How have you all been doing? I am well aware that my monthly blog post has disappeared for a couple of months here due to all the busy-ness that peak wedding season brings alongside being a mother of teenagers. The school summer term is always brimming with activities like sports day and end of year performances as well as critical exams. This year, I made the decision to pull back a little from my workload. I absolutely honoured my wedding cake commissions and the clients that I am mentoring. But I gave myself the space to say ‘no’ to any additional work. I released myself from the pressure of posting regularly on Instagram as well as the necessity to write blog posts and all the other little jobs that go into marketing your own business. It felt liberating to free myself of these extra commitments and just be there in the moment for the work I was required to do and also to be there for my family. I fully acknowledge that I’m aware that putting a pause on these things does affect my reach and my SEO but I’m also aware that this time with my family is fleeting and I wanted to make the most of it, while I can.
This year has been unusual in that my eldest took their GCSEs this Summer and that placed a big demand on me as a mother. All the way back in January, I was very mindful of the upcoming year so I was strategic about how I chose to work in 2023 as well as what wedding cake orders I accepted. In recent years, I’ve become hyper aware of how time is going by so fast, and being a mother is so important to me that I really wished to make the most of time with my children, with us as a family so I chose to make August a wedding cake-free month! I did accept one commission from a lovely couple who got in touch last minute and that I couldn’t refuse, but it was the only one!
When you run your own business, admittedly it’s difficult to switch off altogether and I chose to keep up with the admin of responding to new enquiries and working with current clients. But taking time away from the physical side of preparing and delivering wedding cakes has made such a difference to the quality of the time I’ve had this month. Taking a month away from mentoring clients has also really helped to give my mind the time to rest and recharge.
It has meant that I’m ready and eager to return to work. And of course, everything is always about balance so choosing to minimise work during the Summer has meant maximising work in June and September to maintain the cashflow!
I know that these choices I’ve made this year, are something I’ve only been able to give myself as a result of the hard work I’ve done in years gone by. I recall many Summers juggling childcare around making and delivering wedding cakes and cake samples. The need to work when my children were sleeping which meant waking up early as well as working well into the night. There wasn’t much time for anything let alone time to reflect on how I was working. But there are times when all you can do is get your head down and get through it, catching your breath once the craziness is all over. I think it has made me all the more aware of those of you who have been juggling work and childcare, and I’ve felt so much empathy for you knowing that the juggle over the Summer is very real. I’ve been there and I still haven’t forgotten how tiring and exhausting it can be. But everything is a phase, and these phases come and go and the light always appears at the end of the tunnel, in due course.
When September arrives, I hope it will bring the opportunity to take things a little slower, if you need to.
As always, I love to make note of the moments that bring me joy and happiness, and to feel gratitude for the small as well as big things. Here are some of my Summer’s highlights:
- Travelling through France and exploring areas I’ve not seen before. A few days visiting Châteaus the Loire Valley as well as fully relaxing for 9 days on the Île de Ré. The island is a hot-spot for Instagrammers with all of its pretty door fronts, and cute little streets as well as beautiful stretches of white sandy beaches. And everyone gets around on bicycles, which makes it all the easier to switch off and really relax.
- Making a dent in my pile of Summer books to read. It feels like it’s been ages since I could get totally lost in a book
- Listening to Taylor Swift on repeat in many a car journey, which is of course a result of being a parent of teenagers but I’m so glad that my children share their joy of listening to music with us.
- All the delicious holiday treats including mouth-watering ice cream and scrumptious waffles and pancakes
- Being together as a family, sitting in a park in Paris to watch the twinkly lights turn of the Eiffel Tower turn on
- All the gorgeous sunsets
- And I couldn’t list these highlights without mentioning a feature on Love My Dress for a Parisienne editorial I took part in back in May.
- Also the Summer Nourish event took place back in July which was another well-received and much enjoyed gathering of wedding suppliers. Thank you so much to Your Day for sharing a feature in their magazine about Nourish too!
I love to give little shout-outs to my clients (past and existing) who I just feel so proud of. Louise of Louise Hayes Cake Design put together her own styled shoot which got featured on Coco Weddings. It was an exceptionally beautiful shoot and I hope it may inspire you to think about putting together your own one - when you take the lead on bringing together the team and dreaming up the moodboard, you are able to craft a shoot that can elevate your brand and showcase your strengths. Louise made numerous cakes and bakes so that her business was central to the shoot and she really made the most of this opportunity to celebrate her beautiful cake designs.
Dimple of Sugar Creations by Dimple has recently had a brand shoot with Hannah Argyle as a means to having her elegant cakes professionally captured. Investing in professional photography can really elevate you, your business and your brand and high quality images can be so powerful in communicating your brand message and I believe this shoot will help Dimple connect with her ideal client.
I also wanted to thank Hannah Argyle for sharing lots of lovely tips for a visit to Île de Ré on her Instagram Story Highlights and a blog post that she'd shared by Dutch blogger Simone Wit - our holiday was all the more special because of this.
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