3G mobile networks. I also designed a system to have celebrity voices answer your voicemail – so not all good by any stretch….!
And in 2004 when I was 31, like plenty of you out there, I had my first child. My gorgeous boy. I had every intention of returning to work. I loved my job. Really loved my job. But I also really really loved him. So I compromised and went part time. I still liked it, but somehow the love had gone.
So a year or so later, we made the decision to move out of London and we headed for Winchester. My hubby still commutes back in, and I decided to give up my job completely. And in 2008 and 2011, our two girls came along.
I was still very happy not working, but was mindful of needing to do something once my youngest was at school. I’d left my job behind, so I knew I would need to do something new.
And I had made a few cakes by this stage. My son’s 2nd birthday cake, in 2006, was my very first (slightly disastrous, and very stressful) effort. And I knew that I wanted to get better. A lot better!
The kids cakes over the years gave me plenty of opportunity to practice, and by my older daughter’s 4th birthday, I realised I was starting to get quite good. But I still couldn’t even imagine the pressure of making a cake for anyone else!
And then one day, a Mum at pre-school asked me to do just that. And I said no, and nervously almost laughed in her face. And I love the fact that she didn’t laugh back at me when I came back the following day and said yes, I would try.
And that R2D2 cake really was the start of something amazing. I have fallen in love with what I do. I love creating the perfect cake for a loved one, or a special occasion. I love it when you have tears in your eyes when you see it for the first time. I love the reaction you give when it’s a total surprise. The hugs you give me for getting it right. I love that I can be a small part of a special day.
And I love that I’m still very much a Mum, and because I’m based at home, and work for myself, I am lucky to be able to watch their plays, and concerts, and talk to their teachers, and meet their friends, and help on their school trips. And I work as much as I possibly can while they’re at school.
And at 3pm I switch back again when I collect them from school, and help with their homework, and test them on their spellings, and cook their tea, and read their stories, and hear about their day.
And at about 8pm, sometimes I switch back again. To buttercream cakes, or put together quotes, or arrange cake collections, or photograph the latest projects.
And as many of you understand all too well – I juggle.
I try to put my phone down when I’m with the kids. I try to ignore business emails, however urgent they look, while I’m listening to their incredible stories. And without fail we all watch a film together on a Friday at 6pm, every week.
And I work late into the night on my admin. I use email a lot, and only answer your calls when I can give them my full attention. I organise for the kids to be occupied when you collect your cakes. And I work through the school holidays and some weekends to make sure your cakes are available when you need them.
Being passionate about the two parts of my life I am juggling makes it slightly easier, but I’m not always there for either of them when I need to be.
But I love trying to be.
And there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look behind the scenes at Really Yummy HQ. I’d love to know your thoughts, so why don’t you pop me a comment below?
Or just put your feet up and head here, to read all about the day to day goings on, behind the scenes.
And have a great day!
Love from Really Yummy HQ x