2013, blog, Chichester, tattoo

Moving On Up


Exciting times, after months, yes, literally months of having Valerie, my web designer chase me at odd hours of the day with her occasionally being across the pond and being up at silly time of the night just so that she can catch me on Facebook, my bakery’s website is finally live.

This is my last post from the WordPress platform itself as posts are being transferred to my website, where you will find past and future posts on a separate tab. Please do visit the website, change your bookmark and sign up to be kept abreast (oh how I chortle at that word).

You can find the new website here.

See you on the other side. I have a pretty amusing post to follow. Remember that Miss Tattoo Liverpool competition I was in the finals for? I never did tell you what the outcome was, did I?

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2013, Chichester, Crazy life stuff, tattoo

For the Love of Tiara & Liverpool Tattoo Convention


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It all is down to the fact that I am hankering after a tiara.

Not too long ago, my dear friend on Facebook managed to convince me that I needed to fly the flag of the older women and enter myself for the Miss Tattoo competition at the Liverpool Tattoo Convention. I was going to the convention anyway as I was booked to have the most epic tattoo by Katriona MacIntosh, who has been nominated Best Newcomer.

So, I entered myself. The selection process was pretty simple. You post up your chosen photo with a little blurb about yourself. The public can then vote and the ten with the most votes would go through to the next round. So here was my entry. I was somewhat hit by a onslaught of prosaic diarrhoea and wrote this lengthy blurb in some vain attempt to make myself feel more credible as a candidate.

My interest in tattoos spans over a period of almost 20 years, sparked initially when I spent a few years of my childhood in Borneo before it was subjected to inevitable modernisation. As a child I found the permanent skin etchings on the Dayaks and Ibans intriguing. Actual skin doodles that No mother could scrub off with soap and water!

Over the years, I have collected a substantial amount of tattoos, starting on skin not so publicly visible and moving on to areas which are difficult to cover up. I am quite heartened that I have yet to be publicly scorned for my tattoos and have never been discriminated against because of them.

I have had several career changes in my life, from being a teacher to working as a midwife for 7 years and now owning my own bakery. In between, I have paused momentarily (several times!) to have my children. All this while acquiring more and more ink and not allowing the perceived, yet questionable stigma of being a tattooed woman to hinder whichever path I choose to take.

My Japanese leg sleeves are by Darren Stares, they are still work in progress as is my Saira Hunjan backpiece. Other pieces by Nico of Softmachine, Emma Grech, DannyBoy of Inksmiths of London and Glenn Symonds. I have others planned and often chortle silently to myself when people appear bemused when I tell them that I am not done yet. Not close. I’d like to think that I represent that section of the society to whom getting tattooed is not a passing phase of the young and rebellious. Being tattooed to me is about filling in the blanks, owning the skin I am in and finding solace in the permanence of the ink.

In my spare time, I participate in roller derby and love to nurse the bruises and grazes I get from it. I will be at the Brighton Tattoo Convention this year with my Whipped & Baked tattoo inspired cupcake stall. Come and say hello to me.

And I don’t know if it were my wit or my ankles, I made it through to the next round. The next round was pretty much the same. People had to vote again, and despite the slightly tricky process of having to register and wait for a confirmation email, which invariably ended up in everyone’s spam filter, I actually made it through to the final 10.

So here is the bit that I didn’t quite consider the implications of. The final is at Liverpool Tattoo Convention. By a panel of judges. On a stage. In front of EVERYONE. And I’ll have to introduce myself and all, and actually avoid snorting into the microphone or giggling like the village idiot.

Whilst the are people who are congratulating me for my go get ’em approach to life, I am silently face palming myself. Since opening the bakery, my hair has been tucked up in a baking snood. It’s been weeks since I’ve worn high heels and what’s worse is, I literally have NO eyelashes left. I’ve somehow managed to dust my eyes with icing sugar every time I’m making icing and then caramelising my eyelashes when opening the door to a hot oven. Yum. Crunchy lashes.

So, I’m trying to remind myself that this isn’t a beauty contest. As I would never consider myself as befitting to enter a beauty contest. No one who is careless and carefree enough to accidentally shave their eyebrow when giving their hair an undercut is ever going to be beauty contest material.
And I intermittently remind myself, that as a heavily tattooed woman who has been collecting ink for over 20 years, I’ve pretty much shown that the very fact that I am tattooed has never hindered me from getting what I want, or doing what I want. The career progression from teacher to midwife to baker sets a great example of this. Even now, with the bakery, my ink is publicly visible and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. Not outwardly at least. I’m being judged for the work I produce and by how I conduct myself with others – that should always be the case for everyone. And that is what this competition is all about, it’s about women who are inked who are being positive role models.

Rewinding to the fact that I hardly have any eyelashes anymore, to match my one non-existent eyebrow, you’ll be pleased to know that I have found ways of coping. It ain’t pretty and it’ll show me up as a somewhat vain individual but guys, eyelashes are important, they’re like windshields for your eyes. So I got myself eyelash extension.

Katrina, my beautician at Glorious Spa is now my new bestie. What a conjurer of miracle she is. Never mind that even she looked surprised when she told me that the fake lashes actually looked good on me. She can do no wrong in my (fluttery lashed) eyes.

I’m not sure if I’ll manage another post before I leave for Liverpool late on Friday. I’m making contingency plans. I’m the oldest by about 10 years at least and with more children than all of them put together, I suspect. There’s no way I’m going to win. So tomorrow, I am going to the toy shop and I’m buying myself a Barbie tiara.

Just watch me.

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bakery, Chichester, tattoo, Whipped&Baked

Plus Seventeen Days (and we are almost there!)


Dinner update: Tonight’s dinner was a culinary delight. We had chicken kiev (not home made) with rice, and pretend peas as Izzy The Rockstar forgot to buy some when he went to do the shopping. I fear rickets might set in and I just simply will not be knowledgable enough to identify it.

The bakery is almost done. I’m not sure what lessons I have learnt from this experience but one thing I am sure, more money would have soothed the process beautifully. However, I could be philosophical and think that perhaps I would appreciate it more because we did most of the work ourselves and took the time to get the finer details to how we want them to be but flipping heck, it’s been really hard work and there is still more to come before we can open the doors officially.

I’m currently sitting in a pub, enjoying a glass of Coke and a packet of over salted crisps. I have my painting jeans on and I still have gloss paint in my hair. I’ve managed to get the personal wifi password from the bartender and I’m surrounded by younglings discussing £100 tracksuits. Slaveboy is sound engineering for the night’s Open Mic Night.

All this to distract myself from trying to figure out how to get the 7th Wonder (aged almost 3) to take her Ramones tee shirt off so I can wash it. It’s been many many many days.

Here goes some photos.

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The children, plus Firstborn’s boyfriend carried the chest of drawers from our house, which is about 100 paces from the bakery. I wanted to do away from the pre-fabricated shop counter look and Slaveboy did well in acquiring furniture which he then upcycled into counters.

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Here’s the Small Shouty One showing off the custom made knickers cushions that my friend, Lindy of Busy Fingers made. I think they look fab. 🙂

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Excuse the yellow sponge on the floor. Firstborn was cleaning the floor with it and at the same time doing her ballet exercises. I’d only noticed it when I was editing the image.

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We also started giving the big window a clean. I’m pleased to share that my legendary wax on wax off window cleaning moves were much appreciated by the passers-by.

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I found a great use for all the business cards I collected from tattoo artists over the years. I’ve always wanted the bakery to draw its inspiration from the tattoo world but I was keen to showcase how much tattoo art has developed and evolved into a viable artform in its own right. To do away from the pre-conceived idea that tattoo art is substandard, crude and lacking depth.

I’ve finally arrived to a decision as to when I plan to open. I’ll share it with you all soon. Once the gloss paint dries. Until then, have a good night. I’m back to eavesdropping on a conversation between a group of early 20s who are declaring vehemently that Imagine was originally an Elton John’s song.

I despair.

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Brighton, cake, cake stall, caramel, Chichester, convention, Crazy life stuff, Cupcakes, meringue, Mood changing crazy chocolate cake, Outings, strawberries, strawberry, tart, tattoo

Brighton Tattoo Convention 2011


>There are very few events that I really look forward to every year. The Brighton Tattoo Convention, organised by a lovely man called Woody is way up there in the top 3. It’s vibrant, quirky and very friendly. This year was doubly better because we were returning to the event with our cake stall.

You guys here to look at photos of tattoos, you can just scroll down 😉

These sold like err, hot cakes. Coca Cola cupcakes with Sailor Jerry rum buttercream. Half a bottle went into 50 cupcakes’ worth of buttercream.

I actually love this photo.

They were so cute. If anyone know who they are, please let me know. I would love to send them a copy of the photo.
I have just been told that the guy is Sacha Lehne from Primitive Abstract.

Some wickedly fantastic ladies.

I had hair envy.

The moustache Mafia were out in full force at the weekend. Between them and the men donning trouser braces, I had plenty to ogle at.

Pretty sure he’s a tattooist.

Pretty, pretty ladies. And they liked my cakes!

Her hair reminded me of Neil Gaiman’s Crazy Hair book. It’s phenomenal.

Aaaaa, the Wildcat gang. I do love them. Ever so jolly and funny. With their bling bling sign that they only take out twice a year because it’s too big to fit anywhere else. The guy there loves big bosomed women bearing cakes.

And this is what all good girls get when the come bearing brownies and cinnamon rolls for the Wildcat gang.

I saw some pretty spectacular chest pieces at this convention.

This reminds me of the bizarre conversation I had with one of the staff. I had been asked to make the prize cake for the best decorated tattoo booth. I was trying to look for Woody, and the guy had a radio communication jiggy thing. The conversation that followed;

“The cake is for best decorated booth…”

“Best decorated boobs you say?”

“No, boothS. Not boobs.”

“Yeah, boobs, that’s what I said.”

At which point he flashed us his decorated chest.

Sigh. I could have gone on with that conversation for a fair while, voluntarily.

He was a bit nice. According to my firstborn.

And I’m pretty sure this lovely lady was born with a few rib bones missing. Check out her tiny waist.

I’m always a sucker for tattoos of roses.

My piercer sought me out on Sunday. Being a vegan, she couldn’t have any of my cakes. Must get round to making her vegan cakes.

The winners. Blackheart Tattoo Studio. Unbeknownst to me, this turned out to be Woody’s studio and he was a bit reluctant to accept it, seeing that he was the organiser of the convention. However, he relented and said that it would make his wife (pretty lady in black) really happy to have won it.

All in all, a great weekend. Looking forward to next year’s.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Brighton Racecourse

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cake stall, convention, tattoo

Brighton Tattoo Convention


Those who know me will know about my fascination with body modifications, especially tattoos. I haven’t been a religious visitor to tattoo conventions, not out of choice but more due to other commitments getting in the way but this year I am determined to attend the two which are relatively local to me – the London International Tattoo Convention and the Brighton Tattoo Convention.

The whole project started off with me emailing Woody, the promoter of the Brighton Tattoo Convention about me having a cupcake stall there. Being a complete beginner, I really had NO idea what I was dealing with and you can imagine my absolute shock when Woody said and even went as far as striking a handsome deal with me as far as what acquiring a stall would cost me.

The month leading up to the convention involved me ordering banners, postcards and business cards for the cake enterprise, Whipped & Baked and also the daunting task of getting in touch with the Environmental Health department in order to get my domestic kitchen inspected. There was the last minute process of obtaining a Public & Products Liability insurance and also the sudden realisation that I would need sneezeguards for my stall. Then there were the cupcake cases to be bought in bulk, the Cash & Carry account to be got, the long list of ingredients that needed to be compiled, rechecked and sourced from the most economical supplier.

Two days leading up to the convention, I must have had on average 3 and half hours of sleep per night. I would start the process around 7.30pm and would crawl into bed at about 7.00a.m only to have to wake up at 9.00am on the Friday in order to get to the Brighton Racecourse to set up my stall.

One of the two sneezeguards I had made for the convention
I love the fact we were under the Runners & Riders sign
The view across the hall as we were setting up

I did have the wisdom to make the handmade decorations for the cupcakes ahead of time as they were made from fondant. I think they look pretty quirky and cute.

And this is how the stall looked like on the day. I was pretty happy with it. It was as close to what I had imagined it looking given the short period of time we had to prepare for it.
That is Slavie (aka he who moves heavy things for us) behind the stall

We actually did really well. Our stall caught everyone’s attention and we had several photographers requesting to take photos of our cakes. We sold out of brownies and cinnamon rolls. People were repeat buying and asking us if we did weddings and where we normally traded from. Whipped & Baked’s website has received more fresh hits since the convention and I am now working out the logistics of getting a stall at the London Tattoo Convention.

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