My Wednesday's are dedicated to two things - blogging and The Great British Bake Off. Last Wednesday after rereading and editing it a thousand times I posted my blog on How not to copy other people's work, I then got my cup of tea and managed to tick a few to-do's from my list. At 8pm I promptly sat myself down infront of the TV and switched over to BBC1 HD (i'm sure you'll agree, there's only one definition the bake off should be witnessed, and it's not low). I watched Paul announce 'I don't like it... I love it' (major cringe), I listened to Mary's kind judgements and deduced she must have a cold the poor thing, she's all raspy, and I chuckled at Mel and Sue's many ominous references to people's Boxes. But what was going on inside my brain (other than 'holy cow that's a bright green biscuit-cake-baby-box-thing!) was intrigue at all the similarities between the bake off and my daily life, to name a few - The sheer panic on their wee faces, the vague instructions and the way they overcome the constant hurdles put in their way. As always, I decided to write my thoughts down and share them with you, so here are the reasons I believe running a small business is like the great British bake off -
1. The Pressure, Oh the pressure!
Theres nothing like taking something you love and doing it under an insane amount of pressure. Pressure to please and get it perfect every time (even though you've done it before at home/on practice runs/every other order you make) theres still pressure each and every time. Flapping around like a headless chicken really is a test of your love and passion. Funnily enough we love it so much we go and do it again the next week!
2. Theres always one grumpy git
Whether it's over the phone, a delivery driver, or yourself on occasion, they are unavoidable in life just as in business! Maybe offering them cake will cheer them up?! (although it doesn't always work with Paul!)
3. There's an abnormal amount of cake
The cornerstone of any small business I do believe. Cake, biscuits and a cup of tea will see us through the day. No matter how stressful it gets tea and cake make everything a little bit better.
4. The Mad rush
You think you've got everything under control, it's organised chaos but it's going well...then an email comes in requesting a press loan or an interview and it needs to be done by tomorrow cuts other people have deadlines too! Just like the bake off it's all systems go!! 'Drop everything and get on this because it's a fantastic opportunity so you can't miss out, and don't forget to finish everything you were supposed to do today! Wait I need a minute...where's the cake and tea?'
5. Everything is a total mess
Although everything in it gets very much cared for, my poor studio is often in colourful chaos, similarly to the Bake Off kitchens when time is up, there's ''stuff' everywhere. From Lampshade kits and sample stock to boring bills and blog ideas. It gets tidied up after a big rush which unfortunately isn't every few hours like it is on the bake off. I love having a good tidy up; I only wish I had bowls to lick instead of paperwork to file.
6. Someone's always doing something similar
The snide glances and the subtle comments in that tent don't go amiss! 'well yes we are both making pink macaron's but i'm sure it doesn't matter'. We've all been there Paul-Hollywood-lookalike-who's-also-called-Paul, don't worry, you'll do fine! A bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone. You both came up with you're own ideas and thats what counts ;)
7. A bit of innuendo never goes a miss
Just like Mel & Sue we know how to have a giggle at a comment like 'Nice Jugs' or in the case of my giant knitting needles the other day, comments like 'I've never seen a pair that big' & 'they're enormous' had me chuckling for hours. (picture below)
8. The bit where you sit on the floor and stare at the oven
This one is a little less literal (I hope!). There comes a time where whatever it is you've been working on leaves your control. It may be a cake entering the oven or a new product range going online and you sit and wait for the orders to come in. You watch quietly fretting and not knowing how it will go and boy is it nerve-wracking! So while I may guffaw at all those poor bakers sat on the floor staring into an oven, as tedious as watching paint dry, I do sympathise with their lack of control and understand the longing for it to all go according to plan.
9. Some people are never satisfied
'it's too dry' 'it's not cooked' 'it's too expensive' 'I want it now'. Most people *cough* Mary *cough* are wonderful and kind and considerate and find something lovely to say. But there are the Pauls of the world, the Simon Cowells, the hard-to-please'rs who just want it all. They don't care that someone has baked a 10 foot high cake in 2 hours that's been carefully adorned in intricate, handmade decorations. If one layer is 2mm shorter than the others then its out. "well it looks and tastes great but it's a shame that one layer isn't perfectly even". You can't please 'em all!
10. Someone's always trying to figure out your secret ingredient!
See it happens in all walks of life! If you have a secret or a way of doing something different, someone else always wants to know! Be it a nosey neighbour (that's totally me in our neighbourhood!) a competitive contestant or a 'I could make that myself'-er... It's all very Desperate Housewives, cloak and dagger.
11. At the end of it all there's the dreaded judging
Luckily my customers are far nicer than Mr Hollywood! I'm sure he's lovely in real life but as a judge he is firm and somewhat brutal. I say we all just listen to the Mary's of the world because she's always constructive but also kind. That way we can learn from our mistakes (if there are any!) and not feel the need to go home crying into a slab of chocolate.
12. We all try to avoid Bingate
So far it hasn't happened this year (although Dorret's chocolate moose came shockingly close!) it's emblazoned in our minds as one of the all time lows(?) / Highlights(?) of GBBO. A few years ago when Diana removed Iain's pudding from the fridge and it didn't set, disaster! And lets be honest, we've all been there. Maybe we weren't sabotaged (controversial I know) and maybe it didn't involve a pudding, but when something goes really wrong sometimes the urge to chuck it in the bin in a crazy rage-fueled panic feels overwhelming, *visions of the hulk holding a pudding come to mind*. I hope we can all avoid 'bincidents' in the future. Take a deep breath, think WWMD (what would Mary do) and move forward, not binward.
13. Theres always a soggy bottom incident
*So many soggy bottom jokes* I just couldn't resist! It wouldn't be fair to the Great British Bake Off to dedicate a post to it and not mention a soggy bottom! Here's hoping theres no soggy bottoms in future!
And with that pleasant image in mind I bid you adieu!
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Thank you for reading you lovely lot. :D