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Sweet Dreams

Everybody has dreams. Some wish for fame and fortune whilst others are content with a place to call their own. Grand or humble, these dreams are equally important; they are the secret wants and needs that make us who we are.

As a very little girl I remember watching my mother baking in the kitchen. I would follow her round, sometimes almost literally under her feet, and I’d watch her work. I’d see her mix ingredients into her big mixing bowl, smell the fragrance of good things blending together and occasionally getting to lick the spoon. In my mind it always tastes like chocolate.

When she’d get sick of me cluttering up the place my mother would send me to play out in the garden. There I would make mud pies and cakes for a series of distinguished teddy bears and dolls.

Age didn’t change much. True, I no longer made cakes from mud and I now actually helped my mother in the kitchen rather than tripped her up, but my love of baking stayed exactly the same. My dream was to open a bakery. I wished to spend my life surrounded by delicious scents, tasting scrumptious cakes, still warm from the oven, flavoured with vanilla, chocolate and bananas.

Thinking about it now I’m surprised more people don’t feel the same. Like most of us though, life got in the way of my dreams or maybe it’s fairer to say it gave me new ones. I raised a family, three wonderful children, they followed me underfoot and got to lick the spoon – I hope it always tasted like chocolate for them.  As they grew up it seemed my dream grew with them and now having made more time after leaving behind the corporate life, I started to bake cakes for people outside my family.

I used only local, organic ingredients produced just a handful of miles from my home.  To this day I buy all my dairy products, milk, butter and eggs, from White Heath Farm in Harefield, the honey I use comes from local honey producers in Harrow and even my flour is direct from Shipton Mill.  At first it was just for friends but word spread and it became friends-of-friends, then their families, then their businesses and before I knew it I had a full-fledged home business.

Half a dream though is like a slice of cake, satisfying but not filling. I wanted my own bakery not just a kitchen. I wanted vast work spaces I could sprawl all my ingredients across, ovens large enough and hot enough to make batch after batch of cupcakes and brownies. I wanted a little bell that tinkered every time a customer entered the store and to hear that sigh of satisfaction we all make when we enter a bakery, inhaling all the wonderful flavours.

So five years after I started I made some enquires and I bought an old hairdressers in Harrow. As you will see from the pictures that will follow over the next few weeks, we’re only just getting started -  but I see what it will be. I see cakes rising in those ovens, I smell chocolate and cinnamon in the air and I hear that bell ring.

I’m writing this to start documenting the journey. All the way from building permits to the sign going above the door – Miriam’s Munchies, the name of my eldest daughter and business partner. I hope you’ll come with me, it may be a long journey but I promise – there will be cake at the end of it!   

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