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Inspiration

Filed in Blog by on 25th May 2010 0 Comments • views: 1127

What is it that inspires us? I know my inspiration for The Chocolate Cellar was firstly the story “Chocolat” – sometimes when feeling a distinct lack of inspiration I do turn to the film. I come away completely enthused and full of vigour. I’m not sure how much of that is to do with Johnny Depp 😉

Last Friday, I was invited to attend the Inspiring Women Awards. All of the women nominated were absolutely amazing. Not only was I inspired by them, I was totally humbled by each and every one of them. Their achievements were nothing to do with wanting to win awards, but were a way of life that they had adopted – a lifestyle choice that they had made. Wow!A week later I attended a “storytelling” session with Martin King which was fabulous. Until then I hadn’t really understood “Storytelling” as an art form. Wanting to learn more, I decided to attend the first meeting of the “Mouth of the Mersey” club.The club has just been started and was a gathering of established Storytellers as well as curious newcomers like me!It was an unusual evening and quite often I found myself pondering why I had attended and why i was enjoying it. A variety of stories were told. As well as being entertaining, they were interesting, sad, thought-provoking and funny. It was a great honour to attend a storytelling session with the nation’s first Laureate for storytelling, Taffy Thomas. It was also an honour to see his amazing Tale Coat and hear his own personal story. I was once again inspired.
The really interesting thing for me is that at both these events, it was not just the people at the front who inspired me and filled me with enthusiasm and va va voom … it was also the people alongside me – Molly, Geraldine, Liz, Gwen, Judith. I realise that when I look around and allow my mind to listen that inspiration is all around me. It sounds so obvious (and a little corny) but sometimes it is the obvious that is so hard to see.

I find inspiration in my environment, my friends, my children, my colleagues and the many people that we meet in the shop. Sometimes, just their smiles are an inspiration.

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Monkey Business

Filed in Blog by on 5th April 2010 2 Comments • views: 2380

Have you seen the Mankey Monkeys in town?

Download the map here and go visit all the monkeys.

We think they’re fabulous … we have Coco Moe (Number 6 on the map)…. a very happy monkey indeed as she is covered in chocolate! She’s also permanently got one of our Tia Maria Truffles in her mouth! As mentioned in our newsletter, come in and say “Mankey Monkey” during April and receive a free Nana-choc!

The Monkey’s are a very worthwhile cause in aid of the Alder Hey Imagine Appeal. All the businesses displaying them have paid a fostering fee and they are to be auctioned off soon too.

The Lambananas were of a similar ilk in 2008 and did very well indeed. The penguins in January were great, but didn’t seem to get as much coverage… or was it just me not noticing?

I do hope the monkeys are a success – it’s something fun to do in the Easter Break for the kids.

Maybe a little plea to the organisers … if they were around a little longer more people would talk about them and more people would want to see them. I think overall the lambananas were out for almost a year … the penguins only a few weeks? If the monkeys were around until at least the summer holidays all the children could really have fun visiting them all! Just a thought!

Look forward to everyone saying “Mankey Monkey” over the next few weeks!

Take care and have fun!

Happy Mothers Day …

Filed in Blog by on 16th March 2010 0 Comments • views: 1323

Firstly to my lovely mum who is in India and had absolutely no idea that it was actually today until we phoned her, secondly to Nanny Croman who has been busy with all her grandchildren and children phoning her all day and finally to every mum out there!
Mother’s day is such a special occasion, and I celebrated it today by just being a mum. It was nice to do not much other than spend time with the boys today.
Of course, chocolate was involved and we ate chocolate and played with chocolate and made a few delicacies together! It is just so much fun! I think that is one of the most amazing things about chocolate – it seems to appeal to children, young people, adults and the elderly alike. No matter what age, what gender – whenever I mention the word chocolate to people they smile
It must be the “feel good” factor that chocolate has – it is so memorable that hearing its name just makes you feel happy
Thanks to all who have come along to the Wigan Sweet Tooth Fair and also to the Wirral Farmers Market. Our next event is on Saturday 20th March at the 08 place – do come along as there will be a number of food stalls and demos throughout the day – I think we will demo our strawberry, champagne and chocolate soup again and one other recipe … hmmm truffles or something savoury? Can’t quite decide.
Talking of savoury chocolate, the Chocolate Lovers Club is on again on Thursday 25th March – we are taking bookings now. The Chicken Mole went down a treat last month, so looking for something to match that this month…. watch this space!

January chills…

Filed in Blog by on 17th January 2010 0 Comments • views: 1382

January is such a quiet time and everyone seems to be recovering from a hangover or on detox.

Things were quiet at the Chocolate Cellar at the beginning of this month and the team brainstormed to come up with some fab new ideas for our Valentines Day Collection and also design some stunning new cakes.

So now we are all beavering away to turn all those ideas into reality – watch out for some show stopping cakes!

Tuesday 5th January was pretty eventful for us. We had decided to take a day out for a team building exercise. We started off with breakfast at the new Novotel Hotel across the road from us. If you haven’t paid them a visit yet, do pop in – the staff are extremely friendly and the breakfast was delicious – many of us had the veggie option as well as the meat – eating one!!
Just as well …. our next task was a treasure hunt around the city of Liverpool … A big thank you to the Stig who allowed us to have his picture taken with our team 😉

There was no definitive winner as we didn’t have enough time to complete the challenge… I do think our team won though as we completed more of the bonus tasks!
The bad weather and horrific grid locked traffic descended on us the same day and most of us were then challenged with the task of getting home! It is so nice to feel warm again after such a cold week. We were forced to close the shop for most of that week due to the bad weather and we do apologise to anyone who made it to the chocolate cellar only to find it closed!
We now seem to be back to normal and our winter warming hot chocolate and cakes seem to be flying out. We are using January to try out some new ideas – so keep your eyes and ears open – there are always a few little samples on offer in return for honest feedback!

Keep warm … hope to see you soon – Bala 🙂

A new season!

Filed in Blog by on 2nd October 2009 0 Comments • views: 1265

I love October – It still remains such an obvious change of season – the air starts to feel cooler and fresher. The leaves are turning golden brown / orange. When I used to live in London, I could sniff out  the chestnut carts as I walked through Oxford Street. As I take my little one to school the bigger boys are all starting to collect conkers. For us chocolatiers, this is the final stretch before we get into the full swing of the chocolate season. I am very excited as this will be our first Christmas at Hanover Street. It will also be my little boys first Christmas as a school boy and he is so excited already!

Already there is a buzz as people are coming in and placing orders and asking to see our Christmas Collection ….. alas! our christmas chocolates aren’t out yet – we like to make everything as fresh as we can! So we are currently focusing on Chocolate Week next week and then will be putting together trick or treat cauldrons  for Halloween.

For the first time this year we are officially participating in “Chocolate Week”. We have events every day in the shop – the website www.thechocolatecellar.co.uk has full details, but highlights are a chocolate tasting with all of our unusual chocolates on Thurs 15th and Fri 16th – mango and chilli, Lavender, whiskey and gunpowder, lemon and cumin to name but a few!  There will be a tea party in aid of the Sick Children’s Trust on the Sunday – do please come and support this if you can.  Free lunchtime demo’s on the Tuesday and Wednesday, so there should be something for all somewhere along the line!

Happy Chocolate Week and see you soon, I hope – Bala x

My trip to Downing Street views: 112

    On 28th November I was delighted to be heading to Downing Street. I had been invited as a Small Business Champion by the Small Business Saturday Campaign to celebrate 5 years of the campaign. I had been 2 years ago as part of the small business 100 for 2016. Firstly I wasn’t sure […]

The spirit of a small business views: 77

What an amazing weekend we’ve had!   Thank you for coming out and supporting the community of local small businesses. It was so fabulous to see so many gorgeous lovely friendly people at the Open Culture Winter Arts Market and then Baltic Market on Sunday.   And really – it’s not just about the sales… […]

#indieweek and #SmallBizSatUK views: 89

Last week we took part in an instagram challenge for #justacard. This was a campaign which highlighted the fact that every tiny purchase makes a difference to small businesses. The title of the campaign was inspired by a quote from an independent gallery owner after the closure of their gallery. “If everyone who’d complimented our […]

Chocolate Week is here! views: 130

National Chocolate Week is upon us again and we’re so happy to have a full week dedicated to the celebration of chocolate! During one of our tastings this week we were asked what it’s all about – why chocolate week? For us its always been about celebrating chocolate in its beautiful wondrous form and the […]