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Michelle Belsom and Jack



childcare costs rise, two thirds of mums surveyed* said they would love to run a business from home. Taste Derbyshire spoke to three mums who have made the dream a reality by turning their passion for food into a family-friendly business.

Sitting in a sun-drenched café in Derbyshire, Michelle Belsom and I are talking about our love of food and whether to indulge in a cookie with the giant Maltesers, the brownie with the cherries on top or plump for our mutual favourite; the fruit scone.

and people were always telling me how much they loved the jam and curd fillings. When Jack was due to start school last September, I launched Pickleberry Preserves and realised I’d found my true passion – and a use for nanna’s pan.”

Michelle offers to treat me as she’s not had time to eat. “I work lunch-times as a cook at a nursery school. I do 18 hours a week so I’m around to do the school pick-up and drop-off for my five-year-old son Jack,” she smiles. “It also gives me time for my side-hustle.”

As Michelle describes the process of perfecting her range of jams, marmalades and chutneys – she often rings the changes seasonally so look out for a summer special flavoured with Buck’s fizz – it turns out she must be the only woman in the country happy to spend Saturday nights in a hairnet slaving over a hot stove.

The side-hustle is her fledgling business Pickleberry Preserves, inspired by her son’s baby nickname ‘pickle’ and the berries she packs into her jars. Michelle, of Mickleover,is one of the increasing band of mothers attracted by the flexibility of becoming their own boss. The mum economy has grown by 30 per cent since 2013 according to a survey commissioned by eBay. Far from being a side-hustle, mums are helping to generate £7.2bn in revenues and support 204,000 jobs.

Ali Wand and family

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“I always wanted to have a business related to food – it’s something I’ve loved doing ever since I was a child cooking with my nanna June. She was a game-keeper’s wife who made everything and when I got married in 2010 she gave me her preserving pan,” says Michelle (36), who was originally from North Yorkshire. “I’d always made cakes for family and friends

“I spend a lot of time over steaming pans of sugary fruit, I’m not sure it will catch on as a facial but I love every minute,” she laughs. “I studied criminology and I’ve had corporate jobs but, throughout everything, I’ve had that deep connection with cooking and food. It’s at the heart of every family event, happy or sad – it’s what makes those occasions memorable. When I’m cooking, I’m at my most relaxed. If you’re going to run a business around your family, it may mean a lot of long hours – so make sure it’s something you really believe in.” She claims not to mind the packed timetable. “I get such wonderful feed-back and it’s great when customers send me pictures of my preserves on a table at someone’s Christmas dinner or party and I realise something I made was part of their life,” she says. “Running my

Profile for Alistair Plant

Derby May 2019  

Country Images Magazine is Derbyshire's best free lifestyle magazine, full of the latest fashion, walks, home ideas, local traders and much...

Derby May 2019  

Country Images Magazine is Derbyshire's best free lifestyle magazine, full of the latest fashion, walks, home ideas, local traders and much...