November 16th, 2010

General update

(Picture courtesy of D from The Teaching Kitchen. – Back in the Summer, D came to visit the market! Her opening line to me was: “I travelled 5000 miles to see you!” Read her account on it here.)

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Hello! How are you keeping in this Autumn?

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I must say, I’m actually doing really good – yeah, it’s getting too cold for standing long outside on Saturdays, but I wear TWO layers of Uniqlo ‘Heat Tech’ garments under my clothes, & I recently bought my first ever wool socks which won’t let the cold penetrate from the ground so much as cotton. (I just can’t believe I never had any before! I’m hooked… so if you haven’t got one, please, I recommend you go out get a pair too!).

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The cake sales are on the up (on some weeks it’s still down, but it’s mostly up). And I’m thinking: “… like, finally!”, after the rather unfruitful Summer period when it was almost not worth the time & effort to be there every week. (I put the blame on tightened purse strings due to the economy’s downward spiral.) Although, having said that it being not worth the effort, I WAS there pretty much throughout, my main drive was because I felt strongly that I mustn’t look unreliable to not be there regularly – I mean, it’s a sure-fire way of losing loyal customers right?

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So anyway, my Summer 2010 was spent moaning about the frustration of bad sales to any ear that would listen – well, the victims were mainly my dearest stall neighbours actually – so I’m sure they’re just as happy that my sales are up finally…! lol.

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Nowadays, it’s just great to be making chocolates truffles & hot chocolate drinks again, because I missed making them (I only sell chocolates during the cold season, from mid-Autumn to mid-Spring). Delicious cakes could surely give people great pleasure, but when I see people eat chocolates, it’s like watching a cat in a cream factory, y’know, really savouring it for what it is ~ there’s nothing like it, there’s a small dose of magic in chocolates.

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Recently I got to thinking that perhaps my children would be reading this blog when they are older. At first I couldn’t quite make up my mind on wether I liked the idea of it. Can’t explain well, but I guess I worry about what they would conclude out of reading this. Recipes to hand-down to them is definitely going to be a plus, but what about all the other things I have been writing here? The ups & vulnerable downs. Perhaps I might come across as self-absorbed? Or perhaps they’ll relate to my passion for what I do.

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I guess the one thing I am proud of conveying to them from this is that I NEVER write anything negative about anyone. And that’s the same when I talk to people in everyday life too. I might like my girly gossips but I hate speaking ill of anyone. Because if you turn it around & imagine somebody else saying that about you, you’d sure get hurt. I also believe what goes around comes around. If you sow the wind, you’d reap the whirlwind. On this note, it’s important to remember that it works the other way too – if you treat others with kindness & respect, IT WILL be returned to you. It could even start with just a simple act of smiling to people you meet. For example, when I work at the stall, I always like to beam my best-est smile. Real smiles. Not fake because a lie always catches you out. Anyway, it’s easy to smile & say thank you because I still can’t believe how great that anyone would want to spend their hard-earned cash on things I make.

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Our boy ‘I’ will be seven in December. Already. (Has seven years passed by that quickly?) He wants to be a footballer, artist & head-teacher (yes, all three in one!). He is very good with reading at school & what’s more important, he has good social skills. He’s amazing with dancing & is tall & very handsome too. I’d like to think he’d make a good pop-star but he absolutely hates the idea of it!

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Then ofcourse, there’s our little girl ‘S’ who is two & a half years old already. It still seems like only a little time ago that I wrote about her birth on this blog. And documented about the time when I was pregnant with her. She is so sweet, so gentle & very clever. I can see positive determination & good concentration skills in her. She’d like to be a school teacher too (actually it was her idea to be a teacher first & ‘I’ copied!).

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When they are old enough to start reading this, I wonder what great people they will be. And I wonder what I will be doing too – I have been thinking that this trading every week at the market thing, I’m probably going to stop in the next year or two. There’s one or two projects I’d like to get my teeth in to. And besides, with the family-life needing more of my energy & attention, the balance of work & family is not quite right anymore & it tires me out & the rest of the family members. Time for re-adjustment. I always think that my children come first in priority stakes, & work? probably third or fourth. You get just one-shot at being a Mother whereas you can re-establish work many times. What I need is a job that can allow me to stay at home & makes lots of money while at it!! lol. But doesn’t every mother want that?!

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About the picture above – that same day there was another blog reader, & she was also from just as far away: CANADA! It is just too exciting for words! The fact that there are people from out-of-country coming to the heart of East London of all places & to put seeing me as part of their journey…! Wow… really…, thank you!!!!!!! Isn’t it weird & wonderful - I sometimes find that there are certain customers who I think are suspect-blog-readers – they’re just taking more pictures than that of usual & observes my face more than the standard fair. Perhaps it’s all my wishful imagination but it makes me beam out a smile of all smiles anyhow. ^^

24 Comments »

  1. Hi! I am a big fan of your blog and I would LOVE to come and see your amazing pastry stand in London. I am in Switzerland though so I don’t know when I will get the chance..hopefully you will still be working there by the time I make it to London! My next vacation is Japan actually and I can’t wait to check out the bakeries over there :)

    Comment by Carole - November 16, 2010 1:32 pm

  2. Hello Carole! Thank you for leaving your first ever comment! ^^ I very much hope to one day see you in the market then! – Have a brill holiday in Japan!!! Lucky you…

    Comment by tamami - November 16, 2010 1:54 pm

  3. I really hope to make it to your stall as well before you decide for a career change. I just can’t believe your sales were down for a while.. It all looks so interesting and incredibly yummy. Happy to hear you are back to getting the recognition you deserve!

    Comment by Caffettiera - November 16, 2010 2:05 pm

  4. Caffettiera, I know! Tell me about it! I think it’s also got to do with my stuff not being the cheapest – but what can I do? I use free-range eggs & EVERYTHING is handmade! The costs are what makes the price… But it does drive some people away to cheaper goods in these hard times…
    - I look forward to your visit – & do say hi!

    Comment by tamami - November 16, 2010 2:26 pm

  5. i think that being able to read the downs as well as the ups (& the recipes, of course) will be important for your children– life isn’t perfect, but you adapt & move on. 4 years down the road, what will you think reading your starting words? ;)

    Comment by petoskystone - November 16, 2010 2:27 pm

  6. I found some good advice once that said,
    “Give the same amount of respect to everyone as if they were your grandfather, and the same level of patience you would give your baby brother.”

    I’m like you in that I like my gossip, but I really don’t like speaking ill of anyone (even though I do slip up, I’m trying to stop completely).

    I’m selling my brooches in April, the advice about smiling I will take with me. I’m still having problems knowing how to smile with my teeth, it looks really contrived. Maybe the next time I’m laughing I will look in a mirror.

    Comment by Jennifer - November 16, 2010 3:27 pm

  7. petoskystone, I hope so! Writing this blog has become a big part of ‘me’, partly forming who I am right now. I guess I worry that I am not as selfless as how my own mother was when we were children. She’s a proper dutiful Japanese housewife, whereas I think I don’t think I can be.

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    Jennifer, ditto! I slip up too! ^^ (But feel bad later.) And about smiling, if it comes from the heart who cares how it looks like – I’m 100 percent sure your smile brightens everyone’s day! – Good luck selling brooches! (and by the way, I think it’s awesome that your little bro has a blog too! If he carries on, I’m sure it will be a treasure for him. I mean, the things that happens when you’re a kid, the sights you see, what thoughts you had, etc – it gets lost with time doesn’t it, but he is hopefully going to keep them! Amazing.)

    Comment by tamami - November 16, 2010 4:18 pm

  8. Two layers of HEATTECH thermal clothing?!! That’s pretty intense!

    Comment by Helen - November 16, 2010 5:02 pm

  9. Helen, lol! Yes! I really need it! I’m one of those really cold-all-the-time people. They’re really wonderful – because it’s thin but v. warm!

    Comment by tamami - November 16, 2010 5:37 pm

  10. Yes, you see, you have fans all over the world :)

    Comment by cocopuff1212 - November 19, 2010 8:36 am

  11. Hisashiburi Cocopuff1212! Arigatou…!!!! I still very much remember when you came too (& that offer to visit…!!) It was so lovely talking to you, as if it wasn’t our first time to meet! I hope you & your beautiful family are well!!! xx

    Comment by tamami - November 19, 2010 12:16 pm

  12. You should offer cooking classes. I’m self taught, but love to cook and bake and people have been loving my classes. They are willing to pay for the help, even if it seems simple to you, people like to watch you do it so they can learn visually. You can make decent money offering classes once you get the word out. You could offer them in your home or rent a kitchen at a community center or something. I use a kitchen/meeting room at a local senior living center that is really nice and they don’t charge me because they want people to come see their beautiful new establishment. I’ve been advertising mostly using FB and by posting flyers and brochures around town. Good luck to you whatever you decide to do. You’re very talented and hard working. Just keep doing what you love and make sure you share it with your fans when you can. We love your blog.

    Comment by Anne Boulley - November 19, 2010 7:49 pm

  13. Anne,
    first of all thank you very much for your kind comment. I have pondered about offering classes, but never really took any action toward it… It’s wonderful to know that you are doing so well with your classes. V. inspiring. – especially because you are self-taught like myself. I’m currently trying to figure out a harmony between work that I will love & daily life, not sure exactly how it’ll pan out, but I will def. share it with you here – when I know what & how! xx

    Comment by tamami - November 20, 2010 3:31 am

  14. hey there just come across your blog and love reading it as i am seriously thinking of opening my own choccy and cake stall, oop norf.
    more and more people are getting me to bake for them espesh at xmas and a few have mentined me doing this.
    so i shall be reading all of your blog to get tips hints etc.l
    very inspirational thanks

    Comment by nicola webb - November 20, 2010 4:52 pm

  15. Hi there Tamami! Hisashiburi! :)

    It must have been years since I visited you at your stall, every summer I think to myself “I must go visit” but unfortunately I’ve still not managed to go again :( Next summer, for sure!

    Heat tech actually works??

    What I find difficult is when someone else is badmouthing another person to me, I don’t quite know what to say or how to react. Do I just nod and say “Un un”, or do I just change the subject? Sometimes I just change the subject but in a way I don’t really think it’s a good way of dealing with the situation because I know when I pour out my heart about an annoying/ frustrating situation to my friend I’d be a bit miffed if they just changed the subject, you know? Perhaps you can give me advice on a good way of not having to join in the badmouthing lol!

    Jan x

    Comment by Jan - November 21, 2010 6:41 pm

  16. Nicola, I started off in a very similar way! ~ baking cakes & making chocolates for friends/ family, & getting great feedback from them! ~ I hope you enjoy reading this blog! And I hope to hear from you again!
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    Jan!!!!!!!! Oh how wonderful to hear from you again! Hisashiburi!
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    I’ve been there too, listening to others bad-mouthing… it’s awkward isn’t it. What I do is show interest in what they have to say, then express disbelief like “seriously?!” “no wayyyy!” & perhaps say “but I’ve seen another side of that person y’know!” which will hopefully make them change mind, or “but I’ve done that same awful thing once too!” (which’ll shtum their bad-mouthing as they’d be consequently be talking bad about me too).
    Anyway, hope to see you soonio! xx
    ps: heat-tech works!

    Comment by tamami - November 21, 2010 10:06 pm

  17. Thanks for updating us Tamami! It is understandible how conflicted one can be when trying to juggle work and a young family while still trying to do what you love. I do have an at-home job typing for a children’s hospital that allows me to care for my elderly mother and keep her at home with me. I agree with you that family. and especially parenting. are SO important. I respect that you are thinking of adjusting your goals to continue to make that your priority. It sounds like you are a very good mother and it is clear from your blog that you love your children and are proud of them. They should be very proud of you because of that, and also because so many people in so many countries have been inspired by your creations as well…. The wonders of blogging!

    Comment by heidy - November 21, 2010 10:52 pm

  18. Awww… Heidy, *THANK YOU* for your heart-warming message… When I was reading it, my eyes went a bit watery I must admit! Sounds as though you’ve found ‘the balance’ of work & family. – I wish to do the same as you… ^^

    Comment by tamami - November 21, 2010 11:13 pm

  19. Hello from Minnesota!!
    I am coming to London this week! I will see you at your stand this coming Saturday! Finally after following your delightful writings, I shall meet the wonderful pastry cheff/ food writer herself!!
    All the best to you! Keep writing!

    Lyn

    Comment by Lyn El - November 22, 2010 12:07 am

  20. Lyn!! Minnesota!? O.m.g, how fantastic!!!!!!! This is so exciting!! I’ll look forward to seeing you!!! A handful of newcomers have found it difficult to navigate to the market, so please plan the journey here ahead. C U! xx

    Comment by tamami - November 22, 2010 4:03 am

  21. Part of me is sad that Coco&Me isn’t forever, but I completely understand what you’re saying about needing to find a better way to balance work and family. (Your kids will be proud of you when they’re old enough to read your blog, no question!) I’m sure that whatever projects are on your horizon, you’ll be brilliant at them! I second the suggestion to teach cooking classes… from the way you write your recipes (and the way you helped me with my friends’ wedding cake), I can tell you’d be a natural at it.

    I feel very lucky to have been able to visit your stall – I hope I get another chance before you move on to other things. xx

    Comment by Rachel - November 23, 2010 6:31 am

  22. Rachel, aww, it means a lot to me when those words come from you. You’ve been a long-time reader for this blog, & a consistent one. – The stall may not be forever, but I have a feeling that this blog will be around regardless!! xx

    Comment by tamami - November 24, 2010 10:51 am

  23. Tamami-san

    You look super cute in the shot :)

    It’s always lovely to read your post – thank you for sharing your positive views and I wish you the very best of luck whatever decision you’re going to make (and your children will be very proud of you). Hopefully I can come to see you at the market soon – I might even wear triple layers of heat tech these days, stay warm and keep inspiring us. xx

    Comment by keiko - December 2, 2010 7:02 pm

  24. Keiko san, arigato~!!^^
    It’s so lovely to hear from you! I hope all is well! Likewise feelings about reading your blog too Keiko san, I always always check it out.
    I must say, I don’t really know how things’ll pan out exactly, & it scares me a little now that I publicly wrote a kind of deadline to myself…! But apparently one tends to act upon it if you’ve been talking about it to people, so hopefully that’ll be the case!
    - I would absolutely love to meet you one day ~ I can’t believe we almost did but didn’t last time!!! xx

    Comment by tamami - December 3, 2010 12:02 am

 

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