BKD founder Adelle Smith lives in Forest Hill, South East London, with her fiancé Mark and their children. Adelle’s son Cai is 4, her step-daughter Elsie is 8, and her step-son Stan is 15…

I run a design led bakery in London called BKD. We’re a bakery but our main focus is on teaching children to bake. We run cool baking events and parties for children, have a baking and crafting subscription club (Mini Baker Club), make cool cookies for events and have a range of creative baking kits stocked by shops such as Harvey Nichols, Fenwick and we’re soon to launch nationwide with John Lewis. I also have a book that is out on 28th July, called BAKED.

BKD launched from my kitchen in Shoreditch in 2014. What started as fun at home with my kids grew quickly and I soon branched out, putting on baking classes at local haunts like Hoxton Hotel, hosting corporate events, private birthday parties, creating bespoke cookies and styling photo-shoots. I’m lucky enough to work with brands including Virgin, Google, and Karl Lagerfeld Kids. I now have a small team who assist me at our bakery and events all over London.

 

I thought running my own business would balance well with family life, but in reality I have to work very hard

I thought running my own business would balance well with family life, but in reality whilst it offers me flexibility I also work very hard! There are never enough hours in the day and I often find myself working at nights when the kids are in bed. I’m not a morning person, so we’re normally up around 7am and get ready to go off to nursery and work. Cai’s normally in bed by 7-7.30pm and then I do a spot of work again for an hour or so, around dinner, ensuring I have a little quality time on the sofa with my long-suffering partner, J. Then I’m generally in bed by 11/11.30pm.

I have childcare for most of the week, but on Fridays Cai often comes to the bakery to ‘work’. He’s our mini apprentice, always bringing so much fun, chaos and distraction to our day. The ladies are amazing with him, though I have to say I often get a lot less done! Cai loves to have an area set up for him to get creative and decorate cupcakes or biscuits.

I have a lot of help with childcare and I absolutely I couldn’t do it without it. Cai stays with his dad two days a week and has nursery for another two days. I have him the other three days of the week and my fiancé and step-son help out with the odd nursery drop-off or pick up if I’m having to work late that day.

 

My youngest is a great sleeper but a terribly fussy eater, which was what got us in the kitchen to start with

Cai is a great sleeper but a terribly fussy eater, you can’t have it all! In fact Cai’s fussy eating was what got us in the kitchen to start with. I wanted to get him involved in the kitchen from a young age to start creating an interest in food and where it comes from in the hope he’d start being more adventurous. We started out with simple things like making savoury muffins but found a lot of the baking out there quite repetitive and bland. I’m a colour lover and Cai was a monster- and dino-loving little boy. We started making cool and fun things in the kitchen like monster cupcakes, that were exciting, colourful and yet still educational. We loved it and spent most weekends baking up a storm and BKD was born.

I think it’s very hard to achieve work-life balance when you run your own business, you never know what’s going to hit you and that generally impacts on your time at home. I think it’s something I have to be very conscious of being a mum, ensuring if I’m really busy one week I try and not take on too much the following week. I could easily work 24 hours a day, but need to make sure I don’t get too wrapped up in work and take time out to spend with our kids and my fiancé. Now my team is expanding, it does mean I can try limit the weekend work to spend with my family.

 

I could easily work 24 hours a day, but need to make sure I don’t get too wrapped up in work and take time out to spend with our kids and my fiancé

I don’t really have a routine for my working day. Things change week on week. Recently there’s been a lot of writing and recipe testing for my new book, BAKED, and photoshoots for that, too. Recently I’ve been doing a load of videos and interviews for the book. As a small business owner I am heavily involved with day-to-day management, from updating our social media, emailing customers back, paying my staff wages, to helping the team get a corporate biscuit order out the door. Then other weeks I could be doing a personal appearance and demonstration at shows such as BBC Good Food Show, Foodies Festivals or at Big Feastival entertaining the kids. I really mix things up and love the variety.

But I absolutely love running my own business, being creative; I get such a buzz out of it. Never knowing what’s around the corner. How far I come in such a short space of time has been amazing. There can be absolute highs when you run your own business, getting a book deal and getting stocked by some big highstreet shops being two of them. Knowing that, keeps me going when I’m knackered and questioning things. The future is unknown and exciting, so I keep on going always with the aim of expanding my little empire. If something really terrible were to happen, I always think well I’ve tried and I’ve achieved something with BKD that I can be proud of.

Mum guilt is probably one of the things I never understood before becoming a mum. I always feel guilty about something. I also had no idea how much I could love my little boy, I adore him, being a mum is the best job in the world. As well as being a mum to Cai, I’m also a step mum, which was something I never expected to be. It’s surprised me how much I love children that aren’t actually my own. I love our modern-day family. I also have so little me time, my spare time is always spent ensuring we have quality family time and the kids are having fun. It’s so important to me, that we organise fun days out and we create happy childhood memories for our children. They won’t be small for long and Stanley is already too cool to hang out with us…

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