It is always a pleasure to see people succeed in doing something they love. It is infinitely better when that person is making things other people love too. The ripple effect is in full flow over at The Leyland Traybake Company .Everything made there brings joy. Producing brownies, blondies, traybakes and things that make you go ‘ooooooh’ is Fiona’s talent.
Not too long-ago Fiona was juggling working part time around her 2 girls and her Husband’s job. Fiona knew where her heart lay, baking was something she had always enjoyed. The fear of going for it held her back, like it does with so many of us.
Getting to grips with this fear took dedication, and Fiona decided to invest in herself before investing in a business. If you take anything from this article- let that be it- that YOU deserve investment.
Fiona got herself a life coach, with a focus on self- improvement and learning to master anxiety attacks. Each step away from the fear was a step closer to her dream. She remains vocal about how much her outlook changed when anxiety no longer had the upper hand.
I caught up with Fiona to ask her about life, loves, and the best brownies I have ever had.
“I wanted to do something I felt I was actually good at, rather than just a job to pay the bills. I wanted hours that would fit round my family, not the other way around. I needed something that gave me that funny feeling in my tummy. Still now, one of my favourite things to do is put on some good music as loud as I can and smash out a cake”
It is clear that the investment Fiona made in herself is continuing, I wondered if she had been reading anything in lockdown.
“I don’t tend to read actual books but listen to a LOT of audio books. Anything to do with spirituality, manifesting or self-improvement is my bag. I’ve learned priceless lessons from those things which have now become a way of life. I was recently sent a podcast by my amazing sister in law– ‘The moments that made me’ by Mo Gawdat It was all about finding the true definition of happiness. It was amazing, we could all learn from it. I am also a huge fan of Gabby Bernstein, a spiritual life coach, and Noor HIbbert too. I am all-over anything that can improve the quality of my thoughts, leading to an improved quality of life. This stuff works! “
Given that there are some clear favourite authors there, I asked if there was anyone she aspired to be like, or any businesses that influenced hers. I LOVED her answer.
“There is NOBODY I want to be like. I want to be like me. The happiest version of me I can be, doing what I love. There are plenty of people I admire though. I look at the likes of the girls from Finch Bakery, and another more recent business is Doe. Both are great examples of just using your creativity and going with it. I’ve learned something doesn’t have to look a certain way just because someone else’s version of that has a particular style, or is traditionally created to have a certain look. I just want to do my job, my way and for people to love it “
We have turned into a nation of cooks and bakers under lockdown, are there any products that you recommend?
“Honestly, I’m a simple baker, nothing too complicated. I do use butter rather than margarine, purely because I hate pretty much everything about it and it’s had some pretty bad press too. Therefore, I never put it in my brownies and blondies, or use it at home. My mixer is years old but I love it, there is nothing flash about any of the equipment I use, just good ingredients and tried and tested recipes”
What is your ‘go to ‘family dinner?
“Ooohh that’s hard. I love Joe Wickes chicken pie, that’s always really good and a great one to make when we have guests (not that it happens that often!) I’m really a fan of simple foods. I really wouldn’t thank you for anything overly fancy. Our family enjoy pasta, we also use a lot of potatoes as you can do so much with them”
Do you have handed down family recipe?
“Yes. Corned beef hash and also a tuna quiche that my mum makes. It is just the best thing ever”
We talk about food and how it entwines with memories. Fiona’s Nanna made doorstop chunks of toast with smatterings of butter, on the ‘top grill’. She smiles when she talks about it. I tell her my Nanna still makes her Nanna’s flatcake recipe, and I smile too.
Are you keeping the Girls busy in the Kitchen?
“My girls love baking. They’ll make anything, sweet or savoury. They’re always happy when there’s a bowl to lick and eggs to crack. Anything that uses plenty of sprinkles is always a winner too. The simple recipes are the best though, anything too complicated tends to get stressful for us all, not to mention extremely messy! Pizza is a good one, they like making the dough and they’re pretty fun and quick to finish with all the toppings too”
Now clearly Fiona is very astute, because when I asked what her ultimate comfort food is, the answer was pizza. Perhaps we should all be training our children to make our favourites! My current favourite pizza recipe is Here
Our conversation was going well until it was declared- “or something with cheese or gravy. Ideally together. I literally love stodge I’m a true northerner”
Obviously, we had to have the cheese and gravy debate. I am a fan of both but not together. According to Fiona, it’s amazing, I cannot bring myself to try it. I suspect the Southern half of me won’t allow it .
The Leyland Traybake Company is partially up and running again now, and will continue to deliver traybakes ( or you collect) , but the operational hours are still restricted a little due to homeschooling 2 beautiful little girls during lockdown.
Until you get your mitts on them you can simply stare at the photos of Fiona’s amazing creations on Facebook, or Instagram @theleylandtraybakecompany.
Just try not to lick the screen……..