May is one of my most favourite months of the year. London is full of streets lined with blossom trees and after they start blooming in April, May brings the flourishing of wisteria and delicately scented lilac as well as elderflower. The month of May feels like a continuous feast for the senses, with all of nature awakening, green buds opening up all around and birdsong in the air. The days are beginning to stretch out as by the end of the month, sunrise is before 5am and sunset is past 9pm. No more waking in the dark! And although the British weather has been rather questionable these last few months, the natural light is still a wonderful stimulus and I always find it helps to fuel my creativity.
And for me, May has been filled with lots of busy-ness. Wedding season is in full flow now and I’ve had the joy of delivering cakes to lots of venues including some of my all-time favourites of Euridge Manor and Somerley House. I’ve had one cake design in particular that has called upon my engineering skills as it was a stacked asymmetrical square cake. How to execute this design had occupied my mind a lot in the lead up to the wedding, I’m sure this will be a familiar pastime to those of you who have to create something a little different from your usual signature style products - here's a little snap from my phone.
In-between weddings, I also escaped to Paris for 36 hours for a shoot with Cristina Ilao. I love to travel overseas, but I’ve never been able to bring this into my work with cakes, as I tend to work in venues within a 2 hour radius from my home. The prospect of taking a cake to Paris, albeit a small one, filled me with so much excitement. And I cannot wait to share some photos with you here from the shoot as we set up in some gorgeous locations within the city. Oftentimes, being involved in a shoot in a venue that you aspire to work in is a great way to acquire portfolio images as well as being able to use the location on social media. But I don't ever imagine being commissioned for a wedding in Paris, or France. The reason I wanted to be involved was much more about fuelling my creativity and keeping that fire inside of me going. It's been 2 years since my last shoot and as a cake designer, I love the opportunity to try out a new design, experiment with different techniques and physically create designs that I'd love my potential clients to be inspired by. As I travelled on the Eurostar for this shoot, and was carrying everything by hand, I couldn't get creative with the cake but having my creations be shot on location in Paris - that was really rewarding. And collaborating with the team members as well as a new bridal designer, it all helped to fill my cup.
And you know I love food, so even though it was a short visit, I still managed to squeeze in some yummy meals, in fact one particularly delicious meal in a restaurant that only the locals know about. As well as plenty of freshly baked pastries, of course. On this trip, I realised that it’s been over 20 years since I was last in Paris and I’m super excited to be returning with my family this Summer (with the dog as well) to to absorb the culture, enjoy the culinary delights and explore the streets at a slower pace.
Going to Paris for a shoot is pretty exciting, but the highlight of this month has been a visit to the Victoria Palace Theatre to watch Hamilton. I know it may seem like I’m a little late to the party, but I’ve been partly been waiting for my children to be of an age where they would really appreciate the show. And it really was incredible. The cast, the music, the costumes, the stage design. Everything. There is something so energising about live music and entertainment and being denied it in 2020 has meant that each and every time I get to experience it now, I feel it’s all the more sweeter.
I usually love to share a bake with you each month, but this month I’ve been baking very little for home, although to embrace the season, I did manage to make a batch of lilac syrup. A gentle floral scented syrup that adds an extra layer of flavour to cakes and desserts. For those of you in the UK, I think it’s a little late to make some this year as most of the lilac bloom has faded, but if you’re curious and would like to try it out next year, here’s a link to Linda Lomelino’s recipe (and YouTube video tutorial). Elderflower is really blooming now, so maybe you could make up a batch of elderflower syrup or cordial instead. Summer in a bottle!
I've been feeling especially proud of 2 clients and wanted to give them a little shout-out as they are absolutely smashing it right now. Firstly is Assumpta of Ave Creations who had a 1: 1 consultation as she needed help on gaining clarity on her business and was looking to up-level her business - since our call I've seen that she has been planning and designing some truly beautiful weddings this year. I actually had the pleasure of working with her too, an absolute joy I might add, on a recent wedding at Somerley House (captured above by Sharron Gibson) - Assumpta was so calm, organised and engaging. We both share a love of details and an eye for the smallest of them, so it was really rewarding being able to make a cake for one of her couples and personally experience working with her. And my second shout-out is for Louise of Louise Hayes Cake Design who has been working so hard over the last year, and showcased her amazing cake skills in a shoot that she organised this month. I tell you from my own experience, it's no mean feat organising a styled shoot, but taking the lead is so important when you want to be in control of the design aspects as well as being able to hand-pick the team. It has filled me with so much pride to see what Louise has pulled off and you can get a glimpse behind the scenes on this Reel - I can't wait to see what this shoot and the collaboration will bring her.
So what else, just before the month was up, Hannah Martin’s Make Up Book landed on my doorstep - I’ve yet to peruse but having watched Hannah’s Insta lives, I’m excited to have a read. For most of my younger decades, I’ve barely worn any makeup, but since embracing my grey hairs a few years’ back, I’ve felt the need to make an effort with my daily makeup - even just a little lippy for my confidence levels.
I haven’t had so much time for reading this month, but when I’m on the road a lot, I listen to narrated books via Audible instead. Some recent journeys have flown by as I’ve been listening to Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, (yes, the same author of author of Big Magic which I mentioned I had started reading last month!). Again, I feel I’ve been a little late to read the book as it was first published in 2006 and the movie with Julia Roberts was made not long after in 2010. But I was in my early 30’s back then, and I wouldn’t have enjoyed it anywhere near as much as I did now. I’m a big believer in things happening when they’re meant to. Not that I don’t believe in fighting for something or working hard to get results. But, I often feel that if you hurry something along or try to force it to happen too much, that inevitably it’s not the right time. For me, it’s all about being aware, feeling the balance and listening to my intuition.
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