2013, Chichester, Whipped&Baked

Curiosity Is The Purest Form Of Insubordination


A quick one, SniffSnorters.

Following from the last post where we were awaiting the publication of the local newspaper on which we were front page for the whole street art storm in a teacup debacle, we were astounded to discover that we made front page.

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We have yet to officially hear from the Council.

I have however been forwarded this clipping from the Chichester Society newsletter. It’s not available to the public yet. It intrigues me that the article hasn’t even a byline and let’s not even get into the inaccuracies of the reporting. Now remember, children, unless the artwork is endorsed by an official establishment and is under the umbrella of some well known project, then it simply isn’t allowed to be called art. Other than that, it’s just copying.

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To reading about this today. My Twitter feed was alive with tweets from local Chichester tweet-people.

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It’s elicited plenty of comments on my Whipped & Baked’s Facebook page. The reach so far is in excess of 2000.

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And, on Twitter, @tnoac the people behind the Street Art Project have been making their views known on the matter.

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I’d like to know who these critics are whose pressure the Council is succumbing to? What stakes do they have and how do their opinions matter more than others?

And does this mean if I gather enough critics of the now butchered Butter Market, the Council will revert it to what it was originally purposed for?

Stay curious, SniffSnorters, not judgmental.

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2013, Chichester, Whipped&Baked

Common Sense Is Not A Flower That Grows In Every Garden


To be bluntly honest, SniffSnorters, I’m not looking forward to tomorrow much. I’ve had a hectic few days, partly self inflicted when I completely misunderstood when my next tattoo appointment was going to be. Cue 10:30 yesterday morning and I was picking up a Facebook message from my tattooer asking me if I would mind having my appointment moved to a later time that day. Up until then, I had actually thought that my appointment was a month away.
There was a mad scramble when the Chichester Observer photographer came yesterday to photograph us in front of the controversial painting on our shop’s external wall. I felt awkward being positioned in the centre of the photograph and was terribly overwhelmed by the number of customers and blog followers who had turned up for the shoot.
The local media interest arose initially from this blog post of mine, which in one day acquired almost 1000 hits. Personally, I think the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. The local newspaper’s interest was further piqued when we received an unannounced visit on Monday by the local Council’s Planning Enforcement Officer. He made the special visit on the basis of the one complaint his department had had about the painting and was there to warn us. Yes. No joke, that was the word he had used. Warn us. When we queried what exactly was he warning us about or even for, the officer was unable to provide any clarification and when pressed, he responded by saying that he would have to consult with his department for the details. We made a point about the hostility and the threat that a word like warn carries and that our art installation was a temporary one, hence not requiring Listed Building Consent. The paint used was water soluble acrylic and would in time wash off.
We also considered the wisdom in sending out officers to visits based on a singular complaint. Just how much does that cost in Tax Payers’ money? And the Planning Enforcement Department’s stance that the painting on our wall is of poor quality? The last time I looked, being an art critic wasn’t within the remit of the Council’s roles and responsibilities. How can a subjective opinion be used to justify a decision to enforce a Council action? Do we decide the worth of a piece of art based on the status of the artist or whichever organisation that endorses it? What makes one art form more valid than another?
But by and by, the point that I really would like to make is just what message is the Council sending out by having their officer enter the premises of a local business and use loaded words like warn? What about engaging with your residents and local business owners in a way that keeps the line of communication open and friendly? What happened to courtesy? Consider what being a public servant should really mean. The painting received, to date as I am aware, ONE complaint. That complainant has been served. I have been led to believe that the Planning Enforcement Department has to date received several emails which were positive about our painted wall. So who will be serving the opinions of these individuals? And the opinions of the 30 odd people who turned up for the photo shoot organised by the local paper? Since when was it alright for a Local Council to seek out to heed only the complaints that fits their agenda?

Some thirty people turned up for that photoshoot. Not necessarily because they love the painting, although I know some of them do. I know of a 3 year old freckled faced little girl who insists on visiting the painting every time she is at our shop. On the whole, they were there because they see the painting for exactly the bit of whimsy that we had intended it to be. A little injection of fun. A harmless quirk.

Common sense is definitely not a flower that grows in every garden. We live in a kingdom where mountains are made out of molehills and vivacity is suffocated by the bindweeds of pencil-pushing. Tomorrow this very subject will be featured in our local newspaper. Until then I choose to remain bemused.

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2013, bakery, Chichester, Whipped&Baked

As the dust settles


Well, SniffSnorters, all I seem to be doing at the moment is bake brownies. We are selling dozens of the stuff. I had this self indulgent idea that I would be rolling out a magnificent array of baked decadence that would showcase my skills but the reality is, Chichester just loves brownies. Especially cheesecake brownies.
Within a week of opening, we has people come in requesting the cheesecake brownies, even when there went any on display.
There are lots of things we have yet to catch up with. We still don’t have a till. Or an A board. Or a sign above the bakery. Apparently these would encourage business but seeing that we sold out of cakes by 2:30pm last Saturday, I’m not sure we are ready to deal with even more customers just yet.
There has been a lot of goodwill and enthusiasm from the general public. They seem to get our ‘local’ ethos and appreciate our quirky approach to running a business.
Today has been the first day we’ve had to juggle childcare for the youngest 3. Normally, when I wake up to go to the bakery, the little ones are still asleep and today I managed to fit in some baking until 10:15, which was when I needed to get back to take over the childcare from an older child.
The baking is intense, I’m still feeling my way around it and I’m yet to settle in a conclusive baking schedule.
If you’re interested in keeping more current with what I’m to, I have a Facebook page for Whipped & Baked here.
And you know what bugs me the most? Above the crazy amount of baking and the lack of sleep?
I had a vision that I would be über glamourous and wear my favourite PVC pencil skirt as my baking uniform but the reality is, most mornings, if I could roll into work in my pyjamas, I would.

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2013, bakery, Chichester, Whipped&Baked

2 weeks and a bit


This post is fuelled by the mantra something is better than nothing.

It’s been just over two weeks since the bakery first opened its door and we’ve been running to stand still. Despite all our convictions that things would start flow and build up to a steady momentum, we have found ourselves rushed off our feet and really testing the limits of our raw drive to want to make this work.

I’m not going to go into to much details tonight and I promise a more lengthy post during the weekend (hopefully) where I might talk about just how most of my baking time has been monopolised by making my cheesecake brownies which seem to be flying out of the bakery when just barely cool enough to cut.

There are a few things I’ve learnt.

Dishes. Bins. Floors. These things don’t get cleaned by themselves. You would have thought by now I’d got to grips with this notion.

I need an A board. I know this. You know this. My customers ALL know this and by golly, half of them have made sure that they know that I know this.

Over-frothed milk really does smell like dried egg whites. Not nice.

Open plan kitchens are great until you mistake the bicarbonate of soda for baking powder. Then your kitchen looks like a failed science lab lesson run by the substitute P.E. teacher. EVERYONE can see the mistakes you make.

On that note, I’ll share the second attempt of the failed baking endeavour above. It was all ok in the end.

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Word of mouth is spreading about Whipped & Baked bakery and I have so much to share with you. I have ideas, musings and some if I could redo some bits moments to share with you but that will be coming at a later date.

Until then, do keep in touch via my Facebook page.

Sleep well.

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2013, bakery, cake, challenge, Chichester, Whipped&Baked

28.02.13


We opened yesterday.

And I’m still alive.

The eve of the opening, we took delivery of a radiogram, a bass cabinet, several valves and other things. These items were in the front of the bakery some 10 hours before we were due to open.

But we overcame in. We were busy. Lots of lovely friends and family cake to visit and I’m sure I has this insipid grin on my face for most part of the day.

Will write in more details but here are some pictures.

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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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2013, bakery, Chichester, Whipped&Baked

Plus Two Weeks


To say I’m not exhausted would be a lie. I’ve been passing out on the sofa midday (if left alone for five minutes, been tetchy and then failing to properly sleep for another couple of hours after I’ve put myself to bed.

Most of the work at the bakery is almost done. I only have some freshly grouted tiles to clean in the kitchen and after that, it will be the mammoth undertaking of cleaning EVERYTHING. I’ve done this several times, and so have others. It lasts until one of us decides that we need to haul out something from the garage or from the cellar. Then the cleaning has to start all over again.

I won’t lie and say it’s been thoroughly enjoyable. It’s been bloody hard work and the weird thing is, I’m more weary than I am tired. The project, being so tightly budgeted, leaves very little room for error and at times, the first decision can’t be anything but the only decision, like it or not. So, we are having to really exercise our creative thinking and visualising and take huge leaps of faith with a lot of the decisions we have made.

But. And this the saving grace Mother of a big but, we have been extremely lucky. The Grade 2 listed building that is the bakery has not thrown us any troubles. Everything we have tried to do the building has appeared to welcome it. I know I know. It sounds hippie drippy.

We have one more day of Percy The Pirate tidying up the last bits of work needed doing and the building will be wholly ours to sort out. Much as I love Percy, it’s a bit like having a live-in maid when I was living with my Mother in Malaysia – you could never quite feel at home.

During the time spent sanding down doors and glossing skirting boards, I’ve been mentally listing what I would do differently if I had to do it all over again. Besides having triple the amount of budget of course. One of these days, when the dust settles (quite literally), I think I might write a post on that.

Until then, I’m pleased to announce that the vonSponge family is still going strong despite living on a diet of fluffy pancakes and maple syrup. We have an extremely tired Potato Bottom who’s still transitioning into life at the Performing Arts Schools. Mondays are a real killer for her – she’s there for 11 hours, the majority of those hours actually dancing. Lalla is caught up with regional level diving competition training and her Level 3 interview tomorrow for her Further Education course. Izzy The Rockstar is snowed under with essay writing, interview preparation for his Higher National Diploma course, his upcoming gig (plus his debut rehearsal with Slaveboy’s band) and slight panic about filling in University funding forms. Firstborn is reconsidering her decision about university and doggedly working at her photography. All this in the last one week while Zak Cool (aged 10) is now more often than not the oldest sibling around during the day time, the 7th Wonder leaving a trail of toy destruction around the house and her very own personal assault course designed to surprise us whenever we go down the stairs.

And The Small Shouty One is in love.

And his name is Adam.

And apparently he’s coming over Saturday for drinks and cake.

I don’t think his mother is aware of this but I doubt I’ll be finding an unchaperoned 6 year old at my doorstep very soon.

Here are some photos. In no discerning order.

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