Sugar Push has moved!

Times are a changin’ around these parts!

Due to changes in interests, time restraints, and just life in general Sugar Push Cakes has transformed into a new creative project simply titled Sugar Push. You can find the new website at

This blog will remain for now as I know a lot of visitors are researching experiences at Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts and I don’t want to lose that.


For any future news from me, follow me on instagram @misstarynelise!

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The loneliness of a new city

I keep meaning to blog weekly but life just keeps getting in the way, you know? They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so maybe if I focus for a month I’ll get into a decent routine.


Two weeks ago I wrote about my road trip as I drove from my old home in Adelaide, to my new home in Sydney. I had almost a week to unpack and settle into my new room, and then I was back to my dream job at SWEETNESS The Patisserie.

Whenever anyone moves to a new city, state, or even a new country, there’s always one common feeling: loneliness. It’s such a difficult thing to leave behind your family, friends, and in some cases pets (I miss my fur baby!). I knew this feeling would come, however I thought it may be less painful after having just lived overseas for 6 months. I had a bit of a “been there, done that” attitude.

Let me tell you now, the loneliness you feel when you’re alone in a new place does not get easier.

The past week has been incredible for me job-wise, I have had so much fun and learnt so much in my first week of 2015 as a full time pastry chef. However, working long hours and not having any social outlet really started taking it’s toll on my mental health – and I’ve only been here 2 weeks!

Today I ventured out into the city and met up with some old friends I hadn’t seen or even really spoken to for three whole years. THREE YEARS! To say I was apprehensive would be an understatement. I can be pretty darn shy sometimes so it was a little scary. What would we have to talk about? Would I just be an awkward extra person to the group? Would things be the same as they were the last time I saw them?

I am so grateful to say that I had the most wonderful day with the most wonderful people! The sun was shining, we ate Mary’s Burgers in Hyde Park, then Gelato Messina in Surry Hills and just talked for hours about anything and everything. To be able to get out of the house and interact with people who were not only fun to be around, but also so kind and welcoming – I feel so much better about life already.

The best friends are the ones who you can lose contact with for years, and then pick up exactly where you left off like no time has past at all. For the first time in the past 2 weeks, I feel hopeful about life outside of work. Everything’s coming up Taryn!

So what’s the moral of this story?

Moving to a new city is hard, and getting out and making friends or taking the chance on old ones can be even harder – but it is SO worth it. If you ever find yourself in this situation, it can be so easy to just stay home and get lost in your solitude but please trust me when I tell you to get out and interact with people. Call up that old acquaintance from years prior, join a class and meet new people, just get out and explore, have an adventure, and talk to anyone who looks friendly.

Advice that is certainly easier said than done, but is more than worthwhile!

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Solo Roadtrip: Adelaide to Sydney, Fires, Floods & the Fruit Police

Today I started the long drive from Adelaide to Sydney. My little blue Ford Fiesta is chock-a-block full of my most important possessions (aka a tonne of baking supplies & 50 billion cute dresses) and I am currently sitting about 700km from where I started this morning – halfway to Sydney!

This morning as I drove north out of Adelaide I couldn’t help but think of the devastation caused by the continuing bush fires in South Australia. I had no idea that by the time I got to New South Wales my concerns would be more about flash flooding, as severe thunderstorm warnings are announced. C’mon mother nature – give us a break!

Driving from Adelaide to Sydney is a long drive normally, but when you’re driving solo it feels even longer. On the plus side, it has allowed me to sing along to Taylor Swift at the top of my lungs the whooooooole way without hurting anyones ears. The whole way – seriously. My throat is a little sore.

Another thing about driving interstate from or to South Australia is the fruit regulations. I forget them every time! For those who don’t know, South Australia is a fruit fly free zone so we’re basically quarantined and no fruit is allowed in. What I wasn’t aware was that the Riverland district has it’s own quarantine area. This resulted in me panicking for a good few hours that I would be busted by the “Fruit Police” and arrested for my entirely safe (purchased in SA!), yet illegal zip-lock bag of watermelon.

Don’t you worry though, my smuggling activities went undetected. I’m a master criminal in the making! Hehehe…


Eight hours down. Eight and a half to go tomorrow. Then I’ll officially be one of those Sydney-siders!

Now what I want to know is, has anyone ever actually been busted by the “Fruit Police”?


2014 – and that’s a wrap!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – holy guacamole, what a year!

sugar push 2014 in review

2014 has been an interesting year. Globally, I feel like it’s been a devastating one. I didn’t get to watch the evening news much, but when I did it was terrible. Which is why I feel so bad when I say that for me personally, 2014 has been the best year ever!

Last year I set some goals which included saving the money to attend Bonnie Gordon College (check!), graduate with flying colours (honours – check!), write at least one letter a week (um… I tried…), and improve my photography skills (check!).  Before I set some new goals for 2015, let’s look back on the highlights of 2014.

2014: The highlight reel
  • Closed Sugar Push as a business – sorry, no more cakes for sale!
  • Lived in Toronto, Canada for four months & went to Niagara Falls
  • Attended and graduated from Bonnie Gordon College with honours
  • Spent two months living in California
  • Spent 2 days at Disneyland and wore a peter pan hat the whole time
  • Made so many new and amazing friends in Toronto
  • Made my first 4 tier wedding cake
  • Moved from Adelaide to Sydney, Australia
  • Joined the team at SWEETNESS The Patisserie as a full time Pastry Chef

Looking back on this, I feel really lucky to have had these opportunities. While I worked very hard to achieve everything I did this year, I couldn’t have done it without all the support I had from my family & friends. I can’t say thank you enough!


To everyone who has continued to follow my adventures on this blog, thank you very much. I love that I can share my journey with you!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2015!


Now, I need to go think about my goals for next year. Have you set any goals or resolutions yet?

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5 Changes in 4 Weeks

It’s been four weeks since my last post. It feels like much longer. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

sugar push 5 changes in 4 weeks

1. I moved out of home – sort of. 

On the 30th November I flew to Sydney and moved into my new home. Sure, it’s a shared townhouse so I’m not exactly alone but it’s certainly a different feeling to living with my parents! Unfortunately I was only there for two and a half weeks before I flew back to Adelaide. In one week I make the move permanently!

2. I officially became a Pastry Chef.

I graduated from my Diploma of Confectionary Arts in August, however I didn’t really feel like a Pastry Chef until I’d worked my first day as one. Actually – it still feels a little weird to call myself that. Joining the team at SWEETNESS The Patisserie has been the most exciting decision of my life.

3. I started learning how to cook.

I admit, I’ve been spoilt. My mum is an amazing cook and I’ve never had the need to learn. While I can bake up a storm, cooking an actual meal is a whole different issue. I made soup for the first time – it wasn’t the best ever, but it fed me for a week and that’s a win for my bank account.

4. I made a four tier wedding cake.

Want to know what stress is for me? It’s working 50 hour weeks, while trying to make sugar flowers, having to rush to only just catch your flight, and then having 2 days to assemble & decorate your first ever 4 tier wedding cake, before delivering it and being a bridesmaid in the same wedding. It was totally worth it.

5. I  got a year older.

Amongst all the stress mentioned above, apparently I had a birthday! Twenty five. Quarter of a century. I definitely feel old, but it helps that people keep mistaking me for an apprentice because I “look so young”. Keep the flattery coming!


Honourable mention: also had a big change with a redesign this weekend! Yay!

With Christmas now over and the year very soon coming to an end, all I’m wondering is whether 2015 can even come close to comparing to this year!

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HUGE changes for Sugar Push

Since returning from my whirlwind overseas adventure, things have been quiet around here. Very quiet. Of course behind the scenes I’ve been running around like a chook with its head cut off! It has been nearly 2 months since I landed back in Australia and I have barely stopped.

Airports are my second home. Flights are the only time I get a break!

Priority #1 has been looking for the best opportunity for progressing my career. I originally began searching for something local – patisseries, cake stores, chocolate stores. Alas, there aren’t a huge amount of opportunities available in little old Adelaide. I began contemplating the option of attempting to operate Sugar Push full time, but decided it wasn’t financially viable at this point in time. This brought me to my final conclusion: when all else fails, take a risk on your dream job.

I have been following & admiring SWEETNESS The Patisserie for the majority of this year, and regarded it as a workplace I would love to be part of in the future once I had more experience with confectionery. An introduction on LinkedIn later, I was discussing with founder Gena Karpf the possibility of making my dream a reality far sooner than expected. A Skype meeting & 3 day work trial (in Sydney) later, it’s official: I have been offered and accepted a full time Chef position with SWEETNESS The Patisserie.

So what does this mean for myself & Sugar Push?

1. I am moving interstate to Sydney this weekend.
2. Sugar Push will no longer be operated as a business. No products will be sold.
3. Sugar Push will however, continue in the form of this blog. I am still not 100% sure on what exact direction this blog will take, however it will be mostly cake related. Cake decorating will still be my hobby and I plan to keep it up and share my creations with you all via this platform. The blog will not relate to my work at SWEETNESS, or any confectionery that the Patisserie produces.

I am so very excited to continue sharing with you all where my career, and this blog, is heading!


Dreams can change without you realising

Good grief, it’s been a while since I updated this blog. This website has closely followed my adventures as I chased my dreams to Toronto to help myself become the best cake decorator I could be, but recently things have changed a little.

During my 4 month course whenever a teacher would ask us what our dream job was, I replied with cake decorator without hesitation every time. There was nothing else on my radar, I had found my passion.

And then I came home.

I’d imagined that I would jump straight back into cakes, throw myself into building a business plan and organising my life so that I could sustain my dream & get along financially. However, I found myself being hesitant and unsure. I made excuses as to why I couldn’t make cakes for people… My insurance had expired, I wasn’t sure if I’d missed the annual council inspection of my kitchen, I hadn’t worked out a pricing structure yet. The list went on.

I made one cake and while I still definitely enjoyed it, I didn’t feel the same passion I had before. Talk about a shock to my system!

A week later I woke up craving toffee. I found myself back in the kitchen with my candy thermometer, attempting to temper chocolate without a marble slab (fail!), cooking toffee on the stove and… I felt what I’d been missing in my last cake.

“Buttercrunch” Toffee, chocolate & macadamia nuts

Suddenly I was no longer reading cake blogs learning about new decorating techniques, I was reading up on the science of sugar, I wasn’t browsing my large library of cake decorating books but pulling out my Adriano Zumbo book I’d never even read before. Instead of looking in kitchen stores for new decorating tools, I was searching everywhere for a marble pastry slab.

Instead of baking cakes, I’ve been whipping up toffees & marshmallows, and practising my macaron skills.

Not perfect yet, but getting closer!

Of course, having a new dream does not mean you have to forget the old ones. I will never give up cakes entirely as I still love them dearly. I guess it’s just time to branch out a bit more and look at new opportunities that I hadn’t considered before I graduated from Bonnie Gordon College.

A friend recently said to me “same river, different stream” and I feel like that’s pretty accurate.

I am very excited about the future, finding my next adventure, and being able to share it with you!

PS. We also recently passed the 2000 ‘likes’ milestone on Facebook and I am just so grateful for everyone who has stuck by me and supported me during my journey so far! Thank you!

Finally a qualified… Pastry Chef? Confectionary Artist?

It’s official!

Graduation at Bonnie Gordon College – with Bonnie herself!

If you follow me on either Facebook or Instagram, you would have seen by now that I have landed back on Australian soil and am slowly recovering from a severe case of jet lag.

What I haven’t mentioned so far, is that on my very last day in California my Diploma arrived in the mail. Talk about lucky!

After four stressful months of hard work I am so proud and happy to say that not only did I pass my Diploma of Confectionary Art, but I graduated with honours as well! Yippeeeeeeeeeeee!

My Diploma of Confectionary Arts – with honours!

This special piece of paper is now hanging proudly on my wall!

Of course, now that I am home I must make some big decisions about what’s next on my agenda, and which direction I will take Sugar Push in. I will not be taking any cake orders while I figure out what’s next, and keep an eye out for any suitable opportunities!

If you have any suggestions or thoughts, I’d love to hear them!

Northern California Seaside Adventures

Did you know that I’m back in California?
If you didn’t… well, I am! The day after I finished up at Bonnie Gordon College I hopped on a plane and flew straight back to Northern California.  I’ve been soaking up the blue skies and warm weather, and just unwinding after a very full on and stressful four months of study. 
The good thing about being back here is the time to relax. The bad thing? Minimal internet access again! It’s really not good for maintaining regular blog posts – gosh darn it!
I’ve been here for 2 weeks now, and while I admit I’ve spent a lot of it reading books and obsessively playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, I have been on a few small adventures.
A week and a half ago we spent a weekend doing ‘beachy’ things. I’m definitely not your typical ‘Aussie Beach Bum’, but I must admit I have been missing the beach during my time away from home. Once upon a time back in my Tumblr blogging days, I’d seen a post about a place called “Glass Beach” where instead of sand, the beach was covered in smooth glass pebbles. I wanted to see it desperately! 
I have someone who follows me around and takes photos when I’m not looking – true story!
We packed some snacks and headed North in an old pick up truck, with me bouncing excitedly in my seat. Four hours later the excitement had lessened slightly… I didn’t realise it was such a long drive!
The drive itself was beautiful though, with so many trees giving us a much needed break from the heat of the sun. 
Eventually we made it and… well, I guess I was a little disappointed. It was nice, and there was some glass… but I think my imagination had built it up to be something it really wasn’t. Oh well – we still had loads of fun climbing rocks!
The glass pebbles at Glass Beach – much smaller than expected!
On Sunday to continue with our ‘beach vibes’, we took a much shorter drive to Half Moon Bay. What a cute little tourist town!
On the way back we stopped to take in the sights, and get some fish & chips for lunch! As always, the wind around these parts makes it a bit chilly but thankfully the California sun was shining down on us kindly! 
Fish & Chips at Half Moon Bay
My beach cravings haven’t quite been solved, but this will get me by until I get home in October and can go walking on the beach every day if I want to! Although, I’ll probably not want to the second that I have the ability to. You know how it is… you always want what you can’t have! 

Toronto Tourist Travels – A recap!

I’ve been out of Toronto for over a fortnight now. Do I miss it? Absolutely.  
It’s definitely difficult to leave a place when you’ve just grown accustomed to it. The strange unpredictable weather. The amazing public transport. The college. The friends. 
I think it is definitely a city that will hold a place in my heart. I don’t think I’d be able to live there permanently (I never even experienced winter!), but what I did experience was incredible.
During the last few weeks of my Diploma Programme at Bonnie Gordon College, I realised that I’d been so busy studying that I’d hardly seen the usual “tourist spots” of the city. I quickly purchased a “CityPASS” and off I went, adventuring around the city on buses, subways and street cars to reach each destination. 
The first stop on my list was the zoo. I ventured to the Toronto Zoo on a Monday public holiday and spent most of the day there. It was definitely my favourite of all the sights, and I couldn’t wait to see a Polar Bear! Unfortunately, neither could anyone else so I wasn’t able to get any photos. 
Unsurprisingly, the flamingos were one of my favourites. There were just so many of them! 

Flamingos at the Toronto Zoo
I had a lot of fun that day, even though it took me two buses, the subway & almost 2 hours to travel each way!
The following weekend I came down rather ill, but I pushed through to visit the CN Tower and Casa Loma!

The base of the CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

The CN Tower was very busy, despite my getting there rather early in the morning! I think this must have been a ‘slow’ time however, since the trip to the top was a rather quick process. The amount of security before going to the top was slightly alarming, although I suppose when I thought about it, I probably felt safer having it there. I guess this ‘small town gal’ isn’t used to such heavy security as what they have in North America. 
CN Tower, Toronto, Canada

The trip back down to the bottom of the tower was surprisingly the part that took the longest! It was an attraction that I rather enjoyed, but not one you can spend a lot of time at.

Casa Loma on the other hand – you could spend hours there! I wish I hadn’t been so ill so that I could have spent more time exploring through this old castle, and then through the beautiful gardens.

At Casa Loma, Toronto, Canada

My favourite part was definitely the stunning grounds, which I wish I’d had more time to explore. Coming in a close second however, was the underground tunnel. Dark, creepy, and so full of history!

Underground Tunnel at Casa Loma, Toronto, Canada

With only 2 locations left on my “CityPASS”, my next point of interest was the Royal Ontario Museum, or ‘ROM’ as it’s called by the locals. I rushed down there after college and spent a couple of hours in the museum before it closed for the evening.

This is another tourist attraction that I wish I’d had more time to spend at. I admit I was surprised by the high entry fee, having been used to the museum back home in Adelaide being free, but when I discovered the size of the museum it made a bit more sense.

At the Royal Ontario Museum

There was actually so many exhibits, with so much to learn, that I could really only skim the surface of it all. If I’d had the time, I would have loved to return and spend a whole day there.

My favourite part though? Definitely the dinosaurs!

Rawr! T-Rex at the Royal Ontario Museum

The last tourist attraction on my “CityPASS” was the Ontario Science Centre. I’m sure it is probably a great place to see but I felt like science centres are the sort of thing you need to do with friends. Interacting with displays alone? Probably not so much fun…

I gave it a miss and called it a day for my Toronto tourist adventures!