In The Days of Our Lives we meet some fascinating and creative folk and take a look at what their typical day holds. Far from being about the mundane, it is a celebration of what it takes to juggle the day-to-day with big ideas, a successful business and a full home life. It’s about keeping all the balls in the air – what is important and what isn’t. It’s about (extra)ordinary moments that fill our every day.
This week we’re getting up close and personal with Anneka Manning. Of course you already know Anneka from Make + Bake, her monthly column on Checks and Spots, but today we’re getting to really know this die-hard baker!
With over 20 years of hands-on experience as an author, food editor, writer, teacher and publisher, Anneka is on one sweet mission to create a baking revolution. Through her business, BakeClub, and latest book, Bake, Eat, Love, she is passionately reconnecting home cooks with the magic of baking and how it’s a way of nurturing. And if that wasn’t enough to fill Anneka’s days, she is also a mum of two….or should that be three if you count Maggie the Jack Russell?!
This is a day in Anneka’s life.
5.30 – 6.00 am
Alarm goes either for training in the park with Body Beyond Baby (yes, I’m a little ‘beyond the baby’ than most who train with BBB – my kids are 14 and almost 12! – but it is a brilliant way to start the day and get your head in the right place). If I’m not training I spend 20 minutes meditating every morning – again to clear the head and start the day on the right track.
Kids are up (well Ben is, Brooke needs to be dragged out of bed if she hasn’t been to swimming training) and time to get ready for school – lunch boxes, breakfast, finding the missing sock in the washing basket. Ben leaves to catch the bus at 7.30am while Brooke walks to school and leaves at a more leisurely pace a little after 8am. My husband Paul has usually left early, often for a boxing class before work.
Finish kitchen clean-up, maybe a load of washing on the line, make a fresh juice and a peppermint tea and sit down at my desk to check emails and social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
Everyday is different but I usually spend the first few hours on the admin side of things. Checking orders that have come through the website for my new book – Bake, Eat, Love – that need to be wrapped, packed and posted by the end of the day; sending confirmation emails for BakeClass bookings; updating the BakeClub website such as adding details of new classes, sending an email to BakeClub subscribers, revising photos and details etc; posting on social media such as Tuesday’s BakeTip that I create through Instagram; making phone calls; liaising with my designer regarding BakeClub material such as our monthly newsletter, flyers, handouts for our BakeClasses, content for the website etc; general phone calls .………
If we have a BakeClass (especially on weekends) Lisa and I are at the studio kitchen by 7.30am baking and prepping ready for classes to start at 9.30am. The Classes run for 3 hours. We either back-up with another in the afternoon or clean-up, debrief and give ourselves an early mark!
Writing, writing, writing….writing is a big part of most days. I do a number of guest blog posts specifically on baking including weekly posts for The Family Kitchen, and monthly posts for Checks and Spots and GI News, as well as my own weekly BakeBlog that gets sent out to all BakeClub subscribers. Recipe writing is also often on the agenda – researching, writing and then testing needs to be done for all the recipes on the BakeClub website as well as those presented in all our BakeClasses.
Recipe writing is a time-consuming process and needs to be done thoroughly. When I did my home economics training over 20 years ago (boy does that make me sound old!) I learnt that there is an actual a process to writing recipes so they are not only easy to follow and fail-safe but also totally delicious – it is a process that has become second nature to me and it’s not something I consciously think of when developing recipes.
A cup of tea and something home baked (if the biscuit jar is full) is my mid-morning treat when writing.
Lunch usually of a salad or leftovers from the night before. I’m actually terrible at eating at a reasonable time and some days I get so lost in what I’m doing lunch ends up at 3pm! If the weather is good I’ll pack lunch up and take it across the road to the park with our Jack Russell Maggie so she can have a run too.
Check emails and social media. More writing. Alternatively, can be recipe testing, planning for the week’s BakeClass or developing the content for a new one.
The afternoon is usually a mix of on-the-go work and kids activities – footie, singing, hockey…usually home by 6pm.
Homework and dinner. Usually Paul and I take it in turns to cook dinner – something simple, fresh and hopefully something that leftovers can be reinvented into tomorrow’s lunch.
Kids are usually (well sometimes) in bed reading by now……maybe a little TV, folding washing, baking a batch of biscuits for lunch boxes or sneaking in a few more emails before the end of the day.
20 minutes of meditation, read for a little while, lights out!