My not so perfect life

So, this is how today went….I awoke peacefully this morning after a night of epic thunderstorms to no alarm clock. Although back from France I’m officially on ‘holiday’ until Monday therefore lie-ins all week woo-hoo! It was when I checked the date I think that it all went downhill really, August 17, nothing really remarkable I know, but here’s the thing – in exactly one month today I’ll be 40. Naturally, I had a little crisis of confidence as it’s my last month of thirties ‘what am I doing with my life’ ‘what have I achieved’ ‘where’s all the time gone’ ‘I don’t want to be old’ etc. etc. Pathetic I know, and after some words of support from my dear husband (get a grip, just a number, have a word with yourself – you get the idea) I decided to try and move on. As we’re still on ‘holiday’ we decided a nice walk and pub lunch was in order. There’s a lovely country pub not too far away from us, lovely food and good service with great views over Cheshire to the Welsh Hills, so that was it, decision made. After a leisurely saunter of about 15 minutes we’d almost reached said establishment when I realised I’d left my purse at home. No one else carries cash or cards so yes, apparently it is my job to carry everything for everyone, like some kind of family Sherpa. I knew exactly where I left it the previous evening after making my online purchases but this was not met with the level of humour I had hoped. Off we all go back home, unfortunately by time we get there no-one really fancies making the journey back and it was all getting a bit hangry (you know when your angry cos you’re hungry). Still, all was not lost, there’s a closer food establishment that’s open so we go there. At this point I’d normally include a nice picture of the outside seating area, my lovely pear cider or even tasty food but this is not possible, and this brings me on to the absolute worst bit of the day. I SMASHED MY PHONE. I knocked it off the table on to concrete and totally broke the screen. It still works in as much as it’s ringing and I can see all the notifications pinging away but the touch screen is completely dead. In some ways this is worse because I can see the texts and Whats App messages there but can’t read them. To say I’m gutted is an understatement. I feel like part of me is missing, this is totally new territory to me as it’s only in the last few months that I have relied on my phone so much. Even basic stuff like telling the time – you don’t even need to wear a watch anymore, have a diary or address book it’s all there in that little metal box of amazing-ness. So, I’ll be slightly out of phone action for a bit, but hopefully not too long, after determining that it is in fact vital I have a phone we’re off to check out new ones tomorrow – (we’re not talking about the fact I’m in contract til December, let’s not spoil the holiday mood!) do they do a phone for the mega clumsy? Sorry there’s no pictures this time, they’re all on my phone! I’m just off to download Twitter and Instagram to my iPad before I have another meltdown!

Oh and by the way, the title of this post is inspired by my holiday read of the same name, by Sophie Kinsella, my favourite author. I’ve read everything she’s written, the Shopaholic series are my absolute fave’s and my sister says I’m very similar to Becky Bloomwood in many ways! Totally recommend anything she writes.

Living the Cheshire Life

Fame at last, I made it to the pages of Cheshire Life Magazine! OK, so I may be a little over-excited on this one, but can you blame me really? I’m in there (August edition page 43) with a big smiley face and a tower of Rocky Road in the Cheshire Show feature. It’s hardly a full page spread promoting my business admittedly, but close enough for now. At least my name is on there, and surely I can add ‘as seen in Cheshire Life’ to my profile now?!? Being in my local shop and someone recognising me from Cheshire Life actually made my day, I know I’m sad and you’re probably thinking I should get out more but I genuinely don’t have the time lately! Naturally I feel such fame warrants it’s own blog post, if you don’t have a copy or can’t get one, here I am……Cheshire Life

 

There’s more to life than cake

Apparently this is true but at present my life is all about the cake. However, this week we had a box of organic food delivered – I know, get me, going all organic! It wasn’t my idea but in the spirit of trying new things why not? It was from Riverford Organic Farmers. You choose which box type you want, veg, fruit, meat, recipe, they source and pick it from local farms and then deliver it to you. All fresh and organic, even comes with the soil still on. (Don’t judge me but I actually find this a bit annoying, yes it’s all wow, so fresh, just dug up etc but then it’s urgh, soil everywhere, dirt in the salad drawer – do you see where I’m going with this). My laziness aside, they were wonderfully fresh fruits and vegetables and very good quality. Plus the meat box comes with a sheep’s wool insulation type thing to keep it cool so if you’re not in when they deliver it they can leave it on the doorstep. All the packaging is taken away and reused or recycled next time, I’m impressed with this and the service was excellent. The produce is seasonal so I’ve ended up with some items I perhaps wouldn’t normally choose. Kohlrabi??? What can I say I’ve lead a sheltered life, I only just found out I like beetroot recently after successfully avoiding it my whole life, and if you have a recipe suggestion for Red Chard please share…We’ll see how long this novelty lasts, but for now to quote Riverford; I’m ‘living life on the veg’

Riverford food

Work is as much fun as fun

Is it allowed to enjoy going to work this much? In fact, I love it so much can I even call it work? I’m not sure! Despite the early starts, packing and unpacking the car, standing around and twelve hour days the Foodies Festival was brilliant. The organisers and staff were lovely, helpful and readily available to answer all my daft questions as a newbie trader. They could not have been more welcoming – I’m not even creeping to get a discount for next year (unless they’re offering of course, all helps) But genuinely they were epic! I was in a market stand so a ready erected pitch with a roof and table, nice and easy set up nothing to build. I was right in the centre of the row overlooking the main seating area so a really good position. To my left was Flavour Magic a collection of seasoning and salts and on the other side was Ooh Fudge with some of the tastiest fudge I’ve had. The event was three days long, starting on Friday which was relatively quiet but Saturday was very busy, I think everyone came to see Candice Brown, last years Great British Bake Off winner as she was doing a cooking demo and book signing. Take a look at the photo, she happily posed for a picture with my daughter, I had to stay and sell the cakes, but she did come over later to say ‘Hi’ as she knows Alana, much excitement for us as we’re huge Bake Off fans.

Foodies Collage Celeb

The other people are from The Apprentice, Rebecca Jeffery and Oliver Nohl-Oser. Both really lovely people. Oliver was attending with his company The Cumbrian Sausage Company, he makes sausages in case that title didn’t give it away. Apparently they’re available from Ocado, so I’m going to give them a try next time I order groceries. Rebecca lives not too far away and gave me loads of useful advice on growing my business, she’s great at drawing a crowd and got everyone coming over, plus she did a live video on Instagram which she then tweeted, great for exposure! So nice, and then she bought cakes. Luis Troyana (Also of Bake Off fame) was compering all three days, and after introducing myself (some may say he didn’t have a choice!) at the Cheshire Show, came over for a chat each day, also gave me some suggestions for other events to look into.

Sunday was even busier, loads of people out and about. Fortunately after some early morning rain it was blue skies for the rest of the day and Tatton Park is always a wonderful destination for a day out. My VIP winners had the most amazing day and kept coming to tell me how much fun they were having.

All in all, well worth it, met some great people, made some good contacts and spread the word a little further that Ridiculously Rich by Alana cakes are in Cheshire.

Foodies Collage.jpg

 

Foodies glorious foodies

It’s Wednesday and that means one thing in my house…..cake delivery day! This in turn means there’s an event coming up, woo-hoo! This weekend the event is a big one, and one I’m very excited about – it’s the Foodies Festival at Tatton Park. It’s going to be my first major ‘food’ event. The Foodies Festival is the UK’s largest celebration of food and drink and it’s now in its tenth year so a really established occasion for food lovers. It looks to be a great day out, very family friendly with lots to see and do. There’s going to be top chefs, Bake Off and MasterChef winners and finalists doing cooking demo’s, naturally I’ll be seeking them out – love a photo opportunity! (see previous post!) It’s all set to be an amazing event, and if I wasn’t going to sell cakes I’d definitely be there as a visitor! However, as I won’t be going as a visitor this time, I’m going to gift a VIP experience to the event on either Saturday or Sunday – I’m all about the sharing! The VIP experience includes a glass of fizz on arrival, access to the VIP area with reserved front row seating in the demonstrations theatre, unlimited refreshments and a VIP goody bag to take home. How cool is that?! Who doesn’t love being spoiled?

If you’re interested in taking part message me to be entered into the draw. You can also retweet my VIP Twitter post (find me @Ridic_Rich_Ches ) or add a comment to my VIP Instagram post ( ridicrich_cheshire ) or Facebook, Ridiculously Rich Cheshire. I think that’s all the options covered! I’ll announce the winner on Thursday evening after 9pm so that’s just over 24 hours to go!

If you want more information about the event or you can’t make it to Tatton Park, there are Foodies Festivals all over the UK, check out http://www.foodiesfestival.com

And next week, please revisit my blog, I’ll do a full round up of the weekend.Foodies Fest.jpg

In the beginning there was cake…

Well you’ve missed the first six weeks or so of my epic journey, so I’m going to try and summarise it with these edited highlights to get you up to speed! There’s been a lot of research, and not just the cake eating kind, paperwork and all the legal stuff. If I’m honest this was the bit about running my own business that worried me, the boring but vital bits! In actual fact there’s loads of help available online and luckily as Alana’s been doing this for years she’s got so much knowledge and experience that every question I have she can pretty much answer. Anyway, here are a few photos to show what it’s been like so far.

Stall shot

All set up for my first event at the Warrington Horse Show

sean-wilson-e1499722435646.jpg

At the Royal Cheshire Show, a big event for only my second show but so delighted to meet some of my foodie heroes. Sean Wilson (aka Martin Platt from Coronation Street, my fave soap) now an award-winning cheese maker.

luis-troyana.jpg

Luis Troyana, finalist from the Great British Bake Off from 2014

JC Novelli

And again at the Cheshire Show, with Jean Christophe Novelli. Such a tough job this….

Jenga at Arley

A Peanut Butter Fudge Cake tower at Arley Hall Plant and Garden Festival.

Beach shot.jpg

For research I took some cakes to the beach to check they taste just as good in the sunshine! Good news is, if anything they taste better! Can you tell the Peanut Butter is my favourite.

Capesthorne with flowers

The very beautiful Capesthorne Hall in Macclesfield. I’ve discovered some really wonderful places lately.

Ridiculously Rich – I’m working on it!

I’m Caroline Brown, at the time of starting this blog aged 39 and 3/4 . So, I’m usually just living my life as a wife, mother, dog walker, going to work and all the rest that goes with it. This year as I approach the big 4-0 I decided it was time to do some of the things I’ve put off so far. Hopefully not a mid-life crisis just yet, I’m not talking like bungee jumping or holding a tarantula, I’m not that brave! But regular things I haven’t done – like go to a pop concert, do an endurance driving challenge, go boating, eat foods I haven’t tried and take control of my work life, I’ve wanted to run my own business for years but it was never the right time or the right opportunity. The latter is where I will focus my blog (as let’s face it, that’s probably the most interesting). It started with a Tweet, I’ve always been a huge fan of The Apprentice and follow Lord Sugar and some of my favourite candidates on social media. When Alana Spencer tweeted she was launching an Ambassador programme to run your own business under the Ridiculously Rich brand name selling her cakes I was sooo excited! After much deliberation and research (sampling of the cakes!), I decided that as I was being brave this year, I would apply. After a selection and interview process, believe me, no one was more surprised than me when Alana offered me the Ambassador franchise for Cheshire. Since then its been a busy time, that all happened in May, and so much has happened over the past 6 weeks that I’ve decided to record it in a blog. Partly so I can share the experience, but also to show that if you want something you really should just give it go!

I love food and all things related to it so I’ll include events I’ll be going to so you know where to get your Ridiculously Rich goodies, updates on what events were like and information and reviews on places I go, and pretty much anything else I consider worthy of sharing!

Although I’m part of the Ridiculously Rich family, Ridiculously Rich Cheshire is run as my own business so all views, comments and photos are mine unless credited otherwise.

Ambassador image

This is me (back row left) with Alana and my new Ambassador family.