Tuesday, 20 March 2012


I must admit, I am not the biggest fan of cooking. I like the process, I enjoy the cooking part. But what I find unrewarding is when you prepare and cook for over an hour for something to be gobbled up in 10 minutes. In other words I could never be a chef.

The thing I like to make most, that will last, is a big cake, that way at least it will be around for a few days, so it seems much more worth while.
So, on the odd occasion when I'm in the mood, I do bake the odd cake, and this weekend I put my hand to these scrumptious gluten-free (for me) chocolate and sour cherry brownies. Brownies are by far my favourite treat, and cherries my favourite fruit.

To finish the brownies off before baking I added pecan nuts to the top, and the result is really yummy. It is not surprising how the smell off cooking brownies draws people to the kitchen, and once they have cooled and are sliced, they are delicious served with creme fraiche and a hot mug of coffee.

I then baked this marmalade cake, it has been cut into already. Mum says it's looks like a good fruit cake as the fruit hasn't sunk. That's the key apparently, of course it was all intentional.

Friday, 16 March 2012

One of those days!

Do you ever have those days where nothing goes according to plan?
Yesterday morning, I began to get a migraine, it always starts in the back of my left eye and is horrible. I know I spend too much time at the computer screen. If I had an office job I would get more breaks, but the business doesn't look after itself unfortunately.

The plan for yesterday was to pop into Bristol and visit a few retailers before attending a Prince's Trust event. However, as I don't drive I rely on public transport, but in Gloucestershire buses come when they want to not when you need them to, so I missed my train to Bristol.
I didn't want to wait an hour for the next bus so walked all the way home again with all of my products in tow and by the time I got home I was shattered and like a migraine zombie.

My evening in Bristol was all planned, I had a Prince's Trust event to attend as I was going to be setting up a little trade stand and meeting guests who were going to the Red Dinner. I hate letting anyone down, so despite being poorly, my Dad took me all the way to Bristol and waited for me. I was so glad I went though, as a) I don't get out much and b) I had a lovely evening.

On arrival at the venue, the fantastic Clifton College, the Prince's Trust sign greeted me along with some spectacular views.

The wonderful library was ours for the evening, where I set out my cards for the guests to see and buy.

I now have over 200 designs to choose from so finding space for them all was a challenge, but lots were snapped up last night, the favourites of the evening being Mother's Day of course, and my new 'Ditsy Hearts' range.

Despite looking forward to heading home to bed, I did have a lovely evening and got chatting with some really nice people about my business. Many of the guests remarked how different my cards are compared to others in the shops and how much my ranges vary whilst keeping my unique style. It's great to have feedback from people who have never seen my products before as it does remind me why I love doing what I do.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Alan Titchmarsh Show.

Last week I received a call from the Prince's Trust with a very exciting media opportunity. This year the Prince's Trust celebrates 36 years of changing young lives and so the producers of The Alan Titchmarsh Show at ITV scheduled a whole show dedicated to the charity.

The Alan Titchmarsh Show has been running since 2007 and Alan himself is an Ambassador for the Trust and gives a lot of support to the cause.

The show itself will focus on the history of the Trust, the supporters and some of the young people who have been helped, one of them being me! The show producers wanted a cross section of businesses who have been supported by the Trust, so to be chosen out of the thousands of businesses who have been supported by the charity, it was such a privilege.

If you aren't aware of my history with the Prince's Trust you can read all about it here.

Here are the other young entrepreneurs who will be showcasing their businesses on the show.
Hayley Draper, Jenny Hudson, Danny McGhee, Jay Ramirez, Susan Burne, Lee Andrews, Shad Ahamadally, David White.

From the left - Danny, Shad, Prince's Trust Chief Executive Martina Milburn CBE, Hayley, Me and Jenny.

My day involved an early start on Tuesday 6th March taking a train ride to London Paddington where I was collected and driven to the ITV London Studios.

The paparazzi were hanging about outside the gates, wasting a bit of their film on me as we gained access to the studios. On arrival I was greeted by the lovely ITV staff who showed me through to the green room. Later, along with the Prince's Trust staff and other Young Ambassadors we went into hair and makeup and then on to watch some of the rehearsals where we met Alan and ran through the questions we would be asked later on in the day for the pre-record.

Tuesday's show went live at 3pm until 4pm where in the meantime we saw lots of celebrity faces passing through the green room and the corridors. I spotted Bear Grylls, Ed Milliband, David Essex, Wayne Hemmingway and Fay Ripley who didn't mind having a photo taken.

The two Fays.

I had a chat with the lovely Prince's Trust Ambassador Julie Etchingham and then Philip Schofield dropped in to meet us and hear our stories. For us it was a nice photo opportunity!

Philip Schofield and me grinning ear to ear.
Myself, Hayley and Jenny then went off for our actual recording. I have to say I was very nervous, but really excited to be in front of an audience (a very friendly one). I had two stands showing off my greetings cards, I had taken lots of my new foiled cards so that they would shine on stage. Hopefully they will show really well on camera! Everything went according to plan and I was told I did a good job.

The show will be on ITV this Friday 9th March at 3pm until 4pm! Don't miss it, but if you do you can always catch it on ITV player for the next few weeks.

Enjoy the show!