Time to reflect-2017

My last blog post was way back in August which has been a while simply because the biz has been busy and sadly blogging just didn’t seem a priority, but I’m in the middle of a Christmas break so it’s a perfect time to reflect on how the year has panned out as well as get back into my blogging habit.

So how has this year been for you in general?

Well for me the answer has been pretty busy. And every year I like to think their are lessons to be learnt from either mistakes I’ve made or positive choices I’ve made that have had a big impact on me and my biz.

So on a positive note I’ve…

  • scheduled in down time and stuck to it- in one of my blog post I wrote about work life balance and how I was going to make an effort to get better at it. I’m still not perfect but this year has been the best so far. So much so I even managed to fit in a holiday which was on my own and a huge thing for me as this was also something I very much wanted to do (personal goal) and was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. Holidaying alone I would highly recommend. Granted it fell in the middle of a very busy sept for wedding cakes but I did it and it was fabulous. And one of the things I’ll be doing in Jan is planning out my downtime’s as much as I can to help maintain a better work life balance.

  • Discovered ganache- ok ok I know you might be eye rolling right now but I gave it a try at the end aug/sept and I actually muttered the words “ganache is a game changer” you see I didn’t really get the ganache thing, I didn’t see the point and stuck to buttercream and one of the reasons I stuck to BC was the cost, could I honestly justify using it, were customers actually bothered? Well with the recent 100% rise in butter the cost of making and using ganache didn’t seem such a bad idea after all and cost literally matched the current cost of using BC. I don’t flip or even use ganache plates but the finish is more refined, it encases the cake like a protective shell, and also taste delish. It freezes well and can be made in advance, I’m still getting used to it and I’m still practicing.
  • Bought an Agbay – O.M.G for years I used my trusted 12″ serrated edge knife and was quite nifty with it but I had an order for a naked wedding cake and wanted to ensure the layers were perfect so decided to invest and I must say it’s one of the best investments I’ve made, so quick and perfect layers every time. Word of warning though ALWAYS replace the blade guard because that blade is sharpppppppppp.
  • Rebranded- I had spoken about it previously and went for it again. This time i invested a bit more and the result was a lovely rebrand that represents me and the biz as well as helping me remain consistent with the design concept, colour and font. Overall this has been great for my biz( See previous blog post) I also Reworked my website (myself) http://www.kakeandcupkakery.co.uk and managed to get myself onto page one of google for my keywords so yes this has had a positive impact on my business.
  • Fell in love with Instagram- it’s over taken twitter as my fave social media channel. I need to improve my use of hashtags but I truly do love it
  • Entered Cake international-2017 was the year I entered the most intimidating competition ever, wedding cake category (royal iced wedding cake)it was on the list of things I wanted to do. I didn’t place but that hasn’t put me off, in the words of the terminator ” I’ll be back” and note to self read, read and read again the competition schedule

Things that haven’t gone so well are..

  • My admin- arghhh we are on the run up to submitting our yearly accounts and let’s just say I need to organise my s**t. I have an accountant who does the last bits for me as well as submit but the weekly admin needs to improve, Monday’s are my admin day but that is sucked up with quotes etc.. but next year I’m recruiting some help from one of my sisters to give me a hand to see if this will improve things.
  • Workload- got a bit heavy at times which effects the speed I get back to customers with quotes . It’s my downfall along with admin, so even though the work life balance has improved there are still areas I need to get a lot better at.
  • Networking- very poor this year but making a vow to get out there more in 2018, Ive even thought about a face 2 face cakey meet up group but I don’t know how I would fit it in.
  • Increased prices- Wow butter prices, omg beginning of the year 89p per 250g by December £1.60 per 250g. The price hike has been ridiculous, the price was leaping almost daily. I read recently that it spiked in December due to demand (it’s all our Crimbo orders) but hopefully will stabilise in the new year.

So 2018, what’s happening and what do I want to achieve????

Throughout the year I like to jot down ideas and things I need to do so I will take a look at what I’ve noted down and aim to put into action if not done so already.

I love goal setting some new planners are on the way as I speak, but one thing I would say when setting goals don’t feel under pressure to have all your goals set out by Jan 1st, why not aim to write out by the end of Jan instead, that way you can really give yourself time to focus on what you want to achieve in 2018. I always have two dates, Jan I set biz goals, Feb I set personal goals.

So do you reflect on your year?, what have you learnt or discovered ?, are you making plans/goals for this year? If so I’d love to hear.

My blog will be back and likely in a monthly format rather than forthrightly. a blog by a caker for cakers. the focus will be everything to do with running our businesses and the cakey world so if there is a topic or area you’d like me to cover please let me know.

So time to get planning so have a Happy new year, hope your having a lovely break And here’s to another great year of baking and blogging in 2018.

2 thoughts on “Time to reflect-2017

  1. Hello and welcome back!
    Your blogs are very inspirational my dear…truly…

    Well I must say at least 3 of your positives mirror my own..
    Agbay – I discovered this last year however, and is easily one of my favourite cake decorating tools that i could never do without..

    Ganaching – I too ventured into the world of ganaching as oppose to butter cream purely from the finishing perspective, and have had great results which the dark chocolate, however the white chocolate is still a work in progress for me as white chocolate is so much softer…but I totally agree with you that the rise in the price of butter recently from a cost perspective point of view there is not much difference.

    Instagram – I’m on Instagram and totally love it..my #hashtags are not the best – in fact i sometimes forget to add them and find myself adding a load to different images to catch-up but its good, and people are using it more and more.

    To help me get organised and learn to quote for my cakes more accurately I trailed and purchased the BakingIT software…https://www.bakingit.com/ and am actively using it. I find it really useful, helps you design 3D sketch images, input your recipe and it will automatically scale your recipes to the quantity of your order..and so so much more. The founders of this app are very helpful aswell and always on hand for any support.

    I have to totally bow to you aswell for entering Cake International 2017, its been on my list but seriously moves further and further to the bottom of my list. In my view anyone…and i mean anyone who enters is a winner in my view so well done you!

    My plan for 2018 is to become totally more organised, I want to re-work my website and develop my skill set – totally rubbish at modelling

    1. Hey Julia
      Thanks for your comment about my blogs, that’s really lovely to say “inspirational” #blushing
      Your cakes are amazing by the way loved the last cake (the bag)
      My Agbay and ganache get a huge thumbs up, I can see why they are a staple in s cakers kitchen, certainly a game changer.
      With white choc ganache I was advised to do 3:1.
      3 parts choc to 1 part cream, I give my chocolate a little helping hand either in a microwave or over a Bain marie add the heated cream as usual and finish in the usual way it’s a much firmer consistency.
      I’ve heard of baking it and it’s on my list of things to try out as it’s had some good reviews from fellow cakers and once set up will be a great time saver.
      Cake international, Ive got to have another go, feal the fear and all that and so intimidating but the whole experience was fab.
      Here’s to a fab 2018, and snap on the modelling, got to get myself on a workshop or two.
      Happy new year Julia x

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