Thursday, 22 December 2011

A Tearoom Without Cake... like a year without Summer

December 2011

This is my farewell to 2011. I am sure you will be relieved to hear that this is not a sentimental round up of the year that's been. Instead I am striking at the very heart of any good Tea Room and talking today about Cake.

Cake Dreams

I am opening a tea room next year in Cardiff, South Wales. This is now a statement of fact. Whether it be in one venue or another remains to be seen [venue news FINALLY coming around January 14th 2012].

My earliest memories of a traditional British Tea Room begin and end with the cakes, bakes and delicious home makes. In our World where we now try to move away from excess and live within our means, this may upset you. If you feel so inclined please now imagine that I am a Bootmaker and my trade means a fantastic shop window filled with every kind of mouthwatering shoe you can imagine.

The Dark Arts - Cake-Craft

There is a magic to creating something that not everyone can do. I meet two kinds of people in this World; those who say they can bake and those who are adamant that they cannot. It is us in the baking fraternity with our private language of genoise, folding and multiple spelling of Macaron that are perceived as magicians to the Muggles.

Baking is an art, a science an evolved and evolving tradition. From simple to ornate, visually pleasing or a bit rough round the edges the output is the same. That is a consumable experience to excite the Human senses made by hand with passion, knowledge and importantly with love. Well gosh, there it is, that last sentence sums up my feelings on cake and hopefully expresses to you what I mean when I say that the art of quality home baking will be at the very heart of my Cardiff Tea Room.

A Little Announcement

If you live in South Wales, have nodded your headed while reading the above and are interested in a baking adventure like the one I have described, drop me a line HERE. I will be looking to take on a baker to help us create our wonderful home bakes and will be auditioning in January/February 2012. If you know of someone who may be interested then send them this blog post and ask them to get in touch with me.

So, I leave with you for 2011 with some Cake Quotes

Please give your favourite a little Tweet if you are so inclined...

A compromise is the art of dividing a cake in such a way that everyone believes he has the biggest piece.
Ludwig Erhard - via @want2bakefree

A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges.
Benjamin Franklin - via @want2bakefree

A lot of movies are about life, mine are like a slice of cake.
Alfred Hitchcock - via @want2bakefree

A page of my journal is like a cake of portable soup. A little may be diffused into a considerable portion.
James Boswell - via @want2bakefree

All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.
George Harrison - via @want2bakefree

Always give them the old fire, even when you feel like a squashed cake.
Ethel Merman - via @want2bakefree

Merry Christmas and a very very Happy 2012 
to you and your loved ones
David x

Monday, 12 December 2011

Introducing the Clandestine Cake Club - Cardiff

December 2011

Cardiff – Cake without the sin


New Years Resolutions – Cake

Without the Sin (or at least less!)


Thursday 19th January 2012

7:30pm – 9:30pm

only 28 Spaces Available

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Win BOTH Great British Bake Off cookbooks 
Series 1 [2010] 
Series 2 [2011]

Plus EVERY entrant gets a prize 

I can exclusively reveal that I have a stand at the Fabulous
Cardiff Chapter Arts Centre 'Festive Food Fair 2011' on
Saturday 10th December 2011 @chaptertweets 
with all profits from sales on our stand going to the charity LATCH
I Want to Bake Free will be selling cakes, bakes and gifts, putting a festive twist on some old tea room favourites!

Not to mention meeting all of you in the flesh, come say hi!
Read on for the event details...

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Your One Stop Catch Up Shop

November 2011

I have been writing 'I Want to Bake Free' since June 2010. Some of you are new to the story and many of you have been following since the early days; either way thanks for taking part.

This post is a quick guide to everything that has happened so far for to bring you up to speed. I have taken the introduction to each post so that you can decide for yourself if you are interested in that part of the tale.

Ideally you should be able to read this one post and have an idea on the story so far...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

BBC Radio Wales Interview - Friday 18th November 2011

November 2011

On Friday I was lucky enough to be interviewed by the lovely Jamie Owen on his and Louise Elliotts' week day magazine show. Listen along by clicking the play button below.

NOTE: The link above is HTML5 if it doesn't show in your browser click HERE

Jamie and the team are going to stay in touch on a regular basis as the tea room opens in the coming months which is awesome!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Tea to WI For

November 2011

The Great Tea Taste Test - First and Foremost a Tea Room

At the point of conception, the idea for this business was the the combination of tea and cake. This is a very simple and very crucial point. As you read this and follow my journey around all the nitty gritty in setting up a business, it will all be for naught if you and I cannot sit around a table in March next year and enjoy a hot cup of your favourite tea with a stunning slice of fabulous cake. [Yes I am that deluded that I still believe I will have time to sit around and take tea at leisure, where as in reality I will be doing my headless chicken impression]

Tea is a ritual that for many of us forms part of our daily routine. From a traditional 'Breakfast Blend' to a fine 'Oolong' and taking in those great herbal infusions; we know what we like and how we like it served. As with the search to find a coffee supplier that I wrote about HERE, I need to trust a supplier who has done the leg work in sourcing the finest selections of teas and can bring the World to my door to share the best with you.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Coffee Controversy - A Matter of Taste and Trust

November 2011

The Man from Del Monte, was from Bolton

Today I want to share with you how I am sourcing suppliers. I have given a lot of thought as to how I want to do business and who I should partner with. I don't believe that you have to travel around the World to personally inspect suppliers unless you actually are the man from Del Monte. As I do not have a panama hat or white suit I have decided to find suppliers who can do the job for me. The people that I am dealing with work very hard to source their ingredients from the best suppliers, for me they must also be...
  • Passionate about their product
  • Trustworthy and ethical
  • Strive for the very best quality
  • Reliable and sustainable
If the man from Del Monte can say yes, to the above then that's the decision made.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

BBC Radio Interview - November 2011

November 2011

I randomly ended up on BBC Radio Gloucestershire this week. I am still not entirely sure how this happened, it was great fun though. I am now available for weddings, funerals and Bah Mitzvah's

NOTE: The link above is HTML5 if it doesn't show in your browser click HERE

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ethics - The Results!

October 2011

Not all of this starting your own business lark is a barrel of laughs. But the majority is!

I make the choices, I have written about how hard it can be to make an informed choice and the fear of committing to a course of action. At some point though, decisions have to be made to get the business going.

My last post touched on the importance of ingredients, quality and delivery as I was mulling over the ethical considerations. I am delighted to share with you the results of my 7 question survey [if you haven't taken it yet click HERE].

The Survey

How important are the following when visiting a tearoom/coffee shop?

1.) Price
Price is important but for many people it is the overall visitor experience that counts and price is just one consideration in that.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

How to be Ethical in Business

October 2011

I need you. One of the big challenges in starting this venture is decision making. It is like taking a journey and knowing the destination that you want, but not knowing if the path you pick will take you anywhere near. One of the big decisions from the outset is reconciling what you care about, what I care about and what is commercially viable; in other words business ethics.

So this post is a musing on all things ethical in business, DON'T tune out! I need your input. I promise you a little discussion, a space disaster and some questions to get your thoughts flowing.
What You Care About

Over the past five years I have made changes in the way that I shop. Telling you this isn’t intended to show off about how super I am, I am not. I know that I could do an awful lot more. I noticed myself becoming paralysed into not changing my shopping habits because our awareness has become cluttered with causes and campaigns. For instance I try to buy ‘happy’ chickens, free range eggs, fruit and vegetables that haven’t flown further than I have that week. We tend to pick a cause so that we can put a mental tick in the box saying that we are doing our part. Outside of our shopping habits, this may be a donation of money or time to charity, any way that you live to reinforce your ethical beliefs.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

BBC Great British Bake Off - Who Cares?

October 2011

There is an important clichéd rule to writing which I have decided to invoke today. I am using this loop hole to veer away from my scheduled plans to write about Business Ethics in Baking (new Blog to follow soon). 

They say ‘write about what you know’ and I know about #GBBO @BritishBakeOff (The Great British Bake Off for those not on Twitter).

DON’T PANIC this is not some FANBOY rant but I feel the need to describe what the show means to me and why I care. This is seriously important to my own project and will help you understand how this television programme has impacted on every part of my plans to open a tea room. From inspirational baking, to meeting the contestants as their stories unravel to finding fabulous new friends on Twitter who share my passion and enthusiasm for all things #GBBO, who cares? We do!

What on Earth is he talking about?

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Somewhere in the Middle – Part Two

September 2011

I wrote my first blog entry on Sunday 25th July 2010 in order to chart the progress of change in my life through leaving my career to starting my own business. Now 15 months later it's time to recap, review and update you.

Nagging Niggling Voices

I wanted to feel free. This feeling lurked in the pit of my stomach nagging at me particularly when I took a break from work. The nagging would get even stronger as the creeping dread of going back to work became real. This was often brought into sharp focus when spending time with successful friends and family who from my perspective managed to incorporate their genuine interests into their careers. 

The nagging voice would ask a simple question; you are successful and hard working, so why can’t you apply the same work ethic to something you enjoy and make a living from it? We all face self doubt and fear, but the simple answer to this question is that there is no reason not to try. For me the tipping point came from asking another question, if I don’t do this now will I regret it for ever?

The first question was easily answered. The things that I really enjoy are baking, growing, sales, people, creative craft. The freedom that I wanted to feel was not about being less busy or feeling less responsible. It was about the freedom to make your own choices and decisions and to work hard for yourself creating something that you love.

This is what so many people with whom I have shared my experiences about this project identify with. Many of us, myself included, fall into jobs that pay the bills and offer a career path which is so far away from the dreams we have for ourselves when growing up. There is nothing wrong with this, unless you are unhappy in your job and know that you could do something else that would improve your life in all aspects. When you feel like this, then surely you need to listen to the nagging voice in your head and be brave enough to plan your own change. 

I found myself in awe of creative people such as artists, craftsmen and bakers enjoying what they do for a living. To me these people made their own decisions each day about what they would do and were able to work truly self motivated.

My business motivation is not to make the most money I can. It is about creating something beautiful, dare I say magical*, that provides a service people love and fulfils my life.


Part of this blog is to share with you how I feel as well as what I am doing. I am allowing myself to feel excitement, speaking with you on Twitter @want2bakefree and on this blog helps that excitement grow every day. I am also worried about the possibility that my latest venue is not secured and won't be until early 2012. There is so much work to do in the coming months and I know from bitter experience last year that it could not work out in my favour. I have put those fears aside, knowing that January will either be bleak or the best month of my life.

Up to Date Update

On a lighter note (enough of the feelings mushy stuff!) here is a quick look at what has happened since I posted in July 2010 and what you can expect to read coming up in the next few weeks and months. For a more in depth look check out my interactive timeline HERE it's marvellous.

PAST - A brief run down of the key moments in the past 15 months that have brought me to this juncture;
  • Decision - June 2010
  • Resignation - August 2010
  • Coach House Hope - September 2010 (read more HERE)
  • Business In Focus Advice - September 2010 (read more HERE)
  • Purchasing - 2010/2011 (read more HERE)
  • Starbucks - November 2010 (read more HERE)
  • Coach House Doom - January 2011 
  • Brighton - March 2011 (read more HERE)
  • Project x - February 2011 Onwards (read more HERE)
  • Bake the Menu 1. - Victoria Sponge Video (watch the movie HERE)
  • Today - Thursday 22nd September 2011 
FUTURE - What you can expect to see and hear from me on the blog, via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook in the coming weeks and months;
  • Bake the Menu – New Video Episodes: Lemon Tart, Scones, Meringue, Carrot Cake, Treacle Tart, Chocolate Cake, Fruit Cake, Biscuits 
  • Supplier selection – Tea tasting, Coffee choices, eggs and butter anyone? 
  • Much more procurement fun
  • How to setup and run a website truly for free
  • Project X – Venue 2012 announcement 
  • Marketing with social media
All I can ask is that you stay in touch, comment on my posts, get in to discussions and be part of the fun. See you in the future, somewhere forward of the middle.

*the term 'magical' is not owned by Apple despite the best efforts of their marketing department

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Bake the Menu - Video Blog

September 2011

Early in a start up business you need to decide what to deliver to your customers and the most cost effective way to do that. This decision making process is crucial and must take into account, consistency of delivery, quality and pricing to name but a few. I will deliver a high quality product in a comfortable and classically vintage tea room.

There are three excellent reasons to 'Bake the Menu'. Firstly for quality control; to ensure that menu items are of the best quality and recipes can be tweaked where necessary. Sadly this also means that i'll have to eat the menu too. Secondly I need to work out the exact costings of each menu item, to set a fair price and identify the cost of sale for each menu item. The third reason to 'Bake the Menu' is so that I can keep a video log to update the website with all the mouth watering and delicious home baking that my tea room will serve.

My rules for this film series are simple and I will guarantee you the following:
  • Films will be kept short and snappy
  • I'll highlight our favourite tips
  • Everything is 100% home made where practical 
  • We always wash our hands!
  • Recipes are available on request, unless they're family secrets
In return:
  • If you have something to say, post it on the blog or subscribe to my Channel on Youtube
  • If you have some of your own top tips, then let us know
  • Get involved & be inspired
Without further ado I bring you Volume One...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bring Back Don't Ask Don't Tell

September 2011

Project X - Venue 2012 How it Happened and Some More Hints

Welcome to all my new readers as well as you regulars. After last weeks lightning bolt revelation that I may have found a venue for my tea room, which is available in Spring 2012, I feel it is only fair to give you some background. I will intentionally remain cryptic because this venue is SO very good I cannot risk someone else swooping in and gazumping me. When I reveal all on the 1st December take a look back through these words and reminisce but for now as long as you don't ask I won't be tempted to tell all. On with the story...

March 2011

Saturday nights in your late twenties onwards seem to revolve more around either being away at weddings, birthdays, christenings, other social occasions or at home having an early night so that you can enjoy the perfect Sunday. So a night out to a bar in central Cardiff on a Saturday is certainly not the norm for me. A very fabulous friend who writes a very fabulous blog, moved away from Cardiff earlier this year. To see her off we had a party! It was one of those weekends where events collide; most importantly my very dear school time friend was due to visit from Exeter. After a little cajoling my partner and I convinced her that she really did want to go to a Lesbian farewell party in Cardiff on Saturday night. Fortunately for me neither the X-Factor or Strictly Come Dancing had started on the telly yet!

It is important to give you an insight into my frame of mind at the time. Almost every person in my life, both personally and professionally has some idea that I was planning on starting a business opening in Spring 2011. As I make no secret of this fact, indeed I am actually promoting the journey right here, so I certainly cannot complain when every person I meet asks how it is going and more importantly why I am not open yet. The novelty of the introduction “Oh my Gosh, Dave is starting a tea room…” wears a little thin, even when you are as passionate about your project as I am. Having had a few knock backs this year in March I was still struggling to be enthusiastic 24/7 particularly when you don't have much news to update with.

One of my traits as a sales person is the need to tell a story in detail leading to a poignant climax. When people ask about the tea room, I usually base how much detail to go into by judging how interested they appear. On Saturday 5th March 2011 I wasn’t up for going into much detail particularly as the majority of guests were strangers. One of the guests at the party was particularly interested in the tea room and so myself, my partner and my best mate ended up chatting through the Tea Room saga from the initial decision right through to the loss of the Coach House a few weeks earlier. It is always nice to meet someone who seems genuinely interested in finding out about my project and, despite my negative frame of mind, it was a really lovely evening discussing the stresses of being back to square with my venue search.

Out of the Blue

I didn’t think anything else about that evening as I trundled off to Brighton the next day; into week two of my corporate filler job. Tuesday morning that week I received a call from my other half telling me to check my Facebook private messages of all things and there it was. On Tuesday 8th March 2011, about 10 minutes before I was due to meet a very important client in my new job as Director of Sales, I had this message…

“Dave!!! Great News! ... has got a potential place for your tea shop!! In the ... , it’s being refurbished so you wouldn’t have to pay for that and they might want a traditional tea room!! Call me if you’re interested” Megan

Back in the Game

It isn’t in my nature to be mysterious however over the coming months I am going to be a bit shy with information. The reason for this is simple: this unit is not in the bag yet. In fact I won’t know if I have it until about the 23rd December 2011. I am entering a process that is competitive and for that reason I have decided to keep quiet about some of the details. Because I am actually dying to tell the World about how much I love this option I have decided that it should be safe to go public on Thursday 1st December 2011. On that date I will reveal all. The site is being developed in the coming months and I intend to record this transformation in several formats, including photos and video. This serves the purpose of documenting the process and, if I am successful as I pray I am, will serve as a great way to look back in a years time and recall the struggle.

Next Time

As 2011 is rushing past at a pace, it is time to start turning my attention to all the fabulously exciting jobs yet to do. Including researching suppliers, procurement, writing the menus and most importantly Baking the Menu! Stay tuned for updates and if you are a potential supplier or can recommend one drop me a line. You can expect new images soon in the gallery along with my very own Youtube channel coming soon!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

AAA Business Rating - A View, A Brew, A Loo

and An Exciting Update Too

February 2011 – Today (September 2011)

This blog post is rather exciting for me as it finally brings you up to date with where my tea room plans are at right now! From writing my first entry well over a year ago it has taken me this long to fill you in on the trials and tribulations of the past 18 months. I am now inching closer to achieving my dream and this blog paves the way for the radical news that I may have found the venue of my dreams.
This is bittersweet news for you as I need to remain rather cryptic about the details, but read on and in the coming weeks I promise it will become clear.

NOTE: Later today I will add a timeline which will provide a chronology of the journey so far and some key upcoming dates, including my new target opening date! UPDATED Timeline is HERE

February 2011

When you set up a business you find that people want to give you advice, after all your friends and loved ones usually like to be helpful. We all like to impart knowledge and we all have exciting ideas that we just love to share. Don’t worry this is not going to be a rant about how well-meaning folk stick their noses in to your business, as I learnt a long time ago to listen carefully to advice. Surprising information can come from sources you never thought likely to help. It is the helpful sayings and clichés that I particularly love and the best that I have heard relating to what makes a successful attraction for tourism came from a chap working for Visit Britain;

“The goal is to get people to spend their time and money with you’; their needs are few, a view, a brew and a loo.“ Visit Britain

This may seem a little coarse but the sentiment is truthful; to fulfil the basic Human needs, both spiritual and physical. Our spiritual needs are personal and subjective, however our physical needs are simple and yet so easy to get wrong. Many of my friends myself included will, regardless of how good a venue is, site the condition of the water closet as the make or break for a positive review. Suffice to say to find the perfect tea room venue this is stella advice.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

How Starbucks make the Bigbucks

November 2010 - January 2011

This post is about working for Starbucks, judging them, learning to love coffee and working out to what extent I need coffee to have a successful tea room business in 2011/12. Here is the next instalment in my journey.

The chances are that you are reading this segment of my tea room journey, while drinking a lovely hot beverage. I can confidently make this statement because 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day and with the Worlds population currently estimated at 6.94 billion, that's a lot of coffee!*. As I haven't drunk my quota for the past decade and quite a few people on the globe don't own kettles I feel quite confident that you people out there must be guzzling coffee all day.

Coffee to me is a mystery. Like many people who work in offices I started drinking coffee because everyone else did and it was part of my induction alongside how to operate the photocopier. Unlike most people though my day became shaped by the effects of my morning cuppa, which looked something like this;

9am (9.15am ish) - Arrive at desk log on, emails etc
9.30am - Morning Coffee
11am - Caffeine driven productivity madness ensues
1pm - Lunch
2pm - Afternoon energy crash begins
3pm - Dangerously bored and sleepy now, best to just have another coffee
4pm - Caffeine mania returns productivity goes through the roof
5pm - Final end of day crash, the last 30 minutes drag...
6pm - Pass out

Suffice to say that I stopped drinking coffee in 2006, no real surprise that this is also the year that my career really started moving forward at a pace.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Diary Excerpt–The Birth and Death of the Old Coach House Tea Rooms

August 2010 – January 2011

August 2010
27th August 2010 – Business in Focus Advice
“Today I met with Jane Way at her offices in Cardiff Bay. Amongst several of the things that we discussed were how to go about finding the perfect venue for my new business. I have quite a specific idea in my head for what sort of shop I want for my tea room, this is based on good places I have been to in the past and also what shops I think are in Cardiff in areas that I think will work. 
For my first tea room and indeed my first business, I have decided to rent a property to minimise the risk involved and also keep my start up costs down. I figure that a good street facing unit on a busy shopping street area is the way to go. With this in mind I am targeting Wellfield Road, Albany Road, Roath, Pontcanna, Penarth, Whitchurch Village, Llandaff Village, Cyn Coed and Cardiff City Centre to start with. 
I will need A3 planning consent to operate my tea room, however getting this kind of planning consent where it does not already exist is really tough. It turns out that in the recent past Cardiff has been very free with handing out A3 consent, so takeaway outlets and restaurants have popped up all over the city. As a result Cardiff has now developed the opposite attitude and won’t hand out A3 easily. Scarily Jane also pointed out that it could take over a year to find a venue, she has had some clients where it has taken several years to find the right place…”
Tuesday 31st August – First Impressions of a Seemingly Expensive Property
“There are so few commercial properties listed on the internet in Cardiff that aren’t huge warehouses. It is really frustrating especially as it is now so easy to find residential properties online through third parties. I am stuck with and neither of which have very much choice for my narrowed down search. From looking around so far properties of the size and in areas that I like range from £10,000 to £50,000 per annum.  I have budgeted in the region of £15-£20,000.
Mike has seen a property near Sophia Gardens which is pretty close to Cardiff City, however it is over my rent threshold and is one of the first properties i have found.”

Sunday, 1 May 2011

How to Find and Lease the Perfect Commercial Property - 10 Top Tips

Yes this is one of the most exciting titles for any Blog post. I toyed with punning my way into this subject, but it is just too important to make the subject line any more exciting. I shall endeavour to make the content a little more interesting than the title!

July 2010 - May 2011

Just Looking I am Not Buying

I have been looking for a commercial property to lease in South Wales of the UK for the past ten months, to become the perfect home for my Tea Room Business. The writing of my business plan was one of the first steps in creating my venue requirement brief. You probably have a pre-conception in your head for what a traditional tea room looks like. I am coming at this from a different angle, I can picture several types of buildings that may suit, but actually it is the content and subsequent functionality that helps me stay open minded to a venue. Jane Way advised me that it may easily take over a year to find a venue, when we met in July 2010 and here I am ten months on with no signed lease agreement. It may be very easy to find the venue you want, but the majority of small business' rely to a crucial extent on finding a venue that is actually quite unique. To me it feels like finding a needle in a haystack.

When I sat down to find my perfect property I started by creating a brief that would allow me to rule in, or rule out certain venues quickly. There are many things to consider when making your venue brief here are a few good questions to ask yourself particularly if you are looking for a retail property;

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Procurement Fun 2. Pretty Tables

October 2010


My favourite two methods of acquiring furniture for my Tea Room make use of the on-line organisations Free-Cycle and Gumtree. +I currently have the luxury of time and a lovely large spare room to cram full of goodies.
Free Cycle - Cardiff
Both of these sites have their pro's and cons but used together they are a wonderful tool for finding the great bargains.

Monday, 18 April 2011

How to Right a Business Plan Wrong - 10 Top Tips

For the regulars visiting this blog you will know that I am in the process of setting up a traditional tea room business in Cardiff, South Wales, that celebrates home made, fair trade, fabulous cake, coffee and loose leaf teas. I started this mission in June last year (2010) and am focussing the next few weeks on bringing you up to date on the story so far as I build up to open in Spring 2012.

August - October 2010 

Anyone can start a business, you see that happening every day. I notice usually when I think that someone is doing a bad job of running a business particularly bad tea rooms, café's and coffee shops. When you sit down to a sticky table, or get told to clear your own tray, or people there to provide a service to you are plain rude, I just think how do you people make any money? I could do that better! Have you ever had the same thought?

Watching Mary Portas giving what seems to me like pure common sense to people in business always ignites the entrepreneurial fire in my belly. Why do these people go into business?

So two interesting points here, anyone can go into business and do it badly and most of those people don't seem to have a passion for what they do. To make my tea room business a success I would need to be thorough in the start up and entirely committed to seeing the vision through.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Some Links I Love

April 2011

Some Bogs that I am loving at the moment, take a moment to have a look at them. There is some great information here I have yet to start sourcing my tea suppliers so drop me a line if you have some ideas.

The Pink Whisk
15 Gift Ideas for Tea Lovers
Mellow Monk's Green Tea Blog: A temple founded by a mellow, tea-loving monk
The Great British Bake Off Series 2

Just for you a very special Sunday recipe! Let me know how you get on.

Melting Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Captain Janeway Lives in Wales

August 2010

At the risk of losing you

I realise that a blessay about Star Trek is likely enough to make one half of you beam with joy while the other half leap to force close your browser. This is about my story and nothing to do with increasing power to the pattern buffer, inverting your tachyon beam through the deflector array or ejecting the warp core.

This is not a picture of Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Intrepid-class USS Voyager. The devout amongst you will know that this is a photo from the filming of the pilot episode of Voyager featuring the actress who got the gig before Kate Mulgrew made the role her own and that this character played by the French Canadian actress Genevieve Bujold was named Captain Nicole Janeway. Luckily for the series she walked out after day one of filming.

16 years later I took it as a sign of divine providence that my newly assigned Welsh Assembly Government business adviser is named Jane and that this Jane married a gentleman named Way.

Jane Way Captain of Industry

I met Mrs Jane Way upon registering my interest to receive free impartial business advice via the Welsh Assembly Government. Being fortunate enough to live in the Celtic red corner of the UK known as Wales (see map) and being forthright in my desire to create jobs (for myself), the government is keen to make sure that good business ideas flourish. They fulfil this desire by subsidising the commercial business support entity Business in Focus.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Procurement Fun 1. The Welsh Dresser

This little beauty came courtesy of Anthemion Auctions of Cardiff who provide a rather fantastic general auction on every 1st Wednesday of the month.

This is a traditional Welsh Dresser. There are two things I was determined to have in my tea room which I was prepared to splash out on.  A beautiful Oak Welsh Dresser was one and now I own it.

But can you guess how much I paid?
a.) £240 b.) £440 c.) £640

I can't tell you much about this one, other than it has been hand crafted clearly with a lot of love.

I Want to Bake Free on


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