Mother-of-two Chrissy Dobbs confesses she has only ever read one book – Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan.
But what an impact it had . . . it literally changed her life.
From that moment on, all Chrissy ever wanted to do was follow in lead character Issy Randall’s fictional footsteps and open her own version of the Cupcake Cafe. And she achieved her dream last month when Leighton Linslade mayor Stephen Cotter did the honours at her new venture on Hockliffe Street.
The self-taught baker says: “It still feels very surreal at the moment – it hasn’t quite sunk in that this is my business.
“I didn’t sleep a wink the night before we opened . . . I was up at 4am to make sure all the cakes were baked by opening time at 10am. My vision was always to have a cafe serving fresh baked cakes every day.”
Chrissy, 36, was born in Sydney and came to the UK when she was six. The former Stopsley High student worked in IT and started baking when she was on maternity leave with her youngest son, Ethan, who is four.
She and husband Pete, a software developer, have another son, 14-year-old Oli, and the family lives in Cable Crescent, Woburn Sands.
In the early days Pete was the guinea pig for Chrissy’s baking experiments. “He always gave me his honest opinion,” she says. “But it got to the point where he actually couldn’t stand the sight of another cake.”
Her favourite is her vanilla sponge. She admits it took many years to get the perfect flavour and consistency but she’s now cracked it.
Chrissy says running the shop really is full-on: “I wake up early to get in and start baking, then the cafe opens and I have to serve customers while also trying to do the paperwork.
“When I get home, I try to look after my kids and hubby. He’s been brilliant, doing the school runs, washing, cooking, etc.” Sunday is the only day she has off but it’s usually spent cleaning the house, entertaining the kids and cooking dinner.
However she’s blissfully happy fulfilling her dream - even though it’s much tougher than she imagined.
> More info at Facebook.com/cakesbychrissydobbs