Well we are now and truly in 2016, all the Christmas Decorations are packed away, the house is starting to fall in order after all the parties and dinners that have taken place the last couple of weeks and now everyone is back to work!

Here at Chalming Cake Designs we were busy with orders right up until Christmas Eve and then again on boxing day to the New Year, I have managed to take a few days after New Years to reflect on my first year as a full time Cake Maker & Designer.

I left my full time chefs job at the end of November 2014 and then I got married to my wonderful & supportive husband, went on honeymoon, got back just in time to celebrate Christmas & New year with my new family and that took me straight into January 2015 where I sat and fell back into a pit of panic…’What have I done??’, ‘How could I leave the security of my job?’, ‘What if I fail?’, ‘I might not make any money this month, next month or the rest of the year???’, and the list went on. Two weeks I was battling with myself. Eventually I had to get up convince myself that I could only do my best and see what this year had in store, because if I’m honest if it wasn’t going to work I would just find a job (simple as that!), not the most positive way to start but WOW was it an eye opener!

I enrolled to do an accounting course and learn more about SEO (as I had a bit of time to kill, atlas I thought I did) and most importantly I decided to do a complete rebrand and name change, new job, new look, fresh feel! I worked very hard with Steph from ‘Over the Moon-creative marketing’ and the final results were incredibly rewarding! The reaction I got from old & new clients, friends and family were very positive and I cant thank Steph enough for all her hard work and dedication to my brand and completely understanding the vision I had. For her patience when she spent her time on a design for me to completely change my mind! I am very fortunate to have such a talented sister!

2015 also saw a wonderful relationship blossom between Chalming Cake Designs & Rhinefield House Hotel. I was so pleased to be asked to become a preferred supplier at Rhinefield House. With its beautiful grounds and breathtaking architecture, it makes the perfect location for a memorable wedding. I was invited to partake in the wedding open evenings that take place every 6 weeks. I have also made cakes for birthdays being celebrated at Rhinefield. So thank you for allowing me to be part of the vision for weddings at Rhinefield House Hotel.

Another very exciting relationship begun when I managed to track down an incredibly talented wood sculptor! Kevin at Lumber to Wonder he is a wood genius, and I feel fortunate that our paths have crossed. Wood cake stands are the latest craze and Kev takes on all my ideas and creates the most beautiful wooden cake stands which he hires or sells. With his gardening business GKA Garden Services  he is always on the look out for unusual branches and has a keen eye for detail. We have a couple of projects booked in for 2016 and I can not wait to see what he creates next!

I launched ‘The simply Chalming Wedding Cake Range’ and had the pleasure of working with the very talented Stephanie Osmond Photography, she took the most gorgeous images of these simple yet elegant wedding cakes and really helped me to show them off to my clients.

I also joined My Wedding Fair Hampshire, fabulous concept and I look forward to doing more work  with Kimberly & Rebecca in 2016. Thank you letting me be part of this fair!

In 2015 I was also picked for the Top 3 Bakeries in Southampton on the Three Best Rated and had my first cake image and my business name & details, published in a respected international magazine, Spring 2016 issue of Wedding Cakes magazine.

With all the highs there were a couple of hiccups. I will let you into the biggest one. It was the hottest day of the year I had a wedding cake, a 2 tier birthday cake, 100 cupcakes and 50 cake pops of different designs. I had spent the whole of the Friday getting everything done as quickly as possible because of the heat. Everything was going to plan, we had friends coming for dinner that evening, it was going to be a lovely Friday. Then it happened, an hour before my guests were about to arrive the chocolate started to melt, the cake pops were falling of the sticks. I was going to have to redo all the cake pops and start from scratch. So I entertained my guests, when they left I showered had a big cup of coffee and then started again. The redos were going well until I realised the heat was affecting my cakes aswell!!!!! I couldn’t go to bed knowing that the cakes that needed to be ready in the morning weren’t going to be perfect, so I had to to rip all the decoration off and start again! I worked until 4:30 that morning. I was a little tired the next day to say the least, but all the work was worth it and my clients were happy (this was the most important thing).  So for every other order I borrowed my father inlaws air-conditioning unit and I created a cold room in our dinning room (I have a very patient Husband)

I also celebrated my 30th birthday this year, it was amazing!

On reflection of my first year in business I can honestly say that every little thing was worth it, even the worrying in the beginning, the worrying made it a reality and worry made me work harder to achieve this wonderful opportunity. Even in my busiest weeks where I was working all hours under the sun and was a little tired, I was happy and I absolutely love with my business!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wonderful husband Alan for all his support over this very important first year. For putting on an apron to come and stand with me at wedding fairs, for making the teas and coffees for my consults, for understanding why he has to sit alone at night because I am tinkering away in my office trying to keep ahead with all my orders, for making me feel so secure and allowing me to focus on my business and finally but by all means not least for listening to me talking cake all the time and helping me to make decisions about business and designs.

To all my family & friends for their constant enthusiasm to my work and sometimes having to sit and watch me work, I do love the company!

Thank you to all my clients past, present & future, it has, is & will be my absolute pleasure to create your cake and I couldn’t do this with out you!

I have had an incredible year and so far 2016 is really starting to take shape, I already have loads of beautiful weddings booked in!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas & New Years, I welcome 2016 and look forward to sharing all new designs with you.

Much love and thank you for reading.

Sonia xx