February 26th, 2014

Last Christmas

www.cocoandme.com_Nuage & Caramel baked selection box - Coco & Me - Coco&Me - blog - marshmellows - cookies - sable - biscuits - gift - Christmas

(Nuage & Caramel‘s gift box full of baked goodies! Beautifully packaged. The logo on the box was silk-screen printed.)

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A couple of days after Christmas last year, Miss C from Lyon, France sent me the most loveliest of email!

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“… I used to read your blog regularly back in the days and then I decided to change occupation. I went to pastry school and then created my own pastry business… I first heard about you through a series of photos that were done of you working from your house (“this is naive” website* I think) and I think that unconsciously influenced my decisions on how to operate my business. I created Nuage & Caramel in Lyon, France, 2 years ago. I started working from home (and I still am) and I have the project of opening my own space in 2014…”

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Miss C asked wether I was working at Broadway Market on the Saturday 27th of December. She had very kindly brought over for me a selection of her goods! But unfortunately, I wasn’t working on that day!! – The market itself was closed for Christmas holiday… So, I decided to pop out to meet her, like a blind-date, in the pub, for a post-Xmas festive bevvy.

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In the pub, we chatted over our G&T. Miss C was a friendly, likeable, bubbly character. A very enthusiastic woman bursting with energy, really REALLY excited about her baking & for her pastry business. I was touched by how honest she can speak about the influences I had on her. I thought about how wonderful & amazing that my blog’s tiny presence on the world-wide-web can create a ripple that resonate in somebody’s decisions…

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Talking about her exciting plans for her new outlet triggered an emotion in me that I can’t quite explain/ put a finger on. Was it jealousy perhaps? No, not jealousy, it’s such a negative word. So maybe it’s envy? A benign kind that is more like in a yearnful way? – In front of me sat a woman so truly enjoying every minute of her baking journey, following where her heart leads & opening her very own shop.

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Miss C asked wether I had any exciting plans going on currently. I fumbled out an explanation that my priority number one is the children for now. I must say, after hearing her talk about her project with such enthusiasm, it desperately felt like I was using “having children” as an excuse, attaching the justification of my lack of career development on them. BUT, I’d like to think that I’m on the right track. I still stand by my firm belief that you get just one-shot at being a mother to these children, whereas for work, well, even if you should fail, you can change job & start anew, no?

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And right now, I have a perfect “work/ family life” balance, which I am grateful for. I can be at home during the weekdays & do school-runs, go to see our child on stage at school assemblies, help out as a volunteer for the class-trip. I can see the children in action on sports day & take lots of pictures of them, capturing the moment. “Children bring joy” sounds very cheesy I know, but when the kids you love give you zillion hugs & kisses, you know that you’ve something valuable to protect that is gazillions better than any job satisfaction.

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For those reasons, all in all, the current work-family balance suits. It’s a balance I’m super-protective about, because I know that if I tip the balance & add more work, it creates stress & dysfunction. Besides, I am fortunate to actually LOVE my work-life too. I still love baking & I still love selling direct to my customers at the market. It’s actually the best part of the job! – I also have a great band of people working near my stall too – chatting & joking around with them all day is like a cherry on top of the cake. ^^ Now…, wrap that all up, & I reckon it’s pretty good going.

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Ofcourse, there’s the cookbook that is always left on the back-burner (I’m still slowly whittling on it though…), & I still dream of opening my very own outlet too. That dream has never really gone away, it’s perhaps the ultimate goal for me. – I joked to Miss.C that perhaps I’d do it when my kids are old enough, like 18. My youngest is almost 6, so…, (finger-counting…) yeah, maybe when I’m like, 50?! Lol… Lol… Lol… … “Watch this space…!?”

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www.cocoandme.com_Nuage & Caramel baked selection box - Coco & Me - Coco&Me - blog - homemade handmade marshmellows in a cloud shape - cookies - sable - biscuits - gift - Christmas

(Image courtesy of Miss C from Nuage & Caramel. – The handmade marshmellows in a cloud shape!!!! Cuteness!!!!)

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* The article on this is naive” is unfortunately gone now…!? But here’s my blog post about it on here

 

14 Comments »

  1. T- A very introspective post. How lovely that she contacted you and thanked you for your inspiration! And so nice that she had the circumstances to get the training and follow through with it. I understand the twinge of envy!!

    It is my feeling that society sometimes influences us to “follow our heart” no matter how it affects others, which frankly can be selfish. As parents, we have the responsibility of giving our children the attention and guidance needed to make them responsible members of society and hopefully happy ones…and you have chosen to do that, the most important job, and are to be commended! As you say, when your children grow older and more independent, you will be able to pursue your dream and not feel the guilt many parents do later in life of not spending enough time with their kids.

    I didn’t mean to make a speech!! But you are doing the right thing! xx

    Comment by Heidy - February 26, 2014 2:40 pm

  2. Lovely post!

    Success cannot be measured by what the world expects. Our lives are own and we need to live as they unfold before us, one step at a time.

    I love your blog and enjoy everything you post. I live in Montana USA so can’t taste your baked goods — but I have really enjoyed the recipes you share, especial the brownies!!

    Comment by Mary Rose - February 26, 2014 4:34 pm

  3. Heidy,
    introspective…! It is rather so, isn’t it! Lol, I think I spend too much time alone in the kitchen mulling things in my head! ^^
    - Every sentence you wrote I share the same sentiment. We speak the same language, only, you put it together better!!! I’m always aware of how “actions affect others”, & I can only hope that the path I have chosen turn out well. Heidy, thank you for always giving me the encouragement. Best Wishes from the bottom of my heart, T xx

    Comment by Tamami - February 26, 2014 5:48 pm

  4. Mary Rose,
    “to live as they unfold” & “one step at a time”… are precious words. Thank you for sharing with me…! Funny, I was just this week pondering on ‘success’, (after I saw a guy I knew on his TV show) & your first sentence is the answer I was looking for. *THANK YOU.* T xx (Ps: I’m glad you liked the brownies!!!)

    Comment by Tamami - February 26, 2014 5:49 pm

  5. “Having children’ isn’t an excuse, but a statement. & a perfectly reasonable one. *Never* apologize for doing what is right for you & your family.

    Comment by jonquil - March 2, 2014 12:59 am

  6. Hello Jonquil! Thank you, you’re right!!! Your comment gives me strength that I am on the right track! :) *THANK YOU*

    Comment by Tamami - March 2, 2014 1:01 pm

  7. I discovered Nuage & Caramel either through Lucy Vanel’s blog or Café Mokxa’s website, and that was RIGHT before we left Lyon (July two years ago). Never got to try her goodies, but I take that to mean that I am meant to return soon!

    You are absolutely right – you can switch jobs but you can’t switch families (well some people do, but you know what I mean). But it’s easy for me to say so because I never had a passion to pursue like you have and never had to balance family with anything. On one hand that’s a lucky thing and I am truly content, and on the other… it has, on more than one occasion, made me wonder if I was missing out on something. YOU can say that you had a dream, followed it, made it into a goal, and are achieving it one market day at a time. I can’t make that claim, and guess what, I do envy you!

    I know you work hard, and love your family even harder. Be proud of your accomplishment thus far (and more to come, I’m sure!), and know what an incredible thing to be an inspiration for someone. You rock – and your family knows it. xoxoxoxo

    Comment by cocopuff1212 - March 3, 2014 10:50 pm

  8. WOW. What can I say… – I am blown away by your comment above. How blessed I am to have you taking your time to write for me, & with such encouraging words… That’s quite something! Thank you…
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    Cocopuff1212-san, I envy back to you too, y’know! Lol! :) You’re sooooo lucky that you can concentrate on just family & that your husband can amply bring-in enough ‘dough’ to live like so. I do wish I was in your shoes! :)
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    Besides, Cocopuff1212-san, surely it’s too early yet to decide wether you’ve missed out or haven’t had passion in something or not? The boat hasn’t sailed yet! No? – I think you’ve a really good antennae for beautiful things, & I think your photography is astonishing, &, coming from someone like me who hasn’t a clue, I believe you’ve definitely got something there!
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    Also, & this is the important part – I believe that being a proper good person is an accomplishment which also defines one’s being. When I met you when you visited the market with your lovely family, do you remember how we instantly hit it off & your husband was like, baffled? You are a very approachable lady, & kind too. Those attributes & more are testament to how you are as a whole. (…does this make sense? It’s difficult to put in words!)
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    Once again, *thank you very much* for the supportive words…
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    Tamami xoxoxoxo

    Comment by Tamami - March 3, 2014 11:20 pm

  9. Tamami,
    Don ´tworry you’ re doing right.I love your blog like so many people.I ‘m sure that You ‘ re gonna do great things. Family Life and Job,you are on the good way.
    xoxoxoxo from France

    Comment by Anne - March 9, 2014 5:20 pm

  10. Hello Anne!!!!! Soooo lovely to hear such support from you, from France!!!! Thank you very much!!!!! ‘Great things’…, well, I hope so!!!! T xoxoxoxo

    Comment by Tamami - March 9, 2014 5:26 pm

  11. “The boat hasn’t sailed yet!” I love love LOVE that! Thank you back — wishing you a happy weekend!

    Comment by cocopuff1212 - March 14, 2014 2:44 pm

  12. :) :) :)
    Happy weekend to you too!!!
    Here in Ldn, it’s super sunny!!!!

    Comment by tamami - March 16, 2014 6:35 am

  13. Hi Tamami, I know it’s very late notice but we have organised a wedding show next Tuesday 20 May and we are looking for someone to exhibit delicious favours and I wondered if you’d be interested? If you drop me a line with your contact details I can give you a call or send you more information. It might not be your thing, but let me know either way.
    Thanks
    Tessa

    Comment by Tessa - May 13, 2014 3:30 pm

  14. Hello Tessa!!! I’ll send you an email very shortly!!!

    Comment by Tamami - May 13, 2014 3:44 pm

 

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