Job Hunting in Korea: A Process

I’ll begin by saying that whilst I am not actively looking for a job, I do keep my eye on several different sources and am a member of a couple of interesting mailing lists, so that if an opportunity should come up that piques my interest, I am ready to apply.

Two weeks ago, one such opportunity came up and so I spruced up my CV and portfolio, wrote a covering letter**, spell-checked, re-did the spell check changing all American English to British English (I really need to change the default on my dictionary) and sent out the email in the required format. Minutes later I received the ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you if you are successful for interview’ email (also known as the if-we-don’t-reply-it-is-because-you-suck) and patted myself on the back for getting it done 5 days before the application deadline. Then I wrote a list of questions that I had about the role, as the job description was either vague or lacking on certain basic points of information.  Later that evening I spoke to my mother – who, by the way,  I am pretty sure has implanted some sort of chip into my brain, because it isn’t normal for her to know EVERYTHING before I tell her – who said she had recently bought me a pretty ‘work’ dress and was planning on sending it to me irrespective of my non-working status so that I could wear it when I was feeling fancy. It seems however that both her and my confidence in my ability was somewhat misplaced as I am yet to hear back so can only assume that I wasn’t up to muster for the job at hand. Oh well. Time to focus on my secret-project-that-I-can’t-tell-you-any-more-about-and-really-must-stop-metioning-at-all.

EDIT: 03/03/2017: Apparently it isn’t unheard of for the process to take up to 6 months just to reach interview stage so I am told that I should learn to be more patient and not jump the gun. Sounds like an unlikely thing for me to do however I can but try **puts patient hat on and waits**

Of course, in the last two weeks I’ve had a couple of other interesting emails and messages as well – one I missed simply because I hadn’t switched on my UK phone in a while and the other two were more calls to make certain agencies aware of one’s existence as they host worldwide events and having a database of event producers around the globe is always a good thing, so let’s see what comes of these.

Anyway, for those who are actively looking for work here, a few things I have learnt. Of course, this is entirely dependent on your particular industry, skill set, years of experience and so on so proceed with a pinch of salt (by the way – Pink Himalyan Salt is now sold in both Homeplus and Emart. YAY).

Language and location are key factors in the job hunt. Even when a job description requires English, it is always English as a second language. Where this isn’t the case, several people I have spoken to have found that their lack of Hanguel means that they can’t even write a short covering email to which to attach their CV. I believe the area around Songdo is big in the bio-med/technology fields so perhaps you’ll have better luck if you are in those fields. It seems to me that there are many more opportunities in Seoul that would not require Hanguel but then comes the question of whether you want to make that commute daily (or twice weekly, or whatever) which is a matter of personal preference. There are some people who wouldn’t mind this, but after year of 4 hours roundtrip commuting in London, there is little that would make me want to do this again.

Another obstacle can be in finding the openings in the first place. There are, as I mentioned in a previous post, as few facebook groups that you can join to keep an eye on openings but I’m yet to be able to sign up to any local recruiters. IFEZ has a couple of initiatives in place to assist and in a couple of weeks, they are holding a workshop to help spouses network, provide information about the visa process (not such an issue for a GCF spouse any more) etc. The best source I have found is still LinkedIn. I’ve had a couple of people contact me through my LinkedIn Profile and one skype-interview progressed very well, until I had to turn down the role due to the vagueness surrounding my visa situation. Fortunately, that has now been cleared up and upon receiving a formal job offer, getting a work permit is easy-peasy-consider-it-done (so I’m told, I guess the reality still has to play out).

For the teachers amongst you, opportunities are more plentiful. There are plenty of Hagwons nearby and of course, Chadwick International. You can also do your TEFL or equivalent online in order to open this door to you. The one thing I have found is that when people are advertising for English Teachers, there is usually an overt preference for North American or Canadian accents, which puts paid to me applying. I don’t get why the Queen’s English would be eschewed for its less correct younger sibling (and a lifetime of Zee not Zed) but never mind.

Anyway, that’s me and the job search for now. To sum up: It is hard for most people to find work in Songdo and also in Korea in general. Make sure that you have that conversation with your partner before you make the decision to move here and keep expectations realistic. It is certainly possible to find a job out here but the process is going to require proactivity and perseverance so GOOD LUCK!

** OK. Here comes a bunch of personal opinion but this business of a covering letter for the events industry is HILARIOUS to me. In the UK, the events industry is a personal one, relying heavily on making contacts. Every job, whether permanent or freelance, that I have had has been because I’ve known someone who is hiring, or a friend of a friend was looking. In one instance, the interviewer knew a former teacher of mine and after giving me the usual chat about taking time to meet other candidates called me up on Monday morning – I had interviewed on Friday late afternoon – to offer me the job. When you work in events, you need to be personable because you will be dealing with clients, suppliers, colleagues and staff all in the space of 10 minutes. Yes, you need to write clearly and efficiently – I always follow up a phone call with an email detailing exactly what has been discussed and agreed…. what good would a 2ft square stage be when I need  12ft square to fit a band, backline etc – but in the first instance, you have to build a rapport with your production team. Once you get on site, if you can’t talk to the people you work with you are screwed. Anyway, as I said, that’s just my opinion and as I believe a picture is worth a thousand words, I always send a copy of my events portfolio (selected case studies) to convey the scope of things I have worked on. But that’s just me.  **

Sometimes…

Even I run out of things to talk about. So one of my tasks today was to write a blog post, but sitting here (well, lying here, as today I am adult-ing from my bed) I actually don’t have a lot to tell you folks about. My draft posts either (a) bored me when I was writing them or (b) need a lot more information than I currently have to hand to make sense. It isn’t like I’ve been sitting around Netflix-ing either. I’ve actually had days where I haven’t even put the TV on. I went to Singapore for a weekend to meet a friend *Hi Raj Mistry* and last weekend there was a Ski Trip organised by IFEZ to Pyeongcang – home of the winter Olympics 2018. At the start of February I finally signed up to PT sessions (with an English speaking trainer) and am working on my strength and mobility (and hopefully some weight loss as a bonus) but that’s not an interesting journey for anybody except my older brother and my sister-in-law (shout out to my personal fitness cheerleaders in Vancouver). I recently applied for a 6 month contract position as an events consultant, but more on that if and when I find out what the process is like. The baking has stopped in honour of our ‘get healthy’ regime but I’ll pull it out for special occasions. I continue to Instagram pictures of food. Oh, and I started a secret project that I obviously can’t write about because then it wouldn’t be a secret. Also, even when it isn’t a secret I am not sure I can write about it because, well, its complicated. Let’s forget I said anything.

I guess I could tell you a little about the weekend’s ski trip to Pyeongchang, but there isn’t a huge amount to tell. As IFEZ organize everything, the sum of your responsibility is to turn up to the G-Tower for the 4 hour coach journey to Pyeongchang and choose the activities that you want to do (Ski lesson, snow board lesson, just hang out etc.) On the return, we stopped at the Olympic Ski Jump venue which was awesome but my general lack of attention span means I didn’t listen to the tour guide and just wandered about and looked at things. The main thing I learnt is that this particular resort has a high level of English, so if you wanted to book a weekend trip there, it wouldn’t be a difficult thing to do. Here’s some pictures to keep you going:

Ok, one of my daily tasks from the trainer is to get out of the apartment and hit 6000 steps daily, so I better get going on that. Luckily, it is starting to warm up outside so the thought of a stroll through the park isn’t too arduous.

Happy Tuesday everyone – and I promise I’ll come up with more interesting things to write about soon!

Social Media & The Expat

So at home in London, I was not quite so proficient at checking my social media (it was a task to be completed on the parts of my commute for which I had network) or uploading things to it. However, I quickly realised that we are so incredibly lucky to have such instant methods of updating and communicating with family and friends at home so I’ve become better at it. I regularly upload photos to my Instagram (which I prefer to Facebook because it has a more limited audience) and as I’ve downloaded Instagram for my mum, that means my parents can easily see what I am up to or the end results of things that we have spoken about. I’m using Twitter to find out information about things in Korea, but also as a source of news (yes, yes, I am being wary of fake news and the like). I mean, we are SO lucky not to have to wait 2 weeks for real letters to be delivered or to get a calling card and make 5 minute phone calls from pay phones with a bad connection so, I embraced technology when we moved and used the internet way more than I used to for personal usage back home. The biggest change in my social media habits is the use of Facebook. It is actually an amazing resource for getting information about different things here, and so I decided to make today’s post about the different Facebook groups that I have joined and pages I have liked since Raj signed his contract.

Below is a list of the pages and groups, with links to each on Facebook. A number of the groups are closed groups, which means that you send a joining request and the page admins will accept or decline your request as appropriate. Some of the pages require you to send a message to the admin to confirm why you want to join the page (this helps avoid the inevitable spamming) so be sure to read any pinned posts and follow the instructions!Hopefully the dearth of information that is available makes it worthwhile to have a Facebook account, even if only for the purposes of joining some of these groups! And it goes without saying that all opinions on the groups mentioned below are entirely my own.

Songdo Expat Community : The very first group I joined and also the one I have used the least. I find it a difficult group to navigate and as a result, questions/comments posted often go un-noticed. When we first arrived, landing on a Sunday with a fair amount of luggage and nobody meeting us at the airport, I posted a question about the best way to get from the airport to The Prau and got no answer. I mean, sure, we worked it out, but for a group professing to make life in Songdo easier for expats, I don’t find it very helpful. Still, I’m loathe to leave it just in case I miss something golden…

Anglo Info Seoul : News, tips and advice for life in Korea. This is one of the groups that I let post to my newsfeed and I usually read an article a day. It’s where I learnt about the recent governmental troubles and protests taking place in Seoul, about the Chicken Flu outbreak of 2016 and other day to day news that I would have normally obtained from the free dailies on my commute. Similar to this group, but less active in my opinion Everyday Korea and Community Korea

Ourshop India: Indian groceries online. And before the opening of Costco in Songdo, also a useful stop for ordering a few Costco goodies online. Delivery is quick and efficient once payment is made (and they have a variety of ways to pay). There are other online Indian grocers but I haven’t used them so haven’t included them here.

Employment groups include  Jobs in South Korea , Jobs: South Korea and Non Teaching Jobs in South Korea all of which facilitate posts from prospective employers and employees alike.

Waeg Farm is a group for those of you who can’t do without your goat’s cheese – especially when it is made fresh and delivered straight to your door!

Korea International Nanny Service is not just for childcare, but cleaners / housekeepers often post here as well. Great if the 3 hour minimum call from the Incheon Cleaning Service  is too much for your needs

Korea Heritage Society  a group to share and enjoy in the rich culture of Korea, with regular posts on activities and events taking place across the country

Used Cars fro Foreigners and Koreans Check out my post on driving here for more information on why this group is so useful!

Expat Grocery Gurus Korea: New Products, Discounts And Clearance Sales featuring tips and advice on where to buy products, when there are sales etc. Everyone here is super helpful and friendly so if you are looking for the source for a particular product, don’t hesitate to ask!

Particularly useful for expats are:Every Expat in Korea,British Expats in Korea,  Indians in Korea and Expat Women in Korea. I mean, you get the odd douche (excuse my French) on all of the groups but by and large the communities are helpful, friendly and supportive.

Not one I’ve had much need to use but always a good to have around is Expat Healthcare in South Korea.

Cooking in Korea is a great resource for sharing recipes, gleaning inspiration, asking for tips and advice and, as I find when I’ve achieved something new in the kitchen, a bit of validation from others who are also navigating the world of Western Style cooking in Korea.

For Incheon/Songdo specific groups, these are a few that I have found:

Incheon Global Campus and Yeonsu, Incheon, South Korea features interesting events and information from our locality

Incheon-Songdo Photography for all the photo lovers in the area, with some really stunning shots of where we call home!

For buying and selling second-hand goods check out Songdo Flea Market and Incheon Flea Market.

Songdo Girl’s Night Group is a community for the ladies of Songdo with at least a monthly event planned

For the exercise conscious among you, check out GCF Yoga which is a beginners Yoga Class, taught in English 3 times a week at the G-Tower for GCF employees and their families and Zumba in Songdo , which is about, well, Zumba classes in Songdo.

Road Tips ideas for trips and events for the expats of Songdo, by the expats of Songdo.

I’m sure new groups will come along sooner or later, but for now, that’s all folks.

Just keep drivin’

**In Korea they drive on the right so I must drive on the right**

That’s basically what I’m repeating to myself in my head every time I get in the driving seat of the car. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, buying a used car in Korea. There isn’t a huge amount to say on this except that if you are using anyone but James Lee, you need to switch agents NOW. James is an American-Korean who just gets it and makes the process of car buying really easy. The best way to get in touch with him is through his Facebook page and he will almost immediately contact you to find out what you are after. A word of warning, don’t join the page until you are really ready to buy – this guy works fast! He’s great at working with requirements and budgets and will give you a bunch of options online before taking you to a car lot or two in Suwon. If you don’t want the diplomatic plates, you can drive away in your car on the same day. Between James and the protocol officer at the office, the paperwork, including the obtaining of Korean driving licences, was easy. Oh and by the way, to get your Korean driving licence, you don’t need to hand over your home country licence – you’ll have to give it to the protocol officer to show but he will return them to you.

bertie So this is Bertie. Full name: Bertram Park Bavishi. He is named after one of my all time favourite literary characters (thanks Wodehouse) with a little nod to his Korean heritage. Obviously the naming was all me, I think Raj would be happy to call him ‘car’ but I’m lucky that he is so indulgent of my whims. We opted for the Diplomatic Blue Plates (the 137 denotes The GCF) and he is a joy to drive. He came with lots of fun extras too – a rear camera, a front camera and a navigational system that we don’t know how to use yet. Also, FM radio 102.7 is the local American Military radio station for when you want to listen to something in English that is more current than what is probably (judging by my iPod) on your iPod.

INSURANCE

Again, I don’t have a lot of information on this other than that James gave us a number for a company with a 24 hour English help line (Tip: Save it in your phone, as well as a picture/copy on Dropbox of your insurance policy). Raj set up the insurance quickly and initially we took the insurance that allows anyone over 30 yrs, with either a Korean licence or International Driving Permit to drive the car. This was needed so that the protocol officer could drive the car to the various offices to complete the necessary paperwork/get the updated licence plates. Now that all that is done, there is the option to downgrade to main driver plus Spouse, which is a bit cheaper but on balance, we’ve kept the everyone insurance in preparation for visitors coming to town. The recovery service is amazing here. When we came back from Australia, Bertie’s battery had gone flat, probably due to the extreme cold. Luckily, I’d saved the English phone number so we called and they said they would send someone to us within 20 minutes. There was a bit of back and forth via text during that 20 minutes to find our policy (I had it saved on dropbox so I sent screenshots to the company and that helped) and within 30 mins of placing the call, the service truck had come and gone and we were on our way home.

DIPLOMATIC vs REGULAR PLATES

As with anything, both options have their pros and cons:

Diplomatic Plates: When you have your blue plates, you are exempted from the bi-annual road tax and you get free parking at the airport. This might not seem like a huge deal, but its a saving of a few hundred dollars on tax and for the airport – it depends on how long you have to park for. When we parked for 3 weeks for Australia, our bill would have been $500 plus so that was a definite win. The downside is that it takes longer (about a month) for you to be able to drive off in your car as the car needs to be registered with immigration etc and if you want to sell it on, you either have to sell it to someone on a similar visa type or go through the process of de-registering it and making the plates regular again. We opted for the Diplo plates and having waited for 10 months to buy a car in the first place, the extra one month of waiting didn’t make a difference.

Regular Plates: If you take this route, you can drive away in your car much faster (same day in some cases) and re-sale is easy. There is still a bit of paperwork but in both cases, the team at the office at super helpful in getting it all done.

PETROL & CAR WASHING

Ok, driving fail – I’ll admit that I haven’t figured out how to fill petrol (diesel. Must remember that we have a diesel car. diesel.) yet. I mean, I know the mechanics of putting the pump into the car obviously, but before you can lift the pump, there is a series of buttons to press on the self-serve pumps in Korea. Now I’m told that most petrol stations (I will not say gas. Petrol). have someone on hand to fill your car for you, but at some stage, I’ll take some pictures of the buttons and the order in which they need to be pressed to make the whole thing work. Most petrol stations have a car wash and air filling station too – again, use a bit of charades to get across what you need to and there are plenty of helpful staff around to make it all happen! Haven’t yet seen anyone who hand-washes cars in shopping centre car parks, but I am sure there will be some when spring arrives.

ROAD RULES

So this was fun. We’re now in a country of “right on red” U-turns and multiple traffic lights. In all honesty, Songdo was a great place to practice driving on the wrong side of the road, as the wide roads with multiple lanes and limited traffic meant that I could safely make a few minor errors and get away with it.

So, right on red. That’s obvious. Even if the traffic light is red when you have a clear opening, you can still turn right and continue on your merry way. A lot of road have dedicated right turn lanes which ever get backed up because of this. If there is a pedestrian crossing upon turning right, obviously let the people go first before continuing… but then, if you didn’t have that much common sense, you probably shouldn’t be driving here.

3-lights So this kind of 3-light traffic light is easy and universal.  When the light is green you can go straight, U-turn, turn left etc. Just remember to check the road markings to make sure you are in the correct lane and it isn’t a no turn road that the maps are trying to direct you into.

4-lights

KEY:

a. These are all the lights that show up on a 4-light traffic light. Just for reference.

b. Nobody can go (except for those turning right)

c. Get ready to go

d. Those people turning left or u-turning in the dedicated lanes can go (and the right-turners)

e. Only those going straight (or right) can go

f. Left, U-turn, straight and right can all go.

roadSo, in the left hand lane, where there is a dotted line, that’s where you can carry our your turn. To turn left, you can go a bit further or be in the second to left hand lane. Sometimes there will be a left hand turn lane, which also has a straight arrow on it, which (duh) means you can turn or go straight but be careful – some of the turning lanes will have the straight arrow crossed out so if in doubt and you want to go straight, stick to a middle lane.

Like I said, Songdo is GREAT for getting used to the different road markings and signs so give yourself a few practice drives around here before taking on the drive to Seoul (the drive is fine, but some of the road signs are worse than Birmingham’s Spaghetti Junction so it can be a challenge figuring out your route).

TOLLS AND HI-PASS

Several roads have tolls of varying amounts on them – for example from Songdo to Incheon Airport is 6,200 KRW each way. Here to is Gwangmyeong (IKEA) , two lots of 1,100 KRW each way and so on. So its worth keeping a bag of change in your car, although many of the tolls do accept card payments too. The best option is to get a Hi-Pass. This is like a T-money card for the car – you fix it into the car and you can use the automated payment lines (denoted by the thick blue line painted in the middle of the lane) when approaching tolls. I understand that you buy your first card from the offices located at the side of the toll stations during working hours and from then, can top up in convenience stores. I haven’t done ours yet but I’ll let you know what the offices look like once I do!

NAVIGATIONAL APPS

So we already know that Google Maps is not a reliable source of navigation here in Korea. The good news is that in the last couple of months, Apple Maps has started working well here. Some of the pronunciation of the road names can be a bit confusing (Senturello, for Central-Ro) but once you get used to it, it is a nice and reliable way to get around. The only downside is that it does not reflect current traffic on any route. So whilst the drive to Myeongdong in Seoul shows up at 30 minutes, the reality is that you’ll be in the car for at least 1.5 hours. A lot of people really like to use Waze. Now this does accurately reflect traffic but personally, I find the app itself a bit confusing when it comes to which lane I need to be in etc. What I tend to do is find my preferred route on apple, check the traffic on Waze so I can plan how long I need to leave to get somewhere and then use Apple Maps to direct me in the car. I got a little phone holder thingy from Daiso (where else) and am good to go anywhere that I can find an address to!

Last but not least, parking. Most places in Songdo have underground parking so that’s a no-brainer. Sometimes the Diplomatic plates confuse the automated payment systems too much so the parking winds up being free, but by and large there is a person around to help out. I haven’t figured out the rules for street parking yet but from what I can see in Songdo, people park wherever they can fit. I’m sticking to single yellow lines for the time being but as and when I find an update, I’ll let you know!

So that’s all I can think of for now. Like I said, having the car really has made life easier here and we’ve got road trip plans a plenty for the future months. Well, at least I do and lucky Raj just gets to come along wherever I make him go. In the meantime, repeat after me ” In Korea they drive on the right so I must drive on the right, In Korea they drive on the right…”

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Me…

Hello everyone! It’s been a while, I know – what with Halloween parties, trips to London and Christmas holidays in Samoa and Australia, I haven’t been on top of my blog-game but I intend to get back to a more regular schedule in 2017 (Happy New Year by the way!) Along with more regular blogging, Raj and I plan to finally join a gym (We are treating 1st Feb as our 1st Jan for that particular resolution, as my forthcoming trips to London and Bali and his forthcoming trip to India eats up the month of January!). Monthly trips to Seoul and more planned fun round out our 2017 resolutions!

So whats the blog agenda to come? First and foremost, I’m going to write about buying a car. We bought one at the end of October and for various reasons didn’t take possession of it properly until the end of November but now that we do have it it really has changed our life. Then we’ll do a bit of “Things to do and places to eat out in Songdo” (about time I get that one sorted), some of my favourite Seoul recommendations, Lunar New Year (and about how I am spending it in Bali) and then we shall see what comes up.

Anyhow, given that this is my first foray back into the world of WordPress for a few months, I’ll keep the written word short and sweet and here is the last quarter of 2016 in Pictures:

Halloween, October 2016:

London, November 2016:

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My baby boy turned 21!

Samoa, December 2016:

 

Australia 2016-2017:

 

And last but not least, my End-of-2016-Collage:

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The “Right” to Discriminate 

First of all, I think I should make one thing clear:  I support gay marriage – or as I like to call it, marriage.

Right, having made that clear, here goes my piece for tonight. Recently reported was a story about a bakery in Belfast that was fined for refusing to bake a cake which said “Support Gay Marriage.” The refusal came on the grounds of a Catholic background and the fine came on the basis that the refusal demonstrated discrimination against equality. You can see the story, including details of the appeal, here.

Now you’d think that I’d be happy at this outcome but actually, I’m concerned that it is too much of an imposition about what people should think – and I’m not the only one

If a supplier wants to refuse somebody a service (even if they are in the wrong in doing so)  surely it is their right so to do? I’m thinking the bitchy sales assistant in Pretty Woman (Big Mistake. Huge). I’m thinking a Doctor’s right to excuse themselves from performing surgery on a White Supremacist (assuming there is another doctor who will take over… do no harm and all that.) I’m thinking of all the Korean “ob-sey-oh” crossed arms that are thrown in my direction when my foreigner-non-Korean-speaking-self enters a small store, where they don’t want to deal with the English-speaking-waygook. And there are many more examples of when it is ok to say no. I fundamentally disagree with the judges who liken this to the bakers prooducing a cake for a rival football team, or for Halloween. The bakers in question have the right, to say, or not say, what they believe. And I’m sure there are bakers who wouldn’t think twice about making the cake, similarly in Australia, where a photographer was fined for not wanting to photograph a gay wedding. Let’s face it (1) you aren’t going to change someone’s long held ideology in a few months and (2) do you really want someone who doesn’t believe in the purity of your love recording the day? I say leave them an honest review and busy yourself with the task of finding the right photographer.

Obviously I’m talking about this on a supplier – customer scale. When it comes to a country refusing to acknowledge the sanctity of a marriage that legally took place elsewhere (looking at you Australia) that’s not cool. But also, nobody said life would be easy and maybe more people should take the time to write a will or legal instruction that dictates protocol in tragic situations – this totally applies to heterosexual, non-married couples too.

Anyway, I digress. The point is, as much as the customer is always right, the supplier must have some degree of say in what they are willing to do, how far they should stretch their beliefs too. The Irish bakery was, in my humble opinion, within its rights to say no to that customer. Discrimination is not always a dirty word, rather, our understanding of what constitutes discrimination needs to adjust in step with the modern world.

#southkoreanbakeoff Weeks 5 & 6

So as you know, I haven’t been to Bangsan Market to buy a pie tin etc etc so Week 5 Pastry Week is currently on hold, until I have all the necessary items.

Skipping ahead, I have completed Week 6 – in a fashion. I was certainly a bit perplexed when they announced Botanical week and wondered whether it would be something I would be able to make happen here in Songdo. However, all was made clear when the episode started as all it meant was that all bakes needed to include  herbs, greens and flowers. Out of a ‘Citrus’ Meringue Pie (what DO you do with all those leftover yolks) a Herby ‘Fougasse’ and the showstopper – a 3 tiered floral cake (floral could either be part of the flavour, the decoration or both) I went with a version of the showstopper. I don’t have 3 concentric cake tins, the right stands/bases etc etc to even try something tiered, so I decided Cupcakes would be the way forward. And before you say I was getting off lightly, I chose to incorporate the floral element in both the flavour and decoration – and lo, the honey cupcake with chamomile buttercream icing came about – loosely based on this recipe with a few tweaks of my own . In addition, good friends back home just had a little girl so I decided to try to pipe pink buttercream roses on the cakes. Try being the operative word.

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It is the first time I’ve used yoghurt in a cupcake and it makes for an amazing-moist-on-the-inside-with-a-light-crisp-on-the-outside bake. Hello go-to recipe – time to try you out with different flavour combinations I think!

 

 

 

I also tried to get the stripey effect that Candice was going for with her Lime Meringue Pie, by ‘painting’ the inside of the piping bag before loading it with buttercream.Being paintbrush-less meant that the painting didn’t work as well as I would have liked, so I went for pink icing and as much of a stripe as I could manage. And my roses are no way near as cool as Selasi’s but at least I tried!!

Coming up next week: Deserts – thinking ahead, I’m leaning towards a swiss roll but we shall see…