In 2012 I was living in a small sea-side town in Eastern Australia. I was born, grew up, went to school all in the same town. I had just started at university studying for a Bio-Medical Science degree and was feeling out of place in a heavy drinking culture, which really didn’t suit me. I was more interested in tea, fine bone china and scones. I was still living at home with my mum, no car, no money despite working 3 jobs and really feeling like I wasn’t going anywhere.
I had always been an academic student, however my passion and first choice of career was devastatingly taken away from me at the age of 15. From a young age I pursued classical ballet and performing arts quite seriously. I was naturally physically very well suited to ballet so I took to it like a duck to water. Ballet and the Performing Arts gave me a sense of being and refinement and also an escape from the usual sequential way everyone else’s futures were heading (School, University, job they hated). Unfortunately in a rehearsal for a big competition I broke my ankle in a pretty serious way. Being 15 and being told you will never pursue your dream was tough, from then on I still continued to dance but never reached the level I needed to make a career out of it. Before I knew it I had drifted into the same path as everyone else, I finished school, started university, went night clubbing, spent most of my days wondering where I was going and daydreaming about living a life that was more fulfilling, but I just didn’t know what else I could do.
Then in March 2012, a cliché I know, my Knight in shining armour came and rescued me from the tower of unhappiness ;-). I met my Husband to be, in my home town on an unexpected night out. He was and still is handsome, well mannered, intelligent, loving and English. We became very close in the time he was living in my home town but just 4 months after meeting each other he had to return to England. With a desire to escape and a huge amount of faith I followed him to England 3 months later. It was the best decision of my life.
I arrived in late autumn to an overcast, rainy, cold England. I had never experienced anything like it before. It was amazing. Being young with no qualifications or experience, the only job I could really get was in hospitality or retail. Having a passion for baking, food and dining I opted for hospitality and started my first job in a small cafe in East Sussex. The days were long, the pay was unreasonably bad and I quickly fell back into feeling like I was going nowhere again. The part I was really enjoying was England itself. The depth of culture, the history, the people, the warming fire places in the pubs, the food, afternoon tea’s, everything just felt so right to me, like I was meant to be English all along.
After 3 years of working in 3 different hospitality based jobs I was handed another lifeline. An escape from cleaning up other peoples half eaten food and working long hours for little reward. I’d had an idea for some time about a business which suited my personality and passion for the beautiful things in life. I have always loved cooking, baking and have spent most of my money on kitchenware, cookbooks and preferred the company of my kitchenaid food processor to pubs and clubs.
Poppy’s Cookshop was born in September 2015 and what a roller coaster it has been. There have been many highs and lots and lots of challenges, but I have enjoyed every moment so far. I am very lucky to be funded by a close family member who believed in me, and that I had the skills to make something of myself. I finally had the chance to follow my dreams on my own terms and get the rewards for my own efforts, a chance to escape the daily grind and carve out a life for myself. Poppy’s Cookshop has replaced dance as my means of expression. If I hadn’t taken the leap of faith and moved to England when I did I don’t know where my life would have gone. But I am so pleased I did. It has not always been easy but I love the challenges and I am happy to be making the most of what I have.
In the last year I have taken my love of baking, homemaking and the traditional English style, to create an online shopping experience and series of baking videos and recipes that hopefully others will like. And for the future? Well who knows, I can see a high street presence offering my new kitchenware designs in an environment where customers can enjoy beautiful cakes, pastries and drinks and spend a few moments away from their busy lives. One thing I do know is that the story has only just begun. Why don’t you come along with me on my journey and see how it all works out.
Love Poppy xoxox