No recipes today, I’m afraid. Sometimes blogging encourages me to make a more public promise, one that might be ignored if written in a journal and shoved in a drawer, so please bear with me!
As another new year dawns, unusually I’m feeling really positive, energised and looking forward to a challenge. Over the past 10 years since I became a mother, I think like many (particularly stay at home mums) we often put ourselves last and undervalue our skills. Despite undertaking the most incredibly, fundamentally vital role of raising the next generation, without colleagues to benchmark ourselves against and buried beneath a pile of ordinary, repetitive, and often rather boring chores we forget that we are people and need to keep learning and contributing to developing ourselves as well as our offspring.
I’m a year and quite a bit away from a milestone birthday and thoughts of a bucket list have begun nagging away somewhere at the back of my mind. When I set up Flossie Pops Cakery it was actually meant to be kick starting a career in writing, and hopefully this year will be the year it all goes full circle.
Having come up with an idea, it took me 18 months of canvassing friends and family in a rudimentary form of market research to establish whether it was merely a narcissistic whim or a idea that people would like to read and enjoy and consequently whether a market exists. Now, I enjoy writing, but what I know about publishing can be written on microscopic notebook with an invisible pen… Luckily, a lovely friend came to my aid with fantastic contacts at a big publisher and guidance on creating a book proposal and I spent several weeks coming up with the structure and contents for a baking book.
In November I donned clothing that was not covered in chocolate, mud or frosting and headed up to the big smoke with a huge box of home-baked goodies for my first meeting with a publisher (and to be honest, my first grown-up office-type meeting in at least 10 years!). It was equally exciting and terrifying. It really made me think of all the challenges my children face on a day to day basis, new situations, new concepts, new schools, new friends and how I expect them to cope; thinking about it made me much braver and I found the experience really affirming. It took place just after the terrible attacks in Paris and I remember the unusual feeling of tolerance and community which I suppose I may’ve just imagined but I checked back on my Facebook status from that day as it really summed up how I felt.
‘I had to go in central London today. Whilst not extraordinary for many, I don’t often travel up now and was nervous. I felt silly for being nervous and angry that recent events were having an effect on my behaviour. I was carrying a large cake box and discovered – even after 8 years of living and working in town, where people were strangers and eye contact avoided at all costs – that if you carry a large white cake box, people smile at you, they pass the time of day, they open doors and help you through station barriers. They bring your coffee over and restore your faith in humanity’.
The meeting went well and my idea was taken forward to the sales team; but sadly, just before Christmas I received an email saying whilst they liked my idea, and that it was a strong one, the sales team had decided to go for an idea with a more global appeal. Obviously I was disappointed (and strangely a tiny bit relieved) but after a wonderful christmas break I’m armed with the latest Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, along with my first rejection and I’m fired up about looking for the right publisher.
I will also carry on testing and developing recipes alongside baking for celebrations and weddings, and teaching, and growing my skills and repertoire. It’s a great learning experience to try something new and inspired by the little people that hugged me and told me I was amazing, and that someone would love to publish my book, I’m going to do as they say and embrace this year and this new stage of life I’m moving into!
And lastly, here to remind me to keep focussed, is my eldest daughter’s birthday cake from last week – ten years old, a huge bookworm and a wonderful person!