I started to think a lot lately about why I blog about the things that I do. I don’t think I’ll ever come to a definite answer, aside from the obvious fact that I love blogging! But what I have a realised, and should utilise more, is that I think I have a niche.
I’ll try to explain what it is, and hopefully it will make sense.
You’ll probably be aware that since 2011 I’ve run my own home-based bakery called Cuppies ‘n’ Cream which I hope someday I’ll be able to move to premises or even have my own shop. I bake cakes and cupcakes a lot! It’s a humongous part of my life. I’ve gained an amazing client base, reputation and I love the friendships this career choice brings me.
I’m a huge supporter of women, especially women who work hard, and who love to encourage and motivate each other. I started a group on Facebook last year, I think it was November, and whilst I’m very careful about who joins the group, the people that are in there (all 540 of them at the moment), contribute regularly, support each other and are just downright fab! *waves*
So, as much as I know, and am well aware that my baking/recipe content is where this blog started, the travel part is such a big part of my life that it was always natural for me to combine the two. Baking…food…travel – it all in some strange way, fits together. I mean who doesn’t love cake? And who doesn’t love travel?
When I do go away, whether it be a personal holiday or a press trip, I always go on the hunt for cake. It’s a bonus if I stumble across a cute cupcake shop and I love sharing those finds on here too.
“Natalie, I have booked the whole family on a holiday to Italy this year, we’ve never been but your blogs have made a big impact”
Living my best life… with amazing food… 😂 In one of my favourite countries (Italy) in an amazing @clickstay Villa last summer! We’re currently planning our August holiday (bit later than usual) and we like to cover two locations over two weeks…. Italy is coming back on the list again for one of them! We LOVE it! Do you have a favourite country you can’t help but return to? 🇮🇹 #italytravel #tuscany #clickstaytravelblogger #villalife #traveldeeper #travelblogger #holidayinspo #travelholic #foodie
Back in January 2017 when I decided to expand my blog and include travel too, I was deeply worried that people would leave and not be interested, but I think I’ve achieved what I hoped for, and people have stayed. New people subscribe every single day too. I love that.
I find it easy to write about both subjects, but building the content for travel is sometimes easier than the baking and cake side. I’m not talking about sharing a recipe, that’s simples, I’m talking about the in-depth actual useful and interesting stuff. When I’m working on a cake there’s a lot of pressure. Pressure to get it right and not to fu**-up, pressure to make sure that bride and groom 100% wholeheartedly love what you create and that you totally understand what they like.
I struggle to concentrate when I need to take photos where my kitchen doesn’t look like a bag of icing sugar exploded, and try to include myself in them and look ‘nice’ at the same time. I did an Instagram follow-along kinda thing two weeks ago and shot videos from the moment the cakes needed to be decorated, right up to delivery. And blooming-heck it was stressy! Successful, over 4,000 people viewed each part, and I had so many messages and questions, but I ended up losing focus a little on what I was doing and made mistakes and had to fix, which ultimately wasted time. (I do save all my stories to my profile by the way, go follow me here to watch)
However was a success, and judging by the lovely comments online you all seemed to love the final result too. It’s very sparkly… go peek, like, and comment if you’ve got the time, it’s right here.
So, this led to me thinking how can I share more of my cake life and experiences but still make it interesting, different and helpful. I looked through past blog posts and whilst recipe creation is lots of fun, I noticed I hadn’t shared a great deal about the wedding cake set up and venues. The one time I did share a post about one of my favourite venues, Wasing Park, it went down really well and I can see that people still read it every day.
Welcome to Burnham Beeches Hotel and last weekends wedding cake created for the lovely, kind and thoughtful Sarah and Dan.
Chocolate and Vanilla marble cake filled with vanilla buttercream for the bottom tier. Zingy lemon filled with lemon curd and buttercream for the middle. And sticky toffee for the top tier.
I love it when couples choose completely different flavours… when they come out of the oven the smell is amazing. My son literally hangs around like a bad smell waiting for cut-offs.
This cake stressed me out a little. When Sarah first sent over some images I was excited, but scared. I never take on cakes out of my comfort zone and this one was a little. Mainly because it had lots of beautiful sugar flowers and a birch-tree effect which if you don’t get right, could just look damn weird.
I started a day earlier than I usually would purely to get ahead and also so I could enjoy the process more.
Eventually after lots of experimenting and playing around with textures, tools and petal dusts I found a technique I was happy with. Overall this mould here was a great help, combined with a go-for-it, stop trying to be so neat type of attitude everything came together beautifully and I loved the final result.
Burnham Beeches is around 20 minutes away from my home. I drove with each tier in its own box, and assembled on site. Unless a design means the cake needs to be assembled at home, I always take separately and stack on site. There’s less worry about damage, less chance you’ll get beeped at for driving so slow around roundabouts (yes really) and more chance the cake will be perfect on arrival. You can dowel and get everything ready before you leave, so it’s kind of a no-brainer for me to do this.
This does mean I have to hang around a little more at the venue, but who minds that really? I mean have you seen this place…
With elegant Georgian architecture and endless views of manicured lawns and gardens in tranquil Buckinghamshire, a convenient 50 minute drive from London, Burnham Beeches Hotel merges classical style with peaceful country manor-style ambience to create a truly unique wedding experience.
It’s the type of venue where I imagine lots of brides dream about from a young age.
Originally built in 1727 as a hunting lodge for the royal family, Burnham Beeches was then bought by the famous English poet Thomas Gray, before being sold to an aristocratic English family as their home. There’s a few rumours online about when the England football team used to train and stay here… the words naked… and running around the hotel appear more than once!
The bride and groom have the choice of two luxurious bridal suites, both with their own large lounge area, master bedroom, spacious double bathroom and breathtaking views of the hotel grounds.
With a Laura Ashley/countryside kind of theme evident throughout, flowers dotted around, a bar, and huge open windows, the light that shines through is just perfect.
Setting up a wedding cake is made even easier when the venue is as nice as this.
Over the next couple of months I’ll be setting up at quite a few Berkshire based venues. These types of posts mean I can waffle on a little bit too…one of my favourite things!