What to expect from home bakes

What do we expect from our home baked purchases?

When we start looking for gifts are we looking for a gift that provides an experience, something different, a tasty morsel or something else?

When I search for a gift I want it to be personal to the one I am buying it for. I want it to be in his or her tastes. I want them to smile as they open it and I want them to love it – after all I have spent my hard earned money on it and I don’t want to waste money on a gift they won’t want or like or that shows no thought behind it.

Handmade gifts should always something special for the maker, the buyer and the recipient.

As a maker I endeavour to make all of my cakes and cookie boxes special. I want to see that smile when the person sees it. I know when my work looks good and I want everyone concerned to love it as much as I do. It is important that  it has the “Wow” factor.

Quality is paramount; my vanilla sugar cookies are tasty and the lemon royal icing really sets them off but it is the decoration that makes them special. A few people have told me that they think the cookies are mini works of art. Many say they are too good to eat! In fact one of my customers told me that their friends who were celebrating a diamond wedding actually went out to buy a deep frame and meticulously glued the biscuits into the frame to hang on the wall. That is praise indeed but they are for eating. Take a photo and frame that by all means but enjoy them as they are meant to be enjoyed.

The same thing with  my cakes. Hours of work making a special cake that simply gets cut into a dozen pieces! The cake is a necessity for a centre piece to a party, especially when themed or special to the celebration. Yes the cake isn’t going to be cheap (you can buy mass produced cakes at all major supermarkets). What you are buying from cake makers and sugar artists is an experience, a special personal home baked cake made with the best of ingredients, free range eggs and lots of love.

Expectations are important!  Everyone will have an opinion; everyone will have a budget. Some will be happy with any cake! Others may think that cake is a waste of money, an unnecessary expense! But for the young lady who loves unicorns, the young man who is a sports fan, the couple celebrating their big day or a special anniversary or a new baby all of whom want a special day sometimes only a spectacular home baked creation will do.

So, when you buy from a small business, a home baker, someone who goes an extra mile to create your personalised cake or box of cookies – you are buying an experience! A smile! A centerpiece for a celebration! A personalised work of art!

Of course, price is important; the home baker still has a family to support and being bakes at home does not mean that you get a less valuable product. In fact overheads can be more than in big business. So “No” it won’t be “cheap” but neither will it be mass produced because you are paying for a personalised masterpiece;  the expertise; years of training and practice, top ingredients; skill and the extra special effort that goes into every creation.

The supermarket will sell a cake for half what I can make one for but equally Harrods will charge 10 times what I will charge. Each price point is acceptable to one person and not another.

Credibility is important to a small business, reviews and feedback a necessity so that more and more people know about my little business. There is a little saying going round social media at the minute about small business – that every time a sale is made an actual person does a happy dance! Well for me it’s the excitement, the smiles and the lovely reviews I have received that make me do the happy little dance.

We all have our opinions and our expectations BUT – only the person who has bought the creation, seen the creation, tasted the cake or cookies can say whether it was worth it or not but if the birthday girl has a smile like a cheshire cat then what price do you put on that and what price a memory!


Celebrate Father’s Day with a personalised cookie -only 6 weeks to go!

Father’s Day is a celebration honouring Fathers, grandfathers, stepdads, godfathers and anyone who has a positive influence on a young persons life.

In Catholic Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19th which is St. Joseph’s Day since the Middle Ages. The celebration was taken by the Spanish and Portuguese to Latin America, where March 19th is often still used for it, though many countries in Europe and the Americas have adopted the U.S. date, which is the third Sunday of June falling on 17th June this year

On Father’s Day, many people make a special effort to visit and often take or send cards and gifts.

Some of the most common Father’s Day gifts are ties, socks, underwear, sweaters, slippers and other items of clothing. Other people give tools for household maintenance or garden work, luxury food items or drinks.

Many Father’s Day gifts have slogans such as “The World’s Best Dad”, “For My Father” or just a simple “Dad” on them.

In the days and weeks before Father’s Day, many schools help their pupils to prepare a handmade card or gift for their father. Mothers and other family members may help children to make personalised gifts, such as drawings made by the children. Some families celebrate Father’s Day by planning a trip. This may be a simple walk in the countryside or a whole planned “experience”. Popular Father’s Day experiences include driving a fire engine, rally car, tank or even airplane or taking a golf, football or cricket lesson with a celebrity coach. Other families organise a special meal at home or in a pub or restaurant, usually a traditional roast dinner.

The idea of a special day to honour fathers and celebrate fatherhood was introduced from the United States. There, a woman called Sonora Smart Dodd was inspired by the American Mother’s Day celebrations to plan a day to honour fathers. Father’s Day has been celebrated in June in the USA since 1910 but it is thought that here in the UK we did not start to celebrate our Fathers until shortly after the Second World War.

If you would like a personal gift for your Father, Dad, Daddy, Stepdad, Special Uncle, Godfather or someone special then look no further. I can bake, decorate and post a personalised love heart royal iced biscuit to provide a delicious and special thoughtful gift. I can also put a personal note in the package from you.

Easily purchased via my little Etsy Shop I can make your cookies fresh and in good time to post to you or direct to Dad!

Link here https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/607622581/fathers-day-biscuit-fathers-day-gift

Thanks for reading 😊

Spring is in the air…. the birds, the bees and new babies!

There is nothing like welcoming a new baby into the world and these days parents to be or their friends like to celebrate with a baby shower.

A lovely afternoon tea party, plenty of cake and games to perhaps guess the gender of the new baby ( or babies) are great fun.

A lovely baby related cookie flavour is just the thing to say thank you to your guests.

My new baby range is coming together and will be available shortly but I thought you might like to see a sneak preview of the lovely cookies produced for this weeks baby shower as well as some of the baby related cookie boxes recently posted to new Mums and Dads.

As well as before the baby arrives my cookie boxes make a great present for new parents, grandparents and even godparents.

In a range of sizes from individual cookies with a special message to small, medium and large boxes Cookie Doodle Doo cookies are perfect personalised biscuits sending that special message to loved ones.

Watch out Or the full collection to be launched on Facebook and Instagram @cookiedoodledoo1

Don’t send a card… send a cookie card!

How many times have you got to the day (or the day before ) someone’s birthday or another significant celebration and realised you have forgotten to send them a card and present?

Well Cookie Doodle Doo has the answer.

You can send a cookie card to your loved one that is bespoke and personalised and looks like you have put so much thought into the little gift.

It can be sent direct to the birthday girl (or boy) with a small gift card with your own message and it is guaranteed to raise a smile when the postman arrives with the cookie card from Cookie Doodle Doo.

With several options to choose from at only £5.00 each plus postage cookie cards won’t break the bank and do solve a problem as they can be ready to go in a matter of a couple of days if necessary.

If you’re super organised you can book your cookie cards all at the same time and be invoiced monthly so you only have to think about it once.

Take a look at some of the cookie cards available in my little Etsy Shop http://etsy.me/2nq8Xo9

Born into a City of Culture-a beautiful baby project.

I was asked to be part of one of the last City of Culture events which initially started on 1st January 2017 where the first baby was born. His name was Lincoln and I would guess he received a lot of media coverage.

The project aimed to take an image of every baby’s footprint and create a mural in the Hull Women and Children’s Hospital. The midwives also became a part of the mural as their handprints formed the trunks and branches of the trees with the babies footprints being the leaves.

The images were then digitally put together to make the most colourful and delightful piece of artwork with postcards for every two months being sold as mementos of the end result, along with prints of the completed artwork and also canvases.

The event itself was held in The Guildhall, Hull and tickets were purchased by over 2500 families to view and purchase the items for sale.

I have never been to a more lively event. To see so many beautiful babies in one place, all different ages, shapes and sizes was a memory that will stay with me for a long time.

Midwife Sallie Ward whose idea it was did a fantastic job keeping the event ticking along and I was privileged to be asked to make the celebration cake which eventually made its way back to the hospital to be enjoyed with a cup of tea by all the staff Involved.

My stand which was a showcase of some of the ranges I have designed as celebration boxes was really well received and I spoke to so many people who were really complimentary.

Specially designed baby feet which could be personalised on the Day were sold and enjoyed.

I would like to thank everyone who made the event such a success and say it was a joy and a pleasure to be part of this.

Cookie Doodle Doo has a good range of celebration boxes made specially to celebrate babies..

New baby boxes welcome the little one, christening or naming ceremony boxes and Thank You gifts for godparents are very popular and even celebrating the 1st birthday as well.

Baby showers are also a hit for celebration cookies with many being held with an afternoon tea which is perfect with a beautifully iced biscuit in pink, blue, lemon or a lovely pastel arrangement of baby shapes with lovely words.

Thank you people of Hull for your support. I loved being part of your celebrations.

He loves me He loves me not! ❤️

Less than one month to go until Valentine’s Day! Are you looking to make an impression?

So, Who was St Valentine

History describes Valentine as a priest who was beheaded by Emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed after emperor had banned marriage as he thought single men made better soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair so he celebrated marriages in secret. When the emperor found out he was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.

And how did Valentine’s Day begin?

Valentine’s Day is an old tradition thought to have originated from a Roman Festival.

Originally held on February 15 as a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. During the celebrations boys would draw names of girls from a box and the pair would be partners during the festival. At the end of the 5th century it was Pope Gelasius who declared the 14th February as Valentine’s Day.

Geoffrey Chaucer of The Canterbury Tales fame may have actually been behind Valentine’s Day. The medieval English poet played with history when he would drop his poetic characters into real-life historical events leaving readers wondering if that’s what really happened. There is no actual record of Valentine’s Day before Chaucer’s poem in 1375 and the poem refers to February 14 as the day of birds coming together to find a mate. So maybe he invented Valentine’s Day as we now know it?

It wasn’t until the 18th century that Valentine’s Day took off in England. Lovers began to send trinkets, cards and flowers. Now about a billion cards are sold every year and it’s the second biggest card sending time of the whole year.

They say the way to a mans heart is through his stomach! Probably true of most women too?

Instead of sending a card why not send a cookie?

I have been working on Valentine’s Day gifts that go straight to your lover’s tummy!

Individual heart shaped cookies that say I love You make the perfect gift, a small token of affection, affordable, edible and delicious. You can see these over on Cookie Doodle Doo Facebook or Etsy pages with more besides.

Hope you get a Valentine’s Day Card or gift. ❤️

Corporate gifts -Lovely Lingerie

They say from little acorns mighty oaks do grow!

Well this was certainly true when a customer wanted me to post a box of cookies to her daughter for her birthday. She had the idea to have lingerie themed biscuits as her daughter worked for a lingerie company.

It was very shortly after that the Director of the lingerie company asked me to make corporate gifts for their 10 top clients. I agreed and the designs and original artwork was sent to me to design the boxes so that they represented the lingerie that each company sells. A challenge indeed! However I love a challenge and was absolutely thrilled with the results as I am to

I’d are the companies who received them.

I am delighted to be able to share pictures of the boxes with you with permission from my customer Inspire Intimates Ltd and to whom I send my thanks for trusting me to create them on their behalf.

Here are some of my creations

Cookie Doodle Doo- The new name for Celebration Cookies

It’s all in a name! A name that says what your business is all about and that is why Celebration Cookies is about to become Cookie Doodle Doo.

When I first left paid employment to become self employed I chose a generic business name Holmestead Cakes and Bakes as my trading name as this was sufficient to cover everything that I do without being specific in any particular area. Now though I need to move on and am going to be building on my successes with my bespoke and personalised biscuits.

I could not have imagined that they would be so popular and I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me along the way.

I need to stand out amongst my competitors and choosing a new name took ages. In fact it was my talented sister from Fiddley Diddley, the shop of lovely things, who eventually came up with the name.

I love chickens, even rescued some battery hens so it’s perfect for me and “does what it says on the tin”!

Cookie – the lovely vanilla biscuit

Doodle – the decoration I put on each biscuit that makes them unique

Doo – you tell me what you want and I’ll Doo it!

And a new logo on the way will have little doodled chickens in the lettering.

I will also be having a new website that you can order from a range of boxes; from an individual biscuit through to a large box..

The Ready to Go range will be a range that can be personalised and ready to post in 24-48 hours so you will no longer miss a birthday. I can also pop in a birthday card for you and send it direct to save time and create a surprise element.

Corporate gifts have been a great success for me – telling your colleagues, employees or customers that you are grateful for their support and hard work goes a long way to cement good relationships and nothing better than a lovely edible gift.

The new Facebook page is already up and running with photos being uploaded daily to show the ranges. Check out @cookiedoodledoo1

Cake International Cookie Competition Award Winner!

What a brilliant experience to enter the prestigious Cake International competition at the NEC Birmingham this week.

I decided I might as well see what it feels like to enter having gone to the show for more years than I remember.

This year having started my own business I looked at the schedule and was surprised and delighted to find a cookie section. This class was 12 cookies for Santa any design within a 15” square. I set about designing my piece and had 3 designs and ended up entering two of them.

The standard was really high, as you would expect. Tension whilst the judges meticulously checked the exhibits and it was eventually 26 hours later when the results were published.

I expected nothing and hoped for a highly commended as a reinforcement in my own mind that my cookies are of a high standard but to my surprise I was awarded Merit award for my Christmas Tree scene and a Bronze Winners award for a “red work” quilt design.

I am absolutely thrilled and am patiently awaiting next years schedule having spoken to the lovely judge who gave me some pointers for my next try. Some tiny tweaks according to her would have secured a Silver.

So this week I proudly show my Awards off 🥇

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Recent cookies for baby showers and christenings

I have quite a few requests for cookies to celebrate new babies so I thought I would share these with you now.

Baby showers are getting quite popular and you could use my cookies to predict the sex of the baby by choosing pink or blue perhaps.

On arrival a celebration cookie box is a special treat for Mum and Dad.

Christening biscuits can be personalised to show the date of the event, the church and dates as well as names of family. Special godparent gifts are a different idea too.

Here are some ideas