Nothing makes you truly appreciate everything that your Mum has done for you than becoming a parent yourself. All the heartache, the worry, and sleepless nights...not to mention the physical drain of pregnancy and labour. Mums are amazing aren't they. I am so grateful to my Mum Anne and my Dad Alex for being such loving parents, and every day, I thank my lucky stars that I have two wonderful daughters Awen and Tirion.
I realise that, sadly, not everyone is in the same situation - some friends have tragically lost their Mums far too young or are estranged from them; others have problematic relationships with their Mothers. Some friends desperately want to become mothers but have not been able too. So I know that Mothers' Day can be a terribly difficult date in the calendar and I send lots of love to anyone feeling low at this time of year.
If you are looking for a gift for your Mum - or a female friend who deserves spoiling - and you didn't manage to shop at our recent Mothers Day special - fear not! As I have put together a list of present ideas from our talented directory makers. (Links are given underneath the photos to take you to the maker's page.)
And starting tomorrow, I will introduce you to some of our makers who happen to be Mums themselves as they share their experiences and thoughts of the crazy ride that is motherhood.
Back tomorrow and in the meantime, have a browse......
New little Mini Ziptop bag from Lynda Shell Textiles. £45. Perfect for a small spring/summer bag when you don’t want to be weighed down with a huge heavy bag! They will fit in your purse, phone keys and a few small essentials. Available in colours: natural, wine and mid blue.
Penarth - Framed Textile Illustration, 10 Inch Wooden Embroidery Hoop from Stitch City. £60.00 plus delivery.
Welsh Mother's Day Card, Sul y Mamau, Mam Arbennig - Lovely Mum - in a zesty orange design by oh! Susannah. £2.50
Mummy's Bestie matching set from Zac and Bella. From £20.
Ceramic art dish from Love & Lovelier. £14.
Electric blue and gold design on pale grey suede clutch bag from Seascape Curiosities.
Ribbon and metal disc bracelet and earrings set from p&d Designs.
Orla Keily oilcloth accessories from Tommelise Danish Design.
Sterling silver necklace featuring the word ‘love’ from Lou Gray Jewellery. The text is hand drawn, laser cut and finished with a delicate silver belcher chain necklace. The total necklace length is approximately 16". £45
Gold French macaron favours from Majestic Macarons and Cakes. Gluten free. 12 luxury treats in gold, vanilla flavour. £24 plus delivery
Beautiful handmade cushions from The Pocket Pirate. £45. Made from reclaimed upholstery fabric for an individual, hardwearing cushion cover – no two are the same! Zipped at the edge for easy removal of the internal duck down pillow.
Since I started Little Otter Events, I have met so many talented makers and I love following them on social media and seeing their latest work.
Last year, Cardiff based Elena Floarea came along to our Rhiwbina and Penarth events selling her range of beautiful French macarons. Elena is an amazing baker and creates some truly stunning cakes. Recently I met up with Elena to find out where this talent came from and if she has always enjoyed baking....Introducing Elena...
When did you start baking?
I started when I was 16. I went to a culinary college and at the end of the course I won a french patisserie contest. The prize was an apprenticeship in France with one of the best French pastry chefs there was that year.
That’s when I fell in love with baking and creating delicious cakes and macarons.
Who was your biggest influence?
My mum always encouraged me to reach as high as I can. I went to France to complete the apprenticeship I’ve won because she encouraged and supported me. I was only 18 so she was my rock, helping me increase my confidence.
Where did you study?
I studied for my Culinary diploma at a college in Bucharest. Then in France I’ve received a french patisserie diploma for completing my apprenticeship and also been offered a 1.5 year contract with a popular french patisserie in France.
When did you start your own business?
I set up Lolo’s Cake Away in 2015.
Where do you get your creative ideas from?
I use a lot Pinterest for inspiration! I’m also part of many cake and wedding groups on Facebook where I can follow trends and see what people like most. Then combined with my knowledge and experience acquired over the last 12 years I try to get something different to ensure our customers like the suggested design.
What is the inspiration behind Lolo's Cake Away?
‘Lolo’ comes from Lawrence which is my partner and our gorgeous son Lawson (Lo-Lo). I was in my second year of uni studying Business Management at Cardiff Uni when my partner said he would help me set up the business and follow my dream. It was one of the best days ever and I went for it! Three years later Lolo’s Cake Away is a recognisable brand in Cardiff.
I’m also trying to make Majestic Macarons the best macaron business in Wales. We’re growing every day and maybe one day we will have a shop where we can combine cakes by Lolo’s Cake Away and delicious macarons by Majestic Macarons.
Do you have a favourite flavour cake/macaron?
I have quite a few favourites. However, Ferrero Rocher macarons are my no. 1 favourite ! I’ve mistakenly ate some from my order and realised I had to make some more
And my second favourite is pistachios macarons. It always reminds me of my trips to the Parisian patisseries in France.
As you can see I find it difficult to choose one favourite only! Guess I really love my job!
What is the longest time you have ever spent creating a cake?
One week was the longest time I’ve spent on making and creating a cake. It was for a four tier wedding cake with cascading roses in pink and yellow.
I loved the end result and the hard work definitely paid off! Sugar Flowers are very time consuming but when they’re finished they look so amazing it is worth all the time in the world.
The bride and groom were over the moon and I’ve receive so many compliments on design and skill.
Thanks so much Elena!
Elena's creations are absolutely amazing - she is on social media and regularly posts up photos of her latest work.
She is very kindly offering friends of Little Otter Events a 20% discount - so if you have a birthday, wedding or special occasion coming up, get in touch with Elena to discuss your ideas.
What an amazing maker! I want to get married all over again just so Elena can make me a cake!
Royal wedding fever has hit the UK this week ahead of the wedding of Prince Harry to Megan Markle this Saturday 19th May. Even if you aren’t a royalist, this weekend provides the perfect excuse to get together with family and friends to join in the celebrations.
There has been lots of speculation as to what food will be served at the Windsor Castle reception this weekend. We know that Megan and Harry will be having a lemon and elderflower cake decorated with edible flowers - so chic. But I wonder if the very stylish MM will have chosen to feature the popular choice of many modern brides - macaron favours.
I caught up with Elena Floarea of Cardiff-based Majestic Macarons to find out more about the macaron and its history - it turns out that it was originally created for a royal wedding!
Elena explained, “Created for a royal wedding back in the 16th century in Italy, a macaron is a sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food colouring.
“The macaron was introduced by the chef of Catherine de Medicis in 1533 at the time of her marriage to the Duc d'Orleans. Catherine de' Medici, daughter of Lorenzo II de' Medici and of Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne, was an Italian noblewoman who was queen of France from 1547 until 1559, by marriage to King Henry II."
“The term "macaron" has the same origin as that the word "macaroni" -- both mean "fine dough". And originally the macaron was like a cookie in size. But only at the beginning of the 20th century did the macaron become a “double-decker” affair.”
Ladurée, the famous Parisian pastry shop could very well be most associated with the modern-style macarons today. The shop was founded in 1862, but it was not until the early twentieth century that Pierre Desfontaines, grandson of Louis Ernest Ladurée, had the idea of piping ganache on a shell and topping it with another. So the modern day macaron was born presented with a ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two such cookies.
Over the last fifteen years, the popularity of the macaron has travelled across the Channel. In 2005, Laduree opened a store in London’s Harrods, and positioned the macaron as a luxury confectionery.
Today macarons have become a popular sweet to appear on afternoon tea menus across the UK and they are very popular at wedding receptions and other parties. But what is it about this little sweet treat that appeals to so many people?
Elena explained, “With such an amazing range of colours and flavours available, the macaron can be perfectly tailored to suit any wedding colour scheme or favourite flavour of the recipient. Apparently Megan is a big fan of green so will we be seeing any green pistachio macarons on the table this weekend?”
I can’t wait to find out and will be watching from the sofa this weekend. I might even put the bunting out!
** If you are planning a wedding or party and want to include macarons, Elena Floarea of Majestic Macarons is offering Little Otter Friends 20% discount. Visit Elena's directory page to get in touch. **
My garden is full of pink flowers at the moment, and it is a real joy to see all the cherry trees laden with pink blossom in Rhiwbina. Pink is such a happy colour and it is a shame that most people think pink is only for girls. Right up until the 1930s, boys were dressed in pink and girls in blue. Men wore red as it was considered to be a strong colour (used in uniforms), and so pink was seen as a variation of this colour for 'small men'.
Do you have any pink in your wardrobe? Let me know about your favourite item in the comments below!
Here is a pink collection from our directory makers. If you are on the look out for a gift or a card for a pink loving friend, we have it covered!
Bespoke pink dot oilcloth bag, made to order, Tommelise Danish Design
Pink tourmaline and sterling silver stacking ring set, £40, Lydia Niziblian Jewellery
Pink geo harem leggings, £12.50, Zac & Bella
Pretty pink and red fabric knot bracelet, £14.50, p&d designs
Unicorn French macarons, Majestic Macarons
Penblwydd Hapus, cute cupcake card, £2.50, oh! Susannah
April Liddell. Founder of Little Otter Markets. Lives a crafty life. Loves going for walks with her dog Betsi, listening to music, and eating chelsea buns.