Happy birthday to us!!

Well today is Little Black Hen’s second birthday and my, haven’t the last two years flown by. To use the well-used cliché, it’s been a journey.  I guess I’ve learnt a few things along the way, both about myself and about the business.

I alluded to the fact that I had a proper job once but I think the most rewarding thing about my career change is that I get to see a project though from start to finish, from the initial contact by the customer through to seeing a reaction when the cake is collected.  There are often squeaks of excitement and happy tears from customers emanating from the kitchen. Cake is essentially the centre of a celebration, whether is a birthday, wedding or anniversary I’ve yet to have a cake ordered for anything other than a happy occasion.  As such it’s a job which involves you with people preparing to celebrate or have a party.  It’s great fun getting to know the customers and finding out that they want. Some people have firm ideas and others are happy to leave it to me, but it all makes every day in my job so very different.  I’ve also discovered that sometimes you have to remind people that they can’t keep their cake forever and that they really should cut it, eat it and enjoy it.

When I look back over the last two years I’ve learnt so many new skills and tasks that would have put me in a cold sweat back then are now a lot easier , more familiar and less of a trial. That’s not to say I’ve stopped learning, why only today I was teaching myself a new technique.  There have been stand out cakes which were going to make or break me, but anyone who knows me, knows that I will put everything into it to get it right. There have been cakes which have given me sleepless nights and others which I’ve mentally made and decorated dozens of times in my head, even before I switch the oven on. Who knew there was such a thing as cake stress?

Some skills are transferrable and I’ve brought project and time management skills with me to the business, and there are weeks where these skills are invaluable. I keep telling myself that it’s all in the preparation, but cake juggling is a new skill and one I think I’ve become quite good at over the past few months.  Would it be recognised on a CV I wonder?

I’ve also discovered that I’ve got more patience than I ever would have credited myself with and I can spend many happy hours making sugarcraft flowers for a wedding cake, or making batches of strawberry jam or lemon curd. There are some days where I don’t move from my work station as I am so absorbed in what I’m doing but I can think of worse ways of passing the working day.  Besides I get to listen to the radio all day and it means my pop master scores are a lot better than they were two years ago!!

So what have I learnt over that past two years?  Patience, perseverance and striving towards perfection to name but a few. The first two I’ve got a handle on but I’m still working towards the third.