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// Interview with Baker - Roxy Riley //

‘MEET YOUR LOCAL GIRL GANG’ is at it again…

This week, it is with great pleasure that I get to interview Roxy, Co-founder of Flour and Feast who once made me the most delicious pinata cookies for my birthday and a stunning naked wedding cake for my best friend’s big day.

Roxy is not only an amazing Baker, but also a strong and inspiring women, whose hard-work and warm personality makes her such a great role model for all us creative women!

She is kind, friendly and mega talented, creating sweet and delicate cakes and treats that not only taste divine, but also make your eyes water they’re that pretty!

ROXY is now Co-Owner of 'Flour and Feast’ Micro-Bakery, which she runs with her partner Joe... But before I give away anymore spoilers, let’s hear all about it from the bad-ass business women herself.

So Roxy, tell us your story. Have you always wanted to bake, or is it a passion that’s developed over time?

Arrgh! Where to start?
I’ve had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember, especially for actual sweets and chocolate. Anything sweet, covered in sugar or bursting with sherbert went into my mouth, (hello fillings and sugar highs!) but I wasn’t interested in baking at all, just eating.

I actually wanted to be a Fashion Illustrator so I studied Fashion at Park Street college in Hull and then went on to get my degree in Fashion and Costume Interpretation. Please do not ask me what that is because I’m still not entirely sure. It might seem like an odd jump but baking is very much a creative profession and the skills I learned and developed doing my degree still pop up from time to time.
There wasn’t as much of a food scene in Hull back then, if any, so in order to get my hands (and mouth) on all of the lovely things I wanted to eat I had to make them myself. Gradually I became obsessed with baking and everything that surrounded it. I went back to college and studied patisserie for 2 years and got a job in a local bakery and it all developed from there.

Baking for me comes from a love of eating, a love of feeding and a love of creating.

I know you’ve got a new venture up your sleeve… What can we expect from Flour and Feast over the next few months? (So very excited for you!)

Aah, thank you. I’m excited too! I still can’t believe I’ll have my own little bakery business! It’s been my dream for a little while now.

As Flour and Feast is a Micro-Bakery (opening soon in Trinity Market, Hull) you can pretty much expect a scaled down version of a full sized bakery but with a few extra surprises! Although we’ll have a set selection of some of the most popular bakes there will also be an ever changing element due to seasons, products and a desire to create new things. There’ll be a few morning options too like cinnamon buns (imagine that smell!) and homemade granola pots as well as weekly and lunch specials.

There are so many great people and things happening in Hull and we’d like to be involved in the city’s up and coming food scene and eventually expand into outside catering. Celebrations, corporate catering, etc.

Throughout the whole process of setting up this bakery we’ve thought about what we’d like to see in the city and what others might like. We’d really love to provide people with a place where they can eat a snack or lunch within Trinity Market’s communal eating area and pick up some bread or a dessert on their way home from work too.

Has it taken a lot of confidence to become self-employed and basically promote yourself and your business in Hull? Do you have any advice for women who might experience self-doubt? cos let’s face it, we all feel it!

Great question!
The biggest confidence boost has been doing this with my boyfriend, Joe Roper. He’s very practical, keeps me grounded and is an amazing baker!

There was a very real worry that people wouldn’t get what we’re trying to do or be bothered about it. You know, will anyone be willing to spend money on a loaf of bread when you could pick one up cheaper in a supermarket? But we have a lot of faith that the majority of people want real food made with real ingredients that also tastes amazing. The real self doubt came from my own personal concerns, my fear of not being good enough almost stopped me from doing this at all. I was trapped between desperately wanting to realise my dream and a crippling fear of failure.

One of the things that helped me massively was developing a healthier relationship with social media. Social media can be a wonderful place for expression, creativity, exposure and building a support network of like minded people, it can also be incredibly destructive. I’ve had to learn to use it wisely because comparison is a massive confidence killer!

My rules for myself are:
-Use it for a reason, don’t scroll aimlessly (easier said than done, I know)
-Don’t follow anyone who makes you feel even slightly bad about yourself. Even if that is someone you love or admire, unfollow if it causes any negativity.
-Remember that not everything you see in those small squares is real life. They’re a tiny snapshot that someone has taken the time to perfectly create. The stress, tiredness, ugliness and anxieties of real life are rarely shown.

I read recently that “there is room for everyone at the top and nobody starts there”. I love that! It’s all a learning curve and that should be embraced.

The food scene in Hull seems to be growing. What are your hopes for Flour and Feast in the future? World-domination or…

World domination? Pah ha!
The food scene in Hull is looking very exciting at the minute and as you can probably imagine I am loving the variety that is now on offer. However, I don’t think I’m a world domination kind of person (insert crying with laughter emoji here). I’m all about a work/life balance and I’m not sure the two go hand in hand.

Saying that, eventually I would love to expand Flour & Feast. A bigger space, my very own tables for people to sit and eat brunch at with friends and big cosy chairs to curl up in with coffee and a good book…. But for now I’m focusing on getting this little bakery up and running. Definitely keep your eyes peeled for merchandise though. The lovely Jemma Klein and her partner in crime Jonny are helping us out with it and once it’s done that stuff will be everywhere! Maybe there’ll be world domination after all.

And finally, I know you’ve been working around the clock setting up your business and generally being a massive GIRLBOSS, but what do you do to unwind and switch off when needed?

Weirdly, I cook to unwind. Being on my own in the kitchen, cooking food with a glass (read bottle) of wine in my hand is my idea of heaven. And I recently discovered podcasts and now I’m obsessed. I have hundreds all waiting to be listened to.

Other than that I love reading in the bath and box sets. I just binge watched 4 seasons of The Walking Dead in a week and now I’m traumatised. Glenn!

And last but definitely not least, Yoga. I used to attend classes but trying to set up a business means you have no money. Ever. I now practice at home and I love it, maybe even more than classes as I’m really pushing myself with it and even if I only have 5 minutes to spare I can do a speedy yoga sequence and it still feels like self care. It makes me feel grounded, strong and like a kick ass warrier on the outside even if I’m an anxiety-ridden worrier who hates making decisions on the inside :)

Thank you so much Roxy for such an honest insight into life as a new business owner in Hull. 

Check out @flourandfeast to see more of Roxy's amazing bakes. Also, make sure you get down to Hull's Trinity Market to check out Roxy's new Micro-Bakery in the flesh and sample some delicious delights... Opening soon.



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