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  • 0 CAKE SHAMING

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    Long time no gist. My apologies. Sometimes life gets so hectic that you deliberately have to close your eyes to some stuff if you don't want your eyes to close permanently! Today I want to talk about our practice of cake shaming. Almost all of us have probably seen the pictures of some cakes that leave much to be desired and the deluge of savage, hateful and abusive comments that are posted below it. For a lot of us, the comment section provides more entertainment than watching a top comedy show. Now I must confess, I too have looked at some of these pictures and opened my mouth in disbelief, not being able to comprehend how the baker could have got away with it. I also confess to reading the comments and laughing my head off at some of them. I've even gone as far as thinking up a savage comment of my own but stopped short of posting it. However I have since repented and come to the point where I have realised that it is not fair to the baker and unkind to say the least. Yes I know we have some shoddy bakers who need to get their act together but truth be told we were all shoddy at one time. Excellence is a journey and we continuously strive to attain it on a daily basis.Have you ever put yourself in the shoes of a baker whose cake has become the object of ridicule? How would you feel reading all those comments about your cake? And sometimes the circumstances are not even what we think. There is this story of a bride whose autistic sister said she wanted to bake her sister's wedding cake. Out of love the bride-to-be graciously accepted. Obviously the cake wasn't a showstopper but it wasn't about the look of the cake, it was about the love and encouragement of an autistic sister. Nothing could be more beautiful than that.I remember the very first wedding cake I made. It was in the days of royal icing. Being self taught, I had never heard of dowel rods and sincerely believed that it was the strength of the royal icing that kept those tiers in place. So after my first, second, third and fourth coats of royal icing I was convinced that no evil could befall my cake. Alas, I got to the reception Hall to set up the cake and after 2 minutes of putting the second tier on top of the first, my cake started tilting to one side. The pillar holding it up was sinking into the cake below. So I repositioned the pillar in a different spot and placed the second tier on top again. This time it didn't even wait two minutes before it started tilting again. Frantically I looked for some cardboard, folded it several times and used it to "shock" the pillar. ("wedge" is too toosh a word for this scenario!). It balanced out a bit but I knew it was just a matter of time... So I promptly took a strategically positioned seat as close as possible to the cake in case I had to perform some goalkeeper function should the cake decide to become an identified flying object! And then I began to pray desperately for them to get over the cutting of the cake kia kia before it collapsed entirely! But apart from that, I felt extremely proud of myself that day. I can't imagine how downcast I would have felt if my Leaning Tower of Pisa had become the object of ridicule on Instagram! Let's grow up and be kind to each other. It does not mean we can't offer constructive criticism, remember the emphasis is on CONSTRUCTIVE and not destructive. It's time to build each other up not tear each other down. Peace! Yours in reality,Siku Adewuyi

  • 0 Self Development Fatigue

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    I was reading a Paul Minor blog a while back and came across this topic. It was as if he had overheard me complaining to myself on those days when I just felt overwhelmed. He had put my frustrations into words and I’d like to share some of those points with you today, hoping that at the end you’ll feel a lot better, just as I did. Believe it or not, but for the grace of God, I used to be a very disorganized person, procrastinating, always running late etc. I still have issues to contend with, but I’m getting better! I started doing a lot of reading up on self-help books, attending seminars etc. and asking God to enable me put what I learnt into practice. Likewise a lot of us are self-development junkies. We devour books, blogs, social media posts on how to improve ourselves and our businesses. We listen to messages, podcasts on productivity, success habits, etc. I don't know about you but sometimes I just get overwhelmed and tired of it all! It's as if the goal post gets moved every time I reach it! And I end up asking myself if I’ll ever attain or arrive, so to speak. Sometimes I’m watching a movie and I hear that niggling voice in my head, saying “your mates are exploring ways on how to improve themselves and their businesses, and you are here watching African Magic (especially when it’s one of those movies that doesn’t make any sense at the end!).Is too much self-development a bad thing? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying self -development is bad. It is very good, necessary and crucial to the successful existence of any life or business. However, we must not put ourselves under undue pressure to the extent that we miss out on the fun things of life. Don't pursue self development to the detriment of your well being. Do you ever feel that because you’re chasing constant improvement, you end up feeling you’re not good enough or ever going to be good enough? We need to be careful not to fall into the trap of low self-esteem in the bid to improve ourselves. Appreciate where you are, look back at where you’re coming from and give yourself a pat on the back! Don’t allow the desire to be better to override your sense of accomplishment. There will always be room for improvement, it shouldn’t rob us of the satisfaction of what we have achieved so far. I am not encouraging complacency, but there is a need to strike a good balance.Don’t feel guilty about relaxing and putting your feet up from time to time. There is a time for everything, a time to work and a time to relax. All this pressure is self-imposed, and we can let it go, if we are determined to. Don’t compare yourselves with others, we all have different journeys in life. Yes it’s good to have mentors, but they should be gentle and wise counsellors, not task masters setting unachievable goals for you. Deliberately set aside time to just chill and be yourself. Invest in relationships. Strike a balance. Life is to be enjoyed joor! I beg, who wan follow me go watch Avengers………… Yours in RealityS. Adewuyi

  • 0 IS HONESTY ALWAYS THE BEST POLICY?

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    We must all have heard about the recent incident where a UBA security guard returned the lost sum of $10000 and was rewarded with $15000. This is a clear-cut case of honesty being the best policy. Even if he wasn't given anything he would have gone home with a clear conscience and I have no doubt whatsoever that God Himself would definitely reward him. However, sometimes the situation is not clear cut black-and-white. There are various shades of grey in between and I want to put some up for discussion today. Scenario 1: You have a customer. He or she is a proper "alaroro" customer! No matter the price of the cake she will still bargain, and not the gentle kind of bargaining oh! She wants to cut the price in half and still go home with that big sized cake and she won't let you be until you agree to her demands. What do you do? Do you inflate the price knowing she's still going to "price" it anyway or do you tell her the original price and say "take it or leave it"? Scenario 2: You have a friend who bakes cakes but her cakes do not taste nice neither are they well-decorated. But she thinks the world of her skills and does not believe she needs to improve on them. When she proudly shows off her cakes to you, do you just smile and say yes it's nice or do you tell her to her face that her cakes are not up to standard. Do you risk losing the relationship or maintain the status quo? Scenario 3: You have an obese friend who absolutely loves your cakes and is always buying them to eat and to give others as well. Knowing she eats quite a lot of cake would you stop selling to her or continue selling, telling yourself if she doesn't buy from you she will buy elsewhere? Scenario 4: You have a married friend whose spouse is dating someone else. Would you tell your friend knowing it could break his/her marriage or keep quiet and pray the relationship with the sidechick/guy will fizzle out? Let me know your thoughts on being honest in these situations Yours in reality,Siku Adewuyi

  • 0 Finishing Empty, Finishing Strong

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    Last week, I lost a friend. It was a devastatingly rude shock because it was totally unexpected. We had spoken a few weeks earlier, she had promised to stop by at my place. Then later we engaged in some WhatsApp chit chat. And the next thing she was gone! Just like that! It got me thinking. We all pray to live long, see our children’s children, reap the fruits of our labor etc. But the bottom line is that God can decide to call us home at any time and we have no choice but to obey. If we really let this fact sink in, we’d probably live our lives a whole lot differently. If God said, Madam, or Oga, I’m coming for you next week Tuesday, no negotiation, what would we do between now and then? Put our house and business in order? Make up with the friends we quarreled with? Ask for forgiveness from those we’ve offended? Empty our heavy laden bank accounts and use it to bless others? Impact as many lives as we can? Go on that trip of a lifetime that you’ve been wanting to do? Bungee jump, skydive, swim with dolphins?What of those projects you started, but forgot about half way for no just cause? You need to finish what you started! I’m sure there are a million and one things that will come to mind to do when we are certain the end is near. But usually we don’t do these things because we think we still have time, and I pray we do. By God’s grace, we will live to see our children’s children, but we should also try to live everyday as if it is our last. Do all the good you can do, live life to the fullest, impact as many lives as you can on a daily basis, invest in relationships and try not to stress over things that won’t matter tomorrow. Write a Will! Yes…. You don’t have to be 90, or own 100 houses in Lekki before you write a Will. Neither does it mean you will die tomorrow if you write it today. It’s just a record of all you have and how you would want it shared in event of your passing on. It’s called putting your house in order. Someone once said there are more unfulfilled dreams, unutilized talents, and unexecuted plans than the number of bodies in the graveyard. We will not add ours to it by God’s grace. We will pour out all that we have in us and die empty. Above all, make sure you are at peace with your Maker, then you can be sure you finished strong. Yours in Reality,Siku Adewuyi

  • 0 Social Media – A blessing or a curse?

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    Hi guys. Recently I’ve been asking myself this question a lot. Obviously, if you have to list out the pros and cons, you’d definitely end up with more advantages than disadvantages. There’s the connectivity, the global awareness, cheap or even free business promotion, educative information made available, reduced marketing costs, increased sales etc. So we are in no doubt whatsoever that it is a great tool to use.However, we’ve heard of cases where cyber bullying has led to the suicide of the victim. We've seen people falling into the depths of acute depression because they could not attain what they saw on the digital pages of social media. Bringing it close to home, there are times when the glossy picture perfect images invoke in us feelings we’d rather not have. I was speaking to someone recently and she expressed her intention to quit the cake business because every time she looked at Instagram or Facebook she felt overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. How could she ever compete favorably with what she was seeing on these digital pages. Some of us get so anxious looking at these pictures. There are times when you just can’t muster up those righteous emotions of genuine admiration, as much as you may try. Instead you feel envious, or intimidated or frustrated at your own perceived “lack of progress”. Sometimes you hear that reprimanding or accusing voice in your head saying “see your mates!’ or in my own case “wo awon omo inu e” (see your juniors). Yes, even the best of us have our moments! How do we overcome these feelings of inadequacy that seem to suddenly erupt at the sight of one glossy picture? Thank God for the very apt phrase “Waka Pass”!!! Just move on, swipe left or right, up or down, or block it out until you are in a better frame of mind, when you can come back and look at that picture objectively, admire it and learn a trick or two from it, or be inspired by it. Let’s remember that we all have different races to run, with different starting points and finishing lines. We have also been blessed with different areas of strength. Yes, you say sometimes you can’t help experiencing those feelings or thoughts, but it’s like the saying – You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can definitely stop it from building a nest on it. When the thoughts come, push them out and refuse to dwell on them by doing your waka pass thing. Shut it down, speak good things to yourself about who you are and what you are going to achieve. You are running your own race, not someone else's.And to those of us who tend to be cyber bullies or belong to the pepper dem gang, watch ya sef! Yours in reality,Siku Adewuyi

  • 0 PROCRASTINATION (Conclusion)

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    Hi guys, I hope we are beginning to get our acts together on this matter! Yours truly is trying, although there’s a lot of room for improvement, but I am determined to be disciplined and become the master of my time.As I mentioned in Part 2, I went back to read Brian Tracy's book “Eat that Frog” on how to overcome procrastination and I will be highlighting a few points which we can practice and hopefully become better managers of our time. By the way, please get the book and read it! Firstly, (I should've said this in Part 2) there are 3 critical factors to successfully manage our time. Decision, Discipline, and Determination. We need to make a conscious decision first and then be disciplined enough to carry out that decision with determination. A lot of times I would stop at the decision stage. Yes, I would take a decision to do the work, but was never disciplined enough to get up and determine to get it done. I’d be like....there is still time, I’ll do it later, or first thing tomorrow etc. So now I’ve made up my mind to follow through on decisions, with discipline and determination, so help me God! A few other points: Clarity: Be clear about what you want to achieve, write it down and commit to working towards it. Plan in advance. Proper prior planning prevents poor performance! (So many P's!) As mentioned in Part 2, prioritize and execute accordingly. Get rid of distractions. As useful as technology is, sometimes it can be a big time waster. Have you ever felt that involuntary pull every time your phone rings or vibrates? It’s like remote control! I automatically reach for it regardless of what I’m doing at the moment. Or have you ever binge-watched a Netflix series, all the while shushing that niggly little voice in your mind that says you have work to do? In fact I had to stop using my Ipad for devotion because I got sidetracked 9 times out of 10! One minute I’m reading the Bible then the next minute I’m on Instagram checking out the picture Kek Couture just posted! 2 hours down the line, I’ve migrated from emails, to Emma Oh My God comedy clips and devotion time has been forgotten! So now it’s back to my hard copy NKJV Bible! Ain't no notification popping up there except from the Holy Spirit! In conclusion, we need to realize that time is a resource we need to use wisely to be the best we can be. I pray we all get to that point where we can confidently say “We have redeemed the time”.Yours in reality Siku Adewuyi

  • 0 PROCRASTINATION PART 2

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    Hi everyone. My last article was an eye opener for me. I was surprised realising that so many of us are in the clutches of procrastination and its consequences. I felt it would be a great injustice to see all that and let it go unattended to. So I decided to go back to Brian Tracy’s principles and glean a few nuggets of wisdom, that I could share here with the hope that it would make a difference in our lives. Let me also thank those who responded with advice and tips on how to break out of this habit. Someone asked me if I had ever sat down to consider the cost of procrastination financially and otherwise. Up till that point I had never given it much thought. I had never tried to put a figure to it or consider the ripple effect of not doing things on time. She challenged me to go think about it and I did. The outcome was a serious wakeup call for me. I realized I was spending so much money on diesel bills and power bills, because instead of shutting down at 6:00pm like we should, I would have to keep things running late into the night because I hadn’t done what I should’ve done earlier. I would have to keep staff working late as well, meaning they’d get home late, wouldn't get enough rest, before heading back to the office the next day.And because I am always entangled in little things that could've been delegated, I have less time to free my mind up for new creative ideas. More time spent in the office means less time to build relationships and enjoy life! And the list goes on and on.So my people, we cannot afford to continue this way oh! So let's mindfully read the following jist, and I pray that me, myself and I will also have the discipline to apply it to my own life. Firstly, I would like you to choose an accountability partner. Someone who can check up on you, to make sure you’re keeping to plan. Most of us have long term goals. And that’s the problem. We see them as long term and still a long way off. So we don’t do anything about it until it’s too late. Long term goals should be broken into short term goals. Yearly plans broken down to monthly plans, then down to weekly and daily plans. Little drops of water make the mighty ocean. Well executed daily plans result in the achievement of long term goals. Plan every day in advance. Make a list. Prioritize them in categories A , B, C, D, E.A – Most important. The consequences of not doing them are real and very serious.B – Tasks that you should do but have mild consequences if you don’t.C – Tasks that are nice to do but have no consequences whatsoever if you don’t.D – Tasks to delegate. Delegate whatever can be delegated. No need to do everything yourself.E – Eliminate. There are things we need to stop doing because they consume so much time and have absolutely no impact or value whatsoever in our lives.To be continued.Yours in realityS. Adewuyi

  • 0 PROCRASTINATION!

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    There's a saying that goes "Procrastination is the thief of time". One would think that after identifying the thief we would be able to catch him and put an end to his nefarious activities! For where???Gisting with you right now is the chief procrastinator of all times! I battle with it daily. I remember buying a book - "Eat that frog" , a self help book on how to stop procrastination. To even pick up the book and read was an issue.....Not to mention the ever growing pile of other books on my bedside table that I've promised myself I'm going to read! I cannot count the number of times I've had a big cake job and I've sat down and mapped out the strategy, what is to be done, how, when, by whom, timelines and all but Lo and behold, it always comes down to a "last minute dot com" matter! Fortunately the cakes usually come out nice and we still get to deliver on time, thankfully. But the stress is better left imagined! I remember on one occasion after berating myself loudly for not keeping to time schedules, probably in a bid to make me feel better, someone said "ma, I think you have the gift of working under pressure, the cakes always turn out very fine when you are under pressure." I begi, what kain gift is that? Who pressure epp??? I'd rather work without it jor! It is draining, both physically and mentally! It is this same procrastination that made me spend close to ten years writing my book, Ethnik Sugarkraft , that I could have written in one! In fact, if not for the grace of God and persistent pushy friends like Kenny mama cake of Africa, the book would probably still be in manuscript form as of now! Kenny took it upon herself to announce to the world that Siku was writing a book. Then she started promoting it even though I hadn't written more than two chapters at the time! The only thing she didnt do was start to take orders on my behalf! It got to a point where people would stop me in the street and ask when the book was coming out! The embarrassment of not being able to respond was a critical catalyst in my decision to sit up and say now or never! Even these "keeping it real" articles, with all my best intentions to have them ready weeks or months before publishing, suffer the same fate.You'll usually find me penning down last-minute thoughts at 6 a.m. on Friday morning!So what do we do about this procastination and time management palaver? Yes I know what the books and professionals say! Putting it into practice is another story entirely! Does anybody have a magic wand to wave over me or maybe I should go for deliverance! Is anybody feeling me this morning, abi na only me waka come? Let's keep it real! Yours in realitySiku

  • 0 Keepin' It Real

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    Recently the Master Baker competition was held and I was privileged to be one of the judges. It was an eye opener for me and believe it or not, this so called Chief Judge learnt a thing or two from these young and upcoming talented superstars! For instance it never occurred to me to use a hair dryer to achieve the crackled effect! I was totally blown away (no pun intended!) when I saw it being used, kia kia I transferred my hair dryer from my house to my office! The level of skill in some cases was amazing. However something was glaringly obvious - we seem to have raised a generation of cut and paste emergency cake decorators who know how to get the wow effect without putting in the wow work! Don't get me wrong, economically, the less work you can do to achieve big money the better. When you're out there trying to meet sales targets, yes you strategize to do the minimum work that can produce maximum results and subsequently bring in maximum money. This is not about smart work versus hard work. What I'm talking about here is being well grounded in the basics of cake decorating techniques, especially for competition purposes. Ask all the big wig cake makers that we hear about abroad if they can't pipe perfect shells or snail trails or scrolls etc. Ask them if they can't make perfect glossy peak consistency royal icing. Ask them if all they can use to achieve the wow factor is molds. I'm sure we all know the answers! For you to be an all round seasoned cake decorator you must have a good grip on the basics of cake decoration. Yes, molds are good, I use them as well but I am not restricted to them because I have a good grip on the basics. It gives you that versatility to achieve any design on sugar. I have seen cake decorators running helter skelter looking for a particular mold they had seen on a cake, because they want to reproduce that design whereas all they needed was a piping bag and some imagination! I dare to say that in West Africa, Nigeria is in the forefront where master cake bakers and decorators are concerned. Let's be known for indepth, qualitative sound knowledge/skills and not just superficial effizy! The level of skill seen at competitions here cannot hold a candle to what we see abroad. We need to step up! I salute all past and future contestants in all the cake competitions in this country. This is by no means to tear you down or discourage you, it's to encourage you to go the extra mile in attaining skills, build up your capacity and improve your chances of winning. And like always, I'm just keeping it real! Peace!Yours in reality,Siku Adewuyi.

  • 0 2019 Goals

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    Hi guys. So I promised to share one of my goals with you this week. I’m sure y'all will be thinking that it's cake related – how many I want to make per month, or how many wedding cakes I want to clinch per weekend, or some hefty financial goal etc. Far from it! It has nothing to do with cakes or finances. In fact, it was the realization that my life was beginning to revolve only around cakes that initiated this goal. This year, I have decided to deliberately invest in relationships. I know for some of us, this may not be a big deal, especially if you are a sanguine personality. For some people, it comes naturally, no extra effort required. However, for people like me, we need to work at it. I am reserved, more introvert than extrovert (even though it may not appear so!). And then when you add this to an all consuming passion for cakes, and top it up with a husband who is equally "antisocial" (except where it concerns bikes). it becomes a virtual cosy place that requires all the effort in me to break out of! This year, I am not going to be triangular, office – home – church. I am going to shut down work from time to time, spend time with people, and get to know them, reach out to others and have fun. Work will come to an end someday, it’s the relationships we’ve built along the way that will stay with us. Our corporate getaway early this year was a step towards achieving this goal. I wanted to bond with my staff on a personal level away from the office. We are all striving to get to the top, but we need to build relationships, enjoy them on the way to the top, otherwise, when we get there, it will be a very lonely place.So, I want to encourage my fellow cake makers and others, remember when you are mixing your butter and sugar, you yourself have to mix!One day, the cake orders will stop coming, but your friends and family won’t! Yours in reality,Siku AdewuyiPS: Any ideas on how to build meaningful relationships are welcome!

  • 0 Happy New Year 2019

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    I just couldn't cope with the cakes, other responsibilities , commitments and writing all put together, so I decided to give myself a break. I cannot come and go and die jare! Anyways I'm back now but I have decided that my posts will now feature every other Friday instead of every week to give me some breathing space! I hope you had a wonderful and busy December. It's funny how we all complain that there's too much work to do and yet we are all looking for more! May God satisfy us all! This is 2019 - a new year and I'm sure we all have new year resolutions, goals, items of special focus etc, but how many of them are we going to make an effort to keep? Sometimes there are so many that we don't even remember all of them talk less of keeping them! Trust me, I too have a long list of personal goals, business goals, family goals, spiritual goals, financial goals etc etc but what I have decided to do is single out one goal from each category that I consider the most important and focus on how to achieve it. If I can achieve the others along the way, all well and good. If not, I won't beat myself up about it but the one important one from each category I will do everything within my power with the help of God to achieve it. Write those important goals out. Itemize the steps you need to take to fulfill them and put timelines on them. If possible get an accountability partner who you can be accountable to concerning them and review your progress regularly. 2019 will be a good year for all of us by God's grace, Amen! In my next article I'll be sharing one of my goals with you! Bye! Yours in reality!Siku

  • 0 More Passion than Sense!

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    I came to a point where I realized there was a need to re-engineer my business. I was stuck in a rut, like a cyclist pedaling so hard and yet spinning on the same spot, going nowhere. We invited some consultants to help us move forward. One of the questions I was asked was what had energized or propelled me so far. I promptly responded proudly that it was my creativity and passion. I proceeded to go into lengthy details on how fulfilling it was for me to pour my whole self into a cake even if I wasn’t going to get paid for it and so on. Oga Consultant patiently waited for me to finish my long story, smiled, obviously unimpressed and simply told me that passion doesn’t pay the bills! The stars in my eyes cleared up immediately. He said Madam, passion, creativity, etc. are good, but it cannot sustain a vibrant business, and it appears you have more passion than business sense. Well maybe those were not his exact words, because he had not yet collected his consultancy fee……but that was the general implication of all his grammar on that day. It was a wakeup call for me. I realized that it is good to have people open their mouths in amazement at the sight of your cakes, but it is even better for them to open their purses in appreciation! I could not afford to sit at my decorating table for hours on end over a cake that is fetching me peanuts. Time is money. I must be adequately compensated for work done. Then my company must be properly run, structure must be in place, business plans, targets, financials, administration, processes, and so on. All these in addition to passion and creativity are necessary for running a successful sustainable business. Am I there yet, no oh, still working on it, and so should you! Have a wonderful Friday!