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Isn’t it strange how a smell or taste can bring back a thousand memories? Each time I have mince pies, trifle or marzipan I’m taken back to my childhood: standing at the end of the kitchen, watching my Grandma and my mother spend hours preparing dinner for the rest of the family. I remember my sister and I desperately trying to get involved in some way: we would fight over who cuts out the pastry, who washed the blackberries and who had the absolute pleasure of licking the bowl. We spent hours in my Grandma’s Kitchen: learning how to cook, how to share and most importantly how to love. We were taught that you can’t just rush things, they take time and eventually your hard work pays off. Year after year I try and make my own mince pies, but I don’t think they’ll ever be as nice as Grandma’s were.

That to me is cooking. Putting in enormous amounts of effort for a single dish. It’s not about the price anymore; yes you can go to a local supermarket and buy a Victoria Sponge for under a pound- but it will never match the quality of a home made one. Besides, you don’t get that exciting sensation of waiting for your food to bake, the lingering smells or the “too hot to eat yet” anticipation.

Last week my Mum took my sisters and I to the Festive Gift Fair at Birmingham’s NEC. We spend hours venturing through different stalls, all attempting to show off their latest products for the Christmas period. Though each stall had their own spark; there was one stall in particular that caught my eye -and that stall was called “The Messy Baker”. Instantly we all (especially my sister Sarah) fell in love with their vintage style cooking pinnies. They had so many different styles and designs to choose from, it felt as if I was transported back in time to the late 1940’s. There was something about the company which felt like home too: I could picture my Grandmother in any one of the pinnes and suddenly I was taken back to the memory I mentioned earlier. It amazes me how both Leigh and John have taken such a unique, iconic product, revived it and made it modern.

leighmessybakerTheir stall reflected their brand perfectly, and having spoken to the two owners for quite a while: their attitude towards their product was so humble and inspiring, it was nice to see a couple so proud of their creation.

Spread against the back wall of the stall lay a large poster explaining the different styles of pinnies, and how each of them have their own identity; opening up their products to a wide range of women. Luckily I managed to get my hands on a hand-out which had the poster printed smaller (which I have scanned in and can be found below) so be sure to take a look for yourself.

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It’s very obvious that the company is fuelled by passion and enthusiasm: something you don’t always find in companies nowadays. It was a pleasure meeting Leigh & John and being able to listen to the story behind the products, why they started the business and where they want to take it in the future. To find out more information about the company and to see their full range of products, head over to their website www.messybaker.co.uk. I hope to be seeing their pinnies all around the country as soon as possible as they make great gifts, and should be an accessory in anyone’s kitchen.

Have fun baking!

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P.S: Look out for a new video featuring one of the pinnies we bought; hopefully my sisters and I will be filming a tutorial in the not too distant future.

P.S.S: If you haven’t already seen my shot of Sarah, as it fits with the 1940’s theme, you can view it below! I created it for my A-Level work and seeing as I’ll probably never be using it again in my life, I want to share it with you to make use of it! So if you ever need any more photography for the company be sure to hit me up!

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