glasgow's cutest* tearoom and craft gallery

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Procrastination and Inspiration

It is another beautiful day here in Glasgow. I'm shocked. This must be about the 5th consecutive day we've had sunshine. It is rare, so I must enjoy it while I can.

I've been doing a lot of pottering yesterday and today so far. Doing lots of little jobs here and there... why you may ask? Well, it can only mean that I have an essay to write. I made a good start on it yesterday. I'm already at half of my word count and it is due in on Friday, so I'm on track at least. It's for my Gender Justice course I mentioned in an earlier post. The essay is the final assessment, so I'll try not to get distracted by drying flowers and the like so that I can get it finished!

I was doing a bit of tearoom research and I found some very interesting things, a yahoo group for Tea Entreprenuers, auctions in Glasgow where you can pick up lots of vintage crockery and a couple of London based tearooms that appear to do the kind of activities that I want to do in terms of the tearoom side of the business, so I felt very inspired by them and found more confidence in my ideas.

The Tea Rooms in Stoke Newington
The Tea rooms were recommended to my by a London living friend.
I'm excited about both of these places as they each do things that I want to do in my tearoom and craft gallery. I want to do afternoon teas, tea parties for different occasions and have crafty activities for children and adults as part of both the tearoom and craft gallery. I imagine the tearoom being used in the evening for workshops or meetings of crafters. I'd like to open the gallery space in the evening for events and craft exhibitions. It is all very exciting, and seeing that others have set up similar establishments in the UK is reassuring.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Summer's Here

Phew, we had a scorcher here in Scotland over the weekend. I spent the weekend in the country at my Uncle George's and his wife Ellen. The have a superb garden and from my last post you'll know that they have chickens! It is SO good to be able to leave your house and go straight into a garden. I live in a flat, and even though I'm happy to go to the communal garden at the back (I do the gardening there myself) I wouldn't go there and sit in my pyjamas with a cup of tea...

Not much making or baking happened this weekend, mostly gardening and sunbatheing :-) However I'll be busy over then next few weeks with more business planning and I've taken a stall at another craft fair. Granny Would Be Proud is a craft fair of everything homemade and vintage. There'll be around 30 stalls at this one! It's a big 'un!!
Granny Would Be Proud
I'm thinking about what kind of cakes to sell and Stuart, my partner reminded me of some marshmallow treats him mum used to bring back from Church Fetes. Maybe I could make my theme this time retro cakes and sweets along with my cushions? I'll have to give it more thought as to what people would like to see. If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

I did some shopping earlier for cake ingredients and found these delicious little crunchy hoops. I'm sure they'll be a hit on any cake.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Another Property

I had a look at my second property today for my tearoom. It was on Dumbarton Road, at the Partick end if you know it. Hmmm, I wasn't feeling it at all. It is a super busy street but I just don't think that it is right for the kind of place I want to set up, so I think I'll write that one off. The interior was very bland. The shop front was just glazing and I hated the ceiling lights. The were like the ones in offices that give you a sore head.

Nevermind, I still have the property to look at on Great Western Road which I have a really good feeling about. I tend to trust my instincts and I can't get that location and property out of my head. It is on the main road, near a subway station with lots of resdintial flats around. It is also near lots of upmarket Interior Design places and homewares shops. People need tea and cake when shopping for their Aga!

Yes there is an Aga shop on the same street. I wonder if I could afford one for my tearoom? It would fit in beautifully and I bet the cakes would taste better from an Aga.

I believe it is going to a glorious day tomorrow here in the West of Scotland, it certainly is a great day today. I've been invited to my Uncle's house in Dunlop to meet his four new birds. I'm not at all being derrogatory, he has four hens who are living with him and his wife. The have a lovely pen in their garden. I look forward to meeting them.
I also need some more free range, organic eggs. I'm hoping that they'll lay some for me tomorrow so can bake some more cakes. I used five of their eggs to make a super duper raspberry and chocolate brownie. I'm not really a chocolate fan but I do love this. Here's the recipe if you fancy.
  • 115g/4oz butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g/11oz caster sugar
  • 225g/8oz dark chocolate, around 70 per cent cocoa solids
  • 75g/3oz plain flour
  • 75g/3oz cocoa powder
  • 5 free-range eggs
  • 750g/1lb 10oz raspberries

    Someone's had a nibble at this one!
     It was my friend Jill, I recognise those teethmarks!

    1. Preheat the oven to 180C/375F/Gas 4 
    2. In a bowl and beat together butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. 
    3. Place the chocolate into a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
    4. Add the melted chocolate to the butter mixture and beat to combine.
    5. Add the flour, cocoa powder and eggs and mix well, then fold in the raspberries.
    6. Grease and line a 25cm x 30cm (10in x12in) baking tin. Pour the mixture into the tin, then transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until set but still moist in the middle.



Thursday, 20 May 2010

Some Inspiration

A week ago or so, when I went to see the adviser at the Cultural Enterprise Office, she suggested that I do a bit of research into other tearooms in the UK.
I found lovely pictures on Flikr of a tearoom in London. Sadly the tearoom is now closed (I hope it wasn't because people didn't want tea!) but the pictures really inspired me. It is decorated entirely in the style that I'd be working towards.
 These images aren't great quality. You can see great shots on Flickr.
I love the signage on this shop front.
I really want a mish mash of crockery. I collect cups, saucers and teapots so I can't wait until the stage where I can actually go and buy loads of them. If you look at the Flickr link you'll see how they've stored all of their tea pots, on purple shelving surrounding the kitchen space. Lovely.
But before the fun can start,I have to leave now to go to some more business training. The seminar at the Business Gateway tonight is Business Planning.
See you soon!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Property, Craft Fairs and Guinea Pigs

Agh! Wednesday again! Already! It has been a busy week including my first ever craft fair which I'll tell you more about later. I'm just back from an afternoon yoga class and feel refreshed and ready to write. I go to yoga at a studio near my house. it is called Balance. I love my yoga classes. I go every week. Today we were working on core strength routines and learned a new posture. Half Moon Pose. I liked this one a lot.
Yesterday was a glorious day here in Glasgow. Surprisingly very sunny. I'm currently doing a university module at the Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh on Gender Justice (quite a contrast from my crafty side, but I used to lead a domestic abuse project, so now this should make sense) and I have to submit my essay at the end of this month. So yesterday was a study day, in the garden, with my two guinea pigs, who cut the grass for me while I read about Michel Foucault.
My guinea pigs are called Buttercup and Bosshog. Buttercup is the wee blonde piggie and Bosshog is bigger and brown and white. They live in my flat with me which they like, however, they are not fans on the noisy sewing machine...

So lots to report on the tearoom business. I've been to a number of training seminars with the Business Gateway. One on financial planning and one on marketing. Wow, the finance bit scares me. I get really confused with numbers but I learned about basic book keeping, which I think I can manage. My dad has promised, when I set up, that he'll take care of the numbers bit which makes me feel a bit better! So overall, my confidence to start my wee business is growing and feels less scary.

Last week I looked at my first property. It wasn't really suitable. It was HUGE, far bigger than I expected and far too big for my needs as it had a massive basement the same size as the floor above. I really loved the facade though. The door and window were great, but I can't chose a property on those factors alone I guess! I'm going to see some more this week. This one in on the road that I like and it is very close to my home.
I think it is the lower shop, with the blue sign which is under offer. I think that would be quite cool, going down a few steps to the tea room. It adds a bit of adventure to the experience. A bit more curiosity. Any thoughts anyone?
As I mentioned earlier I had my first craft fair experience and thoroughly enjoyed it. My partner Stuart and I were there from 9am to set up in the church hall. I thought I'd brought too much stuff but seeing what others had brought, I think I'd got it just about right.
These are some of my cushions that I had on sale. I really liked preparing for the fair, thinking about what my stall would look like and having a practice at setting it up in my flat. Stuart created my lovely labels and business cards and I took time to display the business cards in a wee teacup and sewed my labels onto the cushions.

My friend Jill who helped me behind the stall took these lovely wee pictures.

I sold most of my cakes. I made a selection of cupcakes with butter cream icing and glace icing with dolly mixture sweets as decorations. They were the most popular ones. I also made raspberry and chocolate brownie. I'm not a big chocolate fan but I adore this chocolate brownie.
I'm really looking forward to my next craft fair and meeting up with the lovely bunch of people I met there.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Broadband has let me down!

I'm taking a break from trying to put my little disorganised flat into some order. It took a bit of a hammering towards the end of last week in preparation for my first craft fair at the weekend. I find when I'm sewing I need to have everything to hand so everything is emptied out in front of me. I'm a bit messy.

My internet is running really slowly tonight so I'll have to upload images tomorrow and finish my blog as it is not really happening tonight! Boo, I need better broadband!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Pretty Cases

Pretty Cases
Originally uploaded by SmallThingsIced
Well it is Wednesday already. Where did the week go? I'm looking forward to the second half of the week, going to see my first property on Friday and I have my first craft fair on Saturday.

I can't really prepare my cakes too far in advance so that job will have to wait until Friday or even Saturday morning, but, I plan to spend much of tomorrow preparing my stock of cushions and other textiles. I love these paper cases. Pink with white spots, perfect.

Surprise Flowers

I also got a surprise today. A bouquet of flowers arrived for me from my sister. They're beautiful. I've just arranged it in a big vase. I just love flowers.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Property Search

Morning! I have been up early this morning to start my property search.
There is a little unit for lease on Hope Street in Glasgow. I passed it every day coming home from work. It looks nice. The prefect size to accommodate a tearoom and a craft gallery.

I gave the estate agents a call and I'm going to have a look at it on Friday at 1pm.

Friday is going to be a busy day. I have signed up for a stall at the West of Scotland Craft Fair this weekend. It is taking place on Saturday from 10am in Coatbridge. You can find out more here.
I'm excited. This is my first stall ever so I have lots to prepare. Even just thinking about what cakes to bake and sell. Cupcakes,sponges... How about these for starters?

I think I'm going to bake some of these today!

These look pretty good too. Pistachio cupcakes. I found the recipe on the Good Food website.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Blossoms in Cup

Blossoms in Cup
Originally uploaded by Cushion and Cake
I've just been uploading some images onto Flickr. I rather naughtily took a branch of blossoms which was overhanging a path near my parents house today. The blossoms from this made up 3 little arrangements in cups. Such a simple but effective (and economic) flower arrangement.

I'd love to be able to sell flowers in my shop too but I guess it would get a little too busy to manage flower arranging on top of baking, making and running a shop. Someone should open a florist next door to me!

New Start

Well today is the first day of the rest of life. I finished up on Friday at my full time job in Glasgow, and now have some time to devote to planning and opening my tearoom.

I got a beautiful leaving gift on Friday on my last day, some very beautiful and appropriate Cath Kidston crockery. I'll be keeping it for myself however, these aren't for my tearoom!

I can't wait to use them.

So, what's the plan this week? Well I have to start my property search. The first place to start looking are local estate agents. I hope that most have websites where I can have a quick look to see if they have anything suitable. Then, I have to go and see them. That is the exciting part. Going to see if I can envisage my tearoom and craft gallery there, imagining the furniture and interior design of the place. How exciting!

I'm going to start this search in the morning so I'll be sure to report any interesting properties here.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Multi Media Technology

I'm really starting to get into using all the online technology I can get my mits on! I've just set up a facebook page:
Cushion and Cake
So please go and take a look. Please like me :-) I'm not really sure what to put on it yet, but I'm hoping that it's going to be a good way to get my friends to tell their friends about my project and hopefully get their support.
Twitter is next... blimey, it is a full time job just keeing all of these networking sites up to date!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Action Plan

Well my meeting at the Cultural Enterprise Offices in Glasgow was really useful. We came up with an action plan:
  1. Locate property and arrange visits
  2. Attend marketing and business planning seminars (I'm booked onto these already)
  3. Complete business plan
The property is my first priority because I need to know where I'm going to set up and how much it is going to cost before I can finish my business plan and go the the bank...

If anyone knows Glasgow, I'm thinking about setting up in the Merchant City or the West End. Preferably the West End, it's a bit more bohemian.

I'd love a shop facade like this one. This shop as you can probably see is called Cupcake. It's in Glasgow. When you walk through the door the smell of vanilla cake mixture is divine! I had one of their cakes last week. Mmm, the vanilla butter cream icing was sooo good.

I love this shop too. It's on Byres Road and is full of vintage, shabby chic style fancy goods. I love the blue painted facade. Very sweet.

Help Me, Cultural Enterprise!

Well today I have an exciting meeting at the Cultural Enterprise Offices in Glasgow. I'm going to see them about my idea and see if they can offer any tips on what to do next. They look like they'll be really helpful. The help businesses which are to do with arts, crafts or culture. I'm excited that they may be able to help me and my little tearoom.

I have been working on a bit of a business plan but I really need help with getting my head round the figures and things like that. I think I'll take what I have in the form of a business plan and see if I'm at least on the right track with it.

I should mention that I don't have any funding for this venture... I'm starting from scratch so I have to make sure I'm super prepared so that the bank lend me some money!

Wish me luck, my meeting is in about 20 minutes...

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Making and Baking

So, last time I wrote I started to tell you about my dream tearoom and craft gallery project, but I didn't really tell you much about it at all!

Well, in a nutshell, I'd like to bring together two of my hobbies in a business, making and baking and open a craft gallery and tearoom in Glasgow Scotland. That's it really. I think it is a great idea and we could really do with some more indie places in Glasgow.

My style is quite shabby, vintage style chic so I'd love my tearoom and craft gallery to look a bit like this...