When I was little my brother and I always used to make marzipan fruit for the Christmas tea. We’d colour the marzipan and roll it into balls, pinch it into pear shapes and lemon shapes, put cloves in as stalks, roll it on the small section of the cheese grater to make marks on the oranges and pop each one in a tiny paper case after rolling in sugar. They looked very professional and were really tasty. As we got older we’d be more adventurous and the apples and pears would be green and red combined so they weren’t just flat colour, we could do grapes – we were REALLY good at marzipan fruit.

My brother is now an amazing chef, so maybe all that practice helped? He was always excellent at cooking. He could make amazing apple pie…

I’ve not made marzipan fruit for a while now. I might have to do it again this year – it’s the colouring that puts me off if I’m honest!

The thing with doing this was that at first we won’t have been very good, but after doing them every year, we got really good at them.

There’s loads of things like that aren’t there, where you need to practice. Maybe you need to practice blogging, or making videos, or doing your accounts (that one I really do need to practice!) or maybe you need to practice your telephone manner or whatever – and I bet that whatever it is that you DO for a living, that took practice to get right.

I wasn’t born being able to design logos, create visual branding, pull together brochures and design websites. If I’d tried that when I was old enough to hold a pencil I don’t think anyone would have paid me for it. I was good at drawing though. Mam and I used to draw still lives on the dining table together – I was always encouraged to draw and I think that’s really helped. We made home made cards for birthdays and Christmases, I drew ALL the time – and then when I was in high school I discovered graphic design (in a product design class. I didn’t want to make shelves, but a juice carton design seemed manageable) and then there was a lot of practice through the rest of high school and sixth form, college and university and in the job I had before I started Whiteacres. It’s taken time and practice to get here.

Also papercutting – OK, that took less practice, but I bet all the drawing mentioned above helped with that and I’ve definitely improved since I started Embellish because I’ve done so many papercuts now. I can see that I’ve got better.

How much practice did you have to do to be good at what you do? Did it take you a long time?

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