Baking to relax ! Sheffield Sewing Bee Cakes

Magnificent effort again by Sheffield members of the Clandestine Cake Club. We were hosted by Annies, haberdashery, fabric & sewing shop who let us show of our cakes in their sewing class area !! Lashings of tea we had 5 bakers ! Here are the cakes !

Karens  Bee cake , sponge with Date Savvy , with Honey buttercream & Date Savvy & honey syrup.

Danis Marzipan coated Battenberg cake. She tried 2 methods one with a special tin for 2 different colour mixes, the other baking 2 separate cakes , then cutting & assembling the checks. The second method is recommended.

Carolynns vanilla & Lemon checkerboard cake , with a mini lemon cake assembled from the remaining bits .

What’s in the box ? Louise had some help from Imrans takeaway on Abbeydale Rd as her box was collapsing en route & he provided stickers !!

Annes Honey Beer cake , made from a date & sultana compote, ground almonds too & 500 ml of honey dew beer, with a banana & rum buttercream topping.

Louise made a Honey Bee cake with a honeycomb topping & stripy bee interior. In the spirit of CCC she had 3 goes with different black colourings. She recommended Sugarflair black gel which she bought on e bay. She used honey, instead of vanilla essence in the buttercream.

Here are the inside shots !!

Thanks again to Annies . Watch out on the site for dates of next events. 29th April, 20 May ,24 June …all ideas for venues & themes welcomed !! Contact Karen 07971 881251 or To book a free coaching taster with Karen & reclaim your worklife balance please contact me at my website

Sweet #netwalking in New Mills with@dalesandpeak

Today Dales and Peak Network went on an #entrepreneurs walk in New Mills, in the High Peak. We started at Swizzels Matlow , where Nici Matlow , HR manager of the family owned business SwizzelsMatlow gave us a talk on the history of the companies , and lots of sweet tasters . Despite being a family member, Nici had to spend 18 months on the shop floor , plus a Uni degree before she joined Swizzels HR.  The company started in Hackney London in the 30’s, relocated to New Mills in the war, and never left.In the 40’s they moved into an old textile mill. They helped the war effort by making water purification tablets. In the 50’s Parma Violets were invented.Originally they were breath fresheners . In 1954 Love Hearts came about.

They have a top secret machine to do messages on the Love hearts.Love Hearts are global, imagine 100 tonnes a week ! Then the double sherbet lolly..another first. Swizzels are famous for their firsts.
In 1975 a new factory extension arrived. The Swizzels sherbet sugar & Matlows jelly & chews merged. They built a new products & innovations team. In 2001 the online shop arrived, plus #squashies . They continually innovate , using natural colours & healthy mixes where possible.
What does Success look like ?
A lesson to all employers … Swizzels say
1 Success is all about their people , empowering & developing them. Staff are fully involved in creating an inspiring vision & future direction. All staff get the opportunity for regular training plus self guided learning in the Refresher room. When I arrived at the gatehouse I was greeted & welcomed by staff, signposted to the walk start, and everyone that arrived at the desk while I was there received the same genuine helpful friendly service. How does your business appear to new visitors & the outside world ?
2 Provide continuous development including Coaching for your staff.
3 Communicate your Vision, make it a shared vision & encourage participation.
4 Encourage staff to be involved in continuous improvement of business process & direction.
5 Involve staff in the selection & implementation of new technology so they can see how it will benefit them, by removing boring processes, keeping their jobs more interesting & not threatening their jobs.Its a pleasure to be consulted when you are not worried about your job!
6 Work with the local community ,schools, groups to promote jobs, support community sustainability & pride.

After the talk we walked along Torrs Gorge & on the Millennium walkway along to the canal and back into New Mills . We swapped business ideas & discussed all the tips from Swizzels, plus of course eating the odd sweet ! Join our next @dalesandpeak  walk on 26th April starting from venue TBC in Hathersage.

Email me for details Best wishes Karen Perkins . Follow me on Twitter or Instagram @fabcoach Book a free coaching taster to see how I can help you re balance your work life !


Animal Crackers Cakes at RSPCA Sheffield

Many thanks to Tony & staff at Sheffield RSPCA Animal centre off Woodburn Road Sheffield . We held our Sheffield Clandestine cake club in the center with  5 bakers & Pepper the dog. Tony told us how they rescue, treat & rehome animals. They do a foster then adopt service to help new owners decide if they can cope with their new pet & offer advice & tips while they settle in. People can view dogs by video & photo now as they found it doesn’t unsettle the dogs as much.

Here are our cakes
Annes Chilli Chocolate Orange Tiger cake

Choc Orange Chilli Tiger cake

Carolyns Chocolate Orange tiger striped cake

Choc Orange Tiger cake 2

Is this a hedgehog cake !! from Karen P

Mutant hedgehog choc cake

This is a proper hedgehog cake by Karen W !

Hedgehog Choc cake

Look at the inside of the cakes as we sampled then ! #yummy

Thanks to RSPCA Sheffield …we will be back .Tony always needs donations of money, charity shop goods, raffle prizes , & support for their events ! Donate & sponsor via

Our next bake is Prohibition Cakes Nov 19th 3-5

Contact Karen Perkins for info about future events !

10 Emerging HR Trends

Jobseekers, have you looked at the current trends in recruitment recently? Take control of your own personal development & career path, as it’s expected now. This article outlines the trends . Book a free career coaching taster careers

Talent Trends & Insights

A lot of the HR and Recruitment commentary I see focuses on skills shortages and hiring difficulties, with concerns over attraction, retention and development. This often overlooks some of the many nuanced changes and developments in a number of HR processes that impact the day-to-day employment experience, all encouraging a shift in mindset and behaviours. Technology is often at the heart of these, either enabling and facilitating, or encouraging much of the evolution.

During the last twelve months or so I’ve written about many new recruitment and HR trends in reports and on other sites. These are 10 in particular that I think important:

  • Performance Management becoming a richer, more agile process focusing on continual development and coaching rather than annual reviews and school report style grades and assessments; moving from measurement to improvement
  • Leadership Development not restricted to early identified high potentials or specific job titles but becoming open…

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My art holiday in Sheffield

This year I had an unexpectedly brilliant 2 weekends on Art Holiday in Sheffield with @arpzen . We followed the Open Up Sheffield festival brochure , and discovered that the biannual  Art Sheffield event coincided. This is the pictorial story & highlights of my art discovery over 5 days and 17 miles of walking across Sheffield & the Peak District. The most interesting facts I discovered were

  • Sheffield has the highest number of artists per Km sq in the UK, outside of London
  • You can rent studio share space from as little as £57 a month incl heating
  • Its easy to just start up as an artist or creative in small steps
  • Sheffield artists open up their studios with tea & cake & arty insights
  • I can still throw a pot after 25 years !!
kristen baggeley open up sea pic

Kristen Baggeley Cornwall

open up  lyn littlewood Outseats hathersage

Lynn Littlewood Outseats Hathersage


Fenella Nobles chicken wire creatures

open up sue lancaster

Sue Lancaster Stitchedup & Fleeced

Open Up Muriel Design @murieldesign

Bloc Studios S1 Muriel Design @murieldesign

the holt open up

The Holt Cafe next to Biggins Bros

street art open up opp the holt

Street art  opp. the Holt 156 Arundel St Sheffield

Kristen Baggeley open up

Kristen Baggeley

kristen baggeley open up sea pic

Kristen Baggeley #soldtome 

Bricks best Portland Works

Bricks  Portland Works

Bank St Arts open up sheffield

Bank St Arts Cafe

gairloch by John Wilkinson Kiac open up

Gairloch by John Wilkinson KIAC Kelham Island Arts Co-Op

Gordon Snee open up Kiac

Gordon Snee & Dtr KIAC

dave akehurst openup sheffield

Dave Akehurst KIAC Openup Sheffield

Joel Wilde Open up kiac

Joel Wilde Open up KIAC

joel wilde open up kiac

Joel Wilde  KIAC

KIAC gallery open up

KIAC gallery AT Open Up Life drawing Exhibition


cads #cool

portmeor cornwall

Porthmeor Cornwall R Bowden CADS

stanage katherine rhodes open up

Stanage Katherine Rhodes

K Rhodes Kinder open up

K Rhodes Kinder

Mark Hedley Wilson Manchester open up

Mark Hedley Wilson  Manchester #iwantit

Phew and those were only a few highlights . We also visited Exchange Place, Persistence works, Bloc Studio, Bank St Arts, CADS but in the spirit of Open Up we were invited into over 20 artists, sculptors, jewellery makers & photographers  homes & studios to talk about their work, what inspired them & see their work in progress. I learned masses about how to start up as an artist or creative . I will be doing a pottery throwing course too. There are hundreds of people making original art in Sheffield, tucked away ! Make sure you visit @openupsheffield 2017 next year & buy the programme which has full details of all the artists & where to buy their work .

Art is inspiring & relaxing … combined with walking around Sheffield in the sunshine we felt like we had been to another place on holiday. Plus 2 fabulous breakfasts at Couch Campo Lane & Gerties Walkley .

For inspiration & curiousness about how you can release your inner artist , start up a business or new career please contact Karen Perkins for a free coaching taster via @fabcoach on Twitter

Designing Healthcare through Art & Design.

You ain't got no Picasso, yo?!

Medicine develops so fast, especially radiotherapy. But one of the areas we’ve not caught up with and developed  is the design of healthcare. I know what you’re thinking. What’s art & design got to do with anything in healthcare, really? And if you’re thinking this – this basically uncovers one of the reasons why design is an issue – because no one is thinking about it.

Last year I made the first Radiotherapy Patient Information Smartphone app. RADcare. Just me. I drew it out on paper – big sheets of A3, pages and pages – in the library and in Starbucks, I read paper after paper on patient informational needs, scoped out what is already out there, thought about the pathway and critically reflected my time as a patient and doing first-day chats on clinical placement. After being a patient (not a radiotherapy one) I’ve always felt that patient information…

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Tips for planning your transition to full retirement

Although the idea of not having to work anymore can be exciting (and something you might have been looking forward to for many years!), for some it can be a mixed blessing. The change from being in work to being retired presents many different feelings, ranging from panic and boredom to sheer joy at having time available to do what you want. As with all big life changes, retirement can take a lot of adjusting to and it’s quite common to feel unsure about this new chapter in your life. I wrote some tips for  Sheffield financial planners.

12314009-retirement square

Make an appointment for a free Lifecoaching Retirement planning session over coffee now  Contact me on 07971 881251 or book with a friend

Get your Social media sorted for 2016

If you want to use Social media more for your Biz but find it overwhelming , book a social media makeover or digital detox with me. Free audit , plus posting to help you manage your time & free up your creativity. Book via

just do it 2

just do it 2

10 Top Tips for a ‪#‎stressfree‬ Christmas !

10 Top Tips for a ‪#‎stressfree‬ Christmas !

by Karen Perkins

1 Xmas has not happened yet so you still have a CHOICE about how you are going to enjoy it ! What would you really like to change this year to improve it ?

2 Pick your most annoying relative of friend. Choose to be nice to them this year ! See what happens !

3 Buy yourself a secret santa present ,that you really love . Place it under the tree as your treat on Xmas day !

4 Go and help someone else instead eg the Archer project. ( google for ideas near you !!)

5 Book yourself a de-cluttering session and take it to a charity others

6 Or teach yourself to sell things on e-bay, and start a way boost your income in the new year !!

7 Go and hide in a deep ,warm bubbly bath !

8 Play hide and seek and have a snooze whilst waiting …kids love this !!

9 When it all gets too much walk round the block , twice if you have too ,it really relaxes you !

10 Invite the neighbours kids round on Christmas eve ,and keep your pets or kids entertained !

Now book yourself a little New Year New You Lifecoaching FREE taster on 07971 881251 and find out how you can make those changes in 2015 that you have been putting off !!

Snow Shoes