Posted on August 16 2018
I waited a long time for my babies. But finally in June 2006 a set of boy twins arrived. I was under pressure to return to my career in the promotional clothing sector and life became a whirl of nursery drop offs, au pairs arriving and leaving and business suits stained with regurgitated formula milk!
But the pregnancy must have flicked a switch in my body because the twins were barely walking when I arrived home from hospital with a third baby. Another boy!
For several years I struggled on with a heavy workload and a rigorous travel schedule until one Friday evening, stranded in an airport in Belgium unable to get home to my children for the weekend, I asked myself “Is this really the life I want for my family?”
With the support of my husband, I left my career and basked in spending time at home; doing the school runs and taking the kids to their activities. The children loved it but after only a few months my creative and ambitious streaks were screaming to be let out.
That December my boys & I bought some chocolate moulds at a local kitchen shop and used them to make handmade chocolate gifts for family and friends. By Christmas a seed had planted itself in my mind that I could make some of these to sell: chocolatier kits for other families to enjoy quality time together, making handmade gifts and treats.
Over New Year my vision of a small, home-based business working around the children developed further and January was taken up with sampling and experimenting as well as researching chocolate-types. An image flashed up on my Facebook feed of a mug cake. I called a friend I’d known during my time in the promotional products industry, who I knew had a mug printing press. And my cake-in-a-cup range was born!
But what to call it? Lily and Grace were the names we’d had lined up if our twins had been girls. Then the names had waited patiently in the wings when we were expecting our third child – until we found out it was another boy. Now, finally, an opportunity to use them at the birth of our next cherished enterprise: our artisan baking kits business!
Two years later and I’m making and selling a few hundred baking gifts every month. My boys love having me around. I enjoy picking them up from school every day (after working a school-length day on my business) and I feel deeply fulfilled that I’m achieving a great balance between work and family.
Around the meal table the conversation frequently turns to “How many orders did you get today mum?” and the boys often help pack up the boxes and take them to the post with me on the way back from school. Just this morning, my youngest ran upstairs and thrust my phone at me as I sat drying my hair at my dressing table: “Mum, it says there are orders!”
The highlight of my year? Taking the whole family to a craft fair last December. I proudly watching my boys go out in the aisles offering chocolate muffin samples to strangers, then serving a customer who was rather taken with their charming sales pitch and placed a £30 order! Sampled, sold, packed up, paid for, change given..…all by two ten year olds! They are truly part of my team!
Who said being a working mum means you miss out on seeing your kids? Running a small, creative business aimed at other mums has made my working life into a real family affair.
Discover more > Lily Grace Baking Gifts