I have been baking cakes for as long as I can remember. It started as a way to keep me quiet as a child – I think that’s everyone’s story, really! And I have my nan and our battered copy of the Dairy Book of Home Cooking to thank for teaching me the basics.
As I grew up, I became fascinated with the technical side of things. I saw piping tips and blowtorches on TV and wanted to be able to do what the fancy chefs were doing. With a bookshelf full of recipes and techniques, and a lot of failed attempts under my belt, I truly understand what it takes to make outstanding cake!
I’m still fascinated by food. Some of food heroes include Gordon Ramsay, Monica Galetti and Adriano Zumbo. When you strip away the swearing and directness of Gordon Ramsay, he is clearly a man who has studied food, is passionate about it, and understands how to technically construct a dish. Monica Galetti is a driven, dedicated woman who is out there proving how good she is. And Adriano Zumbo is like Willy Wonka! He has a completely unique mind, but knows exactly how to create the perfect dessert. I hope I bring a little bit of each of them to what I do, mixed with a passion for sustainability.
My partner and I met back in 2009 at university. We both come from very different backgrounds. Opposite ends of the spectrum almost! I grew up on the outskirts of London in a semi-detached house with too many pets to count – dogs, cats, birds, fish, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits. He grew up on a sheep farm in Wales surrounded by working animals – dogs, cats, sheep, horses and chickens.
Something that has always been important to us is animal welfare and getting the best food we could afford. As we’ve grown up and had more of our own money to spend, we’ve made more of an effort to buy consciously. Not just in terms of meat, but in most aspects of our life.
We only eat meat once a fortnight, which we source especially from Pipers because we know that it is high welfare, slow grown, sustainable meat (get £10 off your first order, and I get £10 too). We try to make the most of in season, British fruit and vegetables. We prioritise cruelty free or vegan toiletries and cleaning products over a generic brand. And we will support a smaller, independent local business like Honey Bee Beautiful where it makes sense.
Around the house, we try and live by the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle. We try and keep our water and electricity usage down. We have minimal food waste. And we try to keep our garden ‘wildlife friendly’. We have a little herb garden in the front, and allow the back garden to grow relatively wildly. We get plenty of cats, birds and insects visiting so we must be doing something right!
If you want to learn a little more about the simple changes you can make, the UN have a fab ‘lazy person’s guide to saving the world‘ – I’d say as a household and a business, we meet most points from Level 1-4!
As well as running Love from Lila, I spend the other half of my time running Pink Jelly People Consultancy. It is a specialist HR consultancy which helps businesses to create real organisational and individual change. I use people data and brain friendly learning to understand issues, empower changes in behaviour and inspire new ways of thinking. Some of the issues I might be involved in tackling for businesses include gender diversity, equal pay and ethnic diversity. Some days I could be sat in front of a spreadsheet crunching numbers, and other days I will be in a meeting room full of people, facilitating a workshop. It’s a job that I spent many years training to do, and it means that I’m part of some amazing projects!
In both aspects of my life, it’s not just about providing a good cake or transformational workshop, it’s about running professional businesses.
2020 has seen me trying to organise my very own sustainable wedding. My partner and I knew from the beginning that our wedding would be low key but luxurious. As a couple, we tend to spend our money on a few nice things. So that’s how we’ve planned our wedding. There are a few things for us that were really important – photographer, food, rings and church. We are splashing out on those things so that they are ‘perfect’. Beyond that, we’ll buy the best that we can afford with the budget that is left. There is definitely no concept of ‘we must have this because it’s expected’ in our wedding planning!
When I’m not in front of a computer, I’m usually out wandering around a park, zoo or wildlife area. Sometimes I’ll even have a camera in hand. I love animals, flowers and nature, and that is where my design inspiration usually comes from. Harmony with nature.