Anneliese Giggins with Isaac and some of the cakes.
STRESSED and isolated after the birth of her first baby, Anneliese Giggins needed a new challenge.
The 29-year-old stay-at-home mum, who has loved making cakes since she was a little girl, hit upon a novel idea to reclaim her identity and rebuild her self-confidence — to work her way through all 218 recipes in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.
"I’ve always thought baking was therapeutic and it’s so satisfying to see people enjoy the cakes I’ve made. I used to help my mum when I was little and I’d encourage her to invite people round so I could bake for them," said Anneliese, a former Carisbrooke High School student, who moved from the Island to Banbury, Oxfordshire, six years ago.
She lives there with husband, Neil, and their two-year-old son, Isaac. Her parents, Timothy and Jacqueline Skull, still live in Carisbrooke Road, Newport.
"I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mum and I was so excited when Isaac was born but I was very much on my own, living in this small village, and I felt quite blue. I’d find myself crying over little things and I felt I wasn’t good enough at being a mum," said Anneliese.
"I felt like I needed to do something to get my brain going again, something I could enjoy for myself, and that’s when I had this idea. I was determined to bake all the recipes in the book, to prove I could do it."
Eighteen months later, Anneliese hasn’t just completed the challenge — she has won thousands of fans on Twitter, Facebook and her blog, www.risingtotheberry.blogspot.co.uk after her story appeared in the Daily Mail.
"It’s a great feeling of accomplishment and has given me much more confidence," said Anneliese.
"It’s lovely to see all the nice comments on my blog, including one from Mary Berry herself, which just beat everything.
"The whole experience has made me feel so proud."
And Anneliese’s favourite recipe?
"It has to be Mary Berry’s Victoria sponge," she said.
"It’s a classic."