On Thursday, it was our fifth birthday. It seems hardly any time at all since we pushed the button to incorporate the business, but here we are, five years later, growing steadily year on year and still loving every minute of it. We’d hardly finished the champagne before we had to board another plane, this time a short hop to Dublin and a wedding. It was a full on weekend event, beginning with a Friday evening barbecue. The wedding itself was not until 3pm on the Saturday, so Mr D and I managed an early morning run around the hotel golf course before a late breakfast, still giving us plenty of time to primp and pamper before launching ourselves into the party, where we enjoyed plenty of food and drink and a substantial amount of dancing. I feel recovery will be a slow process ….
We’re back on the road. This weekend we are at the Essex Craft And Design Show at RHS Hyde Hall and the weather has been great so far with plenty of sunshine. Most of the week has been spent getting stock ready for the event, but we’ve also had to prepare wedding favours for a wedding next weekend, so it’s been a busy first week back. The Hyde Hall event is a four day event. Friday was a members day, and fairly quiet, but the weekend has been busy with people enjoying the local craft stalls, live music, and great food. It’s been sunny for the most part, although fairly windy, with a chill in the breeze. We’ve avoided rain so far, so fingers crossed the weather holds up tomorrow as well.
So we’re now at the end of our holidays. I’m looking forward to getting back to the kitchen tomorrow, but it’s been great to have a couple of weeks break. Monday was my birthday, and was spent travelling for the most part. We flew from Bahrain to Dubai with a 2 hour stopover, which allowed us enough time for some birthday bubbles and sushi for lunch, before our UK flight. We’d booked an airport cab home, so we managed to enjoy a few drinks on the plane as well. Tuesday was our wedding anniversary, and having spent the weekend eating far too much and exercising far too little, we both needed to get out for a run in the morning. We had lunch at the Boathouse in Dedham and also hired a boat for half an hour. Wednesday was zoo day. It’s been a while since we visited Colchester Zoo, and it was great to see the new developments since we last went, as well as seeing some of our old favourites. Thursday I was invited to the launch of a new business coaching venture set up by a very good friend of mine. I really hope Your Bright Horizons is the success it deserves to be. Friday I was allowed a brief moment of R&R whilst Mr D went to Rye House for the next round of karting, although not much, as by now I had an extraordinary amount of washing and cleaning to catch up on …. Saturday we took part in an 80’s Popmaster Live with the lovely Ken Bruce, and whilst we didn’t win, we could hold our heads up reasonably high. Today, being St George’s Day, we wanted to so something terribly English, so this morning we had a Full English Breakfast, and this afternoon we had an English cream tea. The only thing we’ve not managed to do is queue. All in all, we’ve had a rather splendid and extremely action-packed couple of weeks!
Half way through our couple of weeks off and we’ve packed our days full of anything but chocolate. On Monday we saw The Who in concert at Sheffield Arena, which was a fabulous experience. We then had a couple of days R&R before an early start on Thursday to catch a flight to Bahrain for the Grand Prix. What an amazing few days it’s been. The race circuit and facilities are superb, and the locals very welcoming and accommodating. And boy, is it hot here! I can’t say we’re looking forward to the chilly UK temperatures when we get back tomorrow. We’ve been treated to some great racing over the weekend, and getting to and from the circuit has been the easiest commute we’ve ever experienced at a grand prix. The only minus points are that it’s a fairly long flight and so makes a weekend break a bit full-on, so staying on an extra day or so would be recommended; and being a dry nation, when alcohol is available to purchase, it’s not cheap. However, all in all, the Bahrain Grand Prix gets a big thumbs up.
It’s been a busy week at Choctails central, with our monthly restock which we schedule for the first week of every month, as well as keeping up with Easter Egg orders. We’re now about to take a 2 week break, so that’s meant some additional production to ensure there’s enough stock to last until we return. Our first event of 2017 is only a few weeks away. We’ll be at the Essex Craft and Design Fair at RHS Hyde Hall over the May Day bank holiday weekend and we’re looking forward to being back on the road. It seems a long time since our last event in early December, so it will be good to head out into the big wide world again! Tomorrow we head up to Sheffield to see The Who live in concert, leaving the rest of the team in charge of keeping up with web orders and enquiries.
Please note that the deadline for ordering Easter Choctails is midday on Wednesday 12 April. Any orders received after this time will not be posted until Tuesday 18 April and due to holidays and events we will not be available for orders to be collected from Choctails Central.
It’s 10 years since my stepchildren Charlie & Mary lost their mum to breast cancer. Since then Simon has lost both his parents to cancer and we’ve also lost a number of good friends to the disease. On the plus side we’ve also seen a lot of friends and family successfully treated. Mary and I ran the race for life 10 years ago and raised almost £5,000 and this year Mary is running the Pretty Muddy Ipswich 5k on 24 June. As well as our personal donations, Choctails will be donating £1 from the sale of every Classic Cocktail Collection (the pink one) between now and the day of Mary’s race. This applies to all boxes sold via our website, other online retailers and show sales. If you would like to donate, click here for the link to Mary’s fundraising page.
We were happy to discover today is Chocolate Covered Caramel Day. And as we’ve a small number of our Six-Chocolate Caramel collections left, we’re currently enjoying a box ourselves. My personal favourite is the Passion Fruit caramel and I can vouch for the fact that the caramel fill makes an excellent Millionaire’s Shortbread. I don’t make this very often, as it’s my very favourite thing in the entire world, and I tend to eat way more than is good for me. Still, there’s nothing wrong with indulging yourself once in a while, so we might share another box later …..