- A week in the life of
- Guest Post
A Week In The Life Of A Temp Who Runs Her Own Business As A Wedding Cake Baker
An average week for a temp? Really there’s no such thing, the last-minute nature of temping means the role suits someone who needs a lot of flexibility, will be looking for work at short notice and is often around when other people aren’t - public holidays, weekends and odd hours. Most of our temps have other jobs, or are in-between work, so they fit the work we set them up with around these; many are actors or perusing a vocation while others, such as Natalie Glock, are following their dreams and running their own business.
Because of this many of our temps stay with us for years, we get to know them well and our Temporary Manager Zoe is careful to match each one with a temporary role they will be suited to and that complements their lifestyle, regardless of whether it’s just for a day or a number of weeks. Zoe knows what it takes to make a great temp and if you want any advice read her blog on ‘How To Boss At Being A Temp’!
Natalie is one such great temp; she’s hard working, quick to respond to messages and never lets us down. On top of this she is a fully trained pastry chef and runs a wonderful cake company called Ginger & The Whisks! We get asked so many questions about temping that we thought who better to explain how it works than someone who is so good at it! Below Natalie has shared an insight into how a typical week for her looks, combining both her cake business and temporary work from Anderson Hoare.
Name: Natalie Glock Age: 36 Where you live: Wandsworth Profession: Pastry chef and owner of cake company Ginger & The Whisks Instagram: @gingerandthewhisks
A bit about me!
Throughout my twenties I worked as an online journalist, writing and producing women’s lifestyle content for a range of different websites. I loved fashion and beauty, still do, but I increasingly found myself more interested in writing about food and travel. Luckily, I was able to develop these skills with some great editors, before leaving to go freelance. That was a big year for me, I left my job, turned 30 and decided to spend a summer in Paris renting an apartment and eating my way around my favourite place. I came back from Paris determined to turn an all-ready passionate love affair with baking, into something more tangible, so I enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu and spent the next 6 months completing my Patisserie Diploma.
The years that followed were the hardest but most satisfying of my life - starting from scratch in a new career will do that to you! I worked as a chocolatier for Paul A Young and a handful of patisseries before deciding that I wanted to create something of my own that reflected my skills and my personality. Not only that, I wanted to dictate my hours and workload, as well as manage the look and feel of my own brand - I think this is the freelancer in me! Ginger & The Whisks merges my love of music and baking, and allows me to create cakes made with classical French pastry skills that are anything but classical! Each of my cakes is named after the coolest female rock stars and I love them all, although Patti and Dolly are probably my favourites. I am in charge of everything and that’s how I like it, from the design of the website, the marketing and social media, the styling, to the making and delivering of the cakes themselves.
Why temping is important to me and how I make it work
Anyone who has set up their own business will tell you that it is incredibly hard work and that you need to start small and have realistic expectations. My business has just entered its third year, and while I can tell the orders have increased year on year, I am a long way from living off of my cakes alone. That’s where temping comes in for me. I started temping as soon as the business was up and running as a flexible, yet reliable, way to keep the money coming in when I needed it most. Temping means you can dictate when you work and the length of your placements, which is great for me as I can work around cake orders and busy periods. Working with a great agency is key though, it’s such a relief knowing that they are constantly on the lookout for you. I joined Anderson Hoare as a temp this year, and working with Zoe has been fantastic! We check in regularly with each other, usually once a week, and I know that I can just let her know my availability and she will work with that. So, here’s what an ‘average’ week looks like for me!
I am temping this week as well as doing a wedding cake on Saturday so it’s going to be a busy one! This temp booking was only confirmed on Friday, the EA I’m covering is off sick, and as EA work is something I do often Zoe rang me on Friday afternoon to see if I could cover. Luckily, I could, but only till Wednesday as I’ve got a wedding booking this weekend and need the time to prep. This worked perfectly and the booking was confirmed!
So, Monday morning and I’m up with lark and off to a 6.45am yoga class!! I know I know, but honestly, morning yoga is my favourite kind, it really sets me up for the day. After class I grab a flat white and head off to the office I’m working in for the next few days; so lucky that it’s within walking distance of my flat, that really is the dream!
Spend the morning working through the EA duties of the lady I’m covering for: emails, arranging telephone conferences and meetings, talking with the venue for the company’s summer party - variety is the thing I love most about EA work. During my lunch break I’ll answer any Ginger & The Whisks emails that have come through, order some cake boards and supplies for the weekend’s wedding and make sure I get outside, this sunshine is incredible!
Afternoon flies by as I’m sitting in on meetings taking the minutes and I have some travel to arrange for the company’s MD. Lovely walk home listening to the new Lizzo album, seriously, I’m obsessed! Then a nice chilled evening on the sofa prepping my shopping list for this week’s cake.
Another day in the office, so I’m out the door at 8:30, coffee in hand. Today the team I’m working with are having an offsite team building session so I spend the morning confirming arrangements and taking over flipcharts and supplies to the venue.
Another sunny lunch break followed by an afternoon spent helping the office manager with deliveries and a big mail out. The MD is out of the office tomorrow so I check in with her to make sure she has everything she needs.
After work I head to the shops to pick up all the ingredients for this week’s bake and then prep my Instagram post for the evening. It’s good to keep the Ginger & The Whisks feed updated the same time each week, my followers love behind the scenes posts as well as the finished products, I like to keep it varied.
Last of the week’s temping days, so I get in early and start work on the handover. This is a really important part of temping, I always make sure that I leave detailed notes of where I am with things, anything that’s come up while I’ve been here etc, just to make it easier for the person I’ve been covering. I also check in with Zoe at Anderson Hoare, to send through my timesheet and give her my updated availability for the next couple of weeks.
After a busy last day tying up loose ends, I head home first for some food, I’m mad on Nigel Slater recipes especially his quick midweek meals from The Guardian. I eat early before heading to yoga, got to get my Zen on before the baking begins!
Day 1 of wedding cake prep begins with coffee and scrambled eggs, anyone else think breakfast and brunch might just be the best meal of the day?? I make all of my cakes in my tiny kitchen at home, so being organised is key. Today I’ll be making my pink grapefruit and gin marmalade which will be going inside this weekend’s cake as well prepping all the dry decorative elements. I always listen to music when I’m in the kitchen, usually BBC Radio 6 Music.
This weekend’s cake is a three tiered Polly so I prep all of the cake tins for tomorrow, and make sure that I have everything I need. I also email the wedding planner just to check the logistics for delivery on Saturday. Then it’s just dinner and a couple of episodes of Killing Eve before bed - she’s so cool!
I’m in the kitchen for 0730, just as well I’m a morning person! There’s always a row of post it notes stuck on the wall for me to follow as there’s so many stages to a wedding cake – this, plus a pot of coffee, and I’m off! I tend to start a big baking day catching up on my favourite podcasts: Desert Island Discs, Adam Buxton and How to Fail with Elizabeth Day. Once all the sponges are done and cooling, I’ll have lunch before getting down to the icing in the afternoon.
There is a lot of G&T frosting to make, the batches are big and I spend the next couple of hours filling and covering the cake tiers ready for tomorrow. The exciting thing about wedding cakes is that they all come together on the day at the venue, so for now all I can do is box up the tiers, get my kit ready and bag everything up for the morning. After a day in the kitchen it’s feet up, with pizza and a large glass of wine, always!
The morning of the wedding, so I’m up early again making final checks. I cautiously get myself and the cake into an Uber and I’m on my way, dreaming of coffee but honestly the adrenaline keeps me going! I always feel it’s such a privilege to be a part of someone’s big day and to be able to see the venue coming together with the bustle of caterers and florists doing their thing. I’m shown to the cake table and meet with the florist who hands me the most beautiful selection of flowers to work with. Once the cake is stacked, I use the flowers and my dried decorations to dress the cake, I love this part! My clients are fantastic and always let me take photos for my Instagram feed and the website, so once I’ve taken my million shots, I clear up and I’m done, all before 12pm - and relax!
If you enjoyed this article and are interested in temping then take a look at our live temporary jobs in London here or contact our temporary work manager Zoe on firstname.lastname@example.org. You might also be interested in two other articles Zoe has written, ‘How To Boss At Being A Temp’ and ‘Everything You Need to Know About Temping’.