A Year in Chocolate – Chocolate Collective's 2018 highlights
What an amazing year 2018 has been for Chocolate Collective. I’ve achieved things that I’ve been dreaming about for years, although it’s been so busy it’s gone by in a chocolate coated blur. That’s why I think it is so important to sit back, take stock and really acknowledge what a difference a year makes. Especially how 2018 turned out to be Chocolate Collective’s biggest and best year yet!
I kicked off the year by joining up with the creative force that is Queen Bee. It was my New Year’s resolution to get organised and more prolific with social media, start writing a blog and improve and update my website. Done, done and done!
Our first project together, in January, was a series of photoshoots with Steve Longbottom for social media and my new website. What a hilarious project! We had so much fun, and the result, as you can see from my brand-new website, is amazing. Massive thanks to Marple Website Design & Hosting for making it all a reality!
It was my New Year’s Resolution to get more serious about producing a blog, it was great that I’d written the first one in January, but the real achievement was producing a second one in February. I knew this was going to be the beginning of me getting into the habit of sharing my chocolate knowledge and expertise with the lovely people that spent time connecting with me on social media, my website and at my events. And guess what?! I’ve produced a new blog, every month, for the last twelve months. An achievement I’m very proud of. Oh, and follow this link if you’re interested in reading my chocolate making blog.
After launching the end of 2017, this month saw me look at my Facebook account with renewed vigour! I started posting more, sharing more and really developing my online connections. And it has been so rewarding, I love being able to answer questions instantly, get feedback from people who’ve taken part in a workshop and interact with all the other chocoholics out there.
A biggie for me! The Three Peaks Challenge! This was the first time I’d taken on this 24-mile (38.6km), 1585m (5200ft) ascent across the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. I completed the course, step by step, with my trusty walking partner, Alfie, my gorgeous Cava-poo, and my great friends Jane and Chris. I’m so proud to have completed this challenge.
This year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being part of 20:20 Networking group, a meeting for like-minded business women to come together to expand their network of business contacts. This has been so beneficial for my business and has given me the opportunity to fundraise for their chosen charity, CAFT (Children’s Adventure Farm Trust) based in Lymm, a truly worthy charity that does amazing work.
I adore children, and children adore chocolate, so we tend to get on very well. Which is why I was so pleased to work with so many new schools this year including Saltaire Primary, Chorley Mayfield School, Mendell Primary School, Irk Valley Primary School, as well as working with one of my favourite clients St Bede’s College for the third year running.
I welcomed even more mini chocolatiers into the fold with my Brownie and Girl Guide workshops. It is wonderful to see the excitement on the girls’ faces when I explain what they are going to learn to do, and so rewarding to know that they’ve collected a coveted chocolatier badge by the time they’ve finished the workshop. And now the boys are getting involved too! Our first bookings for Beavers, Cubs and Explorers have been booked for 2019! Find out more about our out of school chocolate making activities….
And then there were even more kids’ parties in August! This year I’ve been blown away by the creativity and enthusiasm of the parents to create a truly special and memorable party for their little ones, and I’ve been only too keen to get involved myself, incorporating a parent’s theme as much as I can into the party packages I have created. A Personal favourite from this year was a magical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory – which featured some hilarious and creative props. I can’t wait to see what next year brings! Check out my childrens chocolate party page…
Sob! My not-so-little-one packed her bag and waved goodbye to Manchester as she went away to University. I am so proud of all that Sophie has achieved, and so happy that she’s enjoying her first taste of independence, but I must admit, I’m missing her madly. My consolation is the gorgeous Alfie, who’s always up for a canine cuddle!
October saw me receive my Swimming Teacher Qualification, although this was quite some months in the making! A huge, personal goal for me, I’ll now get to combine my love of teaching and people, with something new and different that helps me burn off some of that chocolate I consume!
A huge highlight of 2018 was being invited back to work with the stunning Temple Newsam Estate in Leeds for the third year running. I love working in an environment so steeped in history and beauty. I particularly enjoyed our Christmas workshops where guests took a tour of the house, afternoon tea and learnt how to make delicious Belgian chocolate truffles, surrounded by the most beautiful Christmas decorations.
I left the best until last. December saw my Chocolate Workshops sell out in record time. I was thrilled, over the moon, and slightly concerned I was going to have to start 7am workshops to meet demand! And it’s not just December that was incredibly busy, 2018 has seen me run more workshops, hen parties, kids parties and corporate events in the history of Chocolate Collective. Truly my most successful year yet! Oh, and for all you eager people looking to book onto my next available workshop, I have added some dates for chocolate making workshops in 2019…
You’d think rattling through all that would have left me exhausted, but in fact, it’s the exact opposite, I feel inspired and invigorated and excited to achieve even more in 2019. With a record amount of hen party bookings and an influx of Christmas gift voucher recipients (we still have chocolate workshop vouchers available for anyone looking for a last-minute gift), I can’t wait to meet everyone and introduce them to the delicious world of truffle making.
It’s my New Year’s Resolution to keep pursuing my goals, both in business and my personal life – I mean, look what that attitude brought to 2018!
And I’m so happy to get this opportunity to wish all of you lovely Chocolate Collective customers and supporters a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.