I write this in the last week of the year. The strange time between Christmas and the new year when i don’t know what day of the week it is. The fridge is emptying out of the last of the Christmas leftovers and we have eaten our way through most of the mince pies and Christmas chocolates.
This is the time of year that I usually think about the year that was and start looking to the year that will be. Work wise I write a letter to my team looking back at what we have achieved and more importantly what my vision and our goals are for the year ahead. I believe it is important for all of us to know the direction we are heading so collectively we can all work on getting there.
I am usually full of ideas and brimming with optimism for a fresh new year. This year however, I have yet to put my thoughts together. Perhaps it is because I am almost afraid to believe that we might have a new year that is better than the recent two, which have been ghastly.
As with most small business owners we have struggled throughout the pandemic. In short, revenue has been hit due to the lockdowns, ingredients prices have continued to rise, and we continue to pay rental for malls with practically zero footfall. Our goal has always been make it through with our team intact and wages paid in full.
As a business, we are still here and so grateful to be here. We have an amazing team who have worked so hard throughout. We have innovated and come up with new product lines for our stores in Malaysia and collaborated with other small businesses even. We have found ways to get our treats to people via our online store and perhaps most exciting was starting a new business in a new country selling our baking kits. On paper we are not out of the woods yet. I do not know when we will be, but we continue to build a brand that makes quality baked goods served by a team who is genuinely trying their best. We are also forever thankful to have such a loyal customer base who return to us and continue to support and encourage us and have shown our team such kindness throughout.
2021 for me personally was a year of me being rather brave. I believe the combination of turning 50 and the ongoing pandemic has pushed me to do things that previously I would never have done. I rekindled a love for roller skating, started ballroom dancing classes, fell in love with flower arranging, learnt to work with yeast (yes ,this is a thing), grown an addiction for bundt pans and I have been in front of a camera more times than I care for. While not very impressive to many, these experiences have made this year memorable to me. Mostly, i have learnt that I can continue to grow no matter how “old” I get!
I do understand and appreciate how fortunate we are. I know how we are so blessed to have the life that we do, but like so many international families, I have missed my family and friends more than anything. I miss the freedoms of the before times, to travel as and when to any of the three countries I call home. I long to be able to travel again to see the people I love. This is my wish for 2022.
It has always been my belief, that all things happened for a reason and that out of something bad something good will come. We just don’t see it at the time. I so hope that in the years to come we will be able to look back and connect the dots of this strange period. I hope we see that this difficult time has brought about the changes needed to get to a better place.
Hope. This one word sums up my feelings about the year 2022. May it be better for everyone. May it bring peace, love and light to all.
This was a difficult blog for me to collect my thoughts together for. And so I bake. In my darkest hours or when in doubt I turn to baking. A sort of meditative practice for me, I bake for the comfort it brings me. I bake to clear my mind and my thoughts. I bake so I can smell the chocolate baking in the oven. It calms me and brings such clarity. It is gone 4am and I sit to write this while the brownie is baking. It smells heavenly and I am inspired.