2021 : It is a New Year but not as we know it

Trying to look forward – as to the future – is always a thorny issue in business. Mind you, I imagine that the person who’d have foreseen this last twelve months would have had to have some kind of interest in Dystopian literature.

Envision that conversation, where you were sitting with some friends, this time last year and chatting about the year ahead - and then one of them described what 2020 had had in store for us all.

Firstly, you’d stare open-mouthed at the idea of a national lockdown and then you’d laugh at the word ‘furlough’, the idea that schools and non-essential retail businesses would be closed and then that so many of us would be confined to our homes - with an hour allocated for outdoor exercise!

That so many parents would come to rely on Joe Wicks and his half hour of exercise to get their children (and themselves) focused on the day ahead. I for one, really enjoyed the sessions and will most certainly continue with them this time round. Home-schooling for so many has become a real part of their day – often, while running a business or working for a business.

For now, at least, life must remain at a continued slower pace – with restrictions certainly lasting into early spring.

So, to all things baked.

I had lots of hopes for this spring – lots of plans and lots of wedding cake bookings. The larger events are already choosing to postpone their day and move either further back or into next year. I do have some ‘micromonies,’ (believe me, I had to stop and think for a minute when I read that word recently – I’d simply called them micro weddings before) still going ahead which I am very much looking forward to.

While I write, I have before me some samples of wedding cake that I baked this morning and sent out to a couple who had booked a consultation. After a brief introductory call to find out some key details about their day and to find out their tastes regarding the sponge!

It still surprises me how many couples are split down the middle when it comes to flavour. Chocolate verses lemon seems to be the main contender for introducing conflict before they have even said, ‘I do.’

While in lockdown, Zoom has become my friend and I can chat to couples (sometimes with their families around) and they can tell me their ideas and plans – I then do some baking based on the conversations before posting the samples out. We then set a date for a tasting session where the couple can actually sample my baking, comment (favourably, of course) and then move on to the designs, colours, adornments and size.

People ask if a tasting session is worthwhile and I will always say – Yes, absolutely!

Why wouldn’t you want to sample the work of your baker? Plus, it’s a chance to meet them and, over a beverage or two, really helps the baker understand the plans for the big day.

So, to other news. Valentines

Yes – the month of love is almost upon us and to celebrate this wonderful tradition I have designed some heart-shaped brownies, which can be adorned with a hand-written message. Entice a potential suitor, delight a partner or keep the magic alive with this edible gift.

Let’s be serious – via chocolate is most definitely a good way of asking that all important question to the ‘one’ in your life!

These are available in a choice of plain, white chocolate and Raspberry, Ruby chocolate chips, raspberry and dark chocolate or simply plain – that word is a misrepresentation because there is nothing ‘plain’ about these brownies!

Maybe there is someone special in your life and they are simply a friend – who loves chocolate and would love one of these – just putting it out there.

Valentines is about showing the ones you love that you care – I can’t think of a better way – and yes, I know I am biased – than sending a chocolate gift.

Eating a brownie is like wrapping a soft, cashmere blanket around your shoulders’
Remember, the only real way to start or finish any weekend is with a brownie and a cup of coffee or better still, a glass of red wine. sweeter white or red wine work pretty good as well

I wish you all a safe and healthy start to 2021, as we face a few weeks of uncertainty and restriction.

Next month: Let’s talk Easter

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