The Fear.

Yes, I just stole a title from a Lily Allen song. Nope, I don’t care.

I have been planning to attend Bonnie Gordon College for well over a year now. I have saved every spare dollar, worked 5 days a week in my day job, on top of nearly 7 days a week on cakes most of the time, and said goodbye to my social life so that this could be achieved. I wanted it more than anything. I’ve been looking forward to this for so long, I was feeling nothing but excitement.

Then someone said to me, “You’re going on your own? Wow… that’s brave!’.

Brave? Really? This thought never occurred to me. I brushed it aside.

Then someone said to me, “I wouldn’t be able to do what you’re doing. It’s way too scary.’

Scary? What? I just didn’t understand.

Maybe it’s a generational thing. If I looked up people I went to high school with I’m sure I’d find a number of them are now living overseas. Over twelve months ago my best friend packed a suitcase and moved 8000 miles away for his career. For me, this seems normal.

However, now that these thoughts have been put in my head I’ve been dwelling on it. I’m not sure if scared is the right word to describe how I’m feeling. There’s definitely something there, maybe a feeling somewhere between unsure and concerned.

I’m not letting this unknown feeling ruin my excitement, but there is still the fact that I’ll be alone. For four months. In a new country. Alone. So very alone.

That’s a lot of flying!

YIKES!

There’s one thing I must remember though. My mum once said something to me about trying new things if you want new results. I can’t remember her exact words but I think Thomas Jefferson worded it quite well when he said If you want something youve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.”. At least, I think it was Thomas Jefferson. I’m really bad at remembering who says things. Heck, it could be a line from The Simpsons for all I know!

Either way, no matter who said it, I like to live with this thought in mind. So far it has treated me very well, and has been entirely accurate. Trying new things, and living outside your comfort zone is the only way to change and grow as a person. 

No matter how unsure I am, this trip will be worth it. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that I have worked so hard for and I will not allow the uncertainty to ruin it for me.

So next time time someone says to me ‘You’re so brave!’ or ‘How scary!’, instead of ignoring it I will say ‘Yes! You’re right! I am brave, and it is scary – but it will be worth it!’ because like any other compliment you receive, it should not be brushed aside.

What do you think? Could you leave your entire life behind for half a year and journey 10,000 km’s away on your own?

(Answer: Yes! You could!)

The red velvet story.

Have you ever jumped on a bandwagon of a craze so late that were kicking yourself for having dismissed it so easily?

This was me with red velvet cupcakes.

Red velvet has been such an insanely popular flavour for quite a while now and I just never quite understood it. I’d tried a few from local cupcake places and they just tasted like a normal chocolate cupcake to me with a slight chemical flavour from the obvious huge amounts of red colouring involved.

One of my best girl friends worked at a cupcake store in Melbourne and she assured me, once I tried one of their red velvet cupcakes I’d be sold. I hoped she was right and was incredibly excited when she flew over with a box for me to try, only to end up bitterly disappointed once again. They were better but I still wasn’t convinced.

I was probably being a bit ‘too cool for school’ thinking that it was just another craze that would hopefully go away, like cake pops (have they disappeared yet? No? Damn…). Alas, the craze continued for much longer than I expected and the flavour continued to baffle me.

Baffled by red velvet. That’s the way I remained until I went to California last year. I was staying in Palo Alto and while I was there I visited both Sprinkles Cupcakes and Kara’s Cupcakes. Oh my golly gosh…

Sprinkles Cupcakes, Palo Alto

It all suddenly made sense! The flavour! The texture! The cream cheese frosting! Goodness gracious me!

The cupcakes from these two stores were both phenomenal. Both had incredible red velvet cupcakes, although I think I was leaning slightly more towards Sprinkles – but Kara’s won me over with their Vanilla so I think all in all they’re even! Either way, both red velvet’s were a million times better than any I’d tried back home so my search began to recreate the flavour.

It’s been eight months since then and I have tried a dozen different recipes, and then alterations to said recipes. I’m still yet to settle on one that I’m 100% happy with.

One of many red velvet recipes that was trialled, and just didn’t cut it.

This past weekend I thought I would try one more recipe, however I did not have enough red food colouring. Apparently liquid food colouring could not be substituted with gel food colouring. I rarely keep liquid food colouring in the house so that was problem #1. Result: way too red for my liking. Oops!

Problem #2 resulted from me accidentally picking up the wrong type of vinegar. Note to self: never ever do this again. EVER! (Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever!)

Perhaps my memory of the Sprinkles Red Velvet Cupcakes has made them feel better than they actually were. Perhaps cupcakes simply taste better on holidays. Perhaps I should go back and try some more…

Yes… I think I’ll do just that. And perhaps I’ll learn the secrets of the perfect red velvet while I’m there!

Only 35 days to go, but who’s counting? (Hint: it’s me!)

The suitcase has left the closet

It happened.

It was inevitable really…

It was only a matter of time before I got so overwhelmingly excited for my trip that I pulled out my suitcase and started packing way too soon.

It’s strange to think that your whole life can pack up into one bag. At least, that’s my goal anyway. I’ve been working to cut back on all the ‘stuff’ I have accumulated over the years, with not one but three large bags heading to the local op shop this week – and that’s just clothes!

I’m trying to work to the rule that if I haven’t looked at something or used something within the past 12 months, I don’t need it. If only it were so simple to part with things! I could totally become one of those people you see on ‘Hoarders’, and you would never ever be able to find me amongst all the things I keep for sentimental reasons. It takes some effort to avoid that.

So, step 1. Clean out junk. This is a work in progress.

Step 2. Only pack things that I use regularly.

As a result of step 2, starting to pack now (oh, just a casual 54 days before I leave but who’s counting?) is almost impossible. If I’m only taking things I use regularly, I can’t exactly pack them.

Here is what I’ve packed so far…

  • Stationery. My big sister spoilt me with some beautiful notebooks (and cupcake sticky notes!) for Christmas and I’m saving them for my trip. Also a new pack of envelopes so I can send lots of letters. Friends, prepare your letterboxes!
  • Cupcake beanie. It’s far too hot to wear it here at the moment, but it’s basically my favourite thing ever so I can’t risk forgetting it. 
  • Perfume. My amazing bosses at my day job gave me a bottle of Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume to celebrate my 4 year anniversary of working with them. Again, I’m saving it for my trip.
  • Socks. I bought some new ones with a Christmas voucher. I’m saving them.
  • Bikini. I know we’re in the middle of summer but the likelihood of me actually wearing this and going out in public before March is slim to none. 
  • Hair curling wand. I bought this last time I was in the US for approx. $20 at Walmart. It is a budget alternative to my usual hair straightener & hot rollers. It’s in the bag.

    You’ll notice that I have a few things that I’m keeping aside to spoil myself with on my trip. I’ve been saving so much money to be able to afford this that I haven’t really been able to treat myself a whole lot. By putting things like these aside I hope that it will feel even more worth the sacrifice once I’m finally there! 
    I’ve only been overseas once before and I well and truly over packed for just 2 weeks, which I guess is pretty normal for a first time traveller. Hopefully this time I can pack more wisely.
    Do you have any tips for packing? I’d love to hear them!

    The adventure begins.

    I first came across the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Art back in November of 2012.

    Lori Hutchinson, aka The Caketress, had just been to my tiny home city of Adelaide to teach a one off class at The Cupcake Lady HQ and I was dying of jealousy that I hadn’t been able to attend. So naturally I decided to make myself feel even worse about the situation and did some research into Lori to find out more about her career, quickly discovering the college where she studied.

    After thirty seconds on the Bonnie Gordon website I knew this was where I needed to be. It’s on the other side of the world. To complete the Confectionary Arts Diploma Programme I’d need to be away from home for four months. There wasn’t even many photos of what their students did at this stage. It made no sense whatsoever, but I still knew this was the place for me.

    Why? I’d studied at Planet Cake in Sydney, Australia. I’d taken an endless amount of classes with The Cupcake Lady. While these were both fantastic (especially The Cupcake Lady – my favourite teacher!) I knew I wanted something more full time. My only option back home was a Patisserie course at the local TAFE. I’d been to this TAFE previously (Adv Dip of Hospitality Management) and I’d seen the patisserie students in action. These courses prepare students for work in a bakery. It is a trade school.

    The Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Art is primarily an arts school.

    While TAFE just teaches patisserie skills, Bonnie Gordon teaches these skills, with business, with photography, with staging and presentation, with marketing, and more than anything else – encourages creativity.

    The college provides a variety of courses aside from the Diploma Programme, including Designer Cake Certificates, Bakery Essentials, Chocolate Essentials, and speciality skills like Haute Couture Cakes and Parisian Macarons. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? (I bet it tastes like heaven too! And smells… mmm!)

    That was my exact thought and the reason I have been planning to attend since that first day in November that I found their website. This hopefully starts my adventure. Hoping to say goodbye to home for four months and leaping way out of my comfort zone to travel over 10,000 miles to pursue my one passion – cake!

    Well… and pastries, and cookies, and macarons, and petit fours, and ice creams and…

    Photos courtesy of Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Art – Diploma Programme

    Okay, just sugar in general!

    This will be my little place on the web to track the progress of my college application, and if successful, my future confectionary adventures. If I am accepted into the college, while Sugar Push will obviously not be taking any orders while I’m away next year (don’t worry, it would just be a short hiatus!), I’d like to keep all my lovely supporters informed and up to date with how my skills and style are progressing.

    Wish me luck as I become a nervous wreck and battle my college application!